Saturday, 10 September 2011

Will I wear it?

I've just had the most brilliant insight ever. Well, it feels like 'ever' because something became so exceedingly clear only just now.  It probably should have been obvious but I never considered it before.

I have been puzzled by the way I knit and use yarn.  I thoroughly enjoy the whole process: from buying yarn (yep, I'm an addict), to looking at patterns and selecting the one that spoke to me the most, via chosing the stash yarn (let's pretend I always use yarn that I already have), through adaptating designs or improvising, and then knitting like turbo-charged, - to finally ending up with a finished item.

Unless of course it's languishing in my ever growing WIP collection. That's very much a possibility.  Often because I got stuck on something, or got a little fed up needling away at the same old item: I have startitis because I am itching to be knitting other things, trying something new, going for a challenge!

But that's not even the biggest issue that's been puzzling me.

Let's say that I actually finished something.  Yes, it has been known to happen.  And very proud of it I am too.  Lovely.

Why then do my Finished Objects so often go from lying around while still a WIP (grrrh) to lying around neatly folded in a 'Finished Objects' stack?  Why don't I actually wear and use the lovely thing?


I'd been trying to explore that conundrum by ruminating about whether I just enjoy the actual knitting itself so much that I've never been all that concerned with the outcome.  I was onto something but I hadn't thought far enough.

Now I'm looking at things from another angle.  Very recently I picked up an old idea and decided to run with it.  I want to, finally!, develop and put together a core wardrobe.  What's sometimes called a capsule wardrobe.  I love that word!  It sounds so seriously grown up.

The idea is that I have a list of 15 items (it was meant to be ten but it got longer, ahem, so sue me: it's my list), all clothing options that I decided I need.  Or at the very least: most definitely want!  I will write about them another time, this blog post is about my insight.  Suffice to say that I want to make sure I have no gaps of list items that just never made it home with me.  For whatever strange reason.

The list consists mainly of rather sensible items (skirt, trousers, blouse, jacket, etc) but it also has a couple of rather more ambitious items like a trench coat (I've wanted one for decades!) as well as the ultimate of desired clothing options: the little black dress.

Now I do realise that the last one is so very grown up that I don't actually know if I'll ever actually get one, let alone wear it, quite apart from the fact that I might never actually have an occasion to.  Might have to create one, hah!

But never mind.

I started going through my clothes, all that rubbish that accumulated while I wasn't looking, apparently, hoping to chuck stuff but mainly hunt out those items that get to proudly take a position on my list.  There is also a "list" of supplementary items that don't make 'the' list but are nice enough to keep and wear too.  Very important point that last one.

All of this has allowed me to look at my stuff with not just a critical eye but also a specific criteria in mind: is this item good enough?  Do I want it?  Will I wear it?

And that's when it went 'click' in my head.  All those lovely items that I knit up like possessed, are they items that I will wear?  And not just that: do they fit in with my other things, those things that are going on my lists?

Big insight: if a knitted item doesn't go with anything I've got that I like to wear, well, then the question of why a garment remains unworn is really not very difficult to solve at all!  It might be nice, but it's just not 'me'.

Major insight!  Bit of a revelation that one.

The nicest thing about this is that I can now make things that fill gaps in my wardrobe*.  I'm completely sure that I will still produce knits that don't fit with most other things, but that's the joy of creative making: we enjoy the process even though sometimes it doesn't have an outcome that's as useful as we'd like.

If I make something that I loved making but only realise later won't wear, well: then I have a great present for someone who will love it and will hopefully wear it too.

Fingers crossed.

*: I realised that I could do with something round my neck (a neckwarmer or a cowl, I've already got plenty of shawls) in either a plum or aubergine, or otherwise a dark red or pink. I think I've got just the thing in my stash!  See pic above.


  1. Yup, that's the thing about knitted or crocheted items: how do they fit into your actual wardrobe? I think you nailed it in the footnote. Usually my own FOs serve as accessories for my core wardrobe, to change up the look from week to week. I find that they are more effective for changing the overall visual effect than varying the jewelry I wear.

    Then everyone needs a little black sweater like Michelle Obama's, some gloves (or mitts) to go with your winter coat, and bunches of socks in colors that peep out when you're wearing them.

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one with a less than perfect wardrobe! I don't think I'll go far as a capsule wardrobe, but I definitely want to put together some 'outfits' rather than my usual slubby jeans and t-shirt. to the rescue, once I've worked out how to use it!
    And, do you sew? I recently discovered, which has made me want to learn to sew, and make clothes that I actually love!

  3. Yes, knitted items as accessories are great. I have shawls in many colours, but I just found I don't have one in a suitable purple or grey yet! I guess I know what I'll be knitting next.
    A black jumper sounds brilliant, I'll check out your suggestion, thanks for that!

    Definitely a much less than perfect wardrobe - now that I'm looking there is so much rubbish, it's hard to believe. Why do I have so many items I never wear? I also want to identify lots of outfit combos.
    Yes I sew! I started a six gore skirt last week (I'll have to blog about that soon). It's my first sewing project that looks like it may be successful, the last four weren't... Fingers crossed!

  4. Hi Giselle, I am sorry for not responding to your comment on my blog earlier, but I have not been on the computer much this year. You asked me if I use silk. Sorry to disappoint you but it is good old DMC cotton stranded embroidery thread.
    My blog is called BLIGBLOG

    Now i'm off to read you blog for a while this afternoon. Happy Stitching Kathy

  5. I need to go and sort out my wardrobe... I suppose the core items are things that go with lots of other things. That beautiful yarn will make a gorgeous cowl :)

  6. Thank you Pip!
    The idea of core items is that they are the ones most worth keeping (say if your house hypothetically burnt down: what clothes would you miss most?) - if they are good quality, fit well, etc.
    They don't have to go with everything. I have some neutrals: black, white, silver, grey, taupe - and I'm finding that I can combine those very well with my favourite colours. So I'll be looking to build on those: blue, pink and purple. It helps to reinforce that I definitely do not need anything in green or yellow: I just wouldn't wear it because I don't like most greens and yellows.