Dressing Carefully: Thinking about textile choices

A barometer of culture and class, fashion has always reflected our values.  The textiles in your life are, in essence, a reflection of your style and a statement of time and place.  One of today’s guests on the WBUR On Point radio highlighted just how true this is.

Elizabeth Cline, author of “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” was today’s guest. Her travels in Asia, researching the factories and lifestyles of those who produce much of the world’s inexpensive clothing, resulted in a not surprisingly dismal report.   It is all quite obvious…. how else can shirts sell for less than $20 or shoes at the same price?  I haven’t read the book, but it appears that her analysis is on target, and it will be interesting to see how the larger manufacturers, retailers and fashion media respond to her journalism.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this come up in public discourse.  Last month, at the Common Cod Fiber Guild, Clara Parkes of the Knitter’s Review spoke about a Texas company which has become the last remaining large fleece processing plant in the US.  She spoke of disappearing small lot dye houses.  She reminded us that many of our favorite US yarn brands are simply distributors of products milled increasingly in China (although South America, Italy and Turkey still have a big stake in the game). She also shared some of the stellar U.S., British and European yarn brands who are holding on against the tide.

You are what you wear and what you create.  Choose carefully.

Roving Braids

Roving braids seen at the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival


Sprouting Projects

Has anyone figured out how to create an additional 6 to 8 hours in a day?  If so, please comment below.  Spring sprouts projects!

I jumped on board for my first sail of the season last Saturday. Alanna Nelson travels the seas with textiles!
There had been no time to choose a new project, so a sleeve to the Lily sweater on dpns came along. No needles were lost overboard!

My other knitting projects include commissioned Christmas stockings and corrections to the Level II of the Master Knitter Program.  Now that I think about it, you could call theses two projects “treat or torture” respectively.  In any case, these projects needed to stay on land.

Perhaps next week there will be time to fondle fiber and choose summer sailing projects.

As promised, here is the top to the “Signature Sunspots” quilt, which is waiting for me to reschedule my long arm quilting appointment.  The back is a hodgepodge of fabrics… let me gently remind quilters to always square after every seam?  I forgot this on one band.  When the pieces get large, there’s a lot to remember.  The signatures are on the vertical light blue bands.
Signature Quilt by Alanna Nelson
As for garments, perhaps I can create them in my sleep, as I’ve heard happens in Hong Kong?  My l’il gymnast has a big school dance in early June. She has requested a dress. We were in New York at the beginning of May and we stopped by Mood. She got to pet the dog made famous by Project Runway, and we chose some great fabric.  Then there’s that skirt I drafted for the Drama Queen.  She’ll be home this weekend and hopefully that will head out the door.

And to top it off, gold work embroidery haunts moments carved from the to do list.  Oh, yes, more garments on my horizon…. my summer travels include a wedding in Beirut in July.

It’s all I can do to stop daydreaming about knitted sofa covers, punch needle trims, tassels I want to try and the possible.

So yes, anyone with ideas about how to create those extra hours…