Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Fashion Excuses

In Southern California, we need fashion excuses. We don't get enough change in the weather to have much difference in our wardrobe throughout the year. Wendy was talking about this yesterday.... rain as a fashion excuse. That's about as drastic as it gets. We get a few weeks of really cold days, where you really need a jacket; and where I am, it actually does get hot in the summer, but that's only because I'm 30 miles inland from the coast. If you live on the coast of Southern California, it's about 60-70 all year long. However, there are not many "hot weather knits" I'd be comfortable wearing, so that doesn't help me in the knitting department.

My hubby works near the coast and, no kidding, wears shorts 355 days a year. About 10 days of jeans, otherwise he's in shorts, all year long, wherever he goes. And his Chaco sandals as soon as he can get out of his work boots. He has worn shorts for years. It's kind of like his trademark now. The kids laugh and tease him when he puts on long pants. It was 50-60 and raining for the last three days, and he was in shorts. He'll put on a sweatshirt or jacket quite often, but rarely long pants.

When I was a kid, my mom used to make my sister and I matching dresses, looking for event as an excuse. Even way back then California was casual, we were kids, and rough on our clothes. We had school clothes, play clothes, and church clothes. Not much excuse or money for frivolous clothes.

Our favorite were our "airport dresses." She made these for trips taking the grandparents to the airport. We never got on a plane, we just took people to the airport. Those were the days when you could go clear to the gate and stand at the window and wave at the plane. I remember the material was cute little paper dolls holding hands. I also remember matching "pantsuits" for a trip to Knotts Berry Farm, with matching purses that she had made (they were cute, green burlap lined of course, with beads - I remember that I dropped mine in a pond and the green dye from the burlap ran, and I cried).

Mom sewed all our clothes, except for jeans and play clothes. I didn't have a store bought dress until I was in high school. And, I lived in the olden days and didn't ever wear pants to school, until JuniorHigh, and then it was "pantsuits" with matching pants and vests. Ewwwwwh, what can I say, it was the 60's and 70's, not a great period in fashion.

Mom made the most beautiful clothes. Still does. But, remember, I didn't get the "mom-crafty gene." I don't sew anything unless I absolutely have to.

So, in California we need excuses to knit stuff. Not a lot of use for scarves and gloves.... but that doesn't stop us from knitting them. I have more wool sweaters than I'll ever need, yet I'll still knit more. Two days ago, when it was actually cold and pouring rain, the girls, my MIL, and I ventured to the mall. Half way through the trip I mentioned to Kaity that here was the perfect weather finally for a scarf, but did I remember to wear one? - no.

So, I'm knitting this scarf with a reason. My MIL's birthday. She lives in Texas, and it actually gets cold there sometimes (well, really, not much more than here, but I need an excuse). However, she does travel a lot and goes to cold places, so it'll work.

I tried three different yarns before I found the right one. The first was a variegated lace weight I bought from KnitPicks. I didn't get more than about six rows before ditching it. I've tried to make this into something a couple of times, and just don't like the colors. I may never use it.

The second was that blue Jaeger. This has tried twice to be socks, and I thought maybe it wanted to be a scarf, but it was just too scratchy and stiff. (Next time I'll try and remember to take pictures of these failed attempts, would make it a little more interesting, huh?)

Lastly, I remembered I had a few skeins of KnitPicks Shine left over from my Marilyn's NSS Cardi. It's working up perfectly. Very soft and drapy. We're good to go.

I've finished the horseshoe edge of the scarf, and am ready to do the eyelet row and start on the body of the scarf in a rosebud pattern.

I've discovered I really love knitting lace. This may be a good thing. Lace is more wearable in my climate. Lightweight shells, tank tops, lightweight scarves, shawls. This may be my niche.

Well, besides my goal to wear nothing but handknit socks for the rest of my life. See, inventing excuses to knit.


At 12:09 PM, Blogger Sonya said...

What a beautiful scarf! I love KnitPicks Shine. I started a sleeveless sweater in it this summer. The pattern didn't work out, but now I get to decide what to do with the Shine.

My mom sewed all our clothes too. I was so excited about my first jeans, I think I wore them every day until a pen broke in one pocket and I had a big pink ink stain on the front. Yes, pink ink. Ahhh, the 70s. They were bell bottoms too. If I stood really still, the bell covered my whole foot.

At 2:29 PM, Blogger LC in Sunny So Cal said...

And you wonder why I love reading your blog? LOL

I love the Shine scarf...I'm thinking of starting myself a "Shapely Tank" from White Lies Designs...because it's California Gearish..

So, if you'll never use the first-try-stuff, when are you giving it to Kaity??

At 5:05 PM, Blogger amylovie said...

My mom used to sew my "special" dresses too. I still have some of them.

At 5:34 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Looks like it was a great yarn choice!

Gave me a flashback to the pant suits my grandma used to sew for me in the early 70s. Whoa. Polyester doubleknit. Plaid. Bellbottoms. Still scarred. :)

Chaos says "mraow" for your kind words about him!

At 5:36 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Loved this post! I have often wondered about warm-climate knitters and what they knit and why. I have told my DH that I cannot live anywhere warm for exactly this reason! :)

I can't wait to see that scarf!

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous erin said...

Thanks for a trip down memory lane to my first bell bottoms. I even had a jumpsuit. Looking back, they were hideous weren't they?
Your weather is almost as warm as mine here. We average at about 80F. Shorts is our staple weekend wear except when we go to church (which is air-conditioned!).
It is possible to knit for warm weather, I knit many of the sweater patterns with cotton substitutes. I'm wearing one of my faves today - "Maggi" a short sleeved sweater from Rowan that Wendy knitted in a deep green kid silkhaze, mine's in a breezy acrylic. :)

At 8:56 PM, Blogger Donna Boucher said...

You are a wonderful lace knitter! How exciting to find a new talent!

At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My mom used to sew all my clothes too. She was very frugal, coming from the Oklahoma "dust bowl" - yeah, just like the Joad's from the Grapes of Wrath. They came from OK in about 1938 with another couple with twins. Mom & Dad held the twins on their lap all the way - in a Model A or T or whatever they were called. They were on their honeymoon. Anyway - so mom made almost ALL my clothes and Barbie's too - even a camel-colored "midi" coat with a faux fur leopard lining. Me in my burgundy "hot pants" and sweater (she bought those!) and my chocolate suede knee-high granny boots that laced all the way! Man, I thought I was really styling! I know all the girls were jealous of me and my wardrobe. I thought we were rich - I later realized that we were in fact, poor. Mother never had anything much of her own because she sacrificed to keep her only daughter, her baby girl in fashion! Mom is 91 (I was born WAY late in life) and can't sew anymore because of her eyes. Thanks so much for letting ME walk down memory lane!
I think your scarf looks great! I notice your lace projects are always out of a "non-lace" weight yarn! I tried to start a project with lace weight that is charted. I'm thinking - NOT!!

At 7:14 AM, Blogger Lynda said...

Hi Marsha - thanks for stopping by. Yeah- I'm still new at lace, and I'm a lace-knitting-cheater... using "sturdy" yarn still! I have one laceweight project going... for the ages, but I like the satisfaction of a faster knit! I'm working my way to skinner and skinner yarn, slowly but surely! (When you frog and tink back as much as I do, the laceweight stuff doesn't stand a chance!)

At 7:21 AM, Blogger Talitha said...

That scarf looks so much yummier in your pic than in the actual pattern pic. Good job! My mom used to sew my fancy dresses. Like, you know, for Easter and Christmas Church. I even remember matching headbands coming into play. Now I have all this sewing knowledge in my head, but she would never let me touch the machine so it's useless. *sigh* It's so cold here that I can't keep up with keeping everyone's necks and heads warm, but it sure gives me an excuse!

At 7:38 AM, Anonymous Suzanne said...

Your post so hits home with me.....grew up in SoCal....still live here. My sister and I made all our clothes and I did not wear pants to school until 9th grade!! Not allowed...the kids today have such a hard time understanding that. I do remember special outfits to go to Disneyland and even when we went to L.A. to see Mary Poppins--my sisters and I all had matching dresses....so much fun to remember.

At 9:48 AM, Anonymous Jeanie said...

Great post Lynda! Love the stories about how your mom sewed all your clothes and dressed you and your sis alike... my mom did the same thing with my sister and me (without the sewing)!

I love Shine -- and it looks great for your scarf! I think you're definitely on to something when you say that lace could be your answer for your climate and for your love of knitting. You go girl!

At 5:01 PM, Anonymous ariane2 :) said...

I'm lovin' the scarf! That Shine stuff is lovely :) I have some from last year that I meant to make "Honeymoon" with... uhh...maybe this summer. :)

(used-to-be hotpinknails ariane)

At 5:30 AM, Anonymous Susan Cannnizzaro said...

Your scarf is so beautiful. I just love it,. I said I wasn't making any more scarf's but I would love to make this one. Could you tell me where I can get the pattern or could you sell me the pattern , please? Susan

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