When we went on our 2-month adventure last summer, I packed our RV full of yarn. But all my looms were way too big to fit in our RV, so all I had to keep me busy was my knitting and spinning.
The whole time, I wished I could weave, and longed for a little loom that could come on our trips with us.
And, since I've started weaving bands, I realized that I don't need a ton of width to weave on.
So we came up with this little loom, and of course it had to have sheep!
Now available in the shop, this little loom can be used to rigid heddle or card weaving, and at 18" x 10" x 8", it can go pretty much anywhere. I love how the beams let me warp more than my inkle loom, too. The warp you see in the top picture is about five yards long - much more than I could have gotten on my inkle loom, and in less space, too!
This year I had a massive lifestyle change - I left my job as an attorney to travel the country and market my family business. We packed up our house, put most things in storage, and loaded everything else into our travel trailer. When we set out on our trip, we planned for it to last 3 to 4 months. Road weary at the two month mark, we called it quits, found a new house in a new town, and moved everything out of our storage unit and into our new house.
As we were packing up to leave, we were amazed and a little bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff we’d managed to accumulate. Loads of it went to charity, friends, and as a last resort, the dump.
Still, we managed to fill up the largest storage unit we could find. The last “thing” to go in was my car, which we squeezed in with just inches to spare. Then we set off on our journey with the things we thought we’d need for the next few months.
Living in such tight quarters for two months definitely changed my perspective on things. With less square footage to live in, I was more motivated to keep things as clean as possible. Nothing was purchased unless it had an immediate use - and a place to go. We bought less food, and wasted less food as a result.
Our closets were no exception. We set out with about a week’s worth of clothes. Here’s my list:
Along the way, I found I had a need for a hat, and ended up knitting two. Besides the hand knits and winter coat, everything I brought with me was machine washable. I carefully selected clothes that could be mixed, matched, and layered to create different looks, and I distilled down my jewelry selections to the most essential (but not too valuable) pieces.
In short, I went minimalist. And besides a couple of times when we drew near to laundry day, I didn’t miss the clothes I’d left behind.
When we found a new house and moved everything out of storage, I realized I could spend hours washing and putting away dishes, but after three days, most of my clothes were on a pile on the floor. I didn’t mind dusting furniture, or unpacking box after box of books, or putting together my loom, but five minutes of putting away clothes bored me to tears.
Finally (when there wasn’t much else to do), I put away my clothes. I weeded out a bunch of things that I don’t want or need any more, and kept the rest. I don’t have to dress professionally anymore, but I kept a small professional wardrobe just in case.
I’d like to say that my wardrobe has been distilled down to the ultramodern essential classics, but it’s really more of a jumble. I’m okay with that, though, because I realized that I’m more interested in the process of making textiles than fashion itself. And that’s a valuable takeaway.
So this Slow Fashion October, I’m not planning on making any new clothes. This year, I’m going to focus on things beyond my closet. I’ll celebrate what I already have, and enjoy absorbing what other people make this year.
If you haven’t heard about Slow Fashion October, be sure to check it out. A more detailed explanation of the whole shebang can be found here, or you can check out the hashtag #slowfashionoctober on Instagram.
Well, naturally, since I felt like everything was finally starting to go smoothly with my Noro Log Cabin blanket, that was when everything went wrong.
The first thing to go wrong actually happened a month or so ago, when I bought the rest of the yarn I needed. The store didn’t have exactly the color I wanted, so I figured that another color would do just fine. After all, Noro shades tend to go well with each other.
Well, they do go together, but not in the way I liked. The new colors were just a bit too neon and pastel for my taste, and I spent an awful lot of time looking at it and wondering whether I should rip it back.
It’s not usually my style to rip back, so instead I forged ahead and fretted about the colors. You can buy Noro online, I know, but I don’t have easy access to the mail these days.
Well, the problem of whether or not to rip back was solved for me. As I jumped up to go look at a stunning sunset, I put down my knitting in my chair. But when I came back to it, it was piled on top of the citronella candle I had been burning.
What could have been a disaster was really only localized to a small piece of knitting. One of the many excellent properties of wool is that it is self-extinguishing, so the hole you see here was the only major damage.
The way I had joined the squares, I had to rip back to solve the color problem – only I was almost out of all my other main colors. I found some Spincycle yarn at Sheep’s Clothing in Kennewick, Washington that was remarkably close to my main color, and alternated rows with Noro to get a close enough effect in the replacement square.
I figure that I got set back by about a week, and the nights have been getting cooler as we wend our way north. You’d think the answer would be to knit faster, but happily one of the stops along the way was the Pendleton Woolen Mill, where I bought two lovely wool blankets. More on that to come soon.
Things may have been quiet around here for a long while, but I've been keeping busy in the fiber realm. In case of future radio silence, you can pretty much always find me on Instagram, where I manage to be pretty involved. Somehow, I feel like posts on this platform need to say more, and it can be difficult to work up to more than a short blurb.
Life around here got pretty interesting, pretty fast. Mike (DH) has been trying to get me to quit my job for ages, so that we can both work full time on our business. But I've resisted for a long time because I like the routine of going to work, and the social interaction with my co-workers. I've worked from home before, and it hasn't always afforded me as much structure as I'd like.
Well, the structure these days is pretty different than anything I'd ever imagined. With the income from our business, we were able to pay off my student loans from law school, buy an RV, and we've both left our steady jobs in good industries. And now, we're on nothing less than a 3 month RV vacation through Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Canada, Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado.
We packed up our entire house, which was a reminder to me that I need to be ever more conscious of the things I buy - there was just an overwhelming amount of stuff. Most of it went into storage, and the essentials went into our RV. Remember Slow Fashion October? Well now my closet is literally what can fit on 20 hangers, four small drawers, and a couple of jackets. It will be interesting living with so much less stuff, particularly clothing.
Luckily, I was able to pack a good chunk of my stash and my spinning wheel. So the fibery goodness will certainly continue! (And as I type this, I'm sitting outside a yarn shop in eastern Oregon, waiting for it to open.)
Naturally, I had grand plans about all the different kinds of knitting projects I would do on this trip, but of course they've all been derailed - for now. I'm working on actually finishing a project that's been in progress for more than two years - a log-cabin style blanket made out of Noro's Silk Garden Sock yarn. (A good tutorial on how to do it can be found here.)
The original plan when I started the project was to make a king-sized blanket. But when I unearthed the squares while packing up the house, I realized I had almost enough to make a blanket for the double bed in our travel trailer.
These last few weeks, I've been joining together squares and creating borders to make the blanket a little bigger. Naturally, I'm getting to the stage where things get cumbersome, but hopefully we'll have a nice cozy blanket soon - sometimes the nights get chilly!
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