From early May through late September, my wardrobe for the past 5 years can pretty much be summarised by this photo. A few A-Line skirts and a couple pairs of jeans, worn with either ankle boots or canvas flats, depending on weather, and topped with a neutral (usually gray), lightweight sweater. It is an easy, comfortable, flattering wardrobe that I am quite happy with - if it weren't for one thing.
With the exception of the skirts, which were both hand-sewn by me some years ago, everything shown is store-bought. When it comes to the footwear and the jeans, I suppose I am okay with that (for now!). But the sweaters?? It has long felt like some awful little secret I am keeping from god-knows-whom, that my most frequently worn summer sweaters aren't handknit.
And the reason for that is actually quite silly. Until recently I was under the impression that fingering-weight sweaters were prohibitively labour intensive to knit. Mind you, I had not tried to knit them; I simply assumed this. Despite being a fast, experienced knitter, it just seemed best to leave 'those' kinds of sweaters to the machines.
It was only two years ago that I first tried to knit even a sportweight sweater - and only because my husband asked. I braced myself for months of torment, and was almost disappointed when it did not actually take very long. So afterward, I immediately knitted a sportweight dress, for a custom order, and that did not take long either. The fingering weight tops soon followed. Alas, none of them so far have been for me.
So I've decided, this is the summer when I set the situation right. As soon as I am finished with my projects for Woollinn, my focus is on my sweater situation. I reckon I need at least 3 fingering-weight sweaters, all in shades of gray with classic but varied necklines. I know it sounds kind of boring when I describe it that way, but to me the prospect of having these garments is truly exciting. I could then give away my current summer sweaters, thus replacing the last of my store-bought sweaters with handknits.
It was a few years ago now, that I replaced my winter sweaters with handknits. Then last year around this time, I had the unspoken goal to rid our house of store-bought socks. I expected this to be challenging. But it was actually an easier transition than I anticipated, and was achieved sooner than I thought possible. The realisation that both my husband and I now wear only handmade socks (even cycling!) was exhilarating. And I know that to achieve the same goal now with all-season sweaters will be equally fulfilling.
As someone who hopes to one day have a 100% hand-made wardrobe, I am learning that it takes patience, and persistence, and experience, and a one step at a time approach. So I will focus on the summer sweaters for now, and perhaps use this project to join the Fringe Association's Summer of Basics this year.
So... stay tuned, for a summer of gray stockinette... And I promise the yarn shall be interesting.