[Transcript] What Does It Mean to Create Mindfully?
Hi! I’m Mindy of Henlia Handmade where I naturally dye U.S. farm yarn for eco-conscious knitters and crocheters.
I was watching an episode of a knitting vlogger that YouTube recommended to me the other day (sometimes those recommendations work out really well!). I’d never heard of her, but she’s an established knitwear designer. Her name is Jessica McDonald of Jessica Knits and I watched her episode titled Episode 15 – My Annual Sweater Audit. (I’ll link it in the description bar below.) In it, she documented her annual process of going through her sweaters and assessing wear and tear, but also which ones she wore a lot–or not much at all. And she talked about what she had wished she had more of in terms of handknit garments and then her plans to fill those gaps this fall and winter. It’s an interesting episode and I’d encourage you to give it a watch if it sounds interesting at all.
Anyway, as I was watching the episode, it occurred to me that Jessica recorded an entire episode about my business’s slogan which is “Create Mindfully”. And you know what? Although it’s on my website and is included on almost anywhere my logo is present, I can’t remember ever talking about it publicly! I feel like this is a major face-palm moment for me as the owner of my company.
So, let’s start talking about it now because there’s no time like the present.
Mindfulness has been a bit of a buzzword these past few years, so I want to begin by giving it a definition:
According to mindful.org, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
I really like this definition because I think we can easily relate it to our knitting and other creative practices–we can make the effort to be purposeful in our makes and not necessarily just cast-on the next latest and greatest pattern…IF, it’s not going to, for example, fit in with other clothes in our closets.
So, to me, mindfully creating, mindfully knitting means making projects that fill a need or desire and not purposefully making in excess…or at least not being wasteful about it–AND ALSO careful about the materials chosen. For me, that means choosing natural fibers and dyes–of the earth and eventually back to the earth. For someone else, though, it might mean choosing that acrylic yarn because they know they want a machine-washable garment that they’ll actually wear and not just sit in a drawer because they know they won’t ever handwash anything.
Now, I want to hop back to something I just mentioned about not making in excess…I do want to point out that I’m NOT suggesting to not knit something just because it doesn’t match anything else in our wardrobe. It’s a fantastic practice to try things out of our comfort zone on occasion. Because sometimes those things turn out to be our absolute favorites. And I’m not saying not to cast-on purely for the joy of casting-on because I’m a HUGE proponent of using knitting as therapy. I’ve even written a blog post about it (I’ll drop the link in the description box below for you).
Fortunately, though, there are ways we can use our knits that don’t always require them to sit around our homes unused. Because we don’t always just knit for ourselves, do we? There are many ways to share our need to cast-on popular projects by making these for family, friends, or charities. I suppose my point is, that anything you make can be part of a mindfulness practice…especially if it does more than just sit at the bottom of our handmade knits drawer.
But I’m not here to lecture or try to make you feel guilty about those projects. I’m convinced every knitter has at least a few things that just sit around (but maybe it’s time to take a look at those projects and breathe new life into them by using the yarn to create something you WILL use, or by passing them along to someone who might be able to use them). Or, if it’s a project that has special meaning to you, for example, like the beaded wrap I made for my wedding and have only worn the one time, maybe there’s a way I can incorporate it into my home’s decor so that I can lovingly appreciate it on a regular basis.
So, in the spirit of all that, I want to give you a real-life example–my life!–of how I’m creating mindfully these days.
I mentioned in a recent newsletter I sent out that I created a croquis with my body measurements at mybodymodel.com (I’ll post the link for my newsletter and mybodymodel in the show description for you). It’s something that I’ve wanted to do for awhile, but never really knew how to get started. And, specifically, what I’m meaning here is that I’ve wanted to sketch out makes or potential makes for a capsule-type wardrobe so I could see it all together. I could, of course, sketch up the specific patterns on a generic croquis, but what I really wanted was a way to see how those patterns would look on MY body. Mybodymodel is such a great idea because now I can do exactly that! I’m not an affiliate or anything, I just love what they have to offer us as makers.
Before I get ahead of myself, though, let me show you what I’m talking about. So these are some sketches I’ve been working on. And these little body forms were designed to reflect my body with my specific measurements and proportions.
A month or two ago when I started thinking about my fall makes, I began collecting some images that I thought I’d love to make and wear and–since we’re talking about creating mindfully–my goal with every season is to make clothes and accessories that I can mix and match and create something of a capsule wardrobe with.
It’s taken me SO long to actually begin putting this into practice though…the needs of babies limit my time, I’ll admit I’ve been waiting to get something that resembles my pre-baby body back, and then, of course, I started a very time-consuming business which hasn’t left me much time for purposefully making and sticking to a wardrobe-making plan.
Something pushed me to sew a new dress this summer. I mentioned this in my last vlog. It’s this dress that I’m wearing actually. This is the Hinterland Dress by Sew Liberated (I’ll link it in the show notes). And it inspired me to remember all my old plans to create a very purposeful collection of clothes.
I’m just getting started on this, so I definitely don’t have it all figured out yet. And this was also meant to be for fall, so I should have begun working months ago! Luckily, our seasons blend together enough that I feel like I can make more of a fall to winter to spring capsule-ish wardrobe. And then tackle summer at some point at a later date.
So, anyway, like I said, I’m still working on this, but I wanted to show you anyway. Oh, and I meant to mention that my plan with this is to sew some things and knit some things and eventually, I’d love to include the accessories I want to make too. But, for now, I’m trying to begin with the basic clothing elements to cover my body.
So, here’s what I’ve been playing with so far. I wish there was an all-in-one pattern resource that would make finding the patterns easier–and if anyone knows of one, please do share in the comments! I’d love a great resource–And I should also mention that I like to support other fellow indie-business owners whenever I can, so, while I’m not opposed to purchasing patterns from big companies, I just prefer to support micro-businesses with a special emphasis on woman- and BIPOC-owned.
Oh, and one more thing before I show you, I feel like I should mention something that’s obvious to me, but wouldn’t probably be to you. I’m not much of a consumer. I don’t purchase clothes very often–and almost always it’s to fill a need in my wardrobe. But I’ve struggled a lot in finding my way around clothes since having babies. Mainly because it just wasn’t a priority while muddling through those baby years. But also because my body is so different from what it was prior…and, I kept waiting for the extra squish to just sort of fall off. Anyway, while I’ve always viewed my c-section scar as a badge of honor (it meant I successfully carried my second baby full-term…another story for another day perhaps), the reality is that I’ve be working a lot on accepting and loving all of me, the way I am right now in this moment.
Okay, so I kinda veered off there a bit, but it’s important to note that my closet is very slim and I’ve been desperately needing to build an intentional wardrobe that I love and feel good about myself wearing.
So let me finally show you my collection of knitting and sewing patterns I’d like to take on in these next few months.
The idea here was to — and I stole this concept from mybodymodel, although it’s not anything new– choose 3 tops, 3 bottoms, and 3 layering pieces.
This is the Hinterland Dress which I’ve already made. This next picture is of the Fern & Feather sweater I’m working on. Oh! Let me show you that real quick.
I’ve just begun the bottom ribbing. Like, just this first row, but I’ve cropped it some to make it a good layering piece for dresses and a pair of higher-waisted pants I have. It’s worsted weight, so I’ve used my Broken Top yarn in Oh, What A Night! and Clouds. I’m really loving how it’s turning out. And it’s going so quickly compared with my fingering weight Weekender Light I just finished after working on for 6 months!
So, I’d also like a lighter weight cropped layer to wear over dresses too.
So, I’d like to knit Andrea Mowry’s Vellichor. I love how comfortable and easy this looks to wear. I’m really looking forward to making it.
Okay, let’s move on to this next row. This is another pattern by Andrea Mowry. It’s called Spark and it’s a worsted weight cardigan. There are a couple of reasons I have this one on my list of makes: First, my wardrobe is in dire need of cardigans. I have three commercially made ones that I have in contrast rotation, but I only really like one of them– and it’s a really light layer, so it’s not something I reach for once it gets cold. I’ve been wanting to knit a cardigan for years! And I did actually almost finish one years ago, but then I got pregnant. And even though it’s a cardigan, there’s really no hope of it fitting. The second reason this pattern made the cut was because it involves a knitting skill I’ve never tried: steeking. Steeking, if you aren’t familiar with the term, requires you to cut your finished project. Sounds scary, right?! But steeking makes it possible to knit colorwork (or anything, really) in the round. Then, you reinforce around the edges of where you’re going to cut. Then, carefully, methodically cut up the center front (in this case) and then finish the band around the front and collar. I’ve been wanting to try this knitting technique because I think it will open a lot of cardigan doors for me in the future…if it goes well…Anyway, cool knitting trick to master and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
This is a sewing pattern. Obviously a skirt. It’s called Vientienne (not sure if I’m pronouncing that correctly). It’s a pretty basic a-line skirt, but the extra flounce at the bottom gives it a little something extra that I’m excited to try. I think I’ll really like it. I’ll likely make this in linen and think it’ll become a workhorse for me.
This is the Aida Top by Sew Liberated. I love v-neck tops and this one has such cute detailing right here just above the armpits. I can see myself making this in a linen too and wearing it all the time! I can also see how I could wear all three of these together which is exciting.
This is another top by Sew Liberated. It’s called The Matcha Top. I love the loose, flowy look of it and it’ll be a great option for the pants and jeans days. It has a really cute notched collar too. I don’t normally like wearing blouses, but this one looks intentionally loose enough that I think I’d like wearing it. I hate having my arm movements restricted in any sort of way. I’m not one to reach for a chambray shirt or anything because I always feel like they’re too tight around my upper back, if I want them to look flattering in the front. Anyway, this looks just perfectly me.
This is the last knitting pattern I’m going to show you today. It’s the Felix Cardigan by Amy Christoffers. I think it’s a couple of years old now, but it looks like such a perfect little cardigan to have to throw on over just about everything. Made up in worsted weight, I think it’ll come together quickly for me. Love this purply color Amy has it knit up in. I’ll probably use a blue though.
Okay, and my final pattern for my set of nine makes here, is a pattern I’ve had for years because I’d intended to make it with a breastfeeding hack back when I had nurslings. The pattern was designed by Made-By-Rae and it’s been renamed since I purchased it as the Washi Dress. It’s now called the Trillium Dress and what I love about it most is that it has an elasticized back. It’s shirring, actually, but that beautiful design feature will make (hopefully) for a very comfortable dress, while also allowing for a nice shape from the front. Like I mentioned, it’s one I’ve wanted to make for a long time and am excited to finally give it a try.
So, if I plan the fabrics and yarn well, I’m hoping to be able to mix-and-match these pieces really well and have lots of easy and fun to wear outfits and finally breathe some life into my wardrobe!
So, yes, the next step is choosing all my yarns and fabrics. More fun stuff!
Oh, and just for fun, I’ll give you a quick look at this other set of 9 patterns I put together.
I’m not going to go through this sheet one-by-one, but I just wanted to show you that part of creating mindfully is also having fun and dreaming! This sheet includes more patterns that I’ve had on my to-make list (some, for years!), but these aren’t the high priority items for me right now, but it sure is fun to dream and play!
So that’s everything I have to share with you today. I hope you enjoyed this peek behind how I create mindfully. I’m going to try to include a transcript of this episode on my website. Hopefully. We’ll see how that goes, but it’ll be up on my site if all goes well.
Anyway, thank you for watching. I’ll have all the links for you in the description bar below. If you enjoyed watching today, I’d appreciate you hitting that “Like” button and if you’d like to subscribe to my channel, I’d be honored if you tap the “Subscribe” button and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be notified when I post new videos and tutorials.
Feel free to leave comments below. I love chatting with you! And I’d love to hear how you create mindfully!
Thanks so much for watching! Bye for now!
Here are all those links for you to check out =)
- Jessica Knits – Episode 15: My Annual Sweater Audit– https://youtu.be/Iink-YQu8c0
- Knitting As Therapy – Blog Post — https://henliahandmade.com/why-do-you-knit/
- Henlia Handmade newsletter — bit.ly/fiberfriends
- My Body Model — https://mybodymodel.com
- Hinterland Dress — https://sewliberated.com/products/hinterland-dress-pdf-sewing-pattern
- Fern & Feather Sweater by Jessica Steingass – https://www.ravelry.com/projects/henliahandmade/fern–feather
- Henlia Handmade on Broken Top – https://henliahandmade.com/product/oh-what-a-night-hand-dyed-yarn/
- Weekender Light by Andrea Mowry – https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-weekender-light
- Vellichor by Andrea Mowry – https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/vellichor
- Spark by Andrea Mowry – https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/spark-5
- Vientiane by Itch To Stitch – https://itch-to-stitch.com/product/vientiane-skirt-digital-sewing-pattern-pdf/
- Aida Top by Sew Liberated – https://sewliberated.com/products/aida
- The Matcha Top by Sew Liberated – https://sewliberated.com/products/the-matcha-top-sewing-pattern
- Felix Cardigan by Amy Christoffers – https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/felix-cardigan
- Trillium Dress by Made-By-Rae – https://shop.made-by-rae.com/collections/womens-patterns/products/trillium