Handknit



I'm going to regret putting these pictures up, but here's the sharp shoulder sweater Alisa knitted. My mom, who has always been ahead of her time, asked for one like this as a teenager. It's heavier than expected, a warm, soft mix of sustainably sourced, undyed merino wool and alpaca. I don't do casual well- I'm bad at styling, and the separates I find in stores don't excite me. Next year I'll work on my off-duty wardrobe, which I want to try and make as much as possible.

My first project will be mittens, a scarf, and a hat, if Paris ever gets cold enough to wear them. I'm fed up with machine knits at the moment. After pricing natural wools around the 13ème and Anvers (too bad we can't get recycled Reunion Yarn here), it seems best to unravel an old sweater à la A Wool Story. I used to sew simple dresses and things; they didn't look nice, but I hope I can improve in time for summer. 

Maybe the secret to finding satisfactory pullovers and other "basics" is to look for statement pieces. My definition is probably different from most people's, but anything with interesting and well-crafted details, however subtle, is intriguing- like the structure and pleated sleeves of this sweater, or the stitched cuffs on a good pair of jeans. Lately, I find myself drawn to progressively more outrageous shapes and designs. I want things that aren't easily placed, things unidentifiable.

Anyway, I know I said to save on knitwear in this post. This was worth it to me, because I know where it comes from, from the sheep to the spinners to the woman who spent hours painstakingly casting and counting each intricate row. Nobody subsidized the cost of this garment with their lives, their health, or their environment. This isn't to say everybody has to go back to handmade. Realistically, clothing is low on many people's priority list. But secondhand, even my beloved The Real Real, wasn't working for me, so I wanted to try supporting a talented ethical designer- and ended up getting something I truly love! Other knitwear I'm fascinated with:


In other words, nothing you didn't know already. I'm so basic! If you're not familiar with the last brand, their work reminds me of the textile sculptor Tadek Beutlich’s creations. You can find handmade I Love Mr. Mittens ready-to-wear at Gang of Earlybirds in Paris.

Paris to Go

23 comments:

  1. why regret, the sweater looks beautiful on you

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    1. Thank you :) I love your style and taste in clothes so this means a lot!

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  2. Hi Ariana. The sweater is lovely, unique, and fits you beautifully (as-apparently-do all of your clothes-you always look beautiful in your pictures-even the one where you said you were falling over-giggle). Anyway, thank you for sharing and cheers on finding sustainable clothing that is so you!

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    1. Thank you Kat, you are too sweet! Haha yea I definitely landed flat on my back after that one, haha

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  3. What a beautiful, and yes unique, sweater. And speaking of handknit, this brings back memories of my cousin's wife. Years ago she worked as a nurse but also found time to raise sheep on the small farm in Ohio where she lived. And she not only raised the sheep, she also hand-spun their wool into yarn, and then hand knit sweaters from the yarn. (And she also sewed and gardened and gave birth to her children at home.)

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    1. Hi Kris! That is awesome. I am jealous of people with lives like that sometimes... it sounds so peaceful and pastoral, even though I know it must have been a ton of hard work. I know only three people who spin their own yarn (one has even collected hair from the fence at a zoo and turned it into yarn... another spins her own cruelty free silk from worms that eventually turn into giant moths!). I want to learn!

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  4. that looks so comfy! My mom used to knit all kinds of stuff for me <3 They last for years <3

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    1. Do you knit Carolina? Teach me! That is good to hear, I hope this lasts forever

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  5. When I saw the shoulders the first thing I thought was Balmain. It looks amazing on you!

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    1. Thank you Cassie! Ahh that's where I saw shoulders like that. I couldn't place them. I like how it feels like armor :)

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  6. That color looks really good on you.

    I applaud your approach on trying to make everything yourself - cleaners, skincare, clothes.

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    1. We'll see how it goes... I don't have your engineer's talent at making things! I'm hoping I'm better at following a pattern now than in the past.

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  7. It is very gorgeous! Those sharp shoulders are divine. You are lucky you can pull that off, I would look like a football player, as I am always trying to play down my square shoulders.

    Love the story behind it though, quite cool.

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    1. Thank you so much Andrea. I never noticed square shoulders in your pictures! You always look great! I do think I look like a linebacker somewhat but I don't mind :)

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  8. I have been thinking of consigning and donating several things to get 1 perfect sweater and this is really tempting me! Ariana, do you mind saying your height? Just to see what the readymade 'small' means for this item?

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    1. Hi! I'm 5'3. The measurements of the sweater is chest 80cm-90cm, waist 60cm-72cm, length 62 cm.

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  9. hey! thanks for the mention. Good luck with your sweater unraveling :)

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  10. To learn to knit, try Lil Weasel in the Passage du grand cerf, a beautiful wool shop...

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    1. Thank you so much! I've been looking for a really good wool shop (only know Drops Design in the 14ème) so that's perfect. I'm always by there too. Thank you!

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  11. That's a beautiful sweater, and fits you perfectly! The sleeve detail is wonderful, and I can see it pairing with your black skirt really well. So so so good!

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    1. I was going to add--I knit, but would get tired of making a project like this myself, so well worth paying someone to do it! My problem is that I really wear things that are solid and simple patterns, but if I am knitting, it's more fun to do something with an interesting pattern or color scheme. However, I'm less likely to actually wear those, so...

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  12. May I suggest Grana.com as a very conservative but reliable backup? Their clothing is very basic (they seek to fulfil the basics market, but with a slightly happier and less pretentious vibe than Everlane). However, they are incredibly casual in style, which may or may not work with you currently. It's fairly easy to formalise their wear though, and their range is expanding by the months (having only started last year). Their Mongolian cashmere jumpers are to die for (I have two - go for the crew neck for more structure and formality, though) and I bet they would be able to tell you the exact places and farms they go to in order to source their material if you asked. I have absolutely no doubt of Grana's ethical standing. They contain 100% natural fibre - silk, linen, cashmere, twill cotton etc at incredibly disruptive prices. I couldn't recommend them better. I have a discount deal if you're interested ($15 off first purchase) so let me know and I can send you the link. And no, I swear this comment is not in association with Grana, they're just that good :)

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    1. Thank you so much! I read about them on your blog and had a look before. Actually everyone seems to say the same things as you about their quality and materials. I may take you up on that offer after they expand their range, or if my experiments in handmade fail, I haven't found what I'm looking for quite yet. But the prices and styles look really good.

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