Elsewhere: Slow Fashion October edition 1

Elsewhere: Slow Fashion October edition 1

Before we dive into this week’s links, I want to note that it was five years ago today, while we were visiting Nashville from Berkeley, that my friend Meg Strong cast on a hat, handed me the needles, and began to walk me through it, step by step. (A few mornings later, she and her mother, my friend Jo, taught me to purl — and then Jo did a little drill sergeant routine while we ate lunch that I credit for my never having had a problem with yarnovers in my work.) I could never have imagined the ways in which that small act could change my entire life, but here I am five years hence, spending my days — and nights! — engaged with this incredible community in so many ways. I recently wrote an essay for the BigCartel blog (that happened to post this week) about how your support of Fringe Supply Co. makes it possible for me to put food on my table, but that it’s the community that enriches my life. Corny maybe, but 100% true. I’ve never liked my life more than I do right now, and I owe it all to Meg and to Jo and to you. I can never say thank-you enough.

And also, before I forget once I dive in here, we’ve got two new pattern books in the shop this week: Within by Jane Richmond and Shannon Cook, and the first of the new Mason-Dixon Field Guides, Stripes, from Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner. And yes, we have Field Bags today!

. . . . .

SO! Slow Fashion October is off to an exceptional start. It pains me that there’s more conversation on the #slowfashionoctober feed than I can possibly keep up with, and also thrills me that you don’t really need me! You guys are knocking it out of the park, bringing up so many important points of discussion all over the spectrum. If you want  to get a sense of the remarks but can’t take it all in, I recommend these three tactics:

1) Read the comments on the Master Plan blog post, the kickoff post, and/or my blog post from Monday.

2) Check out my posts and the corresponding comments on the @slowfashionoctober account, where I’m highlighting a couple of things per day.

3) Read whatever is under Top Posts on the #slowfashionoctober feed at any given moment in time, along with the comments on those posts.


That’s already a lot to take in, so I’m keeping this to two SFO-ish links today, both relating to natural indigo, synthetic indigo and our jeans:

River Blue — a film about the destruction of rivers around the globe (and the people who depend on them) by the fashion industry, and specifically the blue-jeans industry. It’s not clear where/when we might be able to watch the full film, but the trailer is quite compelling (via @catherineruddell)

Tobacco farmers see green in indigo — a creative a effort to boost natural indigo farming, for the benefit of the farmers and our jeans  (thx, Bristol)

Plus an article that is simply one of the best pieces of writing I’ve come across in a long time, by novelist Michael Chabon:

My son, the prince of fashion

Thanks for being such amazing company this week, everyone — see you on the hashtag!

NOTE: The images above coincide with posts I’ve regrammed this week; click through for the originals — top left, top right, middle left, middle right, bottom left, bottom right.


PREVIOUSLY in Slow Fashion October: My Slotober project for 2016

29 thoughts on “Elsewhere: Slow Fashion October edition 1

  1. Thank you, Karen, for being the very first retailer to carry our Field Guide. We’d tape you to our cash register if we could. Means so much to us all!

  2. It is a lot to keep up with! I try to browse the most recent slow fashion October posts, not just the most popular ones, because I appreciate hearing the perspective of people who aren’t as well-known on Instagram and who, compared to the most popular posts, more often don’t make a living in the fashion/knitting/sewing field.

    I’m off to read your big cartel post. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how your actions play a huge role in the ongoing existence of the online knitting community. Thank you for doing so much to bring us together.

  3. I do not have a blog but even as a chairside voyeur I feel the whole “community” via internet vibes. Amazing how so many people can be so supporitve of one another and so talented with a ball of yarn and two sticks. Thank you Karen for channeling this love. Who knows what triggers us to learn or relearn knitting at age 58 but I am glad I did.

  4. Just read your BigCartel article, not corny at all! I am also curious what your friend’s “drill sergeant routine” was to help you not have any mistake YOs :)

    • We were eating lunch, no yarn or needles in my hands, and she was quizzing me like this: “You’re knitting, where’s your yarn?” In back. “You’re purling, where’s you yarn?” In front. Over and over! Hahaha, love her. And she told me how to know which way I was going if I got interrupted in the middle of a row. So I never once picked up my work and went the wrong direction. Those little drills that day made an enormous difference — I didn’t even realize yarnovers in beginner work were a thing until I started seeing it in other people’s awhile later.

  5. I just listened to your podcast with Squam and wanted to thank you for being so candid about your path, the struggles along the way and how you have shaped your life into something that is meaningful for you. I’ve been self-employed for most of my adult life and it’s been a tough road financially, but extremely rewarding in terms of community and having ownership over what I do.

    One thing that is interesting to me is that I recently guest posted on another blog and was told that my initial submission was way too long and that I had to condense what I wanted to say down to 1/3 of the content because that blogger said that people don’t read anymore. Your blog contradicts that. I think people are tired of pat posts that don’t have much meat in them and your posts are an example of how thoughtful content inspires conversation and action. It’s wonderful to see how many people comment and contribute here. It is overwhelming to try to keep up with all of it, but for those who are serious about how they are living or about their knitting, the community you have created is an invaluable resource.

    Thank you so much for all of your hard work!

    Those who have not heard this podcast yet will certainly enjoy it:


    • Thank you; I’m glad you liked it. I wrote a followup post here to finish the thoughts I didn’t manage to finish on that phone call: https://fringeassociation.com/2016/03/18/on-a-more-personal-note/

      I don’t know how many people read to the end of my longer posts, but I like to do each subject justice, whatever length that may be, and if people read part or all of it, so be it. But I don’t believe in giving short shrift to ideas/subject or readers’ attention spans.

  6. Thank you so much for linking to that Michael Chabon piece. Absolutely amazing writing and, as the mother of a 10 year old son, so essential to think deeply about the importance of giving them the space and time to find their “people”, whatever that means for them.

  7. Pingback: Slow Fashion October 2016 (master plan) | Fringe Association

  8. Loved your article on BigCartel. I love reading your blog. You provide so much good information on it. I look forward to reading it everyday. Thank you for putting the time and effort that you do into it.

  9. Thanks for the introduction to the Chabon piece. *Tears* and I’m excited to be involved with SFO. Not on the #gram but will play via my blog. Great opening questions, it was very interesting to think back over my journey.

  10. Chabon’s article about his son is beautiful: achingly beautiful in its empathy and love. This is a much needed antidote to everything that is happening in our country right now. Thanks, Karen, for infusing positivity and art into the world the way you do.

    (Read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, too, if you liked this article.)

  11. Have you read about the exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum? Titled Scraps: Fashion, Textiles, and Creative Reuse, it’s on view through April 16, 2017. It fits with a lot of the themes in Slow Fashion October, and there have been some interesting posts in a exhibition-related blog. Here’s the link to the exhibit [http://www.cooperhewitt.org/channel/scraps/] and another to an interesting blog post [http://www.cooperhewitt.org/2016/10/04/reduce-reuse-recycle/].

  12. Last night I started Kate Fletcher’s new book Craft of Use, and I’m excited, amazed, emboldened, and more. I cannot recommend this highly enough (despite the fact that it’s not cheap, even with a discount for being a professor). Get your library to carry it; read it and be inspired.

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