handmade wardrobe: #spring10x10

i first learned about the 10x10 wardrobe challenge a few months ago thanks to sew liberated's meg mcelwee's instagram feed. the basic concept is that for 10 days, you wear only 10 items of clothing (excluding underwear and socks, but including items like sweaters and bottoms). the goal is essentially to see how easily you can structure your life around a capsule wardrobe, and for many members of the making community, it's a chance to see whether your handmade items are enough to fill up a basic wardrobe. i decided to give the #spring10x10 a try.

i think some people get pretty intense about it, but for myself, i decided to be realistic and not include outerwear (it spanned the last week of march and the first week of april - any winnipegger will tell you we need at least 10 items for outerwear alone), tights, or accessories like scarves. in hindsight, i probably could have opted for one less top, done laundry a day earlier, and added an extra sweater into the mix (spoiler alert: i cheated and wore my juniper sweater, which comes out this friday on ravelry, because midway through the challenge mother nature decided to be an asshat and drop about 15 extra degrees with the windchill and drop some snow sideways into our faces). my ten items, which you can see below in rotation, were: zinnia skirt, bridgetown backless dress, two rtw (ready to wear) tanks, one pair of rtw pants, corbin sweater, third-hand pendleton button-up, strata top, a rtw crop top, and a cochineal-dyed dress made by a local designer who's no longer making clothes.

some thoughts that i have in general about the challenge:

  • i actually do have a pretty contained wardrobe for the most part, at least as far as regular items go. it's one day after the challenge and i'm wearing my cochineal-dyed dress and corbin cardigan, so 10x11 would have been ok in my books.
  • photographing myself every single day got a bit tiresome. that could also have been related to the fact that i'm back in burnout mode, of course.
  • i sort of enjoyed having my social media posts easily planned out for a week and a half, but i also struggled to get creative by midway through. i don't think taking daily photos of my outfits is a particularly sustainable social media strategy longterm, but maybe semi-frequently could be a little more fun.
  • having a minimalist wardrobe in a climate with extreme seasons is just about the most stupid idea in the whole world. you'd either be wasting a lot of water on frequent laundry loads or just freezing and/or boiling from your lack of layers. 
  • good layers are essential, and also help to change up the look of a smaller wardrobe. you don't need a new dress, you can just wear a different shawl and it's a whole new outfit!
  • participating is fun, but don't take yourself too seriously or you won't enjoy yourself. allow yourself the flexibility to adapt to real life. if you planned out 10 days of city outfits and suddenly you have to go help prep the in-laws' garden for the growing season, grab those mud-worthy clothes without a second thought!

so what do you think, would you participate in a future 10x10 challenge? 

if you're interested in building your own slow fashion wardrobe, join me and other like-minded folks for the slow fashion april kal

kal: slow fashion april

those of you who follow me on social media, or have taken a class with me/chatted with me at an event, likely know that i'm particularly passionate about slow fashion and curating a handmade wardrobe and participating in the fibreshed movement because those are all steps for me to engage with my politics in an emotionally sustainable way. textile production and fashion as an expression of identity intersect with all the things i care about most - gender presentation/equality/safety, environmental sustainability, labour rights, animal rights, the list goes on. it's also a topic that forces me to constantly acknowledge the complexities and overlaps of systemic oppression that impact our ability to make decisions, which by extension is a practice in extending kindness to others and to ourselves. we're all doing the best we can with the tools we've been given. 


april is my birth month, and i'm going to focus on creating less waste by stashbusting and controlling my purchases (including for fabric and yarn) all month long. i already know there will be some blips (i've got new bras coming from Willow Layne Lingerie), but in typical ash fashion, this is meant to be a gentle challenge that gets you/me/us thinking rather than something hard and fast and inflexible to the realities of life. 

if you'd like to play along with me, there will be incentives in the form of discount codes for my ravelry store! share your sunflower knit projects with me (ravelry projects with a start and end date please, or if you don't have ravelry,send me photos with time stamps), and tell me where you got your yarn. eligible wips must be started within march or april 2018, eligible finished projects can have been started whenever but must be finished by april 30, 2018 (and you must still have something to complete on it at this point, even if that's just blocking or seaming). if you're participating on social media, use #skslowfashionapril in your posts!

INCENTIVES (good for one pattern/e-book):

  • 1 stashbust project = 30% off
  • 1 yarn swap project = 30% off 
  • 1 reclaimed yarn project = 30% off 
  • 1 project using locally produced (fibreshed) yarn = 25% off 
  • 1 project using naturally dyed yarn = 25% off
  • 1 project using local yarn shop/locally dyed yarn = 20% off
  • 1 project using non-local indie-dyed yarn = 15% off

sign up here, and follow along with me on instagram and facebook for extra conversations about slow fashion, making an intentional handmade wardrobe, and stashbusting!

welcome to this space

hello and welcome to my little corner of the internet. my name is ash, and while you probably already know me if you're reading this, i'll tell you a bit about myself anyway. 

i'm a queer femme and fibre witch who lives in the canadian prairies on treaty one territory. most of my time is spent with either knitwear design or natural dyeing, and i teach both of these things (along with other stuff, all through the lens of selfcare) to people who want to learn how to create everyday magic with their hands. i write a weekly newsletter and post on instagram pretty much daily, so my blog posts will likely be less frequent in nature and heavier on detail. i'm planning on focusing my posts, at least at this point, on the following topics:

  • travelling shoes (aka my adventures)
  • non-knitting making
  • the curation and creation of my handmade wardrobe

i hope you enjoy these snapshots into my fibre-filled world! please give me a shout online if you have any thoughts you'd like to share.

xo ash