Late autumn is a favorite season for knitters, with the dip in temperature necessitating more layers and more wool. Of course, where I live in San Francisco, we usually enjoy stretches of sunny days throughout the month of October. Even with the warm temperatures, it’s still a time to celebrate the harvest and shearing of sheep. The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival, or Rhinebeck as it is known to many, is just one of the fall fiber fairs, often full of animals, foliage, apple cider doughnuts, and the collective pleasure of being around people who understand your passion for yarn.
In addition to knitting sweaters and shawls, I also have a collection of garments made with sheep print fabric. What better thing to wear when visiting a farm? Sometimes, what looks like an abstract scatter of dots from a distance, turns out to be a flock of sheep complete with its own tiny herding dog.
sonya is wearing: Wainwright by Bristol Ivy in Jill Draper Makes Stuff Empire; 100 Acts of Sewing Tunic no. 1; and Simple Skirt.
Other times, the animal may occupy a more prominent position.
Neck Down Cardigan #9725 by Knitting Pure & Simple in Manos Classica; shirt (own pattern); skirt (own pattern); and Pants no. 2 (100 Acts of Sewing pattern coming soon).
Some might wonder, why sew garments with sheep on them? For me, as always, it’s a way of having fun with the clothes I wear. I grew up in the 1980s, a time period whose plastic homogeneity seemed a direct reaction to the funky creativity of the preceding decades. This was the birth of branding, with every teenager girl either wearing or wanting to wear the ubiquitous Esprit sweatshirt, acid wash jeans, Reeboks, and a scrunchy. While I never fully immersed myself in the punk and grunge scenes that followed, the pendulum swing to non-conformity came at just the right time.
Cria by Ysolda Teague knit in Abundant Yarn & Dyeworks Superwash Merino; dress (own pattern); and Pants no. 2 (100 acts of sewing pattern coming soon).
My playful attitude is partly a way of paying homage to other women, real and imaginary, who I consider wardrobe adventuresses. There’s Cyndi Lauper, whose debut album said it all (She’s So Unusual), the New York nonagenarian fashion icon Iris Apfel, or Miss Frizzle from the Magic School Bus series, known for coordinating her clothes with whatever subject she was teaching her class. Each offers lavishly extreme examples of dressing outside of trend. Their choices of clothing and accessories that delight are also the same ones that make people stare.
However, adulation can only go so far and doesn’t always lead to emulation. I won’t be dyeing my hair candy-colored hues any time soon.
Liz Christy by Kirsten Kapur in Starcroft Nash Island Tide; coat (own pattern), modified Dress no. 2; and modified Pants no. 1.
As much as I love the look, my neck cannot handle the weight of chunky jewelry and large multi-stranded beads. And yes, dear reader, I know every outfit need not didactically match the occasion.
Acer by Kirsten Kapur in Beaverslide Dry Goods 2-Ply Worsted Weight Merino; Shirt no. 1; modified Dress no. 1; and Pants no. 1.
Being in a creative profession and working from home with a terrier as the closest thing to a co-worker, what I wear doesn’t come under close scrutiny or need to adhere to a dress code. So it’s always a pleasure to see the ways in which people push the creative envelope within those constraints. Separating the goats from the sheep as it were.