Although Barbara was the one who sat me down and explained the mechanics, I credit Trinknitty with prolonging my passion for knitting longer than was truly natural. She did this mainly via marvelously tolerant knitting groups during which I mainly watched and noshed while everyone else knitted and purled.

Trin sent me this lush image from the newly launched Twist Collective, and I figure it is eye candy for us all: Crafters note the intricate needlework on those handmade socks, Non-Crafters note the mouth-watering selection of Fluevogs.

Click to enlarge, for a better look at your candy of choice.

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Can’t Live Without It

I’m a list maker. I glean tremendous satisfaction from conceptualizing, writing, and completing lists of nearly all types.* At any given moment, I am likely to have at least one short-term and three long-term lists going. And although I adore them for the structure that they provide, they do occasionally get me in trouble.

One of my ongoing lists is the Ultimate Wish List. A Word doc on my home computer, this little number comprises a constantly morphing group of items that I would like to acquire at some point as part of my quest to assemble a complete and perfect wardrobe. (Oh yes, I’m well aware that this is a laughable goal. But it’s one many of us share, isn’t it?) Although I am generally able to work my way slowly through the list as my finances allow, staring it down week after week prompts the occasional imprudent purchase.

Additionally, the Ultimate Wish List never goes away because although I am it’s sole author, it is constantly being fed by outside sources. Seeing women with my body type wearing flattering pieces that I’ve never considered for myself. Learning about the thoughts, purchases, creations, and explorations of my amazing fellow style bloggers. And, of course, reading seasonal must-have lists generated by fashion mags. Items drop off the list as priorities change and trends shift, new items are added as they pop onto my radar. The list is in a constant state of editing.

I’ve been chipping away at the current iteration of the Ultimate Wish List a little quicker than might be considered prudent. And while this should feel exciting and rewarding, instead it feels a little like feeding the hole. I open my overstuffed closet to hang up an newly-acquired wishlist item, and feel … almost depressed. SO much STUFF. I love it all, but there sure is a lot of it.

I’m not sure that a giant purge and simplification of my wardrobe is pending. Knowing that I have options is extremely important to my sanity – in closet and in life. But I have been thinking about the lists. It’s in the best interests of a magazine to make its readers feel incomplete, and prompt them to shop. But there’s no reason I can’t turn that on it’s head. Maybe what I need to do to stem the spending is find a way to remain grateful for my current bounty.

Top Ten Already-owned Items I Can’t Live Without

Black cuffed widelegs

Brown leather strappy sandals

White American Apparel cap sleeve tee AND long brushed silver necklace
Raspberry leather booties

Khaki pencil skirt

Black leather knee-high boots

Dusty red three-quarter sleeved tee

Hot pink boat neck cashmere sweater

Black sweater tank

If the rest of my wardrobe evaporated tomorrow and I was left with these ten, I could totally make it. (OK, these ten plus some undies.) As you can see, I was able to forage photos of myself wearing most of these items. They are staples and favorites, and I feel awesome every time I put them on, which is quite frequently.

I’m going to put this list at the TOP of my Ultimate Wishlist. And every time I open that document to contemplate and edit the items I’m coveting, I’ll give my Top Ten a gander. Because assembling this list was a lot more challenging and fun than I’d expected. And perhaps a simultaneous reminder of the gorgeous, flattering, and beloved items I already have at my disposal will keep the desire to acquire in check. Hey, it’s worth a try, right?

What would be on YOUR list? Care to share?

Image courtesy Swiv.

*Husband Mike has two list making quirks that I love, but have somehow never adopted for myself. One is that he doesn’t make to-do lists, he makes ta da lists. Because when he’s done, then he can say “ta da!” He also makes sure that the very first item on his lists is always, “make list,” because that way, he can cross something off right away. You see why I love this man, don’t you?

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Weekend Fair Finds

First of all, just have to say that my parents LOVED Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Jungle. So it’s very likely that my parents are cooler than your parents. Additionally, since I shared their opinion of the performance, I highly, highly recommend this show to any Twin Cities readers who have the time, inclination, and $36. It was an amazing show in every way, and runs through the end of August.

Secondly, we managed to hit all three art fairs this weekend, and I’ve got the aching gams to prove it. I’m still unsure why Uptown, Powderhorn, and Loring think it wise to hold their fairs over the same three-day stretch, but they must have their reasons.

My parents bought me this adorable little bird sculpture from Iowa artisan Judith Whipple:

I’ve been in love with these whimsical little dudes since I first saw them at Three Rooms gallery in Edina, but could never justify the cost. Bless those ‘rents! This smiley little bird will make my workspace at the office so much cheerier.

I didn’t end up purchasing anything for myself, but here are a couple of my faves from the extensive browse-a-thon:

Just as my crap photo of little yeller birdie doesn’t do him justice, weaver Jill Hunter‘s website doesn’t even begin to convey the amazing craftsmanship you can see and feel when handling her scarves and wraps in person. She hand-dyes the fibers and weaves everything herself, which positively blows my mind. She had a large wrap in about 13 shades of green that was calling my name … hopefully it’ll still be around when the moolah finds me.

I fear that big wraps might be fall into the category of things I should wear later in life, but I remain drawn to them. Lush. Drapey. WARM!

Resin and acrylic artist Debra Adelson‘s prices were out of my range, but I loved every single piece she displayed. These colored cuffs, in particular, made me drool a bit. Such playful shapes and gorgeous colors.

As I was hemming and hawing about the bird sculpture, my dad pointed out that you have to be willing to pay for real artistry and craftsmanship, and that it’s always worth it to do so. And he’s completely right. It always feels better to buy an expensive item from an artisan than it does from a shop. And, if financially able, I am always delighted to do so.

But I’m in winter-prep mode – thinking about patterned tights and wool dresses and my lackluster cold-weather shoe wardrobe – and am loathe to shell out for items that seem frivolous right now. Which is why it was extra sweet of him to secretly double back and buy me my bird. And also why I collected a big stack of business cards. Someday soon, frivolous will be exactly what I want, and now I know how to find these talented folks again.

Do you have any favorite artisans whose wares you covet and/or own? I’m always eager to hear about where folks get their handmades. Etsy provideth, but not everyone has a shop!

P.S. Mom didn’t have time to finish those blouses yet, but as soon as they arrive, I’ll share.

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