I’ve said, before, that I think fashion should serve us, rather than the other way around. I think style should be something that we define for ourselves personally, shaped by our own needs and lifestyle. If something doesn’t work for you, don’t do it! If you love something, do it! Whether or not it “follows the rules”.

(I am so not the “what not to wear” lady.)

This Fashion Friday, I have some sweaters to share with you. But more importantly, they came from my own personal sense of style and I wanted to share a bit about that with you, too.

I grew up in Mid-Coast Maine, and spent nearly all of my childhood either exploring the woods, combing the beach for sand dollars, or scrambling around on a boat. There’s something very special about this place, and I never really appreciated it until I left. (Isn’t that always the way?)

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When I was ready to plan the first make. wear. love. retreat, I knew I wanted to share the small part of Maine where I come from with all of the retreat attendees. We chose the Sebasco Harbor Resort as our location, and I designed three special sweaters using some of my very favorite yarns.

These sweaters grew out of my own personal style, which was heavily influenced by the kinds of clothes I saw growing up. Clothing here can be stylish or not… but stylish or not, everything here is practical. Nothing too fussy, nothing too uncomfortable. You should be able to walk on the beach, or hike in the woods, or go out on a boat in it. We have a lot of sweaters, because it’s cold here for 9 months out of the year. (Some would say 12.)

Together, these three sweaters form The Sebasco Collection, which you can purchase for $15.00 from my Ravelry store. You can also purchase each design individually for $7.00.

Here’s my inspiration for each.

Birch Bark is the “fanciest” of the three sweaters, and is inspired by the fact that here, you can walk through the woods even “in town”. (Translation for those ‘from away’: “In town” is when you leave where you live, and go somewhere with a store.)

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It’s comfortable, functional, and pretty. The yarn (Woolen Rabbit Frolic, in color “Autumn Aster”) is the same: gorgeous color depth, but a nice solid hand that will wear well, and that takes to cabling beautifully.

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Cushman is my pick for those beach evenings in Maine, when the sun is setting in a riot of pink and you’re frantically racing for that last sand dollar.

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As Jackie can attest, I’ll run barefoot on the beach even in late September… but bare arms is a different story. Even in July, things can get a bit chilly and you need a layer!

I love how the gorgeous String Theory Blue Faced Sport works with the easy, unpretentious texture pattern of this cardigan. The yarn is a dream, and the cardigan is pure Maine. Classic, interesting, and clean all at the same time.

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Shore Ledges is special to me, because it’s what I dreamed up while remembering all of the sunny days I spent out in a boat on the water, as a kid. All of my mom’s many brothers and her father were fishermen, and I spent a lot of time on the water. I love being on the water, and miss it tremendously.

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It’s usually 5 – 10 degrees colder out there, and breezier. You want something to snuggle up in, something cozy and soft and warm. Between the long, slightly-belled sleeves, and the incredible fabric, this sweater is the next best thing to feeling the waves beneath your feet. (That fabric is thanks to the incredible Merino Silk DK from Indigodragonfly. The drape, the softness, the strength, and the color are exquisite.)

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I was so thrilled by the reception to these sweaters at the retreat. The samples got lots of love, and I can’t wait to see my own little stamp of Maine out in the sweater wild.

I tried something different with this pattern release, as well. Since CustomFit is almost out in the wild, I decided to include a “CustomFit recipe” in each of the patterns. These instructions will give you your own version of these three sweaters, but in your size, gauge, and yarn. (With no math!)

I miss living in Maine, and come back here every chance I get. I’ve been wearing the sweaters at home, though, and they give me a wonderful reminder of the place I love most.