Tag Archives: fashion

wanabelle100: The Story Behind my online ID

A couple of weeks ago, I found an interview on MarlyBird’s podcast with Sarah Wilson, aka The Sexy Knitter. Sarah is one of the co-moderators I work with on the Designer forum on Ravelry.

Sarah’s interview was heavy on the topic of how she came to be The Sexy Knitter and women’s body issues in general.

As you probably know already, I have a lot to say about women’s sizes in America. (and I know, my opinion is not always the “popular” one.)

I had to work very hard to feel ok with my size (note that I used “ok” as oppoased to “accept” or “good”).

Sarah’s interview gave me the courage to share my story on why my online alias has always been “wanabelle100,” and how it came to be.

About 10 years ago, I was away from home for college. I have always been very conscious about my size and dieting, thanks to starting ballet at a very young age. My first weightloss diet was when I was 7 because my dance teacher said that I was too big for my age. I grew up thinking that I was fat, and that I had to constantly diet, unless I hit that certain number on the scale. I was good in school, but the best compliment for me was my relatives commenting on how much weight I lost.

So when I was in college, I felt like I had the control over my dieting. And I went crazy with it.

For 2.5 years that I was in college, I constantly starved myself and tried numerous diet pills. I joined the largest pro-Ana websites at the time (now defunct) and needed a completely new online identity to hide behind. I couldn’t chance my family and friends find out about what I was doing.

So I came up with wanabelle100 = wanna be belle (pretty) 100. The number 100 represented 100% and 100 lbs, which to me at the time was the perfect number for me. This concept of becoming “perfect” was important to me. I felt really good working towards a goal, and felt almost superior that I was managing to do this while people around me “failed.”

I think those 2.5 years were the PEAK of my dangerous dieting. When I graduated and moved back home, I couldn’t do that much anymore because 1) my mom cooked for me and 2) I hit the rock bottom and was really sick. I slowly began to think that maybe there was something wrong with my way of thinking about my body and that I wanted to change. I finally felt that maybe I didn’t have the complete control over my dieting… Instead, the dieting took control over ME.

The journey wasn’t easy. Changing my way of thinking was that hardest and the longest part of the journey. Several times in the past 10 years, I have gone back to my old dangerous habits, and each time regretted it and each time got harder.

And why did I keep my alias? I’m not sure… I think a part of me has always thought that the wanabelle100 side of me was the superior side–someone who is in complete control and disciplined. Another part of me missed the old days when I felt like I was in control. The rest of me wanted to keep reminding myself of my past. There are still many pro-Ana websites and I’m still involved. I’m happy to say that I haven’t gone back to my dangerous habits in the past 2 years. It is a constant battle, and every “clean” year is an accomplishment.

But I feel that this year, my last year as a 20-something, is a good time to put an end to my past, and move onto the new chapter of my life. It has been a life-changing 10 years, I have learned a lot, but I also don’t want to dwell on my past too long and get stuck.

I am slowly making changes to my online identities. For example, I have changed my blog’s name to JDKnitter few years ago. Few weeks ago, I changed my Ravelry ID from wanabelle100 to JeanChungDesigns. My twitter handle is still wanabelle100 but I’m moving on to my new business venture, Candy+Bagel and created a new handle @candybagel on Twitter, and @candyandbagel on Instagram.

I’m making amends and becoming more and more comfortable forgiving my past and letting go of my anger and shame.

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Candy + Bagel is now live!

Candy + Bagel is now live!

02/17/2014

After months of planning, Candy + Bagel is now live! 

I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing, or whether this was a good idea, but I just know that if I don’t do this now, I’ll regret it forever!

When I turned 29 last November, my resolution was to thoroughly enjoy my last year as a 20-something.

One of the things I wanted to do in my 20s was to own my own business, and share my passion with other people who have been so supportive. 

Handknitting/hand spinning may seem antiquated and almost insane in the 21st century, but like all good things in life, I believe thoughtfully-made clothes and accessories never go out of fashion. If you have ever tried on clothes someone else made by hand, just for you, you know that special feeling. Like you have been wrapped into a warm hug. 

That’s the feeling I want to capture in everything I make for Candy & Bagel shop. That love I feel when I hold Candy and Bagel in my arms, and the warmth and pride I feel when I put on my handmade clothing. I hope my customers will share that special feeling with me.

None of the Candy & Bagel products is made with materials made in China. Fibers are finest materials from Peru, Uruguay,Turkey and USA. 

 

NEW: Snowflake Shawl

 

 

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As promised yesterday, I just released this new shawl/cape pattern on Ravelry and Craftsy.

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Last year, I really wanted to design a cool cape design that still embodies the inspiration I got from Downton Abbey. Plus, California was uncharacteristically cold and wet; perhaps I was up earlier than most people going to work at 3 am.

I sketched and drafted this pattern on the metrolink, while commuting to work. I knitted a prototype/test sample in aran weight yarn but was not happy with the yarn choice or the finished product. I knew I wanted the general design to be still feminine and romantic but wanted the fabric to be slightly more dense and heavier.

Up close and personal:

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C’mon. I know that you have this yarn somewhere in your stash!

It’s none other than Bernat Natural Alpaca Blend in Natural. I know, an acrylic blend? I knew that if I wore this outside, I would get it dirty somehow. I also wanted it to be easily washed in the washing machine. Then I added a laceweight mohair/acrylic blend yarn from Universal Yarns, and held the two yarns together for this marled effect.

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I also re-did the collar 3 times in the first prototype to get it right. At first, I wanted it to be asymmetric and with a button closure. It didn’t fit right.

So I frogged and did it in 1×1 rib but it didn’t look right either. It was kind of soft and drapey, which didn’t look right with the look I was going for in my head.

I made the collar in double thickness, so that it will stand right and hold the overall heavy/dense look.

Now, I didn’t really know what to call this. I had a choice between a CAPE and a Shawl, and went with a Shawl since I wanted it to be something you just grab and throw on for a quick walk with your doggies or a lunch date. SHAWL with a COLLAR. =)

So there you go people. I published this pattern on Ravelry as well as Craftsy.

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Craftsy, take me to Snowflake Shawl page.

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Ravelry, take me to Snowflake Shawl page.

TNNA brief

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TNNA’s very first show in 2014 was in sunny San Diego. The Convention Center is located in the Historic Gaslamp District and it was a really good getaway weekend, full of knitting and chatting and shopping. Not much sleeping though.
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I hung out mostly at the Crafty Diversions booth.

Crafty Diversions Booth

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Anne was one of the designers I enjoyed working with as a sample knitter while I was in law school. A couple of her earlier works even has my pictures wearing her designs as I modeled for her too, as we live pretty close to each other in Orange County.

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When I first got there, the artist was still working on it, and I had no idea this was what she was doing. On Day 2 of the show, I finally saw the finished product and was blown away!

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This place, Lion Coffee, is a bit farther away from the Convention Center and Gaslamp District, but it was so worth it. I had to be up early for my 8 o’clock class and I didn’t know any coffee places that were open in the area. I Yelp’ed and this place came up. I got a large caramel macchiato, and an Acai Bowl, which is a delicious combination of strawberries, banana, granola, and blended frozen acai, finished with honey drizzeled all over. YUMMY~

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Shot during my Sunday morning class, “Joy of Finishing.” I was the only designer, the rest of the class were shop owners. I was a little bit disappointed as I didn’t really get to learn anything truly new. There were some tips I picked up, but the techniques themselves weren’t new to me.

By the way, the weather was really weird! You’d think: Hey, Sunny ACalifornia. But this was shot Sunday morning. It was cold and foggy.

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At least it cleared up the next day.
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I stayed at Omni Hotel and they brought me a glass of OJ and apple every morning!

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My room. I kind of really liked the room, and felt a little bit sad leaving it on Monday.

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I don’t have that many shots of the exhibit hall as this was my 3rd TNNA show and was more interested in talking to people than taking pictures of it :P

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So while hanging out with Anne in her booth, I learned to STEEK. I’ve always wanted to try it, and had seen a lot of tutorials on it but never really tried it in real life. Anne kindly took the time to explain the easiest way to do it and that’s the end result. Will I use it in my next design…??? PERHAPS.

Day 2 was very long. After the show, Anne, Stephanie (of Sunset Cat Designs), Pam (of Pam Powers Knits), and I went out for dinner/happy hour then dessert at this gelato place, Chocolat.

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All in all, it was a great show. I picked up some yarns and fibers from SweetGeorgia and Anzula, and needles from HiyaHiya, as well as some tools from other vendors.

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