31 December 2012

Looking back, looking forward

Ah, 2012 - the year of the Jubilympics. And the year I made all of this:
sewn in 2012
knitted in 2012

A total of 23 FOs (one Sorbetto has never been photographed, or blogged, but has been worn a lot).


PJs - the most practical and comfortable of my makes ever. I love these PJs.
Denim Butterick 2779 -  a near perfect skirt. Weather-wise this has been a pretty miserable year, and this skirt has been worn at least once a week since I made it in May. I think another, in corduroy, is on the cards.
MMM'12: last day!
Tova with elephants (above) - why was I not in love with this when I first made it? Who knows. All I know is that I wear it a lot. It looks great tucked in or left untucked; with skirts or trousers. And it has elephants on it.

Scout woven tee with 3/4 sleeves - it goes with everything and is super comfy. Win win.
scout woven tee



Colette Violet blouse (x2) - I failed twice with this and then gave up. It helped me realise that though it's v cute, it's just not my style, and I need to really not get carried away by what others are making - I should stick to my own thing. Also, Colette patterns just don't work for me. I've sold all of my mine second hand on eBay (and made quite a decent return on them). But I've kept the Beignet skirt - I am still tempted to try it.

Simplicity 2444 dress (unphotographed) - I talked the talk with this one, but just couldn't walk the walk. I made a muslin, tweaked the fit and had it looking lovely. Then somewhere between the muslin and the final version, something went wrong. So frustrating. Perhaps I over-fit it; perhaps the muslin fabric had more give than the fashion fabric; perhaps (and quite probably) I went up a whole dress size in the month between muslin and final. It makes me feel sad just thinking about it.

Darling Ranges dress (unphotographed) - 5 muslins, one hot mess. I gave up.

Banksia blouse (unphotographed) - I made a muslin, it didn't fit and I couldn't work out why so I gave up. It was soon after the Darling Ranges and 2444 disasters, so I didn't have the energy to deal with it. Also, I discovered the Scout Woven tee. But I will revisit the Banksia blouse in 2013.

2012: reflections

I didn't have any crazy or unrealistic plans when I started out this year. I wanted to make:
  • new PJs
  • Colette Ginger (in olive brushed cotton twill)
  • Colette Beignet (in navy needlecord)
  • Colette Violet (in a Liberty lawn)
  • Wiksten Tova shirt (in a brushed cotton)
  • A dress for a wedding (*the failed 2444*)
And I did all of that, despite my lack of success with the Violet blouse and the dress. In fact, I far exceeded my expectations, so I'm pretty pleased about that.


Looking ahead

In 2013, I want to:
  • Work on gaining a better understanding of fit and how to tackle my particular fitting challenges. I'm going to contact my local Palmer-Pletch instructor and take a few workshops.  
  • Make a Sewaholic Minoru jacket.
  • Maybe make the Colette Beignet skirt I've been talking about all this time!
  • Knit a cardigan.
  • Finish my quilt! 
  • Sew a dress (any dress).
  • Get to grips with sewing knits.

I also want to STOP buying fabric unless I desperately need it!

And in a non-sewing-related aside, I really want to get into shape again. I spent my 20s being the thin girl who could eat cake all day and still be thin. Now that I'm approaching my mid-30s, I still love cake (and have developed a love for cheese), but boy do I pay for it. So instead of giving it up entirely, I'm just going to have to eat a bit less of it, and move a bit more. Also, I just feel unfit, and it's not a good feeling. So, I've bought some running shoes, and will start the Couch to 5K programme. But I won't bore y'alls with that here.

Happy 2013 folks!

speak soon

FO: Wiksten Tulip skirt 2

And with hours to go, she sneaks another FO through!
A Wiksten Tulip skirt in Liberty cord. (Forgive the photos today - it's been dark and rainy all day long!)

I actually completed this about a month ago, but it was a little big, so I needed to remove and resew the buttons (the thought of which was so boring it took me an age to get around to it).

And look: this time, I lined it!

As I mentioned the first time I made this skirt, the pattern is really well designed and is a joy to sew up. I made a S-M, and added a further 2" in length - I wanted the hem to hit just below mid-knee (so that's a total of 5" added to the pattern length!).

And I lined it with some lovely bemberg rayon from my stash. The pattern itself doesn't give instructions for lining, but it isn't too hard to work out. I simply made a second version of the skirt only (not the waistband or placket), hemmed it and basted it to the main skirt pieces. I then treated the skirt and lining as one for the rest of the process.

This pattern calls for a lot of hand finishing (which I don't mind - it gives a lovely finish), so the lining helped a bit with that (it's easier to anchor the stitches to, and makes for a v clean finish):

Oh, and if you decide to make a Wiksten Tulip, this guy is your friend:
I remembered getting into a few tangles the first time around, so stocked up on some beeswax - it makes hand sewing much easier.

So why am I not modelling this skirt? Don't I just love it? Sadly, I just don't. I don't hate it - but I'm just not excited to wear it. The fabric is lovely - beautiful sage green, greys, blues and tan - with a good drape, and a nice thickness (it's a fine needlecord). And with the lining, it works well with tights. But I just think it looks a bit blah. I might think differently in the spring - who knows.

The sums:
1.5m Liberty needlecord: £18 (funded from a destash sale on eBay)
8 x vintage buttons: £1.60
Pattern, thread and lining: stash
Total: £19.60

Oh, and an update on the yellow scarf. Success - the blocking tamed the curly edging.

Hoorah! The colour is much more accurate in the befores - there was no hope of getting any decent photos today! The gentle blocking eased out the curl, but also gave the scarf a lovely drape - it's much floopier now. I didn't swatch before I knitted this, as gauge wasn't important, but if I use this yarn for a sweater, I'll definitely take the time to do so - it really looks quite different after swatching. The pattern itself is super easy - mostly stockinette, so it was getting a bit dull towards the end. Details on my Ravelry page.

The sums:
3 x Rowan Pure Wool DK in gold: £14.25
Pattern (22 Little Clouds): free on Ravelry
Total: £14.25

So there it is - the last FOs of 2012! I'll be back soon with my reflections on the year, and some thoughts about what I'd like to do in 2013. But until then, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank you all for your support and comments through the year, and to wish you all a very happy and healthy 2013 - may it bring you much joy.

speak soon!

30 December 2012

Post-Xmas catch up

Well hello!

It's been a while since I've been in blogland - we spent Christmas up in Cambridge with my in-laws, and I was offline pretty much the whole time. This turned out to be v relaxing, but I'm quite behind on blogs etc. I have spotted quite a few "Top 5"-type posts, so I'm looking forward to reading those, and who knows - even do a few myself!
my sister-in-law made the Xmas cake (including the decorations!) - how adorbs!

Did you have a lovely Xmas (or similar)? We spent most of the week eating and drinking, with the occasional walk thrown in. Our favourite Boxing Day walk is through Grantchester Meadows (a bit swampy this year):

with a stop at the Green Man pub for a delicious mulled wine. Yums!

As we walked back home, we fell in behind a nice family who had the most adorable cocker spaniel - I sort of pretended she belonged to me as she ran alongside us. 

Not much in the way of sewing took place. But I did finish off my yellow scarf. I decided to adapt it a bit, and did an extra repeat of the edging, as it turned out I had quite a bit of yarn left. On reflection, this was not a great idea - instead of the delicate ruffle at the edge, my scarf rivals the yellow waver coral:

similar, no?

I don't mind that too much - except it does look like an elaborate Tudor ruff when I wear it. It's in the process of being blocked, and I'm hoping that might tame the curls a bit. We shall see.

I've been glad to get back to my sewing machine - and even though tomorrow is New Year's Eve, I might just have another FO before the year is out! Watch this space!

I hope Father Christmas was good to you. I was treated with some lovely gifts, but nothing sewing related. Or do these lovely china mugs from Brora count? They're each a different knitted pattern. Too cute!

And I of course found time to treat myself (as a reward for trudging about London today in search of a new telly) with this:
Yes! A ginormous red button storage box!

Right - I'm off to catch up on your blogs. And I'll be back again in a day or two for 2012 recap/reflections.

speak soon!

20 December 2012

Isn't it lieblich?

ooo - so nearly Xmas hols! From Friday I'll be off work until 2nd January 2013. 2013, guys - the future!

Anyway, as you can see, I get pretty excited arond this time of year. And to make things even more exciting, I got nominated for an award. hoorah!
I received this award early on in my blogging career, but this time around there are questions! Fun!

I should start by thanking the lovely Elena and Jen of Tea for Two for the nomination. Their blog is wonderful - lots of great tutorials (I especially love this DIY chevron print tee). The award is set up to bring recognition to and increase readership for blogs with fewer than 200 followers. Thanks Elena and Jen!

So, the rules are to post 11 random facts about yourself, answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you, and ask your nominees 11 questions.

Facts (or stuff) about me
  1. Though born in London, I spent my childhood in Kenya.
  2. I'm terrified of snakes. I can't even look at pictures of them. Even those big comedy ones from Ikea give me the heebeejeebees.
  3. I love dogs. My dog, Woody, passed away four years ago this Christmas and I miss him every day.
  4. I can't touch my toes.
  5. Chocolate hazelnut is my favourite ice-cream flavour.
  6. I haven't eaten meat for 20 years.
  7. My mobile phone is just a phone - no camera, mp3 player, nothing. Phone and text. Just like it's 1999.
  8. I can ride and fence (though not simultaneously): useful skills for the 21st century, no?
  9. I don't like it if someone else in the office uses my mug. It ruins my morning a little bit.
  10. When I was a little girl, I hoped I'd grow up to look like Ava Gardner.
  11. I know, word for word, the entire script of The Princess Bride.
11 questions

What's the most rewarding thing about blogging, for you?  Meeting (online and in real life) many wonderful women who have a love for sewing and who are just amazingly nice. I started the blog because I didn't know anyone who could sew, and I didn't have anyone to get excited about projects with or to ask for help. I'm amazed (and grateful) for everyone who reads, comments and helps out when I get stuck!

What's your favourite book? Jane Austen's Persuasion.

Are you a morning person, or a night owl, and why? A night owl – definitely. I am no good in the morning and only really become fully awake around 10am.

What are you hoping Santa brings you this year? Every year I ask for a puppy and World peace. So far Santa has failed to deliver on both counts, but it's good to have a dream.

What's your favourite food? An egg, perfectly poached, on perfectly toasted and buttered bread, is a glorious thing. As is a ripe mango.

Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life? I don't know that there's been one single person who has inspired me. I'm inspired by the small things that people do, the kindness and the generosity of heart they demonstrate.

What's your favourite TV programme? Friday Night Lights.

What's your favourite thing to do at the weekend? Hang out with Mr P&N – whatever we're doing, so long as he's there, it's my favourite thing.

Other than the current one, which era of history would you most like to have lived in? This is my favourite question! Mr P&N and I discuss this frequently and each time I have a different answer. If I could pick the circumstances, I'd like to have lived in the 1900-30s and be a wealthy adventuress/explorer. But I think to be a woman (especially a non-wealthy woman) at any earlier time in history can't have been much fun, no matter how extraordinary the era was. If you were to ask me again next week, and I'll likely have a different answer.

How many languages do you speak? Aside from English, I have a smattering of French and German (enough to get by on holiday).

Who would you most like to be trapped in a lift (elevator, for our non-English friends) with? I have actually been trapped in a lift twice. The first time, I was about 8, and was with my gran – she got pretty hysterical as I recall. The second time was at work, alone. As an experience, I don't recommend it. So if it happened again, I'd most like to be trapped in there with a superior lift engineer.

My 11 questions are:
- Why did you decide to start a blog?
- What is your favourite piece of clothing that you've ever owned?
- Other than the current one, which era of history would you most like to have lived in?
- What made you start sewing clothes?
- What is your dream holiday destination?
- If you won the mega jackpot on the lottery, what's the first thing you would do?
- What's your favourite ice-cream flavour?
- What's your favourite book?
- What are you frightened of?
- What's your favourite quotation?
- Which five guests (from any time in history) would be at your dream dinner party?

And my nominees for the award are:
- Poppy and Red Clover
- Tybalt: king of cats

Both blogs are fairly new to me, so if you haven't come across them yet, check them out!

speak soon!

10 December 2012

zipper GAH!

Take a look at my lovely fly front zipper, half-way through insertion.

I'm so pleased with it. EXCEPT it's upside down. GAHHHHH!

Another job for the trusty seam-ripper.

speak soon!

(and yep, that's a white zipper in a denim skirt. The alternative was bright pink, and I'm just not brave enough to deal with shops two weeks before Xmas!)

7 December 2012

FO: Cosy cowl

As if I didn't quite have enough on the go, I made this:
But I saw this amazing Malabrigo Rasta yarn, and it' SO so cold out there. Plus, this doubles up as a face shield (take that, you icy blast!):
I love cowls. And I love super bulky yarn - this project took a couple of hours to complete. And it's perfect for keeping out the cold wintry air.

I used the free Marian pattern by Jane Richmond, and 1 skein of Malabrigo Rasta in Garden Gate (I used up every last inch of it). It's very easy: seed stitch all the way. More details on my Ravelry project page.

The sums
Pattern: free!
15mm knitting needles: £3
Yarn: £17
Total: £20

Keep warm and have a lovely weekend!

2 December 2012

Meet Cornelius

This is Cornelius. He is unbearably cute. I made him for a good friend's baby, and today was finally able to hand him over to his new family. Baby William instantly fixed his tiny arm around Cornelius, and I'm so happy he was so well received. Because I almost could not give him up.

I used the Elijah pattern, by Ysolda Teague. It's a great pattern - it comes together so cleverly and quickly. I used a chunky cashmerino yarn, so he's super soft and cuddly. I might have to make another one (for me!).

More details are on my Ravelry project page.

speak soon!