Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 - A Year in Review

2013 was a much more productive year than the last two . Not that topping 2011 and 2012 would be hard. I think I sewed only two tops one year, and even less the other.

I'm enjoying reading everyone's Top Fives, but I don't quite have that much to compare, so I will just do a little summary of this better year.

Skirts: I sewed nine this year. I love Sewaholic's Hollyburn skirt. I have made three, pictured here, and here. The shape is lovely, they are quick to sew, and they are highly bikeable -a requirement for any skirt I wear during the spring, summer, and fall. A hit to be sure.
I also sewed two Vogue 1247 skirts with a third cut out. The yellow one was a huge step for me -I haven't sewed anything yellow since I was nine and made an apron for 4-H.
The version below is rust-coloured corduroy and the one-to-be-sewn is black denim.

Vogue 1247
I did Jungle January a few months late, and then went into corduroy with a brown-striped Schnitt Vision pattern, and another straight skirt in rust. The accidental hybrid has been thrifted; I guess you'd call that a miss.

Tops: Not as many as the skirts, but again, I really liked Sewaholic patterns Renfrew top. Issues with the neckband were strictly due to wetware problems. I made two lightweight ones for the summer. One I wear a lot, the other has been thrifted. I also made one from a wonderful Merino wool -but again, the neckband vexed me.
I steamed it to no end, and it still looked crumpled. I exchanged the neckband for the cowl version and now I like it. I have two more cut out in a wool/rayon blend, one orange and one green.
I also made a New Look 6301 top (OOP) from a stretch woven.

It looks better in real life than it does in picture -I hope. I made it at the end of the summer and have only worn it once.

Trousers: Three pair joined the stable; one wool blend, one linen/cotton blend (that has since been made into shorts), and one corduroy pair. I also an OOP Vogue pair in grey denim cut out.

These trousers are a simple straight-legged affair. But because I am now cutting stuff out in the living room again, the Geek asked what I was making. When I told her it was the long vest, her eyes almost popped out of her head. The Geek is a very conservative dresser. I'm always surprised she elected to keep the pair of Fluevog boots I found at the thrift store; I guess they are just quirky enough without being too flamboyant.

Dresses: I made two, I like them both even if one needs major surgery to rescue it from Wadderville byremoving the non-standard-issue pockets and taking in the sides a bit.

I just don't know when. I want to make more dresses -I don't know why I haven't done so before now - and I'm definitely going to make Simplicity 2444 again.

Other stuff: two pairs of mittens, one superhero cape (and a partridge in a pear tree) and some baby stuff for a friend.
I tried the Thurlow shorts, and will do so again. I even have the fabric ready to go. and the Tania culottes (unblogged).

(Good idea, wonky fabric; look how it puckers when you spray water on it. )
The back zipper puckered terribly after the first wash, even tho' I pre-shrunk the fabric. I have no idea if it will steam out.)
Ok, that puckering is not as bad as I remember. Maybe it has to do with the fabric's crazy reaction to water. The zipper looked awful when I hung these culottes up to dry. Maybe they aren't a total right-off after all.

My plans for 2014? I plan to move where the spirit takes me. It seems f I have decided to sew a certain thing, I feel guilty if I abandon it for something else, and then nothing gets done. So? no more (sewing) monogamy.
I also want to finish de-fragging my sewing room. During the two years of non-sewing it became a catch all for all sorts of things. It is much better now, but I still have a couple of odds-and-ends to tie down. I plan to post the before and after shots, if only in the future to keep me on the straight and narrow and prevent it from deteriorating to an un-usable state.

And I want to make N4 a big stuffed animal. His mother actually asked me if I was going to, so full speed ahead.

I made his cousin, N1, an elephant 12 years ago, and N2 a puppy nine years ago. I couldn't find N3's leopard when I was visiting at Christmas and I didn't think it was polite to go rummaging thru' the closets for a photo op. N4's sister, Miss S, has a 10 year old lamb. N4 is getting a puppy too, only with shorter ears.

So, other than finishing the four things I have cut out, not much is planned. There may be tons o' sewing tomorrow. It is brutally cold out right now and I have no reason to go outside. It was -37 this morning with a windchill of -41. That's cold whether you measure in either Celcius or Farenheit and I walked to work today, so I've had my fresh air.

All the best to everyone in 2014. I hope you find it a fulfilling year. I've enjoyed reading all your blogs and learned so much from your wonderful posts. I hope I have the opportunity to meet some of you in person this year. Cheers!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Is It 'Learning' When You Don't Know What You've Done?

I knit this toque last winter to try to add some colour to my world and thought I would wear this hat with my purple jacket, purchased for the same reason.
I don't suffer from SAD, but I swear have CMS*.

You can see how the toque originally looked on my Ravelry page but because it turned out much too big, I didn't wear it much. It was still too big, even after I felted it a few times, and kept falling off if I turned my head too quickly, not optimal in our frigid weather.

I pulled it out again a few weeks ago intending to give it another go, having totally forgotten it is too large. Today I threw it in the wash again with the thought that if it didn't shrink, it was going be donated.
I did not intentionally do anything differently than the last two (or three) times I tried to shrink it, but today, it came out much smaller, almost the size I was hoping for in the first place. The only possible difference? There were many more things with which it rolled around in the dryer. I know friction pays a part in the felting process, but can that be the crucial part?

*CMS is my self-diagnosed disorder and means Colour Missing Syndrome. Here, in the winter, all is dirty snow; snow contaminated with sand and other dirt so it is just an dull, dingy affair. If the sun shines, they sky is blue but that is the only relief from the dun-coloured monotony. At least where I grew up the snow is white. By late January, I crave colour -grass, flowers, -anything but white, grey, and brown!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Sunday, 8 December 2013

A Pirate's Honeycrisp Mittens -They're Arrrrr-gyle

Yes, a huge groaner. But the mitts are great.

Winter has arrived and it seems even colder this year. Or else I'm becoming a wimp.

I have made mittens before by tracing around my hands, but they were less than stellar in their fit. The Honeycrisp looked very close-fitting around the wrist, the better to keep old cold winter drafts.

I used two thrifted sweaters I felted.

The grey sweater is much heavier than the argyle pair and could have been a size bigger, and they have a funny shape (they look like scuba mitts to me), but they will be fine as liners in leather mitts. The argyle pair, being thinner will go in in a smaller pair of leather mitts.
It may seem odd to have several different mitten combinations, but hands that are too hot and sweaty from too heavy a combination get just as cold as hands in too light a combo.
Yes, I spend far too much time thinking about this.