Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!

1943:1944I love reading stuff like that, so here’s my review of 2013 sewing and knitting wise!

I sewed 15 items and I knit 11, which sums up to a grand total of 26 projects in a year. That’s one project every two weeks, which I know is not the most impressive compared to what some others have achieved, but to me it’s a HUGE progress compared to my ten projects of 2012 and who knows how (not) many of 2011 and before! I’m quite sure starting a blog played a big part in my productivity, as did meeting friends who sew and knit of course!

2013

The 26 projects in chronological order

Out of the 26, only one was not for me. What can I say? I like sewing/knitting for ME and I’m not even sorry. Ok, I’m just sorry that one of my best friends is still waiting for the skirt I promised to sew for her birthday, which was in May, oops!

Miette+Hollyburn+Chuck+Sureau+Chardon+BagI’m pretty proud of how much I’ve been wearing my 2013 garments. The most worn are definitely my Miette cardigan, my Chuck sweater, my Hollyburn and Chardon skirts and my Sureau dress. I wear those so much they barely know the inside of my closet: I wear them then wash them then wear them ALL THE TIME! Oh, and I almost forgot about my refashioned bag, which I’ve been carrying with me everywhere, too.BlueStone+RefashionFive of my 2013 projects have been worn either never or rarely and/or reluctantly. I haven’t been able to wear my last refashioned dress yet, nor my blue short-sleeved sweater, even though I LOVE them and I can’t wait to wear them… because I don’t have anything to wear with them. The sweater needs a black skirt or black trousers or shorts (my attempt at sewing said black skirt was scuppered, to say the least), and the dress, because of the thickness of its three collars (which creates an unsightly lump under any of my cardigans), needs a cardigan with a back low enough to stay under the collars instead of on top of them.

July21.7Also, I loved wearing my playsuit in Brussels, so I packed it to Spain. But when I took it out of my luggage to wear it, I realised the seams of the shoulder straps hadn’t survived their last wash, so I wouldn’t be able to wear the playsuit again until I fix the straps. I cried. Still haven’t fixed it.

Menthe+DulcineaThen there are two projects I simply don’t like all that much: my mint cardigan, still too big for my liking, and my Kelly skirt, that kind of duplicates this older skirt I wear a lot. I hadn’t realised that until I put it in the closet and saw the two skirts right against each other, but knowing the second skirt has a few issues, it means I usually (more like, always!) prefer wearing the first one. So I’m pretty sure I’ll be donating both the skirt and the cardigan in the foreseeable future. I’m especially sad about the cardigan because I still love its colour so much. Ah well, I’ll knit another one someday!

Anyway, I’m definitely happy with the outcome of my sewing and knitting this year. I was convinced I had completed about half what I actually completed, and with twenty items I wear regularly and only two I would call failures I’d say firstly, it seems like I’m not as slow as I thought I was, and secondly, I really know what I like, what I wear and what suits/doesn’t suit me.

Now, there are still things I would like to improve on in 2014. First and foremost, I would like to stop amassing so much fabric and to sew more from my (gigantic!) stash. Teaming up with Ms Mimolette, I’ve decided I’m only allowed to buy some fabric every five pieces I use from my stash.

Then, even though I’m happy enough with the outcome of my sewing/knitting in 2013, I would like to sew/knit more projects in 2014. I don’t want to decide on a number I would have to attain, that would be too stressful, but I would like to be more productive. I think using up my stash might provide a great motivation towards that goal, too.

And lastly, as I wrote in this post, I’ve started a sketchbook where I draw each sewing project I begin. So I would really really like to keep up with it so that I’m more confident with my drawing skills at the end of 2014.

Oh, and maybe I should add “sew my friend’s skirt already!” to my resolutions! Preferably before her next birthday!

Thanks for reading and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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Merry Christmas!

Bûche1 Bûche2I’m spending Christmas Eve at my in-laws, where I’m bringing the homemade bûche de Noël you see in the pictures. It’s the best kind of bûche: chocolate cake with chocolate cream and chocolate icing, yum! I baked one last year for the first time and I’ve since decided to make a tradition of baking (at least) one each year for Christmas.

I hope you have a nice Christmas Eve and a very merry Christmas!

WIP: Retro Camper Tee

CamperTeeI don’t know how long I’ll keep up with it, but I’ve decided to start a sketchbook where I make a small illustration of each sewing project I begin, in the hopes it will encourage me to draw more frequently.

This is the first one, a Sewaholic Renfrew made from a cotton jersey knit printed with retro Volkswagen Campers! I chose a contrasting off-white cotton ribbing for the neckline and sleeve bands (and no bottom band).

This is also the first project where I’m using my new serger! So far it’s coming along nicely, except for the fact that the jersey knit is printed a touch off grain, which drove me kind of crazy during the cutting.

Mulberry Turban

Mulberry2.1Wow, looks like I’ve acquired quite a taste for really intricate knitting projects! Will I be able to knit with needles smaller than 10 mm ever again? Will I even remember how to purl when the dreaded time comes to move past garter stitch?

Mulberry2.2So, I made a turban (more like, a headband that looks like a turban). And the worse part is, it wasn’t even on purpose. I still had a bit of yarn left after completing my Mulberry set, so I decided to use it to knit a big bow for the hat. I cast on ten stitches and I knit until I had almost no yarn left, thinking I’d fold the result in two and gather the center with a small band I’d knit with the very last remain of the yarn. I tried that, and even though the bow was cute, it clearly did not belong on the hat. It was way too bulky and did not look flattering at all from most angles. So I took it off the hat and threw it aside on the couch, much to the delight of my cat who immediately adopted it as a new favourite pillow.

Mulberry2.3It was only a few days (and thus a multitude of cat hair) later that I saw it lying on the couch and had the idea to take off the small piece in the center and see whether the remaining band fit my head so that I could use it as a headband. And, as you can see, it did! I gathered the seam (and made heavy use of the lint roller) and voilà! Instant turban!

Mulberry2.4And look, I can wear it on the matching hat to get extra coverage against the cold! I also really like the retro touch it gives to the otherwise plain hat. Now that looks like a turban!

Mulberry2.5So, this is clearly not the most impressive project, but I have already been wearing it a lot, which makes it a complete success. OK, the only downside may be that I had to rip her favourite pillow away from my cat. Sorry, Olivine!

Mulberry Set

Mulberry5Last Friday, for the monthly meeting of my knitting group, I was reluctant to take my current knitting project with me: it’s a very simple project, except for five rows of lace that I had to frog six or seven times (I actually lost count after a moment) because of small mistakes I could not fix without ripping the whole lace part (it’s the kind of lace you have to work even on the back rows, you don’t just purl those)! I was once again at the beginning of that tricky part, so I didn’t want to risk ruining it again by not paying enough attention while chatting away with fellow knitters.

Mulberry1So I decided to break my self-imposed no UFO rule and bring a simple project I could knit without even looking instead: enter the garter stitch scarf, knit with 10 mm needles! I hadn’t knit a scarf in years: I used to knit one scarf every winter when I didn’t know how to knit “real” garments yet, but since I learnt how to knit shawls, cardigans and sweaters, I hadn’t even thought about knitting a simple scarf, as if it was too easy or something.

Mulberry2It was sooo easy, and such a relief from the lace that had begun to challenge my sanity! I started knitting it on Friday evening and finished it on Sunday, and it’s not like I spent my whole weekend knitting either. Oh, and I made a matching hat on Monday with the leftover yarn!

Mulberry3The yarn is Avelita by Schachenmayr, in a beautiful deep purple colour. I don’t know whether you can tell from the pictures, but it’s sparkly thanks to a pink/purple metallic thread. The garter stitch showcases the glitter effect beautifully.

I cast on 15 stitches and I knit until the end of the seventh ball, which makes for a really long and squishy scarf that you can wrap around your neck up to four times (I only wrapped it up to three times in the pictures). For the hat, I cast on 46 stitches in the round. I knit ribs for a few centimetres then garter stitch.

Mulberry4I’m really happy with my scarf anf hat set and they’ve already been keeping me warm all week (nothing beats four wraps of scarf when you’re biking to work early in the morning!). I should stop thinking that very simple projects are not worth knitting, especially when I see how rewarding it was to get a finished project I’ll get a lot of use out of in four days instead of a (few) month(s). And finally, I own a scarf that is not green! No more (unintended) clashing outfits!