Friday, 15 May 2015
'I, Sarah of http://52weeksof.blogspot.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to wear at least one handmade item each day for the duration of May 2015'
...and then I went to Spain and forgot to consider Me Made May while packing. I only missed out two days in the end, but it felt like more at the time. If I had remembered then they'd probably both have been pictures of my Shapely Boyfriend cardi.
My packing strategy was all dresses all the time to keep things easy and minimize wasted packing (Easyjet handluggage-only). I think that worked out pretty well as there were only two things I didn't wear - a jumper and a long-sleeved t-shirt.
Anyway, Me Made May seems to be going alright thus far. Some days I've found it almost too easy - I gravitate towards a couple of me-made skirts for work anyway - and some days I've felt the restriction. I've had two days counting only on jewelry but they coincided with a particularly loungey Sunday and dreaded ladytime, and where's the fun in getting dressed up when I don't want to? The loungey day would have been more Me Made if I had been able to find my £1/m jersey dress. I think I put it away in a fit of optimism during the warm latter part of April.
On to the pictures!
I'm afraid this is coming in list format because balls to HTML...
1. At the alcázar in Segovia in my scoopified, A-lineified Pastille/Truffle dress. Photo by my sister.
2. Up the tower of Segovia's cathedral in my drapey black first Plantain t-shirt
3. By the acqueduct in my first Pastille/Truffle dress, photo by my sister again
4 - In Spain, run out of me-mades
5 - In Spain & travelling back
6. Red stretch-cotton New Look 6154 with Simplicity 2451 pockets
7. Tilly & The Buttons Coco t-shirt in what Fabricland calls "pirate stripe"
8. Floppy teal cord skirt - this was the proof of concept for the red one above
9. Newly finished purply boyfriend cardigan - I shouldn't have procrastinated so long with the buttons! The placement is a bit iffy but they're on there now.
10. Plastic bead earrings, plus newly-finished Rugby Fan's Bobble Hat
11. Navy polycotton Mimi blouse from Love At First Stitch. Polycotton is definitely sweaty & the fit on this is not great.
12. Navy truffle & Miette cardigan - got a bit hidden by free company t-shirt but was comfy all day
13. Black mystery remnant Lilou/Truffle dress. Too tight above the bust, bum darts wrong, zip undoes itself.
14. Ceramic bead earrings redeem a "secret pajamas" outfit
15. Loud floral rectangle t-shirt reverse-engineered from Pattern Runway Harvest Top. Will make more, possibly with smaller/narrower backs & different neckline (this one may just be stretched).
That's about half the month down and another half left to go. I feel as though I've got plenty of me-made items I haven't worn yet and I may finish a couple of knitting projects and a couple of sewing ones before the month is out. I'm posting these to instagram as I go and Flickr when I remember - you can click through on these photos to see the original captions from Instagram imported into Flickr.
So far Fabricland is the most represented source of fabric. This isn't terribly surprising as they're local, cheap, and I don't feel the urge to save things I've bought there or fear ruining them. The frontrunner for wool is eBay, which is also unsurprising as my skillz are not well-developed yet & the cheapskate instinct is strong.
Happy remai(y)ning May!
Sunday, 18 January 2015
At the beginning of December 2013 I could knit only wonky rectangles. I asked for Learn To Knit Love To Knit for Christmas and had bought Debbie Bliss's How To Knit after borrowing it from the library. Over Christmas - my first one without coursework in four years - I spent lots of time curled up in chairs and sofas, teaching myself to knit in the round and to increase and decrease. After Christmas itself I embarked on a pair of the armwarmers from Learn To Knit Love To Knit, and two more pairs quickly followed for friends with January birthdays. (Ravelry pattern page, pair two, pair three)
|Pairs #2 & #3|
I bought my circular needles in Lidl (and they work fine for now, maybe I'll go deluxe and get interchangeable ones one day) and got to work on a tension swatch. I extended my tension swatch and tried out the increases and decreases plus a few practice buttonholes. My Ravelry notes have more detail, but suffice to say I got gauge with my cheap 30% wool yarn (via eBay) and set off. The cardigan is knit top-down in the round so I was able to see it taking shape and try it on once the arms were off the rigid stitch holders.
|Raglan increases on the Shapely Boyfriend|
|Cose in the making, cose in the wearing|
I started off while sitting in bed with ice on my sprained ankle, got a good chunk done waiting for my x-ray, and started turning the heel over Christmas. I hate picking up stitches along edges so I've stalled a bit currently. I'm starting sharing lifts again this week so I should get some more knitting in soon. I don't know yet if they'll actually fit but since I don't really like wearing socks this was always more of an academic exercise. I just love the colourway of this yarn - maybe I should get some more and make a shawl? Not when I have a huge stash!
|Dark, but you get the idea|
Here's to another year of self-taught new skills, steady progress, lovely knitted things, and enjoyable knitting!
Saturday, 10 January 2015
Top 5 Hits: What have you worn or loved the most?
I'm going to put these into chronological order since my sewing really has moved on in leaps and things that were hits earlier in the year are no longer. I'm including knitting as well because I can.
1. Navy truffle - my first completed wearable dress, the fit wasn't perfect and the fabric is crappy but I wore it to work quite a few times
2. Shapely boyfriend - my first completed knitted garment. It's been worn a LOT thanks to the simple shape and versatile colour. Since the yarn is nothing fancy it's looking a bit worn and bobbly but apart from that it's stood up to washing pretty well.
3. Red stretch cotton skirt - has become a go-to garment. Slight stretch makes it super comfy - more so than my later black & white spotty skirt. I had a very clear vision of what I wanted and I made it. With pockets :-)
4. Purple bird dress - Fitting effort met forgiving fabric, resulting in a fun and comfy swooshy party dress.
5. Black plantain - First knit bands, flattering shape, soft fabric. Yes - I can make t-shirts!
Top 5 Misses: What went wrong or never got worn?
1. Coral truffle #1 - too big, too see-through but a good exercise and a high note to end Me Made May on
2. Teal corduroy skirt - fabric from hell was stretchy, slippy, moulty and the resulting skirt was strangely floppy. Worn a couple of times for MeMadeMay but barely ever since.
3. Black & white spot skirt - Cute but I really do need a full bum adjustment - the CB seam is stretching out. The fabric is fading a little too but at £6/m I can't really complain.
4. Miette cardigan - really cute but I don't wear cropped cardigans, at least not in winter. I'll give it another chance this year and have plans to make a longer version.
5. Dress muslins - so many odd ones. Wearable muslin of Lilou was a mess - it went through a stage of having strange fabric n*pples!
Top 5 Highlights: Tell us about 5 non-sewing highlights of your year!
My sewing highlights are all my firsts - knits, dress, etc - , Me Made May (part1, part 2), the #NYLon2014 meet-up, and #bpSewvember. I'm much better at Instagramming than blogging...
1. Celebrating friends getting married - two lovely couples had two lovely (and very different) weddings and I wore my purple bird dress to both. I also got to go on accompanying hen and stag weekends which were both experiences to remember. I fulfilled my goal of visiting a pop-up restaurant, learned to make fascinators, met friends-of-friends I'd heard so much about, and discovered the delights of padron peppers.
2. Boy got a new job! One that means we're not planning to leave Bristol any time soon, mostly to our relief - I like the idea of living somewhere else for a bit but the reality scares me a bit. Hopefully having this more settled and the new job being more strictly 9-5 will mean we manage more adventures next year. He'll have some work trips which I probably can't/won't tag along with for the most part as they're more serious than academic conferences.
3. We didn't know at the time, but we had what is probably our last Cornwall holiday in the cottage we usually go to. We felt like we'd "done" Cornwall pretty thoroughly but there's always more! We finally tracked down Botallack mines and the image of St Agnes from all the postcards. Our plans for this year aren't formed yet but we've thrown around ideas including: find another Cornwall cottage to rent, try Norfolk, drive around Scotland, go somewhere warm.
4. Stockholm & Norfolk - two rather different but exciting holidays with friends. A weekend walking around Stockholm, enjoying being somewhere new and different. I'd like to go back to Stockholm, probably in the summer. A weekend boating on the Norfolk Broads with a lovely group of friends. We somehow packed a lot into one weekend but also felt super-relaxed, Erica is an excellent hostess.
5. Owning a car - This has made a lot of the above possible. I have been sharing lifts to the office and gained almost 2 hours a day by doing so. We took my car to Cornwall. I've been able to take off home/to Southampton/to Bath/to Norfolk/to London and be on my own terms. Christmas at home was much easier knowing I could escape when I wanted!
6. Cheeky bonus which kind of incorporates number 5 - I did grown up things. I finally got registered at the dentist and had fillings done, I had an eye test and bought new glasses, I bought a car, I signed up to and went to the gym (though a sprained ankle has stopped me for a while). Now I need to make that smear test appointment... (all women in the UK are invited for one when they turn 25)
Top 5 Reflections: Looking back, what have you learned about sewing or yourself?
1. I already knew it, but I'm a self-impeding perfectionist. I definitely need a few fitting adjustments from standard-shaped patterns but I also need to let myself settle for "good enough". I don't want to waste/ruin my nice fabric by making something that won't be great from it so I'm in muslin limbo, forever thinking I need to make more muslins to get the fit better before I cut into good fabric.
2. I've tried to give away stashed things that I won't realistically use for myself and have enjoyed doing so. I think that I maybe have a fear of things being wasted - it's much easier to give things (all things - clothes, mugs) to someone who I know needs them and/or genuinely is excited about using them than to just send them away to a charity shop or put them in the bin. I feel like if I don't know what's happening to something then it's being wasted and that is somehow very scary. At least I've found a way out of this.
3. I'm not great at finishing stuff, but I've got better. Finding that balance between giving up in frustration and killing the fun by slogging on too long on something that isn't working is tricky. I've got a few UFOs and half-fitted patterns that need sorting out but for at least one of them (above) time and distance (and improved skill in the meanwhile) has showed me that it's not as bad as I thought.
4. I'm not fearless, I just expect a lot of myself. I will merrily start trying to do a new technique and be annoyed with myself for not doing it well. This is stupid. I am not some kind of wonder seamstress. Some part of my brain expects me to be able to do everything I've heard of and I retain information well. I can give you tips on all sorts of things that stem from reading, not from experience. This is the wrong way around. I should go slowly and highlight new techniques to myself and practice them rather than steaming ahead and then getting frustrated when it doesn't work. Princess seams are a good illustration of this - I just tried to go for it. Nope.
This is probably the reason for number 3 - if I've half ruined things it feels worse to fully ruin them than to just do nothing. This is also nonsensical.
Gosh. That all got a bit heavy and psychological.
5. My best projects have been the ones I've been excited about. I've stuck at them and enjoyed wearing them. If I'm not so bothered I lose interest while sewing and am more likely to give up when stuff goes wrong. If I have a clear vision and am excited about wearing an item I'm more likely to end up with something that I love. The red skirt is an example of this - I had a very clear idea, I went to Fabricland and bought specific fabric, and I've worn it loads despite the zip coming undone all the time.
Top 5 Goals: What do you hope to achieve in 2015?
Saturday, 13 December 2014
Sunday, 30 November 2014
|The patterns, as I recieved them (note I kept the top one)|
- Anyone, anywhere in the world, can enter by leaving a comment on this post by midnight GMT on Sunday 7th December but you must have an active blog.
- I will randomly select a winner, Person A, and post them the collection of 6 patterns.
Person A will then pick one pattern to keep for themselves, then host their own give-away They will randomly select a winner, post the remaining patterns to Person B.
- Person B will pick a pattern for themselves and promptly host their own give-away and post the remaining patterns to the winner, Person C. Person C will do the same and so on until there is a last pattern winner…you get the idea.
Thursday, 25 September 2014
I realised recently that although I haven't been doing a 25 Before 25 I have achieved a couple of things leftover from my 25 Before 23 & 24 and continued with lots of the things I did do.
Some things I've really turned around - I'm looking after my teeth & exercising - but others I still struggle with e.g. reading books and cycling to Bath!
I've also done extra things - buying a car being the most obvious :-)
It's my half birthday around now so this seems like a good time to take stock.
Cycle to Bath - Bicycle is in the garage awaiting repair
Visit K at RHUL - I did this again
Make 5 items of clothing - Since my birthday I've sewn three dresses, a skirt, a T-shirt, and a blouse which are wearable! I should really blog some of that.
Go to Cornwall and/or somewhere warm - we went to Cornwall again and I've booked a weekend in Stockholm, which won't be warm.
Learn some Perl/Ruby/C++/SQL - Started some C++ courses at work
Keep a list of things to cook and make 2 new ones per month - I'm calling my Pinterest food board the list and I've definitely been cooking more interestingly
Read twelve or more books - I finished The File but have yet to start anything new
Cut down my photo-uploading backlog - needs more attention. And I need a new laptop!
Scrapbook - Nope. Still.
Visit 5 new towns or cities - I went to Southampton, various bits of Norfolk, drove around Surrey, visited Kent...
Keep job/get good/become independent - Still employed, feedback is good, and I'm pretty independent beyond liking company
Go to a pop-up restaurant or supper club - just done and in style - my friend's stag do involved The Basement Galley serving us dinner in a tube carriage
Finish things - Have seen projects to completion before starting new ones but what gets me stuck is when I don't know what I want to do. I need a clear vision.
Mend/alter - sewed button back on the duvet cover... Not really enough!
See cousins - there's been a family gathering
Go to a gig/film/... every month - not sure about every month but I've seen She Makes War twice and This Is The Kit and Jonathan Fuller
Walk lots - Nope
Visit new cafés/things - Discovered BaoWow, finally visited Friska at the Science Park, finally ate at Falafel King.
Do something creative every week - Lots of knitting on the way to work, efforts to make clothes
Make an effort to go to things - I have tried. Have driven many miles to do so
Learn to knit properly - Finished Shapely Boyfriend, knitted Miette, started second shorter SB
Listen to the radio regularly - Still lots of 6music, plus Radio 2 during lifts to work, JackFM for evening driving
Use stashes - Have bought fabric but also made a fair few things. Brought beading and paper craft things from home so I can use them
Find a dentist & get teeth fixed - Done! Finally! Actually managed to find an NHS dentist so paid £50 for everything that needed doing (had been quoted £500 = half price privately last year). Didn't enjoy numb face & chewing ban, and added dentistry to the list of things that make me feel shakey and faint.
Finish my final project
Get a job
Move to Bristol
Sew a dress
Make 10 of my recipe bookmarks / pins
Send parcels to far-away friends - I sent a parcel to Southampton
Go to Southwold at least once
Get rid of my Flickr backlog
Get a grip on my finances - this still needs to happen
Sell my eBay pile, swap my swap pile - it's still here :-(
Mend & alter my mending & altering piles
Read a newspaper regularly - we live near Waitrose now so we get lots of free Guardians. I mostly read the G2 content online and tear recipes out of Cook
Weekend away by train - one just done, one in the near future
Buy good shoes - still need proper good ones
Crochet 3 items from stashed wool - haven't crocheted in a little while but made housewarming cat for a colleague
Get a new phone
Read 3 good/classic books
Print more photos
Watch 3 good/classic films
Exercise regularly - I've started going to the gym! I wasn't swimming often enough as the times didn't fit enough with life so I joined the gym. I've been 3-5 times a week for the past 3 weeks.
Have a picnic
Visit a city farm
Visit my sister at university
Cycle from Bristol to Bath
And then there are all the extra things I've done this year. Some are very ordinary but feel like milestones and great achievements in adulting:
- bought a car, took car to garage for wheel bearing, got new tyres for car. Paid tax on car (no disc!)
- took friends on road trips - drove to Norfolk and London
- gave a training presentation
- cooked fillet steak
- Started going to the gym, run on purpose, enjoyed it, bought gym kit (including trainers I don't hate)
- won the work bake-off outright for the first time
- Knit whole cardigans
- Sewed a blouse with buttons and buttonholes and a collar and gathering
- seen schoolfriends I'd not seen in ages
- helped build a kitchen for my friend's new business
- been on my first hen do & celebrated friends' wedding. Camped in a garden with chickens and peacocks.
- sewn bunting, a pincushion, and zippy pouches
- weeded our garden
- booked a holiday abroad
- had an eye test & got new glasses
- been on a stag do and eaten dinner on a tube train
- had two mini university reunions
- had more proper conversations on Twitter and met some more internet people IRL
It feels good to write all this down :-)
Thursday, 12 June 2014
I'm glad I somehow talked myself into joining in with Me Made May this year - I thought I didn't have enough me-mades to do it at all properly but I really surprised myself. I also negatively surprised myself by only having two pairs of me-made earrings with me in Bristol and no non-broken necklaces. Next time I visit my parents I'll be bringing some back for sure.
I pledged to wear handmade clothing at least once a week and I think it's fair to say I smashed that target. I tried to wear something - including accessories - as many days as I could. The challenge definitely made me wear more accessories - I don't normally think to put a brooch on (especially since my office is so informal) but I turned to them a few times during the month. No-one commented on my change of wardrobe so I think my fears of being obviously handmade (in the scruffy, negative sense) were proved unnecessary.
Over all I really enjoyed having that little extra challenge in choosing what to wear, and the sense that I was part of something so big but so low profile (Guardian article aside). It's like a very friendly secret club :)
Right, here's some more photos:
Days 17 & 18: What I wore for the epic day that was #NYLon2014 - sadly I packed on a grey morning and was boiling in my navy cord skirt, opaque tights, & boots! Day 18 was spent exploring and picnic-ing at Ham House with my sister. The little yellow felt flower is a handmade brooch. The skirt is from a charity shop & I was considering refashioning it as it's all gathered at the front.
Days 19 & 20: The bloggers' favourite Simplicity 2451 skirt (cotton sheeting is not a good skirt fabric) and my good old shapely boyfriend cardigan.
Days 23 & 24: Shapely boyfriend goes to work and NL6154-with-Simplicity-2451's-pockets for a day of domesticity
Days 26 & 27: Shapely boyfriend visits The American Museum in Bath to see The Colourful World of Kaffe Fassett and blue china bead earrings worn to work and for an evening sewing the lining down in my truffle wearable muslin.
Days 28 & 29: Simplicity 9175 top and 6154/2451 hack skirt. Sleepy work days with dull weather. I think I used all my nice outfit brain on the first of these two days.
Days 30 & 31: Purple feather earrings visit the Wills Memorial Building and my truffle muslin, shapely boyfriend, and lacy flower brooch visit Waitrose to send off Me Made May in style.
It looks like I managed 22 days out of 31 and wore 11 different items. I don't think I need to count to say that my shapely boyfriend cardi was my most worn item. Good thing I've got another cardigan in the works.
The glaring (to me) omission is my navy NL 6154 skirt which - due to a combination of it shrinking and me putting on weight - doesn't currently fit. Boohiss. I have taken up swimming though so hopefully that will help make up for the fact that I'm no longer getting the exercise of dashing between buses or walking to The Boy's house (now that we live in the same house :)).
The first installment can be found here and on my sewing Flickr account.