Sewing in Review 2013
This year, I finally found my groove with sewing. I completed more sewing projects this year than I have in a year's time previously. And, I WEAR the garments I made for myself, which, in my mind, makes my year in sewing an enormous success!
In a word, 2013 was about SEPARATES. I tackled my fear of setting sleeves. I acknowledged that skirts, rather than dresses, are my best friend when it comes to figure flattery. And, I tried to be honest with myself during pattern selection in terms of practical wearability.
Not all my sewing was practical. I cut-loose and had some fun. I sewed along with three incredible bloggers and their readers. I was also able to get more involved with the online sewing community during two meetups with some lovely Chicagoland sewers and the infamous Lauren of Lladybird.
And, by far, my favorite sewing endeavor of 2013, is the mini wardrobe I made and wore on vacation.
I have good feelings about the projects and productivity 2014 will bring. I look forward to being inspired by you all in the new year. Thank you for the time you take to visit with me on my little corner of the internet. HAPPY NEW YEAR! I'll see you in 2014!
Knitting in Review 2013
At the end of each year, I start to reflect on the resolutions I set for myself when the year started. It's easy for me to be disappointed for not fulfilling the goals I intended to achieve. I had some long lists and good intentions at the beginning of 2013, and I wasn't able to come close to completing the things I had hoped. Fortunately, being a blogger and taking pictures of all the projects I DID complete helps me to realize that I still managed to accomplish a lot. In fact, I decided that knitting and sewing needed to be broken into two posts, because there was too much to squeeze into one!
Mike wasn't the only member of the house to score a sweater in 2013. Dulce got a sweater too.
The only knit poor Danger received was his unicorn hat. He feels pretty left-out. 2014 is going be his year.
I added three staple sweaters to my closet at the beginning of the year. My Oolong, Grace, and Fargo have all seen a lot of action.
You know what I didn't knit this year? SOCKS! Only two pairs, if you count my Tardis socks.... and I don't. But, I really, really LOVE my Scott Base socks. So, that's something.
Also, I did my first knit along this year, which was immediately followed by a second! (And, a third, and probably a fourth, but that's a post for another day). I could write an entire post on the projects I've started and haven't finished. There are a lot(bummer). Still, I'm pleased with all the knits I produced during the 2013. And, while I didn't knit as much as I would have preferred, I did reach a milestone. Officially, I have ONLY hand knit sweaters! It's been a slow process and a long time coming, and it feels pretty fantastic! Realizing the first leg of my goal to have an entirely self-made wardrobe has me excited to continue progress on the rest!
During our move, there hasn't been a lot of order in my universe. I have dozens of projects in various stages of completion. And, I haven't paid attention to most of them in a long while. Last month, as Meg and I finished our first KAL, her first sweater, she asked if I would be interested in starting another project along with her and the lovely Liz. (Meg is addicted to sweater knitting. Officially.) My first KAL with Meg was a wonderful, loosely structured experience, and it provided me with a lot of motivation to meet my project goals in a timely fashion, a nice contrast to the rest of my day-to-day. I quickly agreed to round two.
Meg, Liz and I knit from the same pattern, the Ingenue by Wendy Bernard. Similar to the first KAL, we met to knit and discuss our project progress over tea, and we set knitting goals to achieve between gatherings. We had a lot of fun. I very thoroughly enjoy these girls, very. We made swift progress on sweaters and finished them in just a touch longer than a month.
Still, we didn't finish our sweaters fast enough to beat the cold. Fortunately, Chicago offers some alternatives to outdoor locations that are perfect for documenting finished objects. We decided to meet and snap pictures at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. The conservatory is a remarkable Victorian era building in the heart of Lincoln Park, which, shamefully, I had never been to prior to the date we met to take pictures. It was a great space to capture our projects. It's warm, it's beautiful, and it's FREE.
It's fair to say, we spent the majority of our time at the conservatory goofing around. Meg is an instigator. She brings the silly, and she had us laughing constantly. We managed to only be scolded once. If you go to the conservatory, don't touch the plants. HA!
The most interesting part about knitting a sweater as a group is seeing the different results we each got from using different yarns and making design choices. All of our yarns produced a different fabric. And, each of us has a different sleeve. Also, we all showed-up to the conservatory without discussing our outfit plans, and we had three distinct ways of wearing our sweaters.
The Ingenue sweater is a top-down raglan with a wide, stand-up collar. At the end of knitting, the collar is folded and stitched into place to provide stability and structure. Also interesting, the waist decreases are done in a princess seam style, down the front and back of the body, while the increases are at the sides, as you would typically expect.
The rest of the sweater is knit like a standard raglan. No surprises. I knit exactly as the pattern instructed for the size small, until the sleeve. I chose to eliminate the increases and bell sleeve. Instead, I knit straight after the completion of decreases for a standard 3/4 sleeve.
My finished sweater is essentially zero ease throughout. I got great gauge from my yarn, Rowan Felted Tweed and size 8US needles. I barely touched the edges with steam prior to wearing it for the first time. It will be interesting to see how the yarn behaves after it's blocked. Hopefully, it's doesn't grow or shift much.
My sweater arsenal could use a few more pullovers like this one. It's a really versatile and quick project, so I may revisit this pattern again.
The collar and border details give this design the right amount of visual interest to keep if from being boring. Prior to knitting, I had mixed emotions about whether or not I was going to like the collar. Now that we're finished, the collar is my favorite part.
That is Meg's finger. She may have learned that I'm ticklish during the course of this photo shoot. Enough said.
There will be more collaborative projects around these parts. In person KALs are like book club for knitters. It's really fun and social. And, the motivation... It's so helpful to know that other people are counting on you. If you're in the Chicagoland area and want to participate in our next project, contact Meg with your information and she'll get you the details. We'll be starting work on the Vitamin D cardigan in January. In the interim, we're gearing-up for our Knit for Victory projects. Liz and Meg feature their sweaters and more group-shots on their blogs, Zilredloh and Meg the Grand. Go check them out!
As a final note, I want to say, these pictures wouldn't be possible without the patience and skill of our awesome photographers, Felix and Mike. They're the best! Seriously!