Saturday, December 29, 2012

Looking back on 2012

Hi everyone! :) Did you have good Holidays? Mine were lovely, if - as always - packed with visiting various parts of the extended family. I did enjoy a veritable mount of delicious food and wine, and the opportunity to see people I hadn't met in a while, both family and old friends and acquaintances from school. I also got to see my four-month-old little half-sister for the first time!

And I finished my Christmas dress just in time to wear on Christmas Eve, hand-stitching the hem an hour before dinner started. Better photos and more details soon!
the christmas dress: a parfait in red corduroy. it's still missing the pockets.
So I took some time today to look back on my sewing this year, and I have to say, I did way better than I thought in review. :) I thought I worked so much, I hardly had time for either sewing or blogging, but I actually sewed twenty garments, twelve of them dresses, one of them refashioned, and one bag and also knitted six items (two pairs of socks, one cardi and three hats). And I finished at least one project, either knitted or sewn, every month!
winter rooibos made in january - one of my favorite winter dresses
long-sleeved macaron made in january - truly comfy and worn lots
I also averaged a blog post every 8.7 days, and while I would prefer about 1-2 per week, that's nothing to sneeze at. (I'm very impressed that some of you blog 4-6 times a week, even while being mothers and/or working fulltime jobs - how do you do that, ladies?!)
polka-dot jersey dress made in march

strawberry-and-jersey macaron made in may - I love it!
I do regret that I didn't have a lot of time to take part in the community that is us fabulous sewing ladies, though. While I did participate in OWOP, the Pyjama Party and Me-Made May on my blog, I didn't take part in the respective buzz on flickr, I totally missed all of the Colette sew-alongs and others I'd have liked to take part in, and I'm very conscious of the fact that I have let my reader get to 400+ blog posts time and again, and have been really bad at commenting and answering my comments. Oh well, that's life sometimes, right?
striped jersey dress, made in may - my most worn summer dress!
My resolutions for the new year definitely include trying to find a way to better include both sewing and blogging/reading into a workday. The first will definitely be easier, as I now have a dedicated sewing space! I also want to try and break down my sewing process into little chunks before I start, as right now I'm more likely to sew a dress in three to four sittings of 3-4h each (1. tracing, 2. cutting, 3. sewing, 4. the-little-things a.k.a zipper, buttons, hem etc.).
minnie dress, made in august - colorful and comfy!
I'd also like to take a shot a finishing my countless UFOs (there's at least four dresses, two skirts and a top already partly cut out) and continue chipping away at my stash. I love and am excited by new fabric, but all the unrealized potential hidden in my stash almost makes me sad sometimes! Plus, with our new (bigger and more expensive) apartment, there will be less spending money until I've completed my education and found a job (hopefully in August), so using my stash for most of my projects will be essential.
striped top made in september - a wardrobe gap filler :)
For now, I will have to cope with organizing my days into study-time and breaks. I finished my last day of surgical internship before Christmas (woohoo!), so now it's revising everything I've ever learned (and everything I've missed until now) for written board exams in April, and orals in June. I'm partly excited and partly full of dread! - but I'll be sure to schedule breaks for sewing and outdoor-time and sports and friends and healthy eating, to survive all that cramming-knowledge-into-my-head. *g*

So how did the holidays treat you? Did you have a good time? What's your view on the last year? Are you also heading for great changes in the new one?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

December Days

Oh how lovely, a Sunday with nothing much to do. :) I already had a wonderful breakfast with my parents, who came to Berlin over the weekend to listen to my choir concert last Thursday. We also had a Christmas party with our combined friends (drinking yummy Feuerzangenbowle, which by the way I wrote a guest post about over at Rhinestones&Telephones!). And the best thing: it's still light outside, and will be for a few more hours, so I may finally be able to sew a bit, which I haven't done in weeks, even though I had three garments on my to-sew-for-Christmas list.
fabric for Holiday garments: red and green corduroy and torquoise cotton sateen

I even already traced the pattern. Yay!

I also finally caved in and bought a rotary cutter and cutting mat for more efficient cutting. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm soo looking forward to less hassle while cutting lining fabrics! I may be able to cut them on grain for the first time! Yay!
I haven't done much knitting either - I'm kinda missing the long commute to my last internship, which made for much productive knitting, even though I'm very happy about being home earlier! I started something new, though, a cute pattern in colourwork. My first.
I've already made a few beginner's mistakes: I think it would have been smart to use a larger needle size than recommended on the yarn, because I have the tendency to not stretch the stitches enough when changing colours. I also didn't  know about keeping the background colour in the back (yarn dominance) for the first half of it. And another singer from my choir showed me how to knit with one colour on each of my hands, which still feels very awkward but is kinda cool! I'll tell you more about my adventures in colourwork knitting soon. :)

I hope you have a lovely Holiday time!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Settling in

My calender tells me that today is the 1st of December. I've opened the first little door on my advent calender and eaten the little piece of chocolate. There was even a bit of snow on the rooftops when I woke up. It'll be Christmas in no time, and then New Year's Eve, and can somebody tell me where 2012 got to? This year went by crazy fast!

We've been living in our new flat for a month now, and I have no idea if it actually feels way longer or way shorter than that. Actually, it does feel longer. I unpacked the last of the boxes but one (containing our CDs and DVDs) today. It was the rest of my sewing things. Everything else is already unpacked. This flat feels like home. Sitting in bed and having coffee on a weekend morning feels like home. Making dinner in our assembled-with-our-own-hands kitchen feels like home. Slumming around on our brand new red sofa reading the paper feels like home. Even though there are tools scattered all over the room.

The home office still looks chaotic and there's not a stitch of decoration anywhere. We definitely need curtains, since the outer walls and the living-room windows in this hundred-year-old building are not that well insulated. We need art on the walls, and photos. There's still a naked light bulb lighting the home office. We need one more bookshelf, and organizing equipment for my sewing room and desk. And stuff.

You know?


But it does feel like we've come incredibly far in a short time.
Wanna have a look at my new sewing nook?
sewing nook
It's in the sleeping room, right in front of the window. Just a little table and chair, with my two sewing machines on it, and some drawers and boxes. I'll probably need some shelves, too, as right now a lot of stuff (like scraps and current projects) are still in bags.
I wanted an open dresser, which now houses all my clothes (the me-mades are hanging in the middle), my dressy shoes, my sewing stash and on top, some odds and ends.
the stash
I didn't think I had this big a stash, until I saw it all in one place. Well, intellectually, I knew. But I had almost forgotten about some of it. Btw, fabrics are on the three shelves on the left plus on the top one on the right. Sorted loosely by weight and type...
Oh, and two of the drawers in the desk hold refashioning items. And UFOs are in one of the bags. So yes, there is even more...

Now that it's all sorted out, I hope I can finally start stitching again. I've already compiled a huge winter to-sew list, which includes covers for two chairs and two Parfaits made from green and red corduroy, respectively. Also, Christmas presents for my little half brother (t-shirt) and half sister (red corduroy dress, if I can manage). There's also a to-knit list, consisting of two to five pairs of socks, and hats with ears (for the half siblings, obviously). Considering that it took me two months to finish my newest pair of socks ...
It's alpaca wool variegated yarn, from ONline Sockenwolle (which Roobeedoo raved about sometime last winter, which made me buy some, and it really is lovely!) and I used the instructions that came with the yarn for a change, instead of knitting toe-up. I kinda like this way of making the heel.

They also match my outfit today.
the tights and longsleeves are purple, even though you can't see it in this light
Warm and comfy. A definite plus on a cold winter day! :)
Stay warm and have a lovely weekend, wherever you are!