Monday, January 19, 2015

Knitting for Others - X-mas

So I'm still a bit behind on blogging about stuff, but before we begin with the actual sewn garments, I'll show you the X-mas gifts I knitted real quick. :) We don't give gifts in my immediate family (and aren't I grateful - instead we try to spend time together and have fabulous dinners), but there's always a few people requiring gifts: my two grannies, B.'s family, mostly (my tiny half siblings like it better if they get actual toys, not pretend-gifts like me-made stuff).

This is what I made for B's family. The headbands are more or less self-drafted and knit with chunky wool. They're very fast to knit, maybe an hour? Two at the most. The green one was for B's cousin, the navy one for his dad and the teal one for his mom.
His brother got the acid green mittens, he's an IT guy / programmer so I was thinking that mitts he could wear while programming were probably a good gift. The pattern is Maize by tincanknits (free on Ravelry). The fuchsia pair of mittens was for B's grandma, a most lovely old lady. She used to sew and I even recieved some of her stash fabrics some time ago. They're made of Alpaca yarn and the pattern is Cranford Mitts (which is part of the p-hop initiative by Médecens sans frontières).
I also made a pair of self-striping socks for B's grandpa. I bought a book on how to knit two socks at the same time, which is pretty marvellous! Combined with the fact that I used 6 ply wool, these were even knit up within a week, which is definitely a first for me.
The pièce de resistance is the Percy shawl I knit for my granny, though. I started it the fall before last Christmas and didn't manage to finish it in time. It's knit from the apex of the triangle to the base, so every row takes longer and longer to knit... Then at some point, the nupps start, which is where I pretty much gave up last year. ;) First knitting 7 stitches into one, and then purling all 7 stitches together on the back row??! I felt like I almost broke my fingers several times. But I was so happy when I finished it!!! It turned out truly beautiful, and my granny may have shed a couple of tears when she unwrapped it. :)
And because I can't do a whole post just about knitting for others... when there was still some knitting time and yarn left over the holidays, I made a headband for myself. :)
Do you tend to give hand-made Christmas gifts?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sewing Top 5 - Reflections and Goals

I know Gillian has pretty much already wrapped up the sewing top five, but since this post has been half-written for several days (and I really prefer finishing stuff, if possible), here's my last part! :)

I have to say, reflections and goals are not my favorite. I stopped making New Year's resolutions several years ago. I usually just think that stuff went ok and that it's probably going to continue to do so. I mean, I've got stuff like life-goals (like, starting a family before turning thirty and this whole becoming-a-doctor-and-then-a-GP stuff) and very small/short-time goals (like cooking dinner and then taking a bath tonight and seeing "Waiting for Godot" at the theater later this month). Maybe it's that I'm just not all that ambitious about my hobbies? At least not in the I'm-going-to-learn-this-skill-and-then-accomplish-that sense of the word. It's not that I don't want to learn things. I made an Anise jacket last month, complete with welt pockets and bound button holes (yup, still unblogged). I started this trouser thing (similarly unblogged, because unfinished) that I'd like to continue this year. With Ginger jeans, possibly.
Then again, I just looked over my Goals for 2014 (I never looked at them during the year) and realized that, while they were pretty specific, they were actually stuff I worked on. Huh. Seems like I chose goals that was actually more or less sensible. ;-) Let's have a look at it:

1. Close some wardrobe gaps, like making a lacy dress, a slinky top, a denim skirt. No slinky top was forthcoming, but I made several lacy dresses and a twisty, long-sleeved party dress (unblogged) as well as two Moss skirts.

2. Make some clothes for work. No trousers and no collared blouses, but I made some t-shirts/tops that got worn a lot for work.

3. Work on a better fit. Well, it was mostly knits this year, so there wasn't a lot of working involved. Just feels-like-pyjamas garments.

4. Reduce the fabric stash so it fits on my shelves, give the rest away or sew with it. Well. I gave some fabric away and I sewed some up, but mostly I freed up some shelf space to house my new fabric... So that's a no.

5. Try five patterns from the stash that I hadn't sewn up yet. Well, I'm dubious about that. But let's have a look at what I actually sewed this year.

one Simplicity 5421 skirt - already made before (using fabric from stash)
two Moss skirts - from pattern stash (fabric from stash)
six Ottoble raglan tops and a dress - TNT (all using new fabric)
two knit Macaron dresses - TNT (one using stash fabric, one using new fabric)
one Ultimate wrap dress - new pattern (new fabric)
two twisty dresses and a top - new pattern (new fabric)
one Anise jacket - new pattern (new fabric)
two sundresses from Gertie's book - pattern stash (one using stash fabric, one new)
five Lola dresses - TNT (one refashion, two using new fabric, one using stash)
one pair of Espresso leggings - TNT (new fabric)
one Bronte top - new pattern (new fabric)
one unfinished muslin of the Thurlow trousers - pattern stash (stash fabric)
one modified Verity dress - already made before (stash fabric)

Ok, so I used three patterns from my pattern stash that I hadn't used before. I also bought about fifteen new patterns. Well, well, well... That's also eight garments using stash fabric vs. seventeen garments using new (bought in 2014) fabric (and one refashion). Oh well. It's also 25 (point five, counting the unfinished trousers as half) garments in total. Plus five pairs of knickers (from scraps), which I also counted last year. So, 30 garments. That less than last year's 42, but still averaging a bit more than a garment every two weeks, which sounds pretty good to me. :)

Reflections? Well.

1. I like shiny new fabric. And it's best when I use it up right away. There's some stuff in my fabric stash that I'm occasionally grateful for (black jersey, anyone?) but overall, I think it would be better if my stash were smaller and I'd use up stuff before buying new. Because my tastes change, and there's always the lure of new fabric. 

2. I like my TNT patterns best and use them all the time. But it's fun to buy new patterns, too. (So. Many. PATTERNS out there!)

3. I usually sew in bursts, when sewing mojo and free time meet. If I haven't sewn for a while, it's harder to get the mojo up, so I make a Lola dress. Or an Ottobre top. And maybe something else afterwards, because I'm in the zone.

4. I think two garments a month is a pretty sustainable pace of making for me. Enough shiny new things to make me happy, without totally overflowing my wardrobe.

5. I'm too tired to think of another one...

Goals (?)

I really like Gillian's goals, actually. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" So in 2015 I'm going to:

1. continue to sew. As much as is fun.

2. continue to learn and grow my skills. As much as is fun.

3. make stuff. Possibly new stuff, like maybe some trousers. And a bathing suit (Bombshell!). Also, TNT stuff like Ottobre raglan tops and jersey dresses and Lolas. Because. :)

4. possibly find a new battery for my camera remote and actually take nice pictures. Or get one of these funny selfie sticks for my phone? 'Cause B. always pouts when I make him take pictures. (Ok let's be honest, in all probability my photography won't improve this year. I'm not bothered and I hope you can forgive me.)

5. continue to blog. Occasionally, when I find the time. 'Cause I started working at the hospital last week, and there's going to be night and weekend shifts. Thankfully not right away, but soon. So.

Huh. Ok, so I'm not sure if this was quite the note I wanted to hit for a New Year's reflection post. I'm actually still a bit intimidated by my new job, and the challenges that I'm going to face. I'm pretty sure it's going to be alright in the end (and it's just for a year, then it's back to the nice regularity of the doctor's office). So I'm just going to leave you with yesterday's pretty sunset.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sewing Top 5 - Highlights

So I had better blog about the rest of my Top 5 before January is over, right? Not time like the present. :)
The new category this year is non-sewing highlights which I think is a fun category, so thanks for including it, Gillian!

My highlights for 2015:

1. Holding an actual full-time job for the first time in my life.
I did rather enjoy the countless (ok, let's be honest, seven) years of being at uni, wild and free ;) but it's kinda satisfying to actually make money and not rely on the goodwill of my parents anymore. Jarring to not have about 4 months of vacation this year. But it's funny how much more I look forward to those actual free days like week-ends and holidays. Also: I'm a doctor now. (I still kinda feel like a fake when I say that. Lol.)
2. 12 years with B.
I had my 12 year anniversary with my boyfriend B. this year. He's still my favorite person in the world. :) We had a lot of wonderful moments together this year. Spa day. Going to the theater. Macaron baking class. :)
3. Travelling
To Würzburg. To Italy. To Liverpool and Edinburgh. Home. To Westphalia. To the Baltic Sea. Italy again. Hanover. Home.
4. Starting on my PhD
(I think that's what it is. 'Cause you're an MD (physician in Germany) when you finish medschool and do your board exams, right? If you go on to do research and write a scientific thesis/publish papers you get a PhD (Dr. med. in Germany). I think? Systems are so different... ;) )
5. Stuff
Because I think I'm counting it a highlight that I still manage to do the stuff that I love (a.k.a. sewing, choir singing, meeting friends on a regular basis, travelling, growing tomatoes, occasionally writing stories and, on similarly rare occasions, blogging) while still holding aforementioned full-time job. I know, there are people who juggle all that plus family and kids and probably finding a cure for cancer. How'd you do that, peeps?
Um yeah. So maybe not quite the usual sort of highlights. But I feel like it has been a fantastic year overall. Which is pretty much what counts, right?