Saturday, December 27, 2014

Year in Review: 2014

I predicted earlier this year that 2014 was going to be a busy year, but I had no idea just how right I was going to be.

Perhaps every year is busy and formative and life changing, but we never stop to think about it and examine what happened (or at least I don't) so we just move on, thinking that another year flew past us. And really, this year completely flew by. Before I get in to some of the crazy ups and downs, let's start by addressing the goals I set for myself at the beginning of this year:

Circle Skirt and Gray Wrap Top
Sewing Less. I definitely achieved this. I sewed a lot less than normal, but I am SO pleased with the results. I think my finished products are much higher quality than they would have been if I was just zipping through them. While I want to sew more next year, I'm pleased with how my garments turned out, and I like the whole going slow movement.

My cape!
Mend and Refashion. I think I mended zero things this year. BUT I did do one refashion. I was actually going to make a blog post about it - I took pictures and everything - but a few days later I decided I wanted to redo the contrast fabric in something else. I have yet to do it.

My one refashion!

If you recognize the fabric, it used to be this dress that was pretty shoddily sewn. To be fair, it was only my second project! Anyway, I used Vintage Butterick 6647 for the jacket and generally I love it and I'm counting it towards my Vintage Pledge this year. So why haven't you seen a blog post about it? Because a few days after I took pictures of it, I decided I wanted to change it. The gray cotton contrast is lovely, but it feels a bit too much like a robe. I want to switch it out with some charcoal wool to make it a bit heavier, and I'm thinking about adding some cuffs. So this finished object is officially a WIP!

My first knitting design!
New blogs. I started two new blogs this year. The first, Crunchy in the City, is all about food, fermentation, and skin care products I make. I want to do more with it, but I'm pleased with how it's coming along so far. The second, We All Knit Here, is dedicated to the beginner knitter, or anyone who wants to learn to knit from home. I think announced it in March, but apparently it's hard work to create online video courses - my first course launched this month, and you can find it here (and hey, it's half off for the holidays!). Enjoy my bloopers.

RTW Fast. I pledged to not buy any ready to wear clothes this year, as part of Goodbye Valentino's pledge. I'm happy to say I stuck with that pledge with a few exceptions: I bought two pairs of leggings and a bra. In fact, I was actually really happy to have that as an excuse when I'd go out shopping with friends; otherwise I would have spent way too much money on items that I probably wouldn't have worn. It also really made me examine what I need in my closet and what I should be making, rather than just making pretty dresses. Even though I made mostly pretty dresses, ha!

My mermaid inspired skirt - for the Mermaid Parade, of course!
Stashbusting Sewing. I pledged not to buy anymore fabric until the summer, thinking that would make a huge dent in my stash. Or even a small dent in my stash. It did not, and in fact my stash grew. I was given loads of fabric by a few generous souls, I won some contests, and I participated in some sewing swaps. And then, I think in August, I bought some more fabric that I haven't used. I bought more fabric in November, but I'm happy to say I at least made something out of that.

One of my faves, buying this fabric was totally worth it.
More crafts. I failed. I did manage to find time to make art in Central Park this summer, but my goal of crafting once a month was a complete failure.

SO. Those were just the ideas I had for myself at the start of this year. Some stuck, some didn't (isn't that always how it goes?), but generally I'm happy with them. Of course, other things happened as well:

Ruffled Maxi

I found my soul sister in fashion, Ulyana Sergeenko. Are you tired of hearing about her yet? I hope not because I want to create more outfits inspired by her.

I actually have WIPs! Typically I don't move onto a new project until I'm finished, but I've been working on multiple projects at once and actually tossing some to the side.

A photo posted by Kristin (@kristincreates) on
This, as you can see, was supposed to be my Halloween costume. I was much too slow to make that deadline, but as I continued on, I realized that it was much too large. Originally I was going to ignore the size and continue on, as a little extra room in a jacket isn't always so bad, but the arms are so gigantic that I have to go back and take a closer look at it, which I just haven't done yet.

A photo posted by Kristin (@kristincreates) on
These are my Colette Iris shorts. The pattern seems easy and straightforward, but I really hate shorts on me. See, my thighs rub together when I walk and while that creates holes in my fabric when I wear jeans, hose, tights, etc, it makes my shorts ride up into my crotch. It isn't pretty. I thought maybe it would be different if I sewed a pair though. After some investigating, I read that if the shorts are longer that the fattest part of your thigh, they won't ride up. So I made these longer to avoid that, but I HATE how long they look. I could also make them super short, but who wears short shorts? Not this girl. They're also a bit large so maybe taking them in would help? I don't know.

On a more personal note, part of the reason I didn't make as much stuff this year was because I had quite a few ups and downs. I down want to label anything as negative because it's my belief that negative situations tend to be some of the best ways to grow and succeed. I quit the job I hated with every fiber of my being and took 6 weeks off to explore NYC with my sister. It was her first time visiting and we had a blast. It was much needed because I fell back in love with NYC again by the end of her visit. (I mean, I still want to move, but at least I can appreciate it now!)

At the same time, my boyfriend's heavy drinking got way out of control. While that is/was a terrible, awful thing, it pushed me to seek outside help, make new friends, and even take a bit of a spiritual journey along the way. I hope that doesn't sound too corny, but those aren't words I ever thought I'd speak, and I find myself coping with the stress and anxiety of life so much easier now.

And then, because I hadn't grown enough spiritually or something, the universe threw an autoimmune disease at me. I've unwittingly had symptoms for years, but my body decided this year was too much and suddenly I found myself unable to walk and remember how to form complete sentences and sometimes I didn't even have the strength to open my eyes. (PS - if you saw me at a sewing event in NYC this year and I was acting weird or seemed to avoid you, that's why. I promise I'm not angry or ignoring you!) I'm very lucky in that I found some great doctors and while I don't have a diagnosis yet, I am responding to some medications so I can function most days.

My gown - 2 years in the making!
I'm actually not too disappointed about the latter because I finally know what's been causing my weird symptoms all these weird, plus, as my body becomes increasingly intolerant to cold and hot days and as I can really only work part time, I find my dreams of retiring to a temperate climate, becoming an eccentric, and wearing long sundresses within reach. I've been dying to make a parasol for years now, and now I'll have to because I'll actually need to use it. Perhaps I can semi-retire and move to a beach town in Costa Rica next year after all... Or maybe California. We'll see.

Goodness me, this wrap-up is a bit long. Stay tuned for my goals for next year! (And maybe even another project, if I can fit it in this year!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Knitting Fail: Tempting Fate

Guys, I really loved this sweater. I REALLY wanted to make it work, but I don't think I can. (Unless you brilliant ladies can help?!)

Look at the detail! I was so proud of my color work here. And guys, these are MOTHS. Putting moths on yarn sweaters is so brilliant. I was so pumped to make this.

If you recall, I had trouble early on because the size 34 was wayyy too big on my size 34 chest. There were also no decreases in the waist so when I went down a needle size, I added in decreases. They weren't enough so I started over again with even more decreases. I thought I had it all worked out, but look at this.

I'm touching my shoulder. And this is not supposed to be a turtleneck, or whatever kind of neck this has become.

I tried blocking it a couple of times. The last time, this past weekend, I took measurements for everything and pulled and pinched just so, but to no avail.

I mean, has this ever happened to you before? Is there anyway to fix this?

I don't really want to frog this sweater, especially since I've spent so much time on it, but it's unwearable.

Ravelry notes here.