Well hello there strangers!
I’m so sorry I’ve been ignoring you all. I’m afraid I have been without a computer from the end of November until last week! My computer has had it’s Christmas holiday away having a new hard disk and graphics card installed, and is now all back and ready for some hardcore 2015 blogging action. I took the opportunity to have a good rest, and a lot of time away from the screen, but that didn’t mean I had a rest from making and sewing. I know it’s a little untimely to be showing you all this stuff, but who cares, better late than never eh!
I made 2 pairs of these for my Granddad and my Dad, who are both avid Manchester City supporters, so they had to be in the mandatory blue. The inspiration for the pattern came from the wonderful Laura of Kathy I’m Lost, who sews like a demon and knits as if she had an extra hand. (In reality she is quite beautiful and has a regular amount of limbs). She recommended the Tracks pattern by OzKnitter, which is available as a free download on Ravelry. The yarn I used is some marvellous self striping yarn called Zig-Zag by King Cole.
I’m not sure how fast a knitter I am, but knitting socks takes me a long time. There is easily 20 hours in each pair. Laura lent me her sock blockers, and some amazing wool wash called soak, which you use to wash your wool in when finished knitting. It leaves a lovely scent you can’t stop sniffing. This is actually the first hand knitted item I’ve ever blocked. See the difference?
I sure hope my Dad and Granddad liked their socks, because believe me people, there is nowt better treat, than handmade socks for your feet!
This should have been an easy make, my step sister chose the fabric herself, and the pattern was a fairly straightforward freebie from LoveSewing magazine. However, I managed to fluff it by sewing the sleeves on the wrong way round, and then burning a hole in the fabric as I was doing the last press. So…. I made a second one. This gave me the opportunity to make it a little longer, and finish the seams more tidily. My sister only wears black, so this was my attempt at getting some more colour in to her wardrobe, and guess what, she loved it! (I think this has a lot to do with it showing off her first tattoo she got on her 18th birthday!) I modified the pattern to add a black strip to the bottom of the sleeves and along the hemline.
A few of my friends were given simple zipper pouches. They only took an hour or so to make, and are great stash busters. Sam is keeping her tarot card in hers, and Elena is using hers to carry hand cream, herb cream & tinted lip balm. Very versatile you know!
Christmas Jams and Chutneys
Not sewing related, but completely yummy. I love giving homemade food for Christmas, and I think this Christmas Jam was one of the nicest jams I’ve made. I used organic frozen strawberries, and organic dried cranberries, a whole load of sugar, and liquid pectin to help it set. I’ve never used pectin before, relying on the usual thermometer method, but I’m a convert. Pectin is so much easier, and makes sure you get a good set in less time, meaning more of the fruit stays intact. I’m going to make more of my festive jam out of season, that’s how good it was. If you’d like the recipes you can find the Christmas jam recipe here, and the Christmas chutney recipe here.
Festive Shoe Clips
I made a few of these to sell at a craft stall I had in December. I think they are pretty awesome, but I didn’t sell any. They are just a simple bow that I attached a little clip on to, and they jazz up any shoe with some Christmas flare. They also make cute little bow-ties, as Evan discovered.
After Evan hit on to the Christmas bow tie discovery, I had to make him a matching waistcoat, using my downloadable free toddler waistcoat pattern. Luckily it was a hit, and Evan wore it consecutively with his santa hat for about 2 weeks.
I was really pleased with my cards this year. I usually make them for close friends and family only, and they have all come to expect it now so I get complaints if I send a shop bought card. This year I wanted to make a card that Evan could help with. I came up with a sponge painted background to replicate the nights sky (Which Evan could do) and then I could stick on the twigs we would collect together. The wooden owl motifs I found at a haberdashery in Leeds market. In the end, Evan showed little interest for sponge painting, instead favouring his toy trains, so I mostly did them myself. Maybe I’ll have to make next years cards train related?
Things to look forward to in 2015
So, that was my creative Christmas splurge. Now back to sewing something for myself hopefully! I am making no plans this year to be more organised or to plan. I’m going to spend the year just going with the flow, seeing what happens, and working more intuitively. Sewing is my fun, downtime, and I don’t want it become something I feel stressed about. I’m going to do what I can, and use what I have. I’d like to make a dent in the huge list of projects I have filling the left side of my brain.
I have made a few non-sewing resolutions though. I usually try to focus on adding something positive to my life, rather than change a current behaviour. My list as it stands is:
- Learn to crochet
- Play more; have more silly time with my son
- Learn Spanish
- Start drum lessons again
- Meditate for 5 minutes each day
- Run 5k – I was so close before hurting my hip in November and I’d like to get back to speed
As it’s February now, seems daft to say Happy New Year, but I’ll wish you all the best for 2015, and join me in a cheer that winter is almost over and spring is almost here! Hooray!