Top 5 of 2013: Misses

Today we are going to talk about this year misses. It’s not something to cry about if from our mistakes we can learn something for the future. That’s why I’ll not only talk about the misses but also what I should have done to avoid them in the future.

1. Mad Men Dress Challenge: Product of my inexperience but it helped me to lose the fear of making a garment from scratch by myself. You can see the poor fit, before knowing how to do a sway back adjustment. You also don’t want to see how I finished my seams, they look hideous and some of them are not even finished. The collar doesn’t fall right. This was a partial failure but it was also a great start, and the most important think, I know how to avoid the same mistakes. I would need a sway back adjustment, to cut the lower piece of the collar a bit smaller and to finish my seams neatly. But you know, this was pre-A-line skirt.

2. Hawthorne: I don’t know why but I was not thrilled about this from the beginning but the sewalong motivated me to make this dress. Unfortnately in my inexperience I didn’t do an FBA and the bodice doesn’t fit well. So naive, I thought moving the darts was enough, but you can see that the waist drops a bit at the front. Now I know what to do for the next time. I could also have adjusted the waist to have it a little bit more tight there.

3. Portrait Blouse: I liked how the blouse looked on Gertie, but I think we have a different complexion. I had to prolong the tucks to avoid having a sack appearance. The fit is right now but the armholes are just wrong. I’m not sure if it’s a design issue. On one hand they are a bit too tight on the underarm and on the other hand that part did not form a 90º angle so when you join the front and the back and need to hem that, it doesn’t sit right. I need to fix it, I think I’ll leave it for spring.

4. Crochet booties: I haven’t talked about them here because I didn’t considerate it worth it. They were just two pairs that cost me two evenings so I’m not going to cry about it. The main problem here was that the Koen’s nephew will be as tall as his uncle, and it’s already showing now 😉

Probably you’ll notice that I only talked about four projects and none of them was a knit, since I am very satisfied with all of them (you know, experience). I think it was a good year in general, and making some mistakes from time to time can be very didactic. The important thing is to recognize them and learn from them. And you’ll see that you will commit less of them when you gain more experience. Not that you will not make mistakes, but they will be smaller and fewer. I’m quite satisfied with my knitting nowadays, since I have gained enough experience so that I don’t make loads of stupid mistakes and when I make them I know how to recognize them early in the process so that it’s not painful in the end.

Learning and having fun. This is the goal of this, am I right?

Top 5 of 2013: Hits

I’ve just fond this wonderful initiative by Gillian and I couldn’t help but join. Today I will enumerate my 2013 hits. These are my most loved creations from this year:

Sewing:

1. Thurlow Trowsers: They were a bit of a challenge but I love how they fit, so much that I dislike wearing my other pants and I urgently need to make more of these. I’ve already cut a pair in corduroy and bought some wool for another pair. They are beautiful and extremely comfortable. When I’m not wearing sweatpants to work (I work from home) I wear these, and also for going out and everyday life. The downside is that they need to be washed and cannot be worn everyday for just that reason.

2. Lady Skater Dress: It’s easy to make, very comfortable to wear and very flattering even for pear-shaped gals. It’s my to go dress for any warm day. I bought more fabric to make two more for next summer.

3. A-line skirt: This project marked a before and after in my sewing. It was the result of this Craftsy class, and I finally succeeded in making a skirt that flattered my body. Being pear-shaped it was not easy, but this skirt got me many compliments from other sewers. As I’d already mentioned before I have learned four key concepts with this class:

  • How to sew on a blind zipper without having puckers.
  • How to sew the facing to the zipper with the machine.
  • The importance of square angles at the sides (waist and hem) when designing the skirt.
  • How to use muslins to improve fitting.

4. Reversible Zippie Hoodie: I wanted to sew something for my niece this year and this design fitted the bill. The construction is very clever and the execution went very smooth. My niece instantly loved it and if fits wonderfully.

5. Jedediah pants: Koen was so jealous of my pants that he requested a pair for him. This pattern had just been released at the right moment. I modified it to adjust it to Koen’s figure and preferences. He loves these linen pants so much that he’s still wearing them now in December. I should definitely make at least another pair of pants for him.

Knitting:

1. Freija: I loved the yarn from the beginning, the color was gorgeous and it was very soft. I wanted to knit this pattern for ages and with a couple of mods it came out perfect. I wear it a lot and the yarn is quite durable. It got me many complements from knitters and non-knitters.

2. Émilien: I was at first afraid of the sweater curse, but nothing bad happened during its execution or later. It was Koen himself who requested this cardigan and the colors to combine. He wears it a lot except when it’s just to warm for it. I learned some new things with this project:

  • Provisional cast-on
  • Jogless stripes
  • Matress stitch
  • How to sew a zipper to knitted garments

3. Miette Cardigan: I was not very excited about the yarn used for this project while I was knitting it, but it has proven to be perfect for when the weather cools down in summer. I’ve used it a lot more than expected and it goes perfectly with my Lady Skater Dress.

4. Cellphone Sleeve: A very simple project and my first design. Not a very exciting project but Koen requested it and loved it. He used until last month, when he got a new cell phone. He’s already requested a new one but has to wait until the Christmas rush has passed 🙁

5. Calimero: I almost forgot this one. It’s true that sometimes we don’t see what’s just in front of our eyes, because I’ve been wearing this non-stop since the weather cooled down. It’s very comfortable and warm, and once you slip it in you forget about it, unlike some scarfs which tend to move. It was an easy knit and it proved very useful.

These were my 2013 hits. What were yours?

Completed: Gramps

Koen’s nephew turned 1 year last October, and like his uncle he’s very tall for his age. I made some crochet booties on July but they were too small for him. Decided not to make the same mistake again I knitted this Gramps in size 18 – 24 months for this Christmas.

This first picture is from before blocking it. That’s why it looks a bit wonky.

And you can see here that it’s a little bit large but he will soon fill it.

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I used Cascade 220 superwash for the first time and I was surprised at its softness. It felt different than normal Cascade 220. I recommend this yarn for baby projects for its easy care and because it is extremely soft. I think it would be a good option for a baby blanket because it’s also very affordable.

The original pattern included pockets, but I was so overloaded at the moment that I didn’t have time to make them. The cardigan is also cute without them and the parents are happy with it. Next time I should start earlier with Christmas presents. Sigh, every year the same.

Ravelry project here.

Knitting for a friend’s baby

My friend Vanessa had her second baby this past September so I decided to knit something for the baby for my visit during Christmas. I went again for Aviatrix and this time I made a 3 months size Beyond Puerperium.

I didn’t want to go for the usual baby pink and I found this hot pink in Artesano Superwash Merino that I loved so much last year. This yarn knits wonderfully and the stitch definition is great. Since I finished the cardigan already at my mother’s place and due to the humidity and the poor heating (compared to my apartment) I steamed block it instead of the normal wet blocking I always do. It worked just fine.

I bought coordinated buttons in two different sizes for the hat and the cardigan. At first I thought about white buttons, but then I saw this purple ones and I just loved the contrast.

I gave this two garments to my friend a couple of days ago and she liked them a lot. Not only that, but the others were also amazed and Ana couldn’t stop herself from making pictures of them.

I know these girls since kindergarten and we still see each other at least a couple of times a year. We talk about the present, the past and the future like no time has passed between this and the previous time. We met when we were children, we grew up together, studied together and went out together when we were teenagers. It’s very comforting that after the years we still see each other to talk about our things and confidences.

Note: You can check out my Ravelry notes for Aviatrix and Beyond Puerperium.

Completed: Reversible Zippie Hoodie

So many days without posting anything. But it doesn’t mean that I’ve been idle, just the opposite. I haven’t stopped or had time for myself. And here one of the things that kept me busy after work. I’ve already mentioned it a couple of times here and I can finally show it. To be honest I finished this hoodie a couple of weeks ago but I didn’t have time to take pictures of it. These were taken at my mother’s place and I think this was the only day with decent light and this the spot with a bit of it. Anyway, the light here is not the same as in Madrid and I’m the lucky tenant of an apartment with lots of natural light. Well, you have to do with what you have.

The pattern is the Reversible Zippie Hoddie from KitschyCoo, and I wanted to make it since it came out. Usually I knot sweaters for my niece, but I wanted something this year and I thought that this pattern with two lovely fabrics would be perfect.

I went fabric hunting around Madrid but I found nothing that got me inspired, so I finally bought this cotton and this fleece with Winnie the Pooh motives from Plush Addict. They really have the most wonderful fabrics for children, so beautiful and so many that it took me some days to decide which ones.

The construction of the hoodie was quite easy and those fabrics were easy to work with. The cuffs were a bit fiddly due to the small size but I was amazed at the construction of that part. You just need to follow the instructions blindly and when you turn the hoodie right side out it’s like magic, with perfect sleeves and perfect cuffs, and everything falls nicely in place.

And it’s reversible, can you see? I discovered an old haberdashery in Madrid were they have zippers of many different colors, they cut them to the size you need and install a reversible puller if you ask for it. And they were so kind!

Paula loved it from the moment she saw it. So much that she wanted to wear it to go out that same day. Isn’t she lovely with her new reversible zippie hoodie? It’s clear that Amanda designs the most amazing garments for children.

Hoodie on the works and the new member of the family

My niece Paula was almost right when she exclaimed that she was going to get a sweater for her birthday. Last year she got the Owlet from Kate Davies, but this year I wanted something different, fresh, and which let me use my newly acquired sewing skills. So I opted for a hoodie. Kitschy Coo’s Reversible Zippie Hoddie fit the bill. I found nothing inspiring browsing on local shops so I finally purchased the fabric at Plush Addict.

These pictures are not the best in the world but they are the only ones I have of the process. The hoodie is almost finished now, I just need to topstitch and a add couple of extra details.

And I counted with a special assistant while making this:

He’s very very curious. He cannot resist it when I’m holding some new and colorful

This is Gerry, who arrived home almost three weeks ago. He was just 45 days when I got him and he turned 2 months old four days ago. He’s an agapornis roseicollis, also known as lovebird. The day I got him he was still eating baby food with a syringe, but decided to change fast to solid food since he didn’t want to see me too close to him.

I made this nest in crochet the day after he arrived and he’s still using it from time to time.

We also made some toys like the one hanging from the cage ceiling on the picture but also some others made with empty toilet paper rolls and plastic stitch markers. He loves those markers almost at much as I do.

So we try to use them in several of his toys. He is really good at opening them and throwing them on the floor.

But one of his favorite pastimes is chewing on headphone cables. Knitting needles are also good.

I’m a cutie and I’m not chewing on Koen’s headphones

I was a bit worried at first about disturbing him with my sewing machine. You know, babies have to sleep a lot. And I think he looked me with loath from his nest when I made that terrible noise with my sewing machine. So I tried a different approach.

I left it free a couple of times while I was sewing and he was so curious. I had to be careful to keep him away from the needle but he also enjoyed the upper part of my machine.

I was a bit worried at first that he was not going to accept us. It’s true that each day with us we make new accomplishments, and nowadays he loves taking naps on my shoulder.

Now I just have to remember to put my earrings on again, since he likes to play with them until he gets them off.

Video killed the radio star

And Twitter killed the blog. No, not really, but I haven’t been very active on the blog for several reason, like being ill again and meeting some old friends. Also I was pissed at my old mobile. It’s was an old model with almost no internal memory and not only I couldn’t install anything for months but I had to uninstall a couple of apps to have it running (not smoothly). Koen had the same phone and the same problems so we decided to get a new one at the same time. And the first app I installed was Instagram. The second was TweetCaster. It’s not that I’m using them too often (I run a normal life and I do not wish to share every boring minute of it) but the few things I posted redeemed me from writing a post for the blog (or so I thought).

So this is to let you know that you can also find me now on Instagram and Twitter. I really like the first but I also enjoy the second when I have to wait for something and I don’t have my Kindle with me. I don’t expect to spend too much time on them, but I think they could complement the blog, so I’m going to give them a try.