Crafting plans for 2015

With 2015 already in its third month (I can’t quite believe that, where did January and February go?) it’s about time I start thinking about my sewing plans for this year. We’ve moved into our new home and life is slowly starting to get back to normal. I’ve even been sewing again! My new sewing room is great to work in. It’s huge with good natural light during the daytime and a lot of storage space. The latter I have to admit is currently still quite disorganised which can make it difficult to find what I need.

This year I am going to continue to make my own clothes, but I’m not going to stress about it. Not that I did that last year anyway.

In 2015 I’d like to challenge myself a bit more in the sewing department, try more new techniques, different fabrics and more complicated patterns than I did during 2014. This year also comes with more special occasions requiring special clothes, which could make things interesting.

Garment sewing

Complicated projects

• Cocktail dress to wear to a winter wedding. (Coming soon!)
• Complete those jeans! I really need a new pair… or two… or even three…
• Summer coat
• Party dress to wear to a summer wedding
• Dress to wear to my very own thesis defense
• Winter coat
• Classic tailored shirt for my boyfriend. Promised long ago, gorgeous fabric was bought long ago, it’s about time I get started…

Now that I’ve written these down it seems like this might be a bit too much for a single year, we’ll see how far I get. Especially since I am not particularly good at deadline sewing…

Easy in between projects

• Pyjama pants
• Cardigans
• T-shirts
• Casual skirts
• Knit dresses
• Alabama Chanin style top

Crochet

I’ve not done a lot of crochet after finishing my scarf (that I am still wearing!). It turns out that granny squares aren’t really my kind of project. A real garment is what I’m now after. I still need some help with crochet as this is a skill that doesn’t come natural to me so I bought the “my first crochet cardigan” class from Craftsy, I also got the yarn kit that came with the class so that I don’t have to worry about getting the correct yarn for this project. I’ve already made a gauge swatch with the recommend hook size which turned out pretty but way too small. Apparently I crochet tight. I have ordered more crochet hooks in other sizes and will continue my crochet garment quest when those arrive (I’m hoping soon!).

Quilting

• Finish that quilt that should have been finished way too long ago
• Couch quilt to snuggle under
• Pillows that match our, not yet ordered, new couch
• Try some art quilting to decorate the still empty walls of our new house (My boyfriend is going to freak out when he reads this…)

Did you make a plan this year for the things that you would like to make?

 

Completed: Double crochet scarf

I am super proud of my very first scarf! Is it perfect? No. Is it functional? Very much so. I also completed it in only 2 days so it was pretty fast as well.

The yarn is Roma Big colour 12 from Scheepjeswol. It’s 100% acryl. I would have preferred to use a natural fiber but I also wanted to keep my first large project simple and thought it best to use a yarn that doesn’t split easily. This yarn fit that bill and I also really like this colour. The scarf only required two balls of yarn and I used a 10 mm hook (US size N) to make it. At the beginning of the scarf I did 19 double crochet stitches per row and at the end 20. By the time I discovered I had accidently added one stitch too many at some point I would have had to unravel nearly half of what I had already done and figured it wasn’t really all that noticeable so decided to leave it.

 The scarf is about as long as I am tall, which is 1.65m and it’s going to keep me really warm this winter.

Completed: Crochet project bag and some adventures in crochet

A couple of weeks ago I started to learn crochet. What, crochet? And you didn’t like knitting, why would you even try crochet? And do you really need another hobby? Well, I want to have some projects that I can easily take with me on the train. While you can technically take hand-sewing projects on the train I find this a bit too much trouble because you need to bring thread, needles, pins, scissors and a bag to put all the cut off threads in because I don’t want to litter and then I’m constantly worrying that I’m dropping pins all over the place and that someone else will sit in them. A knitting or crochet project requires much less stuff and I think these might work better for travel related crafting. I’ve tried knitting twice and both times this wasn’t very successful so crochet (only 1 hook!) seemed like the better option.

The truth is, while fabric and sewing come quite naturally to me, yarn doesn’t. I’ve taken loads of Craftsy courses and for the sewing ones I usually watch the whole course once before starting on a project and then while I’m making the project I’ll watch it again. Tricky parts I might rewatch a third time and then I’ll know what to do. Not with crochet. I’m enrolled in Vicky Howell’s Crochet Lab course and I must have watched the single crochet class at least a dozen times already.

These are my first efforts where I quickly decided that it would probably be better to just start over:

I can’t believe I’m showing you these…

Then I produced this:

It looks like crochet but weren’t you supposed to make a square?

And then this:

It might be somewhat irregular but it approaches squareness.

Then I figured I was ready to try double crochet. I almost crocheted a whole swatch in what I thought was double crochet but what turned out to be a self-invented stitch. I did wonder why my double crochet was much tighter than the single crochet (it’s supposed to be looser) and didn’t look like what Vicky was doing before I realized that I was skipping a quite essential step. And that was after I had already looked at Vicky doing this stitch a dozen times at least. Ah well, after my invented stitch that was quite tricky to do, the real double crochet was a breeze.

At least I was able to figure out what I was doing wrong…

Now I am ready to tackle a double crochet scarf and for this I clearly need a crochet project bag that I can use to store my project in while travelling.  Enter some sewing (after all, this is meant to be a sewing blog!). I made a zipper pouch with boxed corners and three pockets on the inside. One zipper pocket, one pocket that was cut diagonally at the top and is divided into several narrow pockets so that it fits several sizes crochet hooks and one patch pocket on the other side. The outside fabric is interfaced with fusible fleece to give it enough body to stand upright on its own. It fits two really huge balls of yarn and I think it will be very useful to help me stay organised.

There are some crochet related things that I find quite strange. For example, it is bad enough that UK and US English uses a different spelling, but why, why, do you use different words to describe the same thing??? And in different conversion charts I also found different terms and abbreviations. I’ve decided to stick to the US crochet terms because that is what is used in the Craftsy class and I don’t want to complicate my life.

crochet hooksRight now I have 2 crochet hooks from the brand KnitPro, 5 mm and 10 mm. Obviously, the hooks have a different thickness, but why do they also change the size (length and thickness) of the handle? Do they think my hand changes size when I change yarn thickness? As it is, I much prefer to hold the 10 mm hook because it is longer and thicker. The 5 mm really feels too short and my hand gets a bit cramped if I use it for too long. I think I should also try some other brands to find out what works best for me. Does anyone have suggestions?

And now it is time to get started on my scarf, will I get it finished during Christmas? Only time will tell…