2014 in Review

What? You wanted to read a really long post about my year in review? Okay, okay. You got it.

Non-Sewing Highlights

From the outset, 2014 has been a bit of a rough year, and I will be glad to be on the other side of it in a couple of weeks. Still, there were some really wonderful parts that are definitely worth remembering. We especially had a lot of fun traveling this year. Aidan and I kicked off the year with a post-New Year’s stay in Chicago where we spent some time wandering around in a snow storm, exploring the Field Museum, seeing some improv at Second City, and ordering a lot of room service.

Chicago at Night

In May, we got to spend a week in California with our good friends and our Godson. We split our time between L.A., Morro Bay, and Fresno. It was a fantastic trip from beginning to end. Our friends are now living in San Francisco, so that will be our next California adventure.

IMG_5567

Aidan had a six-week work training in NYC and NJ that started at the end of July. I had to stay in Syracuse, but took a bus down to NYC almost every weekend while he was there. We had a great time exploring the city together and being touristy. Highlights included: visiting Ellis Island, touring Theodore Roosevelt’s childhood home, casually passing Samira Wiley (Poussey from Orange is the New Black) on the street, seeing both the Mets and the Yankees play, and seeing a truly epic performance of Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Finally, last month, I spent three days at a conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I stayed with two friends in a lovely apartment in Old San Juan, which was really beautiful. I’m not much for sun and heat, but I loved San Juan. And the conference, which I was feeling really stressed out about, turned out to be energizing in exactly the way I needed.

Eating mofongo in San Juan

Between the conferences I attended this year and campus events, I also got to see Angela Davis, Laverne Cox, and bell hooks speak—each of them wonderful, inspiring and brilliant. Beyond that, this is a year that has made me especially thankful for good friends, good colleagues, and good students.

And for Aidan. Always.

Things Made

As far as crafting goes, I managed:

  • 15 sewn adult garments (4 pairs of PJ bottoms and 11 shirts, half of which were basic t-shirts)
  • 4 knitted adult sweaters (1 for Aidan, 3 for me)
  • 4 kids garments (2 beach robes and 2 baby sweaters)
  • A fair bit of crafty sewing (a few different home dec projects, some knitting project bags, and some needle and notions cases for my knitting stuff)
  • Some knitted accessories (3 pairs of socks, 3 hats, a scarf and a cowl)
  • Lots of underwear (It feels weird to be crowing about my underwear all the time, but the reality is that I spent a lot of time on this project this year. I think I probably made about 20 pairs in total? And my post on Jalie 2568 turned out to be my most popular blog post this year.)
  • 3 sewing projects that never got finished because they were terrible and one sweater that turned out too small

I’m pleased with the way that my sewing has progressed this year and, with the exception of the very first t-shirt I made, every garment I’ve sewn for myself has seen a decent amount of wear. Still, I’ll be honest and say that I don’t really reach for the garments I made for myself in the first half of the year—most of them suffer from cheap fabric and lacking technical skills. But I definitely learned a lot and still managed to produce some items that I genuinely like and that fit well into my wardrobe. My most-worn item is probably my black Vogue hoodie.

The undisputed star of this year’s makes is definitely my Grandpa cardigan, which I sadly still haven’t managed to get modeled pictures of. Once I get my course grades finalized for this semester, I’m hoping to find some time (and a slightly less gray day) to get some good pictures. It was a really fun pattern to knit, and I’m really happy with the way that my fit modifications turned out. I’ve been wearing it a couple of times a week since I finished it. I wore it to and end-of-the-semester lunch hosted by my department chair, and our support staff members went crazy when they found out I had made it myself. I have to say that I’m quite proud of it.

Grandpa Cardigan

Other Crafty Highlights

At the end of January, I got a new sewing machine—a Janome DC 2013. I really love this machine. I’ve owned a sewing machine consistently since I was 16, but they were always very cheap, lightweight mechanical machines with constant tension problems and not enough power to get through more than a few layers of quilting cotton. I spent over ten years sewing in fits and starts because of those crappy machines. With my new machine, I feel like I can tackle just about anything.

Janome DC 2013

I also got back to blogging this year. At this point, I’ve published 44 posts this year, which is kind of a surprising number given that I’ve found it hard to keep up with blogging for the last few months in particular. But even when I don’t have a lot of time for blogging, I’m still glad I have this blog going. It’s fun to write about and reflect on my projects, and even more fun to read your comments.

Looking Ahead

Looking ahead to 2015, I’ve got a lot of potential projects on the brain and some different things I’d like to try. I’m thinking about trying a small quilting project. I’d like to try making myself some pants I might actually wear outside of the house. I want to increase my sweater output and focus on making some lighter-weight sweaters. I’d like to make us some more holiday decorations and try making more gifts (I didn’t make any Christmas gifts this year). I’m thinking that I’ll likely have good reason to do some more home dec sewing this year as well. But my only real goal this year is to sew more. I want to build my sewing confidence and my skills, and the only way to do that is through practice.

Aidan and I are in search of some new adventures this year. We’ve spent 5.5 years in Syracuse, and the end of our time here is coming up pretty fast. We’re not sure where we’ll end up next, but we’re looking forward to whatever life has in store for us next. Onward!

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