I decided to participate in the Top 5 series hosted by Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow. It seemed like a good opportunity to reflect on what I managed to accomplish during a particularly stressful and busy year. All in all, I managed to knit 19 items (3 baby sweaters, 4 adult sweaters, 8 pairs of socks, 2 cowls, and 2 Christmas stockings), and I sewed 28 items (22 garments for me and 6 kid/gift items). I didn’t want to do this in several posts, so here is one long monster post with all of my thoughts on the year:
Top 5 Non-Sewing Highlights
#1-3: In March, I accepted my first full-time teaching job. In June, we moved to Cincinnati. And in August, I finally graduated with my PhD. All of these things made for an incredibly stressful and exhausting year, but they have also all been exciting and positive changes.
#4: Aidan’s sister and her wife had twin boys in August, so we have two new nephews. They are bald, adorable little Charlie Brown babies, and I could eat them up.
#5: My dad and his girlfriend rode down to Cincinnati on his motorcycle at the end of July. We spent a week exploring the city with them, which was a lot of fun and a much-needed, reenergizing break for me.
Top 5 Sewing Hits:
#1: Ottobre Fox Shirt–Still one of my favorite things in my closet.
#2: Onyx Tee–When I started making this, I wasn’t at all sure I’d like it. But I ended up wearing this all the time until the weather turned colder.
#3: Get Moving Hoodie–A recent finish, but I love everything about this project. I’ve been wearing this almost daily since classes ended.
#4: Simplicity 1062–This is the only thing in my closet that actually makes me feel kind of cool when I wear it, so it remains a winner.
#5: Little Wave Cardigan–I haven’t had the chance to wear this a ton since I finished it so recently, but I’m just really proud of this piece. This is definitely the best thing I knit this year.
Top 5 Misses
#1: Jalie Tie Front Top–This shirt fits well and looks good in pictures, but it just isn’t my style. I think I’ve worn it once, maybe twice? I thought I’d be forced to wear it because I’m so short on work clothes, but I actually ended up getting more creative with work outfits in order to *avoid* wearing this shirt.
#2: Featherweight cardigan–I’ve already thoroughly explored my disappointment with this one, and the fact that it made this list will be a surprise to no one.
#3: Style Arc Becky Yoga pants–I never blogged this project, but I made two pairs of these in an effort to replace my ratty lounge pants. I didn’t particularly like the fit of the pattern, and I used a fabric that was too thin so these are basically glorified leggings that I would never wear outside of my house. I’m still choosing my thread-bare, holey yoga pants over these and am actively looking for a better pattern so let me know if you have any recommendations.
#4: Tonic Tees— I hesitate to call this a “miss” because I have worn these a lot since finishing them, and I do really like the pattern. But, I’ve grown more dissatisfied with the fit (I think I made them a bit too small) and dissatisfied with my fabric choice (the cotton-spandex jerseys I used for these t-shirts is too firm for my tastes). I’m actually in the process of trying this pattern again in the next size up with a lighter weight cotton jersey to see if I can get something that is closer to my t-shirt ideal.
#5: Solid Green Jersey Top from Ottobre Woman 02/2014–I haven’t and won’t blog this project, but it was a whole series of “what was I thinking?” moments. I tried to use up a length of jersey that was much different than pictured online and not a color I wear by using a pattern that is not at all my style and, not surprisingly, ended up with a shirt that makes me think “WTF!?” When I put this on, I feel like the scenes in Orphan Black when Helena wears Allison’s clothes. Good riddance.
- I feel like I did more knitting than sewing this year, or I at least knit more consistently than I sewed. I’ve been knitting for long enough and knitting is so much a part of my daily routine that it’s easy to keep up with even during stressful periods. So far, I sew more in bursts when I have big blocks of free time open up.
- This year, I sewed my first pair of pants (the HP Tailored Track Pants) and my first woven shirt (the Onyx Shirt), which I’m pretty proud of. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with sewing knits, so I’m glad I finally started to branch out a bit.
- I feel like I saw a noticeable increase in the quality of my sewing this year. The finish and the fit of my clothes is getting better, as is my matching of pattern with fabric, which has resulted in more items that I am happy to have in my closet and that are getting worn a lot.
- This is an ongoing process, but I also feel like I’ve made progress in figuring out what I really like and want to wear. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I feel like I finally have a good handle on what I like in a hand-knit sweater. But I’m also embracing my love of black and gray and being more discerning about the style of the sewing patterns I’m making (hot pink t-shirt disaster notwithstanding).
- I bought a lot of fabric this year–more than I feel comfortable with, especially given how little I sewed. I know that what I have wouldn’t seem like a lot to many people, but I am not a stasher and don’t really want to stay in the habit of stashing.
Top 5 Goals for 2016:
- Try to focus on sewing in smaller bursts of time so that I can make sewing a more consistent part of a my routine.
- Knit more sweaters. Now that I’ve figured out what styles I’m most likely to wear, I’m hoping to get more hand-knit sweaters in rotation. My working goal is to make 8 new sweaters this year.
- Focus on sewing pants. I wear pants everyday and have a horrendous time trying to find pants that I like and that fit in stores, so it just makes sense to focus my attention here.
- Make myself some button-down shirts. Right now, I’m planning to make McCall’s 6649, the BurdaStyle Button Up Blouse, and the Itch to Stitch Mila shirt.
- Whittle down the fabric stash. I think the question of whether to keep a big fabric/yarn stash comes down to personality and how you go about planning projects, and my personality does not mesh with the stashing lifestyle. Right now, I’ve got just under 80 yards of fabric stashed, and I’d like that to be a significantly smaller number by the end of next year.
I feel good about my goals for 2016 and am looking forward to a great year of making!