2013

2013(Yep, I know, this is not what I usually do. But I loved My Little Pony when I was a kid!)

Yep, this is the end of the year and as many of us have done, it’s time to recap. I could honestly sort my projects in a very detailed way, like a post for every sewing/knitting/failed projects but I don’t feel like. As much as sewing and knitting have an important place in my life and sanity, this would not reflect this year.

I ended 2012 with a very nasty food poisoning, stuck all evening between the bathroom and the bedroom. As I wake up the next day, very weak, litterally empty, I had that amazing feeling that 2013 would be my year. And that I will finally get a job. Don’t ask me why or how, I just felt that way for a few days, I have no idea where this certainty comes from, but that was a great feeling. And fact is, 2013 has been quite a good year. Lots of things happened.

In 2013, thanks to a wonderful organization, I gained back my confidence and kept believing there is a workplace that will fit me and my unusual professional background. I met a handful of people who believed in me and pushed me in that direction.
I made a few friends. I finally took some American accent pronunciation class and I no longer need to repeat myself when I ask for half (20 years to learn the ‘l’ is silent. I can’t believe it!) a yard of fabric.
One of my close friends moved to the Bay Area and now lives 2 miles away from my place while we’ve always been living in very different places and countries. I spent the morning with her at the DMV, I am her lucky star, she finally got her driving license (after several attempts).
A couple of friends got married, it was a very beautiful wedding, the kind that makes you think how lucky they are to have such great friends and family. My cousin is expecting a baby for next April, the very first baby in my family, and I want to spoil that kid very badly!
Bad things happened too, unfortunately. My neighbour was murdered, it still upsets me. And one of my friends had her cancer returned. These unfortunate events made me realize how everyday moment is so important and helped me to put things into perspective.
I finally got back to work and though this is not my dreamjob and it’s temporary, I am thankful for that major change and feel really lucky. For the first time in my life, I work for a woman, a contractor (just like me), and I like it. It feels great to have a boss who knows what it is to be in my shoes!
In 2013, I also survived the Death Valley. I found out I like eating Brussels sprouts. I went back to the gym and became a gym junkie. I discovered Bloglovin (I guess it’s never too late to discover the magic of Internet!) and started using Kollabora. I got my Green Card. I watched all the new seasons of Doctor Who. And I still want a cat badly.

kitty1How can you resist this cutie?

That’s for my very personal 2013 recap. Now let’s have a look at my crafts.
I am very proud to say I made lots of progress and now my clothes don’t look like there are handmade. I mean they don’t have these unequal finitions, fit issues, weird choice of colour/fabric. My recent projects look like they could have come from a store. But it still takes me a long time to create them. I am definitely a slow sewist (sewing French seams takes much longer than finishing with a serger, and I still need to alter to fit my body…)
My knitting skills have increased too. I completed a lace project without any major issue! Yay for me! I feel like I could learn so much more, I want to go more technical, more challenging. I just bought a book to create your own pattern, let’s see if I can creat anything out of it.

I sewed 17 projects, including 1 jacket, 1 skirt, 5 dresses but 4 have fitting issues :S (the one I am wearing tonight hasn’t been photographed yet), 4 t-shirt (Renfrews!), 4 tops, 0 pants/shorts and 1 vest for Mr Hubby. I also finished 1 handbag project started a long time ago.
I knitted 1 pair of socks (for Mr Hubby, sigh), 3 cardigans (including 1 for Mr Hubby), 2 vests/tanks, 1 beret, 1 stole, 1 cowl and 1 baby cardigan (no pictures taken yet for the last two).

My favorite projects were:
- my asymmetric jacket! Of course, this is one of my last project, so it comes first in the list! I wear it all the times, it’s perfect!

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- The Ginny’s cardigan (another very recent project!). Same as the jacket, I am wearing it a lot (anyway, it’s so cold at my workplace that it’s either the Parcel sweater or this cardigan!). I am just a bit disappointed by the quality of the wool (Cascade 220 sport).

IMGP9786- even though I didn’t wear it much this year (that’s what happen when you are always 6 months behind any trend), I look forward to warmer days to wear my Datura blouse. IMGP8968- another project I didn’t wear much (too late in the season) but I look forward to wear it again is the cable back shell vest. Sure, I hated knitting it but it’s very nice to wear.IMGP8984- in 2013, I also sew and knit for Mr Hubby! I am very proud of the vest he wore for the wedding of his friend. I have some fabric remaining and I am thinking about sewing a vest for me too :)like a sir

Now, on my not-so-great list…
I am very frustrated with my versions of the Cambie dress and Belladone dress. Major fitting issues. Huge lesson learnt. Now I need to find time to correct my mistakes and re-do it correctly.
I made several bad choices for my knitting projects. I picked the wrong wool for the Saturn cardigan (grr), the Chicane cardigan and for the Seashell tank (and my modifications were a bit funky for this last one). But hey, you live and learn!

Overall, 2013 has been a good year, and I look forward to see what 2014 will bring. More awesome projects, more people, more challenges, more adventures!
Wishing you all the best for this Happy New Year! :)

Claire

The asymmetric jacket

Hey there!

You may remember me talking a few weeks months ago about sewing a jacket, biker style (I wrote “perfecto” which is how this style is called in French, and since then I realized it means something really different in English. Forget about the cigars, and let’s talk about jacket!). I finally made it! I finished it during the Thanksgiving holiday and have been wearing it since then, very proud of myself :) It is by far the more advanced item I sewed.

IMGP9829Tada!

Yep yep yep! The fit is great, it looks good on me and it’s made of grey wool, just like I wanted! :)

Lucky me, about a week after I finished the muslin, the quilting store close to my home had an amazing sale. They sold an important stock of wool fabric they had in a warehouse(yes, it’s a quilting store with an amazing selection of quilting fabrics and sewing machines [ask Odile ;)] but they also have a small selection of apparel/fashion fabric of pretty good quality), 50% off or more. I came home with a lovely camel wool for the jacket ($20/yd instead of $40/yd), but also a beautiful Italian wool challis for an Anna dress (50% off too, and I think the original price was about $60/yd!!!). It was worth waiting! But the dowside of having such a beautiful and great quality fabric was analysis paralysis. I was so afraid to do a mistake and waste the wool that I thought a lot before cutting every piece of pattern! :S

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As for the pattern, I picked Burda pattern #116 from the March 2012 issue. You may already know that, I don’t like Burda. The fit is not great on me, the instructions are unbearable (too much text, no explanatory sketch), some unecessary details. And you need to add the seam allowance before to cut :( But to my own surprise, this time the fit was great, I picked the last size, a 42 while I am a 40. Still, I skiped most of the explanation. Since I wanted to be able to wear a sweater with the jacket (my Parcel sweater has been used as a reference), I did a few minor alterations:

  • I removed the front dart, because it was unecessary. I don’t need it. Unfortunately, I realized it too late and had to recut and resew the lining :S
  • The sleeves and the bodice are 0.5″ longer (almost the right length! :)),
  • No pocket. I was afraid putting my hands in the pockets would deform the wool,
  • I added ease to the lining. For this, I highly recommend you to read this from University of Kentucky. All these informations are unvaluable.

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The result is great, and I am very happy since I put a lot of effort in details and construction. Every seam is top-stitched (that was the only way to get wool seams lay flat), including the lining (made of cotton fabric and polyester for the sleeves). I added a piping to contrast with the lining. The sleeves slits are modified, they are closed with a fake lapel and buttons.

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All these details took me a lot of time, but one really drove me crazy: the 18″ detachable grey zipper. I looked everywhere in the Bay Area but couldn’t find anything in any store (well, apparently I forgot to check one place). I finally found the perfect zipper at Zipperstop (great service. A family business established in New York. The bill was hand-written, I haven’t seen that in a really long time).

This jacket is so nice to wear, I can wear sweaters, pants, skirts with it and it still look nice enough to go to work. I love love love this jacket. The only detail that bothers me is my bare neck but that’s just a good excuse to wear a scarf or to knit a cowl :)

IMGP9796One last picture to enjoy the details!

Happy Monday to all of you and thumbs up for Mister Hubby who took really good pictures today!

Wingardium leviosa!

Hey! Hey! Yes, there is some activity here! No, it’s not a joke! And I have a new project to share with you :)
I know I haven’t been very active during the last weeks (or month), I had to face several challenges, such as “I’m tired, I want to sleep”, “crap, I can’t do all the things I want to, I need a 30-hour day”, “why is this thing taking me so long?!”. Well, I guess that’s what happens when you go back to work after a very long hiatus. Good news, I just finish another project very soon :)

So today, you have guessed correctly, another Harry Potter knitting project! After the Herbology socks, I finally completed the Ginny’s cardigan, the very one in the cover of the magazine (the main reason to buy it).

Meet my new favorite cardigan! ♥

IMGP9786Pattern: Ginny’s cardigan by Mari Chiba
Yarn: Cascade 220 sport, color 9543 Midnight Blue

IMGP9790 Sorry for the weird face, my hairdresser has some sort of inspiration yesterday. And it’s too cold today to take more pictures!

So, what to say about this project?
It’s fun. Knitting is fun. After several projects with small needles (US 1 and 2), knitting with US6 is really fun.
It’s damn cute! The owl pattern is gorgeous. Some people might not notice these are owls but still find the pattern beautiful.

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It’s easy. It’s a bottom-up project, seamless (except for the armpit). Lots of stockinette, a few short-rows and an easy lace pattern.
It’s genious. The technique used to attach sleeves is brilliant. And there are instructions to fit the chest depending on your bra cup (and of course, you’d better know your US size, which was not my case. Ahah).
It fits well. Look at all the versions knitted on Ravelry in different sizes! Everybody looks great! (which is not the case with all patterns). The only concern I have is the sleeves. Unless you have very very thin sleeves, don’t even think about wearing a long sleeves shirt under. Or block them larger (which is what I did).

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My gauge didn’t go as expected. In order to get a size 36.5″, I knitted the size 40 1/4″. Hence the size of the owl pattern, it looks smaller than the model. To my own surprise, the yarn is soft. I love it! It’s great to wear and the color is so vibrant!
I also did a few minor modifications, nothing fancy. You can check my notes on Ravelry if you are interested.

The skirt is also hand-made, this is the Chardon skirt from Deer and Doe, with a mistake (I forgot to make the central pleat :S). It’s a nice skirt, and I never blogged about it because I don’t really know what to say about it.
I will very soon show you the jacket I made, so stay tuned! It’s was a time-consuming project but totally worth it! I am so proud of these 2 projects I just finished!