Friday, 21 December 2012

My Top Five of 2012

At first when I saw this idea Gillian had of putting together a top five, I thought I'd give it a miss.
But when I saw my fellow bloggers' lists, I got inspired and decided to make my own.

I ended up enjoying it- it's like a pat on the back, and it's great to focus on the positive!  I DID make some things I'm proud of this year!  I CAN do it!  Even though I'm a newbie I will continue to improve.  Bring on 2013! :)

So here are my top five- all firsts in some way.

The Taffy blouse- my first experience with a bias cut top, and chiffon.  I'm so happy it worked out!
I would quite like to make this top again...

New Look 6808- Oh boy did I learn a lot here.  My first experience trying to fit a top and much blood sweat and tears as I went it alone.  Okay, I did have the internet, but that's not an ideal way to learn, I've decided, lol.  Again, another top I would like to make again!  (Gotta make all that hard work fitting it worth it!)

My Miette!  Of course!!  I knitted my first garment, of which I am very proud.  I'm now an addicted knitter, thanks to this experience.  And of course I am forever grateful to Gail who hosted the Miette Knitalong with me!  She is my wise teacher :)

The Renfrew top.  My first time sewing with knit fabric and my first Sewaholic pattern.  I know this pattern has a lot of fans in the blogosphere (lol, that word), and rightly so!  Alright I'll say it again- yet another pattern I want to make more of :)

And last but not least- the Wool Circle Skirt- my first self drafted pattern.  

So there we have it, my top five.  I'm not a high volume sewer so at first I wasn't even sure I'd have enough finished projects, but whaddayaknow, I did!  And you know what?  I even like them.  There, I like some things I've made.  Success! 

Oh and of course, Merry Christmas to everyone- see you in the New Year.
To get a bit sappy, I really love hearing from all of you and getting inspired by all the neat stuff you do!  Thanks everyone :)

Sunday, 16 December 2012

And the Pattern Pyramid Winner is...

Ooh, I've never given anything away before!
Drumroll please...
The winner of the Pattern Pyramid Prize is...
Katho of Karen's Projects!

Now, I hope I got your blog right, Katho, heh heh!  As I changed to Disqus it took all the links out of everyone's names for any comments before Disqus was installed.  Very sneaky indeed!

So get in contact and we'll keep the Pattern Pyramid going!  I'm looking forward to seeing you bring one of the patterns to life :)

Friday, 14 December 2012

Yaaaaay, Knitting Complete!

Well, well, well.  Guess who finally completed Milena?
This thing took me forever!  By my count, it took me three months!  Gee, no wonder I feel like I haven't been putting out many projects lately.  This thing has been sucking up all my time!
But I'm so glad... it turned out cute!

Thank you to my friend Yuko for taking lovely photos!
And thanks to the Wellington wind for keeping my hair a mess...
See my copious Ravelry notes here if you like.  I am looking forward to a less complex project next time.  As this pattern was so light on details I had to think a lot.  And FROG a lot (ick).  Hopefully that means I learned a lot?
Let's see, I did my first short rows.  And placed my own buttonholes, as well as deciding what type to do!

Since I learned to pick up stitches twisted for buttonband ribbing, I did it for the sleeves too.  I think it screwed up my purl side short rows a bit.  Or maybe I was making some other mistake, lol!  They looked a bit holey.

Such a small detail...

Well they WERE holey.  I just sewed them up on the wrong side of the work.  Hee hee.  No-one will know, other than you guys!
Next time I won't pick up my wraps for the sleeves, just like the Craftsy course said.  I thought "Oh I'll be an A+ student and practice picking them up anyway!".  I guess that backfired a little.  No biggy!

Here, have a pic of the back.  I love the sleeves... so romantic and sweet.
In my previous progress post, you can see my neckline is quite high and wavy.  I think I picked up too many stitches.  I did rip back and do less rows which improved the look.  But next time I'll pick up less on the slopes (I picked up something like one for one- too many I think).
When I steam blocked it I kinda smooshed the little bit of remaining waviness together and it seemed to work, hooray!

Detail shot cos why not?
Oh, and I think I'll be adding a snap to the top of the buttonband since there's no buttonhole in the ribbing.  It can tend to gape open.

Note the slight gape!  :O
Okay, enough about my mistakes learning opportunities.
I think this cardigan is totally cute and I think I'll enjoy wearing it!  It's made from 90% cotton, 10% cashmere yarn.  It's very soft and I love the colour.
I'm rather proud of my second cardigan especially after all the work I put into it.
Oh and did you notice?  I'm wearing it with a skirt I made!

Hey, does anyone else get a voice in their head saying "Well, after all that work, you better not wear it!  It might get ruined!!"  lol! 
Of course the flip side of that is "You'd better wear it every chance you get to make the effort worth it!"
I think I'll try to just... wear it and enjoy it.  :)

I liked this photo since it looks so triumphant!  I did it!!!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Spam Be Gone

I absolutely love getting comments from you all!  I think the blogging community is so exciting and wonderful.

So, I recently mentioned how I was taking off recaptchas as I hate them with a passion... who wants to have to squint at their computer screen and type out gibberish just to prove they're a real person?

Looking into it, I found a few options.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The No-Tell Pendrell

 Okay, I'll tell the secret of this Pendrell Blouse.  It's made of a bedsheet.
I've seen many bloggers make wonderful garments out of bedsheets.  Sue at Sewing Steady did a great post about it recently- look at the amazing results some people can get!
However, today, I am not one of these people.

Very unimpressed.
I thought I'd make this Pendrell Blouse from Sewaholic Patterns as a "wearable toile".  I'd already made one to test the fit, so with some tweaks I thought I might get something decent.

To be honest I don't think I'm sold on the idea of a wearable toile/muslin, as I don't want garments I only kinda like.  If I'm going to put my effort into finishing it properly I want a result I love!
However, I don't think this top was ever destined to be great- the bedsheet doesn't really drape well enough for this style.
Looking at the garments others have made with bedsheets, they seem to suit a more structured garment.  A good learning experience I suppose?

Okay, I'll give wearable toiles one thing- they do actually give you some practice at the finer points of construction that you wouldn't get with a no-frills toile.

I found for instance that I will change the construction slightly.  The instructions say to attach the bias tape around the armholes and then sew the side seams, tacking them down at the top.  I think maybe Tasia chose this way to make it easier to sew.

Following the pattern instruction

I feel it looks much nicer with the binding covering the side seams like so:
I think I'll do it this way instead.

A major thing that bothers me about this garment is the puckered neckline.  My leading theory right now is that when I staystitched the neckline, it eased in the fabric a bit.  Any other thoughts?  But see?  Another lesson from a wearable toile..  Hmm, maybe they're not so bad.
If I liked this garment more, I might try fixing it.  But I don't, lol.
Puckers, wrinkles, it's got it all.
Also, any thoughts on the back?  I got a severe case of meh-ningitis about it in this case, but I'd like to improve it when I make it in Proper-For-Real-Fabric.

Some interesting wrinkles here..
Unfortunately, I can't really see myself enjoying wearing this.  It just doesn't look so hot, in my opinion.  I think my seams look kinda crummy too- puckery.  I'm not sure how to avoid this problem.. for now I'll try to blame it on the bedsheet.  lol.

Well, the road to success is paved with failure I suppose.  My next one will hopefully turn out much better! 

Oh and thank you guys SO much for all your kind words on my previous blog post about my first birthday of being well :)  It was very touching!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Happy Birthday to Me (kinda)

Today is my Birthday!  Except not really.  Maybe I'll call it a...spiritual birthday?  Nahh, that sounds way too fancy.
What I mean is, a year ago today is when my life began again!

You may have noticed my blog is called "Making it Well", and I mention in my profile how I'd been sick, but now I'm well?  I thought I'd go into a little more detail since some people have expressed an interest.

Before a year ago, I'd been ill for over 10 years with M.E aka C.F.S (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).  Sometimes people think "oh, so you were a bit tired?  Yeah, I have a bit of CFS too actually."  Umm, no.  What people don't understand is the devastating levels of fatigue you can experience.  There are other symptoms too, but for me the main one was tiredness.  Fatigue that means you can't even get dressed.  Or that having a shower is about the only thing you can do in a day.
Most people just don't get it- it's hard to imagine.
I had it in varying degrees of severity over those 10 years, but basically.. hmm, I don't want to be a downer, but it was hell and really ruined my life.  I pretty much couldn't leave the house for a lot of that time.

But enough of that depressingness, I have to focus on the good bits, like how I'm finally better!  One year ago today I found the answer I'd been searching for all that time- a way out of that nightmare!
So since then, I've been trying to build up my life- trying to find out how to be a 'normal' person.

While I was sick, I still dreamed of the things I wanted to do when I was better.  I got inspired by finding blogs- people online were making stuff, really cool stuff!  I managed to make a few things, but it was painfully slow and hard.  When I got better, I could finally pursue my dreams of creativity.  And that's what the blog is about!

I still feel like I have a long way to go, in terms of the crafts I do, as well as life in general.  I've started my first job ever.  I need to learn to drive!  And I still don't know what I want to do with my life.  I'll get there... there's a future ahead of me now!

So, I guess this is a little bit of a self-indulgent waffle... but it's pretty important to me!

Oh, and if anyone is interested in how I got well- I did something called the Lightning Process, which is another story in itself.  I'd be happy to chat to anyone who wanted to know more.  I know it has helped a lot of people, including some who I know.

Yay for being alive, you guys!  I'm so glad I can live now!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

The Wellingtonian Pyramid Scheme

So after our blog meet up, we decided to each grab some of the pattern swap patterns and give them away.  But to follow in Karen's footsteps and do it pyramid style!
Here's how that works:
  • Anyone, anywhere can enter by leaving a comment on this post anytime until Friday the 7th of December (NZ time!) edit: competition extended until the 14th but you must have an active blog
  • I will randomly select one winner, and post them the collection of 6 patterns to them!
  • The winner will then pick one pattern to keep for themselves, then host their own giveaway. They will randomly select a winner, post the remaining patterns to  Person A. 
  • Person A will pick a pattern for themselves, host their own giveaway and post the remaining patterns to the winner, Person B. Person B will do the same and so on until there is a last pattern winner… 
 Down to the cool bit- the fabulous fabulous prizes!  :D

I was tempted to keep the one on the left!

And these have potential...

Skirts and ooh!  A man's shirt!

See anything you like?  Are you excited?  I am! 
Maybe I should have kept the mystery alive and not revealed all the patterns...?   Too late!  Heh heh :)

Looking forward to giving these away :) 

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

I Met Some Bloggers!

I met some more Wellington bloggers last weekend! 
We had a lot of fun...
There was fabric browsing, surprising pattern finds in an unassuming shop, and a swap!  Oh and of course plenty of nattering.

One of my favourite pics:
Us getting excited over the discovery of boxes of patterns!
Picture taken by Nikki
I grabbed this from the second hand store:
I love it! 
And we had a fabric and pattern swap- I got some lovely floral cotton!

and I also got a vintage pattern- I'm thinking I'll have to grade it up even though it's my bust size (never done that before, eep!).  But oh the fabric possibilites!

"Simple to make"  Sure, sure...
They were all wearing lovely garments they'd made.  Impressive stuff, no?  I wore my wool circle skirt.  I'd better get cracking on a dress for the next meet-up- Oh and there will be a next meet-up!

Another photo courtesy of Nikki's camera!
The bloggers were:

Maryanne from Sent from my iRon and also of Made on Marion
Nikki from Nikki's Stitches
You can check out more pictures and better write-ups on the meet-up on Nikki's and Mel's blogs :)
And special mention to poor Emily of Calico Stretch who was too sick to make it.  Get well soon!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Knitting Progress- Nearly there?

As I mentioned a while back, I'm working on the Milena cardigan.
Progress has been intensely slow- I feel like I've re-knitted most parts of it about 3 times!
Seriously though.  This pattern has been an utter challenge!

But I've made progress:
Hastily taken snap complete with morning hair
I have calculated and re-calculated, and tried it on a bunch of times.
I've had to add length in the shoulders because the armholes were too tight.  Then I had to figure out how many stitches to pick up for the neckline.  Ugh, I did it about 5 times.

I knitted the first button band twice.  I also spent forever trying to figure out which buttonholes to make and in which size.  The pattern has pretty much no instruction on it.. at all!
Also, I feel like there should be another button hole in the neckline ribbing.  It looks like it sits fine in the pattern photo, but mine gapes.  I wonder if I should add a snap (might be easier than a buttonhole)?
I think I'm going to rip back the neckline ribbing a bit and make it less tall so that will help the gaping anyway.

Ooh but guess what, though- I learned how to do short rows!  Fancy!  I learned from watching the free Craftsy course.  There are short rows in the neckline ribbing so it's taller in the front than the back.  There are also short rows in the sleeves, but I haven't gotten to them yet!

But.. I'm almost there... I think.  So exciting!  Although... I don't think I can knit the sleeves in the round with my 60cm (24") circulars.  I might have to go shopping... experts, what do I need here?

So guys, any advice?  My advice to you is not to make this cardigan unless you want to think a lot (or if you're plenty experienced)!!  Although if you had access to my copious notes you might fare a little better ;)

p.s here are my buttons..  I'm very happy with them!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Crochet Kick

I've been busy hooking!
These are some projects I've made over the last few months!
I thought I'd lump them all together since they're just a little bit of cute fun :)  Nothing too serious here!

I made an amigurumi bear for my sister's birthday:
Design by Ana Paula Rimoli
And later I made that bear's twin for myself.  I've had a kit for this for ages!
I love his little scarf :)

Why not crochet a cute apple dishcloth?  (Free pattern on Ravelry.)  Let's just say it looks a little worse for wear after use in the kitchen...  I was however impressed with its cleaning power!

Another amigurumi:
Design by Ana Paula Rimoli
Then I got to work having a go at designing a few of my own amigurumi:

I stuck with a theme of bunnies and tried to make a few variations.

Quite the line-up, no?

I also made a fancy DIY light tent to photograph my small stuff in.  These photos look suspiciously well lit, right?

All thanks to this weird thingy!

See the tutorial I used here.

Thanks to my husband for fiddling with the camera and knowing things about photography.  I really don't have a clue when it comes to cameras so he helps me out! :)

Now I've got some crochet out of my system it's back to knitting and sewing!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The Circle Skirt of Procrastination

It's finally finished!  I had reaaally hoped to finish this sooner.  Yikes, so many delays!  At least it's still cold enough to wear it!  (I SUPPOSE that's a good thing- I do hate the cold though).

It's a wool blend so it's quite warm, and there's loads of fabric to wrap me up :)

Hmm, look like I've got a headache here, lol!  Just adjusting my hair!
I made the skirt from Casey's circle skirt sew along.  I have to say, the instructions were a little hard to understand in places.  I almost drafted a waistband with zero ease since she didn't mention adding ease in her drafting post!  That would have been embarrassing!  I used 1.5" of ease in the waistband.
I was inspired by Casey and Lauren's very cute versions.  But I'm not sure I wear it so well.  It's a lot of fabric, that's for sure!

My husband had some feedback during construction:
Husband:  Your skirt is very... voluminous.
Me:  Yeah, it sure is.
Husband:  It gives you weird proportions.  It makes..
Me: butt look big?
Husband:  Yeah.
I can always trust that one for honest opinions, lol.  Luckily, he liked it once it had been hemmed.  Hemming makes a huge difference!
Speaking of which, hemming took me FOREVER.  There is a lot of hem in this thing- it took me days of work!

First of all, I let it hang for the bias to drop.  And it did, a lot!  It was very uneven.  I hemmed it by hanging it on my dress form and marking evenly around.  I didn't want my poor husband to have to do it for me!  Of course I had to sort out a stand for my dress form first and that is another story altogether...another reason this skirt took forever.

For the hem finish, I decided to try out a bias tape faced hem.  This way seemed easier than the narrow hem- less laborious in terms of measuring, pressing, and stitching.  I stitched the the top of the bias tape down by hand for invisibility.  Yes, it took ages!  But I'm pleased with the results :)  I really like the bias tape hem and would definitely do it again!

Here's me holding it up while wearing it.
I did a machine rolled hem like Casey's sewalong described for the lining.  Geez, what a nightmare.  It's not the best, so no close up pic!  Haha :)  It was rather dodgy.

To show off hem in action:  Mandatory twirling pic!
This skirt is quite dramatic but I think I can get with it.  Styling it is all about getting the proportions right.  Maybe it makes my butt look big, but it does work to make the waist look nice and small!
I think it looks better with the top over it, rather than tucked in. Somehow it's more balanced.  I think it would be nice tucked in if I had a cardigan over the top to break it up though.

Maybe a yoke waistband like New Look 6594 would balance a circle skirt better.  Hmm, worth an experiment sometime....?  Or perhaps go with a half circle skirt next time...?

I learned a few new things-  Since it has no side seams at all, the zipper had to be made with a slash insertion (part of the sew along here).
Guys, don't face wool with wool when it comes to this.  It looks bad.  Just bad. 

my thick and chunky "duck lips" zipper
I picked it out (which was really freaky with a seam allowance of 2mm), and faced it with the lining fabric this time.
A lot less fat!
Muuuch better.  In hindsight, I should have hand picked it for more invisibility!

Shot of the back because why not.

I notice a lot of people with crazy contrast linings on their makes, but not me!  Good ol' grey on grey.

And that's my skirt! :)

Monday, 8 October 2012

Milena Work in Progress

My Milena has been coming along (with plenty of questions, mistakes, and obsessive note-taking along the way).  I took the hard route with this pattern-  it's rather light on details, but I guess that might help prepare me if I want to knit a vintage pattern someday!

I am worried about having enough yarn, lol, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!
The other thing is that, as other people noted, it's a bit tight in the armholes.  For now I am trying out just adding extra rows in the shoulders.  Hopefully that won't mess up the look of the neckline too much by lowering it.  Of course, if I was desperate I could always use the daring technique of my friend at From the Purl Side (a new knitting blog I'm enjoying).  She cut her yarn- so brave, so brave!

But seriously, I don't get knitting from the bottom up.  Way too nerve-wracking, lol.  Fingers are crossed this thing turns out!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Fitting Ruminations

Well, here in New Zealand, warmer weather is coming, so time to start on some lighter clothing, hooray! The Pendrell Blouse, I've been anticipating for a long time.  Here I am in my muslin- I've already taken a length adjustment.

Anyway, I had an epiphany of sorts while standing in front of the mirror, contemplating my fit issues.
Warning- I'm feeling my way in fitting so let me know if you have any thoughts on this!

First of all, I will have to make a sloping shoulder adjustment.  It's causing some gaping in the back armhole.  But forget that for now okay?  (I blathered on about it a little bit here if you're interested).

I realised along with vertical folds near the shoulders, there was gaping in the neckline.
As I contemplated how to get rid of the neckline sag, I realised these issues are connected.

Here, photos make it easy to see.
Basically, my shoulders roll forward due to poor posture (no doubt due to the years of illness and tendency to hunch over a computer screen).  See how it causes the neckline to crumple?

Here I've exaggerated my poor posture.
But what happens if I try improving my posture?
Neckline looks much better right?
My posture is somewhere in between these two.

I started thinking about what I'd have to do to get the pattern to fit my poor posture.  Then I thought, wait a minute, maybe I should be changing myself, not the pattern!
Perhaps this Pendrell could be an opportunity for self improvement- what if from now on I teach myself to hold my body better?  And if I don't my punishment will be a saggy neckline and *horror* wrinkles!  lol!

Isn't it interesting how fitting increases your knowledge of how your body differs from a "standard" figure?
So, what would you do- adjust pattern, or adjust yourself?  :)

Monday, 24 September 2012

Keeping Warm

I made some accessories a little while ago and only just lucked out into getting good enough weather for photos!

The gloves are a free pattern on Ravelry called Vancouver Fog.
My project details on Ravelry here.

They turned out a lot longer than the pattern picture, but the extra length has actually been really nice on my frozen hands as I walk to work in the morning!
I can fold them back though and they look nicer that way.  I think it's because I have small hands!

A comparison.
I found these really quite challenging- making cables while working in a small circumference in the round.  I'm not used to either of those things so it took ages!
And don't even ask about the cast on... the pattern recommended a circular tubular cast on.  What a nightmare- I'm still traumatised, and to be honest, I don't even think it looks that amazing for all that effort, lol!

Nice and simple underneath.
I also made this Crochet Cloche, which may I add has a HIDEOUS sample, lol!  I looked beyond for the potential within!
My notes are here on Ravelry.

Okay so be honest guys, does it evoke the graceful 30s vibe I wanted it to, or is it 90s bucket hat? (eew!)

Probably not my favourite thing ever made, but it does keep my head damn warm!

Oh by the way guys, GUYS, I made an important discovery recently.  I hate recaptcha comment verifications so much- and I realised thanks to this post that my blog had those annoying things on it!!  They are removed now, so be free!!  Comment without fear!  I hope to hear from more of you now :)
And guys, don't forget to check your blogs too- recaptchas are a giant nuisance, right??