2022 A Crafty Year In Review

2022 was a little strange in terms of my crafting. I was crafting nearly every day but what I was making changed a little. Shock horror I even had days that I didn’t craft, some days I just didn’t feel like it. I lost some of my craft spark towards the end of the year. As I mentioned in my previous post 2022 was stressful and to an extent my crafting took a hit as a result as I just didn’t have the energy or brain power to craft.

If you are not familiar with the blog I make all the gifts that I give for birthdays and Christmas. Each year I ask myself the question “Are you still having fun?” I will be honest and say for 2022 the answer was yes and no. No adults got Christmas gifts, chocolates or wine were an easy fix. Thankfully I started my kids Christmas gift making early so they were all finished in time. I think as the kids are getting older it is getting harder to make new and interesting gifts that I haven’t made before. For 2023 I’m still going to make birthday gifts for my nieces as they are already finished/started or planned out but I’m not sure about their Christmas gifts yet. As for the adults I have a couple of ideas in mind but I’ll see how the year goes if I get to making them or not.

I haven’t yet blogged all my makes for the year, thinking back I still have some from 2021 which I haven’t posted yet. One project yet to blogged from 2022 was the fact I knitted gloves, not one pair but two! Glove knitting was something I thought that would be really hard but they were actually very easy. They were my major knitting project for the year. At the end of 2021 I started a shawl but it got put in the too hard basket and I haven’t returned to it since. When I have brain power I will get it out and resume it.

All year I really tried to be more sustainable in my crafting. For years I have always shopped my stash first but now I am more conscious of what I was adding to my stash. For the most part I only purchased supplies if I had an intent to use them now and not “one day” I mentioned in my Year In Review post about the umbrella cover and reusable lid mats I made to reduce some of my single use items. I enjoyed making those and using them. I enjoyed using scraps or smaller pieces of fabrics in projects.

My most favourite item for the year was my yogurt cozy, it wasn’t the most glamorous project but it was practical. I used pieces of polar fleece from my old coat to make a custom fit cover or cozy to keep my yogurt warm in the yogurt maker as it set. I use it every couple of weeks. It seems to be working as my yogurt is coming out thicker now.

My big project for the year was my QAYG hexie blanket. I have almost finished all the individual hexies. I’m toying with the idea of assembling it by hand or machine joining it. It would be quicker by machine but then it isn’t fully hand sewn. I will fully decide once I work out some sort of order for all the pieces.

Doing the wardrobe stock take as my Me Made May challenge was a real eye opener to what I actually owned, as a result I didn’t make a lot of clothing as I didn’t need it. Doing a wardrobe stock take is an exercise I urge everyone to do, it gives you an appreciation of what you actually own. It is more sustainable and frugal to wear what you already own instead of going out and buying more or if you are a maker buying supplies to make more items you don’t really need. Since doing the challenge some items of clothing have worn out beyond repair mostly underwear and pj’s so I will be making some clothing items in the future. I’m not saying I will never ever again make an item that I don’t really need but I will slow down on my let’s call it extra clothing making.

I enjoyed making for charity again this year. Aside from the making of the charity bags and the handmade items I included in them I was also knitting for WIRES. I have a stack of pouches which I need to wash and post off. Knitting pouches was mindless knitting which I could do even if I was tired. I like using my skills to support charity. Some people contribute to charity via monetary donations, I prefer to use my skills.

For the last few years I have been documenting down what I have been making using pages from a sewing planner. This year I moved the planner to the bottom bin on the side of my sewing cabinet. It was in a bad spot that I couldn’t access it easily if I had packed away sewing area for the day and I ended up not using it. For 2023 I’ve decided to note it down in my diary instead. My diary lives on the lounge next to where I sit so I can pick it up and easily write down the projects as I finish them. Let’s face it I’m lazy and if something is too hard or requires too many steps than I just don’t do it. I’m trying to streamline everything so that it works for me in the easiest way possible.

Looking ahead to this year. I’m hoping to get back into my crafting more. I’ve signed up to Just Get It Done January declutter challenge so I’m hoping that physically touching or being around my craft supplies will inspire me to get in and want to use them. I’m still working on perfecting my craft spaces. In terms of actually crafting I want to try and use more scraps or smaller bits of fabrics in projects more so I may end up with some abstract pieces. As a maker my creative instinct is to want to make things but I want what I make to be useful.

Happy Crafting 

Cassiy

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Admiration The Queen And Fashion

Like a lot of people in Australia on Friday I woke up to see on the news that Queen Elizabeth II had sadly passed away. A lot has already been said and written about the amazing duty and service she did over her lifetime including working up to her last days. She was certainly a role model that will never be forgotten. In addition to the amazing work that she did, she was also a fashion icon which is what I’m writing about in this week’s post. Plenty of media outlets have already written about this topic but these are my own personal reflections.

Photo courtesy Harper’s Bazar

Years ago I think I was doing an Instagram photo challenge and the question was posed “who do you admire in fashion?” My answer was the Queen. Every time you saw her she looked amazing. Her outfits fitted her so well and were always put together with thought and perfection. Each outfit had a colour theme which her dress, coat and hat matched perfectly. The brooches that she wore and her iconic pearl necklace, they all went together to make her complete outfit. She was able to wear prints and bright colours because they were put together as an entire outfit so they didn’t look out of place. Earlier this year I heard the reason she often wore bright colours was so the crowded public could spot her easily at events.

Photo courtesy Harper’s Bazar

The Queen had an elegance about her which I really admired. The way she dressed with her stockings, outfit, accessories and make up is completely the opposite to how I dress but I was always drawn to it. I don’t like tailored clothes, hate stockings and rarely wear makeup. I can appreciate those who do dress like that and I think The Queen did it the best of them all. I think even if you don’t dress really feminine you can still take something away from The Queen’s fashion style. Dressing in the clothing and accessories you feel comfortable in but taking at a look at the pieces. Do they match together as an outfit? What could you swap in or out to make it look like an outfit and not just clothes you threw on that morning? These are some things I think I would really like to start looking at.

Cassiy

Mindful Unpicking

You may of heard or the terms slow stitching, slow sewing, mindful sewing. It is the process where you use your hands to make each stitch instead of using a sewing machine. It allows you to focus on your work and be aware of every stitch. Some people are not hand sewing people and don’t enjoy the process but if you are one who does enjoy it like myself, hand sewing can be very therapeutic as it relaxes you. The whole process got me thinking is there such thing as doing the process in reverse? It there such thing as mindful unpicking?

Unpicking is a task that anyone who sews (machine or hand) faces hopefully not to frequently. When you are making an item and stitching mistakes occur unpicking is not a fun task. It can add stress, cause delays in the time it takes to finish an item, even cause you to not like an item. I have discovered that if I take the process of unpicking away from the normal scenario (in the midst of making an item) unpicking can very relaxing and even fun.

This year I have unpicked a lot of items by choice. I have unpicked bed linen, clothing, bags. Some have been store brought items, some have been items I’ve made. I started doing it as a sustainable sewing choice. Some of my of it has been so I can do repairs eg replace waistbands on pants. Other items have been due to the item getting worn out and me salvaging bag findings, zips and fabrics. Some have been clothing I’m not wearing but they aren’t really up to donate status.

I have found the whole process of unpicking fascinating. The most interesting item was the jacket in the photo above. This was a store brought winter coat which I lived out of for nearly 10 years. I mended or replaced the cuffs on it twice. The jacket had a cotton knit layer on the outside with a polar fleece layer on the inside. In the end the outer sleeves were held together with safety pins and it had a lot of ladders elsewhere that it was no longer repairable. By unpicking it I saw how it was constructed. I never thought about how the 2 layers were joined to each other on the inside (a piece of ribbon on the shoulders) By unpicking store brought items I was learning how things were made. Yes I can read a sewing pattern but this was pulling an item a part to see how it was made.

When unpicking me made items it has given me a new appreciation for them. Some items have been a little tricky to unpick. I made them strong in the first place and I’m proud of them. It has made me more focused when machine sewing too. Taking the time to focus on what I’m doing so that the items I’m making will last, not that I haven’t tried doing that with the items I’ve made previously but just taking more care.

I admit so far I haven’t used any of the fabrics or notions that I have salvaged but I do have plans for some items. Some of the fabrics I will make bags, toiles for clothing, cleaning cloths, even a cozy for my yogurt maker. I think there is such a thing as mindful unpicking. Unpicking focuses you on your work. You have to think about which stitches you need to cut or threads to pull so that you can remove the threads neatly and easily. If you want to salvage items from it you need to think about the construction process so that you can remove the item for example to remove a zip you need to first unpick particular seams to get to the zip. Unpicking in front of the tv at night is just as relaxing as hand sewing for me. Now I keep looking at what I can unpick next. Since I started unpicking so many things by choice the times I’ve had to unpick whilst making new items I’ve found the task not to be a chore. It has changed the way I view unpicking. 

Cassiy

Sydney Craft And Quilt Fair 2022

Like many events the Sydney Craft And Quilt Fair has been cancelled the last couple of years due to Covid. Last week crafters got a step back to normality with the show on once again. It had a new home this year at Olympic Park which was the site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics. I hadn’t been to the craft show since 2018 and with the thanks of a free voucher that NSW residents were given to prompt people to get out to venues I went along to have a look. I went on day 1 and got there before the doors had opened. From the long line that snaked around the outside of the venue crafters were excited and ready to be back.

The fair or show is in a large building that is divided up into sections. The stall holders, workshops where you could do classes, food/beverage and quilts. There was plenty of room in the new venue for all the different areas. In some places there were bottlenecks of people but for the most part you could walk around comfortably. One area was a display of felt food by the Embroider’s Guild which was so cute. It made me wish I made more toy food.

Front
Back

There were some lovely quilts on display. One theme was sustainability. I loved a table runner which had parts of old tea towels in it. You can get some fancy tea towels but these basic “boring” tea towels but in the table runner they looked great. There was a nice quilt made from old jeans. I think the favourite for most was the one which had these amazing horses in it. The back of the quilt was just a beautiful as the front.

Before going to the show I was a little torn. I wasn’t going with the aim of shopping as really I didn’t need anything. In previous years I’ve done classes or brought items that really I didn’t need and in the end had to declutter as I wasn’t using them. I wanted to enjoy the day without feeling like because I wasn’t shopping I was missing out. Silly I know but I thought if I said it was a no spend day or imposed a dollar limit to how much I could spend I’d be stressed and not enjoy myself. Instead I decided I could spend as much as I wanted but only if it was items I had a direct plan on using or if was something I had previously decided I wanted. I even had a screenshots of books to look out for. I did do a small amount of shopping. Some felt for card making from My Felt Lady. This was the first time Candice had a stall at the show, I’ve been using her wool felt for years so I was excited to see that she was going to be there. I got 2 hanks of yarn for a special birthday gift, it is merino and silk and feels divine. The first things I brought on the day was a pair of Friskars spring loaded pinking shears. I was given a pair of their spring loaded sewing scissors for my 40th and I love them. A couple of weeks ago I was looking up to see if I could get pinking shears and there they were. I also picked up a couple of scissor sharpening tools. You run them along the scissor blades to sharpen them at home. When I showed them to Mr StitchNSew he said he had been pondering if there was a way to sharpen all our scissors at home. You can even sharpen secateurs for the garden. I’m really happy that I only got what I’m going to use. There was so many lovely items to buy at the different shops but I knew in myself I just didn’t need any of them.

Without sound too critical I will be honest and say that the show did seem a lot smaller than in previous years. A lot of the regular stall holders weren’t there. I could think of at least 6 brands or shops that in previous years would always have a stall and this year they didn’t. There were also a lot less quilts on display than in previous years. All the missing shops/brands are still going so I know they haven’t closed down due to covid which a lot of small business sadly have. I hope they return in coming years. I went on my own (I like doing craft shows on my own) and only spent a couple hours at it before deciding yep I have done everything I need. I was surprised at the time I was leaving so were a lot of other people. I hope it is just a case of we are still in the pandemic and it is winter so businesses decided not to attend it. The craft community is strong and they want to support small businesses. Hopefully events like this in the coming years can come back and be as strong as they were pre-pandemic.

Cassiy

Cutting Straight Strips

I have always struggled to cut long straight strips with my rotary cutter. If I only need to cut about 6″ or so I’m fine but any longer than that even with using my blade up against a quilting ruler I struggle to keep things straight. I know many of you are already fans of Karen from Just Get It Done Quilts and would know about this tip that she shared in her video “How To Cut Straight” which if full of useful ideas to help you cut straight and accurate.

When cutting long strips with a quilting ruler and rotary cutter it seems the key thing to ensure you cut straight is to have pressure all the way along the ruler so that it stays in place and doesn’t shift as you glide your rotary cutter along the edge of the ruler. I place my hand applying pressure on the end of the ruler nearest me (the first 6″) but after that as there is no pressure on the ruler and it is slipping across resulting up with drunken sailor cut strips that are wider at one end. By placing something heavy on the ruler like a hand weight or a tin of food it will hold the ruler in place on the end away from your body.

I tried this idea out when I was cutting the PUL fabric for my Umbrella bag. Even though I had multiple layers of slippery PUL my ruler didn’t shift about and I got a nice straight cut. It is such a simple idea and it really works. We had a spare hand weight lying around so it wasn’t something I had to go out and buy. By chance I sorted out my linen closet which is near my cutting table so it is even easier for me to grab the weight off one of the shelves in there for when I need to use it.

Now that I know about this tip it will be something that I will be doing again in the future whenever I need to cut long strips of fabric. 

Cassiy

Me Made May 2022

Each year the amazing Zoe from “So Zoe What Do You Know?” hosts the challenge of Me Made May (MMMay) It is a challenge where participants for the month focus on their handmade wardrobe and see if there any areas they are lacking. You can read all about the challenge here. Each person sets their own challenge for the month in relation to the me made clothing they own.

The last time I did the challenge was in 2019. In recent years I’ve culled a lot of the clothing both me made and ready to wear that I was no longer wearing anymore. To be honest it wasn’t until this week that I decided I would take part this year. I’m not in the mood to post daily photos on social media of my outfits and I don’t think I have clothing hidden away that I haven’t worn in recent times. To work each day I wear at least one me made item as I no longer have any ready to wear skirts and the only ready to wear pants I have are gym tights. Listening to the Check Your Thread podcasts series ran on Me Made May changed my mind. In her blog post and in the podcasts Zoe reminds everyone Me Made May isn’t about posting photos (you don’t have to) or that is ok to set yourself the same challenge you set yourself in the past. The main thing is that for the month you are more conscious of the clothing you are actually wearing and finding any gaps in your wardrobe that you need to fill.

With that in mind I’m setting myself the challenge of going through my wardrobe looking at both my me made and ready to wear clothing and accessories. Yes I know the focus is on me made items but I still have tops and jackets which are ready to wear which make up my wardrobe so I’m including those. There are some items already that I know I can pass on such as knitwear that I just don’t wear. I know I need shorts as I was thinking recently I have none so by next summer I need to make them. I want to do a stocktake of my entire wardrobe to see what I still have and what is needed.

I’m actually looking forward to the challenge now. I might even start it early by looking through a drawer or two before the month even begins. I’m just going to relax and go through my wardrobe when the mood arises and I have the chance. My wardrobe isn’t huge so it will all get looked through by the end of May.

Cassiy

Minerva Voucher

Last year Simona from Sewing Adventures In The Attick hosted a blogiversary giveaway and I was fortunate enough to win a £20 Minerva voucher. If you are not familiar with Minerva it is an online craft shop in the UK. Predominantly it has all things sewing but there are some other craft items and patterns too. There range of fabrics is amazing!

My voucher was valid for 12 months and to be honest it took me about 10 months to decide on what I wanted to get. I spent many hours looking at different fabrics and patterns, my phone was littered with screenshots of ideas. Did I want to some Liberty fabric? Should I get a knit or woven? Should I get fabric or notions? How best could I spend it to get maximum value? One thing I did discover is that to use the voucher you entered the code number supplied in the discount code section during checkout. If the shop is running another promotion for discounted fabric or patterns which requires you entering a code to get the discount you can’t use your voucher at the same time as you’re only allowed to enter one code during checkout. Just a tip for anyone shopping there. 

Finally I decided the best use for the voucher was to get a printed paper pattern. I chose the Montrose top by Cashmerette. In Australia there are a few shops that sell printed Cashmerette pattens but most of the time when I buy them I just buy the PDF’s as they are cheaper. The reason I wanted the paper pattern is that it is a woven top and I think once I get the fit right I can pattern hack it. It will be easier to do this with a paper pattern as opposed to trying to keep my taped PDF pattern together neat whilst I’m not using it. 

I had already warned Mr StitchNSew that I was most likely going to go over my voucher amount. He didn’t care as I don’t have a fabric budget and I’m not on a fabric buying ban. I’m just trying to be thoughtful with every dollar I spend. I did go over the voucher slightly as I chose a couple of metres of cotton lace. It is 75% cotton 25% nylon. My aim is to one day make the Montrose out of this fabric. Full confession after I submitted my order I was slightly worried about the fabric choice. 
1 – Would it be too scratchy with the nylon? 
2 – Is the colour too scrub top blue?
I’m really sensitive with fabrics so not being able to feel it first was a gamble. After years of working in theatres sadly your colour choice does revolve around work even if you don’t intend on wearing it there, I guess it is the same how some people won’t wear things that remind them of their old school uniforms. I’m very happy to say that when it arrived the fabric was lovely and soft. The colour with the black mesh overlay is very subtle and doesn’t remind me of work.

A big thank you to Simona again for my voucher. It allowed me to purchase from a shop that I wouldn’t normally buy from so it was a special treat. I’m not sure when I will get around to making my first top or using the fabric but in the meantime I can pat the fabric!

Cassiy

Heart Card

I have never been a card maker, paper craft just isn’t something that has interested me. I’m not a big card giver either. I generally just buy cheap $1 from the shops. In recent years I have been struggling to get nice cheap ones particularly for kids.  After reading How To Sew Sustainably I was inspired to make my own using fabric scraps.  

After some research it seems fabric cards are popular these days. Most people are cardstock as a base and put the fabric on that. I wanted to make a card to go with the Special Knitting Bag. I didn’t have cardstock in my stash so I decided to upcycle a grocery box. There was a print on one side of the box so I used two pieces of shantung to cover it. The only down side to the cardboard was I couldn’t write on it as it must have some sort of coating or was too thick so I had to place white paper against the cardboard to write on.  

Using my sizzix big shot I cut out 3 different size heart motives from the leftover lace. I placed the hearts on top of each other and hand stitched it to the shantung by doing a running stitch through the centre heart.  I folded the fabric over the cardboard print, placed the white paper against the underside and stitched it in place using a 4.00mm stitch length. This was a little tricky trying to get it all flat as the fabric was bulky and perhaps I should’ve cut the fabric to size after I had attached it to the card.  

I will be honest this card isn’t the neatest of finishes. I enjoyed making it. I tried out some ideas and found out what worked and what didn’t. I love that I was able to making a matching card and it has certainly given me ideas for the future. 

This post almost didn’t happen. All the photos I took on my camera weren’t usable but I was lucky to still find a couple I had take on my phone. Just a little advice if you are wanting to take photos to use in something special if possible take them using 2 different sources and don’t delete them until you know for certain you have the special photo you need. 

Cassiy

Craft Set Up – Sewing Machine Cabinet And Trolley

In January 2021 I wrote out my big master plan on how I wanted to set up each one of my crafting areas. I said I would give updates on how I was going or after I finished an area. To recap I divided my craft spaces into a series of areas and I asked myself the following questions 

  • Current – What is currently going on the area?
  • Plan – What is my plan for the area?
  • To Do – What needs to be done to change from current to plan?

For my sewing machine cabinet and trolley which sits next to my cabinet here is what I had to do to sort out that area

Sewing Machine Cabinet 
Make a dust cover for machine, sort what I want to keep in the side shelves/bins. Remove half finished projects and craft supplies 

Trolley 
Buy clips for side of fridge to make a magnetic notice board. Remove all items and sort into different areas. Put items away in other areas that don’t need to be on it. 

I had honestly thought this was the one area I had finished. Ok admittedly it was still a little messy but it was done. I had made the dust cover for the machine. I had gone through and put all the little spool holders and accessories back in the storage bins on the side of the cabinet. I had brought clips and was using them for the magnetic noticeboard on the side of the fridge next to the area. The trolley I had kind of gone through and sorted out. I’d removed some of the UFP’s.

Although the area was “finished” it just wasn’t working for me. I had to move items about to get other items. Things were getting bumped as I moved them. In my buttons post I mentioned finding Karen from Just Get It Done Quilts. Aside the from the decluttering challenge videos she did this year she has heaps of videos about setting up and organising your sewing areas. Some of her ideas I had done without realising like creating a triangle between your sewing machine, ironing board and cutting table. One idea that struck me was working out your zones. Zones are the places you keep your items and how easy it is to access them from your sewing machine. Zone 1 is the most used items that you can reach with one movement, zone 2 is items you reach for in 2 movements such as opening a drawer or moving one item, zone 3 are things which you do 3 movements to reach etc. My brain got thinking. What are my most frequently used items and what storage space did I have to put them in? I set about going through the bins of the sewing machine cabinet and trolley pulling out items and rearranging things. Zone 1 I had already established as I have a hanging tool caddy which holds my thread snips, tweezers and unpicker.

What items left the area

  • Empty spools
  • Broken tools
  • Tweezers (5 -10 pairs)
  • Knitting related items
  • Spare pins 
  • Unpickers 
  • Thimbles
  • Battery powered lamp
  • Fabric scraps
  • Spare containers
  • Thimbles
  • Random tools
  • Inserts for cabinet bins
  • Random spools of thread
  • Bag of walnut shells
  • Notepads
  • UFP’s
  • Embroidery needles

It turns out in the cabinet and trolley I had a lot of items I didn’t need. Some were broken or damaged. I couldn’t believe the amount of tweezers or unpickers I had. Some items were sitting there waiting to be put away such as the spools of threads. Some unfinished projects had just been dumped there. I decided the trolley was only going to be for sewing so I removed all my knitting stuff (rulers, blocking pins, yarn butler) Mr StitchNSew was the big winner scoring heaps of craft tools and rulers even a lamp. The items that I removed from this area but kept got rehomed in the spare room. From the cabinet bins I decided to remove the insert trays that came with them, they were spool holders and a divided compartment. I don’t put my spools on the holders as my spools are tool long and you can’t swing the bin back in to close it with them. The I had nothing fitted in the divided compartment. I have kept the inserts but they are now in the spare room.

What Stayed And Why?

Cabinet Bins –  The bottoms bin has my sharps container (old rotary cutter blades, needles, pins) a container of empty bobbins, tray of half filled bobbins, hot hemmer and my finished project tracker (I will come back to that) The hot hemmer is there partly cause I can stand it flat but I do frequently use it. In the bins that swing open I have spools of threads for current project and most used colours, spare rotary blades (again cause they fitted the space), overlocker finishing needles (for weaving in my overlocker tails), safety pins, strips of tear away stabliser (used on sewing the start of some items) On top tray I have my cleaning brushes, presser foot adapter and attachment key. 99% of the time I have my walking foot attached to my sewing machine and the main foot adapter is removed. The bottoms bin is what I would call my zone 2, I frequently use them and it takes me about 2 actions to get the item. 

Trolley 
Bottom shelf – Pressing ham, sleeve roll, wonder clips, darning mushroom
Middle shelf – Sewing machine feet, machine needles, marking textas
Top shelf – Measuring tapes, pin cushions, hand sewing kit, thread catcher, ruler, camera
Hanging bins – Most used tools in first bin, scissors, marking tools, pressing tools, random craft tools

On both the trolley and cabinet I have avoided if possible stacking items on top of each other so I don’t have to continue moving things. Once I start stacking things I start just dumping things and the chaos starts. I haven’t crammed it full for that same reason. All items are within reach so I can take them out but importantly put them back. I mention my laziness frequently on here but if things aren’t easy to get out and put away I don’t use them or put them away correctly. I hung a grabbing tool off the trolley so I do drop things I can pick them up straight away instead of just thinking I’ll pick that up later. 

On the side of the fridge is my magnetic noticeboard. Last year I had my finished project tracker clipped up there in a plastic sleeve. Each month I had a page to write all my completed projects on. In my laziness I was only writing things down at the end of the month as I was switching pages over. Yep I was too lazy to unclip 2 clips and remove it from a plastic sleeve each time I finished a project. I would forget what I had finished and would scroll through Instagram looking at the photos I posted for the month. As a result I think I missed out on a few projects as I wouldn’t always post them on Instagram. By moving the tracker to my cabinet I can just grab it and write each project as I finish it. On the noticeboard I currently have my magnetic pin cushion and a note with what size to cut scrunchies. I’m going to dig out my pattern for wildlife rescue pouches and put it here too so I cut out pouches from fabric scraps as I’m cutting out projects.

The area around my sewing machine is finally working for me. Everything is within reach. From the spare room I found my plug in lamp that I can use if I need extra light, that sits at the side of my sewing machine near my power board. Between the fridge and the trolley I can stand up my cutting mats if I need to shift them off my cutting table. With the trolley not overflowing the cutting mats can stand flat now. The entire area just looks better so I’m not getting stressed by looking at the mess. I know what needs to be there now and what doesn’t so if something does get placed there I can address it and put it back where it should go.

Cassiy

2021 Craft Year In Review

I thought I would wait until 2021 had actually finished before doing my craft round up for the year. For the first time in 2021 I kept track of all my makes (well most of them anyway) Final count was over 100 items which included when I made multiples of some items but it doesn’t keep count for all charity items I made (pouches, beanies)

Hmm if I had to sum up my 2021 crafting in one sentence it would be “The year of pants” For the first time in a couple of years sewing dominated my crafting for the year and in particular pants sewing. Long pants, undies it was all about covering my butt. The pants sewing frenzy came out of a need for items as I had none or the ones I had were becoming unwearable. We did have a coolish winter and I’m glad I had long pants to get through it. Our summer so far seems to be on the cooler side so I’m still wearing long pants at times. All fabrics for my pants came from my stash so it was good to use some of it up. I enjoyed trying out different undie patterns to see which is the best for me. You wouldn’t think it but there are subtle differences between the different patterns making each one fit and feel a little different, I always thought undies were just undies. My final winners seem to be Scrundie’s and Frisky’s (yet to be blogged)  I will make more of them this year. 

The majority of my sewing in the first half of the year was to complete my Sewing Bingo Card. I did enjoy the challenge for the most part. It certainly did help get in and finally make projects I had been meaning to do for some time and finish off projects I had started but put aside. As I mentioned in my wrap up post about it I did learn this year that challenges like that aren’t really for me, I’m too self-competitive and need to finish the challenge regardless if I’m enjoying it or not. Sewing for me is meant to be relaxing and enjoyable, if I’m not enjoying it then I have to stop doing it. That is my mantra each time I sit down at the sewing machine but also my long term view of it. 

If I had to pick an overall favourite make for 2021 it would be my train case. It was the first item I made all year and one of the most used. This pattern really confused me at first but I went ahead and attempted it being pleased with the end result. In fact one of my last makes for 2021 was another train case which I will share at some point.

Sustainability became more of a focus in my sewing the year. Reading Wendy Ward’s book certainly got my brain ticking with ideas so has listening to the new Check Your Thread podcast. I shopped my “stash” first for supplies before buying any additional items. I was more conscious when cutting pattern pieces out to reduce waste, I looked to use up scraps and off cuts in projects first before cutting new fabrics. Even stuffing toys I used up yarn and thread scraps mixed in with the hobby fill. I have unpicked old items to use in future muslins and kept notions to reuse such as zips. All the unpicked threads and old fabrics have gone into stuffing items. For some people unpicking store brought items might seem a chore but I have actually found it fascinating as it has given me an insight into of the items are made. I hope to continue making more sustainable sewing decisions in the future. I know at times it is going to be harder to make sustainable decisions on some projects but the important thing is that I’m more aware of my actions and try to do what I can.  

Sewing dominated my year but when I wasn’t at my sewing machine I was still knitting and crocheting. I’m really pleased with my Virus shawl but to be honest I didn’t really wear it, no real reason I just never got around to it. I’m hoping to get more wear out of it in 2022. I enjoyed knitting my big Adventerous Wrap (yet to be blogged) which seemed to fly off my needles. I learnt how to knit cables and how to put life lines in on ribbing so my knitting skills grew just that little bit more. Each month I used the pages from the Ultimate Sewing Planner by Ruby Jam to document down items I made and the pattern used. This came in really handy and helped me keep track of what I actually made. I remember gifts that I made but I lose track of items I make for myself/Mr StitchNSew or for around the house. I will continue using the planner each month just out of curiosity to remember all that I make including my charity makes which I don’t always list.  

Each year I ask myself this question in terms of my gift making. If you’re not familiar with my blog I make the birthday and Christmas gifts I give to immediate friends and family. For the first time in years I felt really organised with my gift making and therefore I enjoyed it. At the end of 2020 I wrote out my “to make” gift list and with the exception of a couple of Christmas gifts for friends I stuck to the list. My first gift was actually finished late December. I gave myself plenty of time to plan out my supplies, do any prep and actually make the gifts. There was only one gift I was cutting a fine line to finish. Around October I planned out my 2022 gifts with the exception of 1 or 2 Christmas gifts for friends. In this past week I have already gotten the majority of the birthday gifts made so that is a huge start on my gifts but it will also mean that my “finished” count will be lower in 2022 as they were all counted in my 2021 makes.

Making for charity was something I continued this year. I have found somewhere local to make beanies for and have a stash knitted but haven’t donated yet. It made a dent in my yarn stash, towards the end of the year I was able to get some good quality yarn for half price to replenish the charity knitting supply. I made a few items for our charity bags and will continue again this year.

It’s the start of January and I don’t know where my crafting is going this year. I don’t want to be making just for the sake of making as that defeats the purpose of sustainable making but I do want to keep crafting as that is important to me. A conundrum of wanting to try ideas but justifying if I actually need it. With making so much in 2021 I still have loads of projects to blog about so I won’t mention when I made them unless it is relevant or ties the items back to an overall gift.

Happy New Year
Cassiy