Thursday, January 9, 2020

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020

Dear friends,

How is 2020? Something changed for me. When I entered 2020, I must have left my unfriendly aloof  face behind because on the 2nd of Jan, 2 things happened.

First, I went to my usual surly pharmacist to get my nasal spray and much to my horror, instead of the usual grunts (which I appreciate), the pharmacist SPOKE to me. Like made small talk. He asked me how I had spent my New Year. He might even have mustered a smile. <shudder> The pharmacist shared that his was rather boring. Same old, same old. He felt he was getting old. I am someone who dreads small talk and having an aloof face has spared me from most meaningless conversations. Like a rabbit caught in headlights, I lamely volunteered that it had started raining again. Really? The pharmacist was interested in the change of weather and started moaning about how hot the day had been and the rain would surely cool the air. The minute the pharmacist handed me my nasal spray, I fled for my life. Demmit, now I have to search for another surly (and quiet) pharmacist in my neighbourhood.

I said 2 things happened right? Well, after that I went to the library to look for books on knitting lace. The library is a safe place for someone like me right? Right? Because talking isn't allowed. I had been browsing the knitting books for a while when a middle aged woman who was a few steps away from me suddenly spoke to me. You understand we don't know each other, we never made any eye contact and we definitely did not reach for the same book because I'm very careful to keep a safe distance from other human beings. She wanted to know what my interests are seeing how absorbed I've been looking at all the books. Before I could reply, she opened her shopping bag and showed me a bunch of yarn she had bought. She said they were really cheap, only a dollar per ball. I wanted to say you get what you pay for but I kept my mouth shut. Her interests, apparently were crochet and knitting. She was looking for patterns for knitted hand warmers using chunky yarns. Finally she asked me again what my interests were and paused to allow me to answer. I didn't really want to entertain her for fear she might want to become my friend and ask for my phone number but I didn't want to be rude. So I told her I was looking for knitted lace. Thank goodness she had no input on knitted lace. I notice that about people. When you mention knitting, they have at least something to say but knitted lace? It's too alien and a good way to shut people up. Then she went on and on about crochet and cheap yarn, basically repeating what she had said before. Finally she decided to make herself comfy by sitting on the floor (which isn't allowed by the way) and I feared she might carry on talking (another thing not allowed, remember?) if I stayed. So I did the only thing I could think of. I found a hand warmer pattern for chunky yarn, passed the book to her and while she was absorbed, I quietly fled for my life.

This week has been pretty good. No random strangers spoke to me or tried to befriend me so I think I'm safe now.

I've been wanting to do a tally of my 2019 year but no thanks to hubs who got us a free month of Netflix, I've been binge-watching movie after movie. I'm finally getting movie-fatigue so let's do a 2019 look back.

2019 wasn't a bad year for me. I did suffer a lot of stress which of course turned out to be unnecessary because I worry about the wrong things. The best part about 2019 was for the first time, both my kids were in university. My daughter says, it's my dream come true. It's true. Since my kids were born, I've held the belief that if both of them got into university, it would mean I've done a good job. So yay! I did a good job. Seriously though, even though both my kids are no longer kids and overall they turned out not too bad (if I don't nitpick), I still feel inadequate as a mother. Is this common? I wonder how my mother managed seeing how she has more children - 4 boys and 4 girls. It must be hellish.

The worst part of 2019 was my vertigo incident. It took me nearly 2 months to overcome my anxieties. Now I can run and swim and I feel so grateful.

I was a bit lazy and only published 2 bag patterns.

I made a few drawstring pouches and one doll.

I made 4 quilts. I love all of them!

I made a racerback adventure tank , a camisole and a cleo skirt for my daughter.

I only made one knit thing - the skywalker shawl.

Overall, I didn't push myself very hard to make stuff. I kind of flitted from one thing to another without much planning.

For 2020, the one thing I want to stop doing is rescuing my scraps. I did that in 2019 and it was a lot of work and I still have so much scrap fabric. After much thinking, my focus will be:

Garments
I'm still not very good at making clothes and I want to improve because I want to make working clothes for my daughter when she starts work. For the moment, I'm making clothes for myself as it's easier to test. I've completed one skirt and another one almost done waiting for a waistband. I hope my daughter will like all the clothes I'm making her in future.

Knitting
Recently I started knitting again and I forgot I love knitting so much. Last year the skywalker shawl killed me and I took a long knitting break.
This is my first experience with knitting beads. I love it. It's not hard at all. I want to knit all the beads now.

Recently I looked at some advanced knitted lace patterns but they were too hard for me so I think I'll stick to easy ones like this book by Anniken Allis. Would it be too ambitious to knit every pattern in the book?

Bag Patterns
Last year my sale of bag patterns actually went up quite a bit so I feel rather encouraged. I'm 50% done on the next pattern and cross my fingers, I do not get distracted and start another bag pattern. I have many abandoned bag patterns in my desktop because....

Quilts
I want to make more quilts - big and small. One thing though, I want to stop going for the Janet Bolton style. Don't get me wrong. I love, love Janet Bolton and I want to be reborn as her. But I want to see what my quilt style is like without Janet Bolton in the picture. Get what I mean? I'm excited to see what I'll come up with.

See ya.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Star Wars Cleo Skirt For My Girl

I finally made the Cleo Skirt for my daughter. My girl folds the laundry and whenever she sees my Cleo Skirt (here), she would squeal and say, so cute! So one day we went to Spotlight to get fabric so I could make her a Cleo Skirt. She chose a Star Wars fabric and this was the cheapest we could find. I wanted a comic strip one because the fabric was thinner but the price was ridiculous. The Star Wars fabric is cotton drill and not ideal for gathering with a pocket but I thought I could make it work.

When I was cutting the fabric, I noticed the fabric print had a printing flaw. One line down the middle of the fabric. It made me really angry because the location of the flaw meant I couldn't work around it. Fortunately, the skirt had lots of gathers so it is very hard to see the flaw once the skirt is made. I think it's not cool of Spotlight to sell flawed fabric without notifying the buyers.

So what can I say about making the Cleo Skirt the second time? Firstly, with a side pocket, it is pretty hard to do gathers with drill cotton. I didn't use shirring elastic. Instead I did it the old fashion way - 2 lines of basting stitches and pull like hell.

I feel so fortunate I have a serger. Without a serger, I doubt if I would want to make clothes. Raw edges drive me crazy. I still haven't explored using my serger beyond serging. But I maintain the machine very well. I clean and oil it after every use.

I made the skirt in size XS. I had forgotten that I found the back of the skirt a bit flat and did not make adjustments. My daughter doesn't seem to mind it. The final length of the skirt is 16". She likes her skirts short.

I hope my girl will enjoy wearing her Star Wars Cleo Skirt. It is a very easy skirt to make and the best thing? You can gain a bit of weight and still be able to wear it.

Pattern details: here

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Bead Crochet Bug

It's 25 deg C right now and it's late afternoon in Singapore. Shocking right? Usually it's 30 deg C. The weathermen forecast a low of 22 deg C in the first 2 weeks of December. So I have been checking the temperature daily. But I was disappointed that the low temperature mostly hovered between 24 deg C and 26 deg C. Where's the cold weather we were promised? Then hubs told me he woke up early this morning and he saw that the temperature was 22 deg C. Demmit, I slept through the coldness.

Anyway...

Taking out my beads supplies was a mistake. I ended up making 5 bead crochet bracelets. You see, I have a lot of beads. Not just the ones I bought but I have someone else's beads as well. A long time ago, Tiba gave me her beads. Lots of beads. Every time I look at the beads, I feel guilty leaving them to live most of their lives in my drawer.

I've made 2 of these bead crochet bracelets before (here). I wear them from time to time.

Tiba had given me a lot of green beads. They are made of glass and rather big. I thought they'll go well with my disco gold yarn which is another thing I need to use up. This technique is called Turkish Flat Bead Crochet. It is very easy and doesn't require much crochet skill. This video explains it quite well.

After making one bracelet, I got hooked and spent the whole night beading up a storm.
I found some red beads, definitely Tiba's and I paired them with my disco black yarn. Never buy black yarn. You'll go blind using them.

I have a ton of cheap plastic pearls. Why did I buy them? I thought pairing them with white Miyuki crochet thread would work great but the combination looks quite ugly.

I tried again with the plastic pearls this time pairing with Lizbeth size 10 thread and the colour is like rich pink. Strangely I like this combo.

I've discovered I have tacky taste.

These are Tiba's beads. I don't know what they are called but they are made of glass and there's a different colour inside the glass. I used Lizbeth size 10 seagreen thread. I have to say I love this combination.


Will I look crazy wearing all 5 bracelets?

I've run out of toggles and closures. Time to go to Chinatown!
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My Bag Pattern Shop

https://www.etsy.com/shop/projectsbyjane

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My Embroidery Patterns

https://www.etsy.com/shop/projectsbyjane?section_id=15580078&ref=shopsection_leftnav_2