Hello, 2013!

Maddy in the window
Maddy says hello!

Well, as usual, I’ve been away from the blog for awhile. The whole balancing act that was my first semester back to teaching (and dissertating, and job-searching, and and and) after having Madrigal didn’t really leave me time for much of anything else. But I learned a lot, these past few months, and I’ve got some ideas about what doesn’t work and what might, so I’m hopeful that next semester will be a little bit better.

I’ve actually got quite a backlog of things to write about here – I’ve taken pictures of the two designs I have that weren’t self-published and intend to write up posts about the design process, etc, plus I finished one sweater for Maddy and started another one, and I’ve basically designed over a book’s worth of baby/kid knitting patterns in my head (we’ll see what ever becomes of them). But I’ll save that for another time.

For now: My friend Steph has posted about an idea for 2013 that I really like – 8 in 2013. You should go read her post (and, while you’re at it, follow her blog – she’s awesome and I’m dying to read more of her books as she writes them!), but in case you don’t feel like following a link at the moment, the idea is to choose 8 projects you want to complete in 2013 towards becoming a better you.

I like the number 8. I’ve always liked the number 8, since before I can even remember. I don’t even really know why, but I do. And I especially like 8 as a number of projects to do in a year. So many yearly themes for projects involve doing 12 of something (12 shawls, 12 sweaters, 12 whatevers) and I just…can’t. But 8? 8 seems more doable. A little more than a month per project.

So what are my projects going to be? Well, what I’d really like to do to be a better me is to improve my sewing and embroidery skills. I’m sure the knitting will continue, at its current rather glacial pace, because knitting is just so ingrained in my life that way. But sewing? Sewing is something I have always wanted to be better at, but it’s going to take a push to actually get me going on it. I’ve had a few projects that I’ve planned out in my head and keep saying I’ll make “someday”, and I’d like that someday, finally, to be a day in 2013. Here are the projects I’m thinking about:

1. Celebration bags: I’ve had this grand plan for years now of making little lined bags with a buttonhole on the front, so that I could button on whatever I wanted to “decorate” them. The idea arose because I was trying to think of a way to do “stockings” for our seasonal celebrations at the Solstices and Equinoxes. I wanted to have something special for each Solstice and Equinox, but didn’t want to make a whole bunch of unique bags. Anyway, my idea is to make these 3 bags (one for each of us – or maybe I’ll make an extra just in case), and then embroider little 3×3″ squares, backed in felt, that I could button onto the bag. I’m planning to embroider a little tree on each square, with the colors/etc representing each season. So I’d need to embroider a whole lot of things (4 seasons x 3 of us), instead of sewing a whole lot of things, but whatever. But then I could also make special occasion squares if we wanted to use the bags to wrap gifts for some other celebration, like birthdays. We like not using wrapping paper.

2. A skinny “quilt” to hang in my office: My office has a very long skinny window in the door, and since I pump in there, I’ve currently got paper taped over it for privacy. But you know what would be way prettier than paper? A quilt! What I’d love to do is to take some of the charm squares from my Kona “brights” pack, and sash around them (I think that’s the right term?) with some sort of natural color cloth, maybe linen. So it’d be a column of rainbow squares, edged in natural. I’d do the same thing on both sides, so that way, if I quilted concentric squares inside the rainbow squares, they’d show up that way on both sides. I swear, this makes sense in my head, but I don’t know how to talk about quilting so it probably doesn’t make sense here. I’m totally open to advice/suggestions, too, since I don’t actually know that much about quilting. Anyway, I like the idea of it being reversible and I also think it would look neat, eventually, just hanging on a wall or something in Maddy’s room or wherever.

3. A quilt for Madrigal: I’ve also been wanting to make a quilt for Maddy. I have a jelly roll of those same Kona “brights”, and what I’m thinking would work is to sew a bunch of them together length-wise, and then cut across the other way so that I have a column of squares (does that make sense?). What I want to do is to make concentric rectangular “rings” in these rainbow squares, on a background of linen. I don’t know what I’d back the quilt in, maybe flannel or maybe just linen. I’d make this one crib-sized, since she sleeps on a crib-sized mattress for now (and probably will continue to do so for awhile); also, crib-sized seems more manageable for a “first quilt” for me.

4. Embroidered synapses and other cool cell stuff: Ever since I started learning to do embroidery I have wanted to embroider the little synapse diagrams from my neuroscience textbook. I think I’ve probably mentioned this here before. They just LOOK like embroidery patterns to me, and I think they’d look especially cool in my little girl’s bedroom. I just love the idea of making something that’s both really geeky but also really aesthetically pleasing like that.

5. Lined pants for Madrigal: I really want to try out Anna Maria Horner’s “Quick Change Pants” pattern, and I love the idea of making Maddy some flannel-lined corduroys. If I can get the hang of the pattern, maybe I could also make her some double-thick jersey pants like the ones she has that I love so much.

6. A t-shirt or dress for me in knit: Speaking of sewing with knits, as a Solstice present to myself, I bought Meg McElwee’s “Sewing with Knits” class on Craftsy. I really love wearing knit fabric, and I’m most comfortable wearing knits, so why not learn how to sew with them on my machine? I’m really excited about this, and if I can manage one sewn knit project for me this year, I’ll be delighted.

7. A Geranium Dress or Tunic for Madrigal: I love Rae’s Washi dress (and maybe I’ll make one for me someday) and I was so giddy when I saw she was making a pattern for wee ones! I have some really neat streaky blue fabric (I’m sure there is a better way of describing it, but anyway, it’s pretty!) that I think would look amazing in a tunic or dress for Maddy. I’m kinda scared of trying to sew this but I did manage to make her Big Butt Baby Pants pattern (with a lot of hand-holding from my friend Kris), so maybe I can do it.

8. A tunic for Madrigal from the Oliver+S “Ice Cream Dress” pattern: So, those Big Butt Baby Pants I made for Maddy? I have leftovers of that adorable robot fabric. JUST enough to make a pocketed tunic in the 18-24mo size – I’d use the robots for the yoke and for the pocket trim, and linen for the rest. I can’t get over how adorable this would be, but I’m really intimidated by the pattern because it’s a “real” pattern and I don’t have a clue what I’m doing with it. If anyone wants to virtually hold my hand through this one, I’d love that!

So there’s my 8 for 2013! Happy New Year, everybody!


4 thoughts on “Hello, 2013!

  1. The sewing… you can totally do it! I have been knocking out Quick Change Trousers for baby shower gifts and they are great. If you made the Big Butts you can totally do these. I have almost finished a pair for Ada and I have viking fabric for Jolly’s. They didn’t get done for the holidays, but oh well. And I have the Ice Cream Dress queued up for summer girl wear, too, so if you want a virtual sew-along buddy, I’m in! You can brace me up for tackling the knit fabrics. I don’t know why I’m so leery of them… I just keep picturing the amazing stabby knot I’m going to have to hack out of my sewing machine when I screw up…

    Happy New Year to you all! Maddy’s looking so big and beautiful.

  2. I can’t speak to the technical terms for your quilting, but I totally support the notion of making baby-sized quilts. My sister got into quilting a while ago, and absolutely loves it. However, due to some health issues followed by having a baby, full-sized quilts have been too overwhelming for her to even consider for a while. But she’s made several baby quilts in that time, and that seems to work well for her. Keeps her doing the thing she loves, without having to deal with the magnitude of a queen-sized quilt.

    Good luck with the rest of your projects too!

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