Review of 2012

Everyone else is doing it, so I’m going to follow the cool crowd and do my own review of the year. I love seeing reviews of the blogs I follow and remembering all the inspiring images and projects I have read and followed through the year, so I hope you enjoy mine as much.

I tried to pick just 5 or 10 top makes over the year, but as I looked through all my pictures* I saw so many makes I forgot about (because they have seamlessly merged into my wardrobe, not because I never looked at them again!) so here, sorted into categories, is my round up of the year…

In the category of Most worn garment of 2012 the nominees are:

most worn 2012

In the category of Best Fancy Dress of 2012 the nominees are:

  • Self-drafted boiler suit (worn to Secret Cinema showing of Promethius)
  • HRH The Queen cloak and sash (worn to a birthday party)
  • And the winner is… HRH The Queen! I loved this night out, the cloak was great for waving while dancing, and it can probably be reused for future parties with different themes.

fancy dress 2012

In the category of Most time-consuming make of 2012 the nominees are:

  • Miette cardigan (it has been a decade since I last knitted an adult-sized garment)
  • Peacock dress (hand-beaded, couture finish in expensive silk)
  • Colette Sorbetto (lots of pattern adjustments to get the perfect fit)
  • Jeanius Jeans (making a pattern from scratch and lots of muslins)
  • Minoru jacket (again, lots of muslins and adjustments)
  • And the winner is… The Peacock Dress! When people admired this dress and asked me to make them a dress, I added up costs of materials and my time (at least 15 hours of beading, 6 hours of fitting and tweaking, and many, many hours of construction including 4 hours hand-sewing the hem!) to give a quote of just a little under 4 digits. Surprisingly nobody made further requests…

most time consuming 2012

In the category of Most unusual craft location of 2012 the nominees are:

  • in a cable car over the Thames (going between Olympic venues)
  • on a beach in the middle of Camden at 7am (after the start of the last leg of the Olympic Torch relay)
  • outside Buckingham Palace while waiting for Olympic cyclists to arrive.
  • And the winner is… The Beach in Camden at 7am. A beach in Camden is pretty unusual. Being there before breakfast is even more unusual. Sitting in baking sunshine by 8.30am in England is definitely the most unusual happening!

most unusual location 2012

The final category is for projects that I would never have believed were possible a couple of years ago (well possible for other people, but not me!). In the category of Most life-changing make of 2012 the nominees are:

  • the Peacock dress (sewing with silk, couture techniques, hand beading)
  • Jeanius jeans (making a pair of jeans without a proper pattern)
  • spotty Burda blouse (I’ve never even managed to buy well-fitted woven tops before)
  • Miette cardigan (not just a knitted garment, but one that fits without gaping!)
  • Minoru raincoat (It is a coat. I can wear it when it rains. I don’t get wet!)
  • And the winner is… the spotty woven Burda blouse. The other nominees may be fancy or more technical, but as a curvy girl I have never worn or owned nice woven tops (without them looking unflattering) so this blouse makes anything seem possible. Plus, when I tried on the finished blouse I wanted to wear it immediately, which is always a good sign.

most groundbreaking 2012

Looking through all my pictures there were so many that didn’t make the nominations, so here is the best of the of the rest 2012

Top row, left- right: Sorbetto top, giraffe crochet hat, Birthday Butterfly dress
Middle row, left-right:
Summertime skirt, Embroidered Embroidery case, iPad case
Bottom row, left-right:
Blogging meet up and shopping, Denim Traveller dress, United Stashes of Awesome skirt

A lot of great crafting and great memories this year, I hope you have enjoyed reading all about them on my little blog. Thank you to all my followers and for all the lovely comments. Happy New Year!

* I am aware that some pictures haven’t been blogged, or some makes haven’t been photographed. Sorry. Will try and do better this year!

120 blocks completed!


If my calculations are correct then I have finished crocheting all one hundred and twenty squares needed for my blanket!

Without work to distract me, I have been able to crochet 18 new blocks in a week and have caught up with my challenge with a whole day to go. Even when I had to keep undoing rows and rounds because the yarns I had left weren’t quite long enough

I bought some new yarn to do the scalp border and have even darned in the ends for the blocks I have just made. Hopefully when I get home tomorrow I will find I have enough blocks and can spend new years day snuggled under the blanket, sewing and crocheting it all together.

Cosy Christmas

Most of the pictures on this blog are very awkwardly posed self-portraits, so I thought I’d share an action shot of me wearing my latest garment that never got blogged about.IMG_3985I bought some Christmas-jumper style knit fabric and used my trusted Burda stretch t-shirt pattern with long sleeves and a large roll neck. My cousin took this picture as I was lighting the fire, but I think it showcases the excellently matched seams on the sleeves (after 3 attempts at basting it). The sleeves were pushed away from the fire but in normal wear they are a perfect length, however the body is a tad shorter than I like due to the excessive curling of the hem (it had to be double hemmed after a day of wearing and constantly unrolling – lesson learned – make a hem band on jumper-style tops!)

The 12 Blocks of Christmas

On Christmas Eve I finished knitting some socks for my Uncle (a Christmas present from last year) so I was able to get back into my crocheting and catch up with Rachell’s CAL. Luckily for me, Christmas provides some excellent entertainment to crochet in front of (A Very Muppet Christmas AND A Muppet Christmas Carol on the same day, hoorah!) so I’ve got on and am now just 6, yes SIX, blocks away from finishing the blocks for my blanket (assuming my records are accurate).

My brain is too tired to fit this post to the tune of “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” so here is a list of the blocks and my thoughts about them.

#38 Dahlia. I like the bobbly centre and the solid blocks of colour. It will need a bit of blocking when I join it to the rest of the blocks.
I skipped #39 as I didn’t want anymore stripes.
#40 Granny with a Twist. A nice centre, but I didn’t need as many rounds to get to my size so it doesn’t have as much impact as in the book.
#41 Bobble Triangle. I now like crocheting bobbles and I like purple. I don’t think you can tell but here I used double yarn (DK purple and lace weight metallic purple) so the real block has a very subtle sheen.
#42 Lacy Wheel. Hopefully with blocking the lace will appear more, as at the moment it is not one of my favourites.

12 blocks of christmasNow I am nearing the end of my blanket, there were a few blocks I didn’t want to do. Its not in the spirit of the CAL, but I didn’t want too many repeats on my final blanket so I skipped #43 as I am 98% sure I made one like this earlier in the spring. I skipped #44 and #45 as they are plain dc stitches and I wanted to learn as many new stitch techniques before I finish.

#46 Meadow. I like the centre of this one – it looks pretty simple but is slightly different from a normal square.
#47 Queen Anne’s Lace. I liked making this one, needs a bit of blocking but works as it is.
#48 Danish Square. I really like this one! Great centre design and I like the mix of stripe widths.

So that brings me up-to-date with Rachell, but with a NYE/back to school deadline looming I had to carry on so apologies for the CAL spoilers! I skipped #49 (another corner? no thanks) and #50 (again, another dc block).

#51 Bright Flower. I almost looked past this block as just another flower in a square but I LOVED the way this flower was created. It is so clever and I will definitely try to find a use for this technique in the future.flower

I started making #52 but the texture didn’t look right with any of the yarns I had enough of so I unravelled it and moved on to the next block.

#53 Mesh Fantasy. I like the mix of open and closed stitches in this one, but it needs some serious blocking (maybe because I used a heavy yarn for a couple of rows).

Only 9 blocks to go! Here is where I officially left the CAL, sorry guys. With just a few blocks left, I wanted to make sure I had a chance to make the exciting ones. I flipped through the book and wrote down the numbers of my favourite blocks I haven’t yet done, noting if they were in a solid colour. So I can use up my yarns efficiently I started crocheting blocks in a single colour if I thought I had enough remaining.

#64 Sunshine Lace. Another square that will look better when it is blocked/sewn into shape.
#74 Seville. I loved the technique for this one – the first row was very clever and it took a few odd rows before making just one little dc made it work beautifully.
#80 Blocks and Shells. I was quite tempted to make another block #30 Shell Lace, but thought this one would be similar. It was just one row repeated over and over but it looks very effective. I did reduce the width of the columns as my foundation row looked too long for my squares. It is nice, but I still prefer #30.

I think I have now run out of yarn for any more single-colour blocks so I will be back to the multi-coloured designs, starting with #58 Peach Rose. Just 6 more to do, before I have my favourite job of darning in the ends and sewing them all together. I’d like to crochet a border around the finished piece (I will allow myself new yarn for that!) but am not sure what – rows of plain tc or some fancy scallops? Any suggestions or patterns?

Seasons Greetings


My chocolate yule log is made and decorated so Christmas is definitely here!

I finally finished knitting my final present this morning, just in time to wrap and hide under the tree, and will be able to reveal my makes in a few days (or when I get home to my photos).

Thank you to everyone for reading, liking and commenting on my posts over the past year. Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone!

Suitcase Statistics

As soon as school finishes on Friday I am catching a train to see my family so tonight I started packing my suitcase (leaving tomorrow evening to pack the all important crafts to do on my break!)


While packing I thought I would work out exactly how much of my wardrobe is now me-made and have analysed the clothes I am taking away with me for a week. Since I have to carry presents and enough crochet to last a week I can only pack what I know I will wear, so this should be a realistic approximation of the proportion of me-mades I actually wear in my wardrobe!


The contents of my suitcase


My me-made clothes by type

These charts don’t really surprise me. I know I make a lot of jersey tops because I wear a lot of them! I used to have lots of me-made dresses but for a cold winter I need to pack my cosy knitted dresses (unfortunately my knitting isn’t quite up to that!) but I am surprised I have so many me-made cosy jumpers to wear (both recent makes this autumn).

So, how much of my winter wardrobe is me-made?


My winter wardrobe (including underwear)

Considering it is so much easier to sew floaty light summer dresses and I have packed for a week of cold weather (with festive jumpers), I think 48% is a pretty good result. If you only count the clothes people can see me wear it turns into 63% of my wardrobe as me-made! How realistic is it to have a 100% handmade wardrobe? How much of your wardrobes are made by you?

After all that statistical excitement I am going to slip into my me-made pjs and get some sleep as we have our class Christmas party tomorrow – 25 hyper 4-year-olds meeting Santa means I need plenty of sleep!

Christmas Crafting

I have just one Christmas gift to finish, so I thought I would share some pictures of the things I have been making recently before they get wrapped up.

secret presents

secret presentYou didn’t think I’d risk my recipients seeing their entire presents on here did you?! Luckily I do have one gift I can show you since I made a present for my self (well, the machine was out already)…

secret gift  I have decided to start a new tradition – making a pair of Christmas pjs to wear on Christmas eve – and my second pair of festive pj bottoms are a lovely tartan flannel. I added a little patch pocket with a bow on the front and some festive ribbon at the waistband (for decoration only).

There is no action shot as I am trying to be very good and save them for Christmas eve. Until then I’ll just have to wear last year’s reindeer pjs…


Christmas Baking

Since most of my current craft projects are top-secret at the moment, I thought I would share some festive baking I have been doing today (with decorating entertainment courtesy of the awesome film Elf). I’m going to take most of them into work tomorrow, but I will save a few for a festive fun day-off on Tuesday.Baking

The recipe is my tried-and-tested gingerbread recipe, with a little bit of nutmeg and cinnamon added for extra winter-warming. I tried to make reindeer biscuits, but the legs and antlers didn’t make the journey to the baking tray. Disappointing since I spent earlier in the afternoon sorting packets of Smarties to find the red ones (and an interesting lesson in random probability – some packets contained only 2 red sweets, others contained 8). I suppose they might not have got on with the penguins.

Christmas biscuits

I still have lots of knitting and sewing to do (I decided one of the things I made wasn’t up-to-scratch when I put the elements together, so I am re-making another version). How are your festive plans going?

Last CAL before Christmas?

Is this my last CAL post before Christmas? hmm… maybe. Have I finished my Crafty Resolution to make a blanket in a year? Nope, still a few to go. So why is this the last post before Christmas? Well, as obsessed as I am with crochet at the moment, I need to take a break to let other crafty projects take centre-stage.

I am not going to crochet any more square until I have finished knitting a special something for someone. Knitting on the way to and from work today added another 5mm to the project, so at the rate I’m going I will be pleased if I am finished in time to give it to the intended recipient.

The sacrifice needed to be a perfect relative means that, unfortunately for my blanket, I don’t think I will make the New Year’s Eve deadline. But the brainwave for my Crafty Resolution came while I was back at school, so therefore it isn’t cheating to extend the deadline to “I will finish my blanket before I go back to work in January.” So I can knit and craft my Christmas presents and then spend the holiday crocheting to finish my blanket. Perfect!

In the meantime you can enjoy the latest squares I have been making (a few repetitive blocks skipped out!)