Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top 5 Highlights of 2015

It's time for this year's highlights :) That can be so broadly interpreted, so I'll confine my list just to my crafting life. I've had several exciting things happen this year, so here goes.

5) Understanding knit fabrics better - This was a big deal in regard to my finished projects that I wear and love. Knit fabrics tend to get a bad rap for being scary, but really they are the same as wovens except easier to fit, lol. I had a personal revelation when I tried out the lightning bolt stitch for the first time. Seriously, it was a spiritual experience, and I've never looked back. I also know more about stretch percentage and thickness and recovery and how all these factors will affect the fit. I'm not saying I'll never make mistakes with knits again - I don't think that would ever be possible - but I feel much more comfortable in trying new fabrics and techniques as well as maybe splurging on slightly more expensive fabrics since I know that chances are good that it will become a garment I love and wear all the time. Yay for knits!

4) All the fun Knit and Sew Alongs - Every year I've watched as the sewing and/or knitting community gets together and makes things with a common theme or time limit. It always seemed like so much fun and I would just sit on the sidelines and watch others enjoy themselves and have beautiful items to show for their efforts. This year marked the change for me. I tried joining in a few challenges last year, but real life always happened and I put my wants to the side. Not this year! If I wanted to try for a group challenge, I made it a personal goal to get things finished. I came out mostly participating in all the ones I could, which I feel pretty good about. This year I participated in: The Outfit Along, 2 different Fuzzy Mitten Mystery Knit Alongs, Sewing Indie Month, the Nosegay Vest Knit Along, the Penelope Cardigan Knit Along, the Put A Cat On It Sew Along, the Muse Loves Merino Sew Along, Selfish Sewing Week, and the Curvy Sewing Collective Season of Separates Sew Along. Man, I didn't realize just how many I'd done until I wrote them all out here. I may have even done more that I can't recall at the moment. Part of me feels silly for basically sewing with the crowd, but the other part of me says, "Shut up, it's fun!" You get fun socialization while still making things you love, and sometimes you even have a chance of winning a prize. What's not to love? I will definitely be joining in more ____ Alongs next year.

3) Winning some sew alongs - My previous highlight leads straight into something I hadn't announced here yet. I won the Put A Cat On It Sew Along! Isn't that ridiculously exciting?! My girly kitty circle skirt won the grand prize which was a Spoonflower Welcome Pack.
My prize just arrived in the mail last week and I've had so much fun perusing the beautiful book and dreaming about future projects. The pack came with the Spoonflower Handbook, swatches of all their fabric choices, a notebook and pencil, and a $35 gift certificate toward whatever fabric I want. I've never won a prize of this type of value before, let alone from something I've sewn. I had so much fun sewing my skirt, I get compliments every time I wear it, and now I get to think about how that skirt won an awesome prize too. All great things, I say :)

Just after I received my prize for Put A Cat On It, I found out that I also won Muse Loves Merino in the skirts category. I won another fantastic prize! I had planned on making another Melissa skirt as soon as I finished the first one, so when Muse Patterns announced their Muse Loves Merino Contest, I decided not to rush myself but to make the skirt my next project. I managed to get it finished by the end of November, so it was eligible for the contest, and I submitted it by email. I was notified that I won the skirts category on the same morning that my Spoonflower pack arrived. It was quite the eventful morning :) I won 2 meters of forest green merino jersey it just arrived before Christmas. It's a much more green color in real life and ironically it will look great with my skirt that I won it with. Now I just have to decide what to make with it. I'm honestly so excited! I've never worked with such a luxurious fabric as merino jersey before and I can't wait.
I also won another great prize through Kollabora of some awesome fat quarter bundles for a hilariously trashy hat I knit my sister for Christmas. I guess you could wrap this up to: I love winning things! It's like the universe is trying to give me a pick me up on a bad day when I win a prize (and it always works. Woo hoo, free stuff!).

2) Increased Readership - This may sound silly, but it really is so nice to have more readers! I started this blog 6 years ago and it has morphed with my interested over time. It's mostly just been an outlet for me to post whatever I wanted and it never seemed to affect the real world much. This year I actually have people who read regularly and comment even! What a novel idea! lol Don't get me wrong - I mostly post for my own sanity and documentation, but it really is nice to know that what you produce is well received and not just floating aimlessly in the void. Seriously though, if you read my blog I just want to say a wholehearted Thank You! You make my day just a little bit nicer :)

1) Gaining Confidence - I know it's not a specific moment I can highlight, but this one really encompasses all the others. I've really learned to trust myself more this year, in my crafting as well as just life in general. I'm sure this topic will overlap in my year reflections, but it bears repeating. In spite of the biggest trials of my life thus far, I am a more confident person. I know not everyone can say that who have been in similar circumstances, and I feel incredibly lucky to have come out on maybe not "the other side" but out of a particular side and I am able to see the light. Things are getting better every day and I am so grateful for the growth and self assurance that comes with it.

Are you getting tired of my ramblings yet? There's still a few more Top 5 lists to go, so hang in there, lol.

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