Thursday, 31 December 2015

Year wrap up: Knitting and Sewing

The year is coming to an end. Everywhere year reviews are starting to pop up. I like to wrap up the year by looking back at various aspects of my year. Buckle up guys, this is going to be a long one.

As will become apparent when reading this post, 2015 was a tough year. It was my busiest year at uni, I took some difficult (but fulfilling) courses and of course there was my thesis research which took up most of my life for a considerable part of the year. Unsurprisingly this had effect to other parts of my life; for crafting it mainly meant that there was simply less. Not all was bad though: I'm absolutely positive that the knitting and crafting that I did made the year considerably better, and perhaps most important I'm just really happy with most of the things I did manage to make this year. In general 2015 was the year in which I knitted less sweaters than I wanted to, got back into sewing big time and made my first socks.

First I'll look back to my year in crafts, then I'll make it a bit more personal for those interested. If you're not interested, feel free to scroll further to that ultimate accountant-cum-judge of years: the final check list of last year's resolutions....


☆  Knitting   ★ 

It has been a very dry year for knitting at the Treehouse and it shows in the amount of finished knits, especially compared to last year, which was a wonderful year for knitting. This has everything to do with my life at uni. This year's coursework was incredibly intense, but most importantly my research and thesis soaked up a lot of my time, and basically took over my life for a while. A whole month could pass without me having picked up the needles once, something that would have been unheard of before this year. Only since September things have picked up again, though I still don't feel I'm back at my old level. But that's okay, I'm just glad to be knitting again.

Favourite makes this year:

Sweaters:
1. Freydis (Grettir)
2. Foxglove
3. Nikka Vord


Accessories:
1. Follow Your Arrow II
2. A Hap for Harriet
3. My First Socks

Favourite knitting Books Published this year:
1. Autumn - Marie Wallin
2. Kofteboken 2 - Sandvik & Samsoe (This was on my wish list only two weeks ago, but the Christmas Goat has brought it to my door!)
3. Penguin: A Knit Collection - Anna Maltz




Most used yarn:
1. Lopi: 4 projects: one sweater, 3 Accessories
2. Old Maiden Aunt: 2 projects, both Shawls
3. Shetland yarn 2 projects: 1 sweater Jamieson's, 1 sweater Jamieson's and Smith.

☆  Sewing   ★ 

Even though I had as little time for sewing as I had for knitting, 2015 feels as a much better year for sewing. Part of this is because when I finally had time for crafting again the sewing bug hit with a vengeance. So far the bug is still here! Most importantly I now feel much more confident in my skills with a sewing machine and therefore dare to tackle a lot more projects. I think I learned many new sewing techniques, and progressed a lot. I'm also able to balance sewing better with my the rest of my life; enabling me to sew for small amounts of time in between other things I have to do. All in all I feel al lot more positive about this year's sewing than this year's knitting.

My patterns and fabric stash has grown considerably over the past half year. I'm very happy to have discovered some new pattern brands, while at the same time some of my older favourites, like Colette and Deer and Doe, have continued to make gorgeous patterns to fawn over.

Favourite makes:
1. Cooper Bag
2. Seda Dress
3. Flora Dress




☆  Personal Bits or what else happened this year ★  


2015 was a big year for the Treehouse. When I look back on this year I mostly think about academic things, everything else is pretty much a blur. I know it has come up here on the blog a couple of times but the past year was easily the busiest and most draining year of my life. As has been mentioned several times *cough*sorry*for*the*cough*repetition*cough*, my thesis did occupied most of my time and energy this year. It's been an extremely interesting process, and considering how much I was both dreading and looking forward to it in my wrap-up post of 2014, it is a strange sensation to have it behind me now (Oh, hullo there, master thesis!). I'm still fascinated by the subject of Irish modern and early-modern literature, but between the thesis and other coursework, it has also cost me a lot. Even now, almost four months since turning it in, I still feel like I haven't regained the levels of energy I had before. Nevertheless, I do feel like I have learned so much over the past year. I've read so many books from sources I hadn't been able to imagine. Irish farmers, cosmopolitan Nigerian female academics, Canadian Native Americans and Japanese-British novelists: the things I read have certainly diversified and reached across the globe this year. A part of this is to thank to a course on post-colonial literature I had, but from this has sprung a wider interest in literature from across the world.

My boyfriend graduated earlier last summer, got his first proper job (in local government), finished that job (it was a project that only lasted for a couple of months) is now jobless for a month or so but will start a new job around the end of January, at Loesje, a creative writing/activism organisation. He did an internship there during his studies and it is basically his dream job so we are all very happy about that. It was a bit of a roller-coaster, and I'm glad that the uncertainties of the past few weeks are over. He has been very lucky, getting a job that soon after graduating and after that project a new job straight away. Many people, especially in the past couple of years, have not been that lucky, and we have several friends who had to deal with unemployment for a year or longer.

☆  Books   ★ 

Because, even if I do this succinctly, I can't do this post without a list of my favourite books I read in 2015:
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - James Joyce
  • All Quiet on the Western Front -  Erich Maria Remarque
  • Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Islandman - Thomas O'Crohan
  • Fortunately the Milk - Neil Gaiman
  • Peter Pan - J. M. Barrie


Social Media and blog

My goal for the blog was to post a wee bit more and post more consistently. I did not make this goal. Things started out pretty well in the first few months, and even though uni was very busy I tried to keep up with the blog as best as I could. I think the Follow Your Arrow II KAL helped with this, as it offered me a steady supply of topics to post about. But in the end, when thesis madness really took over, the blog just slipped away, with august being the ultimate low point. While it makes me a little sad, I've accepted it. It has been a rough year and a lot has had to give and unfortunately blogging, as well as knitting and sewing were snowed under. It makes me sad, but it is the way it is.

One of the things I've let drop away was the monthly book posts I experimented with between December and March. I did like writing them, so maybe I'll bring them back in one form or another. Books are an important part of my life, and I read quite a lot, so I'd like to give them a spot here.

Another goal was to comment more on other people's blogs, and to be more 'social' on social media. I've started commenting more on other blogs in the beginning of the year, but as with everything things started to go downwards once the uni work started to pick up space. Since I haven't kept the resolution up all through the year, this resolution stays.

As for other social media; I signalled a slight shift from twitter to instagram in 2014, and I think the trend has continued. I've become much more active on instagram over the year. I  participated in my first photo challenge on Instagram; a 'photohop', a challenge similar to a blogweek. I had a lot of fun with that, and overall I think I feel much more in my place on instagram.


☆  Resolutions for 2015   ★ 

So... the end balance: Let's see how I did with my goals.

Knitting
Make one project from the book Yokes by Kate Davies - Success: Foxglove.
Make one jumper/cardigan with colourwork all over - Success... though it is yet to be blogged (sorry!)
Make one jumper/cardigan without colourwork. - Success: Sibella Cardigan.
Make a jumper/cardigan in Icelandic yarn - Success: Grettir
Make a jumper/cardigan in Shetland yarn - Success, foxglove again!
X Make a garment using my colourwork motifs books - Failed.
X Finish one shawl by Lucy Hague - Failed, though I did make several other shawls that I'm very happy with.
Make a pair of mittens - Success, but is yet to be blogged 
Try new yarns - Success: Old Maiden Aunt, Buchaille, Jamieson. 
X Knit with beads - Failed, though I did sew with beads, and I liked it!
Make four (or more) projects with yarn from my stash - Success! Grettir, Foxglove, Mullspice, FYA2, Hap for Harriet, and Sibella were all made with yarn bought before 1-1-2015. This didn't mean I went cold-sheep, though.

Other crafts:
  Sew more, and try to pace sew time - SUCCESS!
  Sew with knits - Success!
X Make a doll - Failed.
X Try making jewellery - Failed.
  Do some small embroidery projects - Success! 


That's it! 2015 was an odd year for me personally, It was both incredibly fulfilling and at the same time a very rough year. Ah, well, onwards and upwards! I'm quite excited that 2016 is here and hopeful that it will be a grand year!

Thank you for reading my blog this year, thank you for your comments here and on instagram, and thank you for sitting through this year wrap-up with me. I'll be with you in a few days, with a list of my ambitions for 2016! Until then:

HAPPY NEW YEAR,
AND ALL THE BEST IN 2016!!







6 comments :

Margot said...

Wat een creatief boordevol mooie projecten jaar! Prachtig!!! Ik wens jullie ook een gelukkig en mooi met veel inspiratie en creatief 2016!!!!

Silja said...

I love that red on your Grettir! I'm seriously considering it for a lopapeysa of my own :) Happy New Year!

Tahnee said...

Happy New Year! I know how 'interfering' academic life can be for crafts, but you achieved almost all of your goals! I always love seeing your projects, you're such a talented knitter and seamstress. Good luck with the master thesis this year, the topic sounds fascinating. If I hadn't gotten drawn into neuroscience I think this might've been my field of study too.

Elise said...

What an awesome year! I love all your sweaters, I think Foxglove is my favourite too though :)

Heather said...

Happy New Year! Your knitting and sewing projects are an inspiration - I've added a few of them to my queue and it's entirely your fault. :) I am sorry to hear that 2015 was such a roller coaster of a year - I've noticed a lot of people saying the same. I hope that 2016 is a much stabler (and fantastic) year for you!

Nisse said...

@Silja Thank you! Go for it!

@Tahnee That's so sweet of you! Likewise, I love seeing yours; I'm always impressed by your impeccable colour choices! I readily admit I know next-to-nothing about neuroscience, but good luck with the next phase of your PhD!

@Elise Thank you ^-^

@Heather Thank you Heather! I think, in knitting, queue-inspiration is the best compliment possible ;) You're quite right! I don't know if that's just something people say every year, but apart from my personal experiences, I've heard so many people say 2015 was a rocky year. Hope yours will be fantastic too!