I started making this improvised cropped sweater last April, and it was supposed to be done for last summer… I stopped at some point when I realized I wouldn’t finish it in time for summer, and there it sat in my unfinished projects box until I finished it last week! Also, I have to admit that even though I really like the linen/cotton mix, I didn’t really enjoy knitting with it as it is a bit hard on the needles and to the touch.
I initially wanted to a cabled pattern, but in the end I decided to stick to plain stockinette, as it brings out the lovely texture of the yarn beautifully. I am wearing it on the photo with a quickly refashioned linen shirt that I picked up at my parents on Christmas. It has these great side pockets but had huge sleeves that I just cut off. Bam, new shirt! Maybe this will be my next favorite summer outfit!
The Watson Bra is something that I have been wanting to make for maybe one year now, I started trying out sizes last year and I was pretty frustrated because I couldn’t figure out the right size. I did some mistakes measuring, then I figured out a size that I thought was right and made it up in „real bra fabric“. It didn’t fit at all and it was a super frustrating experience! I realized that I normally make more loose fitting garments, and bra making really pushed me out of my sewing comfort zone, especially because I have been collecting bra making supplies in Vienna and Paris, because I found it hard to find lingerie fabric in Berlin, so I was constantly worried about wasting my precious materials.
Also, every single Watson Bra that people post on their blogs and Instagram looks perfect and amazing (even though some people report issues with finding the right size also…), that I really got a bit anxious to make mine. So after my big failure – the cups were just way too big – I decided to jump back on the horse a day later and make another one. With just the most simple elastic that I have and in my standard bra size! And it fits! Sometimes going the easy way takes time apparently… I will go up one cup size for the next one, as I could have just a liiittle bit more coverage there, and I think I will pull the elastic a bit under the arms to avoid side-boob-gaping (don’t know my lingerie sewing terminology…).The pattern instructions are clear and the construction simple enough for a first try at lingerie making. All in all, I think this might become a big success for my bra drawer this summer!
As soon as I discovered the No Frills Sweater on Instagram, I knew I had to try this pattern designed by Mette Wendeboe Okkels of PetiteKnit. It’s the perfect pattern for a first top-down experience and some easy and straightforward knitting. After spending time on complicated and elaborate patterns at the end of last year I really wanted something simple to enjoy. The pattern gives much room to experiment in colors and I have already several other color combinations in my mind.
I held a light beige brushed alpaca silk and brown alpaca yarn together and I really like the result, even though I will chose more contrasting yarns for the next versions. I love the oversized shape with the fitted ribbing, perfect! It’s freezing right now here in Berlin, so this is the perfect sweater for now.
I have been wearing this sweater for one week straight and I can’t make myself take it off! I think this is the most cozy sweater I ever made…
Some weeks ago I stumbled upon this beautiful charcoal grey boiled wool fabric on sale in the fabric department of my local department store, I bought some and started a truly spontaneous little project. It rarely happens that I buy the fabric and spontaneously sew up a garment in an afternoon, but when time and opportunity come together it’s such a nice feeling! No planning, no overthinking.
I drafted the pattern for this kimono-sleeved cropped Jacket last year and haven’t come around to test it before. The boiled wool gives the perfect opportunity for a quick project as the edges don’t need finishing or lining. I used some vintage buttons that I had in my collection – and done!
Last weekend I was so lucky as to spend a few days in Paris with my girlfriend and besides enjoying the time together and stuffing us with viennois chocolat and brioche I got the chance to dive in the magical world of Paris fabric shops and find some new treasures and supplies.
The first stop was La Bien Aimée, a tiny wool shop that sells hand-dyed yarn and an exquisite choice of magazines. I couldn’t resist buying the Stitching Up Paris guidebook of sewing and knitting stores in Paris, it’s a really great and updated overview and very tempting.
I got a flashy blue Field Bag at La Bien Aimée! I currently hosts my almost finished No Frills Sweater. I found some beautiful leather pieces at Sacrés Coupons, some lingerie elastic at Tissus Reine and fabric at Dreyfuss. I can’t wait to sew some mini pouches and finally make a Watson Bra. The shops are all in Montmartre, it’s really nice! You can’t miss anything…
And last but not least… The feminist bookshop! I went to the queer feminist bookshop ChickLit in Vienna and since then I am constantly on the hunt for more of these amazing places. Berlin doesn’t have a feminist or queer bookshop (shocking! I know! I should open one…), so every time I am in another city I try to find one. Violette and Co is a great little shop with an exhaustive french-international selection of books (no English books sadly…) on all things feminism. I got a great book on lesbian separatist communes in the US (so hard to find books on that in Germany!), two issues of revue WellWellWell, an excellent and entirely volunteer-run lesbian magazine and two issues of the Barbi(e)turix fanzine. On Saturday evening we went to the Wet For Me (organized by the Barbi(e)turix team), and that was hands-down the best lesbian party I have ever been to. What a successful weekend!
I know I am a litte bit late for New Years resolutions… But still! I like resolutions, the idea of a fresh start and setting intentions for the time to come. It’s also a nice record of ideas to come back to, reflect on what I actually accomplished and what I have forgotten about.
This year I tried to make as little resolutions as possible, because I have one very big and urgent project that I have been carrying around for a long time now… My master thesis. As much as I want to do all the things, I have to channel my creative energy into this work in the first few months of this year (hopefully the first quarter!). I have been struggling a bit with motivation over the last time, so I hope to resolve this by working steadily on the thesis and getting things done.
This is not the only resolution for 2017 of course! There have to be nice things as well, and one of these is to learn more about Tarot. I have enjoyed doing readings for myself or with others and reading about it, but this year I want to go deeper. I signed up for The Alternative Tarot Course by Beth Maiden of The Little Red Tarot and I am excited to start it as soon as I have some more time. Beth posted a really nice little open thread where people post their resolutions in the comments and then draw a Tarot card for someone else. Such a nice idea! This inspired me to sign up for the class and use my cards more.
My last and very diffuse and open resolution is to dig deeper into my creativity, learn new crafts, challenge myself creatively, designing more things myself and sticking to my creative practice. I want to do more research in the new craft books I got and hopefully take a class or two! Easy! Now i just have to find the time for all this… But the thing about New Years resolutions is to be optimistic and positive, right?!
The year is over, it’s the time to look back but also forward, to pause and to think a bit. 2016 has been a crazy year, being in Budapest, arriving back in Berlin, starting my first „real“ job, searching for a flat, not finding one but another room in a shared flat instead, unraveling a home and arriving in a new one, losing friends over it but also meeting new ones. I have been to great places, Vienna, Ile d’Oleron, Estonia, hiking in the Harz mountains… I made many things that I also wrote about here! I started thinking about this blog about this time a year ago and I am quite proud that I kept doing it, more or less regularly. I am happy to have a little record of what I have been making. I would have never really thought anyone besides my girlfriend and maybe some close friends would read this and be interested! And then actually more than 1000 people read my post about the DIY period panties so far. 1000! That’s a lot!
There is a lot to write about 2016, and many people will do it better than me. I just want to close with some photos of one of my favorite moments of this past year. It included making t-shirts and banners with friends, dyke march, sunny weather, being creative together, community and amazing women.
All together, the panties are holding up nicely after about six months of use. With the special mission of testing them and writing about it, I paid extra attention when I wore them during my last periods. The lighter one I made, that just has an extra layer of jersey fabric lining the crotch is really nice to wear but – as expected – doesn’t hold up much blood. It is still way better than a normal underpants in my opinion, as it is still holding up some drops here and there.
The underpants that I lined with a layer of cotton quilt batting underwent and passed a more serious test: An entire morning went by with a cup that was not sitting right and therefore leaking quite a bit, and I wasn’t home or in reach of a toilet. When I arrived home after a few hours I had to change it immediately, but the underpants protected my jeans! Another plus: It really doesn’t feel wet or uncomfortable.
So my review is: I am quite convinced! There is still room for improvement though… I definitely need to make more period panties so I can wear them for a few days and I would like to experiment with layering materials. My version right now holds up for a day of minimal leaking or a few hours of leaking that would have caused a bloody drama otherwise.
Today I blocked the last handmade Christmas present of this year, a charcoal alpaca Flaum Cardigan for my mother. It’s the last project I will finish this year, and I am really glad I managed! This cardigan was the first top-down garment I made and it cost me some thinking… But at the end it is quite nice not having to close seams at all.
The pattern is really well thought through and easy to follow, and I did only some minor changes to it. I stopped doing short rows at the pockets to have a more straight hem and I started the decrease rows in the sleeves after the elbows to leave some extra room. The yarn I used is Drops Puna, a really nice charcoal grey natural alpaca wool. I held it double, which makes the cardigan really warm, but also a little bit heavy… The size is L, which fits quite nicely (my mom).
I will probably make one for myself at some point!
Pattern: Flaum by Justyna Lorkowska 6,50€
Wool: Drops Puna, 22 skeins (on sale for 2,20€!) 48,40€
Back in spring I made a quite successful experiment with yarn dyeing. In the second round, I made myself a grey/off-white ombré sweater set. I dyed the Garnstudio Nepal with Batik dye, which worked out super good. Strangely, the 100% natural fiber took the dye less good than my mixed sock wool… You can read all about my dyeing experiences in the post about it. Just one little remark, if you are planning to do something similar: I ended up having too little dyed yarn to finish my sweater, so I really recommend calculating your material large! Better having some yarn leftover for a little hat, then running out on the last few centimeters.
From my gradient sweater kit I made Julie Hoover’s Cline Sweater, which is a beautiful, slightly 80s style batwing sleeve sweater. I made the smallest size, and the only modification that I made is doubling the length of the neckband for a small turtleneck, as per request of the (future) owner of the sweater. This is my first handmade christmas present this year!