My absolute favourite blog post to write has always been an end-of-year overview of the last twelve months. You can’t beat a good reminisce and I thoroughly enjoy writing them – and having them available to read back later.
Most of the sewing I’ve done this year has been of pattern tests and samples, so while I am sewing regularly there’s not much to show for it until a pattern is ready for release. I sewed and shared lots of Clove Vests, and a lemon print version of my Teres dress. Outside of my own patterns, I sewed two versions of the Axis Tank, which I originally planned to wear as soft bras on days at home, but which I’ve also been using as sports bras since joining a gym this year. As a result of joining a gym, I also sewed Fehr Trade’s free Running Armband pattern, so that I can listen to audio books and music while exercising – I like an audiobook while using the resistance machines and 80s pop to make me move faster when stepping/running. In the last couple of months, I’ve worked on a few more projects, two versions of Seamwork’s Jane Tee (also intended for the gym) which I had printed with images of 80s workout attired Jane Fonda – as inspiration to exercise. I also made a Grainline Linden sweatshirt especially so I could attach a teddy sew-on patch to the front, and I made myself a new dress for Christmas, using the Cashmerette Rockwell Dress pattern. I also sewed one hat, a miniature trilby, as part of attending an online millinery course with Morley College.
I worked on quite a few knitting projects this year, including making two scarves as gifts (for Phil and my dad). Following a moth infestation a few years ago, and losing track of what yarn I had partly as a result of that, I decided this year to get my yarn stash in order and start working through it. I’ve completed two stash projects so far, cotton bags and a knitted tie, and I’m currently working on a sweater which is using up a more satisfying amount of yarn from the stash. I also knit a small dove, using a Sincerely Louise kit, and two knitted cushions (one of which still needs the knitted panels sewing together). 2022 was also the year I made a start on a long held desire to knit a vintage swimsuit. I’m working with a 1949 pattern and wool yarn and decided to begin by following the pattern as-is and see what changes I need to make as I go. Initial progress suggested that the swimsuit was coming out too large, so I put it aside over Christmas to pick up some alternative projects (requiring less maths), and will pick it back up soon and assess the required changes.
Having now attended two weaving summer schools (via the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers), I decided that I’d better get to grips with my table loom (purchased after attending the first summer school, and then ignored). I completed my first solo weaving project (not as part of a class) this summer, a set of two cotton tea towels featuring a fish design, selected to use up some of the cotton yarn left over from the last summer school. I also started a second (and slightly more complicated) weaving project, for a cotton bath mat, and am hoping to complete it very soon. I have continued to act as Programme Secretary for the Birmingham Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers and am really pleased with the programme we’ve got planned for 2023. One of the benefits of being a member is getting to try different crafts, and this year that included attending a temari ball workshop. I also attended the national Guilds Gathering event and National Exhibition, which helped motivate me to finally start weaving at home. Next year I’m hoping to attend my third week-long summer school, and to try some more advanced weaving – with tutor support!
I only released one garment sewing pattern this year, the Clove Vest, although I did also release a baseball cap pattern, which was originally shared with Sewing Weekender attendees, and a set of Christmas accessory patterns, originally included in my 2021 digital advent calendar, Stitch Advent. In May, I co-hosted the Sewing Weekender with the Fold Line; this was our seventh year running the Sewing Weekender as an annual event, and the third year as a fully online event. In October, I organised the ninth annual SewBrum meet-up, in collaboration with Lauren Guthrie. Since SewBrum will be ten years old in 2023, I’d like to hold a slightly different event this year, as a special one-off, and have made a start on some initial planning.
Phil and I travelled to Rhodes, Prague, and Lisbon during 2022, plus we made a special trip to visit a millinery exhibition at the Christian Dior Museum in Granville during September/October, visiting Jersey, Saint Malo, Granville and Paris on the trip. Closer to home, we took the opportunity to attend various Commonwealth Games events in Birmingham this summer, and to generally enjoy the amazing atmosphere in the city during the games. Around all of that, I started a job with a new employer in February (following three years with my last employer) and Phil started a new job near the end of the year, after fifteen years working in the same department.
Some of the things I especially enjoyed this year were the video game Tux and Fanny (Switch), which made me laugh lots, Miki Berenyi’s autobiography ‘Fingers Crossed’, seeing Joe Lycett’s latest stand-up show (which is very much about Birmingham) in Birmingham, attending two, very different, Tom Robinson gigs locally (one with full band & one solo) and discovering the band Big Special from their support set, and, perhaps most of all, the tv shows Heartstopper and Our Flag Means Death, both of which I’ve watched repeatedly because I can’t resist shows about people falling in love (and because they are both brilliant). In February, I stumbled on a 90s copy of a Goosebumps book in a charity bookshop and it started me off on (slowly) collecting Goosebumps & R.L.Stine authored Point Horror books. I’m sticking to buying the original 90s editions (to add some additional challenge / interest) and thoroughly enjoying myself finding them and reading them. I studied English Literature at University and could be a bit of a book snob as a teen / student, when I was still trying to get a grip on ‘literature’, what I liked and what I was supposed to like, but now I only read books I really enjoy (including 43 audiobooks last year, with a significant number of Agatha Christie novels, and a good chunk borrowed from the library).
A belated Happy New Year – and keep an eye out for SewBrum 2023 plans, once they’ve matured enough to share x