Sunday, 3 January 2016

Hello 2016!

Happy new year! It's been a bit quiet over here since the summer ended! I wish that I could say that I've been busy sewing... but that's definitely not true! By the time my new sewing machines arrived and were ready to be set up, I was in the middle of midterms and just never seemed to find an afternoon to set them up. It also doesn't help that I don't (yet) have a desk or table for them!

I'm going to try to keep this pretty short and get back to knitting the last of my (late) Christmas gifts, but it's nice to look over some highlights from the year! I'll mostly let the pictures do the talking.

These were my 'Best 9' on Instagram - unsurprisingly, 3 of them are from the Super Online Sewing Match! The rest were mostly photos of older/unfinished/potential projects as part of Rachel's Sew Photo Hop, including my grad dress, my maroon Moneta dress, my duvet Cambie dress, a 40's dress UFO, and one of my favourite vintage patterns.

Sewing Highlights:

1. The Super Online Sewing Match

Obviously, the Super Online Sewing Match was my main sewing highlight this year - everything else seems a little pale in comparison! I'm still so grateful to Beth and Kristin at Sew Mama Sew for organizing the competition. There were definitely stressful parts (like when my iron died halfway through the fourth challenge), but most of the time, it was so much fun and such a great challenge to receive all the patterns and try to make them my own.

I learned quite a bit (through lots of improvisation and trial and error!) about pattern modification, when I'd never really done at all before. During the challenges, I did some of the neatest (and most challenging!) sewing I've ever done - I was always looking for ways that I could make my projects even more special. I tried so many new techniques - adding trim to French seams and making my own bias binding on my Sutton blouse, reverse applique on my Marianne dress, adding removable backpack straps to my Caravan tote bag, flatlining and making piping for my Carolyn Pajamas, and more new techniques than I can list for my Cascade duffle coat.

I'd never made a bag or a coat before, and they were both things that I had been hoping to make for ages! I never imagined making them with the tight deadlines that I had during the contest. Looking back, I'm not sure how I managed the deadlines! I just remember sewing like mad on my days off work.

Best of all, I've worn everything that I made quite a bit! My Sutton blouse is my go-to top for wearing with jeans or tucked into a skirt - it looks great dressed up or dressed down! And my Cascade duffle coat was perfect for the cool fall and mild winter weather in Montreal this semester.

Obviously I'm so happy to have won the contest, but I'm so proud of all my projects and everything that I would have been happy no matter how the contest ended. 

2. Indie Pattern Month at the Monthly Stitch

Before being chosen as a SOSM contestant, I won a prize over at the Monthly Stitch in their 'Separates' contest for Indie Pattern Month! I entered my Miz Mozelle 2-piece dress, and won an amazing pair of Merchant and Mills shears that got some good use during the sewing match!

3. 'Dress Up Party' at Sew Sweetness

I also wrote my first guest post, a review of the Smooth Sailing Trousers on Sew Sweetness as part of her 'Dress Up Party'. Although the pants are super stretched and possibly beyond repair, I love the pattern so much that I made another pair

Knitting Highlights

1. My first cardigan!

As far as knitting goes, I was really happy to have finished my first cardigan this year! It was a major learning curve and I made a lot of mistakes, but I love the finished cardigan and wear it all the time.

I do have a few other smaller projects finished, but I don't know if I'll ever get around to blogging about them. I am, however, almost finished another sweater, that I hope to have on the blog this semester!

Sewing and Knitting Goals

Looking back at last year's sewing goals, I definitely achieved two out of three of them! I wanted to find more challenging projects, and focus more on fit - both of which I did through the sewing match. I also wanted to finish that UFO in my first photo in this post (the green floral dress), but obviously that didn't happen! I was just far too busy with the sewing contest this summer.

I'm so busy with school these days that I'm trying not to set any unachievable sewing goals for myself. Instead, I have a few very simple, realistic goals:

1. Set up my sewing space (in other words, buy a desk to put my machine on...)

2. Finish my Ginger jeans 

3. Enjoy it and relax!

I know that if I try to set too many unrealistic expectations of how much time I'll be able to dedicate to sewing and knitting, I'll just be disappointed and frustrated. Instead, I'm going to remember to enjoy it and appreciate it as a break from studying!

Other Highlights

1. Working in Canmore over the summer

I still can't quite believe how beautiful Canmore is, and it's so nice to look back at photos. I loved my job and biking to work every day, and I still managed to get lots of sewing done on my days off! Those who follow me on Instagram might recognize this photo as one of many photos that I posted of my bike ride to work. It was such an incredible way to spend a summer!

2. Moving into my own apartment in Montreal

I moved out of residence at McGill in April, and now I'm renting an apartment in the Plateau of Montreal, with a roommate. I love the apartment and the area, and I'm especially enjoying cooking for myself!

3. Starting the Microbiology and Immunology Program at McGill

When I was choosing my major, I was so torn and undecided, but I settled on the Microbiology and Immunology (MIMM) program, which sounded really interesting although I wasn't so sure if I would do well in it. I took a variety of courses this semester to keep my options open in case I wanted to change my mind, but so far I'm loving the program! My introductory course on microbiology this was so interesting, and the lab course my favourite course last semester by far. I've started volunteering in an immunology lab to learn some more lab skills and dip my toes into some research, and I'm really enjoying that as well!

Overall, it's been a really great year! School is definitely getting more challenging, but I'm enjoying it and I feels like I'm in the right place (even if I really have no idea where I'll be in a few years!).

Thanks for reading, and happy new year!