Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: The Year of Making, in Review (long)

I apologize for the lapse in blogging. It's been a long time, hasn’t it?

For the past year or so my projects have mostly been long-term involving a ton of problem solving. Blogging before the problems were solved seemed counter-productive. By the time they were and the projects were completed, I was off and running with the next item on the agenda. So, here is a brief run-down of my making activities in 2014, in no particular order:

The home brewers out there will appreciate the stir plate I made for yeast propagation. I made it with instructions I found online. The case is a plexiglass memento box from Hobby Lobby, computer fan from Best Buy, electronics/rare earth magnets from my local independent hardware store and Radio Shack. Funky bits came from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

There has also been a lot of sewing happening.

Katherine Tilton V8691 tunic

I was able to make use of stash fabric. The gray knit was from a past sale at Hancock’s intended for a turtleneck I think. The green gauzy knit was found at a boutique fabric store in Fort Collins in 2011.

Vogue V8888 robe, view B

Modifications include fit, fabrication adjustments for a heavier fabric that called for, as well as contrasting collar, cuffs, and added piping. The robe is a dream to wear on cold mornings/evenings, and fits quite well. Fabric purchased at Sarah’s in Lawrence.

Sew Easy Pajama Pants by Cindy Taylor Oates

Modifications for fit. The pattern booklet I link to above appears to be slightly different from the one I purchased, which also includes a pattern for pajama shorts. I imagine the fabrication of the one I made is similar. Fabric purchased at Sarah’s in Lawrence.

Simplicity 2594 top, view B

I made this pattern twice. The first was casual summer top out of Swiss dot purchased at Hancock’s. (Yes, it clearly needs to be ironed, but it’s December so I have zero plans to pull it out of the closet again until June. By then it would need to be ironed again. Waste of time, I say.) The second was a dressier version out of crisp linen purchased at Sarah’s. Modifications for fit, and I lengthened the dressier version.

Here’s one I did write about back in March: Vogue 1061 by Sandra Betzina

This was modified for fit. It’s not clear in the photo, but if you refer to the pattern page I linked to, you’ll see some lovely seamed details on the back. It was this project that spurred me to purchase a serger (love it!).  While I haven’t actually tried it on these seven months later, I’m fairly certain it will require major alterations if I hope to wear it this winter. I have, eh hem, changed a bit in 2014 - in the best way possible.

There has also been progress on the knitting front.

This project was originally the #02 Man’s Turtleneck by Melissa Mathay from Knit Simple Magazine, Fall 2006 - and I suppose it still is, but I heavily modified it. The pattern originally called for a bulky weight yarn, but the yarn seen here (James C. Brett Marble DK) is a much smaller gauge. Therefore, to get everything to work, I had to recalculate everything from cable pattern to sleeve increases. The sweater fits like a dream, and is what the recipient wanted. It occupied several years of my time, but it was a terrific learning experience! 

The other project I finished was much simpler.

This is the Magic Rib Scarf worked in Cascade Eco Duo. It was a quick project to knit (about two weekends, one of which included 12 hours round trip in a car).

My final project for 2014 is a joint project with my husband, creating a custom double-decker cat bed for a cat with some peculiar sleeping preferences. We’ll refer to it as Cat Bed 2.0. 

Interior hammock is fleece. Exterior cushion is topped with fun fur. Bottom is fabric from my stash. The floor of upper cushion is a removable sheet of Lexan - both shatterproof and transparent to allow easy viewing of interior occupants.

In cooking news, I began the year by taking an online course through edX called “Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science.”  That gave me a much better idea of the reasoning behind various cooking techniques, and when and when not to apply them. For my final project I created my own recipe for soft dinner rolls through experimentation and observation of several variables, including hydration, fermentation cycles, protein and carbohydrate content, etc.

I also purchased a second pressure cooker - this one a pressure cooker as opposed to the larger pressure cooker/canner that I already had - that I use for preparing beans to entrees. 

That’s it! I’ve got many more projects in the works. Looking forward to an exciting 2015!