I've got to ask...where on earth did 2011 go? I think I must have blinked at some point during the year and it disappeared! Luckily, this blog acts as a pretty comprehensive record of my activity, which has helped my reflective efforts. 

Firstly, a quick detour via the future. For 2012 I'm taking radical action by throwing out all the rules! Last year, I set myself very specific aims, but I don’t know what they achieved, other than making me feel bad for not satisfying them all. I’m going to totally wing it this year to see which method is ultimately more productive. A highly scientific experiment I'm sure you'll agree ;o)

What I do know is that I want to sew and knit as much as possible, whilst continuing to improve my skills. And I want to savour every minute of it. So there! 

Don’t get me wrong, 2011 has had some great highlights – especially
getting to meet some amazing bloggers in May and taking up knitting in October. I’ve really fallen head over heels with knitting and I’m proud of my first creations.

However, when I look back at my aims for 2011 and even my half-year roundup, I’m struck by how unbelievably naive I sound. Erm, gee, wouldn’t everyone like to find / make more time to sew?!?

But I have learned an important thing or two in the past year:

  • There’s no need to rush things! I’ve given myself a particularly hard time over not opening an Etsy shop, but really, what’s the hurry!?! I’d still like to do this one day, but I think it’s wiser to take the time to hone some killer skills and develop a unique idea.

I’m so excited to see where this new year takes me, so as I 'aimlessly' set sail into 2012, I’ll leave you with a selection of my good, my bad and my ugly sewing makes of 2011:

I think I had the most fun experimenting with detachable collars! You can see more peter pan collars here and more nautical collars here.

I did some selfless sewing - a top for a friend and some pillowcase dresses for girls living in poverty around the world.

And I managed to squeeze in some commissioned pieces - baby pinnies, a half pinny and an extravagant 'Parisian Princess' pinny!

But 2011 was definitely the year of the skirt for me! I went from never having made one, to making many: aubergine Ginger, western Ginger, self-drafted circle and the Crescent skirt.

Oh, and I loved the simple tops I made - a refashioned dress became my very first Pendrell blouse and I went crazy with three versions of the Sorbetto.

And finally, the bad and the ugly of 2011 had to be ALL of my attempted dresses - my 1940s Swing Dress turned out too big on the waist, my One Pattern, Seven Bloggers dress was rushed to meet the deadline and my Lonsdale was way too small in the bodice!

So here's to 2012 bringing me more luck with dresses! 

I'll see you on the other side folks...hope the New Year brings you all happiness, health and as much stitching time as your hearts desire!
To those who celebrate it, I hope you've had a jolly good Christmas, and I hope those who don't celebrate it have still enjoyed the holidays!

I've been a lucky girl again this year, having received some lovely making-related gifts. As an aside, it's tricky now that knitting's in my life as I can't just say sewing-related. Does anyone have a combined word / term for sewing and knitting, that's not crafting or making?

Admittedly this year I received less making-related gifts than usual, but that's only because I naughtily indulge myself with 'gifts' throughout the year! I can't complain though as I also received some delicious-smelling perfume, white slimline Converse trainers, good quality make-up, the cutest little bow bracelet and many more bits and bobs.

What was your favourite gift this year?
Rewind back to October and more specifically my first Crafty Christmas Club post of the year. My Christmas gift-making plans were predominantly of the sewing variety and I had pretty much discounted any knitting because I didn't think I'd be skilled enough in time. Ironically, unforeseen circumstances scuppered my sewing plans and instead, the gifts I have managed to complete have all been knitted!

Taking up knitting was one of the best things I did this year and I'm delighted (not in a big-headed way) at my own progress. I would love to tackle something more ambitious soon, but this is a good start, no?

I made this shrug for my mum using a Sirdar pattern and the MOST BEAUTIFUL yarn ever! It was pricey, but look at all the wonderful colours and the texture! Interestingly, this yarn came unravelled and I had to twist it into a ball before starting.

Another one of the snoods made world-famous by Karen. This one's for a friend and I made it using Sirdar's Big Softie yarn and this free pattern.

A sparkly scarf for another friend, using this lovely free pattern from ravelry. I love the graduated colours of this yarn and the interesting ribbed effect the pattern produces.

And finally, a gift for myself! This was made with the same pattern and yarn as the snood above, but I used moss stitch instead of stockinette. You can see my first ever snood here.

I did also experiment with a batch or two of edible gifts, but they were most definitely a fail. So maybe I can revisit that idea next year!

I can't believe it's just one more sleep until Christmas, hope you all have some excellent plans lined up!
I love reading blogs, it unearths all sorts of valuable information! Just today I stumbled upon independent sewing pattern company, Victory Patterns, thanks to a post by Lazy Stitching. Have you heard of them before?

Victory Patterns are created by Toronto designer and sewing teacher, Kristiann Boos, who launched her first six pattern this November.

I must say, they really look quite stunning. You can see the full range of patterns here, but my personal favourites are:


As far as I can tell Victory Patterns are only available as PDFs at the moment, but that certainly keeps buying costs down and eliminates P&P costs too.

I also spotted a great tutorial for a Smocked Honeycomb Skirt on Kristiann's blog. This is a technique I've never tried before, so I'm excited to give it a go sometime soon.

I look forward to trying out Victory Patterns (I'm torn between Ava and Chloe to begin with) and following the company's progress. If the patterns are anywhere near as good as Colette or Sewaholic, then us sewing folk are in for a treat methinks!
My Christmas has well and truly arrived over a week early, thanks to the delectable Dibs, aka my very own Santa!

First a bit of background. Have you ever really coveted something...I mean REALLY COVETED, to the point where it became an obsession? I've been obsessed and quite possibly possessed since June, when I saw these two lovely ladies sporting handmade dresses from the most brilliantly-kitsch, 1950s-esque lobster print fabric. Swoon!

Mikki from Mikkipedia 

With the help of both Mikki and Adrienne, I tracked down the fabric to Leeds market. Perfect, I thought! I have an awesome friend who lives in Leeds who was willing to check things out for me. But alas, it wasn't meant to be! She checked a few times, but the fabric that had stolen my heart was sold out.

Fast-forward to last month and I spotted the fabric again on Stevie's blog, taunting me! I left a desperate comment for Stevie and Dibs just happened to read it and got in touch. She knew exactly where to find the fabric and offered to get me some. What an angel! Especially seeing as she's experiencing a pretty tough pregnancy...thanks so much Dibs! This is just one of countless examples of how unbeatable the online sewing community is!

Anyway, I'll leave you with a smug shot of my very own kitsch yardage, which arrived in the post yesterday. All that remains now is to decide what to make with it...

Have you seen it yet, Karen's World Map of Snoods? It's such a genius idea and the perfect way to illustrate how the Karen-inspired snood has gone international!

And the best part for me? I'm featured in it, with some exclusive makes that I haven't even shared on here, no less. You should really pop on over and have a look at the snoods from far and wide...Karen's map is such fun!

On a more sombre note, I wanted to apologise for my recent radio silence. I've been away for the last 10 days, because my granddad being taken ill in Cyprus. Although I have miraculously managed to get my daily fix of most of my favourite blogs, my own sewing and knitting progress has totally stalled. I'm having to abandon some of my Christmas-gift-making, but there's always next year. For now, I'm just thankful my granddad's in a more stable condition than when I first flew out. I'm so grateful that I had the chance to go and support him and my family, we're now all hoping that he will continue to make good progress.

If you're Christmas-gift-making this year, I hope everything's under control!