Monday, 22 December 2014

UFO sightings

I am not normally one for leaving projects unfinished. I like to either finish things, or else I get to a certain point and go: nah! and bin it or disassemble it immediately. However, for most of this year I've had a handful of things lurking around that for one reason or another had ended up as a UFO (unfinished object). Last week, I decided to dedicate some time to a kind of Work In Progress (WIP) Week, during which I've been making a concerted effort to figure out what I wanted to do with those projects and, where possible, finish up. This post is therefore full of a miscellany of finished objects, abject failure and future plans.

1. Turquoise pigskin suede Kindle case

Finished Kindle case, mainly delayed by construction problems
At some point earlier this year, I can't remember when except for "sometime between January and July", I decided I needed a simple cushioned envelope case for my Kindle. I decided to try to squeeze a case out of the scraps of pigskin suede left over from my silk and suede wedding clutch I made in mid-2013. The pieces I had left were of such a size and shape that I was unable to avoid a small flaw in the suede (which you can see in the right hand photo, next to the corner of the Kindle) although I was able to hide it under the flap.

I got about 80% of the way through, having made the exterior and a lightly quilted lining, and ground to a halt for two reasons:

1. Most importantly, I could not get any kind of reliable stitch through the layers of suede, quilting batting and fabric to do the final construction; and

2. I felt certain I was not going to get a good finish on the flap because of an (unfixable) error in the way I'd constructed my lining and was discouraged.

These problems were resolved very simply by buying some heavier leather needles (I was using Leather 90s and ended up needing Leather 110s) and reminding myself that perfect is the enemy of good, or, at least, the enemy of having a completed Kindle case. It took less than half an hour to finish this project up, and no, the flap does not look at all good. However, it is finished, and it will save my Kindle from being scratched, so it's fine.

Result: one finished Kindle case with an imperfect (but entirely serviceable) flap. \o/

2. Purple Jumper Of Doom

The purple jumper of doom in March 2014
When I first started knitting my ambitions were all centred on making jumpers. In early 2013, I therefore found a simple pattern (Classic Raglan Sweater - Ravelry link) and bought some inexpensive, acrylic, DK-weight yarn in vibrant purple, and started knitting. Alas, it turns out I am not well suited to making jumpers at all, and when I posted this last March about my half-finished jumper, after over a year of half-hearted on-and-off knitting, my hand-knitted-jumper enthusiasm had waned considerably. More importantly, my enthusiasm for this particular jumper now approached zero, due a combination of poor knitting (actual holes in the fabric in places), poor quality yarn (bobbled while I was knitting it), and poor fit. I decided, with encouragement from the peanut gallery, to abandon it for the time being and shoved it in the UFO box.

However, I disliked the idea of it lingering forever as a WIP, so I decided this week to try to think of something to do with the jumper. My options seemed to me to be:
1. start knitting it again, which, no, because I felt no more enthusiastic about the yarn or fit than I was in March;
2. frog it for the yarn, except the yarn was a big part of the problem in the first place and also cheap originally, so frogging seemed like a lot of effort for little reward;
3. toss it out without further thought, which just seemed wasteful; or
4. somehow make use of the knitting I had done.

I decided I would try 4, and cut the jumper up into the largest pieces I could to use it sort of like a a knit fabric. I decided to make a slouchy hat from a pattern in Ottobre 05-2009 that called for a small amount of a wool knit. Actually slicing my scissors into my knitting was an interesting experience.... especially when I realized ten seconds later that I had managed to cut it out completely incorrectly and there was no way to recover from my error with the amount of fabric I had left. Oops. /o\ A somewhat promising idea ruined by an embarrassing cutting mistake with a very simple 2 piece pattern! In the end, therefore, I was forced to go with option 3: toss it out without further thought.

Alas, the mangled remains of my jumper, destined for the rubbish
Result: one dead purple jumper, only fit for throwing away. /o\

3. "Cape Disappointment"

In October/November 2013 I became briefly obsessed with the idea of making a cape. I eventually chose (to my later regret) to buy an expensive indie pattern, the Liesl + Co Woodland Stroll Cape pattern, and set about making one with some rather nice plaid wool and a fancy blue tulip lining which I chose while out fabric shopping in London with my friend B, and to which I developed a sentimental attachment. Alas, all did not go well and I ended up abandoning it unfinished. I was subsequently infuriated by a comment left on my PR review by the pattern creator, which made me even less inclined to finish it.

Normally, I'm pretty sanguine about my sewing failures. I usually try to see if I can salvage the fabric or notions, bin anything I can't rescue, bitch about it on this blog, and then I move on. However, at the point of abandonment I was about 95% done with this cape and I found myself dithering between taking it apart to salvage the fabric (especially the lining) or finishing up the cape, which literally only needed finishing touches. In the end I just bundled it up, stuffed it in my WIP box and tried not to think about it. To be honest, I couldn't even really decide what to do with it when I got it out to look at this time. In the end I was rescued from indecision by my mum, who happened to come round to my house while I was examining the cape and encouraged me to finish it.

Completed Liesl & Co Woodland Stroll Cape
Positives: it only took a little bit of time to hand stitch the opening in the lining where I'd turned the cape closed, put snaps (for the actual closure) and buttons (for decoration) to create the "sleeves", and buttons and button-holes on the front. Also, my plaid matching across both the side seams and the two front pieces was A++ and looks great. I still love my lining fabric and more than half wish that it was the exterior fabric. I am surprised by how good my sewing of this garment was originally and I think it actually looks pretty good.

The big negative: I still really don't like the way the cape looks on me. The proportions just look wrong, far shorter than the pattern envelope picture looks even AFTER I added 5cm in length, and it is too close a fit for a cape (and yes, I did make the right size according to measurements no matter what the *&!@*!@ing pattern creator wants to write in comments on my review. In fact, right now I am at the BOTTOM of the range of measurements indicated for the size I made, so ugh, whatever).

Since it's entirely the wrong time of year for a little wool cape anyway I have put it in my closet for now. Maybe I will gradually come to love it by the time the spring rolls around.

Result: one completed cape \o/ that I still don't like /o\

4. The Bird and Rose Quilt (a.k.a. The World's Slowest Quilt)

I feel like it is almost inevitable that every sewer, no matter how much she/he is normally interested mainly in clothes or bags or home dec or whatever, will eventually want to give quilting a try just for the heck of it. Personally, however, I seem to be making my (first? only?) quilt at a pace a self-respecting snail would be ashamed of.

Test piece of Turning Twenty pattern from April 2012
I first decided to make a quilt in April 2012. I made a tiny, not-to-scale test piece of an ultra simple quilting block called Turning Twenty using a fabric pack I got free with a magazine. As I quite liked how my test worked out, I cut out some pieces of the quilt top from a gorgeous William Morris print that features birds and roses (hence the quilt name). I later decided to make the quilt using Quilt As You Go methods and at some point in early 2013 I cut out all of the required pieces of batting, backing, sashing, and binding. Then just before I moved to Ireland in May 2013, I packed all the pieces I had so far in a bag and sealed it... and then didn't open it again until this week.

Pile of quilt pieces
I knew that there was a limit to what I could with the quilt this week because I've actually never gotten around to buying the additional fabric needed for the quilt top. I decided that this was once again a major case of perfect is the enemy of good. The reason I had been procrastinating is mainly that I had somehow convinced myself I was going to do a shit job of finding co-ordinating fabrics. This is clearly highly unproductive, and the only way to get past it seems to me to be to just buy some fabric and give it a go. Thus, my major progress on this quilt for now has just been to get over myself and trawl for suitable co-ordinating fabrics. I think I've found the fabrics I want, but alas, as described in my money and sewing review post, I am now also all out of sewing money for the year.  It will have to wait until January for me to buy them. Hopefully I will make some actual concrete progress early in the new year.

Result: No visible progress as yet, but some decisions have been made. \o/

And that concludes my WIP Week, with nothing left in my UFO box at all since I moved my quilt pieces into my box of "Active Projects". Yay! \o/

No comments:

Post a Comment