January/February is the time of year when we look back on what we achieved the previous year. In January 2019 I set myself a list of crafting aims to achieve. Needless to say, I haven’t even managed half of them. On the other hand, I have achieved several things I didn’t anticipate or plan for. Let’s focus on the positive! Some of the things in that second category that I’m most pleased with are:
Getting up to speed with Fusion 360, a very powerful (and free, for hobbyists and students) 3D modelling package. I’m not good at visualising things, and I have no artistic ability so sketching doesn’t work for me, but now I can get a very good idea of how something will look, and how it needs to be made so that it will fit together and work as intended. Like this coat stand I intend to build some day. If only this was possible with knitwear and dress designs as well as with more rigid items!
My cork wreath. A bit of fun, but very enjoyable. By far the most hot-melt glue I’ve ever used for one project.
An African wax print dress. The first time I’d used such fabric, but it won’t be the last.
Of the few things on the list that I did achieve, the one that gave greatest pleasure was the cushions for a new window seat. We spent so much time last summer enjoying the view from this window, and even the cat was happy with it. I’d never piped boxed cushions before, or made any this big.
I certainly kept to my resolution to make at least one item from stash for every one from newly-purchased yarn or fabric. The window seat cushions were made from a combination of new and stash fabric, the wax print for the dress was new, I went slightly mad at a woollen mill in Latvia and I came back from the Harrogate Show with a ball of fine linen, but I’ve bought nothing else.
I knitted a big cardigan from Shetland yarn I’d had for over 30 years, finished a jumper that was started in 2016 and made 2 pairs of socks for my dear husband from stash yarn (and a third pair finished in January). On the sewing side, I’ve got new life from a pair of jeans by replacing a broken zip.
The other cushion covers I made, from super-chunky yarn that was a gift, were backed with stash fabric that I dyed to the right colour with onion skins – and if that’s not being thrifty, I don’t know what is. I bought no new clothes or shoes during 2019, which makes my modest fabric and yarn purchases forgivable, I think.
Talking of natural dyes, I’ve been given a book called ‘The Wild Dyer’ which covers dyeing using plant materials. Unlike a similar book I once borrowed from the library, this one is written from a UK perspective and therefore covers plants that can be found growing wild in this country or easily raised from seed. There are even instructions for dyeing with home-grown woad using a relatively simple method of fermentation that is much more straightforward than the extraordinarily lengthy, convoluted process I was once taught by a woad expert in Toulouse. That’s something I definitely need to have a go at in 2020.