I got a bit bored of people saying 2016 was an exceptionally bad year. A few rock stars died and the people voted for some unpalatable choices. But come on – compared to years gone past we didn’t have so much to worry about. In the Western World at least we have eliminated much disease, absolute poverty and have created a wobbly support system for those most in need. Life expectancy and child health is overall improving annually and most of us have lots of choice. In my pocket I have a device that extends my brain power so I can know and do so much more than before. Not everyone is so lucky and progress is hard. But in my optimistic world view nothing is impossible. Humanity is amazing and can, with a will, conquer most things with time, commitment, investment and technology.
Sorry. Rant over.
I am happy with my lot.
I realise I have many advantages and benefits, and I am very privileged. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the fact that we have been able to buy a second home this year. As someone who works in homelessness and housing I had to consider this carefully. We have worked hard to make and save the money and I cashed in my pension and sold up my valuables. We plan to holidays here rather than fly off to fancy places. We will share our good fortune with family and friends.
My other huge advantages are in having an amazing husband, Mum, children, step children and grandchildren; and having a job I love and believe to be important.
What are my resolutions?
- Carry on knitting, learn more techniques and produce better quality garments
- a couple of Ankestrict patterns
- some colourwork
- a cabled jumper
- a range of hats, for visitors
- maybe, just maybe, knit some socks.
- Do the MANSWAP for Gus, really getting to know more about making menswear
- Run a 10K race for charity (from a standing start – I don’t really like running)
- Read a book a week
- Spend more time in the country, learning about our new area
- Be kinder and more understanding; listen more
- Finally do a jewellery class, with Nick
And my own sewing plans for the year?
I still think I have too many clothes. But I feel this year, once we have readjusted to a new life style (town and work in the week; country and leisure at weekends) I may need to make some wardrobe changes too. I feel like a big chuck out, really paring things down. In the country I have been wearing Uniqlo leggings and long sleeved Ts. I have several colours of top and they look nice layered; my bottoms are all navy. These items are warm, snug, lightweight and flattering. And reasonably priced. I was not suprised to read this : “The collection is a firm Vogue favourite, thanks to innovative technology that retains heat in winter months despite coming in the softest, thinnest of layers to allow for extra stretch and mobility.” (Vogue magazine). M&S also now make these tops and leggings too.
In the country (at this cold time of year) I wear my “base-layer” constantly as:
- nightwear (we had no heating or hot water for a while, so this was necessary)
- house-wear (when we are at home in the day it is now so warm and comfortable that i just wear these items in the house with bare feet (underfloor heating) or slippers
- underwear (when I go out on walks the base layer forms a warm shield against the cold – serving as vest and long johns). Over the top I put jeans or trousers, a hand knit, a couple of down jackets and my leather coat/waterproof, with wellies or walking boots.
However I have a few ideas percolating.
- As I sew the MANSWAP I may make up some of the items for myself too –
- this includes a pair of cords
- a bomber jacket
- and maybe a white shirt
- a pair of jeans
- Inspired by making silk for Brenda I want to make a summer dress with some hand painted silk (this has been a plan for a very long time)
- I would like a long, evening cloak in green velvet
- Some of the items I previously discussed for a casual wardrobe
- Something for work – a nice jacket, dress or skirt, a suit would be ideal – perhaps using one of my vintage couture patterns
- A few presents, for example little purses which I saw on Jenny @lilaccat’s instagram
- Non-clothes items eg cushions and chair covers for the new house.
As you can see, nothing pressing and maybe I won’t sew much for myself this year. The SWAP, the soft furnishings, plus knitting will keep me busy until May.
I realise these plans may disappoint the purist. I hope you will stay with me even if you love pictures of ladieswear straight off the sewing machine!
I like those M&S leggings and top too. Always pick up several during January sales. Looking forward to reading about your new life in the country. I found your blog through my love of sewing but I have come to look forward to your non sewing posts just as much.
Just read your recent blog and love the Uniglo top and leggings. After being a denim lover for the past 45 years I can’t believe how comfortable they are. Now the children have left home am turning the small bedroom into a sewing room andhope to have more me time in there.
Some good plans there for 2017! Sounds like you have good work-life balance, its so important.
I agree. I have had a good year with some very simple wins – I have enough and my family is overall, well also with enough. I feel for those feeling unsafe in their countries, fleeing, with not enough. I have hope for a good year. I hope you really enjoy your beautiful new holiday home with your friends and family. The jewellery making sound such fun!
Sounds good to me. I’ll be tagging along as always!
Joyce from Sudbury
Looking forward to what you sew this year, and I too love Uniqlo.
I will gently disagree with you regarding 2016; that was one of the hardest years my family and I have faced and those challenges have zero to do with any celebrity deaths.
I am sorry to hear of the difficulties you are encountering Elizabeth. I sincerely hope that things improve for you and your family very soon.
I agree with your thoughts on 2016. And lest anyone criticize you for being happy with what you have, may that person remember the area in which you work. And may I also say that women deserve to get paid for their work, in case someone takes issue with that. I was done with “volunteer” work when, some years ago, someone asked me to take a job within my profession, at least 40 hours a week and unfunded.
I love my winter underwear, made by UnderArmor. The fabric used to be available so you could make your own but I don’t know of an outlet for that anymore. However, some of their items have come down in price. Totally worth it.
Like you I have gotten tired of all of the hand wringing and superficial assessments of 2016. I hinted at this in my post on NY, though as always you are more direct! On an individual level people will always have better or worse years and the world still contains much suffering for many, but considering events through the lens of history is a step people often skip. So thanks for that.
I always enjoy reading people’s plans. I am sure you will accomplish these and more.
I’m in the US, and I am 56, so I can objectively say that 2016 was an awful year. Not the worst ever, but certainly bad. And with 20 million people on track to shortly lose health insurance, and a president elect who is certifiable, 2017 isn’t looking great. Next Saturday at least 40,000 women (me among them) are marching in Boston in protest of the new administration’s policies.
I am very lucky that I have a good job and a great (pretty much) life, but a lot of people out there don’t and it looks like they won’t have much prospect for improvement for at least the next two years.
2016 was good to us too, Kate, and I also haven’t taken world events personally, although I am grateful to live where I do. I love all your sewing plans and look forward to seeing them realised; I never get bored with anyone deviating from regular women’s fashion! I am also examining my wardrobe, gradually shedding all my working clothes and hoping that someone else can love them as much as I did. Our lifestyle is increasingly casual but I am trying to smarten up a bit when I’m camping as it makes me feel better. I haven’t posted my plans as I’m rather mercurial and they change frequently ?
2016 was a very difficult year for us too: an almost back breaking move, a toxit work environment (which I left at the end of the year), severe health issues for both of us… That said, we were also able to build the basics for a better 2017. I took finally time out and recovered, so did Mr Manuela. I found a fabulous job, sat the entrance exams at two universities and look forward to the admission interview at one of them on Saturday.
So here is to 2017.
Dear Manuela – I am sorry to hear that you have both had so many difficulties, but I am also relieved to know that you have survived it and landed on your feet. How exciting to be going to University this year – what are you studying?
And as for the quilting it is the best. I have seen those cute hedgehogs (and I think foxes and dogs) wearing glasses. They are perfect! How sweet you have a grand-baby nephew to sew for. Good luck to you both in 2017!
I want to do a PGCE, that’ll mean two years part time at university. Keep your fingers crossed for me on Saturday. My grand nephew will get the foxes (some with glasses) as cushions to go with the quilt. When all that is finished, I’ll tackle another Chanel jacket. The bodice is fitted and done, I need to make decisions about slleves, pockets and trims…. The new job is fantastic, it keeps me busy as well as entertained – I love interacting with the students, hence doing a PGCE is the right thing to do for me I think.
PS: On the sewing front, I discovered modern quilting – me, a passionate tailor and non-quilter! The hedgehogs you saw in IG will be a quilt for my grand nephew, who will be one year old next month. I try to personalise the hedgehogs to somehow resemble the grand parents, gand aunt and uncle (aka Mr Manuela & me).
More power to you: the world needs optimists! (Especially us fatalists, even though we may not like to admit it, and especially when things seem about to go over a cliff.)
Those Uniqlo base layers sound great–I’ve resorted to wearing tights under my workout leggings and 3-4 shirts plus my coat to walk the dog when it gets chilly. I ought to look into those instead! I’m looking forward to following along with whatever you want to share with us in 2017, whether it’s knitting (which you are off to a running start with; and YES to socks–do it!!) or Gus’s SWAP or silk painting or the country life or anything else at all. =)
I live in the US. I am a minority woman working in Climate Science. Previously, I worked in government. This is the year that highly competent women learned we will never be good enough and it will never be the right time to give us the same rights as a white man born to a rich father.
The 2000 election did matter. Once again, we will inaugurate a man who lost the popular vote. That man in 2000 took our nation to war on a pretext. Over 1 million people died. The US has hundreds of thousands of veterans suffering PTSD, many armed with multiple guns. We are now averaging 1 mass murder per day in the US. We are witnessing mass murders as a common form of political statement now. https://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2017/01/06/is-mass-murder-now-part-of-the-repertoire-of-contention/
The incoming president will pack the judiciary and the federal government with people who do backward legal somersaults to make life harder/impossible for women, the poor, the sick… He will be abetted by a legislative branch that denied the president for the last 8 years (who won both the popular and electoral votes) from filling OVER 100 federal judgeships. Our court system is backlogged due to this stalling tactic.
A political party with no respect for law has taken over all three branches of our federal government and 2/3 of our state governments.
Our federal government is going to be run by kleptocrats. Look to Russia. Look to Turkey.
So you will have to excuse me if my perspective on 2016 is different from yours.
Grace – it would be astonishing we all shared the same perspective! And no excusing is necessary. What we all need is respect for different perspectives and an understanding of how our backgrounds, experience and personality affect our perceptions. I always love hearing your take on things, partly because your thinking is often different from the mainstream voices I hear. Thank you for saying what you think and for being yourself. Let’s see how 2017 goes and compare views in 12 months time!
Interesting post and discussion.
I feel trivial in responding to one part only. I wore my first pair of leggings and loved them. Not really my first as I use Under Armour base layers when playing cold weather golf. I just didn’t ever think of them in a day to day context. They’re so warm and cosy. I also bought exercise cycle short length and cropped leggings. I was going to sew them but no point when I could get them cheaply: I don’t need high performance fabrics for what I plan.
2016 was a good year for us too. Yes, we had to work hard, but how wonderful is it to have work in this day and age. And to enjoy it. We have so many blessings but still, for many, it isn’t enough. It saddens me enormously that people support complaining and bitterness, but find it so hard to simply stop and be grateful.
Rant also over.
Love your plans for the year. Looking forward to seeing how this goes for you. And congrats on the holiday home. Celebrate it. You’ve worked for it!