Review of the year

posted in: Finished projects | 23

Last year I was able to reflect back on a productive year, with lots of hits and misses. 

But I also reflected that my life was changing. Spending more time in the country, winding down a little, recognising I had more than enough clothes. And so it has come to pass. I know there are some prolific makers out there and their output is truly impressive. But I feel a bit fraudulent – producing a regular blog, but not making enough clothes! I never want to make something just to write about it.

The blog, which always seems to have a life of its own, is changing too.

It is supposed to focus on making things. It drifted from sewing and pattern cutting and fitting, into knitting.  I re-dedicated my blog to the task of Making Life more Beautiful. And finally in about October I got this idea of writing a book which is so demanding I don’t really know what I was thinking.


This year I have made about 24 items, and  three partly-complete items. That’s something every two weeks or so, which is reasonable.

For Gus (the unfinished ManSwap) a pair of cords, a green polo neck and a navy blue wool jacket.

For Brenda, a nice piece of painted silk.

With Amo a summer dress and with Bella the glittery Christmas skirt.

By the way Esme made two amazing things for Christmas. One was Esme’s version of Baileys – made with Irish whisky and cream. And the other was a home-made Christmas cake, decorated with a Greatgrandma lookalike, sitting in a chair on a Chinese rug. Very authentic and totally delicious.

For myself I sewed two pleated skirts and one jacket. I dyed the fabric for the jacket and hacked an old Vogue pattern until it looked something like the 1937 Chanel original. I really like the jacket and want to have another go to get closer to Chanel.

Chanel 1937 jacket

The skirts got worn a fair amount, but all three items are summer items. I made some Style Arc Talia trousers, but they were a disaster.

I also knitted 15 items for myself.

  • Two Heavenly sweaters, from Ankestrick
  • Three Elizabeth Zimmermann yoke sweaters (blue, pink and beige)
  • An EZ yoked sweater made into a cardigan
    Hand made boots
    Purple cardigan and hand-made boots
  • Two EZ raglan sweaters, one striped and one ombre
  • Two EZ New Zealand sweaters, one sleeveless
  • Three sleeveless jerseys, inspired by Karen Templer
  • A crochet skirt, inspired by Carolyn Smith
  • A short-sleeved, light weight jumper inspired by Helmut Lang

I started an EZ NZ jumper for Nick, but it is too bulky and firm. I can see that I need to rip that one back.  And you have heard the saga of the crochet skirt for Esme.

In addition I learned to weave, make silver jewellery, leather purses and boots.

It wasn’t a bad year for making.  I really got into knitting and learnt quite a lot. I was really proud of the knitalong I organised. Lots of you participated and made amazing colourful, yoke sweaters. I think I have personally reached peak jersey actually. I probably don’t need any more jumpers. Next year we have signed up for a photography course, because as this blog shows many of my pictures are a bit rubbish.

I am also thinking of joining in the Sewing with a Plan. But just sewing along in a meandering way, rather than setting tough targets and challenges for myself.

And now for something completely different! Because book making is a rather sedentary craft I thought I might choose a fitness challenge.

I read that the best way to keep fit is to do press ups. Or burpees. Which as well as having a disgusting name are completely impossible, involving a squat, a press up and a star jump. Press ups and burpees feature in some of the classes I attend but, while I try the press up, I pass on the burpees, concentrating on squats instead.

So my New Year’s Resolution is to get to 100 press ups a day! They don’t have to be one after the other, just completed in a 24 hour period. My baseline is that I cannot actually do one full press up at the moment.  Anyone want to join me?

23 Responses

  1. felicia

    I was intrigued by your comment about press-ups (push-ups) being such a good exercise, so I googled and found this great site that gives tips on how to do them properly
    I immediately did ten little ones (not lowering myself too much). Wow. I’m glad I learned how to do them, but I still don’t agree they’re the best exercise for women. Although I will add them to my exercise routines (but not 100) Maybe I’ll go google burpees…..

    • fabrickated

      The article I read did not distinguish between men and women, and that might be a good point Felicia. At my gym there are lots of women who seem able to do them, although they are a lot younger and fitter than I am. Like Mary legs are quite strong and it is my upper body that could do with some help. So I am giving it a go….

  2. Mary

    I can’t do a burpee either. I have never been able to do a single push-up! I think my noodle arms totally lack muscle though my core and legs are strong. I’m joining you by setting my goal to be able to do ten burpees in a day by the end of 2018. This will be a huge challenge since I have a wrist and a toe that don’t bend properly but I will get there. I am drawn to the shooting star move at the end and know I can excel at that. I’ll keep you posted. And it will be fun to see where your making takes you this year. I have all sorts of new things I want to try. I’m going to explore Ikebana and do more making with leather.

  3. Dawn

    Kate, happy new year to you! If it’s upper body strength you are after have you tried yoga press ups? You can start them pivoting from your knees and work up to full body (you can do that with standard press ups too). Eons ago I had a personal trainer and she showed me another way to start off building upper body strength is a standing press ups (yes really!) – as the name suggests you just stand at an angle on the wall and push yourself away from it. Hope you are all well, Dawn

  4. Jenny

    I’m always amazed at your productivity given the day (and evening I suspect ) job! And if you count the re-knitting you’ve done when you’ve had to start again I suspect there are even more makes. As far as new ventures are concerned my daughter and I have joined a Photographic Society, not so much about technique as fun competitions and feedback. And my torture of choice this year is the plank, I’d think I’d rather walk it, but my core muscles aren’t as good as they should be.

  5. jay

    I have never been able to do press ups. Burpees? Burpee is the name we used for getting the wind up out of baby after feeds. It wasn’t particularly strenuous, except at 3am. Just sitting up clutching a burp cloth in one hand and rubbing the little one’s back was enough exercise then.

  6. Hélène

    Last September, I was also looking for a fitness activity to complement my yoga classes and I discovered bhangra dance. I fell in love with it, invited my daughter to join in, and then my son and his girlfriend. They are all hooked on bhangra now! To give you an idea of what it’s about, here’s a link showing my two teachers directing a bhangra flash mob near metro Mont-Royal in Montréal last summer:

  7. Su

    Just for a second at the beginning of your post it sounded as though you were considering not blogging any more, and I realised how much I would miss your varied adventures in making!
    100 press ups! It sounds so ambitious, but being you, I expect you’ll do it. There is a great benefit that hasn’t been mentioned – maybe you all knew, but I only found out recently that osteoporosis can set in unexpectedly early, and attack individual areas: arms; legs; spine etc… but weight-bearing exercise of all those areas can prevent it.
    I’ve been using hand weights for some years, and remember the surprise at how quickly a few minutes easy exercise a day made a big difference. It will be interesting to see how you change Kate!

  8. Alli

    Holy cows — I’m so impressed that you knitted FIFTEEN things for yourself, in addition to all the other things you made last year!

    Good luck with your fitness goals!

    • fabrickated

      Thanks Alli. I am still knitting like a demon, but am sad that SWAP only allows two knitted items. Sending you love and best wishes to you and your gorgeous family!

  9. Fran

    Wow, I so love the jacket and I’m amazed at all the items you have knitted in 2017. I managed possum pouches, squares for blankets and some quits for charity. I have 2 dogs and I walk them most days. That is one way to keep fit, as I wouldn’t walk as much if I didn’t have them. Pilates is also great. Good luck in the new year!

  10. Annieloveslinen

    Happy New Year Kate.

    Seeing all that you’ve achieved last year is impressive and I understand your reluctance to sew just for the sake of it, you work best when you are enthused, knitting is still firing you up and it’s naturally your main focus right now.

    I’m not sure about press ups for me but I’ll look into it, I would pledge some regular exercise routine though and join in with you, this time last year I was doing the 30 day challenge, gentle, but my flexibility improved.

  11. Kim

    I’m truly astounded at how much you get done. It makes me feel positively slothish (made up word but you know what I mean). You have inspired me to try the EZ method of knitting – I have bought the book with the NZ sweater in it and have another from the library. However The Management has derailed my plan by asking for a fair isle sweater (!) And since he asks for so little I feel he should take precedence.
    Enjoy the changes your life is making, and good luck with the burpees – I will not be joining you!

  12. mrsmole

    Awe-inspiring collection of work finished and work to begin for 2018, Kate! You have so much to show for spending all your time learning and creating and sharing…Holey Moley! At the end of my year I have a bag of push-up bra cups and drawers of tulle and boning and sore knees only to start again with the season in Feb. You inspire me but not enough to try anything as daring as burpies or push-ups…that is what I do every day just trying to get back up off the floor from pinning hems…ha ha. Best of luck with your latest challenge of writing a book…oh my!

  13. Shelagh

    Helen from Love to Sew podcast is doing a press-up challenge throughout the year, shall we join in? It involves doing 5 press-ups a day in January then 10 in February, 15 in March, 20 in April and onwards.

    • fabrickated

      OK! Well that sounds doable Shelagh! I am making good progress with the modified press ups but in terms of the real thing I should be able to manage five by the end of this month. How are you doing?

  14. Jennifer Miller

    Wow what a productive year! And now even considering burpees into the mix….yikes! Yoga is enough for me at the moment, although must start to do some push-ups to make those movements easier.

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