2020 Make Nine

Annnnd just like that, Christmas is over.

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Ours went past in a mashup of lie-ins, food, and snuggles on the sofa with the doggos while watching films (and the cat who was feeling sorry for himself after having dental surgery) – which is just the way I like it. We’ve still got a few days left until we go back to work thankfully, and will be continuing to spend our days in the same chillaxin’ manner. We’d both got a bit tired, a bit frazzled and beaten from 2019 so we’re glad of the break to recharge and head into the new decade (eek!) a bit fresher. I’m taking the opportunity to do as much selfish sewing and knitting as I like, while thinking about what I’d like to make next year.

I’ve done a Make Nine list for a couple of years now, and it’s interesting to see the difference in the two years. From my 2018 list, I didn’t get many of them made and a couple of them got subbed out for other – totally different – patterns after I decided that actually, the garments I’d chosen didn’t suit my style. The 2019 pick has been much more successful, with no drastic substitutions, which I’m taking as a sign that I’m getting better at choosing styles.

I also like to use the list as a chance to try out patterns from companies that I haven’t used before – otherwise, I feel like I get stuck in the same old boring rut. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really nice to have pattern houses that make designs that fit me well, but it’s also nice to have a bit of variation. A couple of great pattern companies that I discovered this year were Wardrobe By Me and Patrons Les BG (for menswear), and I’d like to sew more from them next year. I’ve kind of made the decision to (mostly) stay away from the big pattern houses, because I just can’t seem to get success with the amount of ease that they incorporate into their designs. It’s too much. Plus, I don’t know why they draft every single armhole for someone that’s built like The Rock, and I’m fed up of trying out their shirt patterns to end up disappointed that the armhole fits both of my arms and comes down to my elbow 😡

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The Make Nine process has been quite a useful tool for me – helping guide my sewing towards things that I actually need (wardrobe staples, handknitted socks (yes, thats a need)) and helping me stay away from repeating past mistakes (wrap bodices, pretty much any form of skirt).

About halfway through the year, I did a status update on where I was with the 2019 Make Nine, but here’s the final result!

So, what was on my Make Nine?

This lovely lot: 👀

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Clockwise from top left: Fennel Fanny Pack by Sarah Kirsten, an undecided knitted sweater, Quadra jeans by Thread Theory, Hedwige Shirt by Republique Du Chiffon, Clark Socks by Jaclyn Salem, an undecided leggings pattern, a t-shirt, the Oregon Hat Set by Alice Starmore, and the Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen in the centre.

So how did I do on getting those made? Not bad, actually…

Fennel Fanny Pack

Made?

Erm… no, but IT WILL BE.

I have the pattern, and I’ve even bought all of the fabrics and the hardware for this – I just haven’t actually put needle to fabric yet 🤦🏻‍♀️ I am actually considering making it over the Christmas break, so there’s a teeny chance that I could sneak this one in by the time January 1st rolls around! But it’s still 100% for sure still on the list of things to make. I’m envisioning taking the completed bag on dog walks to hold my phone and keys, and also maybe on a trip to somewhere exotic… I picture myself wandering foreign markets with this slung around my waist 😌 But since I don’t have any exotic trips planned for the foreseeable future, I’ll just take it on the dog walks for now 😂 I am also considering making one from metallic leather, just because I think it would look pretty 🤩

Knitted Sweater

Made?

YES!

(but not blogged yet 😂)

In the end, I didn’t go with any of the patterns I originally bookmarked, and instead ended up making the Vogue Knitting Live 2017 sweater. Yeah, random, I know 😂 It’s a free pattern that I downloaded from Ravelry, but out of all the patterns I scrutinised this one looked like it had the better fit and style. It’s basically a hugely oversized, super warm and comfy snuggle-fest (the picture below shows the matching cowl you can make – it’s not actually part of the neckline). The Malabrigo Caracol yarn knitted up a little differently to what I expected – there’s a lot of yellows and greens going on in some places – but then that’s my one gripe with variegated yarns. I always struggle to visualise how they will look as a knitted fabric, how the colours will interplay with each other. I’m super grateful to any yarn seller that includes knitted swatches in the pictures of their yarn listings, as I get put off buying from a lot of yarn dyers because I just can’t picture how it will look and I don’t want to take the risk that I won’t like the fabric as much as I like the hank.

Anyway, the sweater will hit the blog in the new year – but I’m happy with my choice of pattern and I’m gonna make a matching one for the husbeast (because I also bought him some of the same yarn in a bluey colourway).

VKL Sweater small2

 

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Thread Theory Quadra Jeans

Made?

YES!

These came out pretty well, and they are a good fit – apart from mayyyyybe being a teensy bit baggy in the lower leg. I got a good finish on the jeans, and the topstitching is 👌🏻 The husbeast has worn them a couple of times but complains about an uncomfortable bit of seam allowance at the bottom of the waistband where the outer leg seam joins it. I don’t remember the seam allowances being particularly thick, but this seam I think has the pocket bag in it as well which might not help the problem. Next time I wash them I’m gonna take a hammer to that little lump and see if I can reduce it enough so that it’s not uncomfortable to wear, because it’s such a shame that my good topstitching work is going to waste 😂

It’s an excellent pattern though, and one that I will be making again.

(On the blog next year!)

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Oregon Hat Set by Alice Starmore

Made?

Nope.

I’ve never actually done any stranded knitting before, so instead of steaming in with what looks to be a pretty complicated pattern, I thought I’d make a simple(r) two colour hat and mitt set first:

Except, I haven’t got round to that either 🙈 And I literally have no excuse – I have the yarns and everything. It’s just time I’m short of, but now I’m writing this I’m reminded of the fact I haven’t made it, so I might dig out the yarns and pattern and put them somewhere in plain sight so that I have a shot at making them before it gets too warm to wear them. Actually, thinking about it, we’re off to New York in a couple of months so I might take this with me to pass the time on the plane. Yep. Decision made. That’s what I’m gonna do 💪🏻

Dawn Jeans by Megan Nielsen

Made?

YEP! Two pairs! With a third on the way!

The first pair were made of a cord fabric, just to test the waters on fit. These ended up being donated because I didn’t like the synthetic cord fabric and the fit was pretty tight around the thigh. Plus the finish on that pretty leather patch on the back came off in the wash 😨The second pair I made from Spoonflower Dogwood Denim, and I like them much better. The print is fading in the wash slightly, but it gives the jeans a kind of vintage look which is pretty cool 👀

Megan Nielsen Dawn Jeans 5367

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This pattern is everything I want in a pair of jeans – high waisted, button fly, rigid denim. If I never made another jeans pattern, I’d be happy. Skinny jeans were never really my thing, and I know everyone loved the Ginger Jeans pattern but I just couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to make them. Plus, I’d read that people were making adjustments to get a higher rise, and as a newbie jeans maker that was scared enough there was no way I was gonna start with a pattern that I needed to mess about with to get the rise I wanted. So I waited, and then the Dawn was released and all my dreams came true.

Hedwige Shirt by Republique Du Chiffon

 

hedwige shirt 2Made?

Like, 95% made…

BUT.

It’s touch and go whether I will actually finish it – this shirt seems to have the same armhole as the big four patterns – as in, it’s huge. All that’s left to do it put the buttons on it, but it’s going to take an enormous amount of willpower to rescue it off the dressform and get those last finishing touches done. I haven’t touched it in months. A lot of months. Maybe it’s not as bad as I remember it to be 🤔

Or maybe it is.

T-shirt

Made? Yep! Two of ‘em!

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Megan Nielsen Rowan Tee 5715

I made the Scout in a knit fabric (it’s designed for wovens 😨) and it turned out absolutely amazeballs. Then I tried the Rowan Tee from Megan Nielsen, and it was the worst t-shirt I’ve ever worn in my life. It should come marked as a choking hazard, the neckline is so tight! I made the largest size in the envelope as well, and it wasn’t particularly large. If you’re looking for something skin-tight to wear to a wet T-shirt competition, this is probably it.

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If you want just a regular t-shirt that you can wear out in public, I’d stick with the Scout.

Either way, I’ve made a fair few Scouts now and they are slowly but surely taking over my wardrobe. There’s an uber-cool leopard print version coming to the blog soon… 👀

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But I’ll still try out other t-shirt patterns, just to give me a bit of variation.

Avery Leggings

Made?

YEP!

(blog post here)

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I made mine as gym leggings, but the seams are under just a tad more strain than I’d feel comfortable with doing squats in. I made a size medium waist with a size large leg, but I should have made a large waist with an XL leg. Although (for reasons I delve into in the blog post) I probably wouldn’t make more of these as gym wear, I would make them from a good thick cotton jersey as loungewear (‘Sunday Sweatpant-wear 😂). I learnt a LOT about sewing activewear and the challenges that home sewists face with our non-industrial machinery while making these, so it was a worthwhile experience.

So not a total fail after all – the pattern is a good’un, but just not in the form originally thought it might be.

Clark Socks by Jaclyn Salem

Made?

Nope, but I subbed out the Clark Socks pattern for the socks that came in the Knitcrate I bought last year. I’m halfway through one sock and it’s taking SO BLOODY LONG because I may as well be knitting it on toothpicks. If they don’t fit at the end of all this effort, I’ll officially give up on sock knitting 😂

(but if they turn out okay, I’ll make the Clark Socks because I actually really like them and I already have yarn for them 🧦)

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See, it’s not a bad effort across all nine is it!

I’m gonna give myself six-and-three-quarters out of nine – a quarter mark for the Fennel Fanny pack (that I have all the materials for but just haven’t started yet, yes I feel like I should get a quarter mark for that 😂) and a half mark for the socks which I have started but just haven’t finished yet. I’m counting the shirt in full because it’s pretty much made – if I left off the buttons and used it as a tie-front shirt, it would be finished, so that’s my justification 🤪). The only one that wasn’t started at all was the stranded colourwork hat and mitt set – but it will get done eventually, so it’s not like I’ve chosen some wildcard and regretted it (like I did last year! 😂)

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It’s definitely a better result than last year, fo sho. And what about next year I hear you ask? Well… drumroll please – here’s the 2020 list!

2020 Make Nine

1. Some sort of loose hippy trousers

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Disclosure: I’m not talking full-on MC Hammer pants here.

I had a pair of loose, viscose twill trousers which I got from American Eagle many years back and loved them – but over time they started to look reallllly worn, and I miss them. They were really comfy – elasticated waist and cuffs, but perhaps a little short on room in the thigh. I’d like to make my own similar pair next year, so that in the summer I’m not restricted to wearing skirts all the time when it’s hot. A couple of potential patterns could be the Arenite pants by Sew Liberated or the Ethel Trouser by Style Arc – I’m not sure I like those huge pockets on the Arenite (I guess I could leave them off) but I prefer the elasticated cuffs to the quite severe hem of the Ethels. Either way, whichever one I choose needs to have a high enough rise on them because elastic waistbands always migrate to the narrowest part of my waist – which is quite high up, so a low or medium-rise is going to end very badly.

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ETHEL PANTS

I’m kinda swayed to the cleaner lines of the Ethel… but let’s see. I’m worried that the Arenite pockets will just add even more width to my thighs. Anyone made either of these patterns? Lemme know your thoughts!

2. Trudy Turtleneck by Wardrobe by Me

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As much as I hate to admit it, wardrobe basics do have their place. I pretty much live in turtlenecks in the winter, so I may as well start making my own rather than being restricted to the boring offerings in the stores. I bought the Rowan pattern with the hope of using it for both the tee and the polo neck variation – but after the shambles that was the tee, there’s no WAY I’m wasting my efforts on trying the polo neck version. The Trudy seems to have good reviews, so I’m gonna give it a shot 💪🏻

3. A Backpack

I love a good backpack. Handbags, meh, not so much, but backpacks? YAS. The Range Backpack I made last year turned out pretty well, so I’d like to try another.

I can’t quite decide which one I like more out of the Making Backpack by Noodlehead or Rasperry Rucksack by Sarah Kirsten… maybe I’ll just make both?!

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4. Esquire sweater by Jill Wright

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This one is for the husbeast, who so badly needs some knitted jumpers. Plus, I already have enough of the recommended yarn to make this – in fact, I’ve had it for about eight years and it has just sat under the bed waiting to be brought to life. Its moment is now (well, sometime in 2020).

This is the only knitted item in my make nine, but there will (hopefully) be much more knitting done next year besides this!

5. Montana Shirt by Itch To Stitch

Montana Shirt Product Hero

Another pattern house that is new to me – most of their patterns aren’t really my style, but this shirt caught my eye. Three years of this blog and I’m still searching for the perfect casual shirt – could this one be it? I dunno. But there’s only one way to find out.

6. Wardrobe by Me Rebel Raglan sweatshirt

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This one’s for the husbeast – I’m trying to make more of the things that we still buy from stores, and loungewear/casual wear is one of those things. I’ve made the Grainline Linden, which I’m sort of happy with (I’ll try other patterns, though) but I’ve not made anything for the husbeast. So as a starting point, I’ll try out this sweatshirt for him and see how it goes!

7. Anything But Basic Men’s Tee by Do It Better Yourself Club

The ABB Mens Tee Sewing Pattern Cover Photo

The husbeast is still trying to find that perfect tee pattern. So far, we’ve been through a couple and not quite really settled – so I’m heading into ‘new brand’ territory and am trying this offering from Do It Better Yourself Club. It’s a free pattern (woo!) They even have a free women’s version, too. Obvs, I’ll report back on how it goes!

8. Billie Wearable Blanket by Do It Better Yourself Club

Billie Wearable Blanket Sewing Pattern Listing Cover

I’m not even joking with this one. I need this in my life.

I wear my dressing gown (housecoat 😂) around the house rather a lot in the winter, because it’s cheaper than putting the heating on and the husbeast is usually sweating while I’m shivering. A wearable blanket is going to solve all my temperature-related problems (well, maybe) and I plan on making that front pocket big enough to hold a hot water bottle too 🔥

I’m gonna get me some funky fleece fabrics (probably leopard print, let’s be real) and make this, and probably make a dog-sized blanket with the leftovers because Leela gets just as cold as me 🥶

9. Men’s camp collar shirt

Last summer, I made the husbeast a camp collar shirt from a big 4 pattern house. It was awful – oversized and ‘easy sew’ which meant that the finishing was crap.

I do like the vintage vibe of the camp collar, and there are a couple of store-bought shirts in his wardrobe that have this style (which get worn for the five days a year that we actually get summer weather here in England ☀️).

I have a couple of patterns in mind for this one – the Men’s Tropical Shirt from Wardrobe By Me, and a vintage pattern that I picked up off Etsy:

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Not sure yet which one I’ll make, I might make both so that I can compare the two and see which one the husbeast likes the style of best.

So that’s the Make Nine for next year! (Thanks for sticking with me there, lol 👍🏻)

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What do you think of the patterns that made the list? Which one’s your fave? Do you participate in the Make Nine challenge or just make whatever takes your fancy? 💁🏻‍♀️

Enjoy your New Year’s Eve, however you will be spending it… see you on the other side!

✌🏻

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Next week on the blog – my first post of the new decade! 😨 I’m starting off the new year with a bit of a refresh of some homewares 🏡 Subscribe below to have the post drop straight into your inbox! 🙌🏻

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23 Comments

  1. Tania
    December 29, 2019 / 10:09 am

    “Knitting on toothpicks” lololol🤣
    Maybe try a short circular needle for socks – much easier to handle and seem to knit quicker. I only use the toothpicks for the last few rows near the toes

    • Sarah
      Author
      January 1, 2020 / 7:53 pm

      I’m not even joking, the needles are SO small 👀😂 I did think about a short circular… but then I thought I’d have to faff about with the whole magic loop thing to get it to the right size 😫 Or do the shorter circulars come with shorter needles? I’ve almost finished one sock now, the end is in sight!! You’ll be pleased to hear that I’m not totally put off knitting socks though 🙌🏻
      Happy new year! 💜

  2. Bren Holmes
    December 29, 2019 / 10:28 am

    Your hubs is going to do well in 2020 if all the patterns destined for him get made. I need that wearable blanket in my life, too. I’m always cold while hubs is complaining about the heat. My daughter bought me a fleece slanket (blanket with sleeves and a pouch for one’s feet) for Christmas 3 years ago, but my cats have taken possession of that and I rarely get a look in. When I do get ahold of it, I don’t need a hot water bottle, as the cats pile on top of me :-).
    For your summer trousers, I’d have a go at a mash up of the Arenite with the Ethel, grafting on the ankle cuffs and maybe the waist. I don’t like those pockets on the Arenite either.
    The backpacks look very practical, but are a bit square at the top for me, I like curvier lines. I’m sure the fabrics you choose will make them look fab.
    I love the shirt and wish you luck with the armholes.

    • Sarah
      Author
      January 1, 2020 / 8:01 pm

      I know that feeling Bren – the blankets in my house usually get stolen by the dog though, rather than the cat! 🤷🏻‍♀️ I am pretty excited about making that blanket 🙌🏻 Ooh, a foot pouch sounds pretty snuggly – though I guess that blanket was meant for sitting in, rather than also walking around in (like a dressing gown)?
      I don’t know what it is about those Arenite pockets – they’re just a little too sticky-outy for me. I do like the ankle cuffs though, so I might take your advice on that one 💕
      I’ve seen a couple of backpacks that have the rounded top – I think I might even have favourited a couple on Etsy, you’ve just reminded me to go back and look and see what’s there! Too many bags, too little time – you know how it is! 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

  3. December 29, 2019 / 12:23 pm

    Interesting! A decidedly more casual/at home look for all your choices this year. Looks like you’re definitely moving past the ‘sewing cake’ stage, and getting into the nitty gritty [can be boring though, I get you- which is why I’ve enjoyed my forays into costume making of late]

    • Sarah
      Author
      January 1, 2020 / 8:16 pm

      Haha, can you tell I work from home more now 😂😂 It’s not going to be a permanent shift (I’ll make sure of that!) but an attempt at covering all bases, wardrobe-wise. To try and eliminate the things we still buy – although if I want a plain black tshirt, you can be sure that I’m gonna buy that rather than spend time making it (I’m not going *that* far 😂)
      I’ve been following your costume adventures – not something I’d want to do personally 😨 but your work looks fabulous! I’m off to catch up on your SWAP 2020 post now! (that’s come round soooo fast! 😨)

  4. December 29, 2019 / 1:36 pm

    OMG, I LOVE the wool you’ve chosen for the Vogue 2017 sweater. What is it?! I had a sweater like that when I was a teenager and I loved it. My Mum knitted it for my Birthday – it was black with rainbow flecked wool and I chose purple for the collar, ribbed cuffs and hem. I think I need to ask my Mum to get knitting again! (I cannot knit to save my life, except on a loom which is only good for scarves mostly). I also LOVE that blanket jumper and I am going to look into making one myself.

    • Sarah
      Author
      January 1, 2020 / 8:19 pm

      Yaaay I’m so glad I’m bringing people around to the idea of making an adult blanket 😁😁😁 I’m so excited to make that!
      As you spotted, the yarn is Caracol, and yep wool ☹️ If I spy a similar one in a different fibre, I’ll be sure to let you know 💜

  5. December 29, 2019 / 1:40 pm

    I see it now – the Malabrigo Caracol. I know you blogged about it and I had to discount it because I’m allergic to wool. I’ll have to see what acrylic alternatives there are.

  6. Sarah
    December 29, 2019 / 5:29 pm

    For a casual pant, have you looked at Made By Rae’s Rose or Luna pants? I haven’t tried them, but I have had good success with her children’s patterns and have been considering her adult patterns- she just expanded her size ranges!

    • Sarah
      Author
      January 1, 2020 / 8:21 pm

      Oh! Thanks Sarah – I’ve just bought the Luna pants because of your recommendation! These are the perfect mashup of the Arenite and the Ethel – and much more like the pair of store bought trousers I have 💕 The Ethel/Arenite combo has now been bumped for the Luna’s – keep your eyes peeled on the blog when the weather gets warmer 👀
      Happy new year! 💜

  7. Louize
    December 29, 2019 / 7:55 pm

    I have made the Ethel’s and they came out huge, so I had to donate them. I have made a couple of pairs of la Maison victor sunny trousers and added elastic to the bottom hems which are super comfortable and fit super well!

    • Sarah
      Author
      January 1, 2020 / 8:23 pm

      Ahhh, see that’s my worry Louize… that they will just be SO huge 😨 I’ve never worn (or even tried on) anything that resembles the style of the Ethel, so I have no idea whether it will suit me our not. Ooh I have a couple of copies of LMV – I wonder if the Sunny pattern is in the ones that I have – I’m going to check! Thanks! 💜

  8. December 31, 2019 / 9:53 pm

    Holy shit, that wearable blanket though 👀

    I forgot that you made a Scout Tee in knit fabric. I might give it a go!

    Having also had a disappointing browse through the sales for trousers, I’m wondering if 2020 is the year I tackle that particular mountain.

    Your plans look good!

    • Sarah
      Author
      January 1, 2020 / 8:30 pm

      IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BLANKET 👀
      I’m already looking at fleecy fabrics to make it from!

      The Scout is now my go-to knit tshirt pattern – it rocks! Though, just to shake things up a bit I do also have a couple of other tee patterns to try. I’ve got the La Brea tee, and also the ABB women’s tee. I’ll see how they compare to the Scout and will report back!
      YES – make the trousers. Coming from someone that was bloody terrified of sewing trousers, they really aren’t as scary as they seem. In a way, they’re actually way easier because all you’ve got is a fly to sew and the rest is just straight seams! They will be way easier than your Jasika blazer, for sure! You can do it 💪🏻 I’m gonna be watching your IG feed, no pressure 👀👀👀

  9. Ruth Lister
    January 5, 2020 / 12:07 am

    Magic loop is good once you get it going, and if you get interchangeable needles you can pick a cable length to suit. I’ve done baby hats as magic loop and they’re similar diameter to socks.

    • Sarah
      Author
      January 6, 2020 / 1:01 pm

      I’ve done sleeves as magic loop, but I do find it a bit of a faff to constantly adjust the loop… I’ve sort of got the hang of the ‘cabling without a cable needle’ for the socks – although its a bit of a wrangle with the needles sometimes, its DEFINITELY quicker than doing it with a cable needle and possibly *slightly* less faff than magic loop… but maybe I’ll try the next pair with the loop to compare 😊

  10. Tania Walton
    January 5, 2020 / 12:19 pm

    Shorter circulars do indeed come with shorter needles. You might need to try a couple of brands, as some have straight needles and some have a little bend in them to keep the small circle shape. I prefer the bent ones myself but can use either (depending on how many socks I’m knitting at one time). I use a 30cm 2.5mm circular for socks

    • Sarah
      Author
      January 6, 2020 / 1:23 pm

      Ooh, I didn’t know that they did curved needles! I’ve thought (MANY a time) that curved needles would be so helpful! I’m definitely going to look in to that – thanks for the tip ❤️

    • Sarah
      Author
      January 13, 2020 / 12:55 pm

      Ah, I use Knitpicks needles and I LOVE them! I have the wooden ones, they are so smooth to use and not at all cold and heavy like metal needles 😍

  11. January 7, 2020 / 1:51 pm

    Sarah, I love reading about your makes and upcoming sewing ideas! Did you see “Male Pattern Boldness” latest blog? He refers to a place in Manhattan called “Fabscraps” looks so much fun! I remember you mentioning going back to NYC this year and thought I would mention it. If you get a chance read it and look up this place, they even have a warehouse! Looks like so much fun, wish I could go too. Happy New
    Year!

    • Sarah
      Author
      January 13, 2020 / 1:01 pm

      Ah, thank you Susan! ❤️ That really makes me so happy to hear that you enjoy the blog!
      Fabscraps! Yes! I didn’t get round to visiting there last time I went, but I definitely do want to try and get there this time – you’ve just reminded me (thank you!) and I’ve added it to the list so I don’t forget ☺️ I didn’t see his blog either so I’m off to read that now 😘
      Happy new year to you too, I hope you had a good one!

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