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January Mini-Mag
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Hello! It's nice to be back!

I'm finally ready to start my year properly. We spent a fortnight camping at the beach, my kids are heading back to school next week and I'm feeling ready to go. It's funny being all upside down and out of kilter with so many of you - photos of snow and cosy fires from the Northern Hemisphere at this time of year make me long to curl up and get a big chunky knit on the needles! But, it's been super hot here this last couple of weeks and some days on our holiday it was TOO HOT TO KNIT! I know, shocking. I could hardly believe it myself. Thank goodness I took a pile of books too :) 

I've got grand plans for 2016. After struggling to find a word to represent my overall goals for this year, I finally narrowed my list down to five: Brave, Vision, Year of the Sweater (I know, not really a word!), Grow and Adventure. I've sat on them for a while and have finally decided that "Vision" might be right. I've got a habit of being torn between working hard on the next accessory design right in front of me and being lured into lots of directions that may or may not lead to a bigger dream for Truly Myrtle and I tend to forget my intermediary goals. This year I'm trying to keep my focus on getting comfortable with sweater designing and while I'm not panicking about releasing a certain number of garments, I like to feel more confident with a variety of techniques, grading and writing the patterns. Designing a well-rounded collection is my vision for right now. So, I'm going to try asking myself: "Is this my vision?" when I have a brainwave or a new idea pops into my head. Do you have a word for your year?

I'm so looking forward to bringing you a lot of fun this year - yay! I'm working on new patterns, collaborating with some wonderful dyers and there's a couple of wraps, a shawl and a hat in the works nearly ready that I can't wait to show you. Over the next couple of months there'll be the chance to buy kits, spoil yourself with some luxury yarn as well as knit-alongs and sew-alongs and lots of chatting, sharing our projects and feeling super inspired. Won't it be cool?!

In this month's article I'm sharing some tips on how to squeeze in moments for sewing and ways to tackle a sewing project. I know many of you are knitters who dabble in sewing or want to try sewing and lots of you have told me how you're inspired to make some of your clothes. I find the biggest challenge with sewing is finding the time to do it. In preparation for our Washi Dress sew-along in February (read more about that below - join me!) I'm sharing a few ways to help you get behind your sewing machine, even when you feel you've got no time. I'd love to hear what works for you! Just hit "reply" to this email and tell me!

Talk soon,
Love Libby xxx
 Getting myself in front of my machine to sew is often no easy feat. Sometimes, even when I really want to sew, need to sew, I just can't manage to sit down and get started. It feels like I don't have the time. So, how can we get started? How can we get sewing done?

I promise, it is possible to find the time to sew! I thought I'd share some ideas that work for me, we'll use some of them during our Washi Dress sew-along in a couple of weeks:

 
  • Publicly announce that you're going to sew something. Remember when I told you on my podcast that I was going to sew a skirt and make time for sewing? Well, I had to do it. I didn't want a couple of months to go by and have to confess that I still hadn't sewn anything. Perhaps it might work for you to tell someone you're going to sew a specific thing? Even better, suggest you do it together!

     

  • Break the job into parts and tackle one little bit at a time. I try to organise my pattern and cut out my fabric long before I sew any seams. Then, when I do start sewing I break the pattern down into chunks and tell myself I am just going to do steps A, B, and C then have a break. Once I start sewing I often go on to do more than those first steps because I'm having so much fun and remember how quick sewing is.

     

  • Start even if your sewing space/table isn't perfect. This is a biggie for me. I like making things in a tidy space. It's easy with knitting, I can knit anywhere so I tend to plonk myself down somewhere tidy. With sewing I like to tidy up my table before I start and sometimes this task takes all my sewing time. These days, I try to keep my table "semi-clean" all the time and not to let the piles of fabric, patterns, yarn and books get too big. That way, before I start it doesn't take long to give everything a quick straighten and get on with my sewing. I'm trying hard to resist the urge to have a huge cleanup before I start. It's not actually so bad ;)

     

"It's sew or keep wearing the same couple of outfits day in and day out, year in and year out."
  • Stop buying clothes. I haven't bought myself any new clothes for a very long time, partly because I don't tend to go to the shops, partly because our budget is tight but mostly because I am determined that I should sew my own clothes and wear a handmade wardrobe. Whenever the weather starts to change, I start feeling desperate. It's sew or keep wearing the same couple of outfits day in and day out, year in and year out. Do you buy things you could easily sew?

 
  • And finally, organise a chunk of time to sew. Sometimes I sit down on the weekend and sew. Before I start I organise Mr Myrtle to watch the kids and make the food so I don't have to stop. I don't like sewing in a rush, I always make mistakes. The occasional long stretch of time allows me to relax and sew carefully. Plus, it's fun.

     

  • It helps to gather a few good tools too. My favourite sewing tools are my magnetic pin-cushion, my unpicker, sharp scissors, a rubber hoop for bobbins and a tackle box for my sewing machine feet. I couldn't sew without my iron and I love listening to the radio or a good podcast while I work.

 

Do you have any tried and true tips for fitting sewing in? Share them with me or tell everyone in the Ravelry group :)

See you for the sew-along!

 


What you'll need: A Washi Dress pattern, fabric & notions

How it'll work: Follow me on Instagram or Facebook to catch my daily posts walking you through the pattern. We'll sew our dresses in baby steps over 13 days.
Obviously I won't be sharing any specific details of the pattern but I'll let you know each day what steps we're doing & I'll be posting tips to make your sewing easier. If you miss a day it'll be super easy to catch up.

Social media links: I'll use the tag #washidresssalsteps on Instagram for each of my steps so they're easy to find. Questions? Just shout.

Show us what you're making! Post your pictures on Instagram with the tag #washidresssal so we can all see what you're up to! See you there!
 

KNITTING TIPS

CATCH UP ON BLOG POSTS

Did you hear? I'm back to blogging!
(You can subscribe to future posts here)
Playing favourites with knitting needles ...
You had a LOT to say in the comments!

GREAT LINKS FOR YOU

  • You may have seen it but it's too good not to share again - Instagram husbands
  • Knitwear Designer Kathleen Dames is hosting a wonderful video podcast series - knit a sweater with her! Step-by-step.
  • The Fabric Store has opened an online store - jam packed with gorgeous NZ Merino wool jersey fabric.
  • NZ sewers! Miss Maud has taken over the online pattern shop Dresses & Me. She stocks patterns from Tilly & the Buttons as well as gorgeous Fabric. Have you seen her amazing elastic?! 
  • Trying Fair Isle knitting? Tin Can Knits has lots of tips for you including a goodie to knit inside out.
  • You could try out your new colour work skills on the hugely popular and very cute free Baa-ble Hat - my kids need some!
  • Need a wardrobe revamp? Join Christine Haynes from City Stitching as she embarks on a Wardrobe Architect project using the original 13 steps from Colette Patterns. Planning 5 Jan - 5 July. July onwards, sewing.

Use the hashtag #trulymyrtledesigns on your projects so we can all see your gorgeous knitting!

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You are receiving this email because you subscribed to the Truly Myrtle Mini-Mag. I hope you enjoy the read & thank you so much for your support! Libby xxx

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Happy knitting!