- My daughter is very smart
- Yesterday she said to me
- People who are doing OK right now
- Are actually doing very, very well
- Some odd decisions being made around the place
- I dyed my hair on the advice of a 6 year-old
- That's a pretty good example of what I mean
- When small children chant "Do it, do it, do it"
- Best not too
- Particularly if this involves dyeing your hair
- Or new moves on the trampoline
- Take it from me
- It seems to me the present times have new rules
- Here are some of mine
- Stripes don't need to be matched till next year
- Current standard practice is to get out a pattern and fabric
- Cut it half out and then put it away
- And start something new and then decide the first project was more interesting
- Until you realize that those little scraps you threw away
- Were in fact the facings
- Amazon prime must be making a killing
- I ordered a $35 bar of shampoo soap
- To save the environment
- It will come 2,000 miles on a plane
- Figured it might fade the hair
- Something has to
- It is sensible to spend hundreds of dollars on a projector to hang from the middle of the living room ceiling
- To project digital patterns onto the fabric
- To save money
- More detailed explanation to follow one day
- The Canada food rules have been revised to make rainbow sherbet its own food group
- Store was out of popsicles
- Someone must be hoarding
- Two daily servings recommended
- A lot of things are on hold
- There are no challenge projects being started around here
- And some things aren't getting deferred
- I have decided to sew my 92 year-old mother a new wardrobe and mail it to her
- And do you know about Jake?
- An aging dog who went missing over the weekend
- Sad signs on all the community mailboxes
- "Help bring our boy home"
- Well guess what
- Jake turned up yesterday
- Three nights unaccounted for
- Travelled several neighbourhoods over
- But Jake beat the odds and is home
- I knew a man once who was suddenly let go from a job
- He was middle aged and devastated
- In angst for months
- Then his dream job appeared
- He went from selling newspaper ads
- To selling sailboats
- Which is what he wanted to do since he was 14
- What he said to me was very interesting
- If he had known for those hard months
- That things would work out just fine
- He would have enjoyed the summer
- A lesson there
- One I had not considered
- But I think Jake did
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- I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Monday, September 21, 2020
I am a great cardigan fan.
Cardigans are useful to hang over the back of your sewing chair. They are handy when the dog decides to do an extra 3:00 am pee and you have to put on something over a night gown and stand in the dark, look at the stars and say "go pee, come on go pee" for a good 15 minutes. Cardigans are useful and comforting. This winter I think they are going to be the anchor players of my hygge wardrobe.
Here is one I made this week.
I styled this in the old T shirt and culottes I wore to clean the bathtub, just before this, yet another motorcycle shot, was taken. The random hair is due to a thyroid condition that has been unstable lately, but not much I can do about that. The fabric is a bamboo french terry that feels like this:
The pattern I used was this old standby from Patterns4pirates It is a cocoon cardigan obviously, but the fronts, unlike many cocoons, meets generously at centre front which is useful if you want to wrap it around yourself like I did here. It has front patch pockets big enough for a cell phone on one side and a dog leash on the other.
As a sew it is an extremely simple pattern. There is a back and two fronts and a giant band that goes all the way around. This band can be narrow or wide. In either case it is hard to get the bands not to fold in a bit around the curves so I actually prefer a wider band as it turns this into a sort of shawl collar. I did the narrow band here but the next version which I will post in the next day or so is with the wider bands.
Here is a shot that shows, sort of, what the inside looks like:
The serging that attaches the bands can show a bit when the cardigan opens up, so on the next version I actually hand stitched down the band on that one.
Since I made this cardigan I have put it on at some point in the day, every day. We all need to sew more clothes like that. And I will.
Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Can you stand it?
I have allowed myself to go a bit nutty on some anticipation of winter nesting clothing, aka my hugge collection, and am cutting out and making simple clothes for staying in.
I am working with random bits of fabric from the shelves, fabric that was long designated for other projects that I never got around to, and simple patterns.
This one, another of my motorcycle shots, was made in some DBP (double brushed poly) that I picked up somewhere.
Now I never really sew or wear polyester. It doesn't breathe and I like to. However this stuff is so soft and cozy. I have made a few tops to wear in colder weather from it that I love. When the girls come over they go into my closet and pull these tops and put them on and generally wear them home. Eventually I get them back.
In keeping with the being home and comfortable I actually made this top out of a pyjama top pattern- the top half of Jalie 4016 Knit PJ set the Jeanne. I liked the high neckline and cuffs. It seems to me that this is a good basewear long sleeved T- shirt type thing that I could wear under a sweater or a cardigan.
Here is the pattern envelope:On my lower half, if you are interested, I have on a cropped version of the Jalie Simone wide legged pants. I found them a bit overwhelmingly wide as pants but quite like them cropped. It is a nice pattern and I believe would make good shorts, something I will do for next year. Here it is:
Sunday, September 6, 2020
We have had that day this week- the day when you get up to walk the dog in the morning and think "it's changed, I can feel fall."
This year will be a little different.
For reasons we all know about we are not going to do our regular winter trip to the US. We have been doing that for the last ten years, saving up our vacation when we were both working. It will be weird to be at home for the winter this year, all winter.
Because of our annual trips I always see my fall/winter sewing as half warm weather clothes making.
This year I will be at home and either in the house or out in the cold, for 5-6 months.
Getting your head into this space requires considering the Danish term hygge very seriously. Canadians don't have an equivalent term, unless you call it hockey season, but we do have an equivalent climate.
Pretty much everyone has heard of hygge these days. It is that sort of cozy, snuggly, comfortable holed up securely at home situation that seems to me to particularly relevant to the times ahead. Workers at home will even be hygge in the office this year.
So with these weighty issues in my mind right now I have decided to do a full on hygge winter wardrobe.
To me this will involve sewing some new clothes that hopefully should feel like old clothes.
I have been thinking about a book these days my kids and I used to read "Need a house call Miss Mouse." Miss Mouse was an architect and she made homes for various animals. We used to look at the pictures and everyone would decide what was our favourite house. I learned a lot about my kids by seeing what house they chose.
This was my favourite, the fox's den. I could totally live there and live like that. Just add a sewing machine.
Sunday, August 30, 2020
- I am settling into the long termness of our situation
- I'm facing facts this week
- It could be a year until I see my son, my DIL, and grandchild in California
- A year is a long time in a child's life
- And I have always been able to get to one of my children if I have to
- This is the way it has to be
- My 92-year-old mother says she wonders if she will be in isolation the rest of her life
- Right now I would have to quarantine for two weeks if I flew to see her in Winnipeg
- And two weeks back
- I would do it but no one thinks I should fly
- My lovely mother-in-law has decided she won't see us
- "until all this is over"
- Despite next to no covid here
- But since my husband works and I see the kids
- She doesn't want to risk it
- She won't even go for outside visits with masks
- What can we do?
- My youngest son's girlfriend in Texas has broken it off
- She couldn't stand the waiting
- He is building a friend's house and surfing
- But not talking much
- He was counting on this
- My niece and her boyfriend (my SIL's nephew)
- Have moved into our basement while they are house hunting
- She is a nurse and if we have a second wave
- Plan is she will move into the RV to be safe
- So that's the situation
- I am sure you have yours
- But I have been thinking
- About fallow years
- When I was in middle school in the middle ages
- We used to sit at our desks and the teacher did a short bible reading after lunch
- How long ago was that?
- I am remembering the part about the fallow years
- To keep producing every seven years the land was not worked and people lived off the good years
- As I remember it was not a good idea to break this pattern
- Pretty much horrible things happened if you tried to opt out
- I have been thinking about rest too and how hard it is for us to just sit
- We got into this pattern
- So busy, more and more
- Don't stop
- I thought of this when I saw women risking their lives for manicures in those states that opened too early
- I talked this week to a young woman who as far as I could see
- Was in a frenzy fed by social media competition
- Thinking of my own life
- Worked so hard at my job and then retired and went deep into a book
- Every day for the last eight months I worked on it
- Worried myself because it meant I was not posting here
- People contacted me and said get back to blogging
- I see favourite bloggers post garment after garment
- And me I make things and give them to people and forget to take the picture
- One more thing
- I drove yesterday past streets named for boys who didn't come home from the war
- I thought of those mothers who waited
- And at best only got letters
- I want to ask them what did you do, how did you do it?
- Airmen from Australia farm boys from the Canadian prairies
- It makes me think how foolish we are
- And it has made me think of our exhausted selves and exhausted lives
- And all that documenting, busyness, continuous self improvement
- Like all those over 50 style posts
- Thin women with big bags and and white shirts
- None of them in an apron
- Made me wonder about the lesson of fallow years
- And letting things sit to revive
- Why is this the last option we want to consider?
- It seems to me that right now the bravest thing to do
- Would be to just sit
- And have faith
- Today I am canning tomatoes
- To taste this summer during my quiet winter
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
- I remember, not that long ago
- Saying, well we will see you the end of the summer
- When things are back to normal
- I think we all are pondering life more these days
- The only folks I am losing patience with
- Are those who are pressing on and expect you to too
- What part of a global pandemic aren't you getting?
- But it is good that we are doing what other generations did
- Considered that life is fragile
- And should be lived with some thought
- More than anything I am finding I want to read more
- Of the old philosophers for instance
- Of course so far I am only reading quotes on Pinterest
- But that's a start
- Seneca had things to say I can tell you
- Overall though
- This is what I am thinking myself
- Sickness and death are part of life not some kind of mistake
- Almost everybody before us knew that
- It's part of the deal
- So it's important to
- No matter what you are faced with
- To find what learning you could be doing from it or in it
- This is what I have got so far
- A fabric stockpile is a good thing
- If you are ever going to be holed up for long
- You'll need it
- Canadians get this anyway I think
- We are always braced for The Big Storm
- That's why we have chest freezers
- And figure a furnace, heat pump, pellet stove and generator in the garage should just about do it
- Friends are a good thing
- Possible the most important good thing
- If you ever doubted that this big storm came to remind you
- Never before in my life have I so deeply enjoyed the company of other people
- Been so thrilled by new friendships
- Fascinated by the conversation of people in the neighbourhood
- Daisy and I meet
- A retired policeman who had both hips done
- And grandmothers, like me, running summer day camps
- Dusting off the picture books, filling the wading pools with the hose
- Making vintage lunches for kids who say is it healthy
- Which reminds me of a grievance
- Why does A&W have a grandpa burger, a mama burger
- A papa burger, a teen burger and a baby burger
- But no grandma burger?
- There are pictures of grandma doing the cooking
- But no burger of her own
- 4,000 years of human history summed up right there
- I had to order an uncle burger
- Yes the uncle got one
- An uncle
- Those guys arrive late and leave before the dishes
- Who do I talk to about this?
- Back to friends
- There is something that you let out when you talk to a friend that you are not supposed to be holding in
- If we all lived as if the most important thing in the world was other people
- Pretty much any problem I can think of right now would be solved
- And you know what?
- I am glad Seneca took the time