Sewing with less stress Front

Sewing with less stress Front
My newest sewing book

Sewing with less stress back cover

Sewing with less stress back cover
What my new book is about

Clothesmaking mavens

Clothesmaking mavens
Listen to me on the clothes making mavens podcasts

About me

My photo
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



Follow me on Instagram

Follow on Bloglovin

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

3:40 a.m.

Well the first thing you should do is go over to Carolyn's blog and read her thoughts on accepting the changes of your life.

It is funny but I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep tonight. So I sat down with a snack and started to read and there were her words - just saying the things that had woken me up in the night.

Thank you for that Carolyn.

I have also been thinking how important it was to let relationships change. 

This is really hard to do, and in fact I think it has been a theme of my life to try to keep that from happening. It is particularly hard when the relationship, from your own point of view, has been just about perfect.

I have probably spent too much time in the last couple of years trying to hold on to times in my life that were very happy but leaving my life. I think for example of that terrific feeling I had when I put three kids to bed and knew they were completely content with their lives and their home and I could head off to the sewing room for some time by myself with the same kind of peace in my heart. A lot of times I just wanted that back.

But lately I have been accepting that relationships just change and you have to let them. This takes some effort when the person who has initiated that change is not you. It has taken me some time to come to terms with my middle son leaving not just home but this country too, and that the kid who talked my ear off and shared everything is going to be a visitor, not at home, where I am anymore.

But the funny thing is that the more I have accepted the changes in our relationship the more it feels like it did between the two of us again.

I have also just realized that there is change too in the relationship with my husband. In our partnership I have also been the one who did the talking, had the schemes, and asked for support. My husband has been the anchor man - the one who fixed things for everyone and provided the kind of steady backup that we all needed.

With him off to work in the US this year all that has changed. Now he is the one with the stories, and the buck has been stopping with me for all the things that have to happen to make a household work.  In some ways it is making me feel like a single mother again and that's not a feeling that makes me particularly happy.

But I recognize that this situation is temporary, but more significantly, that it is just his turn to be the one with the adventures for a bit and he really deserves this, after all he has done for everyone else for so long. So it's my turn to do some adjusting, to be the anchor man.

I suspect, no I know, that as I get older that life is not going to get more settled as much as require me to experience many changes, including in my relationships, even the ones that were just the way I wanted them.

As this unfolds I have to say that I am just so glad I have my sewing. That is one relationship that is constant for me and has been my whole life and because of that probably makes all the other transitions just that much easier.

Monday, December 27, 2010

It was a merry Christmas

Here is a requisite picture of myself and my granddaughter at Christmas. We had a blow-out 14 people dinner at my daughter's with lots of food, little kids running around, and general chaos.

My daughter kept saying, "Is this too wild?" and of course it wasn't and can't be. My husband did the major cooking, turkey, stuffing, gravy and all the pies and cooked for us again yesterday. Here he is in the middle of carving, just before he hit the couch:

I know that there are a lot of folks who don't like this time of year, but I love it.

First of all Christmas allows me to go all out on family doting which I need to do, so I really enjoy myself. Things change of course. Operations moved from my place to my daughter's this year, and that felt right. I am very happy to be doing back up and glad I have the time to do it.

Secondly New Year's really is a time when I review my life and see what I want to get done and if I am still steered in the right direction.

I have been thinking some preliminary thoughts on that one over the last day or so.

I think for many of us in this much busier world the key is becoming as much what we are not going to do in the new year as what we are going to be doing. 

It seems to me that this is not a time for me so much for self-improvement as self-focus.

One thing that I have been thinking about a lot is how important my sewing life is to me. What that looks like as I move forward bears some consideration and I am going to have to decide what I am going to be letting go of to move what matters more into focus.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wherever you are tonight and tomorrow, I wish you a Merry Christmas.

I hope that something happens to you over this holiday that makes you smile, that reminds you that yes there is joy in the world, and makes you feel loved and useful.

I do realize that not every year, at the same time, is great for everyone. There are those Christmases where not everyone you would like to be with you is there, for example, or for some reason just happens to be one of those holidays you figure you are just going to have to get through.

But the amazing thing about Christmas is that despite those times there can and in fact will be a Christmas, if not now then soon, that just gives you some gift you just weren't even expecting. And maybe that's all Christmas is - a time when we are more aware of those moments and more able to see in them what life is trying to give us.

So may the spirit of Christmas find you wherever you are tonight.

May it give you a glimpse of the goodness and rightness of the world, help you see the generosity of other people, and connect you again to that realization that yes all that really matters are your family and your friendships.

And may you enjoy yourself. We were meant to do that, it is a gift we give ourselves.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thank you

I have officially put my feet up and, except for the wrapping, have announced to the family that they can take it from here. 

DH flies in tomorrow night, DS in from DC tonight. Momma is off work until the new year and going to enjoy herself.

I also am going to start to put together my year ender. This will come in stages.

First of all, thank you 2010 for good things that happened in your year:

I started blogging regularly and really found I enjoyed it. Thank you to my commenters who are like other stars in the universe, letting me know I am not the only one who feels this way about sewing.

Thank you to the other  bloggers I read, daily most of them, for letting me connect with them. I watch and learn ladies. I read and listen. And most of all I have verified that distances of any kind don't mean damned a thing.

Thank you to my students. Sometimes the adult administrative world of education is a pain, but you guys make me laugh, make me think, make me learn. Sometimes I walk into that classroom and feel like a standup comic and wonder, am I going to bomb today? Thank you for always being so generous and gracious to me and reminding me that you can be young at any age and old at any age too. Thanks for letting me be young.

Thanks to the dogs (I write this with three under the table, Rascal and two of the kids dogs) for reminding me that differences between species are not that important either. Thanks too for letting me still mother. OK I said it, I am not done fussing yet and these guys take all I can give out.

Thanks to opportunities that have allowed my son and husband to both work in the US this year and given me a chance to get to know that country better. I miss them both but we have all as a family benefitted so much from the reminder that national boundaries don't really matter either. At all.

Thanks for the projects that turned out. I have tried enough new things this year that I have faced some failures and some monsters (red jacket I am talking to you) so I really, really appreciate the garments that let themselves become successes and supported me as a sewer.

Thanks to my mother who just yesterday said to me "the secret of a good visit with your cardiologist is to wear your colours."

But here is the first part of a list of hopes for the New Year:

Right now one of my big hopes is that Sarah Palin completely winds herself down. She is the Paris Hilton of politics and my hope is that, without any real content, she just runs out of steam. Because I used to work for a politician, I follow this stuff, but that woman is one nasty piece of work.  Enough already.

More later.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

That SWAP thing

I am a SWAP dropout.

I think I have participated about three times and only finished once. That one time involved clothes that all matched and met the criteria but I never wore. The next two times ended prematurely because I became completely overwhelmed with trying to make it all coordinate and kept wanting to veer off because some new style caught my eye. 

It felt more like production than creation, but that is just me.

The trouble is the whole SWAP thing makes so much sense but it just isn't how I sew. No apologies.

It has taken me a long time to understand that you can't lead someone else's life, no matter how smart it is.

Just like I have learned you can't teach someone else's course at work. If I try to teach a new course working from someone else's syllabus it just doesn't feel right. You can't tell someone else's stories, say someone else's jokes, project what someone else thinks is the most important thing, when in your own heart you have other priorities.

You can't live someone else's lifestyle either. 

I received an e-Christmas letter today from someone I knew years ago who seems to have spent her life having lunches in Tuscany and visiting galleries. She looks elegant in the pictures. I am sitting here in a purple housecoat this morning tired from watching Chris Rock's Good Hair till midnight (which I loved - he is often as wise as he is funny - his old line that minimum wage is what an employer pays you when he wishes he could pay you less has always seemed to me to be profound) and knitting socks while trying to disguise a few stitches I had to add in to make up for not having cast on enough, with a copy of 101 homemade dog food recipes on the table beside me.

I am not sure that this particular traveling circus is ever going to make it to lunch in Tuscany.

Which brings me to SWAP at Stitchers Guild , a site I drop into every now and then.

This year I can do it because it fits me. My six tops are going to be six of my white shirts, and the four skirts I want to make to wear with them. I need a mid season "car coat" length coat and that will be my eleventh item. 

I may actually finish this one, in fact I know I will.

Now off to buy the turkey. DH is flying in from Tennessee on the 23rd and he only cooks fresh turkeys. He and I have agreed that I go off duty when he comes home and picks up the next shift.

Off I go.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Felt food

The felt food is done. I apologize for the crazy yellow pictures but something is up with my camera, that's got to be fixed soon.

I had a lot of fun doing this.

Of course not a lot of it really looks like the real thing but close enough for a 15 month old I think.

I think Santa's workshop is going to go slow for the duration now. The socks are going to be one and a ball of wool and my good intentions. We are moving onto the cooking and talking and visiting part of the holidays over the next few days.

I have many other things to consider, like I may be doing SWAP this year, and what I need to do to make life as easy on me as I can make it in 2011.

Some of you may be wondering why I have been so involved in Christmas production this year. 

I try not to make sewing a deadline thing if I can help it, but as you can see my holiday sewing has been pretty much playing around.

I took some time off before Christmas this year and I have really enjoyed being in my house and doing things that I have not had time to do for many years. 

In fact the last 10 years at least my Christmases have had work intensive lead ups. You know the kind. Online ordering from an office computer where the best thing was a bill to and a ship to address that were different. In my case sometimes getting my boss's holiday organized, his Christmas speeches and columns written, spending money because I didn't have time.

I was overdue to make felt food. My New Year's resolutions will involve deciding what to let go in my life, because letting go this last week has felt great.

More later.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Santa's workshop: update from junior dress department

My daughter told me a day ago that the baby didn't have a comfortable Christmas dress. 

That was all I needed to hear.

As soon as I realized I had a granddaughter named Scarlett I started stocking up on red fabric. So pulled some stretch velour out last night and made this little very easy dress from Ottobre magazine 1-2010. 

Super simple as you can see with faced sleeves where you sort of twist it a bit like if you were making a bubble skirt. Also interestingly the gathering is all done by measuring a piece of clear elastic to the bottom of the piece to be gathered too, stretching it to fit, and straight-stitching it to the piece to be gathered and then attaching.

This method makes lovely even gathers and keeps that seam elastic which is an excellent idea for a knit garment.

I also make a sort of a purse to match, in honour of her mother who used to fill up my house with numerous little purses that always contained just a crayon and barrette.

Just so you know as I do all of this my mind is on my shirts and my wardrobe and the Selfish Sewer will return in the New Year.

In the meantime it's more felt food and socks.

Santa's workshop: update from the sock department

OK here are the latest.

The first is a pair for my wonderful son-in-law who wears heavy socks around the house in his Birks.
I used this really great yarn I have found only at the Yarn Haven in Knoxville although I am sure it exists elsewhere, although the people can't be any nicer. 75% wool 25% nylon perfect for heavy socks.

These are really quick socks and the colours are great. Note you purists that I make no attempt to make the patterns on each sock match, not the week before Christmas.

I also finished this pair in finer yarn for my middle son's girlfriend. I am hoping socks hit the right enough but not too much note.

I followed all the advice of the sock experts and kept my needle size small (2.5 mm) and the gauge tight  but to be honest I think these are fairly rigid and if her feet are bigger than mine we are sunk. I have sent a high priority email off to my son for confidential information on his girlfriend's foot size but I haven't heard back - can't imagine why at 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning in NYC where he is celebrating Christmas with her before they go separate family ways for the holidays, he isn't getting right back to the Workshop with such essential information.

If I have to make another pair before he takes this present back to DC for New Year's I can do it, besides I have a sister with small feet who likes purple.

And I am going up a needle size.

Santa's workshop: update from the home dec department

It's been flat out at the workshop. Apart from grocery shopping and taking the elves to the park for runs in the snow, it has been pretty production focused.

Oh and I got the tree up and the house decorated, a process that was sidetracked by rearranging everything and coming up with my decorating theme for this house, and this life.

Wait for it.

My style is called cozy and comfortable. All I want is a house where people come in and feel they can sit down and talk. 

What got me thinking about a style is a Christmas card from a now retired former boss of mine who always had a side business as a decorator. Her style is dramatic-African-Asian-black-white, think of white carpet and zebra skins and lots of big statues. Anyway her card expressed some disappointment in a niece who she described as "becoming minimalist."

Somehow I don't think all these crazy projects and dogs and family work with minimalist which made me figure out what to call my style, or lack of it. I have rearranged things so every place you sit has a place for a cup of tea and enough light to knit or hand sew. To make this happen I had to get rid of a large buffet (off to the daughter's much bigger house) and a trip to the truly wonderful sheltered workshop here that has solid wood furniture for really reasonable prices. These are their pictures, not mine. Gives you an idea.

Now what is your home dec style, and why?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Movie clothes

Last night I got serious and knitted right through from after dinner until the Christmas lights went out all along my street. I am going to have to rebook Christmas to get all this knitting done.

At any rate I had a huge revelation and that the most interesting place to see cool clothes is in the movies.

Think about it. 

I like looking at (but do find it exhausting, I need to decide what designers I like and focus) but it is hard to translate the super skinny models on the runway into clothes I will wear. Plus the runway clothes are the most exaggerated versions.

In a movie, on the other hand, you get to assess clothes on realer people (I mean most of them are still a lot thinner than I am) doing realer things (OK it's been a while since I jumped over cars with George Clooney), but best of all you see them styled, put together.

So my big revelation last night was to see a ruffled cotton shirt on Rachel McAdam's in State of Play with Russell Crowe (and Ben Affleck who was well-cast as a guy with no real personality who didn't move his mouth when he talked- what's up with that? He and Jennifer Anniston would make a great movie if the rules were no one showed any animation).

The thing is that McAdam's shirt was worn under a men's wear vest, and That Is It. The Secret. To make all these white shirts I am going to have to incorporate at least one with ruffles. I have been concerned about that because I am more a tailored type of person (translate - too old now for frills).

However with a vest, the ruffles show as a feature at the neck and there is a sort of real counter balance that makes this work.

You can actually not see this very well in this video 

Also isn't this a cool sweater:

See what you learn when you knit socks?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Collar stays

Even here at Santa's workshop our minds wander to other topics.

Like the shirts we are going to be making in the New Year with this load of white fabric brought across the Canadian border by various family members in various suitcases.

The more I think about it the more I am interested in the differences between a shirt made for a man and a shirt sewn by a woman for herself.

I made a shirt in the spring for my sartorial son in DC. He said all the right things but told me that the next one should have collar stays.

OK, why do you think a man's dress shirt has collar stays? To keep the points crisp, right? To add more to the body of the interfacing?


It seems that the point of the stay is to hold the collar up and close to your neck when you aren't wearing a tie (which I don't). Interesting isn't it?

Now I think of it your average tailored shirt on me can look sort of sloppy as in Exhibit Unstiffed from this website 

Food for thought isn't it? Santa never stops thinking.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


OK how is this, everyone gets one knitted sock and one ball of wool? And a promise. Plan B.

Today was spent on that work stuff and on putting up my outside lights.

My neighbourhood has this crazy reputation for Christmas lights. There are buses from the senior's homes going by all evening. It is a terrible thing to lie in your bed and hear those buses driving slowly down the street and to think to yourself - "damn I'm letting the old folks down", the only dark house on the street.

So I spent considerable time tying bows to the railings, staggering between the bushes with tangled lights and about two hours on the internet trying to read instructions on how to make a great bow on a wreath (failed that should have stuck to felt food).

The good part is that although our neighbourhood is famous, it has no reputation for good taste. These are not residences of designer trees, silver bulbs and twinkling fairy lights. Think more of plywood reindeer made in some old guy's basement and full colour strands, some blinking, some not, some burnt out. But lots of lights, lots of stuff and if you drive by real slow in a bus and sort of squint your eyes it does look quite pretty.

Tomorrow or Friday I will get the tree up. My next door neighbour is giving me her old one, ( one day old) her husband trimmed too much she felt on one side so she went out and got a new one for him to try again, and the one she rejected is now on her back deck and looks fine to me. So did the colour her entire first floor was repainted to get ready for Christmas until she decided she didn't like the new colour and sent her husband out to get more paint to redo it. Don't get me wrong, great neighbour, lovely woman, good house but I particularly appreciate the fact that she makes me look like fun wife of the year.

Lots going on, and a sock to finish tonight.

Wonder what's on the tube?

I have a plan

Back from DC, had a day and a half there, and counting down to Christmas. Looking for toys for Scarlett got me to thinking that there is a lot of plastic stuff out there and IMO too much stuff turning little kids on to a lot of digital consumerism too early. So I decided to make something for her myself.

I got a real stainless steel set of pots and pans and some dishes at Joann's of all places, and am going to be making some felt play food. Since there is a bit of a time crunch going on the schedule is to make one meal a day.

This is today's bacon and eggs. The toast with grape jelly is going to get done after I sign off here.

It is really fun to do, and of course the bacon doesn't really look like bacon (and I played around with the decorative stitches when I did it) but close enough for a toddler I think.

I am also on an intensive sock knitting thing. Moved onto the heavier wool at this stage and size 4 mm needles. Trouble is you make them for one you have to make them for them all.

I think I can pull this off.

My plan is to watch two TV movies a night, go to bed about 1:00 a.m. and get up by 7:00 to start making play food. I think I'm on for sandwiches tomorrow a.m.

And of course I will be doing the work thing and life maintenance in between.

Do these men know that if we quit Christmas would just have to be completely cancelled? Either that or we would all get and give marked down slipper socks to each other, adjourn to take out dinners with no vegetables, although there would be enough to drink.

Just kidding.

OK, not really.

So for the next little while I will be posting weird felt food and movie reviews.

Last night it was "Four Christmases." Reese Witherspoon is really short, even in 4" heels. Vince Vaughan is really big. Got as far as turning the heel on that one.

That's my review.

Best of luck with your own countdown.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On shirts, Cary Grant and airports

I have been away for a week now, visiting my son in DC, visiting my husband who is working in Tennessee, and doing my part to help out the American retail economy. The DH will be home for a week at Christmas and then going back. We don't know for how long and I have been taking advantage of his current US address to have things shipped to him, some of which I brought back this trip, some he'll be bringing back later.

It was a bit of a shock, a nice surprise but still a shock, to walk into his suite  and see it filled, and I mean filled, with fabric boxes. has free shipping you know for orders over $35. Since that is about what I would pay for duty I would have been a fool not to have spent my fall clicking that "add to basket" button.

In addition I have been on the Joann's website most mornings and texting him pattern numbers to pick up for me when there are sales. The guy's a sport.


It appears I now have a collection of every shirt pattern that has yet to be discontinued and about 50 yards of white fabric of various kinds, textures, weaves, and potential applicabilities.

It's not often I amaze even myself but I managed it this time. It is safe to say I am set up to make more shirts, once I get this Santa's Workshop thing wound down. That in itself deserves a post.

Back to my travels. There isn't a lot to do waiting for planes, except knit ( I finished second son's hopefully NYC style socks for very nice girlfriend in Newark airport between flights - only person who was having a good time there for sure) and look at the magazines.

Well, I picked up the GQ Style Manual because it had a cover line about shirts and boy is it ever good. I think any sewist would get a charge out of this one. So much detail about the tiny variations of men's clothing. So much talk about fit and quality, so many good ideas, I have to tell you, if you are shopping for an young man on the list.

Who knew that silver tie clips were back? That you never button those little buttons on the collar of an Oxford shirt? That the best way to iron a shirt is with the ironing board backwards? Some of it is obvious if you sew, or are anyone's spouse or mother, a lot of it was new and food for thought.

There are two things about this magazine that are particularly great. 

The first are the shots of men like that one pictured below who really knew how to bring out the best in a shirt.

The second is the shirt section which has this sidebar from Style Guy Glenn O'Brien on why "that white shirt is always right," p. 29:

I have a veritable Pantone book of colored shirts, but it wouldn't bother me to give them all up for the Don Draper white shirt that virtually every businessman wore daily until the late '60s. Nothing looks dresser or richer than a crisp, immaculate, high-thread-count, perfectly fit white shirt. Nothing sets off a tan better. Or a dark suit. You can always supply color with a tie of cuff links, but that white makes you look brilliant. And white won't clash with anything else you put on. My grandmother insisted that a gentleman wears white shirts at night (if he has time to change), and she has a point. My favorite is a placket-front French-cuff shirt from Charvet. It works with a tie, but you take away the tie and you have a perfectly smooth and clean look. It also doubles nicely with a tux and eliminates the need for studs.

The only thing I might disagree with is the last few words. 

Case in point.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sewing like a survivor

The last two weeks have been strictly W.T.B. (way too busy) with frequent moments of S.O.C. (spinning out of control).

Well Christmas is coming up. See midnight knitting post.

I also have a full-time day job. End of Term means lots of marking, explaining to students that the last week of classes is getting kind of late to figure out how to make up marks, and of course getting all that stuff organized for next term.

I have also been cooking for Mr. Rascal. 

He is now on a diet the vet gave me which involves making casseroles of low-fat chicken rice and vegetables and trying to freeze some so I am not cooking for a dog for two hours every other night - except for those nights when I have realized I should have left more head room in the mason jars which all exploded inside the freezer.

When I caught myself driving through my own dinner at MacDonalds last week, because I had spent so much time cooking for the dog I didn't have time to shop or cook for myself, I thought to myself well this is just so S.O.C.

Thing is Mr. Rascal is doing so amazingly well on this new diet and so is my son's dog Birdie. In fact they have been springing out of bed extra early to stare in anticipation at their bowls.

All I can say at this point is that when the time comes to sit judgement on my life well I sure hope there are some dogs on that committee.

Which brings me to sewing.

In the background of all of this I have been attempting version 2.3 of our baby's winter jacket. 

First version had a pin head sized hood and that got ditched.

Not wanting to make that mistake again I cut a larger size for version 2.0 but that turned out to be something she could wear in junior high.

I much reduced that by huge amounts at all seams and made it shorter too.

Version 2.2 was small enough in the body but big enough in the hood, which was good, but a couple of inches too short. I over did it, surprisingly.

No point in a polar fleece lined, insulation interlined bomber jacket for a 15 month old.

At this point I have to admit that I was in a seriously pride-involved state. I mean I am proud of my sewing. This is my first grandchild. I have made a whole series of great winter coats for kids over the years without any problems. Why was this one taking a bad turn at every turn? Why was I being tested? Why was this happening to me when I was both W.T.B. and S.O.C.?

It then occurred to me that because this was a project with high emotional/vanity stakes for me it had become one of those projects that just sets out to break you.

Well forget that.

I am a survivor of more sewing rescued disasters than anyone I know. In fact you could almost say I am in training for this - and if fixing up mistakes were an Olympic event, well let's just say Canada would be looking at a gold. I have had so much practice.

So I sewed on an insulted extension at the bottom to make it long enough (when I was supposed to be finishing my marking today) and then stitched a line below the join seam so it looked like a casing and put in some elastic cord and added some cord locks (it's great to have a sewing room that is a repository of 20 years of random purchases) and I think it looks just fine. Almost like it was intended.

Take that you jacket.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Midnight express

I am sitting up most nights doing Christmas knitting. Last night I finished this hat for my nephew in Winnipeg. It's a pattern used by knitting volunteers for soldiers in the Israeli army and is fun and easy to do. Of course if you aren't watching TV movies at the same time your stitches would be neater. 

On that subject though, what's up with Jennifer Aniston? I swear I have watched three movies of hers in the last couple of weeks and that girl hasn't cracked a smile once. How do you make so much money just from looking crabby?

Maybe she should knit. Or sew.

Well I think there is a point

I am getting through my last week of classes and getting the kids ready for exams. Despite all the angst every November over late assignments and "why are my friends getting better marks than I am" (well kiddo they are working harder), there isn't a day that I don't say to myself thank you, thank you for getting me out of corporate, government, political life and into this classroom. Students are sooo funny. They really are so engaged. Their days just fascinate them.

Maybe, thinking of my crazy father-in-law who continues to do well despite bouts of trying to check himself out of ICU because he has too many things to do, that's the secret - keeping engaged.

I ran into a woman I have known for a long time in the fabric store last night. Well-known local sewing person and former sewing teacher - been in the middle of everything. She was surprised that I was sewing for our girl, she has lots of grandchildren now but all out of province "what's the point of sewing for them? I don't see them in what I make." She also said that some days she realizes she has put on one black and one blue sock but thinks that at a certain stage "What's the point? no one will see it."

And I thought of some of my female students who get up early on exam day to straighten their hair. 

It's about showing up ready to go. Being alive is worth that.