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I am a mother, a new 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 first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sewing comes first

OK, listen.

This is why I have not being blogging.

Life has been nutso lately that I decided I needed to just sew whenever I could for therapeutic reasons, and blog about it later.

In the last two weeks I have made four pairs of knit Elle pants, six T shirts, and, this weekend a lined skirt, a silk top, two pairs of Barb pants and a jacket.

I say this not to display my skill and productivity, which are most often iffy at best, but as evidence of how deep the need to sew has been.

I have had one son home unexpectedly getting a new visa to work in the US, other kids flying in en route to surprise the son who was supposed to be in NYC for his birthday, people passing each other in the airport trying to hide from each other, a major snowstorm that shut the city completely down to the extent the last plane in came in sideways and had to go to Montreal and try it again and even the Red Cross stopped delivering blood to the hospitals because of the snow- all this in three days.

Did I leave out the part about my son-in-law buying my daughter's ticket for the party in New York in her maiden name for some weird reason and that ticket being declared invalid and the three hours it took to buy a new ticket? Or about the fact Miss Heidi washed her hair in vaseline on my watch, just after she dumped the chicken broth on the floor, but before she ate the dental floss, because I was discussing the difference between big and little letters with her sister?

But it all turned out. 

Everyone got in and out for the siblings' surprise party in Brooklyn, including the kid who is going to be taking the beekeeping course (four trips I took back and forth to the airport in two days) and it all came together in NYC last night with my birthday boy surprised after all.


So in the midst of this and the last two weeks of school and students emailing me for extensions because they find "deadlines stressful" I just had to spend a lot of time after hours in the sewing room.

As I think I said a while ago I was able to get so much done by using the most TNT basic super easy patterns of all time and interesting fabric to make it work.

I realized that I have actually finally sewn a SWAP after all these years of dropping out - simply because I made easy clothes.

Why didn't I think of this before?

I like every thing I made.

I figure with school being what it is going to be this week I will post pictures and comments on various projects every couple of days or so, if that is alright with you.

First up in the Renfrew top in rayon jersey:

This was taken at work obviously as I was headed into a Friday faculty meeting and I am wearing some Stylearc Barb pants. Probably the fine knit doesn't bring out the best of my belly in this shot but what can you do? I lengthened this as I usually do but probably won't again. A terrific pattern, great shoulder fit, several neckline variations and good potential as a dressier type shirt.

And if this looks like I was talking while this was being taken that is because I was. Discussing a student who has decided to stop going to classes because he could figure it out himself from the notes and had reported that he was sure he would be fine final markswise - that would be one of us with that opinion.

So more garment shots later in the week.

But before I leave you in case you are under the impression things are running like a well-oiled machine around here with all the sewing I have been able to accomplish, I thought I would share with you with a shot of that fair isle vest I spent the last year working on for my son's girlfriend in New York:

 Yup that's it.

The fit was so outstanding I just ended up throwing the whole thing in the washer and dryer and felting it and turning it into a glasses case. That was about all I could do in the salvage department with that little unit.

That's it from me for tonight folks.

Over and out. 


Nakisha said...

Oh boy! Sounds like my january...

Sewing really is therapeutic. Hopefully things get less hectic soon.

And the vest. Oh gosh. I was looking at it and thinking...vest? vest?? Cute case!

Angela said...

I see that stress only makes you more productive:) Love the color of your top!

Tillie's Mom said...

You are a woman possessed! It is supposed to be 50f here tomorrow...should reach your way by Wednesday. Hang on!

Judi Pinkham said...

Reading your blog was the nicest way to end this day! I'm still smiling about the student thinking he doesn't need to go to class. I'm glad you are stressed and getting lots done...that just makes it more fun for us, your readers!!!

Mary said...

This too shall pass...:-)

Judith said...

WOW! Someone has a busy and hectic life at the moment, and yet you still manage to whip up that lovely top ~ love the colour ... J

Sarah Liz said...

Must be something in the air for the start of 2014 - stressful,weird start to life here too, and it's only sewing that keeps me sane throughout. And a couple of your old stitches articles.

Jo said...

You make me laugh and laugh! I really love reading your blog and your dry sense of humour in the face of life's little adversities keeps it real.

Bunny said...

The zone we find ourselves in when sewing is what makes the rest doable. Your post proves that.

Very,very funny. Now, can you slow down a bit? Your productivity is making us all look bad (wink).

Lisa said...

W-O-W! Is all I can muster to say. Your post is so humorous, in such a real-life sort of way and it is incredible you've sewn so much and managed so well in the other stuff swirling around you! I like your top. The color looks great on you.

Martha said...

Great post. Thanks for brightening my day.

Anonymous said...

If you don't laugh you will cry.Right.

Barb could you fit me in your suitcase when you set off for Florida?

a little sewing said...

LOL, Barb, you are in the running for early induction into the Grandmother's Hall of Fame. I hear vaseline makes hair shiny? ha ha.

I have also been limited to easy patterns lately, and who knows maybe this is the new normal and I will never sew another complicated pattern. Maybe that is exactly where my sewing belongs? Who knows? So glad you had time to regale us with news from your life!!

Laceflower said...

You're a better man than I am Gunga Din; I'd be whimpering in a corner, not churning out prodigious wardrobes.

Lynn Barnes said...

I find deadlines stressful, too. Perhaps I will try this excuse on my boss. I think that she will agree with me.

Lydia said...

I love your blog and your sense of humor. At the oddest times one of your stories will pop up in my thoughts and it'll make me giggle all over again.
This may be a very lame question but could someone please tell me what TNT and SWAP stands for.

Barbara said...

Lydia my apologies. TNT is tried and true pattern. SWAP is sewing with a plan a term originally coined by Lynn Cook in Australia Stitches that was built around a capsule of eleven items - one jacket, six tops and four bottoms - all that went together.

twotoast said...

I feel your pain with the weather - we are still holding on to winter here in central Alberta - not sure why, you would have thought that 6 months is enough.

Good to see that you have sew up some fabulous garments despite everything else going on around you!! Oh, and the glasses case/fair isle sweater - hilarious!!!!!

truedogs said...

The Renfrew looks great. I've been pondering which tshirt pattern to buy for myself and have narrowed it down to either Renfrew or V8536, so it's nice to get to see your version of Renfrew. I'm looking forward to seeing all your new makes...maybe you will add another pattern to my list.