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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, January 3, 2016

Butchery ongoing at my place

I have to make this quick.

We cut the cable cord over here a few weeks ago, since all we watch is online news and Netflix, and now I have to go over to my sister-in-laws tonight to watch Downton Abbey.

I enjoyed Christmas. I always do. That's just me.

I know that there are a lot of folks out there who don't feel like this. Some people associate this time of year with terrible memories and of course I get this.

Every time I read of someone who bought it on the roads this time of year I always think great, now that whole family is going to have to think about this every Christmas. My own dear friend lost her dad on Christmas Eve and her husband on New Year's Eve and needless to say the holidays for her were just something to last through. Who wouldn't understand that?

However without that to think of for some reason, despite all the intensity of emotion that Christmas always brings out in families, I always enjoy myself. I had fun the Christmas everyone vomited, for instance, I have found times to enjoy in all crises that coincided with the holiday, in sickness and in health, in things coming apart and that person who gets glum, I don't know, I always have a good time.

Think it's maybe the bright lights.

I like those.

My made with loving hands got mixed reviews this year. Miss Scarlett loved the doll clothes and her less diplomatic four year old sister said "well I like them but not that much."

Fair enough, it was a good quote anyway.

My sweater for my middle son, the one he requested, was not one of my greatest hits. Sometimes I find it hard to transition from sewer to knitter. 

For example there was a four inch jump in the sizing and my kid ran between the two so, knowing he had slim hips but strong shoulders, I came up with the idea of going down a size in the hips and up to the next size in the shoulders. (He has a 42 inch chest so I did 40 hips and 44 chest).

What resulted was a sweater that looked so V shaped on that he did a muscle man imitation in it, my husband asked "Is this supposed to be a Superman suit?" and my son-in-law who I otherwise really like laughed so hard he fell off the couch. I was actually planning on gifting this particular SIL with a sweater for his birthday but now may do that next year instead. Or the year after that.

At any rate I had to reclaim the sweater for a major fix up. 

Now a good knitter would have unravelled it and started again but I am a risk taker and also a sewer so I looked at this differently. Seeing the sweater as fabric I knew exactly what kind of alteration it needed I figured (ignoring the fact that I have already demonstrated faulty judgment so far on this project) so instead of unraveling, I zig zagged the lines where I needed to take it in, cut right through my knitting (I sort of remember this idea for making steeks in the Craftsy course I obviously dropped out of) restitched (small zig zag, think sweater knit, in this case literally) and then inexpertly picked up new stitches around the armhole for more normal looking sleeves.

I am pretty sure all this proves is that I am an experienced sewer and probably never going to be a great knitter.

And if you don't believe me here are the pictures:

Now off I go to see if the Mr. and Mrs. Bates can avoid criminal charges for at least five minutes, if Lady Mary will ever figure out that Tom Branson really is the obvious choice for next husband, and if poor Edith can pull herself together long enough to understand that if she stops expecting the world to abuse her it might do that.

Wish me luck.


Marie said...

I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair! Thank you! Thank you for fessing up to these errors so that I know I am not the only one who would do something like this! I think we could be fast friends. We enjoyed Christmas at our house also. Have a blessed New Year.

celkalee said...

When I opened my last cable bill, I grabbed my chest and fell to the floor. Up and up it goes and let me tell you if you have a "smart tv" get ready because it really goes up. I considered cutting the wires and going over the air. Well, that won't work and I have decided to duke it out with them next week. That said, Downton is a destination for me. Love it.

I stopped mostly making gifts. Not appreciated, too much sweat and tears, give them something they can cash or exchange...ingrates, all of them. I like your alteration method, done it myself, it was really lumpy but wore it anyway.

Happy New Year.

Elle said...

I started laughing with the undiplomatic four-year-old's comment, and then nearly fell off my own chair with the falling off the couch account of the young man who may now never experience the delight (?) of a hand-made gift. Happy New Year to all!

Anonymous said...

Loved your post and it's nice to hear how much you enjoy Christmas. Happy New Year!

Nursebennett said...

OMG! I just snorted tea out my nose and choked on my hotdog. LOL LOL. Christmas is fraught with difficulty here, but we had a lovely one anyway. Maybe for spite. So happy to read you did as well. Wishing you all the best in 2016.

Anonymous said...

You are a woman with big balls and I don't mean yarn. That takes some cojones to cut into a handknit sweater. Brava to you for the knitting, the cutting, the reattaching and Boo Hiss to the ingrates who don't know how much love goes into every stitch.
In my books the SIL would never get a handknitted sweater. I might look for a new SIL instead.
I am reading a terrific book called The Female Brain which explains everything!
Vancouver Barbara

SuzieB said...

And I laughed so hard I almost fell off the bed!

Leigh Wheeler said...

Handmade gift recipients must earn my effort. Initial gifts are very simple and quick to finish. If any amazement or appreciation is expressed then I will move up to a more time intensive project. It has cut the list considerably. Why make for ingrates?

I don't see why your fix wouldn't work. Why do all that re-knitting when a steek-related fix will be just fine? We cut sweater knits that come off bolts to make sweaters. You know plenty enough about seams to make that work. :)

Anne in Melbourne said...

I think your son in law deserves a very special jumper as soon as possible.......
I hope 2016 brings you much joy and laughter.

jirons42 said...

I had the same results in my made by me Christmas gifts. I made six pair of flannel pj's (Carolyn PJ's from Closet Case) which turned out beautifully. Only one problem - 2 of the 6 were too small. I had just guessed at the sizes. Good thing is, I have two younger granddaughters that may just be getting the too small pj's for next Christmas or the year after. Now off to make two more pair that fit.

Bunny said...

You had me at the four year old! Not being a knitter, I totally get your alteration and I love your sense of humor. Merry Christmas!

LisaB said...

Another great post, Barbara! I love reading your down-to-earth portrayals of real life.

Regarding knitting for others... Did you know that CustomFit now supports sweaters for men? Although you'd need some specific measurements in order to generate a pattern, you'd pretty much be guaranteed not to be laughed at again...at least for a gift sweater. When I finally get around to knitting for DH, I intend to let CustomFit do the thinking for me. If you're not familiar with it, check it out here.

Anne said...

I laughed out loud. My mother gave Aran cardigans to my 4 and 6 year old grandsons. The 6 year old hated it saying it was for girls.
Happy New Year!

Erika said...

OMG yes. Hand made gifts!! I made a sweater for my husband in alpaca that blocked out HUGE, then felted it trying to shrink it (fits me now and I hear about it from my mother in law as a big joke from time to time) ... that's real life!!!

Some day I'll make him a great sweater.

Leigh said...

I just ran across this how-to posts by a friend and knit designer.

Fixing a too-large sweater. :) Of course, to those of us who sew, it isn't exactly earthshaking, but thought it might be helpful, just in case.