Sunday, October 19, 2014

Flypaper thoughts


  • If you are cooking onions people are going to walk into the house and say "something smells good"
  • Guaranteed
  • I cut out the Alder dress today
  • I am liking the look of this pattern a lot
  • Making it sleeveless in a denim stripe but you could wear a tee shirt and tights under it
  • I am in the process of teaching a Negroni shirt class in the evenings
  • So enjoying it
  • The guy with the tats who raises chickens and brought homemade fruit leather is making a shirt with mushrooms on it
  • Friday I am going to NYC to visit the kids and buy buttons
  • Holding on until then
  • Friday night we are babysittting a friend's nine month old
  • Just like home
  • I am really excited
  • Gone there enough to know exactly what where I want to go
  • Including matzo ball soup when I regroup at Katz's
  • Anyone need a sewing teacher?
  • In NYC
  • Frying up mushrooms also works
  • Last weekend had an old friend I had lost touch with in for a sew day
  • Sewed all day and talked
  • I felt like I had docked
  • Know what I mean?
  • In ten months I go part time and can sew when I want, not when I can
  • Who's counting?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

My window this week

Two days ago my next door neighbour died. The cancer he lived with but more or less ignored while he went about his business fishing for salmon, working, and visiting with the street, caught up with him. Ten good years despite of it and about ten days of things going to hell.

Not bad really. Someone in the family has put one of those little signs on the door "Old fishermen never die, they just get reel tired."

My dining room window looks right onto their driveway so the last few nights I kept getting up to see if the car was there. 3:00 a.m. and she still wasn't home, bad sign.  Two days still no car, not good at all. Calls every morning from the lady across the street to wake us up with the progress report.

All week people have been going in and out of the house. The funny man who won the lotto and quit work to stay at home and do what, who knows, letting himself in to make sure the dog was walked, plates being put in the fridge every night, a neighbour driving down an egg sandwich because you know what that cafeteria food is like.

Now he is gone the side door is open all day. You go over there it's like a party but everyone is in black. A lot of people around here still have wakes and that will be going on all weekend at least. I went over and talked to someone's baby while my neighbour cried in the bedroom and then came out to make tea. Someone's son doing something under the deck in the home repair department. The dog getting more walks than he ever got in his life. Some one bringing him in a marrow bone too. I was going to bring muffins but I think they have lots.

The older lady who has the two dogs she walks in tandem like a team told me her daughter suffered for 10 years before dying at 32. Her other daughter moved back to take care of her sister and that's where she met her husband, who is like a gift from heaven. The good and the bad stuff is all mixed up she says.

And she is right. 




Friday, October 17, 2014

Thought for the day

Some sewing, a few things happening on my street, and lots of school happening so this is a quick thought.

I just read an academic study of British hospital patients. One of the observations was that if the older person was well dressed they were far, far, more likely to be listened to, respected, and given appropriate care.

Not really news, like many academic studies, but it sort of validates one of the things I feel about aging.

It is real easy to say I am in the house most of the time now, or it doesn't really matter, etc. and default to the basics, just because you aren't out and about the same way any more.

Quite apart from the fact I am myself an out and about person it is important to consider that how you look can affect what happens to you, even when you are older, in fact especially when you are older.

Sometimes I think to myself I am spending far too much time thinking about clothes to sew and what to wear and I feel almost guilty (I said almost), but I feel a bit validated by this.

It reminds me of a recent conversation with my doctor when I asked him about a brown spot on my face, apologizing since he is in the life saving business, for my vanity.

"I like to see a vain patient," he said. "To me it means they still care and are taking care of themselves."

Which is why lipstick is important when the only person at home is the dog.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Vogue 9022





When I first saw this pattern, I thought great. Something other than the Kristin knit dress for me to make.

It's fine to have a go-to, but after a while you just wonder if you should also be going to somewhere else.

A few things you should know about this pattern before I get into what I did with it:


  • it is one of those odd ball patterns that says it is OK for both knits and wovens. Translated this means you probably won't need the back walking slit or the keyhole opening at the back if you are working in a knit. I just zipped up my centre back seam and that was fine, although I still liked a seam there so I could do a little shaping for my forward neck and my prominent behind.
  • the pockets are a cool idea. You will note that even in the picture there isn't any top stitching, in fact there is no real stitching at all. The side panels are long and you make a fold in them that creates the pocket and the sides of this pocket bag are captured in the side seams and the seams where the front panel is attached.
  • that's the good news. To make the side panel long enough for all this folding business you have an extra piece you stitch on, nothing more than an rectangle,and this seam is then hidden by the face of the pocket after you have done the fold up. This extra seam you sew to created this extra length doesn't make any sense to me, except for the probably reasonable desire to save on fabric in the layout. In a knit this seam makes kind a ridge that shows through and I will just tape this all together and cut the side panels and one long piece in the next knit version.
Now here are my pictures. One taken today by my long suffering friend at work in my natural habitat with my natural at work teaching expression on my face. Gives you an idea...



A close-up in case you can't believe your eyes, also lightened with my superior photo editing skills to help you see the detail, which it doesn't at all.

For that reason when I sent home to let the dogs out and have lunch I did something no one should ever do.

I took a selfie of my stomach.

Here it is with the note that the pockets are actually not crooked, my arm was up dealing with the camera:

This will give you an idea how the pockets are formed.

All in all I am really pleased with this dress, although I think the colour might be a bit dull. That's why I have the bright scarf with it and am considering also wearing it with a big turquoise "statement necklace" I bought in Florida where things like that look normal, as opposed to here in Nova Scotia where they do not.

The next time I make this pattern, which will be soon, I am going to work in a ponte.

I have to tell you about this fabric I used here, a so-called "scuba knit."

Let's not let the wool be pulled over our eyes folks - this is really heavy old polyester that we would have said "eeww" to before they renamed it and tried to talk us into believing it was anything but.

IMO this fabric should stay with wet suits or form fitting dresses that are more or less urban wetsuits and taken out of the hands of your average person making dresses like say me. I mean this stuff will outlast me, stand up in the corner by itself, but it sort of feels like it was manufactured from recycled tires.

My grandmother wore this stuff and had hot flashes in it at teas in church basements for the rest of her life.

I myself taught in it yesterday and noticed fog on my glasses.

Not to mention the stitching issues.

I have used this fabric before to make a straight skirt and had some trouble with skipped stitches that I eventually worked out.

This time, in a heavier version, no such luck. I tried every needle in my arsenal and in the end the only thing that did sew through it OK was my serger so this is a totally serged dress. Not ideal when the seams should be pressed open but best I could do.

So final verdict. Good pattern with potential, kind of knuckle head fabric.

On to the next thing.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Flypaper thoughts, last Saturday in September


  • Just spent the morning replacing a zipper in a jacket for my youngest son
  • This is the ultimate test of devotion
  • I would change "in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer"
  • To "would you replace a zipper for this person"
  • That would clear the church out of the 50% who wouldn't make it
  • Wonderful piece in the NYTimes on blogger burnout
  • None of that happening here
  • Explains to me that those wonderful DYI palaces are another business
  • Not that if anyone offered me my own line based on my fabulous blog I would turn it down
  • What would that be?
  • Patterns for the apple shape?
  • A waterpic for dog teeth?
  • For my mother a walker with skiis for the winter?
  • Frozen dinners that were healthier than from scratch and from the market?
  • You all have my number
  • Two more Renfrews and then it's back to shirts
  • Joined the Archer shirt sew-along
  • So happy there is now a paper pattern
  • Sticking paper together on the dining room table is best done by someone less random
  • Am considering throwing out one dull work outfit every month until I go part-time
  • I think this is brilliant
  • Better do an outfit count first
  • One of the great things about being a mature type
  • Is that you are old enough to see that what goes around comes around
  • Very reassuring
  • The kids came home with head lice
  • They and every other kid in the school system apparently
  • How did this happen when there are so many perfectionist mothers around these days?
  • Our mothers gave us canned creamed corn and white bread and we were louse free
  • Finished my first ever crochet project
  • A lap quilt big enough to cover two king sized beds
  • I got carried away
  • Either that or I should have counted stitches as I went
  • Might make a dishcoth next
  • If I could sew all day every day would I?
  • Love to find out
  • Going to NYC end of October to see the kids and buy buttons
  • Am holding my breath
  • Why do 18 year old students wait for an elevator to take them up one flight of stairs?
  • Another mystery of life

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thought for the day

When my husband was in Tennessee and I would go visit him we stayed at one of those extended stay hotels companies use.

There was a maintenance man there called John who was just lovely. I used to chat to him on my way to and from my walks.

One of his expressions, he used this a lot, was "don't get in a rush now". This made particular sense when it was hot, but I think he said it year around.

This has stayed with me because it struck me as such an unusual way to look at things.

Me being far more north than a Yankee and of a world where "I am so busy" and "have so much to do" are what everyone says to each other instead of hello.

I thought of John last night when I opened up a new shirt pattern with 12 pieces and I thought, that's such a lot of work I am going to be busy.

But then I thought.

Barbara you have already enough clothes in your closet for four people. You are not going to be standing by naked waiting for this shirt to be made before you step out of the house.

I can take my time with this, all 12 pieces, and the world is going to proceed just fine.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I need to do next in my life, doing more teaching of sewing is one thing, but it has occurred to me that one of the first things I need to do on a personal level, right now, is re-evaluate my relationship with time.

I'm thinking that if you are not in such a rush you have actually have more time.

Ponder that one with me.

More time maybe to chat with folks and have conversations they will remember.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mr. Pinterest

You saw how far I took the birthday cake.

When the going gets tough the tough call in Poppa Leo.

So here is the cake under construction:



And at the party:




A good manager knows when to delegate.

Have a great week, talk soon.