Friday, October 31, 2014

Clothes That Are Too Tight

 I don't know whether to apologize for not posting yesterday and promise to do better or be realistic and say that right now, it's highly unlikely I'll post every day unless I've accomplished something postable. There's no point in nattering on about nothing and I am sure you're not interested in what I ate for breakfast. Wednesday, I mostly knit. Yesterday, I did some sewing and mostly knit. Knitting is hard to post, especially when you're designing your own sweater. The process is incremental and so often one row forward and two rows back that progress is hard to detect. More on that later.

This picture is blurry. That's the best I could do with the mirror shot and there was no one around to take the picture. The pants are unfinished - Vogue 9035 - WITHOUT the zipper or the 1" waistband and at the original pattern length. As you can see, they are too short and too high. I'd need to shorten the crotch depth by at least an inch if I wanted to add the waistband which is actually typical for me but I wanted to see what the pattern as is would look like.

The pleats are a bit tricky but otherwise the design sews together nicely and I really like the French seams only the points are more pointed than the pattern envelope allows you to believe. The above pleats are the soft version and....

... this image shows the pleats pressed and top-stitched. If you go to the Vogue web page, you'll see that there are no picture of the pressed pleats front on. I hadn't expected them to be quite this pointy and I don't think the points - plus the fact that I could have gone up a size - are flattering to me right now. I have to say that an anti-anxiety drug that causes weight gain seems counterproductive to me because my increasing weight is surely causing me a lot of anxiety - LOL. If it doesn't reverse itself soon, I'll be making some changes HOWEVER... until then...

... reality is that clothes that are too tight only make you think about how heavy you are and are not - IMHO - flattering or conducive to losing weight. Clothes that fit flatter. Clothes that sausage don't. The pants above are Burda 8157 - a classic, straight leg, trouser style that I find...

... looks good on me and feels comfortable. I decided to sew it in jean yesterday and when I pulled out the fabric folded inside was the front already cut out in the size I wanted. I vaguely remember changing my mind because I'd lost weight earlier this year and they were going to be too big. The pair above are a size smaller than the ones I'm sewing now. I'll take this half cut project as a blessing.

I've shown this Vogue Knitting Fall 2005 Cropped Cardigan a few times. It's the pattern I'm working from although I'm only following the general outline. It's written with a chart and while a lot of people like working from a chart, I haven't found that rhythm yet especially when the symbol means this on the front and that on the back. Since the front rows are read left to right and the back rows are read right to left and you know you're on the back I don't understand why it can't be what it actually is without double checking if you need to do the opposite. I'm just saying.... why make it complicated? ANYWAY... I'm changing things.

Instead of the rolled edge, I used a Sea Scallop edge which has a gentle waving look and then, instead of the stockinette stitch band at the bottom, I used...

... a horizontal twisted rib stitch with nine repeats. I really like both the look and the stability of the stitch only my sample gauge and my real life knitting didn't match out mathematically and when I took the piece off the needles to test fit it, it was too short so I measured it, calculated how many more stitches I needed to add, and have started over. Naturally, I was knitting it all in one piece so I didn't just shorten the back or one front, I shortened both fronts and the back. And that's okay. It doesn't bother me to have to take this out and rework it. I like the challenge of figuring out a pattern.

SO... I'm not sure what to say to those of you who were looking forward to seeing Vogue 9035. On my body, as is, right now, it's not flattering and it's too short. I've put all the parts and pieces aside and when I'm down at least ten pounds, I'll pull it out again and see what I think then. If it's doable, I'll alter the crotch depth by moving the yoke down and add the zipper and waistband. In the image above, they're already hemmed the 3/4" suggested in the pattern. If you sew the pants, I'd love to see a picture.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - finding the jeans almost already cut out was encouraging to my sew the size you are and you'll feel a lot better belief.

Dress shabbily - or too tight - and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.
- Coco Chanel

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Creativity Connects

About a year ago, I switched Starbucks to one where there are quite a few regulars including two writers, a group of police officers, and a husband and wife who talk, write, and read the newspaper together. It's a "quieter" group and we're all there for a couple hours. Being a regular, I've gotten to know the people who work in "my" store. The first time the assistant manager - Tamara - saw me knitting she said she wanted to learn so....

... this past Saturday, we shopped for yarn and then started her on a basic garter stitch scarf in a gorgeous teal color. When Stephanie - who used to work at Starbucks - heard we were getting together, she asked to join us so...

... last night, the three of us met and knit. Stephanie is a beginner but not a total newbie. She has several started projects including the cowl she's working on above that she finished last night. It was so fun to see her excitement at learning how to cast off AND finishing a project. YES YES

Camaraderie is one of the fabulous things about creativity. For the most part, creative people are friendly and sharing people. Already Stephanie has someone she wants to invite to join us next week - a co-worker that is new to town. I've been knitting off and on for about forty-two years and it's delightful to be able to pass along my skills. As you can see, these ladies are significantly younger than me and it doesn't matter. Creativity connects.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - passing it on

The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.
- Lao-Tse

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Stretched Out Dish Cloth

It's raining this morning. I feel like I should write a really long and profound post and delay walking the dog since dark and wet and cold are not exactly my favourite walking conditions only there's not a lot to say. I worked on the pant pattern yesterday morning and have the two legs together ready to add the yoke and waistband today.

After that, I concentrated on finishing the Baby Surprise Jacket. A lot of people really like this jacket. I'm not one of them. I think it's boxy and chunky looking but then, I consistently prefer garments with shaping so that makes sense. What I like about the pattern is the mystery how it develops.

Off the needles, it looks like a stretched out dish cloth until you fold you it into formation. Having knit the pattern a few times now, I'm starting to know where the parts are as they develop but even knowing how it works out in the end, when I'm at this stage...

... I wonder if I'm guessing correctly and am in awe of the designer's - Elizabeth Zimmerman's - ability to think and plan through this project. This page shows variations on the design, how to lengthen the sleeve, sizing, how to add a collar or hood, working with stripes and other design-it-yourself tips. I have enough yarn to add a crocheted edge and a collar.

On the weekend, I taught one of the women who works at Starbucks how to knit and tonight three of us are getting together. Tomorrow, I'll teach my friend how to read a pattern by starting the baby surprise jackets. She wants to knit them together. I'm not sure what yarn she's picked for hers but mine will be in a worsted weight wool for a larger size - something from the stash. We'll knit at her place - about 45 minutes away - for the afternoon which sounds great to me. I love spending time with friends and I love sharing creative skills that open up a whole new world of making things.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - sharing

People need joy. Quite as much as clothing. Some of them need it far more. 
- Margaret Collier Graham

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mine Are Emotionally Old

This sewing drought has been the longest I can remember - ever - almost two months. I was wondering why and what to do about it since I breath in fabric and the lack of consistent "air" has been making me somewhat cranky when it occurred to me that it was more in my best interest to stop wondering and to do something, an often truth.

This week, I'm testing out a not exactly new, more like slightly altered, routine starting with setting the alarm Monday to Friday. When I sleep in the day just never seems to go right. First thing will be blogging and then instead of running on the treadmill in my pajamas, I'll put on some exercise clothes and take Miss Chloe for a walk before getting pretty. It means dressing twice - first in exercise gear and then shower and "real" clothes - but this should get me back to an early posting and regular exercise while still allowing me to dress the way I want. I'm willing to put a hat over my bed head and walk in exercise gear but I'm not willing to wear that all day.

Speaking of clothes... mine are emotionally old. They're not worn out; I'm just sick of wearing them possibly because I maintain a small wardrobe although it doesn't really matter why. It just is and, with a few exceptions, I'd love to scoop the whole pile up and give it away.... which isn't possible... but it does give me the push to sew an entirely new wardrobe... which I's flat folded in the stash closet waiting.

Another thing that I'm emotionally tired of is my furniture. Most of it is somewhere between twenty-six and thirty five years old and - IMHO - it is beyond time for new shapes, colors, and structures. One chair was torn and needed recovering. It was probably the oldest piece of furniture we had, an antique, a wedding gift. We decided to donate it since recovering it would be more expensive than purchasing a new one. Until we find what we want - and hopefully can afford - I brought some wicker chairs in from the porch. I'm enjoying turning them toward the view.

Over the last couple months, I've been doing a lot of knitting. The green is a sweater I'm designing by incorporating new stitch patterns into an existing outline. The pink is a newborn size of the famous Elizabeth Zimmerman Baby Surprise Jacket. A friend wants to learn how to read a pattern so we're going to knit the jacket together. I'm making one ahead of time so she can see what we're doing and compare it to the written pattern.

I thought the new dresser was going to go under the bookshelves but I like it better under the desk. It replaces the filing cabinet and the two microwave stands that held up the counter-top and housed the printer and computer tower. The tower is on the floor at the far end of the dresser, the printer and office supplies are now in the top right drawer, and my sewing patterns moved from the filing cabinet to the middle and bottom right drawers. The top left drawer holds knitting supplies and the bottom two are empty for now.

Along with doing something in terms of developing a not entirely new and somewhat altered routine, I plan to do something in the studio - anything - just get started and see where it leads. Enough talk. It's time for action. Even though it's unusual for me, I put the coat aside because for some reason it was bogging me down. Instead, I've started on a pair Marcy's Vogue 9035 pants. Once again...

... the fashion fabric was less expensive than muslin fabric so I'm working with the real deal. My pleats above did not look at all like Marcy's pleats below...

... so I needed to go back to the instructions and try again although I'd swear I followed them exactly and quite possibly I did since the markings on my pattern piece look NOTHING at all like the markings in this tutorial of Marcy's. Using it, I did...

... manage to figure out the pleating pattern and now just need to stitch the folds in place and carry on. After getting dressed and going to journal, my plan is to do errands and appointments in the morning and studio work in the afternoon. After five years of roller coaster emotions, I'm starting to get used to not earning income or thinking all the time about how to earn income and settling into taking care of the home. It's a switch. I'm about 95-5% settled. There's that small part that still feels somewhat guilty and needs to "get a job" since I'm highly work oriented but right now, with Howard's health the way it is, this is my best role. Since I'm also goal oriented, I'm starting a new adventure today - regular coaching classes with Diane Ericson. I've never worked one-on-one with a coach for an extended period of time and I'm really excited to see where this goes and how it impacts my work. YES YES

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - just do it

I am not concerned about what happened yesterday. I know that today everything is made new.
- Ernest Holmes

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Finding My Rhythm

It's been a busy day so far. Last night, we put together a large pile of things for Habitat For Humanity's Re-store and this morning, they picked them up and delivered...

... a new-to-me dresser for the studio. I want to move it backward underneath the bookshelves and maximize the space only it'll mean reversing which studio door is open. I'm not sure I'll like that but later, when I can move things around, I'll decide if the dresser is staying there but for now, that'll work. Nine more drawers of storage is perfect IMHO... except.... edited... apparently I can't count. Make that six drawers... but big ones.

Removing the patch was easier than I thought. I took out the stitching and then basically peeled it off. Very little of the glue remained but what did was...

... covered up with the new patch. I'm happier with this patch fabric but not sure that I'm happy with something square on my back. I'll see how it feels when I'm wearing it. This is a VERY easy project and I'm finding it quite stressful that it's taking me so long to finish. Me being me, I wonder why?

When we focus ourselves, we come into who we truly are. When we schedule the time to check our email, we are more efficient and accurate in our replies. Our sense of feeling scattered and overwhelmed dissipates as we control our devices rather than letting them into our lives at all hours. Like the nosy, overbearing person who asks for too much from us, we must set boundaries with our devices, leaving ourselves to our own devices, and letting ourselves be present in our own lives. - Julia Cameron.

Being controlled by my devices is not the issue. Other than the computer, I don't have any devices and I don't feel a need to check the screen the minute I hear that you've got mail sound and even so, the two words that stuck out in the above paragraph were schedule and boundaries. Since bringing Chloe (the dog) home and walking her for an hour every morning, my schedule has been all out of whack. I want to get things worked out and back ion track by Monday and get back to regular posting - on Monday - not tomorrow or Friday. Ideally, by then, the dresser will be in place, the studio functional, the coat finished, and I'm ready to start on another project and I have a sense of rhythm again.

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - the ability to regroup

The only way to deal with the future is to function efficiently in the now. 
- Gita Bellin