Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Surfer WIP becomes Surfer FO

I did it. I knocked the b*stard off.

I have completed the Surfer top for the boy.


More than a year in the making, it is a labour of love (ok and maybe more than a little of my need to finish things). All-over cables, endless moss stitch, cotton yarn that tires my fingers and wrists - if the boy didn't like it I would have been a little upset.

But he likes it so, phew.

It fits a little baggy, and that's after I took it in at the sides and sleeves. I don't know how it got so big because I used one of his existing jumpers to check what the finished measurements should be, and I knitted a tension strip ( I don't have the patience to knit a whole square) to check it would be right.

Oh - and you know those ties at the neck and hem? I knitted those too. It wasn't nearly as painfully boring as I feared (I meant to buy some leather ties but the boy said he preferred the knitted version).

And it will be a long, long time before I knit all-over cables in cotton again.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

A respiteful Easter

On Monday morning I got a call from the manager of the rest home - there was a place available for my mother.

So we booked her in for a week of respite care (she's entitled to two weeks funded). It was really short notice, as we had to confirm with them in about 24 hours or else they'd offer the space to someone else on the waiting list.

After the rigmarole of getting mum moved in, her medications list signed and faxed by her doctor, her dietary restrictions discussed and her slippers brought in from home (which had been omitted during the packing), I wondered whether it was going to feel at all like respite for me.

After all, I still had to take her to the podiatrist to get her talons trimmed and to the dentist to get her new false teeth.

But after at the first two stressful days (and the onset of a cold for me), I suddenly felt like this was actually working:

  • Because she has no personal telephone (and doesn't know where the communal one is), my mother has not been calling me frequently to remind me of things I already remember. 
  • Due to my cold, I'm not expected to visit every day to check on her (neither of us are, but my brother seems to be doing it anyway).
  • I'm not having to chase up carers who run late or don't show up at all. This last one is a real serenity-buster.
These (especially the last one), plus the fact that I've made a conscious decision to prioritise sleep this long weekend, mean that I really am feeling rested right now.

Mmmmmm...

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Another WIP bites the dust

I sewed on the buttons onto my latest finished knitting project this morning (which you saw a couple of posts ago).
I look like I'm saying "Hi" but I'm just showing you my cuffs.

The cooler weather this last week motivated me to finally get the buttons and sew them on. But of course today it is a bit humid and nowhere near cool enough to wear it. Although the day is certainly dark enough that you can't see the effort I put into the lacy yoke.

Next up I'm really close to finishing the highly cabled denim surf top for the boy - and about time too as it's been a couple of years in the making (and possibly the last all-over cables sweater I will ever make).

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Autumn in my mind

Yep it's definitely autumn:


  • Today I wore my new rainy day mac (left) which has the fleecy lining and I wasn't at all hot (until after work, when I warmed up as I walked home).
  • Underneath my raincoat I wore one of my hand knit tops - a relatively thin 4-ply knit, but a merino/silk knit meant for cool weather - and only felt slightly too warm during those moments when the sun shone in through the window and heated up my workstation.
  • On my feet I wore merino socks inside Doc Martin boots, and they didn't feel hot or sweaty all day.
  • I even briefly wore one of my hand knit hat  and only took it off because I'd made it too short and every time a gust of wind lifted my hair I worried the hat would blow off.
I also had a headache, which is unrelated to autumn (I think).

I don't know whether to blame the change of season or the headache, but tonight when I was paying my bills via Internet banking I managed to massively overpay my phone toll bill but about $1300.

Mmm. The bank can reverse it no problem, but it will cost me $75. The slightly condescending tone which the customer service rep used to tell me that's what the confirmation button is for, was free.

The phone company is only to happy to refund me the excess money for no fee - but apparently they only do refunds on Fridays (?). Fortunately it will be just in time for me to use that money to pay my credit card bill (which what I thought I was paying when I had my senior moment).

Thursday, March 12, 2015

In search of the perfect bra

I think it's because I'm an asthmatic, but I find bras terribly, terribly uncomfortable. Even if I can find one that seems acceptably comfortable, I can just about guarantee that by about 2pm I'll be desperate to remove the damn thing so that I can breathe fully without hearing the squeak of straining wires.

But, although it is extremely comfortable to go without, and despite the fact that - as a B cup - I think I can just about get away with bra-less-ness (depending on what I'm wearing), I feel compelled to have some kind of support on hand.

Mostly, I wear 'em for two reasons:

  1. so that they don't bounce unduly when I walk gracelessly. Because then, (mostly male) onlookers notice them and stare.
  2. so that on cooler days my out-standing nips are hidden. Otherwise (mostly male) onlookers notice them and stare.
So, yeah, despite being a feminist and not particularly interested in dressing to please men or conform to an idea of what a woman of my age and social status would wear, I can't always avoid wearing one.

I have som bra-lettes, but they usually turn out to be a compromise which neither discourages bounce nor hides the nips. Plus, then tend to have higher necklines that show up from under some of my (not indecent) tops.

I bought a new bra today. It's got no underwire and is only very lightly padded (for nip-hiding, no doubt). On, it still feels like a tight rubber band around the top of my ribs. But I hope that this time it will mellow and mould to my shape like a good pair of jeans is supposed to. 

I'll keep you posted (unless you don't want me to because it's too much information).

Why I'm perving

Lately I have found myself staring at bums a lot - men's and women's bums mostly; children's not so much. Trousered bums rather than skirted, pantie'd or naked bums (phew!).

But "perve" is not the correct word really because I'm only doing it to check out how those people's trousers fit.

I'm really noticing when a woman's trousers seem to fit her bottom perfectly, and silently applaud her decision to get them custom made (or for the sartorial perfection of her rump).

When I see a multitude of wrinkles all down the back of someone's trousers I shudder because even my trouser sewing efforts have been more successful than that. But the wearer doesn't look particularly mis-shapen, which makes me wonder what it is about those trousers that fit her so badly.

Anyway, there you are. You can go now, having been reassured that I haven't become cougar-esqe in my middle age.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

My not-so-classic denim jacket

I finished that jacked I posted about a while back.



Although I could have done a much better job setting in the sleeves, I'm happy that I managed to reduce the width of the shoulder and at the same time reduce the amount of ease in the sleeve cap.

It's unlined but I've bound all the seams either with flat fell seams or bias binding.


And the buttons are a large version of the buttons I used for my Rosemary cardigan, but I think they work better here. On the cardigan, the list raised bits on the buttons often snag on the buttonholes.


And I think that next time I make a topstitched garment I will splash out on topstitching thread and whatever needle needs to go with it.

Everything but the buttons

Here's a knit I prepared earlier.
It's the Cocoa Cardigan from Interweave Knits Winter 2015.
I will get buttons for it as soon as it gets cold enough to wear it. It's actually navy not the royal blue that it appears in the photo.

Why was I compelled to start a winter knitting project at the beginning of summer?

A fit problem

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This is how I know that I have a long, long, long way to go before I will be able to sew well-fitting trousers for myself.

It's a test garment made from a polyester twill, using one of the Simplicity Perfect Fit patterns. According to their instructions and my measurements I used their curvy fit. But as you can see I have a flat (and possibly droopy) bum and probably should have used the slim fit version (maybe).

All I can say is, I'm glad I don't have as much trouble finding jeans that fit me well...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Japanese influence

It all started when I looked up images of linen dresses on the 'Net and came across those super-oversized indigo Japanese dresses. They looked so cool (in both senses of the word) that I had to have one. I sewed one up and it fits - but I don't need to tell you that mine doesn't look as cool on me as those dresses look on those Japanese models.

I am thinking of chopping off the neckline section and replacing it with a new bodice that has a deeper neckline.

I was more successful in my next Japanese-style activity though...

Continuing in the Japanese vein, I re-read Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of the Day. Great story. Sad. Perhaps a touch too much detail about butlering. A great story nonetheless - I loved the way he made it about the relationship between a super-uptight butler and a housekeeper, while in the background World War II is brewing and his employer is unknowingly becoming a traitor. (As you can tell, although the writer is Japanese this is a very English story.)

Then I read Never Let Me Go, also by Ishiguro. I'd not heard of it before the movie of the same name came out, and didn't bother to go see it. The book is marvellous. He delves into a world in which... sorry I had to delete the next two sentences in case you want to read it and don't already know the "dark secret". But the main story is about the relationship between three young people as they are schooled and grow up. The other thing is just the background, yet it's what makes this story so heartbreaking.

It's very handy having a Kindle because I can go right through Ishiguro's entire catalogue.

The next one I finished was A Pale View of the Hills. A Japanese woman living in England remembers the time in post-WWII Nagasaki when she befriended a strange woman who lived alone with her daughter. Not a lot happens, and yet the story covers a lot about surviving in the aftermath of the atom bomb. The two previous novels left many loose ends. This one not only leaves loose ends, it also throws a few extra ones right near the end. Frustrating yet compelling, it makes me want to read it again in the hope that it will make more sense the second time around.

I hear his latest novel will be out really soon.