Thursday, December 31, 2015

Four summer items and a winter one

It's halfway through my Christmas/New Year holidays and I'm really enjoying having the time to relax, go for walks, read, knit and sew. 

This week has been one of mostly sewing (but some knitting), mostly alterations (but some new things).

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Above is the one new sewn item, my take on Butterick 4593 in navy merino. My fabric choice was pretty much down to what I have in my existing fabric stash (this merino is from a failed dress project). The orange bit you see in the left armhole is in fact binding, which you won't be able to see when I'm actually wearing it. I made this so that I'd have something to go with my three pairs of linen trousers. It's in dire need of a pressing but as I'd already spent most of the day sewing it, that's just going to have to wait.

Above is a close up view of one of my alterations. This is a fix-up of last February's attempt at a Japanese-style over-sized dress. I replaced the bodice with the one you see here (below is the full view). It's a big improvement, probably down to the more flattering neckline. 

The bodice is a stiff grey-blue cotton and the skirt is a super-soft jacquard linen. 

Below is a hat I made from a ball of yarn that I got as a Secret Santa present. It's a mixture of blues and greens mostly (though you can't really see that from the photo) plus a chunky lime green merino for the ribbing. It was supposed to be for the boy but it actually fits pretty closely on me. More details on Ravelry.
Below is the second of the alterations I completed this week. A tunic originally made from McCalls 8108 (a surprisingly well used pattern as I have several tops and dresses made from this pattern and customised), I shortened it to mid-hip, took it in at the sides and added the mini-ruffle at centre front. Now it no longer looks like hospital scrubs.
The last of the alterations is this re-interpretation of Simplicity 2927 below. I've had success with the sleeveless tunic version of this Project Runway pattern as well as the short petal-sleeve version.

But before I'd finished the elbow length sleeve version I had to stop and put it all away for a couple of years because I discovered knitting and had no time for sewing.

When I finally got it out again, lack of sewing practice made me stuff up the neckline so I'd had to change it a bit to get it to almost work. But I never wore it. So this week I replaced the neckline again and shortened the hem to mid-hip.  Hopefully this is the summer I will wear it.
Although it looks like I've used two different colour fabrics to make this, it's actually just the one. the side panels and neckline are made with the "wrong" side facing out.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas in the sun

Merry Christmas everyone!

We are so lucky with our Christmas Day weather today - it's warm, sunny and there's hardly any wind at all (just enough to stop you from getting uncomfortable).

After our present-opening session (thanks to our UK family we had a stack of wonderful gifts to unwrap) and follow-up phone calls to afore-mentioned family, we set about playing with our presents.

In other words, The Little Madam and the boy both played on their respective computer games.

While they were doing that, I did the obligatory cleaning that is necessary if we want our friends to come over and not run away screaming as soon as they see the state of our living environment - mopping, vacuuming, tidying away, a spot of weeding...

TLM and I also spend time filling in our colouring-in books (which is so HOT right now) in the back yard, which I wasn't able to stop doing until I was in danger of getting sunburned.

And then I went for a walk up the hill behind our house, up to the lookout from which you can see the clear blue sky, the sea blue and blurry from the breezes, the grass and leaves still green and, and the occasional group of picnickers recovering from Christmas lunch.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Springing forward and singing in the dark

With the weather improving in fits and starts, I went for a walk with a friend one weekend and found our local version of Easter Island.

We also went up the hill last Saturday night, just TLM and I, to watch the Guy Fawkes fireworks display. What I forgot is that most people drive half way up the hill and walk the rest of the way, whereas we walked all the way up and would have to walk all the way back again in the dark (albeit torchlit). 
So, after the fireworks ended, TLM and I walked confidently down the hill - until halfway down when I realised we were all alone. Then I noticed the light from the torch was fading. do you know what saved us from panicking? Singing Maori songs at the tops of our voices and hoping the battery  didn't run out completely.

I've also been knitting. First up is this raglan sleeve denim knit with three quarter sleeves and a little lacy insert in the middle of the chest. More details on Ravelry.

Next is another raglan sleeve jumper, this time with a random-striped body and sleeves with all-over eyelets. It's a mixture of cottoned acrylic. More on Ravelry.

And lastly, in anticipation of warmer temperatures still, a singlet made from leftover denim yarn plus blue yarn scraps (hence the multi toned stripes). Details on Ravelry.

Thanks, folks, for your messages of sympathy about my mum. I still often get this feeling that I'm supposed to be somewhere, doing something. Plus I live just up the road from the rest home where she live, so there's no escape really.

Thursday, October 01, 2015


When our mum died last Friday morning, my brother and I were present. I held her hand and we talked to her as her breathing slowed, slowed until it stopped completely.

I was glad that we were there at the end. But I don't know if she was aware of us.

She was probably aware of our presence the night before, after the doctor had given her something to calm her down, after she urged us to come to the rest home because this might be our last chance to see mum alive.

When we saw her that night mum was snoring loudly, sleeping deeply. Probably, it was the best sleep she'd had in weeks if not months. There was a moment when she was semi-awake and made us think she wanted to get up and go to the loo. Then we realised mum was still asleep, so we and the nurse and the carer lay her back down on her bed.

That was probably the time to talk to mum, when she was still not so deeply asleep that I couldn't be sure she was still with us.

The next morning we returned to the bedside and mum was no longer snoring, just breathing. I worry now that she was already gone by then and we were just watching her body go through the motions until it couldn't any more. By then it is too late to hold hands and say comforting things, isn't it?

Sunday, September 06, 2015

a pink knit

Knit from Maniototo wool in barn red.

More details on Ravelry.

I have so many hand knits, all of which have to be dried flat after washing, that by this time of year I'm hesitant to bring out another one from my box (of finished knits) to wear. But as it's Father's Day and I was taking the family out for lunch I decided to go for it.

It is perhaps not as A-line as I'd hoped, but I still like it - mostly because I love the collar.

It's funny how it's not until I see a photo of my outfits, that I see the flaws in them. Like, in this case, how the long sleeved tee Im wearing with this has such baggy sleeves.

Full-on fair-isle part two

This is where I have go to with my boxy sweater. Since the photo was taken I've narrow the sleeves significantly so that now they are almost too tight (not intentionally). But it is now finished (unless I get around to re-sewing the sleeves).
More pictures on the Ravelry post.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Full-on fair isle

This is what I have been working on (and off) for the last couple of years,  in between other knitting projects.

And it is still not finished!

See my Ravelry post if you're desperate to see more....

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Surviving a decade of parenthood

Last Tuesday TLM turned 10.

To TLM it was not a more important or exciting birthday than any other, though apparently for some it is very significant as it ends in zero.

She got a range of stationery/crafts thingies from us (the loving parents), some lovely tin flutes from Nanna and a very spendable amount of birthday cash from her Poh Poh.

Then she got to celebrate it all over again today when  her friends turned up for a birthday yum cha.

It's interested to see what kids will eat at a yum cha - the prawn dumplings went untouched, the pork spare ribs were ignored and I was the only one who lusted after the taro puffs. BUT - the kids scrambled after the spring rolls, there were never enough roast pork buns and the sticky rice was surprisingly popular. The squid wasn't that popular either but that was okay because it meant more for me.

The only downside to a social yum char - at this particular restaurant anyway - is that we were only allocated 45 minutes at our table. I guess I should have worked this out when I first called to make the booking, because they asked whether we wanted a 11.30 am booking or a 12.30 pm booking.

45 is in no way long enough for a social food-oriented gathering. Sure, we were finished eating by then. But there was no time for just mucking around with the presents (a fantastic variety, from a pink hot glue gun to a cool puzzle game with a plumbing theme) or general chatting without your mouth full.

If we do it again in the future I'd consider scheduling an activity immediately after everyone's finished eating, such as a walk to the park or something.

In any case, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we even got to bring a few leftovers home to snack on!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Chinese authors I have loved (to read)

Temporarily on a break from Kazoo Ishiguro, I have harked back to the Chinese authors I have often sought when looking for fiction I can relate to:

Of course, I enjoy Amy Tan immensely (apart from Valley of Amazement, which to me was like a Chinese Memoirs of a Geisha). I must find myself another copy of The Kitchen God's Wife, because I lent it to my brother a decade ago and never saw it again.The last one I read by Tan was Saving Fish from Drowning. This wasn't a mother-daughter themed story - quite a departure for her - but a good read nonetheless.

I have a copy of David Wong Louie's book of short stories, Pangs of love, which are mostly (but solely) about flawed Chinese American men just trying to have relationships, good and bad. The first few are my favourites, I suppose because they confront the cultural divide rather than ignore.

Wayson Choy wrote The Jade Peony which is set in Canada in the 30's and follows the stories of three members of a Cantonese-speaking family. It forced me to learn just how hard life must have been for Chinese in Western countries and back in old China (especially if you were female). But it's not an "educational" book. They are stories of three children growing up in a particular time and place and are very accessible. The grandmother is familiar, both annoyingly old-fashioned and refreshingly wise. I also recently finished another of his books which is about the same family but from the perspective of just the eldest son.

Patricia Chao's Monkey King is a dark tale of a young woman who tries to kill herself because of stuff that happened to her as a child, and how she deals with those things in a mental institution afterwards. It's not utterly depressing though so don't let that put you off.

The above are all North American writers. Why haven't I found the works of any Chinese-British authors at my library? Or those of Chinese Australians or even Chinese New Zealanders?

(Actually I do have two books by a Chinese New Zealander - When the Moon Turns Silver by Alison Wong, plus a book of her poetry. They are great. )

I need to read fiction that feels like my kind of reality. The only way to find it these day is do what Phil Twyford did to try and convince us that overseas Chinese are buying up all of the Auckland houses - I look out for Asian-sounding surnames along the stacks.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Fuzzy slouchy beanie

I had a ball of fuzzy alpaca/merino yarn and decided to knit a hat from it. It's very light and wide so fits both TLM and me. I reckon it would fit the boy too, but he is fundamentally opposed to slouchy hats.

As TLM is the more photogenic of the two of us willing to wear it, she's the one you get to see modelling it.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I fell off the wagon

In the last couple of months it hit me that we had better rein in our spending, since we have been living off one salary since the end of January.

I went from daily visits to my favourite sushi shop for lunch, to only lunching out once per week (excluding weekends - where we transitioned from weekend lunches at "nice" eateries to alternating between home cooking and the more affordable Malaysian options.

I clamped down on clothing and yarn shopping - in the last month or so the only clothes shopping I've done has been for my mum (and on her card) who, since moving into the rest home, suddenly had a need for non-holey pyjamas and undershirts.

Even yesterday, I boasted to The Little Madam (who knows well my addiction to both knitting-related activities and sales) that in my lunch break I went to my local yarn shop where there was a yarn sale, and didn't buy anything.

But today I fell off the wagon, because I went to the Social Wool Fair and bought a scarf's worth of heathery blue merino and a stack of old knitting magazines.

I feel a little guilty, but in all I spent only a few dollars more than I did on the boy's packet of cigarettes.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

My newest favourite sweater I made myself... this one.

I made the sleeves a little short as this makes it less of a hassle when I need to wash my hands, wash dishes or whatever.

It's nice to have a hand knit that is light enough to wear on a not-quite-freezing day.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

TLM's 2015 winter cardigan

I made this for TLM from a fair isle-effect self striping yarn which I'd been wanting to try because it's a non-scratchy mixture of wool, acrylic and cotton. If I use it again I will knit the item in pieces instead of all in one, to get the maximum fair isle effect.

I freely acknowledge it's imperfectness e.g. the way it opens out below the last button. I don't care -she likes it. See my Revelry post.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Home, but not as we know it

On Monday, the rehab unit at the hospital will discharge my mum into a rest home. Hallelujah.

I hope I'm not jinxing the whole thing by talking about it before she's actually moved in, but it has been a long and arduous journey and I can't wait to get to the destination.

First, there was the assessment at the end of last year, in which the lady from the Care Coordination team asked mum how things were and mum insisted everything was fine (until she left - then mum's tune changed).

Then there was the in-home care programme which consisted of three daily visits by mostly lovely carers - but the visits were short, often mis-timed (e.g. the morning visit at 10.30 was sometimes followed by an 11.30 lunchtime visit), and - for a period of two weeks - hideously inadequately scheduled.

Then we decided that we had more trust in mum's ability to take her meds correctly that we did in the ability of the administrator to ensure that someone would actually turn up when they were supposed to (to get mum her meds, among other things). That resulted in a reduction in the number of daily carer visits, but at least I didn't have to chase them up when they didn't show up for one reason or another. By now mum had decided she wanted to live in a resthome, but in New Zealand you don't get to live in a resthome until some authority says you need to.

Then there was the heart attack that landed mum in hospital again, and this time mum got her wish which was to be allowed to move into a resthome.

And today I got a text from my brother which (to paraphrase him) said something along the lines of "Great news! Someone died! There's now a great room available at the most recommended home in the city!"

But the best, best thing about this is that for the first time ever, my mum told me how good my brother and I have been to her. It felt good to hear.

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.


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.

Monday, February 09, 2015

The cost of taxis

In my rush to get my mum out of her house, down the steps and into my car, I accidentally locked my keys in her house.

Her appointment was in ten minutes.

My mum had not brought her house key with her.

So I called a taxi to take us down the road to the medical centre (that cost $8, which my mum complained about even though she wasn't the one paying), then I called my brother to ask him to come and give us a lift back and let us back into her house.

While this was happening, my mum - who is obviously feeling much better lately, because she now has the energy to complain about everything under the sun - was telling me in a loud voice that she no longer wanted to get her injections because "everybody" says you only need to get them monthly rather than weekly.

My brother couldn't leave work any earlier than 6pm, so after her appointment I got another taxi to take mum and I back to my place. We would wait for my brother there.

That taxi cost just under $20.

We got home, my brother arrived, he drove us to mum's house and let us in.

I could not find my keys. Anywhere.

Then my brother found them outside on the grass, where I'd dropped my bag while helping my mum down the stairs two hours before.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Aphids. Hate 'em.

I was admiring our swan plant and all the little monarch butterfly caterpillars feeding off it, when I noticed little clusters of tiny wee yellow bugs with lots of legs. But I wasn't sure what they were or whether they were a bad thing.

When it comes to gardening, if I'm not sure I let Nature worry about it.

A few days later I decided they didn't belong on our swan plant, so I scraped some of them off with a stick. I didn't do a great job, but then I was trying to avoid damaging the plant.

Then TLM googled "swan plants yellow bugs" (or something), and found out those little yellow things with tiny little legs that seemed wave at me were in fact aphids.

Apparently you have to kill them or they will kill your swan plant. And you have to keep at it or they will take over. Then you will have no swan plant with testicle-shaped seed pods, and you will have no  monarch butterflies or catepillars because they will have nothing to eat.

It sounds like aphids are the nits of the swan plant world.

When you crush them they leave a pretty yellow stain on your fingers...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A different standard

I've been on a bit of a sewing binge lately, because it is far, far too hot to even think about knitting. Sewing, reading about sewing, thinking about sewing, and watching the Great British Sewing Bee.

After reading many sewers' blogs about the difficulties they have with getting a good fit when using commercially produced sewing patterns, I noticed a common thread in what they said.

What I got was that, in general, younger sewers have few (if any) problems with sewing garments from commercial patterns and getting them to fit well without making any modifications.

But when they got older, their bodies changed and became "non-standard", and they had to learn how to modify sewing patterns before using them to make clothes to fit.

I can totally sympathise.

It was only while perusing an old sewing book (Sandra Bettina's "Power Sewing", to be exact) that I remembered that once upon a time sewing pattern companies used to make patterns for different body proportions.

Nowadays, patterns for adult woman are mostly categorised as "Misses" (i.e. the body proportions of a young woman), with a very few in "Petite" (i.e. for short young women), or "Plus" (i.e. too fat to fit into the "Misses" sizes).

But a decade or so ago you could also get patterns which were designed for other proportions too - "Woman" (i.e. women in middle-age or thereabouts) and "Half" (i.e. the same as "Woman" but shorties).

I looked at the measurements for each of the standard pattern size categories and realised that my body is approximately the standard "Half" size. Other women who, like me, can't find a trouser pattern that fits their bodies, are probably either also "Half" or "Woman".

And that's when the light went on for me. My body is not non-standard. It's just a different standard to the one which the pattern companies - and commercial clothing manufacturers - have decided is the only standard to use.

Unfortunately that doesn't much help me to sew trousers that fit me...unless you have a Half size trouser pattern to lend me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The last of our summer holiday

Just before Christmas last year I had spontaneously decided to take a couple of week off in January in addition to several days over Christmas and New Year. It meant I'd have only crumbs of annual leave for the rest of the year, but while I'm on holiday at home it feels like the right decision.

We'd had restful mornings followed by leisurely lunches followed by splashing at the beach. We've had visits from TLM's friends, I've managed to cover our porch (as well as my hair, some of the concrete around the porch, and some of my clothes) in a couple of coats of paint. I've nearly finished my non-classic denim jacket and finished my Japanese-inspired linen maxi dress (to be posted here later).

Although it hasn't been all fun and games, what with my elderly mum requiring visits to the doctor, the practice nurse and the medical lab, as well as many visits to cook for her while waiting for her home health service to kick in.

At the same time, the boy was diagnosed with shingles in his optic nerve. That was pretty scary at the time but the big box of various drugs seems to have worked because he looks normal now and didn't lose his sight. He still gets a lot of pain though, unsurprisingly.

I sure hope the rest of 2015 isn't so medically stressful as it's been so far...