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multiskilled just isn’t the right description

YoungB signed our work, because all of us had more than a hand in it 🙂

Once upon a time, Dr B and I built our own house (and yes, I do mean with our own hands). Back in those days, he and I poured a concrete tank-stand and some paths. Recently we’ve concreted more paths, one of which now boasts a tank on a stand without necessarily being the tank-stand.

The path behind YoungB’s cabin, seconded to use supporting a tank-stand.

We’ve also ventured into laying pavers, greatly assisted by a variety of online resources. My personal observation is that, when your little fingertips are very sore from laying down little brickies, you do NOT want to pick up any sewing. This is, however, gratifying in a different way.

They wanted to finish the cabin’s courtyard before we went out for my birthday 🙂

And when I say I did some paving, it’s quite true. My input was to the path connecting that cabin courtyard to the garden shed.

Going with the flow around the curve and lots of fussy cutting (Dr B did that part).

Back to getting on with something else now. Winter is here, and I’m craving the feeling of working on a beanie. Plenty of those in my UFO pile 🙂

Whatever you’ve been up to, I hope it’s been as gratifying – if, perhaps, less labour-intensive – than my recent efforts.

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Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Knitting, Musing

 

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what was going to be and what was

It ended up looking a bit like this but not really, mostly because I was wearing it 🙂

This is what it was going to be. I love the pattern and the range of style options. It’s elegant enough for a wedding but not intimidatingly difficult. However, tracing and cutting required more space than I presently have or can create. This is what it ended up being. I’ve made it at least twice before, all the pattern pieces were already cut out and it is indeed an easy sew. It is, however, a 1980’s pattern, which means quite loose-fitting. Perfect. I wanted something more fitted. I measured carefully and reread the instructions, as well as measuring an RTW dress I use for work to ensure that the finished measurements wouldn’t be indecently tight. It worked out well. Both Dr B and YoungB were surprised by how nice the finished article was. (Don’t you just love their confidence in my ability?!)

My wonderful, expensive fabric behaved beautifully and sewed up a treat. Except, sadly, when I was sewing on the right side of the fabric (eg, to make the neckband or hem, or doing any topstitching). Then, no matter what I adjusted, there were skipped stitches. I tweaked all sorts of things, to no avail. Finally with time running away from me, the light fading, my neck aching (from bending over all that unpicking) and my patience fraying ever so slightly, I decided that I’d simply use a smaller stitch length, sew slowly and steadily and accept whatever I got at the end of that process. It didn’t do away with the skipped stitches, but it did minimise their number. And I accepted that result. (You’d have to look closely to notice the skipped stitches.)

I made version 1, including the long sleeves because, you know, cool afternoons  and evenings up in the HIlls, winter on its way and all of that. And, as I said, my end result was, as intended, a great deal more fitted than the envelope photo would suggest.

I changed the neckline entirely. I have interfacing somewhere, but since tidying my sewing room I’m no longer certain of its whereabouts. Therefore, I decided to do something whose construction was akin to that of a t-shirt collar, but I made it with a slight twist. I let the dress hang for a couple of nights before I finally hemmed it. Dr B measured it for me, and estimated I’d need to remove 5 inches. That sounded like rather a lot! I shortened it by 4 inches and turned up a half-inch hem. That gave me a flattering, just-below-knee hemline. Funnily enough, I don’t recall shortening it last time, and I haven’t marked the pattern to indicate that I did. But I haven’t got any taller in the intervening 33-odd years.

Rather than leave it languishing in the wardrobe simply because the neckline could use adjusting, I’ve worn it on Board meeting days.

Also, partly because I have T. Rex arms, I had to chop off some of the sleeve length. I hadn’t made the long sleeved version before, but I ought to have remembered the 1980’s penchant for Very Long Sleeves and taken heed from the pushed-up sleeves in the photo. No harm done and the dress finished in ample time (honestly, I reckon I was done with the last of the threads by mid-morning on the day of the late-afternoon wedding). We ended up being a party in blue because Dr B and YoungB both elected to wear blue shirts. It wasn’t done intentionally to match my dress, merely serendipity.

Serendipity had us all in blue, just like half the wedding party.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Sewing

 

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but where do we belong?

It’s all right for him, he’s a coach.

YoungB has two part-time jobs, one as a barman, the other as a rowing coach: opposite ends of the day and entirely different skill sets.

Last weekend we had the opportunity to see him in action as a coach. Happily, his intermediate-level girls’ crew acquitted itself well, despite having been rowing as a crew for only a week. Dr B and I couldn’t really cheer. The best you could say of us is that we provided food and drinks for that particular coach. We couldn’t cheer for his old school – divided loyalties, given his new workplace is a competing school – and we couldn’t cheer for either of his old clubs – who’s there that we know any more? – so it was an odd sort of day. The weather was lovely – as you can see – and YoungB’s girls won their second race, so he had every reason to smile.

And was it good to be back among the rowing fraternity, even if we’re struggling to find our rightful niche? Oh, yeah. Rowing tragics, that’s us! And for good measure, I was very grateful to have my cooling neck bandanna with me because the sunshine was fierce. 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2017 in Rowing

 

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and how dangerous could it be to clean your sewing room?

Brother Sewing Machine BOBBINS | eBay

Just bobbin’ along – but not suitable for my machine

You might recall I mentioned having made some inroads with tidying my sewing room? I’ve made no further progress with that, but I can at least get to the machine now. So I sat down to finish a spot of sewing the other day, There was white thread in the bobbin and I was working on some dark blue fabric. I always have spare bobbins. Always. I couldn’t find any for the Janome (but a dozen or so Singer bobbins precisely where they should have been; and, sadly, not  interchangeable). I searched high and low, looked in all the likely and unlikely places I might have put bobbins. Nothing. Well, heck.

Today I went off to buy some! And the truly dangerous thing about that? It wasn’t the having to get down on my hands and knees to read the label on the packaging, or even having to brave the industrial aircon at full revs. No. It was that bit of fabric that someone else was buying at a reduction of nearly 70%. I wouldn’t normally be tempted by it at full price. But we have a wedding coming up in a few weeks, and I would like to have something a little bit dressy and decent for the occasion (for once, there’s nothing truly suitable in my wardrobe). So a couple of metres came home with me, as well as the new bobbins.

However, I DID return the fabric I’d picked up to make myself a new summer nightie. I’d thought it was out at sale price, but that proved not to be the case. I couldn’t justify that sort of expense for something I’m going to treat like a rag, though I’ll wear it for years. Of course you’re right to suggest that, balanced out across the number of years – or even only one year – it wouldn’t be an extravagance at all. But I’m sure I can find some suitable leftovers in my stash. Perhaps the fabric won’t be as soft, but that doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t worry about making a new nightie except that the previous one I made is wearing out. I whizzed it up in a hurry five or six years ago. The seams are still neat, the neckline reinforcing is still doing a wonderful job, and the hems are holding up remarkably well. But it’s badly sweat-stained and the fabric has holes in it! It’s truly the baggiest, shaggiest nightie I’ve ever had but it’s been fantastic during hot, summer nights. We get quite a few of those in this part of the world.

So I reckon that’s me sorted for a few weeks. What have you been up to lately that’s proved more dangerous than it seemed at first blush?!

 

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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another big one

I was musing the other day that this is 2017. It’s 100 years since my mother was born. In my family, we like to celebrate these big occasions. Dr B and I are often the ones who prepare the presentations.

That means I have to get busy with scanning photos, calling for scans and/or copies of photos from cousins and other family members – I can’t think of any friends who are still alive – and getting down and dirty with some sort of large format word processing and/or database to produce a timeline for display. See, that’s a couple of knitting projects worth of time already lost to a better cause, although any genuine coverage of my Mum’s life will include many handknitted articles so there’s still that connecting thread.

Still can’t get photos to work properly, so will wish you all the best with your big occasions, too 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2017 in Family history

 

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comfort of a sort

You know that feeling when you’ve lurched to the last working day of the year and what you haven’t done is not done but you can’t dredge up sufficient energy to care? That happened to me halfway through December. In my previous job, the obligatory holiday during the Christmas shut-down could vary greatly, so I mostly made mine long to enable me to cope with all the family, cycling and rowing events that clustered round that part of summer. It wasn’t the sort of job where the work you hadn’t  finished would be waiting when you returned. Jobs didn’t hang around or hang over for that long. You might find yourself typing later sittings of the same matter, but it would have moved on.

In my present job, almost everything I hadn’t done was awaiting me when I returned, plus a few extras I hadn’t anticipated. That’s a distinct deterrent to taking long breaks, because it means that the return workload is crushing and you need a good life-jacket. But I had a holiday, anyway, during which I managed to tidy my sewing room somewhat.

2017 will be challenging. The sector is changing and in order to survive and flourish, organisations have to not only change but come up with new ideas for growth. I feel remarkably inadequate in that scenario. I’m still reasonably good at thinking on my feet, and quickly, but I have no business background at all. This is, I suspect, a shorthand way of saying that I need to enrol in some suitable units at a local TAFE, or within an undergraduate degree, if I’m to have any hope of not going under. My problem is that I don’t know what I need because it’s difficult to intuit what shape the future changes will take with regard to my job. I often feel now as if I’m close to drowning because of the workload, so perhaps I need to invest in a better life-jacket because that feeling is unlikely to lessen.

As near to drowning as I might be, something I do know is that I’ll need to knit and sew more, or I’ll be too grumpy for words. I also know that I’m going to have to do a l-o-t of work to get my photo app to talk to my blog. Lots to work on this year, and not a resolution in sight! All the best with all of your plans, resolutions or just general intentions for this year’s crafting. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2017 in Knitting, Musing, Sewing

 

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reminder to self… and because it’s been such a rugged year

There would be a photo. But I’m still learning my way around the new technology, which is a huge leap from my previous computer.

Today I attended a workshop about resilience in the workplace. Given the volatility of the sector, it’s a necessary attribute for anyone who works in it. Turns out I’m already quite resilient, but occasionally a reminder is a good thing.

In the spirit of continuing the work begun at the workshop, I’m trying to remember to be grateful: today it’s for sunshine and gumtrees, public transport that gets me where I want to go without too much drama, and a workplace where I feel not only valued as a worker but also as a human being.

They’ll help me bounce back tomorrow. 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2016 in Musing

 

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