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clothing diary

I’ve already outlined the first few days of wearing scarves/cowls. Here’s the rest of how I managed to wear me-made during May, although not to any great extent, certainly rarely with anything approaching styling and equally certainly with much repetition; to the point of boredom, really!

Saturday, 5/5: Triangular neck warmer with weekend clothes.

Sunday, 6/5: Green and blue scarf, with blue jumper over white T-shirt, blue trousers and green jacket. You’d think I must have been going somewhere to get that dressed up, and so I was. Youngest Aunt and I attended a matinee performance of The Merry Widow, which we thoroughly enjoyed. And on the subject of me-made, Youngest Aunt was wearing a little knitted scarf that I made for her birthday the year before last.

Monday, 7/5:The same green and blue scarf with black jacket and trousers (for work)

Tuesday, 8/5: A by-design casual day at home/out and about, which was unexpectedly warm; so the dodgy Portia top with blue trousers and cardigan fitted the bill no probs.

Wednesday, 9/5: Once again, the blue/green scarf with grey trousers and houndstooth/grey jacket. OK for court; and sorry about the poor photography, but you can see the scarf. I should add that I have a shorter scarf I made from the same fabric about four years ago and I wear that quite often during summer, as it’s short and more decorative than truly functional.

Blue-and-green scarf, a long version

Thursday,10/5: black and white scarf with black trousers, jacket and shoes, and white stretchy top. OK for court, though the matter didn’t proceed. Photographed on phone. Crappy pic, to be sure; I must have been feeling extraordinarily browned off when I took it! Changed to colourful scrappy crocheted Moebius when I came home (because I needed extra warmth).

OK, I match the decor. Can I go home now?

Friday, 11/5: I knew I’d be in court again and that the weather was meant to be slightly warm. I couldn’t decide what to wear but knew the choice would be between blue or blue of some shade with, well, I wasn’t quite sure what! It was blue trousers, once again with the blue/green scarf and the grey sports jacket.

Saturday, 12/5: At home, keeping warm while working in the sewing room for much of the day. Blue bootleg stretch trousers, blue polo-style top and cardigan with the scrappy, crocheted Moebius cowl.

Sunday, 13/5: As it was Mother’s Day and we were having cake and coffee with the nonni, I wore the triangular neckwarmer with yesterday’s trousers and the grey sports jacket. Yeah, I think I need some new clothes! I ended up putting on my old teal lattice jumper (very old; I knitted it in 1984) because I was simply cold and the made-for-me-by-my-Mum shawl, while lovely and warm, was too awkward for work.

Monday, 14/5: The eight-foot-long, knitted side-to-side, three-coloured, linen-stitch scarf, complete with tassels, made its first outing today. I rationalised that I couldn’t really give away something with mistakes in it but I’m sure I could have! Heck, I know the mistakes are there and I can’t see them (not without searching, anyway). I had several comments on how nice the scarf is and how thick and warm it looks. It’s certainly thick and it’s certainly warm, which was a great thing when I was walking home from the bus tonight. The colours are pretty and I took a photo on my phone to prove that I actually wore it. Not that I know how to get photos off the phone and onto my computer, but we’ll deal with that another day.

It really is a lovely thick and warm scarf, and my colleague loves it!

Tuesday, 15/5: So I gave away that scarf, although I wore it to work and out at lunchtime and had put it on to come home again when one of my colleagues, whose elderly mother is presently quite poorly, mentioned how nice it was and I thought, “Well, she’ll probably love it and the colours would suit her,” so I whipped it off and presented it to her, all 75 feet of it including mistakes, as I pointed out! That is, I pointed out that there were mistakes. I didn’t actually point out the mistakes, as I’d have had to have searched to find them. I can knit another such scarf and perhaps make it shorter and wider. Just not tonight, that’s all.

Tomorrow, then, I reckoned I’d be back to my old green scarf or the scrappy, crocheted Moebius cowl, as the weather was decidedly too cold for chiffon fabric scarves. Either that, or I’d have to knit all night and finish off my Stephanie shawlette, which is made with a lovely soft acrylic in a very pretty blue. I pulled it out of the knitting box to check its progress. No, it’s too short and I have to unpick some of what is there because of a very obvious mistake (if not two of them). The trouble is that, being of my own reckoning as it is, I haven’t written down what I was doing, so it might take me a little while to work out the pattern in any case. I keep miscounting the yarnovers, that’s the main problem. In any case, it was clearly not an option for work.

Wednesday, 16/5: It was the Moebius cowl to the fore today. The morning was unfriendly. Boy wore his blazer to school because he was so cold!

Not taken during Me-Made-May, but this is the original long Moebius cowl

Thursday, 17/5: Moebius cowl again (excuse my messy background in the above pic, but it’s better of the cowl than the one I took at work).

Friday, 18/5: A new crocheted Moebius cowl. Yeah, yeah, I know – but it took me only a couple of hours to make and it uses up scraps of yarn that aren’t enough to do anything serious with when looked at individually. Put together? Ah, that’s what scraps are for. Besides, the one I’d worn on Thursday had a pleasant enough aroma of massage oil (post physio appointment) but I didn’t want to be carrying that around with me. Plus, I needed something a bit fancier for an evening outing.

Mixing all sorts of bits of yarn into something warm

Saturday, 19/5: the new Moebius cowl. I was cold!

Sunday, 20/5: the new Moebius cowl again because I couldn’t be bothered looking for anything else. I washed the original.

Monday, 21/5: With the descent to winter weather, it’s hard to get enthused about anything other than woolly scarves or neck warmers. I wore the older Moebius cowl, which garnered compliments for its lovely colours.

Tuesday, 22/5: Variety – not! – with the newer Moebius cowl, which won accolades from a serious sewist colleague. She recently purchased a dress form to replace one that a so-called friend had broken, and remembers getting her new sewing machine back in the 1970s and feeling as excited about it as if she’d got a new motor car. I recognise that feeling. I shared it when my Mum’s new sewing machine arrived (and it promptly fell to Middle Aunt and me to start sewing on it). It’s the one I’m still using. Middle Aunt now has a newer one which she has used, in combination with her overlocker (purchased for her by Grandpa) to create clothes for all her children and herself quite a lot over the years. She does less sewing these days, being much too busy working and helping run the family business. We exchange notes occasionally, though.

Wednesday, 23/5: What possessed me I can’t say but I wore my little green/blue silky scarf with my grey sports jacket, blue trousers and long-sleeved T. Did I freeze? Only not quite but darn, it was close. Mind you, I had my older Moebius cowl with me as well as a balaclava! When Dr B and I ducked into the shops on our way home, I popped the cowl round my neck. The balaclava, however, I left in the bag. Its time will come. What’s really coming, I have to admit, is overcoat weather.

Thursday, 24/5: The black-and-white scarf garnered praise from my serious-sewist colleague today. But I had my Moebius cowl with me, the older, longer one. I needed it. Apparently today was our coldest May day in 25 years. It was darn chilly, I can’t argue with that. And work being particularly horrid, as it was, I appreciated the hot pack that the physio placed on my neck to help with all the stiffness and pain. It helped combat the cold too.

Friday, 25/5: Today I dragged out my big square of heavy crepe. It’s not really square and I’m not sure if it’s crepe but it’s a crepey style of fabric, to my eye. I’ve had it for a very long time. I bought the remnant well before Boy was thought of, and I would suppose I had something in mind for it at the time. History does not record what that might have been! I decided a few years ago to rescue it from obscurity by overlocking a rolled hem and calling it a big scarf. It’s good because it’s big and a reasonable weight, so I can almost make it double as a lightweight shawl. I like its autumn tonings.

Just what I needed in terms of weight

Saturday, 26/5: I wore the same scarf/shawl as yesterday, tucked into my old orange cardigan; not exactly a culture clash but not quite the same shades. It looked all right on a Skype call, anyway, so no complaints.

Sunday, 27/5: I just couldn’t be bothered today though I ended up with one of the cowls for a while late in the day when I suddenly became rather cold.

Monday, 28/5: Out came the shorter crocheted Moebius cowl again, though not all day.

Tuesday, 29/5: My old green garter-stitch scarf came out to play today. It’s something I knitted to occupy me while Boy was having swimming lessons when he was quite young. It’s functional and I like the colour though it really doesn’t look quite right with the duffel coat, which is a different sort of green! I didn’t take a photo and could only find one old photo where it sneaked into the shot but not in any meaningful way. So, you know, it’s just green and plain and long enough without being too long.

Wednesday, 30/5: Once again I wore the shorter crocheted Moebius cowl for most of the day

Thursday, 31/5: I was at home with a respiratory unwellness (I had to get out of bed and dress because I was coughing too much lying down, there is no justice in life I tell ya) and simply could not be bothered trying to find a me-made anything to wear. I washed two me-made beanies (they’re Dr B’s, though I’m thinking I might appropriate one now that mine has gone to Nonno and, really, Dr B doesn’t need two practically identical beanies – both dark red, knitted to the same broken-rib pattern – does he?), the triangular neck cosy and the shorter Moebius cowl, since I was at home and they needed a wash and the weather was almost cooperative, so maybe that counts?

I wasn’t an official participant, I know, and it’s probably true that dragging out some bit of me-made neckwear is not really a challenge, but I almost managed Me-Made-May. Were it a summer event, I could probably do it with tops (two Portia tops at least plus one or two others that are lurking about the place). I might have to make a more concerted effort in December, say, when I’d be in a with a chance of achieving more meaningful sewing and wearing things I already have in my wardrobe. Sure, I would once have breezed through May in handknits. But not any more. If you participated, how did you go?

 
 

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who needs hair dye?

Apparently I don’t, because my hair exactly matches my scarf. Or is it that my scarf exactly matches my hair? (You know the one I mean, the one I describe as black-and-white but isn’t quite.) The colleague who made that comment also commented, quite unasked for, that it’s a lovely scarf. Accolades on such an awful day as we were having today? Yes, they’re worthwhile.

You’re possibly wondering why I’m not busily knitting Youngest Uncle’s fingerless gloves? I’ve struck a problem with the pattern, which says one thing in one breath and directs you to do something else in the next. I’ll have a closer look at the Ravelry page to see if there are any corrections posted. Meanwhile, our weather has descended to wintry temperatures and I’m feeling a distinct need for my own fingerless mitts at work. Right. Better get off the computer and back to the knitting then!

 
 

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planning another outing

Providing just a touch of tissying-up

We’ve a cocktail party coming up that’s a rowing club fundraiser. We were at the first one and it has become an annual event, one that I usually attend even if Dr B does not. Last year it clashed with too many other school events for it to be viable that even I would be able to do the right thing. This year? I plan to go. I go to help in the kitchen, I should point out, but if somebody offers me a sip of their cocktail all I can say is that it would be rude to refuse.

So, what to wear? It’s the usual colour theme: black, white and grey/silver. I think I can manage that, even while washing dishes. It will be the usual black trousers and white top perhaps with the usual jacket, perhaps with a jersey cardigan. Time will tell. And of course I shall wear the black-and-white scarf I made to wear to the presentation dinner. It’s something that adds effortless flair to any outfit (I say, tongue firmly in cheek).

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Rowing, Sewing

 

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still sobbing into my pillow

Between laundering and other usual household tasks, I’ve been reading Pyjama Party blogs. And oh, boo hoo. Our camera woes continue. Even Dr B isn’t immune from problems today. He’s having to use the little Sony digital, the one that’s been dropped too many times and no longer has a flash. You can imagine it’s not ideal for photography in the late evening, even with strong lighting. Therefore, I think I’d better just take a deep breath and admit that, unfortunately, I’ll have to keep sobbing. You have no idea how damp my pillow is already!

Boy has been delighted by his PJ trousers, though, which is nice. I think he’d forgotten what great things they are. I used to make them when he was little – I’ve already discussed the various wonderful fabrics from which I had made him PJ bottoms – and he loved them. Then he went through a phase of not wanting them because they tangle up. Yes, I understand that. But last night he was cold, so despite the tangle factor he actually wore the new PJ bottoms to bed. Yeah: flannelette PJ bottoms with fluffy Explorer socks, the epitome of elegance.

Dr B and Boy have been doing eco weekend stuff today, cleaning up the last of the willow tree (small bits this time, not logs). This time it was actually eco weekend. Last time? No. Dr B had mixed up the dates. Plus, as he discovered when they arrived at the closed dump, his logs were too big. He and Boy brought them home again and unloaded them onto a spot beside the footpath. I knocked up a sign that said “Free” and stuck it atop the lot. They went, quite rapidly. That was a good way of doing things: people looking for firewood were able to get some without paying the seven arms and forty-three legs that seem to be required these days, and we got rid of the sawn wood. Today, two trailer loads of twigs went off to the mulcher.

This afternoon I met Middle Aunt at a cafe about half an hour from here though it’s a little further from her place. It was nice, though, a cafe in a garden centre. We discussed the itinerary for her family’s forthcoming trip to Continental Europe and Ireland while we drank coffee and ate cake, then I handed over the curtains, the two knitted beanies and the crocheted Moebius cowl. By happy coincidence, the beanie I’d made for Middle Aunt matched her lovely quilted gilet almost perfectly. How good was that?

Middle Aunt liked my scarf, which I decided needed another outing (and because I wanted something to smarten up my clobber). I intend to experiment with some other fabric that I bought specifically to make scarves, to see if I can make a long scarf without being quite so extravagant with the fabric. I’ll let you know how I get on with that. I wear scarves a lot, always have, and even light fabric provides a little extra warmth when needed. I hang them on a piece of string on the back of my wardrobe door. No, that’s not true; it’s actually a piece of ribbon.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Crochet, Sewing

 

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men are strange creatures

I offered knitted scarves to two of the males in the family for recent birthdays. No, thanks, they said. One would prefer a beanie, the other some fingerless mitts. It’s not that I’m not happy to make something else, I’m merely surprised that a warm scarf wouldn’t be deemed a great gift for someone who’s off to trek the Himalaya later in the year!

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Knitting

 

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but not very far up

The crocheted Moebius cowl (sorry, my machine doesn’t like umlauts) and the twirly scarf (with a lavender bag to accompany each) have been finished and given away to happy recipients.I’ve also done a neck warmer/cowl for another birthday gift and that’s stashed away awaiting the not-too-distant day.

Additionally, I have knitted a fair bit of a soft, pretty shawl. That started out as a neck warmer/cowl but Dr B said that Nonna wouldn’t know what to do with a cowl. As it was intended for her birthday present, I agreed to make the shawl he reckoned she would like and understand. She might. I don’t know. Dr B plainly doesn’t. I held up a large, knitted triangle for him to say whether it would do or needed to be larger. “How does it work?” he said. It’s a triangle. What could I say?

I think it needs to be a bit larger although there’s a point where a shawl that’s too large simply gets in the way. Dr B thinks it’s all right as it is. Actually, I can tell that he just wants me to stop knitting because he thinks it’s a waste of time and money. It’s not very time consuming, nor is it expensive. The yarn I’ve used for the shawl cost me less than $5. It’s acrylic but it’s pretty and warm and certainly soft. It will launder easily. Sometimes, when you’re in a nursing home, as Nonna is, that’s a big advantage.

If I offered to knit you a shawl, would you reckon a large triangle would fit the bill?

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in Crochet, Knitting

 

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things are looking up

I’m almost back in business with an almost computer! Well, it’s a real computer but, as Boy’s school laptop has recently died, it’s not entirely mine just yet. But soon it will be. Aha. Then, and only then, we might have photos.

Also, on a non-computer-related note, I’ve finished some crocheted articles: I completed the little, twirly scarf for Middle Niece (yes, by the end of the holidays, before I went back to work) as well as a crocheted Moebius cowl for Youngest Niece. Sure, I’d already made a neck warmer for Middle Niece but, as I keep saying, she is off to Germany for a year and will need some warmth. Youngest Niece will need some warmth for the winter that’s soon going to be here. Boy was surprised by how nice the Moebius cowl looked. Don’t you love the honesty? I will take a photo but can’t promise when it will be posted.

At lunchtime I went walking to the fabric shop of choice (for which you should read “nearby and where prices are not likely to break the bank”). There I tracked down some ribbing to match the fleecy fabric from my stash. It was on sale for the princely sum of $3 per metre. I bought a metre. Though I’ve no need for quite that much at present, I know I’ll use it. Now that I have the ribbing, I can fire up the sewing machine and make a start on Boy’s trial-run top. What fun! Oh, if only work didn’t get in the way of having a life.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2012 in Crochet, Musing, Sewing

 

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during my holidays

Do you remember those essays we were obliged to write when we returned to school after the summer holidays? I’m feeling a bit like that now, rambling from thought to thought and wondering what I’ve been doing. I’ve not much to show for what I’ve been doing, because most of it has been necessary domestica.

I’ve been away from work for nearly six weeks and just the thought of returning there tomorrow is utterly depressing. However, what’s equally as depressing in its own way is the fact that, for all those weeks of not working, I’ve achieved very little of what I’d hoped to achieve during that long holiday. Apart from the obvious busyness associated with Christmas festivities, there have been other good reasons for my lack of achievement.

Dr B has been running hither and thither in the cause of frail, aged parents (unexpected problems with Nonna’s respite care and a change of GP, unexpected, major surgery for Nonno) so I’ve had to pick up most of the slack in what are meant to be his parts of the domestic gig. Of course my part of the domestic gig kept going so the extra workload meant no sewing, no knitting, no crochet – or at least, not very much of any of those things and none of the serious stuff (read larger scale; I admit that I did make a few lavender bags).

Yesterday marked the first rowing regatta for the second half of the season – Boy brought home a lovely medal, but he was grumpy about it as his crew won by default because it was the only crew in the race not rowing by invitation! – and the beginning of our last hurrah as rowing parents. This is Boy’s last gasp with school rowing, which will culminate in the Schools’ Head of the River Regatta. He’ll have duties beyond that with exchange visits and the like, but the end is in sight. He won’t do as much club rowing this year because he’s in his final year at high school and needs to be dedicated about his academic work. That’s a given. Club rowing, when it recommences for him, won’t require as much input from us. Club rowers do their own fundraising.

I must have a notion that Middle Niece will have a dreadfully cold neck while she’s studying in Germany, because I’ve begun crocheting her a little, twirly scarf as part of her going-away gift. It’s not at all serious and it’s a quick make, so I should finish it today. That means that I’ll get to the end of the holiday with one tangible piece of handcraft and perhaps – it’s a big perhaps – a blouse for myself, if I can make it today. The weather is being disagreeable so laundry has to be hung inside to dry, which always takes longer though I don’t know why it should.

In any case, holidays aren’t about rest and relaxation, are they? I have had some rest simply by virtue of not being at work and I have relaxed in like manner. But spend days at a stretch doing nothing very much? Or achieve something I’d like to do? No, those things haven’t happened. (I wasn’t able to finish a jigsaw puzzle, for example, because it had to be packed away to make room for something else to happen.)

For some reason I can’t fathom, but don’t question, it seems to have occurred to Boy that I could actually make some clothes for him other than boxers (he’d forgotten the pyjama tops and school track trousers I’d made for him in the past; he’d worn them proudly but then reached a point where if Mum made it, it wasn’t trendy). Could I possibly make him a sweatshirt-style top? Could I ever! I’m happy. We agreed on a trial one that he’d definitely wear at home and, if that’s the goods, we’ll shop for the fabric he wants. Given such incentive, I’ll make time for sewing, no matter what else is neglected. I bet nobody will notice the difference. 🙂

In any case, I’m not complaining. One night Dr B was curled up on one lounge with a book (forcing himself to read edifying literature), Boy was on the other couch with his fantasy/sci-fi novel (a great deal less worthy but much better for his creative spirit) and I was on the floor doing that jigsaw puzzle I mentioned. Boy remarked how nice it was that we were all there, just in the same space and having a good time. He was right. It’s something we rarely do because we are often so busy with sporting, school and work commitments.

So, yes, no matter that there were no tropical islands and being waited on hand and foot, that evening alone made the whole holiday a good holiday. That’s my random report. What did you do during your holidays?

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2012 in Crochet, Musing, Rowing, Sewing

 

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must knit faster

I read, on many of the lovely blogs I visit often, of other knitters managing to make lots of stuff in a year. Hats galore, socks galore, scarves, small garments, not-so-small garments – the list is endless and I feel utterly defeated because I not only don’t produce at those sorts of rates but, it seems, can’t.

I’ve never been a fast knitter. Coming from a family of women who were fast knitters, I’ve sort of accepted that some of my lack of speed could well relate to my odd knitting style. I’m a thrower rather than a picker – and I tried that but it was even slower for me – but not in the index-finger style that I was taught and which, as anyone who has ever watched Hazel Tindall knows, is every bit as fast as picking; I simply couldn’t master it. I use my middle finger to throw the yarn. It works for me and I’ve seen others do it, so it’s not as if I’m anything special; just slow. I suspect, however, that time constraints are part of why I’m slow to finish things. My actual knitting speed is probably reasonable, but I get too many interruptions. Of course I could stay up all night but I’m getting too old to find that advisable when I need to be at work the next day.

Also, I find that I can’t knit and do anything else, even with plain work. I make mistakes, I drop stitches, I end up with a mess. Perhaps my best progress is made when I’m all alone down in the sewing room and only come out when called for meals. Last year I made five or six beanies, finished a half-made balaclava and made another, as well a few scarves and a couple of dishcloths. Did I finish the socks I started the year before? No. I made fingerless mitts and a pair of small mittens but didn’t finish the larger mittens I’d hoped to do for a niece who lives somewhere cold. Yes, she might get them this winter. They won’t go to waste, they won’t eat anything and if I take them out of the bag where I stashed them when the sewing room had to be turned temporarily into a spare bedroom, then I might even get them finished soon.

Then again, this is summer. It’s too hot to knit for very long, and it’s almost back-to-school and therefore back-to-rowing time. My Saturdays are accounted for and Sundays are put to good use catching up on housework. When am I meant to find time to knit? I do neglect the housework. Dr B cooks and shops so I’m off the hook with a big part of domestica but the rest of the gig seems to be mine: laundry and cleaning and all the little mending jobs and magic tricks with making things and being the first-aider and – you name it. I think it’s called being Mum.

What do you do to find time to knit? I’m open to suggestions!

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Knitting

 

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