Monday, May 14, 2018

An Instructive Week - Part 1

I had a tough week last week, but I didn't realize it until Saturday night when I tried working through my unhappiness with the ladyfriend. It was then that I realized the week had actually been about crushing disappointment. I know, it sounds serious, and in some ways it was. The theme started at a literary event on Sunday evening where I felt erased. As a writer, I hope to be introduced as such, especially in the company of other writers, as well as asked about my work, but that didn't happen. To make the whole thing complete, I got a rejection delivered to my email in the middle of the event. Huzzah!

Since I've been there before, I didn't think it would have a lasting impact. The rest of the week - Monday through Friday - was full of engagements, obligations, and appointments. It was pretty exhausting even if most of the events were fun.

So on Saturday, when I went to the studio to finish the Afghani Nomad Dress, I was ready to have a satisfying day of sewing. That is not how it went down.

I have two projects I tried to finish this week - the Anna vest and the Afghani Nomad Dress. I stitched the vest together, and that went fine. It was the buttonband, however, that defied my intentions. Instead of lying flat and evenly, it undulates a little and is uneven. I have to take the whole thing off (it goes all the way from the bottom left opening around the neck and down to the bottom right). I am not pleased.

The bodice of the Afghani Nomad Dress doesn't work for me so I tried to modify it; however, I didn't calculate the measurements correctly and have to redo it. Please note that I am doing French seams for this dress, which means every time I have to unpick a seam, I have to do it twice. By the time I checked in with the ladyfriend about a pick-up, I was pretty unhappy.

There were a couple of other contributing factors, but once I started talking about it, I realized that between the fantasy of finishing the projects and the undermining of my identity as a writer, there was more than enough disappointment to go around. These moments, taken in isolation, generally don't leave a mark, but when they're compounded by exhaustion and other factors, they combine to make a bit of a steamroller. I'm thankful for the clarity and understanding the week has given me. Hoping I can keep it all in mind as I move ahead.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Me Made May So Far

Above are the outfits I wore on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, & Monday. For some reason I can't find the original images of Wednesday & Thursdays outfits. Anyway, I'm finding that I am putting things together that may not have been matched before. For example, the top left image features the Trapezoid Tee that I knit a few years ago with an old Dries Van Noten skirt (sans outer layer). The image on the bottom left features my recently finished dress shirt paired with a dress I made while we were in Berlin in 2013. I love the act of discovering new ways to wear things you already own.

The ladyfriend and I caught the Mitchell/Riopelle show at the AGO just before it closed. I've been a Joan Mitchell fan since I saw a show of hers at the Whitney in New York City in 2002. It was great to see her work in person again.





Included a close-up of this one as the layering of the paint was quite compelling.

Sure, there was a counterpart - Jean Paul Riopelle - but frankly, his work didn't speak to either of us except for one piece.
Avalanche by Jean Paul Riopelle
The way we saw it, Mitchell danced with the canvas while Riopelle boxed, or to put it another way, Mitchell collaborated with the canvas while Riopelle seemed to want to conquer it.

It's been great seeing art lately. The Kusama show in April was pretty cool although the whole ticket thing was out of control. We lucked out and got tickets in advance. If I remember to, I'll post some images from that as well. If you're in the area, the ladyfriend is on a panel at the AGH on Thursday and has an opening at b. contemporary on Friday.

I start the Lander pant class tonight. I'm pretty excited to make these!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Back at It in May!

Oh, the ambitions of April! My three goals had been to finish all three WIPs (Anna vest, Kate Davies cardigan, and the ladyfriend's sweater), sell the two bikes we have in the shed, and make a plan for all the things I want to make this year and particularly this summer.

Hmm, how did it go? Well, I finished this -

It's the Brae Cove tunic, which is a Squam KAL. There was some endless knitting, on size 4 needles no less, but I couldn't be happier with the result. The length is perfect; I can wear it as a dress or over something, and I used yarn from my stash to make it. It's the beginning of May, which means Me Made May, and this is how I chose to start it. This is also my second finished item from my Make Nine list.

Here are the updates on April's goals - sad but true:
I fixed the Anna vest issue and now have to stitch it together, so I didn't finish it.
The Kate Davies cardigan remains unfinished.
The ladyfriend's sweater is one sleeve shy of being sewn together. My new goal for that is to finish it before we go to Nova Scotia.

So while I finished one WIP, it wasn't on the list. I also started another sweater. What can I say? I'm incorrigable.

One of the bikes has been taken; the other still needs to go up on Kijiji.

My making plan? Well, I've been working on it, but not on paper, so let's do that here!

I'm already deep into my Afghani Nomad Dress. I'm hoping that will be done Wednesday or Thursday.

I'd originally wanted to make one of the three possible pants for Fringe Association's Summer of Basics challenge, but Needlework, my local fabric store, is running a class on the Lander pant this month so I decided to take that opportunity. I'll be making these in white canvans. Whoo-hoo!
June will be for the Liv cardigan; I'll be picking up the yarn in early June and starting it while at Squam, which is what I tried last year, but then I realized I didn't have enough yarn. Looking forward to adding this cardigan to my wardrobe. It is one of my Summer of Basics projects.

One of my issues with the Summer of Making is that I'll be in Nova Scotia for most of it. I have a sewing machine there, but not necessarily all my tools. That said, I think I will try to make Paxson. I actually bought fabric for it last year, but then they revised the pattern, and then well, I went onto other things.

And because the pieces made for the Summer of Basics are meant to fill a hole in one's wardrobe (I know, how could there be a hole in a wardrobe of my size?), I'm making the decision right here and now to make Pants No. 1 as well. Paxson and Pants No. 1 will be July/August projects.

That brings me up to 7 of my Make Nine. I'll work on Azami (8) over the summer; it feels like a good cottage knit, and then I'll make Erica (9) in the fall. Of course I have other things I plan to make as well, but this is the core.

So, what are my May goals?

1. Project to Finish (WIP): I need to finish a Frank Lloyd Wright cross stitch.

2. Fix/Remake/or Let Go: Time to revisit the floor lamp.

3. Get Started On: My veggie garden.

Hope the weather in your area is good; we're having some beautiful days right now.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Lessons Learned

I started this year with a post on challenges and opportunities, which came on the heels of a rather long and busy year.

April often signals the beginning of "challenge" season, as I like to call it now. I've also realized that April is the month that things are being finished up while other things are begun. It feels like the start of another part of the year, kind of like September does. The fact that my schedule is arranged around the academic year clearly influences this perception.

Nonetheless, April always brings the 30 Days of Biking challenge and the 30-Day Yoga Challenge, two things I've participated in in the past. But this year, I took a moment to remember what I'd written just a few months before and decided to let them proceed without me.

I have a much better idea of what April requires of me. Initially I'd be seduced by the fact that classes were over in the first week or so, which erroneously made me believe I had more time. The fact is, I have a lot of work to do to finish the school year. While I could probably handle the yoga challenge, it's not in my best interest right now.

The biking challenge didn't really tempt me much this year. The weather has been really crappy, and frankly, I don't feel like I have anything to prove - to myself or to the world - about my relationship with my bike. We're good, thank you very much. We'll be on the road soon enough.

In the meantime, I feel like the past few months have been quite productive. I'm getting all kinds of work done - writing, making, etc. - and the fact that I'm not participating in these two challenges has helped that continue.

Of course, that said, I will be participating in Me-Made-May 2018. Hey, my grades will be in; taxes will be done; and I have some new me-mades to wear!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Last Day of Class!

Dress: Yohji Yamamoto
Shirt: Ralph Lauren
Tights: Wolford
Boots: Aquaitalia

Monday, April 9, 2018

March Debrief; April Plans

When the weather finally warms up, we'll take the spring tree down.
Okay, so my three goals for March had been -
1. Finish my Kate Davies cardigan
2. Deal with the dress shirt
3. Get started on beer and the Schoolhouse Tunic.

I'm happy to say that the dress shirt is finished and a success, and I also finished the Schoolhouse Tunic. I still can't seem to get to beer making (need a three-hour window of time, and it's been busy). And then there's the Kate Davies cardigan.

On Saturday, I decided to just get on with it already, so I put in the lines of crochet reinforcement (following Kate Davies's lovely steeking tutorials) and threw caution to the wind.



Here are some things I learned -
a) use a grippier yarn for the crochet reinforcement
and
b) crochet it tightly

As you might guess, it did not end the way I'd hoped. There were moments of panic as the cut threads broke loose from their reinforcements. There was great frustration and gnashing of teeth. The issue has yet to be resolved, but I've decided to take the sweater to the studio on Sunday and sew those bad boys down. I'm trying to take it all in stride as a learning experience. I'm still hoping for this to ultimately be a success story.

I had another knitting disaster. I'd finished knitting the Anna vest and had really wanted to be wearing it when I had coffee with Karen Templer in Nashville (because I'm a keener), but I hadn't had time to finish it. Back at home, I decided I just needed to put my general disinterest in sewing together my knits aside and finish it already, and then I discovered this:
The best thing about this is that the two vest fronts match and the back has loads of straight-ahead knitting that will be relatively easily to cut and Kitchener back together. I've done it before; I can do it again. The questions is - why do I have to do this again? Oh well.

Oh, I seem to be in the knitting weeds. The Anna vest, the Kate Davies cardigan, and what feels like endless knitting on the Brae Cove tunic (the word tunic should be an indication of commitment required). Plus, I'm still working on the ladyfriend's Squall (trying to avoid being stuck on sleeve island). It feels like all of my projects at the moment are testing me.

So where does that put us for April goals (already a month in!)?
1.  Project to Finish (WIP): it's all about the unfinished projects this month - the Anna vest, the Kate Davies cardigan, and the ladyfriend's sweater. I need to clear the decks before I move onto other WIPs.
2. Fix/Remake/or Let Go: I'm selling two bikes this month - a six-speed cruiser, and a single-speed cruisers. We've been meaning to get rid of them for awhile. I'm believing that spring will actually come.
3. Get Started On: I'm going to work on my crafty plans for the summer, outlining when I should work on which project according to the various elements I pay attention to (e.g. the summer of basics, me-made-May, where I'll be, etc.). I like a good plan.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Integrating the New Shirt

Shirt: sewn by me (unknown pattern)
Dress: Morgane le Fay
Tights: Falke
Boots: La Canadienne