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

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Dress Shirt - Project Finished!

Yep! Here it is - the finished dress shirt. I can't tell you how pleased I am that I was able to figure it out. Granted, it was pretty far along when I pulled it out of the drawer to which it had been relegated, but still.

Oh my goddess! It's a full on collar.

French cuffs with contrasting fabric!

Contrasting fabric underneath the collar!
I'm almost tempted to make another shirt right away in case my sewing mojo leaves, but I have some other projects that need my attention. I'm hoping that more sewing means more sewing mojo.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Monday, March 19, 2018

Add & Subtract

I spent last Friday at the studio. My main focus was on finishing my Schoolhouse Tunic before the end date of the sew-along (today - March 19th). This also would be the first of my "make nine" goals for 2018.  I had a fortuitous sewing day, despite the fact that I had to start by replacing a broken needle on my serger.

Here I am in my tunic (the ladyfriend took this picture so I could send it to my mother).

Here's what the fabric looks like close-up.
I'm really pleased with the tunic and the fit; I also think I have a number of things to wear with it because, let's be honest, it's a) too short for me to wear on its own and b) the deep opening in the front requires something underneath as well.

As I went to hang it in my closet, however, something clicked. I looked at the rail and thought to myself, "I have too many clothes."

Now before those of you who know me or have followed me for awhile start laughing or chirping in, why don't you let me finish the story?

I have been working on my closet for years; not always actively, but it's frequently on my mind. When I went to hang up the tunic, I suddenly realized that there was too much noise/distraction in my closet. More clothes make it harder to get dressed despite conventional logic, yet I'm not a minimalist and have no interest in a "uniform." This meant a more thoughtful and decisive cull.

I've started on this project. I've already got a stack of clothes that I think I'm done with. I've edited down my "special occasions" wardrobe, and I've managed to let go of two black dresses, but there's still more in the closet. The goal here is to be able to see everything that's going on as well as have more pieces that work together yet don't duplicate functions.

I'll be selling things on eBay, giving clothes to specific people, potentially hosting a cocktail/"shop my closet" gathering, and exploring other avenues (consignment!). What I have to be careful of is overvaluing (either fiscally or sentimentally) the things in my closet. I need to let go. I'm not doing myself any favours otherwise.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Stars Shine!

I get regular horoscope emails from Chani Nicholas, and I often find them quite insightful and in line with the work that I'm trying to do. I found the one I got today to be especially so.

Horoscope for Scorpio and Scorpio Rising
My creativity heals me. Never refuses me. Knows how to move through me.
I honor its process.
Saturday’s new moon reminds me to get out of its way. Reminds me to study its ways. Cultivating a deeper relationships with it reminds me that there is no end to the chances I get to grow. Evolve. Change what isn’t working.
Transforming through each creative action I take is a given, but it is also a great leap of faith. Saturday’s new moon reminds me that trusting my creative energy requires that I trust my ability to face the challenges that come with it. Manifesting it in the world requires that I confront my inner doubts about myself. My talent. My competence. My creativity’s relevance. It’s all part of the process.
During this lunar cycle I encourage my determination to deepen. Come doubt, fear, or insecurity, I will do it anyway.
My daily life is densely packed with important projects, deadlines and decisions that define the shape of things. My job is to find a way to work through, around, and with each obstacle as best I can. I remember to keep some energy for myself, keep some reserves for future use, to keep the things that aren’t urgent at bay when and where I can.
The next month will require me to put my ideas out into the world. Strategically weaving my beliefs into my work. Placing them where they will have the biggest impact. I am willing to communicate what might be challenging, but ultimately energizing and solution-oriented.
Looking forward to the new moon on the 17th; have a good weekend!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Take Your Carbeth to School Day

Sweater: Carbeth, knit by yours truly in Alafoss Lopi
Dress: Shack/J.Morgan Puett
Tights: Wolford
Shoes: Dansko (thrifted)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Make Nine Challenge

I think I caught sight of this on Instagram, but it was Cal Patch's post that set the blaze to the spark. The fact that I've already planned on making most of these items this year anyway made it even easier to throw my hat into the ring (it's good that I own a lot of hats!). Also, I'll inevitably participate in the Summer of Basics (should there be one this year), which will account for three of my "make nine." Let me also acknowledge that there are a couple items about which I'm uncertain - not uncertain about whether I want to make them, but uncertain as to whether I can actually complete them within the year. Yeah, those kinds of projects.

But let's start with what's been settled.

1). Sew Liberated Schoolhouse Tunic
This pattern has been on my radar for years, but I kept second-guessing myself. A discount and an encouragement to post images of yours by March 19th (yikes! thought I had more time!) was enough for me to pull the trigger. I already have fabric for it.

2). The Brae Cove Tunic
I'm running the Squam KAL, but this one has its own KAL, in which I'm participating. Thankfully I'm almost done with my Squam knit, and the deadline for completion isn't until May 19th. As you may recall, I've found yarn during my yarnventory for this.

3). The Erica Dress
This is a pattern from Seamwork magazine, to which I subscribe. I like the idea of an easy and sophisticated wrap dress, and I found some matte midnight blue jersey from Mood fabrics. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to make any of the modifications. No deadline for this baby.

4). The Liv Cardigan
I started this cardigan last year with wool reclaimed from another project; however, I discovered I didn't have enough yarn so it was tabled. I've ordered yarn for this (no judgements!), and this will be one of my Summer of Basics makes. Believe it or not, I'm knitting it in black. I think this will fill the black cardigan gap nicely.

5). The Afghani Nomad Dress
I was inspired (years ago already) by Alicia Paulson's version and have collected a variety of Liberty of London fabrics to make my own version.

6). Pants: here's one where I haven't settled on which ones I'm going to commit to, and they range from challenging to pretty easy. I think what will tip the scales is which pair will fill the greatest gap.

The contenders are -


 I'll make all of these at some point, but after I do a little homework (Seamwork's Design Your Wardrobe course), I hope to have a clearer picture of what I need. These will also be part of the Summer of Basics.

7). Azami
I've had this pattern and the yarn (the actual yarn it called for even) for awhile, and I feel like it's time to get 'er done. Mine will not be pink but a nice spring green.

Okay this is where things get vague -

I have the yarn and the pattern for Charley, but it's a lot of work. Like a lot, and I'm afraid I won't be able to finish it within the year.

I also have started on the Maggie dress from Alabama Chanin, but again, lots of work because of all the hand-stitching.
This is the tunic version; I'm making the dress version

And finally, I have two Merchant & Mills dresses in mind. The Trapeze, which I've made in two versions already, and The Rugby, which I haven't.
My Trapeze:

The Rugby:

There's the possibility of shifting commitments, but regardless of the list, there will be other makes as well. There always are. These, however, feel like they could be pivotal players in my wardrobe, and as such are deserving of special attention.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

What I'm Wearing to Teach Today: Keeping It Under My Brim

Hat: Halston
Turtleneck: Akris
Dress: Lauren (Ralph Lauren)
Tights: Hue
Boots: La Canadienne

Monday, March 5, 2018

Showing Up

That's the theme from my Get to Work Book for March. It bears keeping in mind.

Today I continued some kitchen work - canning trotter gear and chicken stock, prepping pork fat for lardo, rendering the last of the lard and making some "cracklings" aka pork rinds or fried pork fat. Not a low calorie day, but a little goes a long way. This is all part of what I'm calling the "freezer reclamation" project. I don't know about you, but our freezers (we have a small chest freezer in the basement) are almost always full, and often we have no idea what's in there. It's good to get things out of the freezer and onto the shelves.

Things are starting to get back to routine after our week away. It's amazing how seven or eight days away can almost entirely erase the rhythms you had before, but I feel like mine are pretty well established now, which is quite satisfying. Even this blog post - Monday is my usual day to post. It just makes it easier.

Also, I'm pleased to announce that one of my stories was a finalist for the Breakwater Review Fiction Prize. You can read it here.

Showing up, and moving forward! Have a great week.

Friday, March 2, 2018

February Goals Into March Goals and Then Some

Okay, I know February only has 28 days (unless it's a leap year, of course), but this year February felt like it blew by.  I guess being away for 8 days made it feel even shorter. The nice thing is that the dates fall on the same day of the week (when February is 28 days long) so March feels like an extended dance-remix version, and I'm using it as such because I didn't quite manage to get everything I'd wanted to accomplished in February.

I did make kombucha and kimchi, but I didn't have the time to make beer.

I didn't finish my Kate Davies cardigan, but I did "bang out a Carbeth."

I did not deal with the dress shirt.

So March's 3 goals will look a little familiar:

1. Project to Finish (WIP): Yep, still Kate Davies's Bláithín cardigan. I may have to lower my grosgrain tape desires; I've found it hard to find some cute tape to back the button bands.

2. Fix/Remake/or Let Go: I'm going to deal with that dress shirt.
3. Get Started On:  I'm going to make some beer. Yes, I will. I'm also going to start sewing the Schoolhouse Tunic, a pattern I've long coveted but could never quite pull the trigger on until yesterday.
Photo from Sew Liberated
I have no issue acknowledging that the combination of a discount and a sew-along over the month of March encouraged me.

It's been a good year so far. I've had one story accepted for publication (although I have no idea when that publication will come out), and another story was a finalist for a fiction prize. I'll post links when they're published.

So, last night, as I gleefully joined yet another KAL (this time for the Brae Cove tunic, for which I plan to dye some yarn from my stash), I suddenly wondered if I were getting ahead of myself. Was I taking on too much? I'm leading another KAL (for Squam), for which I also have the yarn but have a generous deadline of June, and I have some writing and other creative projects simmering.

Then I realized what was going on. I'm in the second half of the term, which is generally less work for me as they're working on larger projects, and I'd just finished grading a major mid-term project for one class. So there's a sense of having some time. But what's really at play here is that I don't have any overwhelming art deadlines right now, and that's of our own making. 2018 was dubbed Project: Life, where we weren't going to try to make new art (working on showing what we've made) and instead would focus on taking care of the other projects in our lives. Holy cow! It was a revelation!

It's not as though my life was always like 2017, but last year really took us to the mat and kind of made us forget how we lived before. In the future, I'm striving for a more sane balance among the many projects I undertake. Right now, however, I feel like I'm on fire, and I'm going with it! Why not?