"Respect the earth, live in harmony with nature, spend time with your family, be good to your neighbor, and value the dedication, skill and care of the craftsman."

Pain in the Eye

August 9th, 2017

Monday I woke from a dream about the otolinos. Tuesday I woke with a compulsion to tidy the linen closet (and did, at least partially). Today I woke with serious eye pain.

Too much staring at the computer? Watching TV in bed while knitting in the evenings? The serum I’m reviewing?

I went to the WP Meetup last night and we had a nice kickoff. Today I met with #1 daughter and we got the calendars done in a reasonable time. I still need to put in the keywords and outlines.

We also had a phone conversation with a client I said we should never have accepted. She said we should have been ashamed to send our mockups and that our content seemed to have been written by a 12 year old.

I suggested that we take back our work and refund her payment, but she didn’t like that idea. She asked me to put all the web content into a Word document and send it to her so she can read it that way instead. I spent two hours doing so. She remarked that she hadn’t actually read the content. I don’t quite get why she felt moved to attack our work in that case.

Perhaps it will be good for us and give us humility. #1 daughter said we should feel sorry for her. Clearly, #1 daughter is more good-hearted than I am.

Shortly before that interaction I ran into a blog post by a complete stranger who said how wonderful I was, calling me and #2 daughter SEO and analytics gurus. Which of those judgements did I keep in my mind? The negative one.

I went on to choir practice after that. My eyes still hurt. Maybe early to bed tonight.

Tudor Roses

August 8th, 2017

I’ve long admired Alice Starmore’s Tudor Roses. I will probably never knit anything from it, so I haven’t seriously thought of buying it in the past, but they recently brought out a new, much cheaper version, so I snapped it up.

The patterns are not, I think, really about knitting and wearing. There are lots of technical challenges, which expert knitters will certainly welcome.

But still…

Here’s a pretty textured knit, turned horrific in the featured photo

A sweater which would probably always look like a costume. A masterpiece of colorwork which will make the wearer look like a refrigerator, however slim. A refrigerator with oddly emphasized breasts.

No, this isn’t really about knitting. It’s about history. The women, the Tudor Roses, are portrayed in knitted historic interpretations. Starmore’s daughter Jade has written up diary entries for each of the women. These are the women around Henry VIII: his grandmothers, his mother and sister, his six wives, and his daughters.

There is a biography of each and some thoughtful writing about what their lives might have been like. Women were chosen to play each of these historical women, and dressed and styled to create sometimes grotesque photos.

Each sweater is truly a statement piece. People will remember each one.


August 7th, 2017

My husband’s alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. He hits snooze a couple of times before he gets up and then a second alarm begins at 5:00 a.m. Neither of us knows how to cancel that 5:00 alarm, so I am awakened at least three times before my alarm goes off at 6:00.

We have different weekends as well as different shifts. Saturday and Sunday I was awakened repeatedly by his alarms. This morning, Monday, there were no alarms because my husband had fallen asleep on the sofa in front of YouTube and I had left my Fitbit to charge overnight.

I slept till nearly 7:00 a.m. I woke from a dream about otolinos. Google has no common noun suggestions for this term, but in my dream they were workers who made pickled or salted squid in fanciful shapes.

Where did the otolinos come from? I have no idea.

My husband is still asleep on the sofa, so I did not do my 3,000 steps on Wii Fit this morning. This is how the summer has been, from the point of view of fitness: my routines have been disrupted.

To a large extent, this has been my own choice. I ordered the creme brulee in the photo above while out at lunch with #2 daughter. I skipped Wiii Fit yesterday morning, when I had a choice, as well as today, when I feel I have no choice. Today, I could have put my shoes on and gone for a walk outdoors (and I might still do that). No one has forced me to bake cookies and cakes and pastries. I could have served fish and salad to my houseguests, or chosen that for my own meal as I prepared other dishes for them.

But the habits and routines that have allowed me to lose 78 pounds so far only work when I can use them as habits and routines. They offer little flexibility.

Life changes, though. I would not have wanted to give up my family time or my travel in order to have lost 6 more pounds over the summer. As summer winds down, though, and Back to School approaches, I’m ready to get back to my routines. Will my life cooperate with that readiness? I don’t know yet. The HGP begins on August 27th this year, and I will be in the The Big City at the time. A month later we should have The Baby with us, and I don’t yet know how much that will affect me. #1 son and DIL are talking about coming to live near us. That may or may not happen; if it does, it could mean having much more family time. And I don’t really know what work will look like after The Baby arrives. Will we be able to keep the family business going?

Once things settle back to normal, for some definition of “normal,” I’ll need to adjust my habits and routines to work in that new normal.

I don’t think the position of ortolino will be available, though.



August 6th, 2017

I’m working on the Debby Bliss matinee coat in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, colorway Duck’s Egg.

Above you can see a coconut macaroon with mini chocolate chips from Ghirardelli.

I love the stitch pattern. I’ve had to frog back to fix an error several times now, but I think I’ve mastered it at this point.

I bought the ribbon for it in Paris.

It’s raining today and my husband’s at work. I had a few hours alone yesterday, but this may be a knitting and Netflix day, a day of solitude to recharge.

The Baby will be here soon, so I have the excuse good reason that I need to get this little sweater finished.

Floral Wreath

August 5th, 2017

This wreath is going to be a mobile over the Baby’s bed. Yesterday #1 son came over with his kids for the day. #1 daughter came down and we had scalloped potatoes and salad and homemade rolls for lunch. We had our meeting and then the children stayed overnight.

We had pizza and movies, played a new game, and made Jell-o by request of the Little Girl.

Then I made banana nut bread and a breakfast casserole.

I took those things up to #1 daughter’s place, where the Good Ol’ Boy’s mother and grandmother were already at work on the Baby’s nursery.

#1 daughter and I got to work on the wreath.

I love these colors.

I came back and warmed up some leftovers. I’m knitting, watching Netflix, and enjoying the first taste of solitude in… months? It feels that way, at least.

Baby Shower

July 29th, 2017

The Good ol’ Boy’s mama and her posse held a baby shower for #1 daughter. There were some handmade gifts, and lots, lots, LOTS of baby gear and baby clothes.

Embroidered rabbit and blanket was one of my favorites.

The food hadn’t arrived yet, but the table was pretty anyway, and the pink smocked dress made a charming centerpiece. There were actually a lot of smocked dresses and rompers.

A watermelon carved into a baby buggy was a special feature.

Here’s another handmade gift. Pink everywhere!

Texarkana Road Trip

July 28th, 2017

Who goes on a road trip to Texarkana? We did. It was a beautiful drive through the National Forest, with one real town  in the middle of it. Here’s the town: Mena.

Here’s the train station, perhaps the most exciting building in town. You’ve now seen both sides.

Across the street from the train station were a bunch of little shops, all closed when we drove through.

I wanted to go to the “Books n Stuf” shop to find out what the stuf was. Now we’ll never know.

We passed through Witcherville, formerly Salem. It was apparently named for William Witcher, an early resident, but that doesn’t explain why a 1903 map identifies it as Salem. I wanted a good witch story, but we haven’t been able to come up with one.

SWAP 2017: Colors

July 16th, 2017

I haven’t made a full SWAP in years and probably won’t accomplish one in 2017, either. But I enjoy planning them and I am taking another PSD today, so I thought I’d plan one just for fun.

The new style SWAP has 12 pieces:

  • Core 4 (jacket, skirt, pants, top)
  • Inner column 2 (top, skirt)
  • Outer column 2 (jacket, pants)
  • Print 2-piece (top, skirt)
  • Twinset 2 (top, jacket)

That means 3 jackets, 3 skirts, 2 pants,and  4 tops.

Here’s the print I chose as the centerpiece of my last SWAP plan, a lovely silk georgette:

There’s the bright electric blue. and the light and dark taupe shades.

And here’s a pretty embroidered piece, resting on a jersey and a lovely wool crepe, both obviously in the warm browns family.

I made the light taupe trousers earlier this month and sewed up my third pair of pants today, in the dark taupe. So basically I was planning on teal and taupe.

Here is Pantone’s Fall 2017 palette for New York. Note the complete lack of dark brown.

I gave up the Pantone palette custom last year and went with the taupe and blue green plan. But this year there is a nice blue green, pale taupe, and the main neutral is gray.

Grenadine and Butterrum are slight variations on the taupe and coral combination we’ve seen in recent seasons. I have a length of pale taupe sateen waiting to be made into a skirt, and a ponte knit cardigan in that coral.

Spruce and Gray are such an obvious option for me; I have suit lengths in both, and actually have a WIP gray jacket from last year, as well as a completed top and pants. If I add a skirt, I’ll have the Core 4. The pieces I made yesterday could both count as Spruce if I’m not being picky.


Spruce and Port (AKA blue green and burgundy) are two of my favorite colors. We haven’t worn them together for years, but I might seize the opportunity.

This looks like an odd combination, but maybe we’ll get used to it by the end of the year. I have quite a few fabrics in pale pink.

So I could go ahead and sew up the teal and brown capsule, or I could shop in my stash for cloth and yarn and plan a new SWAP for 2017.

Maybe my georgette print can wait around until I’m as thin as I’m going to get before getting cut and sewn.


Wardrobe and Weight Loss

July 15th, 2017

Last time I published a picture of my closet, it was full of drab,  swampy colors. They were hanging neatly, but the overall look was sober. That picture is shown below. The picture above shows my current wardrobe, mostly in pretty, soft colors, not as neatly arranged.

I now wear size 10 jeans and size 14-16 jackets. Sometimes a 12 in tops and blouses, though I’m still a bit top heavy and also have a bit of a tummy, as the fashion mavens say, so a trimmer cut still requires a larger size. I’m within a few pounds of winning the Wii Fit game by moving out of the “overweight” classification and into the normal range. I could lose another 20 pounds and be slim, but I don’t know whether that will happen. I’m not dieting, just eating right (most of the time). Presumably I’ll settle in at a healthy weight at some point.

So maybe I should go ahead and sew up my stash in the SWAP I’ve been planning for some time. It’s been hard enough for me to give up nice store-bought clothes just because they’re too big. It’s hard to sew up beautiful fabrics knowing that I won’t be able to wear them in a few months. But size 10 is completely acceptable. I don’t feel a need to get any smaller than that. I might stay right there.

As for the size 16, I bought a few jackets in that size when Talbot’s and Coldwater Creek had their end of season sales this month. I intend to wear them as much as I can. Will I end up getting enough smaller in the shoulders that I won’t be able to wear them next year? If I just go down in waist and bust, I could still wear them, right?

I’m not sure. But I am going to sew a bit, in between working on the layette and before I get started on Christmas gifts.

Today I took a PSD (personal sewing day) and made a couple of new garments.

Here’s the fabric stack for that SWAP:

There’s a bit of a swampy tidepool look to it, but it probably won’t be enough to overcome all the pretty pink and blue.

The print will be a two-piece dress. Below is the blue-green column. It’s a pair of Elle pants in Emma One Sock “hybrid” woven and a Hot Patterns Fringe Festival top in a lovely soft rayon jersey.

The top is waiting to be hemmed after it rests overnight. It is very obvious that the pants are blue and the top is green. This is not really the monochromatic column the Nix-Rice class advocates.


But I like both pieces. The scarf detail has not lost its charm as I’ve worn the muslin (which was actually made from a floral scuba knit). Realistically, I’m not likely to wear the bright pants out in public anyway, so the SWAP will not be destroyed. Also, both shades look good with the print and all blue-green shades are good for me.

I made the pale taupe pair of pants earlier in the month and I plan to sew up the dark taupe pair tomorrow — it’s already cut out.

I should also make another top, right? I haven’t made a final decision about the woven tops, but I have two T’n’T knit top patterns. And of course there’s that hemming to do. The main focus of the weekend is to enjoy a hermit-like state in combined recovery and preparation for the busy social weekends that have characterized the summer and will continue to do so.

However, I also noticed this when I was in the sewing room:

This is the blanket from the Gull Stitch Layette. The baby shower is two weeks from today and I need to finish it before then.

So should I sew tomorrow or knit?

I also continue to wonder whether the gorgeous silk georgette print should be sewn up if I am still going to get thinner.

It could happen.

Froggy Evening

July 14th, 2017

Yes, I frogged the sleeve. Then I watched Father Brown all evening and reknitted the sleeve.


Check out the pretty wee buttons:

I will take a PSD (Personal Sewing Day) tomorrow and on Sunday as well, sewing up some pieces of my SWAP and enjoying a hermit-like weekend before moving into weeks with even more human contact.

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