I wore the Cherry Bomb sweater yesterday, finally, so I can give you a proper report on it. Well, it is a worsted-7weight tank top, so there is the essential oddity of wearing a heavy garment with no sleeves. It is cotton, so it flares at the hem, even though I added ribbing. And even in the smallest size, it is a bit looser than it was probably designed to be (not the fault of the pattern). But the short-row dart trick does in fact give a nice fit at the bust. The book containing the pattern, Big Girls Knits, explains how to add this feature to other patterns, and how to calculate it to your own measurements.

So there I was, dressed in red, white, and blue in order to sing patriotic songs in church yesterday. We are not robing for the summer, in an effort to keep air conditioning costs and fossil fuel use down. The pastor exhorted members to give up their ties for the sake of good stewardship, and we’ll see how that goes. A lot of the ladies have given up pantyhose, but I guess that’s not the kind of thing you can encourage from the pulpit.

Anyway, we were singing “America the Beautiful,” and The Chemist was poking me and singing the words with great emphasis, preparatory to a few between-hymn comments on how Mr. Bush ought to pay attention to those words. The verse she had in mind was

“God mend thine every flaw [being sung here to America]
Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.”

Our scofflaw president needs a bit of self-control, she felt.

And it struck me, as it has many people I am sure, that “America the Beautiful” would make a much better national anthem than “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“The Star-Spangled Banner” is a poem about the War of 1812, set to an old drinking song whose words included “and besides I will teach you like me to entwine the myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s vine,” it being a song about how a man might be capable of performing his marital duties, shall we say, while drunk. It became the National Anthem in 1931, which means that there are people alive who could remember when it wasn’t our national anthem.

It is a very militaristic song, focusses on the flag rather than on the nation and its people and ideals (as “America the Beautiful” does), and requires a range of an octave and a half to sing. Its performance at sporting events is treated as though it were a feat of strength, most of our citizens cannot sing it, and it is very difficult to choose a 7key to suit any group of people who can sing it.

“America the Beautiful” is the strongest contender for a new anthem. There are objections out there to this song because it has some religious words in it — well, “God shed His grace on thee” is right there in the first verse, so it would be hard to avoid the religious overtones.

The other serious choice for a new national anthem is Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is My Land.” This song celebrates the beauty of the nation and has a distinctly egalitarian feel. I have two problems with this choice. First, it has a well-known schoolyard parody that goes “This land is my land, it isn’t your land, if you don’t get off, I’ll blow your head off.” Why have that in the back of people’s minds? Second, it isn’t suited, musically, to the kinds of events at which we sing national anthems. Ball games excepted. We couldn’t rise and listen in respectful silence. We would have to link arms and all sing together, swaying in time.

7That could be okay, actually.

What we must avoid at all costs is following Mr. Reagan’s suggestion that we replace “The Star-Spangled Banner” with the horrible Lee Greenwood tune, “I’m Proud to be an American.” If anyone starts singing that at your Independence Day barbecue, take them aside and ask them to leave.

After church, and grocery shopping, I did get a couple of things sewn up. Here are two tunics with their main seams done.

Tunics look like nothing at all on the hanger, don’t they?

The one on the left is Simplicity 3786. I did a muslin of this in a tropical rayon and I wear it all the time. I changed this one slightly to make it more modest, and it is slightly less becoming, but I think that is a fair trade-off. The one on the right is Simplicity 4220, a style which was very popular last year.

#2 daughter told me at the time that it was too young a style for 7me, and she may be right. The ties in the back have a girlish air, and altogether it gives me that milkmaid look which is so much more charming on a young girl than on a matron. We should have moved on from being milkmaids by now, you have to think, and have our own farm or something.

The solid blue fabric is a plain broadcloth off the dollar a yard table, and that may be partially to blame for the fact that I don’t like this tunic that well.

I am still trying to avoid agreeing with #2 daughter, as you see.

The print is a wonderful cotton lawn from The Fashion Fabrics Club. A really good cotton can be just as wonderful as silk or wool, though we rarely encounter such good cottons, so it is easy to forget that. This fabric is so lovely and perfect and feels so good to sew that I intend to do all the handwork on it today. I may add pintucks or something, just for the sake of the pleasure of sewing it.

This is a day off for me, now that I have done my paying-job computer work, and I intend to loll around quite a bit. Housework and gardening must also be done.

I may not have my own farm,but I do have some nice vegetables.