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truly, madly, deeply, and in a hurry!

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I love the fall so much, and yet I somehow forget just how much. The weather turned on a dime this year; one weekend it was close to a hundred degrees and we huddled under the shade of two willow trees at the K Records festival; the next weekend it was cool enough to keep the A/C off. The air has turned crisp and my lawn is, over the period of a week, now a lush soft green. The kitties are mostly contented – we have let them venture outside after a year of being indoor-only – and as I pad to and from my car at the curb, on my errands, they rush up to me and fall over to sun themselves and hope for strokes from my hand.

I am balls-deep in Halloween costumes; one moment knitting three Minions hats, the next ordering colored grommets and looking up faux-greenery. Never in my wildest did I think I would get to do something creative day in and day out, and I love it. It is only my practice of personal discipline that enables me to leave aside the work in the studio and come upstairs to cuddle a child (teens love to cuddle as much as youngsters, I’ve come to find out), or make a meal, or wash the dishes.

Ralph’s car is in serious trouble; having overheated it a year ago, the poor thing has not recovered despite several trips to the shop. My car is fairing a bit better, yet it gutters a bit when I start it, and the breaks are grabbing. Meanwhile we need to consider driving school for Beeps (yes! They are turning 16 in a few months!) and perhaps a car there, too. There is food in the fridge and the heat bill is paid, at least. I have lived through harder times.

Nels convinces me to plays Super Smash Bros and I rest on his (new) bed (queen sized now, as he is fast outstripping me in height). His shoulders are broadening; his voice will soon deepen. But he is sweet as a young boy and I suspect will stay the same. We play for a while and Nels attempts to hold back – he is a considerably gifted gamer – and I am just amazed at the complexity of the game’s moves. I cannot fathom how many hours one has to put in to master strategy. Nevertheless I focus, rather than just mash buttons madly. Nels tries not to trounce me but his naturally competitive side takes over. I watch for a while before getting ready for bed, taking a scalding shower and dressing in pajamas and falling into the blankets with Ralph holding me close, before blessed sleep and rest and – another day! Racing towards Halloween and – will I have my projects completed in time?

L8 Nite of Tic-Tac-Toe

this is what I get for momsplainin’

Tonight I’m sitting across a small table from my daughter. I’ve been working all day and have had little to eat; I’m famished enough to order and then devour a corporate coffeeshop’s blueberry scone and roasted tomato sandwich – too hungry to do anything else.

My daughter and I talk about school, the upcoming quarter. We talk about what might come after that. And I tell her, my eyes stinging a bit, how amazing it is to watch her grow. I can’t really get the words out but it’s like, this is a person whose opinions and desires are getting more pointed, more developed, and more adult than I would have guessed. She is as always fiercer but also imbued with a deep-seated compassion I do not recognize, it may have been helped by a few of us but it has an unshakeable foundation past my understanding.

And I don’t say all these things, but still she doesn’t see what the big deal is. I tell her, “Well… it’s like, when you were two. You know. The stuff you cared about. Like you didn’t want us to make you wear a hat. Or you REALLY wanted a bowl of chocolate ice cream – “

She immediately lifts her head, and gives me that tiger-eyed stare and says, “Mom… have I really changed so much?” her voice the dry tone, the perfect comedic, sarcastic, self-effacing bit. I dissolve into laughter and resist the urge – it comes daily! – to reach out and pinch her. WHY is this my child?

My son is at the counter, ordering a cookie. He is leggy and thin, his jeans on their last wear if I can somehow catch them away the next laundry cycle. I have made myself only say it once. Only tell them once. Okay, twice. What does it look like to the community if a tailor has children who look unkempt and shabby? I can tell you my kids DO NOT G.A.F. ABOUT THIS. Which also makes me laugh.

My health is pretty good. My wrist and shoulder hurt; from clerical work, from knitting, from sewing. I am tired and a bit worn out and I’ve accidentally overdone it for the season. No surprises there, really. In all – considering I’m balancing out-of-home work for the first time in a baker’s dozen years – well, I’ve done rather well!

It is so rainy and wet outside – and my car so damp and foggy inside – that the drive from the coffee shop to pick up my daughter’s friend, is a tense one (for me). After about ten minutes somehow the heater is working so the glass is all clear, and the car oppressively hot. I can’t express how comforting winters are here. I live in this rain-drenched corner of the world and I adore it.

I wonder how much of the rest of it I will ever see? I wonder where my children will go, what they will do? They have developed such quick wit, such strength. I suppose that is how most parents must feel, on balance. Parents that let their kids have their wings, at any rate.

Late evening, home. Five feet to my right Nels and his neighborhood friend play Tic-Tac-Toe, their pallet bed festooned with all the necessities: books, pen and paper, a small lantern that throws a constellation upon the walls, the ceiling. Their giggles are earnest and comfortable; as if they’d been lifelong friends, instead of just these last six weeks or so. Grilled cheese and tomato for a late-night snack; the cats are settled in, the dog has had his evening walk.

Tomorrow will be another day of cooking, of wrapping presents, of music and the energy of children. Somehow it all gives me life, although the days fly by a little quickly for my comfort.

L8 Nite of Tic-Tac-Toe

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

preppy like that!

As mentioned last post, across the internetz many (mostly)lady-bloggers are sewing up a batch of boy patterns for a blog tour of the designs. The patterns are all PDF indie designs, have a wonderful size range of 3 months to size 16, and they are all featured on an extended sale until the first. I was honored to be asked to participate. The 25th I submitted my first entry. Today, I bring you: 

The Letterman Jacket!

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

So for today: I am The Letterman Jacket by Fairytale Pattern Design. I’ll be discussing them here and in my Flickr tagset.

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

The pattern: if you think about it, a Letterman jacket is a simple garment (certainly simpler than the last jacket I made). What makes it iconic and beautiful are the fabrics used, the details (the distinctive ribbing and collar or center back zip hood), and the patches. Almost any raglan jacket could be easily changed to a letterman jacket. That said, it is wonderful to have a simply-drafted pattern and it was easy for me to modify it for a facing and lining. This particular pattern comes in size 4T to size 16 (please please please let a client request a wee 4T) – a generous size range.

 I made a size 8 in girth and a size 12 in length for my lean green bean boy! I also hand-knit cuffs, hem band, and neckband:

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

 

My welt pockets are perfect! Exactly no one is surprised. That said, some fabrics are far more lovely to work welt pockets in – and melton wool is definitely in that category:

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

 

Finished with a wonderful gold slipper satin and antique brass snaps:

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

And one of my favorite bits: a custom chenille patch:
Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

All in all, a successful venture with a very simple, trusty pattern.

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

You can learn more about the Bundle Up pattern package below – or visit all the blogs that are showcasing the different patterns. Y’all know I tend to draft my own stuff, but these patterns are pretty fabulous and most of them have a great size range. Enjoy!

 

i just can’t get enuf / i just can’t get enuf

Blooper Hoodie!

Soooooooo basically I’d like to make colorblocked hoodies all day long. The only thing that would make the experience more perfect, is to have a home screenprinting lab set up. But I’ll settle for how things are going now – a wonderful jersey fabric with just the right amount of recovery, and the ability to slash lines here or there and make up whatever kind of design I feels like!

Blooper Hoodie!

I also colorblocked the waistband to match the design lines of the garment. BOOM!

A white-lined hood, and a handknit drawstring. Notice the little “blooper” elements on the right arm – a Mama and three babies, all hand-cut and free-motioned darned.

Blooper Hoodie!

Blooper Hoodie!

With summertime approaching, what is more lovely than a super-soft custom-fit hoodie?

NOTHING

 

speechless, for once

A Gift

Our Christmas morning was full of a lot of laughter and wonderful, thoughtful gifts. A great many people in my life put a lot of thought, time, and money into wonderful gifts for one another. Me? I was up until 5 AM finishing the handsewn & hand-knit items for my loved ones.

But one gift in particular, today, bears a bit of mentioning: and that is, a little gift my husband gave me.

Halfway through present-opening I unwrapped a small package and pulled out some lovely, handmade socks. Wool. Wonderful! Anyone who knows me knows I love wool – and lately, my sock supply has been threadbare AF. These are a very pretty autumnal colorway and I can tell they will fit.

I ask Ralph, “Where did you get these?”

and he replies,

“I made them.”

So like…

since before Thanksgiving he has been teaching himself to knit – by meeting with a mentor, and by knitting every spare moment he is not in sight of me. He kept the whole thing hush-hush, and so did our children.

Most incredible to me, for his first project he made me socks. SOCKS! People told him that wasn’t something you could do your first time. But he stuck with it. They are amazing socks! He made every stitch himself!

Not only that but he tells me, “All of Grays Harbor knows about these socks,” because apparently he’s had to knit every second he could get it in. At the bus stop while he waits for our daughter’s bus. Weekend mornings before I get up. At work, he’s been meeting with a mentor on his lunch hour, sitting in her car and getting help. Knitting at holiday parties. Knitting while I’m out, furiously knitting, then throwing the socks aside to quickly finish up dishes or dinner before I get home.

More touching than all of this is sitting next to him on the couch after I put the socks on. My mind keeps going back to all the hours and effort spent and I blink back tears. Now that the secret is out, he is free to come out of the closet as a knitter. I watch pull out his current project, his second project – and I watch my husband knit. I always knew he would be skilled at knitting and he would enjoy it, but to see him doing it… it’s hard to explain how touching and incredible it is.

He made me cry. Damn it takes a lot to get this girl off-kilter but he did it.

I’m truly floored.

just a reminder this is a thing

Bitsie Boogie

MONSTER-ous booties available – be sure to check out the awesome papercraft Ralph and I designed to wrap them. Perfect for a newborn/0 – 3 month baby you know. But only a really, really fierce one.

Halloween approaches; after that, I’ll be making Christmas stuff. Suggestions are welcome – keeping in mind I prefer making items for babies and children.

A friend of Ralph’s suggested hobbit booties. What the hell are those? What does that mean? Like wee hobbit-feet looking things? I am intrigued. Because that is a pretty killer idea.

Currently: working on a Max costume. My best yet. I first overdyed cotton terry. I love simple dye projects:

Original Terry, White

Original…

Overdyed - Too Pink!

Oops! Too far (too pink)! – and then:

Corrected: Just Right

Just right. And super-soft.

Kind of, nothing is better than having custom sewing work. This was my first year listing Halloween offerings, and it’s been going well. [ she says, tentatively ]

slant rhyme

made some hats
need some scratch

Pom-Poms

buy this batch?

Also: if you are a local, I am looking for babies and kids as models, so I can photograph some of my creations. I have several items that are not being published in any way because I do not have children to model them. I am hoping especially for newborns in the zero to three months’ range; also kids up to three. AND of course any child model (and carer) gets a lovely Hoga-playdate plus a hand-sewn or hand-knit bit of loveliness from YOURS TRULY.

So. That’s it, for now.

see a dog, maybe a few birds flying high.

A couple things.

First, I TOTALLY MADE THIS, and even though the prudent and reserved thing to do would be to blog it on my son’s birthday – it’s a gift for his 9th on April 7th – I am feeling SO AWESOME about it and must post now! But to be clear, this is my daughter modeling – and no, my son has no idea I made this for him. Yet.

Luigi's Mansion Hat for Nels

Luigi's Mansion Hat for Nels

Luigi's Mansion Hat for Nels

***

In other news, my daughter enrolled in a college-level course in Biology; she is trying to pursue experience that will help her get a job at an aquarium. I will be very interested to see if she is willing to go through a bunch of slog to get accreditation, my guess is No. But she is tough, so who knows!

With her permission, I’ve published part of her work today, an essay (problem statement in bold):

Problem Background: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a history that dates back to the late 1950s. NASA was the United States’ response to the “space race” with the Soviet Union, in which the two countries were developing space technologies as a way to maintain their status as world powers and as a “military necessity” (citation). NASA’s early missions emphasized developing technology to get spacecraft, satellites, and eventually people into space. NASA’s work now affects many aspects of our lives that often go unnoticed. TV, GPS, and weather forecasts all rely on satellites and many of the things that we use at home were developed by NASA. Among them are cordless power tools and smoke detectors (citation).

Space exploration is now one of NASA’s major roles. Officials at NASA are seeking your help in preparing for their next mission: the search for life elsewhere in the universe. Your team of biologists has been recruited to advise NASA in the search for life away from earth. In particular, they would like to know 1) where they should search for life away from earth and 2) what they should be looking for once they have determined where to search?

In order to defend the expenses for this mission, NASA needs scientific justification for both where and what they searching. Additionally, it would be useful for your team to explain why the exploration for life is important. After all, Congress and the American tax payers are generally interested in the benefits or applications of scientific research. Without it, funding for research may go away.

To provide scientifically justified recommendations, you will probably want to address several questions.

1. What are the fundamental characteristics of “life”?
2. Under what conditions do we think life as we know it began?
3. What things are necessary for life?
4. Beyond conditions that may be appropriate for life, what evidence should we look for
to indicate past or present existence of life?
5. The search for life sometimes begins with a search for water. Why?
6. What is it about water that makes it uniquely important for life as we know it?
7. If life began under different conditions, how might the things that we search for differ?

Phoenix:

The search for life is important because of curiosity. A puppy would have never left his bed if he didn’t have curiosity. Curiosity is what makes the puppy find his food bowl or his mother. Curiosity is something that every animal has and what makes them special.

The search for new life on planets we haven’t even discovered would probably be like the “Space Race”. What new tools could we invent while on this quest to find life on other planets? What new tools will we make for people’s everyday life?

The fundamental characteristics of life are animate, breathing, at least more then 50% of the body is made up of water and cells. Must have cells.

Water is one of the main conditions the earth might have been in. The early earth probably must have been damp and moist. Other planets don’t have this feature, but also no oxygen.

Bones and preserved waste is one of the keys. To present day existence of life, look around, see a dog, maybe a few birds flying high. Also preserved trees, also called charcoal. These are he things NASA could look for.

Water is a key element to life. Without it in our body, we wouldn’t get the proper nutrition. Earth is made of 70% water. Cells are usually surrounded by water. WATER IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE.

 ***

I know, right?! It is straight-up better than your average TED talk. Mostly because it relies on puppies as a key point, in such an eloquent way I was about to cry, reading it.

She is fabulous.

From Russia With Love (1963)

“One of these days we must invent a faster-working venom.”

So first: today, I sent out a pair of Monstrer Booties, including a homemade card and gift wrap. Ralph and I plan on perfecting the monster boxes (three kinds of monster) and will post here for download. So much fun! Papercraft + knitting, w00t!

Second.

I was raised on the Bond movies. So live-tweeting a group viewing? Hey I like that, Johnny, I’m gonna use that!!! (0:49)

From Russia With Love (1963)Connery’s bond is modest with the towel length, less so with his shorts inseam.

Tomorrow night at 6 PM Pacific Standard Time, my friend @court_anonymous & I will be tweeting the second in the Bond film installments – last week we did #DrNo.  If you’d like to join in, Get your copy of From Russia With Love (1963)*, and queue it up. The moment the film fades from the lion-roaring MGM logo, pause it again. Precisely, at 6 PST according to this site, press play. You can join in under the hashtag #BondBFFs on Twitter (Ralph put together a streaming site page here at awesometi.me).

* (My advice? Buy a legal version, and download/torrent it to put the file on the computer through VLC or some such, so streaming internet doesn’t make viewing stutter.)