Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Skip (most of) This Post

I’m taking time out for another little whining whingeing rant. Please feel free to skip over this one. Especially since you’ve probably heard it all before. I won’t be hurt if you jump straight to the end – where things get more interesting.

I’ve had it with The Evil Psoriasis. <Stomp-stomp-stomp!> I’m really trying to spare you from the worst of it, but somehow it makes me feel better to complain. At least occasionally. It takes some of the pressure off poor T-Man, who unfortunately shares a life with The Not-So-Silent-Sufferer.

Anyhow, I do feel I have a perfect right to bitch these days. Anyone would complain about cracked and bleeding feet that feel like you’re walking on eggshells. Cramps my style for sure. Plus the irritating itchy-bumpies that have now crawled up as far as my panty line. I’m doing everything Dr Serious Dermatologist says to do and it gets a little better and then – whammo – it gets a whole lot worse. I’m running out of patience. And options. And faith in doctors and medications. And most of all, in myself to heal.

Of course, stress plays a large part in this auto-immune disease. And naturally I feel stressed and frustrated which isn’t helping at all. I need to calm down and relax. So I’ve been knitting but not on my not-so-Happy Legs Tights because who wants to wear anything nice over these itchy, greasy legs. I can’t even contemplate socks for someone else. It just makes me grumpy. Instead I finished the back and started the front of a new Johnny Boy sweater for Stargazer because he grew out of his old one.

And I did this:


My first Zentangle*, aka a glorified doodle. It’s not wonderful but not bad for a first effort, I think. I started off pretty well with the leafy shape in the middle but kind of ran out of steam on the left half. I don’t have the original Zentangle books (which keep selling out at my online bookstore) nor their expensive beginner kit and I don’t believe you need those really. I’ve been finding all sorts of examples all over the Internet to inspire me. Besides the original website, there’s this great tutorial at Joggles (where Barbara made me start down this crazy path!) and this page at Squidoo. The rest you can invent as you go along. It’s fun, relaxing and as addicting as a solitaire game.

Not nearly as hard as it looks either. You just draw a square (or any shape – Barbara likes hearts) and begin with a “string”, a curvy line to divide the shape up into smaller segments, and start filling each one in with a pattern. I, Damselfly-The-Rebel, didn’t even use any of the recommended items. I used a piece of <gasp!> creamy yellow bond paper (instead of nice white cotton rag paper) and a Faber-Castel Pitt pen size S (which is much thicker than the Sakura Micron Pigma pens) and any old HB pencil laying about and just went to it! I’m sure there’s more to come. I need practice to get the shading right and learn/figure out some new and better “tangles”.

Tomorrow is another day. I’ll be off to play itajime (clamped-resist dyeing) with my Spectrum Study Group buddies. Hopefully then we’ll be back to your regularly-scheduled Super-Positive-Damselfly.

ETA (just to satisfy their copyright requirements, though personally I think they're being overly protective. However, far be it for me to stop them from trying to benefit from their work if they can...):

* The Zentangle® art form and method was created by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas. Zentangle® is a registered trademark of Zentangle, Inc. Learn more at

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I’m still on a sewing kick but I haven’t done any actual sewing yet! Right now, Debbie Double and I are trying to make a proper basic sloper for me. Here’s the almost-completed front and back:


The pattern shapes look a little weird compared to a “normal” bodice, because even after using my measurements and following this tutorial on BurdaStyle by gedwoods (aka Geoffrey Edwards from Quebec), I still had to tweak quite a lot. However, his directions if you follow them carefully are really excellent and clear. Right away I got a sloper that was much closer to me than anything else I’ve tried so far. It takes some careful body measurements and some math (this free downloadable calculator specifically for dressmakers was a huge help), plus several rulers, large sheets of paper and my big worktable. You might not need a t-square, right-angle, 18” x 3”, 12” x 1”, centre-finding and dressmakers’ french curve but they all sure came in handy!

Because I’m a “lady of a certain age”, things have slipped around somewhat in this body as compared to a younger woman. I had to lower the bust point and do a FBA (full bust adjustment) to get enough room in front. It wasn’t a large amount to add but it sure helped to stop the front from pulling up. And it’ll be nice to have the bust darts end in the right place for once. (Even a good bra doesn’t solve the droop! I’ve always had a low bust.) A side effect of this adjustment plus my “fluffy” front waist meant that the dart there is very narrow, only 1/2” and a lot shorter than the back waist dart.

This sloper has a big dart from the bust point up to the shoulder at the neck. Real clothing rarely has anything like that, but this leaves the side-seams straight so the shapes are easier to deal with at this stage. Later, the dart can be moved somewhere else (most often at the side seam) or substituted by gathers, tucks or whatever. This pattern is not going to make anything that is at all wearable but to act as a raw basis for other designs. It doesn’t have much ease to move around in, just for starters.

Next I had to take a tuck in the back armscye to account for my rounded upper back (thanks to degenerative disk disease). The curve in the pattern from this tuck was redistributed into the shoulder and waste darts. Now the back side seams are on the straight grain instead of angled inward! Whatever it takes. It has to balance the front which has also been trued to have straight side seams.

And that tuck wasn’t all that the shoulders needed. I also had to move the back shoulder seam forward 1/2” at the arm edge and take an equivalent amount out of the front shoulder seam. This moves the seam forward to account for my hunched shoulders. In the same adjustment, I also moved the armhole down an equal amount so it doesn’t get tightened up. The shoulder seams also needed to be slanted down more to accommodate my sloping shoulders. Now armholes and sleeve caps will finally end in the right place instead of drooping. Yay! Deb and I are definitely getting somewhere here.

I haven’t tested this sloper in muslin yet because I’m waiting until I do the skirt and the sleeve to go with it. These are also available as tutorials on BurdaStyle thanks to the very helpful gedwoods! He has the best and rarest combination of skills, being both a scientist and an artist. If I can follow his steps, almost anybody could.

I nearly forgot to mention that I got this book the other day in the post:


Patternmaking Made Easy by Connie Amaden-Crawford, second edition 2007, self-published. It was very pricey but it’s basically a college-level textbook on pattern drafting. I’ve only started reading but I’ve already found out that there are many types of slopers for different purposes, though nearly all of them begin with the basic one. There’s not really much about fitting to a particular body shape, but the focus is on how to use slopers to create fashion designs. There are even basic 1/4-size patterns that you can copy and use to play around with. If I can absorb this stuff, I may never need to actually buy a pattern again. Heh.

Now I’m waiting on the reprint of another of Connie’s books on sewing, including how to assemble a garment without written instructions and diagrams. My favourite Burda magazine’s patterns have sketchy instructions at best and if I design my own it might be good to consider how best to put the pieces together, right? I’m hoping this will be the comprehensive book I’ve been hunting for for quite awhile.

Well, back to the drawing board. Literally!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Beyond The Rainbow Bridge


No, not that mythical pet heaven. The real Rainbow Bridge in Manning Park, BC. That’s where I’ve been – at the Annual Fambly Campout.  We had a record 23 people (not including the two pregnant bellies!) representing Four Generations. (Plus a couple of teenaged friends, because apparently teens must travel in packs.) It was fun, if completely exhausting! Nana didn’t actually camp but had a comfy room at the lodge and one segment of 5 rented a cabin, but the rest of us intrepid folk took up a double and two single campsites. We had two VW Westphalia camper vans and a plethora of tents, including one luxurious 3-room palace. It was quite the production! Made even more challenging by the fact that the washrooms were being upgraded and were closed leaving us with limited pit toilets and no showers. There were occasional line-ups and the ladies’ ran out of toilet paper several times. Good thing the little ones had their small potty and we had our own trusty “honey” bucket for night-time use.

We heard the cry of the loon and hobnobbed with the wildlife, including Mrs. Barrow’s Goldeneye with her six little fluff-balls:


We also fed the whiskey jacks (Canada or gray jays) and tried not to feed the Clark’s nutcrackers (sharp beaks and claws!), ground squirrels, chipmunks and Douglas squirrels. We saw a lot of mule deer including this young buck just getting his first set of horns:


Several folk went fishing and Princess Pink caught her first trout. Her grandpa cast out for her but she caught it and reeled it in all by herself! Only one other fish allowed itself to be caught in several days of fishing, so it was pretty exciting that she got The Whopper. Here’s the proud father and daughter fishers with their hard-won catch:


And yes, she did actually eat some of hers and even I got to have a bite too. Yum.

We had the obligatory evening campfires and of course the snowball fights and snow baseball on the Strawberry Flats trail:


That’s the grandbeasties with my sis-in-law pitching and baby brother-in-law hitting a home run. (Easy to do when the ball disintegrates on contact!) There’s so much snow in winter and it’s so high up that it melts slowly and there’s guaranteed to be some still on this trail (and others) in June.

Manning is such a lovely place.


We were really lucky that the weather held out warm and mostly sunny the whole time we were there. You have to be prepared because you can experience anything in the mountains and sometimes all in the same day! It proved it yesterday when we went to Lightning Lake to have our final picnic. It started out lovely and sunny while we packed up camp but then all we had time for was lunch before it started to rain. This squelched plans for kite flying and bubble blowing especially when Princess Pink tripped into one of the gazillion ground squirrel burrows and skinned her knees so we were all quite ready to head on home a bit early.

But I’m sure we’ll be ready to come back again next year. Beyond the Rainbow Bridge:

Manning view


Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer!

At least it’s supposed to be summer. Couldn’t tell by the weather though. Cloudy and cool. I should be in the garden while the getting is good. Later today perhaps. If it doesn’t rain.

The big news is T-Man got himself a new ride! Meet Roscoe:


T has wanted to cycle to work at least one or two days a week for a long time but it’s just a little too far for someone swiftly nearing a decade that begins with a 6. He thought about putting his bike on the bus to work and then riding home, but the bus doesn’t run early enough to get him to work on time. There’s no point doing it the opposite way, even assuming there would be a bike spot available on the way home since local buses only have a rack that carries 2 bikes at a time.

So he started doing some serious research on electric bicycles and looking around at the shops and discussing with acquaintances and this was the result: a regular 24-speed bike with a BionX electric assist. It’s so cool! You still get to pedal and get exercise because it is a regular bike but then when you need extra oomph, you’ve got all you need to get up that hill or to help you along when you get tired. The best of both human and electric power. It’s very intuitive. And made in Canada too. He found what he wanted already mounted on this bicycle, a Haro Roscoe. See Roscoe’s sparkly acid green paint job?


Isn’t he purty? Ah, but then I bet you’re thinking that I would be so totally envious unless I got one too. Naturally, I couldn’t let T-Man have all the fun, even if I don’t have a commute to work for an excuse! The shop (more on them later!) had another rack-mounted BionX already on this beauty:


A Norco Rideau Ladies in a matte red-brown with lace doilies! Seriously, see?

RideauLace2 RideauLace1

Isn’t she lovely? It didn’t take any convincing to get T to agree on getting her for me. I just looked at him and batted my eyelashes! Ah, but here’s where the story gets crazy.

If you tried hard enough I’m sure you could figure out the store where we bought these, but I’m not going to mention their name because it was not what I would consider a great sales experience. From the time we got there until we could ride home it took over THREE incredibly long and boring hours of mostly hanging around waiting! (No, I didn’t even have my knitting. Doh.) Of course we spent a half-hour or so test-riding and deciding we wanted to purchase these two rather pricey bikes but to actually get the things checked over, detailed and paid for took f o r e v e r. I admit the unexpected power failure wasn’t their fault. The building lost power 3 times over about half an hour or so and they could neither ring up a sale (computer was out) or work on the bikes (lights and other equipment not functioning) but that was only a portion of the delay. The rest of the time (2 stinkin’ hours) we were just kept cooling our heels while the owner did the detailing (sort of) before we could even complete the sale and pay for them. Neither the boss nor the 2 staff were particularly efficient, though friendly enough. And they did apologise several times for the ever-extending wait and even gave us a candy bar each to tide us over since we had passed dinnertime and it was 7pm by the time we left the store. But puh-leese! Less patient or less determined customers might have walked long before. But we had found Our Bikes and knew there was no other choice but to stick it out. But man, were we tired when we got home!

Naturally later we realised that we didn’t get any owner’s manuals (luckily they’re available online), the tires weren’t inflated properly, the switch that was supposed to have been fixed on mine wasn’t quite (though T fixed it himself, we hope), and my tail light isn’t working though it did earlier in the shop. Yes, the bikes and BionX’s have good warranties on them so we’ll take them back if things don’t resolve themselves. Wonder why we aren’t in a big hurry to go back right away though?

We gave our new bikes a good workout on Saturday, riding to our usual magazine/book shops and down to Granville Island for lunch and to purchase some goodies for dinner. T and I were both pretty pleased with Roscoe and Rideau’s performance and they got us back home up some pretty steep hills with ease.

Then yesterday, we walked to Car-Free Day on Main St and had a great time watching all the people having fun. There was spinning, weaving, knitting and felting in front of Birkeland Bros and more knitting in front of Three Bags Full. There were unicycles, a Mondo Spider robot, street hockey, ladies roller derby, sales booths offering a myriad of goods and food, musicians, dancers and boom boxes, bubbles and a car with a tree and plants where it’s motor used to be. The best thing we saw though was a traffic cop who was blowing bubbles when he wasn’t blowing his whistle! Good times. There’s something really pleasant about walking down the middle of the street that’s usually filled with lethal traffic.

I bought a few more Indian scarves for warm weather wear but nothing else so we continued down to Broadway to the sports and cycle shops. We were both looking for new helmets to go with our new bikes. It took about 4 different shops before we went back to the first one again. T got a green helmet a little lighter in shade than Roscoe and I got a black ladies’ one. The construction has changed quite a bit and this helmet is much more comfortable than my old one - which probably should have been replaced a decade ago at least. I just haven’t ridden enough to get around to it before now. So now we’re all decked out and I guess we had both better start pedalling to justify the expense, huh? T will try it tomorrow for the first time. He has to get a key for the bike lockup at work. I’m wishing him well!

Free to a good home: one man’s and one woman’s used touring bikes. Somewhat-aged and slightly rusty but still functional (kind of like their current owners).

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Online Sewing Crazies…er, Enthusiasts

Just because I like to see what others are doing, I’ve been checking out a couple of sewing blogs. I haven’t looked at them before because in the past I’ve been focusing on knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving and surface design/art quilting. For some reason I thought that might be enough to occupy me! The hard part is how to limit the choices out there. Here’s a couple though, in no particular order: Liana doesn’t post too often. She’s currently sewing lingerie, which is something I might conceivably get into. Not so frou-frou though. Kathryn documents her projects really well. I hope to learn to emulate that. She’s got a little more of that personal style I admire (but can’t always wear). Gigi shows a lot of construction detail photos.

And of course the hilarious  Elaine recently posted this obscure link to the sadly-defunct BurdaFashion archives! Make use of it quick before these links too go bye-bye.

There’s lots more of this type of blog of course. Too bad I don’t have time to check them all out! For listening while you work, there’s a podcast Sew Forth Now which is pretty informative with lots of interesting interviews. I unfortunately have a problem with Lori’s voice and the general sound quality. Might just be my hearing problems, but I find it seriously irritating and have to be in the right mood to listen. That said, there’s an excellent interview with Connie Crawford on this episode.

Connie has a couple of excellent sewing textbooks out and designs patterns for Butterick which are especially drafted for the older and/or fluffier body. (You unfortunately can’t really tell from the pattern envelope how good these basic patterns are! Bad Butterick.) According to her sizing I’m only a Medium in the bust but the waist and hip still send me into XL territory. Naturally I covet her books, The Guide to Fashion Sewing and Patternmaking Made Easy. They are pricey but I’m betting they are worth it. Not so much interested in her 3rd book on draping, though I’m sure it’s excellent also. I can get the first book through Amazon Canada (a new 5th printing is due shortly and I have it on pre-order) but not the second one which I have just ordered through her directly. A total of US$200+ is a lot but you’d probably justify spending that much on a 3-day workshop, wouldn’t you? This is a whole college course and luckily for me, I learn well from books especially ones with so many illustrations.

A Little Obsessive

Yeah, I admit it. Maybe I’m just making up for a lack of interest over the last couple of years. Maybe I’m inspired by my pal, Debbie Double. Or perhaps it’s just the current decrepit state of my wardrobe. But I’m fixated. Follow along, bear with me or come back later when my compass has spun in another direction. Right now the subject is the sewing of garments and I make no apologies for my obsession du jour.

In fact I’m enjoying this more than I would have thought! I’ve been going through my pattern collection, including the Burda World of Fashion/Style magazines and the stash of Big 4 (aka McCall’s, Butterick, Vogue and Simplicity) envelopes. These go back a really long way because I rarely throw out anything that I even remotely think might come in useful one day. Hippy long dresses? Check. 1980’s big shoulders? Check. Issey Miyake, Folkwear and Sewing Workshop? Check, check and check. Various sizes, some well-used and some totally pristine. Sewing patterns – I gots ’em. Some of them even have actual wearable garment potential.

Then I started scanning some of the likely pattern envelopes, garment images and line-drawings and printing them out with lots of room to make notes. I’m trying to figure out what I want to make and what I need to make it: suitable fabric types, how much of it and what other notions like buttons or zips are necessary. When I get a better plan of action then I’m going to do some serious stash-diving. No point in going shopping if I have the perfect stuff lurking around already, hey? Although I do plan to shop eventually. Why deny myself the pleasure? There are so many lovely new fabrics waiting patiently for a new home. Yes, I do realise a fabric doesn’t have to be old enough to vote to be suitable.

There are certainly a lot of great clothing ideas out there when you go looking for them – too many actually. A member of my fibre arts guild mentioned one great inspirational German website: studio rundholz. (Click on “s/s 10” for the current collection or scroll down to click on the past collections.) Might not be your cup of tea but I love them a bunch! These clothes are kind of neutral or dark-toned, with a raw-edged asymmetry but quite wearable - at least most of them are. I’m betting the fabrics and details are wonderful and would give a pint of blood to see them up close! How does one sew both couture and wonky at the same time? I have a hard time leaving a raw seam even on the inside, far less go off on such wild tangents! Maybe that opposition is why I like the style so much. Besides, they’re wearing my kind of footwear. We can skip the hairstyles though.

StudioRundholz idea12 How about this one for starters? A simple shell – but sliced into many princess lines and stitched back together with lots of topstitching. And the skirt is wide but with a drawstring bottom, not pulled too tight. Very functional. I like the mid-calf length a lot – long enough so you don’t have to worry about bending over or errant breezes showing off your knickers and not so long that you trip over it. I tend to wear leggings or pants under anything that comes above the knees.

StudioRundholz idea11Here’s another one that I like a lot. This one is somewhat more funky but it illustrates what I like most about studio rundholz. Do you suppose they drape on a manikin and then create a pattern from that? I can’t imagine how you would do it from a flat pattern method and draping is more commonly used by professional designers. I love the stand-away collar and the tipped pockets. I so want to see what’s happening on the back!

Of course there’s a trick to carrying off this kind of look without it coming off like a costume. Some people have this ability innately. Me, not so much. Not that I care what anybody thinks! Unfortunately there’s a big difference between what I would really like to wear and what is practical for me. My sewing this summer will hopefully bridge this gap – at least a little. Hope you’ll stay tuned.

Meanwhile, this is what my desk currently looks like:


Yup. Obsessed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Not Bad, But Still Not Perfect

I’m being extremely lazy today. Just sitting around reading and drinking tea. I think I’m feeling a little bit sorry for myself though I really shouldn’t be. Last night didn’t go as badly as I might have expected – even if I did start to laugh hysterically as I plastered the icky tar on my skin. It actually smells a little less pungent than the lighter-grade stuff: more Old Tire and less Ferry Wharf. I was too hot at one point and hyper-aware all night of the gloves and socks rubbing on the sheets (black ones, just to be on the safe non-staining side). But it wasn’t as horrid as I’d been led to believe. Perhaps because I already have a year’s experience in plastering myself day and night with many forms of medicated petrolatum. And living with greasy clothing. Not something one really wants to get used to, but sometimes there’s not much option. We’ll see how it goes.

Enough of my whining and whingeing. I need to get off my arse and go do something useful. It always makes me feel better to do some physical work. Yesterday, I managed to putter in the garden in a couple of long bouts and got two more paths cleared of weeds. Unfortunately most of the weeds are really pretty blooming white alyssum which it seems kind of mean to pull up. But they are getting ever larger and covering the pathway so I can’t find the stones to step on them. They also tend to choke out the things I do want to grow in the paths: Irish and Scotch moss, star creepers, and several varieties of creeping thymes. In my defence, I’ve replanted some of the alyssum in the flower beds but of course it’s not nearly growing as lushly where I want it. Only where I don’t. There’s also a low spreading weed that has purple flower stalks later on in the summer. I’ve no idea what it is, but I think it spread from the birdfeeder originally. I’m not sure about this latter plant – it’s quite aggressive and needs to be kept out of the veggie beds with brute force, aka pruning shears. The stems are quite stiff and hard to break off with the fingers without pulling up the entire plant. I may need to eliminate it or at least cut it back severely in favour of something that behaves itself nicer.

Once I clear the pathways to my satisfaction, I have some more creeping thymes to plant. Plus divide and move some of the star creeper off of the veggie bed edges. This plant makes a really pretty ground cover. It’s a perennial in the lobelia family, has a bunch of Latin synonyms, originates in Australia and is quite hardy and not particular about situation. I have both white and blue but I think I like the blue best. I’d also love to find some of the really dark blue ones. Unfortunately today it’s off-and-on raining, which usually means that it’s just fine but it starts to rain the second I go out the door. Things are still too wet from the thunder-and-lightning-and-heavens-opening rainstorm we had last evening anyhow. I’m staying inside.

So that leaves me right back where I am – lazing around. Perhaps I should go and play with my sewing. (Better than vacuuming!) Which reminds me. Remember when I was bemoaning the fact that we don’t have a Ravelry equivalent for sewing? I’ve discovered an embryonic one called MySewingCircle begun, like Ravelry, by a couple who thought something like this should exist and decided to go for it. So far there are just over 2500 members. There needs to be many more! So I joined (as damselfly of course) and put up a profile and one project, just because if they build it and we don’t come then it won’t grow into what we ultimately want. Circular logic, huh? Works for me. We’ll see how it goes, won’t we?

Yes, I know there are PatternReview and BurdaStyle but neither of them work for me the way I would prefer. I’ve been a free member of PatternReview for 5 years now, but I refuse to pay for the full membership. It’s US$29.95 per year which is ridiculously expensive for a fairly clunky (and ugly) interface! I wouldn’t get my money’s worth out of it at all. I’d really be interested in the statistics of how many of the 222,000+ members are paid members. (Only around 200 are usually online at any time.) Anyway I don’t want to spend a lot of time cataloguing my patterns or chatting with others. I do want a way to document my projects and to check what others have done with a particular pattern. I’d like to see what they else are making and how they’ve solved any particular problems. I want to create a queue. I guess I’ve just gotten used to the vastness and usability of Ravelry and nothing else matches it. Yet. There aren’t as many folks who sew as knit and crochet.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Stinky Boy Broke My Washer!

We finally had a taste of summer for the last couple of days. Or at least late spring since it isn’t really hot enough to be summer. It’s sunny though so I’m not about to argue! I like it somewhat cooler anyhow and this is what I consider just perfect at 16C with a breeze.

I decided yesterday afternoon that I should start washing up the leftover raw fleeces from the Anne Field spinning workshop. I had already done the little 100g sample bag of Bluefaced Leicester and it came out spectacularly white and silky. Can’t wait to spin it up! So I figured that Stinky Boy, the Romney X Rambouillet should be next because it was still smelling up my study right through a plastic bag and a cardboard box. It has a considerable amount of VM (spinner-talk for “vegetable matter”, aka grass, seeds, hay etc.) and rather dirty tips. I gave the better parts of this fleece to the class so I’m left with the not-so-great half. I filled up my washing machine partway with hot water and added a kettle of boiling water for good measure. My new bottle of Unicorn Power Scour got an excellent workout for the first wash and it worked well to loosen the yuck and freshen the smell. The second wash I used good old tried-and-true Orvus paste which doesn’t have much of a scent on its own but is great on wool. I use it to wash my handknit socks! Then I did 2 more plain rinses, adding more boiling water to the hot tap water because our hot water isn’t actually very hot. On purpose. Unfortunately as I tried to set it to spin the last rinse out, the washer’s control dial broke!

Now this is not a new washer. I can’t remember when we got it but it’s probably 20 if it’s a day. It’s a top-loader with a huge capacity and also works well to full woven, knitted and crocheted items. Of course I yelled for T-Man who is great at fixing things. If he can’t fix it right away at least he can figure out what’s wrong and hopefully find a replacement part. It turned out a plastic piece had snapped off when I smacked the dial too hard to shut it off. I guess I have to admit it was me and not Stinky Boy who broke it. Currently the control panel’s innards are sporting a huge wad of epoxy putty, a favourite repair product that resides alongside the WD40, duct tape, coat hangers and crazy glue. It needs to set for awhile so I’m off the hook for washing fleeces – or anything else for that matter, at least in the washing machine. I am happy the dryer still works though. Not that I need it to dry this fleece. I’m making good use of the sweater dryer here on the deck:


And after all that it’s still not all that clean. Pounds of fleece still to go too. Sigh. Hope the fix works!

Today bright and early I had to go see Dr. Serious Dermatologist. As I’ve whined about before, I would have made an appointment if I hadn’t already had one because things look pretty bad. (Please avert your eyes if you’re squeamish):


And that’s an improvement over 2 weeks ago too. He thought I might have had a viral infection that triggered the worsening of my psoriasis but I’ve been feeling fine and healthy. It might have been some stress while T-Man was away that week. Who knows? Anyway, now I have to use this lovely stuff every night:

TarCrude tar. Smells even worse than the lighter, more refined tar I’ve been using and is even more staining. Hence the gloves and socks to wear over top. I cut the fingers down on the gloves:


Just to mitigate some of the digital claustrophobia. Do you know how weird it feels to sleep with gloves on? Now that the weather is warming up it’s going to be “interesting” wearing so much extra stuff to bed. Hot, yes! Sexy, not so much.

To distract myself from feeling depressed, I went out and weeded the garden for a couple of hours. Then I got these in the mail:


More patterns to play with. Including a couple of tops, a jacket/coat, aprons and a set that has a top/dress, pants and vest. Yes, I have lots to go on with now. Though if I see another sale on Vogue patterns, I might be tempted to go nuts with Marcy Tilton’s pants patterns. They are cute and different. Though I really need to make a basic well-fitting pants pattern for myself and add all the details later.

Gotta go toast the feet and legs while there’s still some sun to toast in. It’s clouding over again. Dr. Serious-D made me promise to toast as often as I can (without burning of course) though he calls it “sunlight therapy”.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Done Deal

Finally actually finished something! Feels good and now I can allow myself to start something new. One can definitely have too many UFOs so I’m trying to keep it down to a better minimum. Can’t say I’ve totally succeeded judging by the heaps strewn around but I am trying.

Multi-Multnomah Shawl


For: Me (Can one have too many shawls? I think not.)

Begun: May 27, 2010

Completed: June 11, 2010

Yarn: My handspun crossbred wool (from Birkeland Bros), dyed in “backyard dyes” (rhubarb root & leaf, blackberry shoots & leaves, and madder root, plus iron, copper and ammonia modifiers), 2-ply, approximately sock yarn weight, 150 g = 625 yds.

Needles: Addi Lace circulars, 3.25mm.

Pattern: Multnomah Shawl by Kate Flagg, Ravelry link.

Modifications: I did the garter section to 265 sts and then 17 repeats of Feather and Fan. Garter and lace sections are nearly equal in depth. Would have expanded the F&F again on the next repeat but not enough yarn to do so. Looks ok anyhow.

Comments: I spun this yarn for a different project but there’s nearly twice as much as I needed. Back to the spinning wheel! Meanwhile this looked like a great use for the first attempt’s yarn. It’s very attractive with stripes and multi-colours.

The finished shawl is about 22” to the point and 54” across the wingspan. Only had about 9 yards left after the bind-off! A tiny ball. I consider that as close as possible to completely using up the yarn. Blocked the curves into points because it was much faster to do with the blocking wires.

This is a dense, warm shawl rather than a lacy little number. Perhaps if I was to do it again, I would make the garter section smaller and the F&F section longer, just for visual balance.

Notice how well Debbie Double is modelling the shawl for me! I just knew she would become indispensible.

Now what to knit? I’ve been plugging away again on the woolly tights. Because I won’t need them until it gets cold enough again, they aren’t that compelling. But they’re the only current project on the needles so they win my attention. I hope to have enough discipline to make myself finish them before casting on for anything else for me. Other people’s projects are fair game though. Maybe some Granddaughter Socks since she’s grown so much lately she’s out of granny-knit socks? I have lots of sock yarn.

And then there’s sewing, which has definitely captured my attention recently - as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I got these patterns so far:


And there’s another shipment on the way. If you only looked at the envelopes you wouldn’t see the real possibilities. The vest by Sandra Betzina (Today’s Fit) looks a bit too dramatic but a version shown in Threads magazine’s Pattern Review section looks much better. It has the collar folded down and the shorts with released instead of pressed pleats. They look more like a skirt that way, though I don’t do non-elastic waistbands as a rule. In my defence, though I rejected it at first I kept going back to this pattern, both in the Vogue sewing magazine and online. I don’t think it was just the orange colour that attracted me! I would like to try one of Sandra’s patterns anyhow to see how they work out. Consider this a learning experience.

Similarly the coats in the centre look quite different in reality: wider and shorter than the sketches show. They are lined and would work well with heavier or stiffer fabrics. Maybe even a handwoven one. Hmmm… weaving… I think the view with 3/4 sleeves would be great over a turtleneck come fall.

The tops and the dress are for stretch knits, though the dress doesn’t need much stretch to fit properly. I can see it as a tunic with something funky in place of the button plackets on the collar. I know I have some aging cotton jersey in the stash so might try the sleeveless top with it. The crossover is one I can actually wear because it ends at the bust instead of lower down. Crossovers that end up further down fold and gape all wrong on me. Plus with a light-enough fabric it won’t add too much bulk where I really don’t want it.

Meanwhile however, these are on hold while I play tracing and re-drafting and fitting games with other patterns. I’m finished the fitting but holding on sewing the Celestina dress until I find the right fabric, but I think it will work now. Maybe. And I’ve been messing instead with BurdaStyle’s Liz blouse which with the high neck and cap sleeves is a good shape on me. The shoulder princess lines are easy to fit and also perfect to adapt to something like that Anthropologie top I mentioned awhile back. Fabric stash diving will soon ensue.

Yeah, I know. All pattern-making; no sewing. I’m learning a lot though: how to blend through several pattern sizes from bust to hip, how to pin-fit properly, how to use Debbie Double to help, and how to determine what actually looks ok on my body type. This is a big change for me. Usually I just wear something baggy and/or stretchy because I can’t buy anything that fits exactly the way I want: gently fitted to show some curves but skimming over the lumpy bits.

In my digging around, I also located a bunch of old UFO sewing projects and am currently evaluating whether they are salvageable or not. Some of them are so ancient, it’s hilarious! I think I need to get a grip on reality here. What will I actually finish and wear? What will be chopped up and reassembled? And what will hit the garbage? Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I’m Touched

Darling Yarnpiggy of Flying Pig Knits has nominated me for a Beautiful Blogger Award!


Thank you, hon’! It’s a big honour! And a lot of work. Heh.

I now have to list 10 little-known things about me and nominate 10 blogs in turn. So are there 10 things you don’t know about me? I have no idea if you’ve heard any of this before, but I’ll do my best.

1. I’m not afraid of snakes, spiders or bats. I think they are cute and actually have a friendly cupboard spider that lives in my kitchen window. When I was a girl I once rowed out in a small boat onto a lake after dark just so I could feel the bats flit around my head. I also caught garter snakes just so I could feel them slither around my wrist.

2. I am afraid of being underground (caves, tunnels, subways, underground parking) but not so much that I can’t go there. I just feel the weight over my head and am uncomfortable until I’m out. Except once I couldn’t go with my family into the Horne Lake Caves on Vancouver Island because they were just too tight! Brrr…

3. I was born with a large mole on my left butt-cheek. My adopted mom used to say it’s how she could tell me apart in a crowd. And I would reply, “A crowd of nude sunbathers!” Yes, it’s still there.

4. My adopted mom only knitted and my birth mom only crocheted (though her mom could do both). I can do both. So can my daughter. So far my granddaughter has knitted a little bit – but then she’s only five. What will impending grandbaby Alien do? And why are the males in the family not at all interested?

5. Speaking of birth mom, I still have a little portion of her ashes on my dresser. Where to finally put them? I haven’t decided yet. There’s also a portion in Mexico, Haida Gwaii, Kamloops and somewhere off Crescent Beach in White Rock. She gets around, eh?

Jeepers! Only halfway there so far. What else about me? Must dig deeper.

6. I have no religion whatsoever. Although I was baptised a Catholic when I was 2 weeks old, I rejected the whole sorry mess when I was 13. Took me until I was 17 to tell my parents though. (Caused a huge kerfuffle in the family.) I try to respect those who do believe, but sometimes it’s hard. The Golden Rule should be all you need to live by.

7. Religion aside, I never knew it growing up but I was adopted into a dysfunctional family. Both of my younger adopted siblings have undiagnosed mental problems which our parents had no tools or help to manage. And to complicate matters, we had my mom’s sister living with us and she too had some issues. However, I knew I was loved and was smart enough to avoid most of the drama and came out of it just fine. I never realised until much later how crazy it really was.

8. I don’t like to be ordered around or told what to do. I hate having someone looking over my shoulder or watching me work – unless I’m purposely demonstrating. I’m happier if I know exactly what is expected and when it’s due and left to accomplish the task without supervision. Probably why I don’t have a Real Job, huh?

9. I’ve always thought of myself as a Plain Jane. T-Man thinks I’m beautiful though so maybe my perception is wrong? I think beauty is in the eye of the beholder anyhow and should be much more than skin deep. Personal style is more important (and fun!) than geometric perfection. At least I’m not worried about aging. As long as I have my general health, a few sags, bags, wrinkles and gray hairs are no big deal.

10. Speaking of age, I know I’m getting older because I don’t recognise a lot of the pop-culture references any more. And I don’t care. The reason could be that I don’t watch so-called “reality” TV, listen to popular music or read the bestseller books. I don’t live in the past either, but I choose my own path through the overwhelming media assault. It seems to be a path that is less-traveled – but I’m happy there. I surely could tell you the names of some recent popular knitting patterns!

Whew! That was hard! Now the even-harder part, websites to nominate. Along with hers, Piggy has already nominated 3 of my would-be choices. Maybe I’ll go with some that aren’t personal acquaintances but whose blogs I enjoy:

1. Ev of Strings ‘n Things. She also has a great podcast! Give it a listen.

2. Marilyn of Waterbourne – A Live-Aboard Blog. The skipper of Victoria’s FibreFest and documenter of ships and boats of all types.

3. Leslie of Devon Fine Fibres. I’ve mentioned her before but she so impresses me.

4. Connie of Constance Rose Progressive Textiles. Gorgeous fibre art.

5. Trapunto of The Straight of the Goods. Weaving and life.

6. Cynthia of Living and Dyeing Under the Big Sky. More gorgeous fibre arts.

7. Trena of The Slapdash Sewist. Cute garment sewing.

8. Leena of Riihivilla, Dyeing with Natural Dyes. (Scroll down each post for the English version.) Amazing dye colours from Finland.

9. Jane’s Existential Neighbourhood. Surface design and creativity in general. Looking forward to her new book!

10. And Sheepish Annie, just for making me laugh. Although I believe in being ready for the Zombie Apocalypse too. Are you?

It was hard to pick from the gajillion blogs I try to keep up with. And I didn’t want them to be the hugely popular ones but some a little more off the beaten track or ones you just might not have considered. Most of these folks are busy and likely won’t be interested in playing along so I won’t bother most of them to let them know they’ve been nominated. You can if you like. Or just leave them a comment if you enjoy their blog. After all that’s what this meme is all about, right?

Meanwhile, I’ve completed Debbie Double:


Look! She’s gray and wrinkly just like me! I don’t have those red lines though. Heh. We are already getting to be very good friends. I’ve used Deb to re-cut the Celestine dress pattern to hopefully fit me. It certainly wouldn’t have fit at all if I just went with my bust size. I went up a whole 4 sizes from the bust to the waist and hip, from a 42 to a 48 - which had to be extrapolated since the pattern sizing only goes up to 46. Yikes! Obviously women are expected to be more hourglass-shaped than pear-shaped, huh?

It might be a bit big now (since Deb is slightly larger than me) but at least I have some extra fabric to take in. Better than being caught short, right? I also brought the bust point down (gravity works!) and narrowed the front inset in order to accommodate it. Then I used the Sewing Muse website to track down some helpful fitting articles in my Threads magazines. Shoulders and sleeve cap needed some work to narrow them. This is a great site for a searchable up-to-date index for every issue of Threads right back to the beginning. Very handy. Yes, of course I have every issue from 1985 to the present. Why do you ask? It used to have knitting and weaving and all sorts of other crafts too besides just sewing.

So now that the pattern is ready to go, I don’t have any fabric that I want to use. I won’t be cutting up any of the good stuff because I want to make it out of something relatively inexpensive, just in case I’ve created a “wadder”. I’m aiming for a (hopefully) wearable muslin. I also need a matching zipper, preferably invisible. I haven’t sewn in one of those in donkey’s years! Don’t even have a proper foot for them anymore. Here’s a great tutorial on this type of zipper installation.

My first sewing pattern order finally showed up just now. Another is still to come. More later. Yes, I’m definitely on a sewing kick. Knitting? Nearly finished the Multi-Multnomah. Only 7 (or maybe 3) rows to go then the bind-off. It all depends on how much yarn I have left. Hope I don’t have to rip back if I miscalculate.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Yay, Sun!

It turned out to be a much nicer day yesterday than the weatherman predicted. I even got a little weeding done before the grandbeasties (and their parents, of course) showed up. We had a lovely visit! First we went to the little local park then came back and sat on the deck with drinks while Princess Pink painted pictures and Stargazer played with PlayDoh and the toy trucks. We even had to put up the sun umbrella! (On orders from the princess.) Later on we ordered in pizzas for dinner. It was nice to get caught up on everyone’s lives since we hadn’t seen them for awhile. And now I have a happy sunshine painting to put on my fridge.

Which likely helped encourage the sun to come out today. Though it’s not supposed to stick around and tomorrow they’re predicting rain again. Pooh. I should get out there and finish planting a few things that are still holding in pots while I can. Most of what I’ve planted has not remained very healthy from the cool temps and too much rain has just encouraged the baby slugs and other bugs to take advantage of the plants’ weakened state. Sigh. What can you do? You have no control over the weather. I just plants ’em and hopes. I did manage to pick an entire gallon bucket of produce yesterday: lettuce, mizuna, tah tsai, raab, broccoli (first head!), asparagus, endive, and kale. I normally just pick some outer leaves and leave the rest of the plant to continue producing. I find I get more production than pulling the entire plant – at least until it bolts. Then some of the undeveloped flower buds of plants like mizuna and tah tsai are also tasty so I keep picking them too. Lots o’greens are yummy and good for you!

I was going to show a photo of Debbie Double finished but my computer has refused to read the SD card without a reboot, so I’ll save it for next time. I used fabric glue to attach the cord lines on her cover and it worked pretty well. Now. Out to play City Farmer! Make hay while the sun shines – or something like that.

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Bad, The Ugly & The Good

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, hasn’t it? I’ve been busy and when I’ve had the time available I haven’t been feeling like typing. The weather has been extremely changeable and cool and my garden is getting decimated by baby slugs. My poor beans have been reduced to leafless sticks! It’s very depressing. Kind of makes me lose my momentum, you know?

As I mentioned, T-Man was gone all last week on a training trip to beautiful (not!) Rochester, NY and I got a taste of the single life. On the first day the kitchen sink completely stopped up and I spent a good hour trying to get it unclogged. Fortunately, I was finally successful which made me very proud of myself. I didn’t want to have to call on my kids to come rescue me! Besides, I’m probably better at this type of thing than they are anyhow. I’ve watched T fix lots of things in our nearly 39 years of marriage and hope I’ve picked up a few hints. I do tend to lack real physical strength when that becomes necessary, but often the right tool helps. If I can find it in T’s workshop! Heh. Anyhow, I only needed a plunger and some lye, which is my Unclogger of Last Resort but it worked quickly when all my other efforts failed. Luckily I had some in my dye studio’s rather comprehensive chemistry set (sometimes used for vat dyes).

On Thursday I went out for lunch with T’s mom and we had a grand time! Nana met me at the Canada Line’s King Edward Skytrain station and we took it down to Waterfront Station where we caught the Seabus across Burrard Inlet:


That one is going back the other way. And the happy travellers:

Me and Nana

Wacky self-portrait! It’s hard to take photos of yourself with one hand held out.

We had lunch in Lonsdale Quay at the Cheshire Cheese with a view of a pair of bald eagles being chased away by the crows. We took a walk around the market for a look at all the goodies for sale (I bought some Rooibos Surprise tea for both of us at the Blue Teapot and Nana got some bread at Cobs). After I tried on a pair of cheap capri pants which of course didn’t fit me, we strolled along the seawall and a small section of the Trans Canada Trail that has been newly built on the native reserve land. Here’s Nana checking out the trail section’s dedication kiosk:


I love the Salish man and woman with their cedar hats holding up the roof. The carving style is a mix of traditional and modern. All in all it was a lovely day and one that we shouldn’t have waited so long to enjoy.

So T-Man happily returned safely on Friday evening and all he wanted was a salad from our garden greens. Apparently the food available on his trip was pretty awful and/or the portions were ridiculously huge. He gained 4 pounds in 5 days! I was as happy to have him back as he was to be home. We have rarely been apart over the years. It’s stressful for both of us.

But then I took off on him on Saturday and went back to the Seymour Art Gallery in Deep Cove to demonstrate spinning while our guild show was still up. There were quite a few of us demonstrating weaving, spinning and basket weaving and we had lots of visitors so it was a fun social day. I almost filled a bobbin with the slightly heavier yarn I’ve been trying for lately, though it’s rather uneven – what I call Demo Yarn. Not sure what I’ll use it for yet but perhaps a new beret, my favourite hat shape. Unfortunately for once the sun was shining outside but we were stuck in a stuffy windowless room for 5 hours! At least we got outside during our lunch break for a little while. I took my camera with me but was so busy that I forgot to take any photos at all. Doh.

Yesterday T and I went for a much-needed walk even though the weather was as iffy as it has been for weeks now. It did spit on us a bit but didn’t really rain until after we got home which fine with us because we were too tired by then to rush out to the garden anyway. It’s amazing how much we carried in two backpacks and a couple of tote bags. We shopped at a lot of different stores for everything from replacement windshield wipers for the VW van and replacement PlayDoh for the grandbeasties to the usual magazines and fruits and veggies. (Yeah, I know I could make some homemade playdough but I didn’t. Next time when they need fresh supplies for sure. Besides we got a cute barbeque set so they can make inedible hotdogs and hamburgers! It’ll be fun.

In crafty news, I’m up to the 10th colour out of 12 on the Multi-Multnomah shawl. It’s not going to be too ginormous even though I’m trying to use up the whole ball of handspun. I’m totally loving the soft colours from my garden. So different from synthetic dyes! It’s a pretty easy knit now that I’ve figured out how to count to six.

I’ve also nearly finished Debbie Double. She has a new sexy black cover that fits pretty well, although it took me two days to get it correctly sewn and hand stitched onto her! I’m currently trying to draw all the important lines (bust, waist, hip, centre and shoulders) on her body with narrow red cord. It’s not easy because apparently what I thought was wonky on Debbie was really because I am the one who is wonky! My right shoulder slopes more than the left and the right hip is wider. Who knew? So I think I need to glue these lines on because it’s just too much work to try stitching it all by hand. I might need new glue first unfortunately because mine all seems to have dried up. I hope to have a final photo when it gets light enough around here to show up the black. If that ever happens.

Pardon my excessive whining coming up here. Don’t think it’s solely the fault of the weather, which has been hard on the migraines and arthritis as well as the garden. But the Evil Psoriasis, which was improving quite a lot there for awhile has now gotten much worse than ever and has travelled over the top of my feet and up my ankles and shins with occasional spots as high as my knees. I’m so fed up with the constant application of goopy ointments and the itching and sensitivity. I’m tired of having greasy socks and stained pant legs. It’s not so much that I’m worried about grossing people out but that it’s uncomfortable and messy to go without some protection on my feet. And with the crappy weather I haven’t even been able to toast a little in the sun which does help some. It’s just no fair! I want to have pretty feet and to wear cute sandals like other people, darn it! Guess that’s too much to ask, huh?

Sometimes I think this trial is just to remind me that life can’t ever be too perfect because the Universe will balance it somehow. Phooey. Meanwhile I have another appointment with Dr. Serious Dermatologist in a week. Though he’s probably tried pretty much everything in his medical arsenal – except light therapy which he is reluctant to start because it’s very time-consuming for me (not him because it’s at a different place entirely). We were both hoping that regular sunshine would be enough. Unhappily, Evil Psoriasis is very sneaky and very persistent. A chronic auto-immune disease, in fact. No wonder I’m feeling depressed about it.

OK, end of whine. Back to working with Debbie. The beasties are coming over later this afternoon and I want to get something done before then. In the meanwhile, here’s a view from the trail over the marina and south across the inlet where you can just see my city:


I love that shiny silver light from the thin overcast!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Debbie Double’s Done (Nearly)

Where did I leave off? Oh yeah. The Mistake. I spent about an hour today while I was fresh fixing the mistake on my Multi-Multnomah shawl. It was a bit nerve-wracking because I had to frog back 4 rows and pick up the stitches again. There were an awful lot of loose stitches hanging in the air:


Nice thing about fuzzy wool is that it stays put when you drop it off the needles. This handspun crossbred behaved itself perfectly. I finally got it all picked up again and the error eliminated:


Whew! Now we’re back in business! I’m just about halfway through the yarn so plan to continue the feather-and-fan section ad nauseum until I run out. No point in saving a wee mite of yarn for anything else! I’m quite happy with how it’s coming out and it’s really an easy knit (stupid mistake notwithstanding). Just about as mindless as I feel right now – but much better looking. No wonder so many knitters have done this lovely free pattern. Thank you, Kate Flagg!

Then I spent the rest of this mostly-rainy and rather chilly day dancing some more with Debbie Double. I repaired her bust line a little more, cut out a base from corrugated plastic, got her on her stand, and stuffed the heck out of her with crumpled newspaper. I attached the base piece with more paper tape to blend it in with the rest of her and to hold it in place. I also stuffed her armholes and neck with polyester batting. I really think it helped to have had some experience with dollmaking. After all, Debbie is just a human-sized doll, right? Quite a lot of the same skills are needed anyway. Now all she needs is a cover, which I plan to drape directly on her as soon as I can locate the right fabric in my stash. But so far she looks like this:

Deb and Me

Quite a lot like the person standing behind her, huh? (Pardon the annoying line – it’s the division between two of the 3 mirror sections on my studio door.) We’re actually the same height too. It just doesn’t look like it from the angle the photo was taken. Poor Deb is a little wobbly and wonky but she’s mine-all-mine! Already she’s wearing the unfinished shirt I started to sew about 2 years ago. She couldn’t wait for her cover, impatient wench. Then when she’s all ready, I need to make her…er, I mean me some new threads. Including finishing that languishing shirt.

I also want to mention that I wore one of my new bras today (the nude one) and it was quite comfortable and the straps stayed put just fine. Happy sigh. Guess I got it right for once. I may need to go back for more before they discontinue this style.

It’s bedtime now for this damselfly but first, here’s a shout-out to my darling T-Man, who is training hard in hot and stormy Rochester, NY. Well, actually he’s (hopefully) asleep right now since I’m 3 hours behind his current time zone. Miss ya lots! Hurry home! Two more days. Eternity.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Need To Sleep Now

It’s late (for me anyway), T-Man is away, and it’s too quiet around here. I’m collapsed after a busy day. Unfortunately I’m not knitting because I found a mistake in my Multi-Multnomah and I need to be fresh and wide-eyed to rip back and repair it. I discovered the error at the dentist’s office earlier while I was waiting for my teeth cleaning by the lovely Victoria. She was ready for me just as I started pulling out stitches so I stopped immediately. Too annoyed to go back to it today.

Since my dentist is above a shopping mall, I usually take advantage of the fact and do a little browsing either before or after my appointment. I also had to stop in upstairs and get more batteries for my hearing aids from my audiologist. I got some teas from Murchies: vanilla and ginger green. The ginger tea is not quite like the one I get at Salt Spring Coffee shop when meeting with my Ravelry knitting buds, but close.

Then I got brave and went bra-hunting. I’ve been wearing raggedy bras that don’t really fit well and decided that it might be because they all are at least 5 years old and stretched out of shape. Or more likely it’s me that’s stretched out of shape. I truly hate shopping for bras though because apparently I’m the only woman on the planet who does not wear underwires. I don’t care if they look great. They are seriously uncomfortable. And have I mentioned that I don’t much like white bras either? Black or skin or just about any other colour is what I hunt for – along with straps that will stay up on my narrow rounded shoulders. I also must have the most common size because every time I find something I like, there’s none left that will fit me. Everything else but my poor 36C. A tall order any day of the week. I finally found one from WonderBra (sensible Canadian version, not the sexy thing it’s known for in the US) that I liked and that fit me properly:


Sadly, I don’t look nearly that good in it. I didn’t get white either, just black and nude. The style is a bit more formal than my usual sports bra but I’m happy with it. Not to ignore the sporty and comfy entirely, I also got a couple of these:


Yeah, I know. I don’t look like her either. And I passed on the matching boy-shorts. This light little nothing will be perfect to wear when it gets hot this summer – if it ever does. Elita is a Canadian brand from Montreal and they make lovely light and simple styles in lycra, nylon, cotton, bamboo and soya.

I always think that I should look in to making my own bras but there’s so much specialty fabrics and notions involved that you end up paying nearly as much anyway. If you can find the “ingredients” anywhere. And if you can make it fit correctly and look good. A tall order.

BTW, after the fact I found this extensive website with loads of info on fitting. Gee, the dentist and bra fitting all on the same day! Seems I like to torture myself. Tomorrow I plan to torture my pal Debbie Double some more instead of me.