Friday, July 30, 2010

It Lives!

Queue the thunder and lightning and old organ music with lots of swirling heavy chords…

Feeling quite a bit better today. My head is up and I’m starting to focus on all the things I was missing: like the poor neglected garden and the messy house. The hard part is not to overdo right away and put myself back in veg-mode. The Kick-Ass Cough Syrup™ has ensured a better night’s sleep for both me and T-Man. And the Itchy-Peelies are less uncomfortable now that the tops of my feet and my lower legs are pretty much clear. However there’s still an awful lot of me that still looks like an old porch chair left in the sun too long. And there are yet more new psoriasis patches showing up on the back of my hands and up my inner arms past my elbows. It ain’t over yet. (Why, oh why?)

The biggest annoyance by far are my hands. See why I can’t knit or spin or do much of anything?


The other one looks pretty much just like it. Just thought I’d show you that I’m not being a big baby and whining for no reason! Oh all right, I am a big baby! It is justifiable though, don’t you agree? Sorry for grossing you all out. I’ll behave myself now. Maybe.

The good news is my doc checked me all out and says that everything else is hunky-dory and my blood pressure is excellent. Not bad for an old broad, huh? Speaking of which, what exactly is a “senior” these days? I’ve seen 50, 55, 60 and the government’s criteria of 65. Excuse me but 50 is downright youthful these days and even 55 is pretty young. Maybe it’s my perspective from nearly-60 or the fact that so many of my older-than-me friends are not your stereotypical “old people”. And we’re just generally living longer, like T’s remaining auntie who is nearly 30 years beyond that 65 line. Needless to say, our lives are like a piece of string – they are just as long as they are. And most of us wish for more.

As always, I suppose things could be worse. Hey, I’ve even lost about 6 lbs. Yay! I don’t have any signs of the more common aging problems (touch wood!) like diabetes or heart disease. (One of T’s cousins-by-marriage just lost a leg to diabetes, poor guy.) All you can do is the best you can, right? At any rate, if you’re only as old as you feel then some days I’m as old as my grandson and some days I’m as old as Auntie. Mostly I feel about the same as I did 15 years ago. Better in some ways. The mirror tells a different story though! But it tells lies, doesn’t it?

OK, enough navel-gazing. Next post something that is not about me and my flakey anatomy! Promise.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Them’s Good Drugs!

Dragged myself out to my dear family doc yesterday only to hear that my bronchitis is viral and I just have to wait it out. Darn. No quick fix. However he did give me a prescription for some kick-ass cough medicine to get me through the night without coughing so much. It has a decongestant, antihistamine and codeine. Worked a treat! Knocked me flat and T-Man (and I) got a much better night’s sleep. I drank over a litre of water throughout the night though because I was so dry. Damselfly’s a windswept desert these days thanks to all the meds. (Moisturise me!) Then I go back to see dear doc on Friday again for my physical. At least now he’s not going to be so shocked at the mess I’m in. Heh.

So I’ve been doing a lot of net-surfing and reading (because that’s pretty much all I’m capable of) and I found this very cool series of tutorials from Amy Herzog, Fit to Flatter, aimed at knitters though it’s also applicable to crochet or sewing or even just purchasing clothes off the rack. You can read the series online or purchase them as PDFs, either individually or as a compendium when the final post comes out. (As of this writing, there are still 2 to go.) It covers a lot of the stuff I’ve been studying lately in a very clear manner. If you’re at all concerned about making sweaters that actually fit you properly and look good on you, by all means see this tutorial!

Meanwhile nothing else is getting done. I’m in a holding pattern trying to get well again. I seem to only be able to sustain the barest minimum of my usual chores but I can’t expect T to pick up all the slack. He’s been doing more cooking and watering than usual but he has a fulltime job. Unfortunately I’m getting further behind every day. Sigh. Oh well. Can’t really be helped. The most important stuff gets done somehow and the rest can either wait or…not. Sometimes you need a lesson on what’s really necessary for basic survival. The rest is just window dressing. Frills & furbelows. Icing on the cake.

And I had such high hopes for this summer too. Just goes to show you – life sometimes has other plans. The good news is the tide may have quit rising but I’m not ready to say for sure yet. Might just be a temporary halt.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bronchitis 10: Damselfly 0

I had a bad night. And that’s all I’m going to say on that subject. Don’t know about you, dear readers, but I’m boring me to death with the litany of complaints!

So lets talk about something completely different, ’kay? I managed to drag walk the 3 blocks with T-Man to the movie theatre yesterday. Popcorn for dinner! Yum! We saw “Inception” with Leo DiCaprio and I have to say that it was pretty good. Unique concept but some people must have very bad dreams! (Not anything like mine at all!) Also a very long movie at about 2-1/2 hours but you are so busy trying to figure out what’s going on that you don’t notice. I tried hard not to cough at the quiet parts, which were of course few and far between! I don’t much like watching movies in the theatre. Can’t put my feet up. Can’t pause the action for more tea and a pee. Can’t babble incessantly to my seat-mate. The action is bigger and the sound is louder though which I guess is the draw for those poor souls who don’t have a 50” flat-screen, surround-sound and Blu-Ray. Ummm…kind of like us?

So. On to another review: the new Interweave KnitScene Fall 2010 issue is out. Some cute things in there to knit. If I could knit. (Shut-UP, damselfly!) I particularly like the Brit Knit Vest by Mathew Gnagy. It’s got all the close shaping in the back with only wide ribs on the front to hug the body there. That suits my figure just fine. The Brise Soleil Cardigan by Debbie O’Neill is cute too but the asymmetry isn’t quite enough for my taste. Either do or do not, but if you’re going to do it, do it big! If it’s too subtle it just looks like a mistake instead of deliberate.

I would love a pair of Connie Chang Chinchio’s Blume Gloves, given my love of all things fingered. The hat is adorable too but it wouldn’t suit me. I’d drown in it’s slouchiness! Lots of other wearable functional pieces here, nothing too out-there or too trendy. You don’t want something you’ve paid a pretty penny for the materials and slaved over for weeks or months to be passé the second it’s off the needles! Though Interweave tries to slant KnitScene for the younger crowd, I don’t really see an age-appropriateness to most of these styles. Perhaps slightly simpler construction and stitch techniques.

Interestingly, the last issue (KnitScene Winter 09/Spring 10) was totally sold out in what seemed like seconds and is now only available in digital form. I never even saw a single copy at any of my favourite haunts. I’ve spotted this current issue in large heaps at several outlets so far. Maybe Interweave got the memo to print and distribute a more reasonable number of copies?

I’d show you how my flour-paste cloth finally turned out but it was…ummmm…kind of a disaster. One of the fabric paints that I used for quite a large section of each piece washed out entirely. Boo-hoo! I think it was too old and had been diluted with water ages ago which broke it down. Anyhow, I’m very disappointed with the fact that most of my effects disappeared in the wash. I will use them for backings for the 4 pieces I did previously that actually turned out ok. Note to self: throw out old paint before it ruins your hard work!

Sorry about the lack of pictures in this post. I’m not getting out of bed to go take any. You’ll have to live with the boringness of all these words.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Philosophy of Dory

My pal Beentsy’s recent post reminded me about Dory’s mantra: “Keep on swimming. Keep on swimming.” I think I need to take that one to heart. I’m sick with this stupid bronchitis, my diaphragm muscles are sore from coughing, I’m leaving peeling flakes of myself everywhere and, worst of all, my hands are such a mess that I need my Minnie Mouse gloves on permanently to protect them. That means that knitting, spinning or sewing is pretty much off the menu right now. I’m swimming with what feels like gallons of moisturiser to keep my feet and hands from splitting further than they have already. And the tide just keeps coming in. I’m so miserable that I’ll I can do is keep on swimming and believe that there’s an island of comfort and hope out here somewhere.

With all the crap I’ve been going through, I missed the party for my new baby great-nephew last evening. Just as well since I never quite finished the little sockies for him. They just need the toes grafted, the ends sewn in and blocking and they’re done. Guess I’ll have to send them by post. Sigh.

And Stargazer’s sweater is still without the seams sewn, buttons found and applied and a final blocking. Not happening. I have one month to do all that and also make something for Princess Pink, who’s 6th birthday is in 2 weeks. Maybe. I’m not giving up the notion that I can accomplish these magical feats. Yet.

Meanwhile there’s gardening and harvesting that isn’t getting done. T-Man is doing what he can but I’m not much help really. Watering he can just about keep up with but transplanting teensy seedlings is not in his skill set unfortunately. However he has been doing a yeoman job of keeping us fed when I’m not up to it. And he insists it was the old kitchen fairy who did the dishes yesterday.

I feel somewhat sorry in advance for my poor darling GP who is going to get an earful when I go for my physical on Friday. I have a list. I’m betting he’ll try to distract me by discussing my darling daughter’s pregnancy since he’ll be seeing her the day before me. Speaking of whom, she can now feel Alien Baby Girl kicking her mommy’s insides and doing acrobatics. So exciting!

Have I shared the last ultrasound pic with you?


Look, ma, no tentacles, horns, fins or antennae! At least that she’s allowing us to see. Mwaahh-ha-haaa! I do know she’s a lot bigger than this now. It was taken a couple of weeks ago. It’ll be late November before we get to see her for real.

Friday, July 23, 2010

This Year’s First Woad

So much for thinking I was getting better. Now The Bug has turned into full-blown bronchitis but I suppose it’s still not as bad as I’ve had in the past. My voice has gone all squeaky and uncertain too. I haven’t been sick (truly!) for a couple of years. We aren’t counting the Itchies. Which is now up to my waist all around if you’re curious. Tide’s still coming in, huh? Yuck. It’s all rather disappointing. At the same time, thanks to the new meds I’m peeling and feeling like a dried up old stick. I think I need to fill the bathtub with moisturiser and just wallow.

Anyhow, I sucked it up long enough for my friend Bonnie to come over yesterday and we played with the rather rampant woad:


This was taken before we harvested a large bucket full but it doesn’t look much different afterwards. I didn’t have that much that I wanted to dye so I let Bonnie have a good go at it. And of course forgot to take photos. I dyed an old cotton scarf that originally was an extremely pale marbled blue, pink and green. Now it looks like this:

Woad Dyed

I like it much better! On top of the scarf is the little bit of wool sliver I threw in at the last, though judging by the depth of colour I could have put in a lot more of it to use up the dye. We followed the same recipe that I always use with only 2 changes:  we cut the leaves more coarsely (maybe chopped in thirds) and Bonnie had this great idea to put the 2-litre pop bottles of ice directly into the dye pot with the leaves to cool it down even more quickly. Worked a treat and we got a very good blue vat with lots of colour in it and a lovely violet bloom on the top. I think I’m getting the trick honed to a science now! It also helped that we’ve had some lovely hot sunny days to ripen the woad. I think this is the earliest date I’ve tried to use it and with such excellent results. There’s lots more left to play with too when I’m feeling better. For those who like a full blow-by-blow account:

Detailed Woad Procedure

  • Put large stainless dyepot filled about 1/3 full with water on to boil, maybe 6 litres in my pot.
  • Harvest a large bucket of woad leaves (around 700g). We pulled off the good mid-sized leaves from the rosette, not the new babies nor ancient bug-chomped ones.
  • Wash leaves under cold water to remove any dirt or animal life. This time we only found one big slug!
  • Coarsely chop leaves. Very fine is not necessary and actually may be counterproductive. Apparently you can even skip this step and use the leaves whole though I haven’t tried it.
  • Add vinegar or acetic acid to the water in the dyepot to get a pH of between 4 and 5. I do verify with pH test strips. Another step you can perhaps skip but it works for me.
  • When it’s at a full boil, add the leaves to the pot. Stir and bring up to at least where you see bubbles coming up between the leaves and they are starting to turn from bright green to a more “cooked” tan-green. This should take only a minute or two.
  • Immediately cool the pot. We put 3 frozen 2-litre pop bottles of ice in the pot which was also standing in cold water in the sink. You want to lower to 50C as fast as possible (preferably under 15 minutes).
  • Strain out the woad leaves (which can be saved for a more conventional mordant dyebath or composted) and squeeze to get all the juice.
  • Add soda ash to the liquid to bring the pH up to between 9 and 10. For my pot it took about 15ml (3 tsps) to make the vat turn from sherry-coloured to greenish.
  • Beat, whisk or pour from one bucket to another until the froth turns from green to blue and back to green again. This should take between 5 and 15 minutes. Of course it doesn’t always follow that sequence and there’s no need to go beyond 15 minutes max. This time it turned blue almost right away and pretty much stayed that way. And there wasn’t much froth at all. Give the pot a few minutes to let the froth subside.
  • Check the temp and raise again to 50C if necessary. The vat should be murky blue-green with floating blue particles.
  • Add thiourea dioxide to remove the oxygen and “reduce” the vat. For my pot it usually takes about 10ml (2 tsps). Don’t use more thiox than necessary or the vat will strip the blue out as fast as it puts it in. (Ask me how I know!) Stir in gently and leave to rest for 40 minutes to an hour.
  • After that time the vat should have a purplish bloom or flower on the surface and be clear greenish-yellow underneath. If that’s not the case (still murky), add a teeny-tiny bit more thiox and let rest a little longer. If necessary warm it up to 50C again.
  • When the vat is fully reduced, gently introduce your wetted-out fibre, cloth or whatever without disturbing things as much as possible. Poke anything under that pops up. Allow to remain in the vat about 20 minutes.
  • Remove fibre carefully without dripping back into the vat. Try to squeeze out under the surface with gloved hands. Place dyed fibre immediately into a bucket of water (either cold or warm if desired to prevent shocking wool). Swish around a little, squeeze out and hang fibre to oxidise for at least 10 minutes before redipping.
  • Dips can be repeated as many times as wanted for deeper shades. The first dip can be splotchy and uneven but the second evens things out. Eventually it won’t get much darker no matter how many times you dip so I usually don’t go past 3 or 4. If you want, you could leave the last one in overnight. It won’t hurt.
  • Finally, allow the fibre to oxidise for at least a couple of days before washing and rinsing to remove any unfixed dye.

So if you’re paying attention you will notice that we are doing several steps that seem counterproductive. First acid then alkaline; next add oxygen then take it away again. Do NOT ask me how the ancients figured out how to get blue out of these cabbage-like plants. It’s a fascinating mystery. Though Teresinha has some history here.

Meanwhile I’m waiting for my Chinese woad and weld to grow up enough to test. I tried a couple of 2-litre canning jars of solar dyes. I layered some of the Merino-X fleece with marigold and coreopsis flowers, oregano (no idea whether it will work or not but I have lots) and a leaf or two of woad on the top of the pile just for fun. Besides some dissolved alum (7%) and cream of tartar (6%), in one jar I poured in a 1-litre jar of old used rhubarb root dye and in the other a 1-litre jar of old used rhubarb leaf mordant. Then I filled both of them to the top with cold water, screwed on lids, labelled (because my brain ain’t what it used to be!) and put them on the deck in the sunshine. We’ll see what happens over the next few months. Perhaps I should have made more layers though? So far they’ve changed colours a little:


The one on the left obviously has the yellow rhubarb root in it. And the one on the right has turned quite red where the coreopsis and marigolds are. Seems to me that rhubarb leaf might be very interesting with coreopsis? Unfortunately I’ll have to wait until next spring to test because my rhubarb has died back in the summer heat.

Yes, I’m kind of odd. Why do you ask?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I’m tentatively going with “Yes”. My tummy is feeling more settled plus my throat is a little less sore today. I don’t think I have strep or anything. (Whew!) My energy is still lower than I’d wish but hopefully it will pick up again. The Itchies aren’t too bad and the Peelies are tapering off, except between my fingers and toes. (Gross, I know.) I can function ok as long as I keep everything well moisturized. I slept pretty good last night without having to take an antihistamine to keep the Itchies at bay. One can only hope that things are looking up. I still have to get out there and water the garden but at least it’s cloudy this morning which makes it not quite so imperative to do it Right Now. Soon though.

I managed to finish knitting Stargazer’s new Johnny Boy Sweater and now I just have to sew up the side and sleeve seams and find some buttons. I also started a pair of socks for my new grand-nephew, who is having a party on Saturday to welcome him into the family. I already knitted a sweater for him before he was born but now need another quickie gift. I found some leftover Confetti sock yarn that I had overdyed in fall reds, golds and greens which should be enough to knit some teensy socks. Not too teensy though – he’s a big boy! I only have 4 days to finish them in but they should be quick to do, yes? Man, our family is popping out all over, I tell you! Two more babies to come before the end of this year. I’m knitting as fast as I can. Which isn’t terribly fast unfortunately.

I got an unsolicited package in the post yesterday from my buddy Andrea of Aurelia Wool & Weaving. In it was this:


A sample of her new superwash Corriedale in the colourway ‘Navy All Sorts’. It’s so new it’s not even on her website yet. She wanted an evaluation from me so I’ve been spinning it up to see how it behaves. So far it feels pretty much like her other regular Corriedale slivers. Not too slippery or anything. I’ll wait until I’ve plied it and knit a sample to comment fully. But I’m thinking this would be fabu for socks, gloves, mitts, or indeed anything that needs a lot of laundering. Aurelia’s colours are so enticing!

Meanwhile of course, no sewing has been accomplished while I was unwell. I’ve been reading and learning though - does that count? Nevermind. One can only do what one can only do. It’s not a race to the finish. Right?

Question of the day:

Can a microwave get Alzheimer’s? Mine seems to be losing it’s tiny little electronic mind.

Monday, July 19, 2010

So Who Said Life Was Fair?

I apologise right off the bat for being such a splotz (new term, invented by me, expressing the whining, whingeing, depressing, crabby, sick, blech, lazy, good-for-nothing blob of barely human woman I’ve recently become). My psoriasis looks worse than a deathly case of leprosy up to my waist, my tummy is still somewhat bubbly and unhappy, and now I have a sore throat, post-nasal drip and a huge lack of energy. Currently I’m curled up in bed with my knitting and my netbook, along with a hot cup of tea and feeling quite sorry for myself. So there.

If T-Man wasn’t also sharing in the tummy and the sore throat I would be tempted to consider them side effects of the new and rather scary meds that I’m on for the psoriasis. At least so far, none of the evils have shown up, but you never know. I haven’t even been taking the pills for a week yet. There’s still time for my lips to peel, my hair to start falling out, my eyes to dry up etc. Are we having fun yet? If only it works on the psoriasis I won’t mind.

I did get one thing done – I finally finished painting the last four of the flour-pasted cloths that I started months ago and left in my studio to get dusty:


Not to worry if you can’t see them very well in this sun-dappled photo of my deck. They don’t look like much until the paste is scrubbed off anyhow. So far the fabric paint (Setacolor transparent) colours the surface of the paste as well as the fabric in the cracks. You get a better idea of what it really looks like on the back. I left them alone several days for the fabric paint to set before I scrub the paste off. Maybe if I have any energy later on today.

So T and I both sat around splotzing most of the day on Saturday but roused ourselves on Sunday afternoon to pick the garden produce (peas, raspberries and blueberries) and water everything. Later we took the bikes out to check for magazines (none) and get a few groceries. We also spoiled our miserable selves with a chocolate éclair from Beard Papa’s and the delightfully friendly Maggie at their shop in City Square. Yum. Works pretty well to cheer one up. At least a little.

Have I mentioned how much I love my new bicycle? Yes? I don’t mind saying it again. But I’m finding it interesting when I take one of the city’s designated bicycle routes. Cycle traffic! Yikes! I have to get used to the speedy Lance Armstrong types passing me while getting stuck dinking along behind the poky ones. If I pass them, they pass me and then I’m stuck behind them again. It seems rude to zip by everyone using my throttle! We end up meeting again at the next light anyway. Urp. I don’t usually travel with so many other bikes around me and it feels strange. Nice to see folks out riding though. The weather has been perfect for it.

Yes, it’s hard to stay a miserable splotz when we’ve recently had the most perfect summer weather one could wish. Temps in the low 20’s C, perpetual sunshine, coolish nights for sleeping – absolutely ideal. May it continue on indefinitely.

And may the illnesses that infest me go away. Immediately. I want to enjoy the summer while we have it. It’s quite an ephemeral beast at the best of times and needs to be savoured, petted and rolled in. Sitting around in bed reading and knitting can be done any time of year. Preferably when it’s rainy, cold and dark.

All right. Enough with the splotz already.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Body Image

Now that I’ve been hanging out with my buddy Debbie Double for awhile and getting to know her (and my) shape better, I’ve figured out a lot about where I’ve gone wrong in the past in trying to make clothes fit. It explains why I have trouble buying off the rack too. I have:

  • forward shoulders
  • sloped shoulders
  • slightly forward neck
  • C-cup (or maybe even a D?) bust
  • short arms
  • full abdomen
  • wide hips
  • sway back
  • low seat
  • short legs

Sounds pretty bad, huh? Of course much of this has happened to me slowly over the years. I’m pushing 60 after all! Unfortunately pattern companies can’t take into consideration all the various shapes that people come in so they draft patterns to fit the “average” body, whatever that might be. Almost everyone has some deviation from that “average” body. Even if we aren’t making our own clothes, it’s helpful to know our shape and what looks good on us. Be honest with yourself. Lumps and bumps are normal, especially as we age, and it doesn’t mean that you’re any less beautiful!

Unfortunately fashion magazines, TV and the movies aren’t helping anyone’s self-esteem by emphasising overly thin and muscular figures. Think of it as just the current fashion and fashions change constantly. If you go back to Marilyn Monroe, everyone’s ideal of sexy womanhood, she was downright fluffy compared to today’s popular shape! Don’t compare, just celebrate what you’ve got.

OK, so back to the fitting books.

I’ve found the best one finally! “Fit for Real People” by Pati Palmer & Marta Alto is definitely opening my eyes and my brain. Sandra Betzina’s “Fast Fit”, Nancy Zeiman’s “Fitting Finesse” and the long-titled “How to Use Adapt, and Design Sewing Patterns” by Lee Hollahan are good as far as they go, but IMHO they don’t go nearly far enough. I want details. I want why. Pati & Marta get full marks for clear illustration and explanation. Even repetition. You can tell they have taught many different women (because really they are discussing only female “people”) how to make commercial patterns fit their body, not some mythical standard. They understand what changes the years make to the female form and how to accommodate those changes. After reading this book I really feel like I finally have a complete set of tools to make clothes that fit me.

So what’s wrong with the other books, really? The one I’ve had longest (about 15 years!) is Nancy’s “Fitting Finesse” (published 1995). What I don’t like is her pivot and slide method and her more modern book “Pattern Fitting With Confidence” (2008) uses the same technique. It makes my brain hurt for some reason. I’d much rather tuck and fold, slash and spread, or even redraw the darn thing entirely. It’s just the way my brain works, not a diss. Otherwise, the book just doesn’t give me enough of the kind of detailed information I want. I’m greedy like that.

Lee Hollahan’s Book With The Very Long Title (published 2010) tries to fit too much in too small of a space. (Hmmm…maybe the title was a clue?) She combines basic fitting with pattern drafting, both of which are complex subjects and ultimately could fill their own book, sort of like the 500+ pages in Connie Crawford’s pattern drafting book. I found it very interesting at first but ultimately unsatisfying on both counts. Not enough detail for me. The photographs are very clear though. I like that part a lot.

Sandra’s “Fast Fit” (first published 2001, my softcover 2003)is all about the individual fitting problems and how to fix them which is great. Except that her illustrations of actually what to do are kind of vague and hard to see. The bodies are large cartoonish sketches and the patterns are tiny photographs. I would really prefer it be the other way around! She follows the wrinkles to decide what needs to be done and has her adjustments in two formats: “fast fit” (or the quick and dirty) and step-by-step. Sandra also recommends you make muslins or, as she terms them, “pre-tests”. She includes a lot more information than the first two books but it still seems somewhat unsatisfying to me. Is there any point in mentioning specific pattern numbers without either showing what it looks like (photo of the pattern envelope perhaps) or realising that it likely might be OOP by now? Sandra has great style herself however!

Of course you get a slightly different perspective from each of these books. The Palmer/Pletsch one (originally published 1998, second edition 2005, mine the updated 2007) uses tissue-fitting and doesn’t require a muslin pre-test. Though the nervous might not want to use the really expensive fabrics until they’re sure of the techniques. Like Sandra, Pati & Marta use the wrinkles to tell what needs to be done to make things fit. I’m certainly going to use their technique of reinforcing the neckline and armhole of closefitting patterns with tape. I’ve already experienced rips! I also like the way they pin pattern tissues down before taping thus maintaining perfect flatness. See? I’ve learned a bunch already. Three scissors up!

So why haven’t I done anything useful yet? Seems like I’ve been stalling for weeks, doesn’t it? To tell the truth, I’ve been feeling somewhat under the weather, blue in spirits and lately a couple of days with a tummy upset. My appointment with Dr Serious Dermatologist on Wednesday got me all stressed out. Now my psoriasis rates as serious, instead of mild. Lovely. I have to stop one of the ointments, use more of another, still with the black tar, plus take some nasty side-effect-laden pills. Pills, I might add, that cost over $100 for a month’s supply that Isn’t Covered At All by T-Man’s extended medical for some reason unexplainable by my pharmacist. Sheesh. They had better do something useful, that’s all I’ve got to say. Especially if I’m going to start losing what’s left of my hair and not be able to drink T-Man’s yummy wine now and for 2 months after I’m done with them. Maybe I’ll lose some weight? Be positive, damselfly.

I also have an appointment in August with the skin care centre to begin light therapy. Finally. (Apparently I lucked into an early date. Someone must have cancelled and left me a spot or it would have been November.) Maybe it will work better than the sun exposure I’ve been trying to get regularly. At least we’ve been having some nice sunshine recently.

Anyway, I need to print out this quote on a small card so I can hand it to well-meaning friends, relatives and acquaintances – all of whom know something that I should try:

“Allergies, infections, dietary deficiencies or excesses, or nervous tension do not cause psoriasis.” 

And on the other side it should say:

“Psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious, lifelong immunologic skin disease. What works for one person with psoriasis might not work for another. There is no permanent cure.”

Since this body is totally not the image I want to see, I will envision it clear and normal - not all blotched, cracked and peeling. Be positive, damselfly. I guess that means my actual shape is not a problem?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another Busy Weekend Plus One

It seems as if I can’t find the time to blog on weekends. Saturday was taken up with shopping by bicycle:  first to the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market to get berries, tomatoes, specialty salt and pepper mixes and other yummy things and then, after a break, in the opposite direction to the magazine shop and lastly the closest grocery store for a few necessities. In between we had a sushi lunch at our favourite spot. T-Man and I both decided that our new electric-assist bicycles are the greatest thing since sliced bread! We wouldn’t have been able to do all that without them. I do need panniers of some sort though because it’s hard to carry heavy groceries on my back. We zoomed home after the last stop using our throttles for full assist! So nice to have when you’re tired and carrying about 30 lbs of awkward stuff.

On Sunday I went with my neighbour and knitting buddy Lauren out to Surrey to knit with the gang in the shade of Beentsy’s backyard deck. We pigged out on fruit and chips and had a great show-and-tell from Wenat, the Queen of the Pooling Scarves. It was fun, even though I accidentally let the dog out just as we were leaving and of course she instantly headed for the high hills. Oops. Hope Beentsy has forgiven me?

Yesterday was kind of an extended weekend because we went to the memorial service for one of T’s elderly aunties. Only family was invited so it was a close group and afterwards we all repaired to the local ABC Family Restaurant for lunch on Auntie. She definitely would have approved! We hung around after our meal and had a warm visit with everyone with lots of hugs and kisses exchanged. I’m sure the restaurant personnel were wishing we would all go home! They were great though and very patient with us, providing excellent service and yummy food well-portioned even for the elders and the grandbeasties.

Meanwhile, I haven’t gotten much done around here except the usual watering of the garden. It was super windy yesterday (made for an interesting service at the gravesite, let me tell you!) and while we were gone it knocked over my clematis trellis, taking down half the sunflowers with it. We managed to get it staked firmly back up again without breaking anything so hopefully the flowers will recuperate. And speaking of the garden, T got some shade cloth for the greenhouse which seems to be keeping the temperature down some in there. Now I need to make some weight bags to keep it in place better.

Just to keep this from being all words and no pictures, here’s the body of grandbeastie Stargazer’s new sweater:

Stargazers JohnnyBoy

I need to do the collar and shoulder button band and then pick up for the sleeves. The knitting is going very slowly because my psoriasis is making my hands all leathery and stiff, especially between my fingers, at the moment. Stupid Creeping Crud! Blech. (Dr. Serious appointment tomorrow where I will whine miserably at the poor guy. Heh.)

I also washed the beautiful New Zealand black Corriedale fleece that will become a sweater for T-Man. Eventually. Here’s a close-up of the raw fleece:


Isn’t it yummy? And here’s some of the wool drying on the deck:


It’s kept its lock structure pretty well, though I don’t plan to comb it. So soft and nice. This was one of the fleeces I purchased for the class with Anne Field but decided not to use because it was too similar in crimp to the “coarse” fleece. Plus it was very spendy (the highest price I’ve ever paid for fleece!) and the class may not have appreciated what I would have had to charge them for it. I’m so glad I kept it for myself. Mwaaa-ha-haaaa! Two more batches of fleece to wash up still: the little bit left of the Rideau-Arcott/Canadian Arcott and quite a lot left of the huge Merino X. And I managed not to break the washing machine this time!

Still reading the books I got on pattern fitting and learning a bunch. Everyone has a slightly different perspective on the subject! More on that later.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Water Water Everywhere

Give the plants a drop to drink. Or lots of drops. I’ve been spending quite a lot of time hauling hoses around and watering my gardens in the last couple of days. Did you know that one can actually build muscles that way? Who needs to go to the gym? And yes, it’s already starting to get tedious. However, it’s better than the weather we were getting earlier in the season so I’m trying hard not to complain! Even though I couldn’t get to sleep last night until it cooled down some because it was meltingly hot in our bedroom. Bleh. The good news is that we no longer sleep upstairs where it was even hotter. Summer. We asked for it, didn’t we?

I’ve planted some more seeds since now there are several bare patches in my garden beds. More kale, tah tsai, cilantro, basil, leeks and purple sprouting broccoli. The latter will hopefully overwinter and give good eating in the spring when nothing much else is happening. These I planted in flats to keep them away from the slugs until they’re big enough to fend for themselves. I squished probably a dozen of the slimy beasts this morning alone. Ick. I also planted a small patch of mixed greens directly in the garden. We’ll see what happens with that. You never know - sometimes they can outgrow the chomping critters and actually become edible.

Enough gardening. What else? Nearly finished the front of Stargazer’s new Johnny Boy sweater. I just realised I haven’t gotten a photo of it yet for Ravelry. Must remedy that. Not like I’m knitting up a storm these days, is it? Not while I’m playing with sewing instead.

Speaking of which, if I’m going to get anything done up there in the Studio That Is Hotter Than Hades, I had better get out the swamp cooler. It seems a wee bit more tolerable today than yesterday, but the day ain’t over yet. I shouldn’t complain though. By next week it’s supposed to cool back down again. Hopefully not to the frigid level it was last week though, surely?

But before I go upstairs, I think I might just head down to the laundry area and wash one of my fleeces while it’s still sunny enough to dry it quickly. I have a black NZ Corriedale that will be a sweater for T-Man some day, plus the rest of the Merino X from the Anne Field workshop. I won’t get it all done today but I’d like to at least get a start on it. Besides, it’s nice and cool down there. At least until I start filling the washing machine up with super-hot water!

Enough sitting around here hanging out on the computer. Besides, Knitty’s new First Fall issue is just out but I don’t seem to be able to access it this morning. Probably all the other gazillion knitters overloading the server in an attempt to see it too. I’ll just wait until later. I’m patient. It’ll wait for me.

Just like everything else is waiting. Go to it, damselfly!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

Silly me. I wanted it to be summer and now it’s SUMMER with a vengeance! Over 31C outside (that’s nearly 90F) and 27C in the house on the main floor. I don’t know what it’s like upstairs because I’m afraid to go up there right now! The temps are at least 15 degrees Celcius hotter than they were a week ago and records are being broken in the opposite direction. Maybe that will teach me to complain about how cold I was in the beginning of July? Probably not.

I spent the morning watering the front garden and the dye garden. Not the back garden because I did that last evening but it needs it again now along with all the planters. Sigh. Shades of last summer’s scorching. I spend most of my spare time watering stuff so it doesn’t all croak on me. At least the heat-loving things are perking up finally. I swear the blueberries were ripening as I picked them!


I already pulled out the garlic and it’s drying on the deck.


It seems to be ok in spite of the rust, those red spots on the leaves:


Unfortunately I’d better throw those in the garbage instead of the compost or the city yard waste bin. Otherwise I’m just spreading the fungal disease. In spite of it all, the bulbs look to be alright. We’ll see how they store – though I’m not going to be able to braid them like usual because the tops need to go bye-bye. I’m also going to have to look for some disease-free garlic at the farmer’s market to plant again. Though how will I know if they didn’t have the same problems this year that I did?

What else? Oh yeah. I got more books in the post today. Yes, I know. Damselfly The Fanatical Book-Collector strikes again. Call it retail therapy. Or something. I can afford it now so I’m indulging myself. Anyway, I consider it education and sometimes text books are needed. Right? Anyhow, I’m really enjoying these because they fill in the gaps that the Connie Crawford book left in my brain. How to make the patterns fit if I don’t have a standard body shape? The Lee Hollahan book is good, but I’ve discovered it’s nowhere near detailed enough for me. OK if all you have to do is a few minor changes but mine are anything but minor or few.

So I got this book:


Sandra Betzina’s Fast Fit: Easy Pattern Alterations for Every Figure. And it seems really good so far. I like a lot of Sandra’s styles and the fact that she knows that everyone comes in their own special size. Her website is a little umm…hard sell. Not that I begrudge anyone from attempting to make a living but I likely won’t pay to get the webTV episodes. I personally don’t learn nearly as much from video – I keep wanting them to go faster and skip the stuff I already know. I can do that easier with a book. And books carry much more information in a way that’s easier to access at random. Videos are good though if you’re a more visual learner or for stuff that is hard to describe and you need to see performed to understand. But I digress.

The second book is this one:


Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer & Marta Alto. The ladies they are fitting in this book are definitely of all different shapes, sizes and ages. They step you through what needs to be done to a particular pattern to fit its intended body. I’ve only glanced through this one so far.

I have to say that the Palmer/Pletsch website is very helpful, particularly the free e-magazines you can download in PDF. Very professionally done with lots of helpful information.

The last book is back to Sandra Betzina again:


Since I need some more up-to-date sewing information, I looked at this book in the store before I ordered it. It seems to have lots of new methods (to me at least) which I need to peruse to see if they will come in handy to know. More reading! Yay!

I’ve now drafted my sleeve pattern and am working on the skirt sloper. Right now I have to remove this little laptop computer from my lap before I melt into a complete puddle.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Coming To You From My Deck

While I toast the unsightly psoriasis legs in the sunshine. Whew! We babysat 3-1/2-year-old grandbeastie Stargazer overnight for the first time. This Granny is pooped! He was pretty great though. Slept through the night beside us on the floor in his little portable air-mattress bed. When I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, he had to go too so woke (at 6am!) a dry bed. Late this morning his other Grandma came to fetch him and spell me off. Her daughter (his mom) is at the hospital doing some medical tests.

We had a great time this morning and I still managed to get lots done. I started the laundry while he rode the tricycle around the basement. I weeded a bit of the garden while he rode up and down the front sidewalk. He even helped pull out some of the weeds and put them in the bucket. Then he drove the “pirate ship”, aka my big loom which has wooden ratchet handles that remind him of ship’s wheels, and wound short lengths of yarn on the bobbin and ball winders while I ironed a few of T-Man’s shirts. We also played Play-doh, which is Stargazer’s absolute favourite pastime – next to playing trucks (or “frucks” as he calls them) with his grandpa, which they did last evening before bedtime. Outside on the shady deck is a great place to play. The tiny bits of Play-doh that are left just sweep into the garden where they dissolve.

BTW, did you know that Play-doh was originally invented in 1956 as…wait for it… wallpaper cleaner? And although we can make an acceptable substitute, the original formula is a secret known only to the manufacturers. Go figure. Instead of shaping the dough with his hands or using cookie cutters, Stargazer likes to use the extruder toys and chop the “worms” and “snakes” up with the plastic scissors. And the colours are totally irrelevant. Both he and his 5-year-old sister just mush them all together randomly until they are mud. Fun.

So my dear readers might be interested to know that I’ve resurrected a funky pair of baggy pants that are very comfortable to wear. They were made sometime a year or so after I got the Issey Mikaye pattern in 1994:


The crotch hangs around my knees so they feel like wearing a skirt but with the practicality of pants.


There’s a reason why I never get rid of anything! I have two pairs: one in gold polyester and my favourites in dark brown rayon corded twill which has a heavy drape and feels nice against the skin. Bare skin. Heh. However it’s too hot today (summer, yay!) so I’m wearing shorts instead. Oh, and I also managed to buy 2 pairs of Elita undershorts when I was at the mall yesterday, one in cotton & lycra and the other in rayon & microfibre. Very comfy. I may have to get more of the cotton ones. This creeping crud thing is becoming rather expensive. Bleh.

Speaking of that Issey Miyake pattern, I’ve also made the shirt from rayon that I stamped with Japanese resist paste and painted with fabric paints. I sewed up the underarms though instead of leaving them fashionably open. Unfortunately, being rayon, this shirt wrinkles like crazy every time I wear it. It’s very light but covers well when I want to avoid the sun. Some day I’d like to make the jacket out of something transparent but with a bit of body. It would work well with the rest of the outfit in either dark brown or dark indigo blue.

And speaking of sewing, I’ve finished the sleeve block and am currently working on the skirt. So far everything I’ve read about the skirt sloper (block) contradicts each other. Either the front should be wider, equal to or narrower than the back. The amounts of ease varies also, I think depending on whether this is to be used with the bodice sloper for a two-piece dress where you would want a bit more ease or alone for a skirt where you would want a closer fit at the waist.

And speaking of waists, the elastic waistband in my brown baggy pants surprised me by staying put in the correct spot, the one that would be my waist if I actually had one. I will have to measure it because it’s exactly the right size. It neither rides up because it’s too tight nor slips down because it’s too loose. If I can reproduce this effect in a skirt I will be very pleased. Also it must mean that my waist dimensions haven’t changed much in 15 years, huh? Or if they did, they’re back to the same ones now!

It’s pretty warm up in my studio right now. Not that I’m complaining, mind you! But I’m on the deck (in the shade now) catching the breezes and watching my blueberries ripen. I think I deserve to relax for a little while. At least until I need to drag myself in to make the bed, put the next load of laundry in the dryer and figure out what’s for supper. ’Splain to me how folks with a Real Job find any time to themselves at all? Or does it just make you more efficient when you know you have limited hours to fit in the want-to-do’s along with the have-to-do’s?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Successes & Not-So-Successes

This weekend was filled with lots of very satisfying gardening. I’m finally picking peas (snow & snap) daily and there’s kale, broccoli and lettuce. Several other veggies are finally recuperating from the poor weather though it still hasn’t warmed up. They say we’re in for a heat wave so I’m hoping that will help the even more pathetic ones. Even if it means watering every day. T-Man and I got a lot done as far as weeding and pruning, both front and back and in my dye garden. Yeah, I know I’m weird for enjoying all the work! The woad is nearly ready to be harvested for the first time, though it seems as if the bugs have bothered it more than usual this year. As always, some things are doing better and some things not so much. Every year is a different tale of successes and failures. That’s life in general, huh?

So Saturday was our 39th wedding anniversary and although we acknowledged it to each other, we didn’t really celebrate in any special way. Not that we take each other for granted! On the contrary, every day together is wonderful. OK, damselfly – enough of the sappy stuff. T should really have gotten a medal for putting up with my whining and whingeing, especially recently.

One thing I did finally get however was my prize basket that I won. It was filled with lovely goodies made by members of my weavers’ guild and raffled off at our gallery show at the Seymour Art Gallery. It was a huge surprise for me since I rarely win anything and even more rarely win anything that I really want. This stuff I want!


Don’t know if you can tell from this photo but it all coordinates nicely. How did they manage that? And I know every single person who made these items, some of them for 20 years or more. That makes it even more special! Here’s each piece in detail. First the round box with beading on the lid and dyed locks around the side:


Made by Bonnie Adie who is a fabulous stitcher. And this little book with ribbon tie and page marker by Jay Rudolph:


The end pages are world maps. So cool. Now I have a special place to do my “Ahem-tangles”. (I’ve decided that doodles really don’t need to sport a registered trademark.) Jay is one of the more youthful members of our guild and an expert in bobbinlace among other arts. Like Bonnie, she’s a graduate of the Capilano University’s Textile Arts program.

Next we have a scarf by my buddy Catherine Barr:


Cathie used a silk warp and Korean hanji paper weft in a twill weave which gives it a crisp tailored feel. T-Man wants this one!

These bookmarks are by our current guild president (and my perennial chauffeur) Beryl Hickinbottom:


She wove them on her little inkle loom. One can never have too many bookmarks! And I love the asymmetrical patterns.

This lovely skein of silk and wool yarn in watery blues and greens is by Linda Spence:


As well as spinning and weaving, Linda is also a prolific rug hooker. And we’re not done yet! Next up we have Elizabeth Bell’s gorgeous little piece of multishaft doubleweave:


She calls it a tea trivet but I don’t think I’m going to be staining it with tea anytime soon! The raw edges are finished by tucking them inside and handstitching the gap closed.

Last but not least is my pal Jo Anne Ryeburn’s incredible scarf:


The yarns are so fine it’s hard to imagine that it was handwoven! And shibori (tie-dye) woven at that. She wove in the ties as she went, drew them up tight and did a series of dyeing and painting to get all the colours. I’m going to have to ask her for more details, but I think the pleats are permanent.

Fabu collection, no? I’m so lucky! Sometimes anyhow.

Meanwhile because I was busy in the garden and such, I haven’t had a chance to work any more on my sewing project. I will shortly repair to my studio but first I have to take my new bike, Rideau, up the hill to the mall to get some tea. I’m nearly out of my favourite Damselfly Blend and need some Murchie’s #22 to mix some more. The other ingredient is Choice Pure Jasmine which I already have. Thank goodness because it’s super-expensive. (But nummy!) It’s finally nice enough outside today to make me feel like getting out and cycling.

And we won’t discuss the Creeping Crud (aka psoriasis) because it’s just too gross and annoying for words. A hint: regular panties have now become uncomfortable. I need pettipants or tap pants or something. Hmmm…I may be getting more than just tea at the mall. At least my feet have healed enough (after two stinkin’ weeks) that I can walk on them again without ouchies. My fuzzy slippers are still the most comfortable footwear at the moment though but it seems like it will be warming up too much to wear them soon. Fine!

You know, this would almost be amusing if it wasn’t so horrible. It’s like watching the tide coming in – while you’re stuck on a sandbar helpless to stop it. Oh, alright. It’s not going to kill me. Just annoy the pants off me! Literally.

But I won a prize!!!!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Fun With Itajime

Yesterday, my Spectrum Study Group had a great time playing with clamp-resist dye techniques. Called ‘itajime’ in Japan, it uses matched shapes and clamps to resist the dye. We used sawn sections of lexan and plexiglas, perforated plastic pieces, little round dishes (petri dishes?), metal shapes and other assorted bits and bobs. As long as there was a pair of them to be clamped on either side of our folded sample pieces of silk chiffon and, for the second go-round, silk chiffon scarves. The folds were simple or complex and we ironed them into the slippery fabric to make them more distinct. The dyes we used were Lanaset (Telana) and some of the dye was thickened to prevent it from seeping under the resists. Because of that we had to paint it on instead of immersing in a dyepot so it was somewhat tedious and time-consuming but we got some nifty effects.

After we painted on the dye, we left the clamped fabric to set for about 20 minutes or so. Then we took off the clamps and resists carefully leaving the folds in and wrapped the cloth in cling wrap. The little packets were then steamed for another 20 minutes or so in the steamer pot. There was very little to no colour washout in the rinse water. Silk chiffon dries very quickly but it kept raining just a little on them while they hung on the railing keeping everything damp.

This is what our picnic table on Jo Anne’s deck looked like:

Creative Mess

We were lucky her husband had a tarp rigged overhead because it kept sprinkling on us on and off all day. It’s Jo Anne’s spring/summer/fall dye studio as well as outdoor eating area.

So here’s me  with one of my twice-clamped-and-dyed sample:

Me and Itajime

Probably yapping away as the photo was taken (by Sandra) as usual! This piece had plenty of detail but I bet I won’t be able to ever make anything like it again. Notice the spotty one over my arm. I found some perforated plastic rectangles at Urban Source (cast-off industrial junk…er, wonderful creative art supply store). It was hard to get the dye in the holes but it kind of turned out neat, I think.

Here’s the final results from 8 people:


Notice how they are all so different! A few of the scarves had a pale under-dye of rose, blue or tan (the last using tea). The rest were plain white to begin with and we only used the two dye colours, black and magenta (really more of a Bordeaux red), on them. I may or may not overdye my scarf (second from left). I’m thinking I need to knock back the bright white some. The donut shapes are from empty tape rolls and then some lexan rectangles. Fun.

We’re still debating on what we’re going to do next. We’ve done so many things over the years and we have somewhat different interests so it’s hard to choose something that excites everyone.

Speaking of my guild members, I probably forgot to mention that I won the door prize at the Seymour Art Gallery where we had our recent 75th Guild Anniversary show! I was unable to pick it up when the show closed so just got it today delivered personally by our guild president. So cool! I never win anything, particularly anything good, and this is a whole basket full of handmade goodies! I’ll have an individual accounting for you when I get them all photographed. I need to write something up for the guild newsletter anyhow.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

It’s Fitting

Interestingly, current discussions around the blogs and forums about how clothing fits are much more detailed than I’ve heard in the past. Back when I learned to sew (in the dark ages of the mid-to-late 1960’s) fit was fairly close but not as highly tailored as it was in the earlier decades. Little sheath dresses, mini-skirts, simple pantsuits and vests were what I was making at the time. Of course, that was when I was a young skinny-minnie! In the 1970’s I was creating baby onesies and little girl dresses for my kids and ethnic smocks and long dresses for myself. The fit was more relaxed and it got even more so during the ’80’s and ’90’s when I was sewing long loose shirts, mid-calf-length dresses and the like. This is one from that era (1984) that I actually still wear:


It’s a pattern size 10 and by rights should be way too small. But it was so loose then that now it isn’t. Heh. A teensy bit tattered but then it’s over 26 years old! Soft blue cotton twill that barely needs ironing after laundering. So comfy. No wonder it’s still in the wardrobe.

And this TNT (Tried ‘N’ True) one from 1986 has seen at least 3 incarnations:


I have to finish sewing the last one but wear the first two often. The size Small still fits me loosely so you can guess how much ease is in this pattern. I like the rolled sleeves and longer back hem. There’s a pleat in the back providing more room. And no, I never made the one that ties in front.

Ah! Here’s one where you could fit 2 of me in the coat I made from it!


The pattern is from 1987 but the coat I made is circa 1996 and used recycled and hand-stamped fabrics and carved bone buttons, each one different. Love it though I might have to take it in somewhat if I want to wear it again. I made the t-shirt but it never fit properly (wrong proportions for me) but the pants with some waist alterations were the best fit I ever found and I made a number of pairs over the years. They have a flat fly-front but elastic back which is one reason why they worked so well. I must have a “Vogue butt”! (Apparently different pattern company’s pants fit certain bodies better.) A bit tight on me now though and I’m hoping to come up with an even better fitting pants pattern eventually.

Loose to very-loose fit means that it doesn’t matter where the armhole falls because the shoulders are wide and dropped. Some are kimono style with the sleeve cut onto the body. The body is also loose and often has tucks or gathers - darts and zippers are rare to nonexistent. Also rare are fitting issues when you are enveloped in a tent! As long as the neckline isn’t choking and the sleeves aren’t dragging on the ground, you’re good to go. Unfortunately these extreme styles are usually not particularly flattering on any body type. Sells fabric though.

Fit is a much bigger issue when clothes are supposed to fit tighter to the body than we’ve become used to. If it fits closer then it needs to fit better and how one’s body shape differs from “standard” becomes a much more important issue. This current blouse (which I haven’t made yet) is an example:


Not sure what it will look like when I’ve “damselflied” it so we’ll see. And I think the retro-1950’s look is really cute. At least with the younger crowd who can get away with it. Unfortunately I can’t wear a tight bodice with a gathered skirt on this body. I’m certainly not going to wear a tight girdle like they did in the ‘50’s! Ugh. Yes, girls, underwear was Serious Stuff in those days. You young’uns have no idea.

But are fashions heading towards larger-scale and loose again? This one is less closely fitted:


I like that line (but not the ruffled-sleeved one – they look like wings) and it would be great in something linen-like or even hand-woven. Could also be a longer tunic or dress version.

Anyway as I’ve mentioned before, I personally prefer clothes that are neither too tight nor too loose. I’m all about the comfort or I won’t wear it. I’ve been really lazy over the last while and just bought baggy-stretchy things but I’m trying to turn over a new leaf. So that means to get what I really want, I’ll have to make it myself.

Meanwhile, I struggle with my basic slopers. At least I have many decades of sewing experience and I’m learning a lot of new things while I’m playing around. And of course when I get tired of bending my brain around my anatomy, I knit. Coming up the front of Stargazer’s new sweater now.

So it’s off to play itajime (clamp-resist dyeing) with my Spectrum Study Group today. I’ve made a salad of lightly steamed snow and snap peas from my garden in a ginger dressing for the potluck lunch. Never a dull moment, eh?

Happy Canada Day! And Sad Tax Day in BC. (HST sucks! What where they thinking?)