donderdag 31 december 2009

2009 coming to a close

My last post for this year. It’s been tough, and I’m feeling sad. It’s becoming more and more clear to me that the boy I love so much lives in a world of his own. I’m sure he’s happy, but I so wished he was able to connect more with the world outside, with other children, understanding them and responding to them. Being interactive. I’m sad when I look at other children his age, who understand so much more and act so different.
So 2009 has not been a good year for me. I’m sure there will come a time when I can be happy, even though Pelle is just the boy he is. For now I feel the loss of a dream I unconsciously had. Of raising a curious, social boy into a responsible man. I’m faced with another task I can’t clearly see at this moment. One thing is obvious, though, and that’s that I still can give Pelle all the love I have and that’s more than I ever imagined I could feel, before he was born. I’m so grateful I’m a mum but it leaves me more vulnerable than ever. So I sure hope next year will be happier.

And for all of you who read this, I wish you much happiness, too. I’m glad you found me on the internet and read my posts. It feels like we have a connection. And we can never have enough off those, can’t we? It keeps the world together, smaller, human. So thanks for being here and share my thoughts and work. Let 2010 be a good year for all of us.

About PJ's and leggings

Originally uploaded by oddwise

With the weather being so wintery I felt the urge to wrap Pelle in softness.
So I started sewing Pelle 2 PJ's and 2 leggings. The leggings are meant to wear under his skipant.
And the PJ's proved a great way to test an Ottobre pattern (because the shirtpattern also comes with a hoodie, which I'd like to make, too). I'm so pleased with the way the PJ's turned out, the prints combined with the solids. And I was able to test another way to make a V-neck binding. Not very suited for a PJ, I think (because it's a bit colder around the neck) but I will use this technique again for T-shirts and sweaters. As for the binding on the other shirt, I think I finally mastered it! Steching out the fabric along the neck and sewing it on using a twin needle.

maandag 28 december 2009

A great book

I’m not one for great literature. I’m the one for great tales. I love reading books where the story captures you in every way. When, even if you put down the book, you’re still wrapped around in it’s atmosphere. Where you’re going to love the characters and want them to be your friends.
Now here’s the book I loved reading, because it has it all. An epic tale and great characters. With lots of threads woven into.
It’s about a twin boy growing up in Ethiopia, becoming a doctor, going to the States, finding part of his roots, and going back home again.
Put it like this, it sounds so simple, but that’s why I am not a writer. Because I can’t play with words that much (especially not in a foreign language) and make the story come alive. I can only express my love for a book that has the same feeling to it as The Kite Runner. If you loved that book, you sure should read this one.

zaterdag 19 december 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Winter really set in, last thursday. I love the softness the snow brought. It seems all so quiet outside, muffled sounds, everything covered with a lovely crisp light. We were forced to pace down, driving slowly (I left that task to Mark), walking to the stores. 'Driving' Pelle home from school on the sledge. I really felt the enchantment in the air.

I sure hope we can stop global warming, because every year there seem to be lesser and lesser days like this. It's a real pity.

Here's a pick of our aplle tree and a view into the street (it snowed while taking it).

Being green

Being green
Originally uploaded by oddwise
This is the front of a pant I made recently. Rather green, hey? I love it.
As a wider wale corduroy in bright colours is very hard to get by here in Holland, I'm so glad I found this fabric some time ago.
I used pattern nr. 27 of the 4/07 issue of Ottobre, changing it a bit (kept some of the curves of nr. 29, and made them run through the back) and ... added some suttle hedgehogs. I just stiched them with my faithfull Pfaff.

Green pant, back
Originally uploaded by oddwise

Here's the back. The hedgehogs keep on walking along the right leg. And there's one on the pocket too.
The fit is great. It's a slender one, and I was afraid, with the elastic waistband I put into it that he wasn't able to go over Pelle's bum, but that's no problem.
Have to make them a little shorter, but wanted to wash them first.

in a row
Originally uploaded by oddwise
Here's a close-up.
I'm quite pleased with the way these turned out. Subtle, but present.

donderdag 17 december 2009


Originally uploaded by oddwise
It's been a long while, I know. I went through a small depression, I guess, because it seemed like all the joy slipped away in my life. I couldn't do anything else than watching TV at night, had no energy left. I so had hoped Pelle to be a normal child. I'm struggling with him being different. It grieves me, too. I guess that's how life is, giving up on your dreams, sometimes. Letting it go. Sure it's not the first time I have to do it, but it certainly is the toughest one. I'm not there yet, and maybe coping with his disabillity will be hard, at times. But fortunately I am sewing again. And I loved the way the hoodie turned out.

donderdag 15 oktober 2009

girlscap with rose

Like I mentioned in my former post, I did something different in sewingclass last Tuesday. Since the days are rapidly getting colder here, I felt commited to finish of a cap laying around since one of the hottest days this year (in August).

The story below is a copy of the one I wrote on Flickr.

girlscap with rose
Originally uploaded by oddwise
For the first time since I've been sewing Ottobre patterns, (for 4 years now) I've made something for a girl!
And I have to admit: it was a joy.
The 10-years old sister of a playmate of Pelle choose the item herself and helped with tracing and cutting.
I'm a bit worried about the fit, hope it's big enough for her.

girlscap with rose
Originally uploaded by oddwise
In Dutch we call this a baret, maybe a beret is a good English translation? (My Ottobre mag is also in Dutch, so I'm not so familiar with all the terms).
I made it from a thicker woolfelt, (a popular fabric for coats and jackets here in Holland, for over a few years now). The border is a ribknit which I also use for shirt for Pelle.
The lining is a blue cotton, and the rose is from velours.

maandag 12 oktober 2009

Call me Ismael

This weekend I started sewing on a T, in between visiting the fire brigade, going to the woods, seeing a DVD (the gripping ‘The Divingbell and the Butterfly” ) and hearing a choir sing Bach Cantates in our local church. And yes, I know, there’s the blue pant barely starting to come together, but I just couldn’t resist the striped fabric I bought at the Stoffenspectakel.

It said nautical to me and I contemplated on adding a pirate or a lighthouse but decided to go for a whale. Because I can still appliqué animals now, and maybe next year that’s already to childish, whereas the other themes are more age-proof and I can still use them when he’s older.
I can’t draw but the internet is willing, so I found an image there, from a colourbook.

I started experimenting with the appliqué.

No, no orange this time but something red. A red whale then? No, to much

But a red border, that’s nice. And a fountain, gives it a bit more zest.

Hey, and if I also appliqué the fountain, it will stand out more.
And adding the fountain to the sleeve, won’t that be a nice accent?

And of course, there should be a red binding and I can make a finishing touch by adding a red honeycomb stitch to the yoke.

So here’s the result (have to secure the binding on the collar, but had to go this afternoon, and took a quick photo while it was still daylight).

Rather nice hey?

Tomorrow I’ll do something completely different at sewingclass. Stay tuned.

donderdag 8 oktober 2009

work in progress, blue pant

Yesterday evening, I sewed on one pocket to the back of the blue pant I am making for Pelle.
Because it’s my own ‘design’, I have to do a lot of judging. The size of the pockets (not to small, having to be in accordance with the pocket flaps), where to put them (not to low on the hips, not to close to the middle seam), comparing them with pants I made earlier on, but who are not exacly the same.
But it went well, and I’m happy, for now. I hope it stays that way when the whole pant comes together.
lining out the pocket

topstiching it

sewing the pocket flap (hey, the lines I've drawn come in handy!)

The result


So now onto the other pocket. But first a colour accent: as you can see I added a green square.
Hope that turns out the way I envisioned it.

There'll be no more sewing tonight, have to go to meditation class, but I'll keep you posted on the progress. (Hope you like it).

woensdag 7 oktober 2009

Fabric, fabric, fabric everywhere

Today I went to a giant indoor fabric market, called stoffenspektakel. It's twice a year, in the fall and spring, in Groningen, our major city (and everywhere else throughout Holland, a part of Germany and Belgium).
I have to confess that I am not a happy shopper. I really, really don't like shopping. Because I get overwhelmed with all the choices and in regards to clothes for me, it's always a disappointment. Because I go into town with the purpose of buying a purple T, and then that colour is not in fashion. I try several stores, and end up grumpy and tired. And when I finaly find something that's good colourwise the fit is awfull, or my size (38, a very normal size) is not available anymore.
It's been years since I bought something simple like a pair of jeans. Because I don't like the low waist fit and it's very hard to get something else.
That's why I hate fashion. Because it's so often not my taste and there's so little room for anything else in the stores, or I don't have the stamina to walk in and out of shops for more than 2 hours. So when I need something new, it's always a struggle, and hardy ever a joy.
With fabrics it's slightly different, though. Because after 3 years of sewing I pretty much know what I want for Pelle and where I can find it. I'm just more focussed now. And it's really a joy for me when I find something suitable for boys. Very slowly I'm starting to look around for something nice for myself too. So what I bought today is a purple flowery knit for a T-shirt for myself (a Stenzo-fabric), a stripy knit for a T for Pelle, and an orange knit to go with an ooga-booga fabric I bought in the States. The curtain fabrics will be a bag someday. Because we have a Cars addict living here in the house.

dinsdag 6 oktober 2009

Plain Ugly

A few month ago, when the weather was just like today (cold and rainy), I made Pelle a red corduroy pant, already for this upcoming season. But in the process something went horribly wrong: it came out plain ugly. I already had my doubts while constructing it, but nevertheless moved on. But the pockets, the kneepads, the checkered cotton, it’s all totally of key.
The only thing that was good is the fit.
So now I’m busy with something completely different, to quote Monty Pyton. A bleu pant, using the basic lay-out, (for the addicts: nr. 25 from 1/2009) but with everything else different. Adding green and nice pockets on the side, and intending to use a cord in the waist and the legs.

Here’s a sketch off what I have in mind, based on several Ottobre designs.

The legs on the ironing board.
Usually I trace the pattern with a double white thread, but for now I used a tailors pencil

The pocket flaps, made this morning.
I'll be posting more as I go along, I recon this pant will take me several evenings.

And the red pants? I trimmed of all the extras. It’s just two legs now, sleeping in my sewing room, dreaming of a fabulous make-over. Maybe some day I wake them up.

maandag 28 september 2009

Sewing for the fall

The worries about Pelle are fading. We had a talk with his schoolteachers and they are going to monitor him, but for now there’s no reason to search for another school. I’m glad and happy. Happy because when I look at him, I see a boy who’s vivid, lively and really enjoys living. Who’s very happy most of the times. Who’s really sweet and cuddly. Who makes my heart sing, when I just want to listen to it. I don’t know what the future will bring, but will I ever? So I better enjoy living with him and letting his soul touch me.
All the more reasons to sew for him and make him the clothes that suit him and reflect my taste: colorful and sweet.
Since I so loved the green pants I made him last year, I wanted to make something similar, but in another colour. The pattern in Ottobre didn’t size up till 104, so I improvised on another pattern from a Dutch magazine called Knippie.
It came out very fine.

I also made a T to go with it and am working on a sleeveless sweater.

The blue of the T is made from a PJ from my father-in-law.
It's really a pity Pelle's not able to get to know him any better (he died when Pelle was one-and-a-half year old) because this was a humorous, social and active man whom I respected very much, so I like the little connection.

Tomorrow sewing-class starts again, and I’m going to finish yet another pant. More about that later.

donderdag 24 september 2009


School is paying of. Pelle wanted to do some cutting the other day. "In school you can cut", he said and of course I added as quickly as possible that you can do those things at home too. So here he is, making small cuts all around the edges of the paper.
The long awaited sign of something crafty!
(Tomorrow we have a talk with his own and the remedial teacher. I hope Pelle can stay there for the moment, because he has really bonded with both his regular teachers. And I love the idea of having him in the small, caring school in the village. I keep you posted on this).

zondag 20 september 2009

handmade in the kichen, part 2

This is the cover of a cookbook my mother made many, many years ago (I think during the sixties). She gave it to her mother-in-law, but she didn’t appreciate it very much. For this head-strong lady, handcrafting had to be useful. Embroidering or making thing from felt was too posh. Your time was much better spend knitting socks, sewing aprons and clothes, working in the vegetable garden.
But my grandmother died many years ago (reaching the age of 92) and now I own the cover and the cookbook. With a slightly moralistic tone concerning the household and lovely recipes. And probably one of the oldest pieces of handcraft of the many my mother made.
Thanks mum! I love it very much.

donderdag 17 september 2009

Opening up

I have not been so active with this blog lately because I didn’t sew that much (my serger is out of order, tomorrow I’ll pick it up from the repairmen) but more importantly, I had something else on my mind.
Some of you might know that I have had my worries about Pelle’s development. I wrote about it before. I can disappear into a black cloud once in a while, when I see him acting so differently than other kids his age. And when the teacher of the toddlers playgroup noticed him not at all playing with other children, I worried more. So we had some talks with an extra-care organization and this summer Pelle did some tests. Which he didn’t do well at all. They concluded that he has a developmental backlash and is retarded. Frankly, I find that a rather bold conclusion for a test that took only 40 minutes. But nevertheless, I have to face the possibility that they are right. That this boy of mine will not be like other children. That he has trouble learning new things and skills. That he will never go to college or a normal school.
That’s not something I can easily accept.
Because I have my dreams for him, which are basically him wanting to have the same live as I have. Going to college, having a job out in the world, finding a spouse, having kids, earning a living. That’s my view of having a good life. Of being happy. And it may turn out differently for Pelle. What’s in store for him? I don’t know and I think this scares me. And then the cloud is there, and I feel depressed.

But there are other thoughts as well. And other responses. Like really feeling and seeing my emotions. Mark and I are meditating almost every evening and are more and more drawn to a Buddhist view of the world. So I have my practice of really entering my emotions, so to say. And it’s a bit like my fear for driving. When I really look at it, I come to the conclusion that I can handle it. That it doesn’t mean my world is ending. Because my world is bigger than the images I have of a future for Pelle. There’s an open space which I can enter with him. My happiness should not be dependent on a narrow path I sketched in the future. I don’t have to be that narrow-minded. I don’t feel that enclosed. Now that I am confronted with my fears I feel the world is opening up for me, for us. Opening up like it has never done before.
Of course that doesn’t mean that my worries are gone. Or that the clouds are all blown away. But there’s a new perspective. I’m on a hill with Pelle, holding his hand. And there’s a beautiful valley below us, waiting to be explored. Mark is already a bit downhill. So here we go, the tree of us, entering a new world. Descending step by step. With a warm heart and faith in our minds.

I so love you, kiddo!

dinsdag 8 september 2009

Handmade in the kitchen

On with the series of handmade items in my house. We’ve strolled through the utility-room and enter the kitchen. First, there’s the rack with the aprons and potholders.

This one was made (crotched) by Mark’s grandmother. I won it many years ago with Christmas. Each year, we play a game with the whole family where we slide wooden stones along a board, into various holes. Don’t know how it’s called in English. (Sjoelen in het Nederlands).
Another pair of potholders are made by my mother, using patchworkstips.

Then there are various aprons.

I made this one for Mark when his hair was still dark. Yes, that’s very long ago. It’s from a magazine called Ariadne, which was loaded with tons of craft ideas each month. Crocheting, knitting, sewing, they had fabulous designs. Many issues made me dream away when I was teen. I so miss a magazine like that in Holland. (Ariadne still exists. But they changed the format into Home and Decorating. Pity, pity).
I appliqued the image of the druid from Astrix and Obelix by using the sewingmachine.

This apron is for Pelle. I bought it in our Fair Trade store in the village. It’s made in Latin America.

Our most recent one. Ready-made with comments from Mark’s colleages.

We end this tour with a look into the drawer with the bibs. There’s one from Astrid, which started this blog , and one (stained, sorry) I made when Pelle was a baby. The front is inspired by the cotton back.


So here we pause. And have a nice cup of tea.