zondag 31 januari 2010

A Day In The Life

For me, the joy of reading is that I can experience a different world, a different time, new perspectives, emotions and thoughts. It expands my world so much and sometimes makes me feel like I am able to live more than one life. That’s why I enjoyed reading “Saturday”, from Ian McEwan. It gave me the chance to experience the word of a well-to-do, English male, living in London. He’s 48-years old, just like Mark. That gave it an extra dimension.

Ever since I saw the movie Atonement I’ve been interested to read something from McEwan. I picked up a book from him in the library, a few weeks ago, but since it handled about the kidnap of a young child I didn’t dare reading it. Last time they had ‘Saturday” on the shelf, and I took it with me. I liked it. It’s an account of a Saturday in 2003 in the life of brain surgeon Henry Perowne. I saw Henry perform his surgeries, as a skilled technician. I felt him being moved by his son’s music, but not by his daughter’s poets. I read about his worries of a terrorist attack and his thoughts about the war against Iraq. The war may free the oppressed people there. I felt Henry’s love for his wife, but couldn’t identify with his will to win a squash game. Henry’s a bit bland, being more of an analytic type of person, but likable. Especially in the way he deals with his mother, who has dementia, and in the compassion he has for a villain who enters his life and house.
I know McEwan is regarded as a great contemporary writer, but he hasn’t stricken me, yet. I couldn’t find multiple layers in this work, or feel the built up tension other readers describe. The account of the aggression he encounters didn’t frighten me. The way he wrote that part made me stay on the outside. But I will try another work of McEwan (in Dutch, because the English would be to complicated) and see if I can find the greatness there.
For now, reading this book was just very pleasant.

vrijdag 29 januari 2010

Things my mother made

Look what my mother gave me, last Tuesday. It's a potholder (it may look huge, but it's a 20 cm square). After a live a sewing, making lace, origami, knitting (not that much), embroidery and making Waldorf dolls she now is into quilting. It all started when we went to a summerfair 3 years ago. There were beautiful pieces hanging there and after a chat with the women over there she joined the quiltclub. They come together ever Thursday and she has been making wonderful stuff since then.
Here's another example. it's been hanging on our chimney ever since Christmas and I just didn't like putting it away already. A little bit of starlight in our home.

woensdag 27 januari 2010

New Challenge

Have you seen the logo on the right? I signed up for a swap with the Dutch Sisters, Corry and Heleen. I've been following their blogs for quite some time now. They make wonderful things, and both do a lot of quilting. For the swap I'm not going to quilt, but I already have something in mind that suits the criteria: make something so nice you would love to keep yourself that can fit into a large envelop. Post it together with 2 of your best fabrics.
It's a chance for me to sew something different, that is, no clothes. Good for a change.
I notice also that this whole blogging thing of mine has something to do with it. I don't want to blog about sewing clothes for Pelle the whole time. Because I'm afraid that would be a bit boring. And of course there's more to tell, snippets of my life and thoughts. But a bit of sewing variety keeps your appitite alive, isn't it?

dinsdag 26 januari 2010

Struggling with bibs

Inspired by this tutorial on the net about making bibs with sleeves, I decided it would be a nice gift to the mother of a boy and girl twin, who were born in September. Because our internet connection is failing during the day (have to look into that) I drafted a pattern myself, using an old bib of Pelle. But it turned out way to large.
So I borrowed a bib from a friend and drafted another pattern. After lining it I decided that was not a good idea, because the bib became way to bulky. My mother (who came to visit) removed the lining, and I bought bias bind yesterday. I borrowed a special biasbindfoot for the Pfaff, but struggled again. The fabric of the towel was too big for the instrument. So I screwed on my regular foot again and did my best. Biasbind and Oddwise don’t go together very well (hence the idea of lining the bib). But I came there in the end, had to do some extra stitching by hand to correct some mistakes and then that part was finished. I added a boyapplique and Velcro and was done in, what shall we say, 3 hours? And then there was another one to be made… But of course that one was easier. And now I know that the best way for me to use that bind is to stitch it twice. First onto the fabric, then folding it over, and then attaching it to the other side. Because then I know it’s secured well onto the fabric and not just to itself, leaving a gap at the border.

Now that they are finished I feel content and am really pleased with the result. I hope the mother is, too. I will sure make them again, as the occasion arises.

The appliqu├ęs are just pieces of fabric I once bought for the crib. Since I used something else I have way to much left (3 meters). So if you’re interested, just leave a remark and I can sent you a fat quarter or more for free. You only have to pay for the postage. It’s a pale yellow cotton from the Duimelot Cottage collection.

zondag 24 januari 2010

Time flies, even if your busy

Remember the hat I made for Pelle? It’s a favorite of one of the teachers at school. And I wanted to make something else to go along with it.

So here the are: mittens.
And something more to go along.
So I present

A scarf.
The frills of the scarf match the tassels of the hat.
The colour of the lining is blue, but I have no better light at the moment.

But these mittens.

Oh my, these took me sooo long to make. I started yesterday with one.
This morning it appeared to be to large. And then I made an easier design, just drawing around Pelle's hand, but they didn’t fit either. The thumb was to small and high up. So I decided to adjust yesterday's mitten by taking out the lining and the elastic band, making it smaller and fitting in a new band again. Still to big around the wrist. Made the elastic band smaller.
But now they’re finished. The construction is a bit unusual, if I do say so myself. It’s a separate thumppiece, I drew according to the store bought mittens he has. So there’s no seam running across the thumb and he has a bit more room for movements.
The good thing is that after all the corrections, I now have a pattern I can use again and again - I hope- just adding some millimeters each time.

Tomorrow it’s on to making some bibs. Which again take me far more time than I anticipated. When will I ever become fast? Aren’t all the other woman fast? I envision them with their machines running mad and throwing garment after garment high up in the air, singing happily.

woensdag 20 januari 2010

One step beyond

Sewing for Pelle isn’t always easy, and sometimes it’s stretching my skills. But after all the effort and time I’m getting more and more relaxed and confident. And I took a major step. Being raised in a very old-fashioned way, I always traced the patterns with a double thread. That took a long time, not only the tracing itself, but also pulling out the tiny threads when I did my official sewing. They got stuck and I had to pull hard, sometimes, using a pincer. After reading so many blogs about people sewing I thought I was about the last person on earth still using this technique. So I just let it go, for Pelle’s clothes. I’m joining the forces and will cut with 1 cm seam allowance. Because frankly, I won’t make muslins for him or do any major adjustments during the process. If it doesn’t fit him, I just make something new.
And now it’s time to take another step. Sewing for myself. I tried it last year, and the result was disastrous. I threw the skirt and pants I made in the waist bin. The patterns, the fabric, the shape off the clothes, everything worked against me building my own wardrobe.

But I want to try again. It would be so good to have a few good patterns to rely upon. So I have another go at a simple skirt. Deciding for something that I think will fit my slightly peary shape. Yes, I admit, ladies, I am a pear. Small in the waist (size 38), bigger on the hips (size 40). No gatherings at the hips anymore (which make them stick out like a huge mountain slope), but a decent Eiffel tower. First impressions are good, very good. Encouraging.
So it’s onto the zipper now and the lining next. The final touches will be made with assistance of my sewing teacher. I already have visions of hunderds of skirts to follow. The fabrics I have! So appealing! And no being dependent upon stores! Ohh, that freedom.
To be continued.

vrijdag 15 januari 2010

Sewing again

Back to the basics of this blog: sewing for a boy. I finaly finished a pant (man, did that waistband trouble me. And still it's not perfect, because the beltloops are to small.)

ringo pants
Originally uploaded by oddwise

Ringo pants
Originally uploaded by oddwise
These pants are made from an old skirt from my mom. It's a bit out of the box for me, colourwise, but I like the way they turned out. As I was afraid that the wool would itch, I lined the pants. I am pleased with the shape. Rather slim and more suitable for this fabric than a baggy one, I think. Still have to redo the beltloops, because he needs a belt with this one, as some of you might see.

My mother has given me another of her old skirts, I might make another pant. Then I will sew the fold as the versitale Mma. Zsazsa did here.

And this morning a made a hat, because Pelle's old one is becoming to small.

chewing peppermint
Originally uploaded by oddwise
The hat is a bit tight, as the fabric is not as stretchy as the fabric recommended in the pattern (the fabric's like a towel - can't come up with the English name right now- with a little strech). But he hasn't removed it yet, and that's already quite unusual. This boy is like his father, not fond of wearing anything on the head.

zaterdag 9 januari 2010

On knitting

Sometimes, I knit. Not much nowadays, but I used to do it a lot, when I was a teenager and some years later, when I studied. For me, knitting is a much older love than sewing. It has a lot more tranquility attached to it, than sewing. And you can do it everywhere. I did not knit much for Pelle though, because I have so much trouble recalculating the rows and stitches when the recommended wool is not available. It so often became too small, our too large, or totally out of shape. So I only have two finished objects to show you here. The cardigan was knitted when we were on holiday on Texel, one of the islands in the Waddensee, a long time ago. Pelle was 6 month old and could not even sit.

Originally uploaded by oddwise

The scarves were quickly made from stripy sockwool. I finished the brown one when we were, again, on holliday. This time to Gran Canaria and I was so glad I took this with me, because my mother was hospitalised there and it was a comfort to knit while sitting along her bed.

There are some UFO's too. Maybe I finish the one below, because I really loved doing the jacquard motif. It's too small for Pelle to wear now, but I would like it to become a sweater. We'll see.

dinsdag 5 januari 2010

A bargain

The library in our village offers a great service: You can lend sewing magazines. The have the Dutch Knipmode and the Burda in their collection. And every year they sell the old issues from the year before for a apple and an egg, as our expression goes. So today I bought 6 issues of the Knipmode from 2008 for only € 1,50 (in total), where the issues normally costs € 5,95 a piece.
Rather cheap hey?