maandag 27 februari 2012

Green sweatpants.

I finally finished a green sweat pant which was laying around for a couple of weeks now. The reason it took so long is because I doubted the outcome very much. Although the green sweat knit and the striped T-shirt knit go well together, I thought the overall picture would be to pale, even though I made an appliqué. Now that it’s finished I think it’s not that bad, but it still wouldn’t be one of my favorites.
The pattern I used before. It's from the Ottobre-issue 03/08, # 11.

The apllique at the back is made out of yellow and orange cotton. I used an image from the internet and changed it slightly. I made it on my regular sewing machine, using a strait stitch and going over the image a couple of times to give it a sketchy feel.

Detail of the back and side seam. In real life, the seam is not as wobbly as it looks here. The other sideseam is even straighter. I used a honeycomb stitch for the pockets.

I used two elastic waistbands of 1,5 cm. each and stitched in-between. The drawstring is just an unfinished piece of the T-shirt knit I used for the accents.

donderdag 23 februari 2012

Another one.

This will be the last sweater for this winter season. I made 3 out of sweater knit and I recon that will be enough for this moment – too much, even. But I so loved the pattern from the last one I made and dreamed about the red and purple colours together I digged in and here’s the result. I added a light blue piping for some extra zest and made a hood out of a lighter weight fabric which I doubled. If I can find a good rib knit I might replace the cuffs, since they are just a tad too wide for my liking, but otherwise I’m very pleased with the outcome. I hope Pelle can wear it next season, too. Don’t grow up to fast, little one.

zaterdag 18 februari 2012

Green sweater.

I buy my fabric everywhere. Online, at the gigantic in-door market, in the shop (unfortunately the quality shop in our neighboring village closed recently) and sometimes at our local market in Groningen. When I lived in the middle of Holland, I often went to Utrecht on Saturday mornings. There’s a great fabric market there which attracts people all over the country and even Belgium. So when Mark, Pelle and I went to Utrecht in the Christmas holidays father and son climbed the famous Dom tower and I strolled through the streets on the lookout for some knits. Not for T-shirts, but for sweaters since it was cold and then I always have the urge to wrap my boy in warm softness. (Which frankly is a bit overenthusiastic, because this boy of mine is hardly ever cold).
To my disappointment here was not that much choice. I bought an orange-red knit that resembles actual hand knit stuff

and an lighter weight dark green one of which I bough 1 meter.
Two weeks ago I sewed a simple sweater out of it.

It's based on an Ottobre sweater pattern. I added a turtleneck.

Patternpiece of the turtleneck. Borrowed from here and adjusted to the with of the neckline.

To be sure it would fit I followed the neckline of a hoodie.
In hind side, that would not have been necessary, because it goes easily over Pelle’s head. I added an iron-on appliqué (ready made) and although I used a backing sheet to protect it, you can see a faint mark of my iron on the fabric. Oh well, that’s only for the careful observer.
The sweater suits him very well. He looks so mature in it.

donderdag 16 februari 2012

Climbing aboard.

When you life in Holland, you have to learn how to swim. There’s water all around us. So every Dutch child, when she or he is a toddler goes to a swimming school. Last week we skipped lessons in order to skate (whitch he does very well since I bought him icehockeyskates) , but now sadly the ice is gone and there we were again, in the small pool with 7 other kids, doing their laps.

Toes over the brim.

Through the hole.

I told some time ago that Pelle’s rapid development mirrors the way he picks up his swim skills. Step-by-step he dared to go under water with his head, is able to follow instructions and is learning how to move his body in the right way. He still makes a lot of noise and his own awkward body movements (rapidly clasping his fists together and stamping his feet while grunting) when he is out of the pool and waiting to jump in again, but he’s definitely enjoying his time. The last weeks it seemed he had forgotten a lot of what he’d learned, and didn’t know how to move his legs anymore. I guess he was on the threshold of some new development: integrating his arms and legs into a total body movement. Yesterday things went smooth again.
When lessons are over the children can play in the water for a couple of minutes, before the other group starts. There are rubber floats and all kind of other gear. Recently, Pelle liked to make great jumps and climbed in and out of the water time and time again. He also loves to put on flippers to see how fast he can go. He is totally happy in and around the water, but until now, never interacted with other children while playing.
Until yesterday something exciting happened. Pelle climbed on board of a big yellow float, next to a couple of kids. I was so amazed. It looked so natural. But I knew it was another sign of him opening up to the social world around him and wanting to participate. There sure was a very happy mum watching her kid yesterday.

vrijdag 10 februari 2012

Black jeans.

Black jeans. by oddwise
Black jeans., a photo by oddwise on Flickr

Via Flickr:
I love the versatility of the Ottobre patterns. The fit of this model is very well for my boy. (I added an elastic band in part of the waistband after taking the picture, to make it fit even better). I used this pattern several times now and each time modified it in a different way.
This time I cut the front leg into 2 pieces thus creating a triangular knee part. I double stiched the seams with an turquoise thread but forgot one sideseam. Oh well, I don't bother.

Back. by oddwise
Back., a photo by oddwise on Flickr

Via Flickr:
I cut the back legs in two triangular pieces and used the reverse of the fabric to accentuate the hip part (also modified that piece to make it more triangular).
I made the legs extra long, so I could fold them back, showing the reverse of the fabric again.





I love the way the jeans turned out. As I was sure it would fit, it was worth going to all the trouble of cutting up the knees etc. But it was a lot of work, and now I'm up for something quick and easy.

donderdag 9 februari 2012

A tiny piece of our program.

As Pelle is autistic, we run a program at our home based on the principles of Son-Rise, but with a little Dutch twist to it. I play as much as I can with Pelle, about two times a week. Every Tuesday Lila comes over and every Friday there’s Tamara to play with Pelle. We have a great team together. As Pelle loves to go outside, we also play in the woods around our home and in places like his schoolyard since he’s able to keep connected there.
Our goals at the moment are to entice him in imaginative play, encourage him to play together and to stimulate him to draw.
Here are some examples of how we do that.
Pelle loves to play with a little electronic game where you match cards.

If you place a card on the one hand side of the toy, the little elephant asks you a question and you have to place the right card on the other side. ‘This is mister green. What vehicle does mister green drive?’, and you’re supposed to find the green truck. Pelle has since long learned how to match the cards, but the thing that keeps him going back to the game are the funny noises he loves. And especially when you misplace the food items. The little elephant says ‘Bah!” (= ‘yuck’) and this is so very funny, Pelle laughs wholeheartedly. So when he played the game the other day Tamara made a creative turn. She asked Pelle to imitate the characters. And there he went, pretending to walk with a stick (mister blue), to wet the plants (mister green), to walk behind a pram (mister pink) Tamara acted out as the female counterpart of the cards. They had lots of fun and thus realized one of the goals (pretend play).

When Lila and Pelle went out to the woods a few month ago they started by taking the same course every time. Pelle did not want Lila to walk ahead and that was just fine. Lila followed Pelle’s steps and it developed into a game where they each do their funny walks while the other person tries to imitate it. More and more, Pelle is giving away his control and last time they took turns deciding which path to take and strolled around the entire forest. It was the result of Lila asking if she could choose and step-by-step, Pelle gave in. (He started by allowing her to take 5 steps in front of him). It’s about being patient and persisted, but also about being totally at ease with the situation as it is. There is no pressure whatsoever.
In the woods, Lila also sometimes pretends to be a classmate who for instance can’t cross the puddle and needs help (Pelle offered his hand) and they practice waving and other social behaviors.

And what do I do? Last week, he said to me: “I want to do something scary”. So I blindfolded him and gave him tasks like “walk to the music box”, which stands in a corner of our room. And we did some wrestling, too. Tried to push each other of the couch (I said it was a boot and the floor was the sea, to give it an extra dimension, but Pelle didn’t react to that), I ‘imprisoned’ him behind the couch where he escaped and we chased each other. The interaction was so organic. Miles away from the way we started, with a bus on the floor of his room and hundreds of questions about the way the doors would open and shut. And that was only one-and-a-half year ago. If I think of the progress he’s made since then, I’m filed with gratitude and admiration for this boy who puts his trust in us and who dares so much.

zaterdag 4 februari 2012


Finally, winter came to our home. It’s been freezing a couple of days now and if you live in Holland that means skating.
Pelle isn’t a pro, yet. But we keep on trying and enjoying all the buzz on the ice ring.

Dad putting on his skates.

Give it a go, sweetie.

It doesn't matter if you child can't skate. Just take it along in a sledge or pram.

Dad needs some practice, too.

donderdag 2 februari 2012

A different kind of sewing.

I’m not the only one who sewed, last year. Mark joined me for a very special project: he sewed his rakusu. That’s a Japanese word for an official garment you wear around your neck when you’re a Buddhist. Ever since we met (more than 20 years ago) my husband has been interested in meditating. He followed different teachings and got more and more involved in the Zen way of thinking and living. Last year he did Jukai, which means he was initiated as a Buddhist. In the ceremony, you get your name and you wear your rakusu.
Mark is called ‘Ekai’, Ocean of Generosity, and I think this name characterizes him very well. He’s a kind and trustful person, humorous and gentle.
The rakusu is made by hand. The sewing is done as a meditation practice and you speak the following sentence as you go along: Namu Kie Butsu, Namu Kie Ho, Namu Kie So: I take refuge to the Buddha, I take refuge to the Dharma (the teachings of the Buddha), I take refuge to the Sanga (the community). The pattern is a patchwork, representing the ricefields in Japan.
Pelle made a few stitches, supervised by his father, and I contributed as well.
After the ceremony in May our every day life has not changed much. Mark goes to work (he’s a psychologist), meets his friends, is an joyful father and a great husband. He meditates almost daily and goes to the monastery a couple of times a year, and to a group of Zen people every week. Our live is more conscience though and the dimension Buddhism gives to it is still growing.

The pouch I made him to store his rakusu. The lining is silk and this one's made on the machine.