Knits and fixes

Rounding out the FOs now. We’re down to the dregs, don’t worry, I’m almost done! Just in time for Craft Camp and hopefully some more FOs.

First, the fixes.

At the last craft camp I made a McCalls 6559 maxi dress. The not-maxi version, because that was the length I had fabric for. It came out a bit big – the pattern has SO much ease. At camp I had run the sides in, but the neckline and armscyes were too low by a good two inches, so I didn’t even bother finishing the edges. I figured it was a good muslin and maybe I’d wear it as a heatwave housedress.

Then a couple months after camp I was thinking about it and it occured to me… neck too low… armscye too low… maybe the SHOULDERS were too long? Like, duh. I took it up two inches and it was perfect. I finished the neck and arms with binding from an almost-but-not-quite-the-same piece of fabric. The fabric of the dress is really light, so instead of hemming it I attached a wider band of the same fabric I bound the neck in. That was a slight miscalculation, as it doesn’t sit right, but given that this fabric is thinnnnnn I don’t wear it out of the house except in heatwaves.

The thing about heatwaves, though, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, is that we’ve had quite a lot of them lately. I wore this dress almost every day I wasn’t working for a good two months. All that wear means it’s stretched out a bit – again, thin fabric, but that really just made it even better for those days where you think, if you let fabric touch your skin, you might actually melt.

I would definitely make this dress again, it was so easy – basically cut it out, sew the side seams and shoulders, finish the edges, done. And I love wearing it. Next time I would cut the neckline about an inch higher, though. Although I see in the photo that it’s pulling a bit under the shoulder, so maybe I’d only raise it 1.5″ and cut the neckline 1.3″ higher. Side seam-wise I would probably cut it to the first adjusted size, because it’s super easy to accommodate any stretching later by whipping in the side seams, and I don’t know that I’d want a skin-tight maxidress. I suspect maxidress season is over, although if I can work out sleeves for this I might make a winter weight one – I had a bought one that I LOVED that I friend called my ‘goddess dress’ but I wore it in winter and stood in front of a heater and, it being polyester, it melted. I still have it and I’ll probably just hem it shorter and wear it, but I’ve kept it to copy.

Next up are some pencil skirts I made at last year’s March Craft Camp. They are both Kasia, which I have made before. I added lined kick-pleats to them, but they stuck out.


Added to that, I sewed these both up on the overlocker, and didn’t use the whole seam allowance. So I had planned, at March Craft Camp, to undo them and bring them in, and add a lining, and fix the pleat. Janet even very kindly picked me up some stretch lining for them. But then that was the Craft Camp of the Great Pestilence, and I was too ill to concentrate on anything much, so they didn’t get fixed. They sat in the sewing room waiting for attention, and never got them.

So the other day I pulled them out again and tried them on. They… did not seem too big? Although I have actually lost some volume around my belly since I stopped eating gluten and am not bloated all the time, so who even knows what that’s about. I did nip in the black skirt’s waist by a centimetre or so. So I fixed the kickpleats and have been wearing them.

I fixed the pleats by topstitching the outside edge, pressing a lot, and sewing the pleat to the skirt at the top. In the case of the black skirt, the pleat was probably too big, so I brought the edges in as well. I just serged them off. It still sits a bit funny but is much improved. I tried to get some photos but they just look like… fabric. Nothing to see, really, but this paragraph can serve my own future reference. They do look much better.

Feb 001

 

I was going to crop this but I’m quite fond of pics whee you can see the random crap in people’s lives. This is my laundry. It is actually relatively tidy in this picture. It’s just that there is no storage to speak of in my house, it makes me crazy.

Anyway, excuse the crappy photo please, but you can see that it is much better. You can ALSO see the same waist/hemline problem I described last time. The waistline is about even (my shirt is covering it a bit at the front) but you can see the bottom of the yoke angles down, as does the hemline. The way I am standing in the photo above is my normal posture, it’s not particularly bad (for me) or anything. All my family have slight scoliosis and I have rounded shoulders and I just stick my butt out. That’s the way it is, no point making clothes pretending I’m going to ever stand up straight.

I… might have to start making yoked that are thinner at the front? I am really just kind of stumped, guys. Any suggestions welcome. I also think that yokes may be my answer to my circle skirt conundrums, maybe? I have worn those skirts again this week in the name of figuring out my options, and they are just… not COMFORTABLE. Which is a shame.

Anyhoodle, I also pulled out the zip in the black skirt and put in an invisible one, because you could see the tape in the old one, and I would have done the same for the red one but I didn’t have a red invisible zip. I have since bought one. I might swap them one day. I wore the red skirt today and it did actually bag out a bit so that it was a bit loose by the end of the day. I might whip in the side seams, although the extra room is really at the centre front yoke seams, but I am not changing them because it’s faced and everything’s overlocked and I can’t be bothered.

These would certainly benefit from a lining, they stick to everything and since I always wear shorts of leggings there is always something to stick to. But I am thinking of making bikeshorts out of the satin lining that Janet bought for me, instead.

So that’s the fixes.

The first knit is also a fix – and it isn’t even finished yet. It’s my Essential Cardigan, which I had finished up to the bands at September Craft Camp.

I actually finished the band in September, and started sewing it up. But because I had put so much work into the fitting process, I wanted to sew it properly. This is why I never do anything properly, guys, it is not finished yet. I sewed petersham ribbon onto the button bands because they pulled a bit, but then I had to hand sew the buttonholes by hand. My sewing machine can barely manage one ok-looking buttonhole on regular fabric, let alone several on a hand knit. I did about four before getting tired. Also it was hot and that wasn’t motivating me.

Also, once the bands were done and I tried it on, I was… a bit underwhelmed. It fits me well, but I am just not sure I did the shaping in the right place. I don’t know. I think it’s probably fine, except that I was expecting it to shoot glowing rainbows of unicorns, and obviously it didn’t. It only managed one shitty pegasus, you guys. So disappointing.

No, but really, the sleeves were also about an inch too long. I made the sleeves up myself because I wanted full-length, and I guess I overcompensated. That’s ok, they have cuffs so it’s easy enough to chop them off and regraft, and I also made them a bit thin so they could actually use being taken up like that. I might try to remember to bring this to craft camp and do that then.

I also cast on for Neon, in the flush of an almost-finished essential. Then when the Essential bogged down, so did Neon. It still looks pretty much like this:

and I am concerned that the red is too light for me and might make me look washed out. I’ve picked it up again this week and once I have sleeve holes I’ll try it on and see. The yarn is Bendigo Woolen Mills Luxury. I think I might need to go through my stash because there is a bunch of ‘fine but nothing special’ yarn and to be honest, I don’t want to knit it. I only want to knit special yarn. Really, I knit so slowly these days that I could put a whole year’s yarn budget towards one jumper. (Not that I have an actual dedicated yarn budget, but you know). But if the fine but nothing special yarn is in my stash, I feel like I have to knit it.

Well, that’s 1600 words about not very much, so that’s probably enough from me. The next two days are going to be crazy busy so I should really go PACK FOR CRAFT CAMP. Which is actually quite annoying at the moment because I am catsitting my cousin’s cat for a month. He’s in the spare/craft room, because he and my cat are both pretty territorial. So if I want to go into the craft room I have to either squeeze in without letting him out and my cat in, or else lock my cat in the bedroom. So I can’t pack both clothes and craft stuff at the same time. It’s very ‘don’t leave the fox with the chicken’ and frankly, I’m not enough of a lateral thinker for that kind of business.

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Last year

Last year felt like it went so fast, but when I think back to this time last year it feels so far away. So since I didn’t blog things as they happened,  I thought I’d  have a little ‘what I did last year’ post, to remind myself that I actually did things.

I joined a gym and went to it a bunch. Frankly, it’s a pain in the arse and I resent it, but I was just not getting enough activity through incidental things. My area isn’t nice to walk in and it’s too far from work to bike, and I felt cranky and creaky and tired. The gym has helped, although I would still prefer to have a life where I didn’t just sit in front of a computer all the time, could ride or walk places, and didn’t have to go out of my way to ‘do exercise’ all the time. Maybe one day, but for now the gym is good.

I’ve also done other things about bodies and energy. At the start of the year I found a GP. 2012 was the year of teeth (a new dentist, a bunch of fillings and crowns and my wisdom teeth out, hoo boy I wish I could have afforded a dentist earlier) and 2013 was the year of… the rest? I haven’t had a regular GP since I lived with my parents, and it took a few tries but I found someone really lovely. I got a bunch of checkup tests and found that my vitamin D was WAY low, which didn’t surprise me much because I’ve had an increasingly hard time the last few winters with Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I had another round of SAD over winter, despite massive amounts of supplements, but my levels are now finally above the suggested minimum.

I also worked out that I am sensitive to gluten… and maybe other things. I got tested and I’m not caeliac, thank goodness. But to take the test you have to eat a bunch of gluten for 6 weeks and it was a total nightmare. I’d been eating mostly gluten-free before that, trying to figure out what was going on, and eating it again confirmed that it is an issue for me. It makes me feel tired and sluggish and bloated and, worst of all, really thickheaded. Zero out of ten, would not recommend. Not eating gluten hasn’t been as difficult as I would have thought, especially since it makes me feel so awful that I don’t really have much desire to eat it. I do have the odd craving for something specific, which generally I satisfy if I really want it, because it seems like I can eat a small amount without the consequences being too dire. This year I really should get a couple more tests and maybe find myself an endocrinologist or something so I can work out what the actual issue is. One of my cousins appears to have the same or similar issues, and is going through that process now, so I’m going to pick her brains about it. But whether I get to that in the short term or long term, I feel much better than I had for a while.

I considered going on psych meds a couple of times and ended up waiting and seeing, which turned out fine, especially after – here’s another thing I did – I went part time. But it was really nice to have a GP who I can talk these things over with, who has my back and who listens to and trusts me. I feel like that shouldn’t be a thing to feel so grateful about – surely that should be the norm? But it isn’t, so I am grateful. I also started seeing a psychologist, which also took a couple of tries to get the right person, but it’s been very helpful in dealing with my mother. Although I did just find out that my psych is moving states so I will have to find a new person. I’m tempted to not bother because I only found out from ringing up to cancel an appointment because I don’t need it right now and it feels like a waste of time and money. But I really should, to have a backup person in case I need that.

Here’s another thing I did – I didn’t talk to my mother at all for a good six months. It was lovely. I’ve since had dinner with her a couple of times and it has been slightly tense but mostly fine. The power has shifted a bit, I think – and she’s on her best behaviour. We’ll see how long that lasts. Ideally I’d rather not cut her totally out of my life but I’m still not sure exactly why I wouldn’t. But whatever happens I feel like I’m actually making decisions thoughtfully and on purpose, not just reacting, which is a big deal.

As I said before, I went part time from the start of the financial year. I now work 4 days a week and it is glorious. My bank balance took a hit but given that I went down a tax bracket and have stopped having to do things like buy lunch all the time because I’m exhausted, I’ve barely noticed. It’s so lovely to have time to actually DO things. Last winter was pretty long and dark, and a big part of that is that I felt like I never had time or brain space to DO anything, so my whole life was just ‘get up, go to work, come home, do dishes, repeat’. And then I would feel guilty about that because plenty of people have more work and more dishes and less time but hey, that was how I felt. (I’ve also struggled with the classic stuff of thinking I was being lazy when I was really exhausted, which leads to its own demotivating cycle. Still working on that. So much social conditioning to be ‘productive’ all the time, which is very undermining really). Sorting out body stuff has helped – when I have the time I actually have the energy to do things. But actually making more time is an important part of that.

I’ve dealt with relationship stress. S has had a stressful year, with his eldest going through year 12 and a bunch of the regular dramas as well as some extra special ones. Combine that with him living an hour and a half drive away, being a single parent and working in a school where he is stressed out and exposed to all the most lovely germs of the year so that every time I saw him in the winter months he was exhausted and/or sick… well, it put stress on the relationship, as well as accentuating my feeling that I never DID anything. There were a couple of times we almost broke up, where we had weeks 0f very stressful discussion trying to make things better – the problem being that none of the issues were about him or me, they were all external. Hard to fix them when they are out of your power! We weathered family issues and renegotiated present and future arrangements. But we did weather them. Who knows what the future holds but we spent a bunch of quality time together over the holidays and we’ve both been working on balancing our lives to have time and attention for each other and for now it feels like we are in a really nice place.I’m hoping to hold onto that for at least a while after we are both back at work.

Our gift to each other for Christmas was zoo memberships, and we’ve gone a bunch of times as well as going to the museum, and exhibitions, and generally doing things.

The South Australian Museum has some excellent megafauna:

Just your average giant wombat, thylacine and terrifying cassowary ancestor.

Not to mention excellent opalised fossils:

Opalised shellfish
Opalised belemnites horns aka unicorn horns.
A whole opalised plesiosaur.

Also did you know that meerkats are hilarious

And quokkas are adorable

And some of them are very friendly.

This totally made my year. I can’t stop talking about it. SO FLUFFY.

I formed and strengthened friendships. Mostly, tbh, with the aid of the internet. Mid 2012 I joined an online forum made up of women who had formed friendships on a particular website, ostensibly to talk about fashion. We DO talk about fashion but I’d say more than 50% of the conversation is about feminism. And sex. Feminist sex. Those ladies have become more and more important to me, have been an incredible support network and a central part of my life. They send me cards and gifts and food and give me good advice and sympathy when I need it the most. ❤ u, HFC. Also they have made me lift my selfie game like woah. I never took so many photos of myself – and it’s been very helpful for both my self esteem and my sense of personal style. It’s interesting to look back at photos of outfits I thought worked well but are just not doing it for me in retrospect, and vica versa. I feel a lot more well presented when I go out in the world, these days.

I look tired in a lot of them.

I also formed stronger bonds with my sister, one of my cousins, and some irl friends through our tumblrs. What a delight that has been. Because of tumblr, I started rewatching Star Trek ToS with my cousin. I’d seen most of it before and quite enjoyed it but HOLY WOAH I AM NOW OBSESSED. So that’s pretty great.

Part of my solstice gift from S. It will surprise none of you to learn that Spock is my favourite character.
I made myself a (gluten free) star trek cake. Then I neglected to get a photo of it finished. It was blue with a science symbol on it, and was delicious.

And of course, there were craft camps. It continues to be such a joy to know all of you, and to meet you, whether online or in person.

Here’s to more DOING in 2014, more friendships, more good things.

And more blogging (maybe?).

2014

I just got my little ‘year in review’ email from WordPress. According to them, I made nine new posts in 2013. What a miserable number.

I don’t feel any burning need to blog, I have lots of other places on the internet where I write and talk to friends and share opinions. Tumblr, facebook, a google group of friends. That’s enough. TOO much, to be honest. I did almost none of it over this christmas break, I only sat down in front of a computer about twice. Oh, it was glorious.

But I do miss the days when we all chatted away on our blogs – this particular group of people. You know who you are. Over the break I have also been sewing and doing some very lazy gardening and thinking about blogging it. Perhaps I should lower my standards – the big barrier for me is photos. I don’t like a post without photos but flickr makes it harder and harder to use it as an actual photo sharing platform, and every time I think about blogging I take photos and then they languish on my camera until the moment has passed. In fact, I haven’t taken out my big camera in months, since I got an iPhone. So maybe I should be content with dark, in mirror selfies of FOs. Surely it’s better than not posting?I also miss having it as a record – one of the times I sat in front of the computer was to look up what adjustments I did on a sewing pattern.

I made no resolutions this year (well except that this morning I resolved to be better at eating breakfast. I loathe breakfast) and I make no promises for this blog. No good intentions to be disappointed about. But it would be nice to have more than nine posts this year.

September craft camp

Last weekend was craft camp and I had been hanging out for it. Things have been a little fraught here. Everything’s fine but just lots of emotional conversations (mostly resolved now but boy are they tiring) and also just normal life taking its toll. I was ready for some time away, out of the ordinary stream of life. Some time with all those lovely women.

Well, I got that but I have to say it was probably the worst craft camp I’ve ever been to. Which is to say, I still had a wonderful time. The bar is pretty high, is all. There was still wonderful food and company and laughter but it was also the election weekend, so that was depressing, and several of us were sick. I had thought I had just shaken something off in time to be fine for camp but either I was mistaken or I got another thing, because I woke up on Friday morning feeling not quite right. If I’d been as unwell then as I felt on Saturday I wouldn’t have gone, and I’m terribly afraid that I’ve infected other people, which is making me feel really guilty.

Anyhow I had no brain at all and basically achieved nothing, craft wise. I was going to go for a couple pairs of pants and muslining some other things. Instead I spent a lot of time staring blankly at the wall or sleeping, and my total FO count was two totally shit potholders. One has wrinkly binding and the other is a trapezoid with wrinkly binding.

Shit potholders
Shit potholders. So wonky.

I did trace out some things, and I sewed up a McCalls 6559 maxi dress that was meant to be a wearable muslin but might just be a muslin, due to super thin fabric and dodgy finishing on my part. It was a $2 remnant so I’m not sorry, because at least it was a successful muslin. I’m going to keep it and see if I wear it as a heat wave dress, even thought the neckline and armscyes are too low. The dress is so simple, just sewing up the shoulders, then the side seams, then hemming the edges, so now that I know what adjustments to make it would take me about a half an hour to make. For the record, those adjustments are tp raise the neck and armscye by 2cm, bring in the sides by 2cm until the hips – so much ease! This size should technically be too small for me but it was in fact too big (except that I don’t want it too clingy on my hips so it can be too big there, that’s fine).

I also did some knitting on my Essential Cardigan and got it over a few humps – you know, those bits where you have to sit down and think about something or sew something or pick up a million stitches or do something else that you can’t do on the bus or in five minutes before bed. I now am knitting on the front band, and have about half of a sleeve left. I reckon taking that as bus knitting this week will polish that off, and then I’ll need some new bus knitting because I don’t really want to lug the whole jumper on the bus. Incidentally, the pattern has you seam the shoulders, the sides and put the arms on before picking up the bands. What? I’ve just seamed the shoulders and I’ll do the rest when the bands are done.

It would be nice to finish it because I really need some more good, basic knitwear in my wardrobe. Just in time for spring?

I’ve done a lot of adjusting of this jumper so I hope it fits. At craft camp I also ripped out 1/4 of a sleeve due to one wrong ribbing row (it would have bugged me) and three rows of the band because of half a row of wrong ribbing (likewise). Worth it, but frustrating.

Oh and I took some nice pictures of clouds from the plane. I guess it wasn’t a complete loss. And I relaxed and saw friends and had fun. Never to be underestimated.

I was actually feeling a lot better by the time I got home (although today at work was a bit rough and I took a lot of cold and flu tablets), so I sat down and instead of unpacking I sewed two new potholders. This time I cut them larger than I needed so I could trim them down to ensure straightness, and I hand sewed the binding. I don’t mind hand sewing, if I have the right needle and there’s not too much, and it was the only way I was going to be happy with them. Definitely worth it. The binding on the astronauts is still a bit weird on one side because I’d come to the end of my self-made bias binding, and it was a bit wobbly.

Less shit potholders
Less shit potholders

Actually the binding could probably count as a craft camp project – I worked out the continuous bias binding method. I’m quite proud. Maybe I’ll pack some bias binding to make, in plain colours, for every craft camp. It was a really good starting project – complex enough to get me in gear but repetitive enough that launching into it didn’t feel daunting before I was in gear. And you can never have too much bias binding in the stash, right?

I could do with some more potholders myself, so I guess I’ll keep the dodgy ones. The less-dodgy ones are destined to be part of a birthday present for my sister, who loves space. Her birthday was last month. Whoops. I also want to sew her some bags so I better get on that.

If nothing else, camp did jerk me out of normal life a bit. I’m hoping to use that to get out of the rut of spending my spare time doing things like reading the whole internet or playing computer games. Things I like and I am not giving up but, really, small doses would be fine and they mean I never get to the bits that make life feel really satisfying. This is my constant battle (as you probably know, having read about it before on the blog), getting out from in front of a screen and doing those things. It’s always worth it but sometimes it’s just too hard. If I’ve got no brain it feels too difficult to sit down and sew, or make decisions about things, and I sit down in front of a screen as a transition activity and just never get up. Plus a lot of my friends live inside those screens, so it’s not like I’m not making connections and doing useful things when I am on the computer. It’s just that the balance is off. I’d like to set it up so instead of defaulting to the screen I spend at least a little time each evening doing some sewing. I think it’s a habit that will be tricky to build but would be worth it if I can pull it off.

Enough

Most of you know I have an uneasy relationship with my mother.

Lately, I don’t have a relationship with her at all. The last time I saw her was at Christmas, and only then because she was invited to the family meal by my father’s side of the family. We barely spoke, and she left early without saying goodbye to me, a supposed punishment. There are two emails from her in my inbox that I don’t intend to reply to. I have no intention of reinstating contact in the near future. Maybe one day, I won’t rule it out. Certainly not this year. I feel as though I should feel ashamed of this decision, but I don’t. I don’t feel proud, either. I don’t feel anything but resolved.

This mother’s day was easier than the last, or the one before it. Far less emotional on my part, and I found social media easier to bear. As I hurt less, other’s joy hurts less. It’s never a good feeling to be standing on the outside of a happy group, scowling in. Among the joy, which this year I could appreciate and allow to warm my heart, was plenty of acknowledgement that mothers and motherhood are complicated, from both sides. That among the people rejoicing and loving each other there are people nursing hurts and injury and loss. That even people with good relationships with their mothers rarely have simple ones. That age and time create cracks in everything. Sometimes these cracks and bumps add to the story and the joy of the thing. Sometimes they break it.

When my mother was the age I am now, she had a two year old – me. When I look at photos of her, she seems achingly young. She was living in a caravan on an 18 acre property in the Adelaide Hills that was mostly scrub and falling down buildings. She was helping to build a house, and sharing a desk job in the city with my father. She was grieving for her brother, who had died a handful of years before in a motorcycle accident when a car cut a corner on a hilly road. She had a troubled relationship with her own mother, who did all the things to her that she would do to me, but magnified by many factors.

Two years before my uncle’s death there had been an argument, during which my grandmother had slapped him, and he said he wouldn’t see them again until an apology was made. The apology never came. Christmas gifts were sent back unopened. And two years later there was no time left for apologies.

As every year for me passes, I see shadowy reflections of that woman in the choices that I make. We are similar, we always have been. And our stories are similar, they carry the same themes, hit some of the same notes. I can see, from here, how many advantages I have had that she didn’t. Advantages of time and place, of being born when I was and having extra choices. But also the advantages of the choices that I have made, and the work that I have done to teach myself better ways of being. I am finding ways to give myself credit for the things I did right while still being infinitely thankful that I had the freedom and ability to do those things. Through sheer dumb luck.

I understand my mother – or at least I understand that woman that was. As I come to know myself, I come to know her, too. I feel the echoes of her. I feel her hurts and her anger. I do not accept them as my own, but I can grieve for her. For the shitty hand that she got dealt. I come from a long line of hobbled, confined women. Women with strong, quick minds and tempers who had no choice but to put them aside and pretend to be meek, to be less than themselves and pretend a joy in sacrifice. Women who dealt with poverty and death and other traumas, and who passed them on like a legacy.

Praise be to modernity, while my grandmother was one of 14 children who survived to adulthood, my mother was one of four, three still walking the earth, and I am one of two, both of us still here. Each generation had more food, more clothes, more medical care. More love. I can’t pretend to think that 100 years ago I would be anything but bitter and hurtful, along with those women. That is my legacy.

I am happy to leave that legacy behind. To turn the coldness back on itself and freeze it off of me. Enough.

Enough.

Sometimes I feel the distance between who my mother was and who I am becoming shifting, as though I were slipping back and forth between realities. I catch myself standing like her, laughing like her. I catch a scared and angry reaction to a stressful situation and I know in that moment how she felt when she was at her most hurtful. I stop while sewing children’s clothes for friends to reflect on all the nights I saw her sewing, creating, clothing others.

I see my child-self from the other side, and I see my mother from where she stood, and I am sad for how much and how little promise we had as a family. For how much hurt was behind her hurtfulness, how what I saw as her power came from powerlessness. How similar we are and how that closeness keeps us apart. And in those slippery times I feel more confidence in the choices I am making. The choice not to be a mother, and not to have a mother either.

I don’t have a mother. I do not have a woman who mothers me, who provides love and comfort and who tells me stories of myself with fondness. I don’t, and I can’t have that. And that’s ok. I’m not angry about it anymore. But neither am I willing to maintain a relationship with a person – any person – who refuses to treat me with kindness and respect. Who refuses to understand that I exist outside of her wants and needs, and have my own. Who consistently acts thoughtlessly and hurtfully.

The fact that one of those people is the person to whom I feel closest in my most personal self, is the person who did a very good job of parenting me up until the point where my needs became too inconvenient, that is irrelevant. If it ever counted for anything, it has been worn down to nothing by years of hurt.

I choose not to allow myself to continue in a relationship that means emotional servitude to someone else. I choose to protect myself from that. To mother myself. To refrain from mothering her. The relationship we could have – have had – where I parent her and tend to her emotional needs, is no relationship at all. Nor is the one where I manage her, and spend every minute of contact policing my own boundaries. I have no patience left for that. I am tired. 30 years is enough.

In some ways this leaves me bereft, missing something. But I have come to a place where I am so accustomed to not having that thing that there is simply no place in my life for it. I don’t feel alone or abandoned anymore. I have many communities of amazing women (and some men), who provide me with friendship and support, who are mothers and sisters and aunts and friends of the heart. I don’t have a mother. But I have enough.

Maybe one day I will be up to the task of building some kind of relationship with the woman who is my mother. I would like to hope so, because I would like to hope that one day I will be the person with the strength and wisdom that will take. Right now I am not. And that’s ok.

One day I will be more. But for now, I am enough.

Blues

I have a couple of long sleeved jersey shirts from Kmart, one black and one white, and I’ve worn one or the other almost every day this winter. I’m going to try to copy them and make some extras, but in the meantime the white one was looking a bit… dingy. So I soaked it in some sard stain remover stuff. Unfortunately I put it in the same bucket as a teal dress that I’d dropped some lunch on (I’m classy like that) and the teal bled. I’ve never had blue things bleed before! Especially not ones that have been washed multiple times. But there you go, it did, and it left a blue streak on one of the arms.

So I dyed it. I had this other top that I bought ages ago that was a minty green colour, with ivory lace. I loved it but didn’t wear it lots because it was too close to pastel for my tastes, and then the fabric got a bit sun damaged and faded, patchily. I’d bought some blue dye for something else, so I bunged them in together. It was Dylon hand dye, ocean blue. I’ve only dyed stuff in the washing machine before, so I expected this to be tricky for some reason. It totally wasn’t, but I think I’ll stick to the ones you can bung in the machine, in future, if I have a choice – I’m not neat enough, I’d rather have it all contained in a machine. I neglected to get a before, which makes this whole thing less interesting.

Dunno how well it’s showing up but the lace is still quite contrasty – it’s the same colour as the long sleeved shirt but the top is more like a light petrol blue.

Pretty pleased with my adventures. Don’t know how much I’ll wear the lace top, since lace is not really my style these days, but at least it has a chance. And if it doesn’t get worn, I can donate it to the op shop without it becoming rags. And I will get a whole lot more wear out of that long sleeved top.

And here is a photo of my living room, just because it’s neat, and looks like I want it to. This is rare enough that I took a picture. Feeling really pleased at how I completely accidentally lined it up so you can see the babushkas on my mantel, in the mirror.

Colour theme: consistent. Also notable:

  • I won’t be seeing S for a while, which means I can buy flowers. He’s allergic, and considering that he puts up with my cat to which he is also allergic, it seems only fair to forgo them. But I do miss having flowers around.
  • Pile of presents, for S, not only ON TIME but actually well before his birthday. He is so hard to buy for it’s ridiculous. Hopefully they are a sucess.
  • I found Blue (oooh, also consistent with the theme! It’s the book propped in front of the dollhouse), after months of looking. It is excellent and you should read it all online for free here and then buy it (Dymocks has it).
  • That sparkly blue Mary is a money box.
  • The empty cubby hole is for my cat to hide in and ambush me from.
  • I feel like I am having trouble ending these posts. I guess most things don’t have neat, narrative endings. So I guess this post will just finish when it stops.

The rest of Melbourne, and my fabric haul

As I mentioned, after Craft Camp was over I had another day and a bit in Melbourne. Gill was lovely enough to drive me to my cousin’s house in South Yarra – and it sounds strange to say that I really enjoyed the drive, but I did. A last little bit of Craft Camp, we nattered the whole way. It was such a lovely day, too. Sun was out, and so were all the people: parks were filled with pasty white legs in search of some vitamin D.

It was really lovely to spend some time with my cousin, too. I’m fairly close to all my cousins, but Z and I were the only ones who grew up in the Adelaide region, so we saw quite a bit of each other, and we’re fairly close in age. Of all the cousins I’d say she’s the one who knows the most of my own story, if that’s not being too grand – although we’re a weird private lot, our family. Lots going on under the surface, I think. But, for instance, she’s one of the few cousins I can talk frankly about my mother to. Anyhow, she and her husband spent a year or so overseas, and then settled in Melbourne, so I haven’t seen a lot of her the past few years. It was nice to reconnect a bit.

On the Monday, though, I went fabric shopping. I gave myself a budget, and a list. I wanted some knits. Ssome specifically for tiramisu, and some to make some tops etc. I have a pretty casual office, and I don’t really wear tailored shirts and the like, pretty much ever. But I am trying to lift my game a bit in the ‘outfit’ category, rather than just wearing clothes. So I want to make some comfy jersey tops that aren’t too boring. I was having a lot of trouble finding nice knits, although I discovered after I got back that Spotlight is doing pretty well on that at the moment – some nice ponte in plain colours and stripes, and some spotty cotton jersey. Might have to do a knits run before they hide it all again (they’re bound to. Have I mentioned my constant Spotlight Rage?) I also wanted to get some basic fabrics for skirts. I have given up on pants so I need some more boring skirts that go with everything and again, I was having trouble finding plain fabric in decent fibres.

The number 8 tram goes straight past my cousin’s house, and then up past Rathdown Remnants. How convenient. I got a couple of jersey remnants (top right, teal and black) some black wool and some stretch demin, for skirts (on the left).

Nope, no colour theme going on here. I don’t know what you’re talking about.

I seriously only just noticed this in the photo. Well, at least I’m consistent.

Then I headed to the Fabric Store where I got some Marc Jacobs double knit, which is GLORIOUS and I wish that I’d gotten twice the amount so I could make something with both sides. I also wish that I’d written down the fabric content – I think it’s a wool/cotton blend. I could probably call and ask.

Mmmmmmmmmmm. It’s lovely and thick and soft.

I also got wool jersey remnants, grey and black, at the bottom there, and some stripey silk/cotton which I have no plan for but couldn’t resist. It’s the only thing I bought with no plan, I think I did pretty well. (Note to self, this bled quite a bit when washed, make sure to wash it separately in future.) You can see it a bit on the bottom right here:

Front and centre is some jersey from the Allanah Hill outlet next door. I wanted something stripey for tiramisu, but it’s a bit flimsy and was cheap (I think $6 a metre, but might have been $5) so I bought twice as much to double it over. But now I’m not sure I like it. It’s my colours, but slightly lighter than I’d usually go for a whole dress. I feel like it might read a bit pastelly? Which I’m not a fan of, on me, in large swathes. And the marl is a bit… muddy. Or something. In retrospect I should have left it and gone back to the Fabric Store and just bought some of the plain coloured jersey  that was hard resist. I definitely liked it in there. AND they were friendly, AND knew what they were talking about. Fabric store heaven.

I might make something else out of it – maybe a maxi skirt? – and go get some spotters ponti for Tiramisu, instead. But not until S is down so I can get him to drive me to the Spotlight near me (but not on any bus routes, thanks Adelaide Metro!) because that one generally doesn’t make me want to die, after setting everything else on fire. Unlike the one in town, which I Rage Quit this week, leaving a pile of discarded notions in the middle of the scrapbooking aisle, like a small offering to a vengeful god. I STILL don’t know where they’ve moved their g#Y*(#@ zips to, and I couldn’t find anyone to ask apart from one girl who didn’t know, and also didn’t know where the interfacing was or, in fact, what interfacing IS.

ANYWAY.

Here is my little Lancefield opshop haul:

Some patterns, some mesh fabric that I’m idly thinking about sewing produce bags from, some ribbing and some plum coloured wool felt. Plus the lining fabric you saw when I showed you the yellow skirt, which is maybe not actually lining – it’s a herringbone sort of pattern – but is a weird apricotty yellow, and is slippery, so it can be lining. I’ve got enough to line another skirt, at least.