Procrastination

I have a wedding to go to next weekend.  As soon as I found out about it (over a year ago) I knew I wanted to make a handmade dress for it.  When I went to the U.S. last year to take the Palmer Pletsch fitting class I was feeling pretty confident in my newly learned fitting skills so I picked a pattern (V1353) and Gail helped me pick the most awesome dupioni silk with which to make it. I was set.

I stalled over the winter because summer seemed forever away.  Then spring came and I hosted a bunch of guests and got ready for the move.  No big deal, I was not going to be working for the first few weeks after the move so I could tackle the dress then.  After we moved I painted (almost every room n the house) and planted a garden, which of course does not take care of itself.  I went back to work. House guests magically appeared at our place almost every single weekend between the middle of June and the middle of August.  Two weeks ago I realized that dress was still not done, but I was not able to work on it last weekend because these lovelies came to see me and we spent all our time drinking wine, eating cheese (lots of it) and knitting:

Kristin & Sara: thanks for the visit!

Kristin & Sara: thanks for the visit!

So I decided this weekend would be “Dressmaking Boot Camp” over here. I told myself “Surely I can make a dress in a weekend, no biggie.”

Ready to cut that muslin

Ready to cut that muslin – Vogue 1353

Now, I have not sewn anything substantial (or anything really!) in quite a few months. I decided in favour of a full muslin over tissue fitting for the simple reason that I wanted to see the drape of those pleats in fabric – paper would not have given me a clear idea of how they would look on my pear-shaped bottom half. Things were going swimmingly until half way through the day when Mr. Stitch showed up with this guy:

Meet Jesse: The new addition to our family.

Meet Jesse: The new addition to our family.

Major Minor distraction aside, I quickly discovered that the bodice on this was going to be huge.  I didn’t get it.  I mean, I know the big 4 run large, but this thing was ginormous. So I went back to look at my traced pattern and  that’s when I realized that I had traced a size 16 instead of a size 12/14.  Clearly I am out of practice.  I told myself “never mind that by now I’ve wasted half the day, I can still do this.” I made sure that second time around I had a size 12 bust/14 waist. Guys, it took me forever to get this second bodice wrapped up. Sadly, the gape at the back neckline was massive. I solved that by pinching the excess (about an inch at each side of the zipper) and transferring that to the flat pattern. By the end of it all it was night-time and I was quite done for the day.

Excess!

Excess!

I finished the muslin this morning.  I’m not convinced that those skirt pleats are flattering at all on me and would hate to see my precious silk got to waste on a  dress I may end up not liking. Even after I traced the correct size, the muslin is quite large on me. A padded bra won’t come even close to filling up that bodice. You can see on these photos that I’ve pinned the excess at each side, at about an inch per side. I have the feeling that I could make this in a straight size 10 and it would fit just fine, but finding out would involve another muslin and I have now ran out of time because the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is sew at the end of the day.  So much for wearing a handmade dress to the wedding next weekend.

Apologies for the poor quality phone shots.  If I wait until a proper photo opp, I will never write in this blog again.

Pinned at the side. With apologies for the poor quality phone shots. If I wait until a proper photo opp, I will never write in this blog again.

Two weeks ago my little sister announced she is getting married next year. Based on my experience with my self-imposed Dressmaking Boot Camp I better start working on my dress for that wedding today. That, or I could take the dog out for a walk instead.  I have plenty of time, right?

Settled

Hey friends!  I did not mean to be absent from this space for over a month but somehow time just got away from me and I never managed to sit back and write.  I’m happy to report that, other than hanging art on the walls, we are pretty much settled in our new home.  The house feels comfy and inviting and our new hood is turning out to be even better than we hoped for.  We have not met a lot of people yet, but the ones we have seem to be interesting and welcoming and the few events we have attended have been just fabulous. We are so happy to have made this move!

Home sweet home!

Home sweet home!

Over the past six weeks we have been working hard at setting up the house and Mr. Stitch’s furniture making studio (as an aside, for a peek at Mr. Stitch’s work check out his website), and plant a nice vegetable garden. A lot of it has been physical work, quite a change from sitting in an office all day long. In the beginning I went to bed sore every night and woke up each morning hurting in places I did not know one could hurt but I could actually feel myself getting stronger as the weeks went by.  I did manage to take some pictures to share with you – note that if you follow me on Instagram, a lot of these will be repeats.

I've been doing a lot of this, inside and outside. It's amazing how a coat of paint can provide an instant face lift.

I’ve been doing a lot of this, inside and outside. It’s amazing how a coat of paint can provide an instant face lift.

Mr. Stitch, battling the rototiller

Mr. Stitch, battling the rototiller before we planted the garden

It has not been all work.  We have attended events at a couple of nearby wineries and a distillery, entertained out first set of guests, dined at great local restaurants, and discovered a fabulous beach. I even managed to go to two knit nights at my new LYS.

The beach in Wellington, Prince Edward County

The beach in Wellington, Prince Edward County

Barrels of local wine

Barrels of local wine

Speaking of knit night, my sewing room was a disaster until recently.  I re-painted it and have now to put most everything in its right place.  In fact, I used my sewing machine for the first time yesterday to fix the hem on an FO I finished back in April and never blogged about. Since my energy has been spent at the end of each day, and because it took me so long to get to setting up the sewing room, I have mostly been knitting since the move.  Stay tuned for posts about freshly finished items.

This was the state of my sewing room until a couple of weeks ago.

This was the state of my sewing room until a couple of weeks ago.

It has been six weeks of moving furniture, unpacking, planting a garden, cleaning, fixing stuff around the house, cleaning, painting, weeding the garden, painting, more painting and more cleaning… you get the picture. It’s all been well worth it.  We feel settled and this place feels like home.

And now I am moving on to a different type of work: as of tomorrow I return to the practice of law at a small firm in town.  This will be a challenge as I learn an area of law that is new to me, but if there is something I have realized over time is that I am capable of learning and adapting and I am very much looking forward to this new professional challenge. Plus, I no longer have to wear a suit to work [**happy dance**]. Bring on those me-made clothes!

Mitzutama

Even though there has not been much sewing going on in these parts, there has been lots of knitting. In fact, knitting is the only crafting I did when I had the house full of visitors for weeks on end in March and April, and all I seem to want to do now in tandem with packing and getting ready for the another move. It seems so effortless and calming, so much more so than sewing.

Spring shawls!

Spring shawls!

Since I started knitting nine years ago I have been a self-professed monogamous knitter. Starteritis* is not an affliction I suffer from and, until recently, having more than one project on the go went totally against the grain of my organizational obsessions. Enter Mitzutama, the lovely (if tedious to knit) shawl that Kristin, Sara and I decided to cast-on for on a whim in an effort to accelerate spring’s arrival.

Look at all the pretty colours

Look at all the pretty colours

Here’s what happened: I casted on for Grace in early March and was moving right along with that sweater when I get an e-mail from Kristin with all sorts of distracting links to pretty spring knitting projects. This was the end of March. The weather at the time felt like it was the middle of winter and it had been about a million years since the sun graced Toronto with its presence. Sara, Kristin, and I decided that we could conjure better weather by marching down to our LYS, Ewe Knit, purchasing yarn in glorious spring colours, and knitting a pretty light weight shawl. Guess what: it worked!

I haven't got a clue what was so interesting atop that tree

I haven’t got a clue what was so interesting atop that tree

Knitting this project made me realize a few things:

  • I do not enjoy single plied yarn as much as I do the nice and plump plied variety.
  • Knitting lace is not my favourite thing in the world. I persevered, because I feel compelled to finish things, but the endless rows of YOs felt like a total chore.
  • My suspicions that I am a slow knitter were confirmed when Kristin and Sara finished this beauty in under two weeks and I was still going at it a month later.
  • While I am competitive about lots of things in life, I am not competitive about my crafting. It never once bothered me that I was slower than my friends and I realized that as a process knitter, I knit for meditation: knitting, even tedious YOs, calms down my over active brain.
  • This colour is impossible to photograph! It is closer to green than blue. It is almost like those green shades of Caribbean ocean one sees displayed on vacation brochures.
  • This shawl is extremely wearable. Check out the details of Kristin’s and Sara’s finished versions on Ravelry. My complete Ravelry notes can be found here.
Knitted polka-dots

Knitted polka-dots

I’m not going to lie to you: as a monogamous knitter setting Grace aside in favour of this make gave me a slight twitch, but I am happy to say that as a result I feel a bit more comfortable with the prospect of having more than one project on the go. I suspect that, so as not to go all twitchy on you, I will have to limit that to only two projects on the go at the same time. For now…

What about you: would you describe yourself as a monogamous knitter/sewist or do you have a chronic case of Starteritis?

*Starteritis, as defined by Miso Crafty Knits: “the uncontrollable urge to start project after project with no real concern or thought for when or if you’ll ever finish any of them in the near future.”

Change in Lifestyle

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to move from the big city to a small town? From a semi-detached home two blocks from the subway to an eight acre rural property in a place that requires you to have a vehicle in order to get from point A to point B? Leave your very secure job (and corresponding pension plan) to join the ranks of the self-employed? Skip the supermarket in favour of getting your own chicken coop and a large vegetable garden? Well, over the past few years Mr. Stitch and I have wondered often enough, and we’re about to find out: at the end of this week we are moving to a rural property in Prince Edward County, Ontario**.

Not our house, bur cool, no?

Not our new house, but cool, no?

We’re super excited, and perhaps I’m a little bit nervous as well, but most importantly we are happy to be moving in the direction of our dreams.

The next few weeks will be filled with change. I have the feeling that this change will make its way to this blog as I may want to document, alongside my crafty endeavours, the adventures we get up to in our new digs.

Packing

I could bore you to death with the details of our plans, but won’t do so because (a) you probably have better things to do, and (b) quite frankly, I’m a bit behind in my packing for the move (as well as in taking in taking photos of a few FOs for the blog). If, however, you have specific questions or would like more deets, feel free to ask in the comments or to shoot me a personal e-mail at stitchparade[at]gmail[dot]com

Tell me: what is the biggest change you have purposely undertaken in your life?

**For the record, had anyone told me ten years ago that I would be ditching the big smoke for a homestead in the country, I would have called them crazy to their face!