November 30, 2010

Sorrow and Loss

Some Novembers are better than others; this one has been a hard one.  A year ago, Remembrance day, my grandmother died.  We had three deaths at church in a week.  One of them was one I didn't expect at all--her breast cancer had returned, but she had been given about three years.  She lasted two months.  To finish off that, our fish is currently breathing his last.  I will be surprised if he lasts the night. 

Snape has been with us since my youngest was four.   He was named Snape after the Harry Potter character, that first year the book was published, because he ate nearly all the other fish that shared his tank in the first year.  After the second year, we gave up keeping other fish with him.  For the last five years, he has regularly followed us along the glass of his tank every morning, giving us the evil 'feed me' glare.  There is nothing quite like sitting to drink your coffee, and wondering what is looking at  you, only to realize that it is your fish.  He has been our companion through many ups and downs.  And, it will be hard to lose him.

I shouldn't complain--he is nearly eleven years old, and his type of cyclid rarely lives longer than 8 years.  But, seriously, losing him will be hard.  We plan to get other fish (in fact, we were looking at other fish his size, knowing that he was close to elderly and probably wasn't going to last past Christmas), but knowing that and watching it happen are just different experiences.

So, here's to the house cup, and all that I haven't knit for this month.  Here is my sweater, and how far I've gotten.  I'm not going to finish my mitten--I'm having a hard time focusing because of my fish.  And, it isn't an excuse that I want to post on the cup, somehow. 

November 27, 2010

Swap once more

Swap fever has begun again.  For those who don't know, swap is Sewing with a plan (in other words, making a wardrobe that works together).  Not as easy as it sounds, or looks, in my opinion, since I usually end up making two or three pieces that just don't go somehow, and so usually sew 14 or more pieces to get the final eleven.

I completed the very last swap that Julie ever ran, and I've managed to complete two since then, but somehow, last year swap fell by the wayside.  I don't know why, except that I didn't really have an inspiration piece, and it was too....?  I think I just got too busy, and school was extremely stressful towards the end.  Sewing was definitely the last thing on my mind after I was surplused from my position.   I did find a new, and way better, position at a brand new school, but I didn't complete the swap.   And, then I started costuming a play--but that is for another blog post, I think.

The contest this year is here, on Stitcher's Guild.   This year, the options for organizing the eleven garments of the swap are as follows: 

Option #1:
6 tops  - t-shirts, shirts, blouses, or camisoles
4 bottoms - jeans, pants, shorts, skirts or kilts.
1 your choice (not an accesory)

Option #2:
2 dresses -single pieces consisting of top and bottom that can be worn alone.
6 tops  - t-shirts, shirts, blouses, or camisoles
2 bottoms - jeans, pants, shorts, skirts or kilts.
1 your choice (not an accesory)

Option #3:
5 dresses -single pieces consisting of top and bottom that can be worn alone.
4 tops  - t-shirts, shirts, blouses, or camisoles
1 bottom  - jeans, pants, shorts, skirt or kilt.
1 your choice (not an accesory)

3 garments may be purchased or previously sewn.
1 may be knitted or crocheted.

And, every year there is a twist.  This year--Every garment should be made with a technique or feature that you haven't tried, or haven't mastered. 

And here, my friends, is my challenge.  How do I include techniques that I haven't tried or mastered in a wardrobe that isn't full of single amazing inspiration pieces? Those who have done less sewing have a lot more options with this twist, because, let's face it--if you are new to sewing, you haven't mastered a lot.  But, I've been sewing for a long time, and I teach other people to sew for fun.  The things that I haven't mastered or worked at are things like sewing with leather, or traditional tailoring, that don't fit into my casual wash and wear school teacher lifestyle, or a really for garments that are inspiration pieces that you make a wardrobe around.  I'm finding this part of the swap challenge more....challenging....than I expected. 

I think it probably goes without saying that I will be using option 1.  I wear separates, and I don't really wear dresses.  Well, maybe I wear one or two about once every two months.  And, we are going into cold season, so dressing in layers is the norm.  There is snow falling outside as I speak, and I love my wool sweater collection, and pants.  My new room at school also has a wall of windows, which means that the wind cools the room quite effectively, even when the heat is on in the school.  Those sweaters are getting a workout this year.  If I do make dresses, they will be the 'plus' part of the swap--you know, the eleven final pieces, plus all the other stuff that got sewn and works with the wardrobe but didn't make the cut for the photographs LOL. 

My colours are also easy.  Since I started sewing with endless collections, where everything has to go with something else in the closet, I've limited myself to colours that work together well.  So, black (deep grey), blue, red/cranberry, plum, and deep cinnamon brown are the backbone of my clothes colours.  I can't see that changing any time soon.  It makes getting dressed in the morning really easy.

So, enough of the complaining--time to do some problem solving about this swap thing.  There has to be a way of making this work (literally).