December 23, 2010

Goals for the year...Breathe and Finish

Last year, my goal word was 'explore'.  I'm not sure I did a very good job at it; perhaps the truth was that I did it in a different way than I expected.  I did explore, but my explorations related to getting a new job, parenting, and becoming a staff member for my Harry Potter Knitting Group on Ravelry.  I think I explored my stress limits, more than my creative limits. 

At the end of this term, I will have been staff for 8 months (hard to believe), and part of the group for two years.  My children have nearly grown up with my knitting for HPKCHC--certainly become teenagers and young women.  As a part of the HPHC group,  I have explored many different ways of knitting, dealing with deadlines and online moderating in a sometimes very high paced environment.  I helped build and grow a new, and hopefully more sound, structure to the group after some significant challenges in September.  I learned some dyeing, and to spin.  It wasn't where I thought I would be going in January last year, but it has been valuable and creative in a different way.  September, though, was absolutely, without a doubt, insane in terms of time and investment and energy.  The kerfluffle, and the aftermath, just took time and energy to work though.  In the end, the structure was sound, but the process to get there was time consuming. 

In September, my oldest also left home for university.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that my oldest left home, and going to university was the side benefit.  She is, as far as I can tell, doing well.  She got her first adult job: seasonal retail sales.  This is something that everyone should try so that they learn to appreciate how much work it is to do, I think.  I think I explored feelings of change and loss.  Our celebrations and traditions are changing because she has left home.  It is expected, but I am finding it hard to feel my way through this challenge of parenting a young adult, particularly one who is dependent on 'bank of mom' but doesn't want to communicate with mom or dad. 

Combine a parenting change of this level with a significant change in job to a new school with very few resources,  and I have had a tiring year.  A lot of time is put into development of resources for teaching, and not so much into cleaning the house or dealing with the changes of having someone leave with all the stuff in two bedrooms still in piles.  I guess that is part of mom-hood--cleaning up someone else's messes.  Well, the house is still a mess, and she is coming home in two days for an unknown period of time to stay with us for an unknown period of time.  Planning is challenging at my house right now. 

Then, I added costuming a play to my fall schedule; a world premiere play, written by a good friend of mine.  The play was awesome.  Costuming, however, was not originally on my goal list.  I don't regret doing it.  I went into it, though, knowing I didn't have a lot of emotional flexibity with all the changes I was dealing with, and I got through it, but it was hard.  I am exhausted in a way that I didn't expect would happen because the fall was simply so challenging.

I'm sure I could have added something else to the insanity, but seriously--three major things, plus several deaths in November, have made me think about my life, and where I want to be next year.  True, I want to have goals, right now my energy level makes me think my goals need to be very simple: get through, build space to breathe, use stash, create within the framework you have with the stuff you have, enjoy the process and the people around you, just breathe. 

December 22, 2010

Too much yarn and what I've been doing in my 'spare' time


November was a miserable month.  I did not knit; what I did knit, I ripped out and stashed back into the wall of stash, or gave away in a fit of frustration in small noodly balls of wool. 

Instead, I costumed an original play, called when Santa's Away, written by Ken Cameron.  It was awesome.  It was exhausting, but here are some pictures:
When Santa's Away   Assorted Elves: DD1 is the artist in the center.

December 5, 2010

Best Laid plans...and all that

We all know about plans--right?  How they rarely survive past the first stage of planning because something happens?  A change of plan because of boredom, fabric choice, pattern choice...you get the picture. My wardrobe seems to be suffering from Best Laid Plans syndrome.  At least, though, everything is still black.

I did make a black top. 

It wasn't the top I was expecting to make, but that happens, apparently more often than I though.  It is black, it is knit, and it fits.  I think I changed my mind about the wrap top, partially because I was lazy and partly because I was bored.  After reading about tie neck tops, and how well they work in Carolyn's wardrobe,  I wanted to try making a v neck tie top.  Hers are sleeveless.  Mine has long sleeves, a v neck,  and ties that measured 30" by 4 1/2" cut. 

The only things I would change would be to make the v two inches lower, so that the neck isn't so high on me, and to shorten the ties; I'm short.  I don't need 30" of tie, more like 27".  The top is a PMB5 draft, with slightly too much ease.  It was drafted for wovens, with 2" of ease; I made the top from a nice stable knit, and it doesn't need that much ease on me, so I took it in about 2".  But, otherwise, looking good.  The tshirt draft is a really nice draft in the new pmb, much better than the old draft.  The lengths are good, and the shoulder curve is lovely. 

Now to make that top again in something red, and sleeveless. 

December 1, 2010

Endless Black--or surviving back stage as a stage hand

Last week was tech week on the play.  This means that I spent the week plus a day or two, at the theatre--evenings and weekends, while I teach full time.  The good part was the play--it rocks; the cast rocks; the costumes rock. The bad part--well, as crew I'm supposed to wear all black.  And, I usually can, except that I actually ran out of blacks on Saturday.  This is unheard of--how can I possibly run out of all black clothes?  Black is my base colour (or one of them at least).  But, by Sunday I was wearing dark brown pants and a burgundy shirt.  Yep--not black.  This means that my blacks wardrobe needs to be expanded.   I decided to make an all black 6 pack (well, in reality more like a 6 pack plus).   Note:  My husband says that I need to do laundry, but we all know that this really means that I need more clothes.

A 6 pack is normally a bottom, and two sets of layering tops, and a coat.  My six packs are more like two bottoms, and two to three sets of layering tops before the coat. 

This one will end up like this: 
I'm going to call it Backstage Baby.

Tops:
1.  Funnel neck top--black stretch velvet, made from the Travel Wear two pattern.  Quick, easy, fits really well.  Love it.---done
2.  Vogue wrap top with the huge shawl collar, from some black knit.
3.  Extra--black funnel neck top with white daisies (just because I needed a change, lol)--done.

Wrap layers
4.  Black zipper fleece jacket, in my tnt jacket, a PMB pattern I drafted at least two years ago
5.  Black knee length ruffled sweater with hood (the theatre is cold, and I need to replace the black sweater that is getting sad in its old age)

Bottoms:
1.  Silouettes Yoga pants--black texture knit--done.  Great pattern, perfect crotch curve.  I shortened the pattern 5" to fit my short legs, but otherwise this pattern fit out of the envelope. 
2.  RPL stretch crepe as Hollywood waist band bants.

Since I like to sew my wardrobes in outfits, my next outfit will be the Hollywood pants and the vogue wrap top.  Both are turning into tnt patterns.  Quick, easy and cute.  I need to do a little shopping:  I have to go buy more 1 1/4" elastic for the waist band of the pants, since I just finished the roll.  And, I want to make the sweater as a refashion from a polyester ruffle sofa throw, which I need to go purchase.

But, this is a wardrobe at its most basic--what I really wear, what looks good on me, and what is already a tnt pattern.   Not exactly exciting, but I will sure wear all these pieces again and again.  I'm backstage for another play in April.  Maybe, with a little bit of sewing, I won't run out of clothes next time.