Keeping Busy…

I handle stress by keeping busy.  Having a project, a mission, a purpose, a challenge, keeps me from diving into paralysis, which sadly is happening to more and more of my friends as this quarantine keeps us from doing the things we love.  I’m so very lucky to have things that can challenge me.  I have a couple of wonderful studios, lots of supplies, more than I can use in a lifetime, and some wicked cool ideas.  And time.  If nothing else, I have time.  

I decided to take a page from my mom, because I’m not sure when my housekeeper is coming back, and since I’m not traveling, I really can do this myself.  I thought, with nine rooms, I could do one a day, maybe 15-20 minutes, depending on how dirty, and cover the whole house well in the same two weeks between when my housekeeper would normally come.  I decided on the den this morning.  It is a room I rarely use, I’m not sure why, but there are other areas of the house with more purpose for me.  This was the TV room, and it was where my late husband spent most of his non working time, in his Lazyboy in front of the TV.  I rarely went in the room. I never watch TV. Lazyboy lounge chairs don’t invite cuddling up on the couch.  Well, my husband died in that chair, the kids took it out of the house within two hours of his death.  I replaced it with a gorgeous leather Chesterfield couch, replaced all of the furnishings in there, and I really do love the room, but somehow, it still isn’t mine.  There are other rooms that call to me more.  Anyway, it was time to clean it.  I enjoyed tidying up, using the Swiffer to get cobwebs and dust, polishing the wood surfaces.  I used the Swiffer to dust the fan blades in the ceiling fan, and realized that the glass dome was pretty full of dust and bugs.  I reached in with the Swiffer and proceeded to melt the fibers onto the bulbs.  Really…

I turned off the light fixture, climbed up on the coffee table and tried to scrape off the melted Swiffer fibers.  My girlfriend called, her dad died, and she is struggling with the whole idea of a virtual funeral, Shiva, and family connections that aren’t really family connections since you can’t hug anybody.  We talked for awhile.  When we were finished, I tried to turn the light back on.  It wasn’t working.  Really?  

Long story short, and half an hour later, so much for my first day of, “I’ll spend 15-20 minutes cleaning one room…”; I ended up dismantling the glass globe, replacing the burned out bulb and screwing in the ones that loosened up when I tried to scrape them clean.  I washed the globe properly and reassembled the light fixture.  There aren’t enough hours in the day for all the maintenance one can end up doing in a multi room multi floor 100 year old house.  Sigh…

Meanwhile, Brianna and I and my editor Ann Marie are furiously working on launching patterns.  I launched the 500 vest yesterday, very proud of myself, and then woke up at 2am with a panic attack.  I’m such an American.  And I mean that in not a good way.  I’m selling downloadable patterns to those who can’t take my workshops, many of whom live in parts of the world that use a different measuring system than we American’s use.  The entire rest of the world uses the metric system, and we here in the US insist on using an Imperial measuring system.  How could I be so self absorbed to not even think that my materials all need to have metric equivalents?  So I spent the morning rewriting the free directions for the bias top, to include Metric measurements, and uploaded that today.  I’ll try to tackle the rewrites on the newly launched vest directions tomorrow.  I promise I won’t abandon my worthy readers from parts other than the US.  You count too.  Pun intended.

The 500 vest is one of my oldest patterns.  I’m not going in any particular order.  Just what seems most reasonable to “tackle next”.  The swing dress directions are at the editor, and the tunic is basically ready to go, but the editor is much slower than we are. She is pretty amazing. The 500 vest is the one, for those who have studied with me, with the square armhole and armhole/neckbands.  


Side bar…  We all have them.  Warps on the loom from a workshop that finally get woven off years later because we need the loom.  Mostly they are samples and not really usable as a finished thing.  In a round robin type workshop with Karen Donde on Bubble Cloth/differential shrinkage, my table loom had four yards of a tencel and wool/silk warp.  It was ridiculously slow to weave.  It took a few years until I needed the loom for something else.  It was a cool piece of 8″ wide yardage, and not being a scarf person, I pulled out my 500 vest and used the sample for the bands.  This is also a great place to use Inkle bands or Card/Tablet woven bands.  


So the vest pattern is now up on the site, available for purchase here, and the directions as always, are free downloads, but now they will be on my regular website under Extras.  I’ll add metric measurements ASAP.  


I had an odd day between projects, and I pulled a couple things out of my closet.  A couple of years ago,  I had made a sort of zippered vest from the Crimp Cloth fabric from a Dianne Totten workshop, and honestly, never liked the way it fit or looked. 

But the fabric was pretty cool.  I pulled it out of the closet and decided to start hacking it up and eventually came up with a vest I actually like.  I took about 8 inches out of each side.  I love reworking stuff that isn’t working anymore or never really worked to begin with.  Makes you really think, and God knows, I do need to do that on occasion…

My 27 year old daughter is always on me to give my silhouettes a more youthful feel.  That isn’t my demographic, but I listen.  I’ve had enough younger students request a hood on at least one of my garments that I drafted my tunic to include this option.  I made this striped wool, commercial fabric into a prototype, and I gotta say, this is one of my go to pieces in my wardrobe.  I’m starting to get the point of a hood.  Anyway, my daughter said I needed to add a Kangaroo pouch.  I had enough scrap left, that I could at least try.

So I tested the pouch, after measuring 47 of her hoodie sweatshirts, and drafted and constructed the pocket.  The next step was to add it to the directions.  So I illustrated the construction details, and all that is waiting on my editor, who is still working on the dress.  I’m being patient.

I then got the idea to do a swing coat, not only with a hood, but to try it with the in-seam button front option from that same tunic.  That meant that the center front had to be cut on the straight of grain, but the rest could be cut like a swing coat.  I drafted it, figured out the construction sequence, and pulled a purple wool I’ve been sitting on for so many years I couldn’t tell you when or where I obtained it.  And I found a very cool rayon challis for the lining in the stash.

The purple hooded swing coat is a prototype for this yardage.  I wove this at the end of last year, in a huge hurry because I had to clear the loom in order to move it to the new studio.  All the wool and mohair in it is handdyed.  The weft is a commercial black wool.

I want to lengthen the purple coat, about 4″, and make the in-seam button placket 2″ wide instead of the 1 1/4″ from the tunic pattern.  The hood is pretty cool.  And it has pockets.  Really!  So I’ve corrected the pattern, and laid out the pattern onto the wool/mohair yardage.  I’ll cut it out tomorrow in between the tedious metric recalculation of  my vest directions.  

My daughter has had a bit of a setback.  Her computer system is pretty old, like college days old.  It just didn’t have the computing power or memory to handle a program like Adobe Illustrator and all the layers it takes to vectorize my scanned patterns.  She ordered new components from a computer store in our area, picked them up curbside last night, and spent the evening trying to build herself a faster system.  She is mostly there but stuck on something to do with Windows 10, of course, and we are trying to get in touch with my tech support, who has been great directing her from afar, but we may need a physical intervention…  She was in the middle of the tunic drafts, so hopefully she will be back up and running soon.

Tomorrow, I’ll tackle cleaning the dining room and see what trouble I can get into there…

Stay tuned…

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jenny Sethman
Jenny Sethman
May 1, 2020 8:22 am

I love the hooded tunic pattern!

Karen Donde
May 1, 2020 8:48 am

Thanks for the shout out, Daryl. Love what you did with the Bubble Cloth sample.

May 1, 2020 9:19 am

Both of my kids. (30 and 28) would love that hooded tunic. Will it come in men’s sizes?
Good luck cleaning! My husband and I had quite an adventure repairing a vacuum last week. But we were laughing so hard, and the 15-20 minute plan also went out the window…..?

May 1, 2020 10:21 am

Hmmm…looks like I’m going to be buying a pattern for the hoodie!

Joyce Newman
Joyce Newman
May 1, 2020 10:38 am

Have fun converting instructions to metric! And that said, Canada went metric in 1970 (I was 26) but living next door to the US, many of us are bilingual in regards to measurements. My rulers and tape measures all have inches on one side, and centimeters on the other.

Nancy Weber
Nancy Weber
May 1, 2020 10:41 am

The new hooded tunic is awesome! Love the purple with that gorgeous lining. And, each room will be an adventure in your 15-20 minute — just a quick clean! Hugs,

Carol Van Sant
Carol Van Sant
May 1, 2020 11:20 am

Wow, you sure have been busy! Love all the new stuff. I’ve found cleaning always seems to take lots longer than you think, and don’t get me started in the rat hole of computers, lol.

Yvonne Madsen
Yvonne Madsen
May 1, 2020 2:21 pm

Yes! Yes! Hoods are wonderful! I grew up in Seattle, where it has been known to rain on occasion. Hoods are the most practical quick solution to being outdoors in an unexpected rain shower. Or on a bad hair day. Or basically anytime. . . Thank you!

Meg Wilson
May 1, 2020 4:23 pm

Pockets! Yes! Pockets get left out of women’s fashions, but I don’t know why! I love deep pockets and won’t wear pants without pockets. Love the current trend in tunics because the best ones all have very nice, deep, inset pockets! And the most fun is what you find in the pockets the next time you wear the garment! Love the band on the vest and the purple coat! Makes me yearn for purple hair — I only have a few strands of purple in the back. Not worth it right now. Had a BLT for lunch with our first… Read more »

May 4, 2020 10:10 am

Love it that you added a hoodie! Great work!

Sharon Allen
Sharon Allen
May 4, 2020 1:00 pm

The hooded tunic…swoon!

Juli Macht
Juli Macht
May 5, 2020 12:13 am

It all sounds amazing! I really want to try the tunic with the kangaroo pocket!
However, I broke both my wrists 2.5 weeks ago and cutting fabric is out of the question for now. On them other hand one of you reworked patterns just may be the thing to inspire me when my hands can handle scissors again.
Juli Macht in sunny Fresno, CA

Read previous post:
Lessons from a housewife…

My 88 year old mom (I think she will be 89 on the 2nd) lives in an upscale senior living...