It is days like this that make me love living in the northeast. The snow fell, steady, it was very gray outside, but the earth was covered with a blanket of beautiful clean snow, well maybe not the earth, but my little corner of northern NJ. School had been canceled and all of my daughter’s after school activities, my husband was able to work from home, we cranked up the wood stove, and I disappeared into my studio. I worked on the ginger jars, late last night I decided to take the one I made yesterday apart, and rework the top. If I stitched around the top first, and then assembled the sides, the top would be smoother. So I redid the jar from yesterday, and made four more. I think they will make terrific colorful gifts.
In the latest issue of Handwoven, the same one where I read Syne Mitchell’s column about creating a blog, Madelyn van der Hoogt’s letter from the editor talked about making resolutions to do more of something, like weaving, but before one can do that, one has to plan and prepare the warp and then set up the loom. It struck a chord because I need to do all the pattern prep work before I begin to make garments from the projects listed in previous blogs. I have three more garment projects on the table which I will describe in future posts, but for now, my more immediate problem is the constantly changing body I live in. Let me digress.
I spent five years on Tamoxifen, after my breast cancer diagnosis. Having been thrown instantly into menopause by the chemotherapy, my body changed rapidly from a premenopausal 46 year old, into a post menopausal body, losing height, and adding about 25 pounds. I kept that weight for many years. No matter how hard I tried, I seemed stuck at this new weight, and this whole new, very different body. Missing a few parts, but hey, at least I’m alive. I’ve been off Tamoxifen about a year now, and I am amazed at how my body is changing, every so slowly back to my original pre cancer shape, slimmer hips, about 10 pounds lighter, which sounds wonderful I know, but besides all my clothes not fitting anymore, because I had to buy all knew ones in the last few years, my dressform needs to be completely refit. The last few garments I made using this form came out much larger than I expected, once I tried them on myself. So I took some measurements, and to my shock, I needed to reshape the hips and drop 3 inches off the form.
Taking advantage of my 16 year old daughter home from school for the snow day, I peeled her away from her computer, and got her to help me refit the muslin cover on my Uniquely You Dress Form. If you have fluctuating weight, this is a great form, since all you have to do is rip open the seams and refit the cover and the form will change with you.
While my daughter helped me fit the cover, she poked around the studio, always a dangerous thing, and got intrigued by the ginger jars I was making out of the shibori papers. She dug through my stash, and my library, and found the book by Linda Johansen on Fabric Boxes. She found a Chinese Food type container to make out of a couple of bandanas. She ran to her room, and brought out her collection of bandanas, and decided to try to make a fabric box with two she had with a breast cancer theme, from a Susan Komen run we attended back in 2003. Two of us in this small studio is something to see. We managed not to fall over each other, I worked on the cutting table while she sewed, and the photo above shows her finished box. I was quite proud of her, and I think she was proud of herself, and for about four hours today, she didn’t play on the computer…
And my dressform now fits my body, so I can start working out some of the garment ideas I have for project 1-3.