Actually, that title should read, all in a month’s work, but whose counting?
This has been a year so far, enough said… Obviously we are desperately seeking to return to some kind of normalcy, and to each of us, that means something different. My girlfriend came over yesterday, never came in the house, we sat across the deck from each other and chatted. They we played recorder. We were working on the Brandenburg Concerto, and though I’ve been practicing, I hadn’t played it with anyone else. And because it is such a lengthy score for something like 10 recorders, I am playing my part using Parts, which means in the music world, only your part is in front of you, not the whole score, so you don’t have a clue what anyone else is playing until you hear it. If you lose your place, good luck finding a way back in. But my friend and I managed to get through 1/3 of the score and it sounded pretty amazing on my little deck in my gorgeous gardens. The birds always sing along…
My friend said to me, that when things return to normal, the first thing on her agenda is a salon appointment. She has higher maintenance hair than I do, so I get that. I think my first priority is to get my hearing checked. Yes, it was on the list anyway. I know I have a hearing issue, I’ve known since I was 18 months old and was basically deaf. But that was fixed and my hearing is actually fine, actually a little overly sensitive. According to the people who have checked it in the past, my hearing is normal, but I have a processing disorder. I hear what you say, I just don’t understand what you say because unless I see your face, and am basically lip reading, it all comes in as a jumbled mess, especially if there is any background noise. I’m OK with instrumental music, but not when words are added. I watch my son sing along to things coming out of his phone, and none of it sounds like anything I can recognize. I’m sort of use to it and adjust. But the other day, when I went to the post office to mail a book to Canada, I had to have a conversation with the employee in the post office. Both of us were of course wearing masks, heavily gloved and well over 6 feet apart. She answered my query, but of course because I couldn’t see her mouth, I had no idea what she said to me. I explained that and asked if she could speak really slowly and separate her words carefully. She pulled her mask down and said, “No, I can’t, I’m Hispanic and we all talk this fast.”. We both started to laugh and it was such a lovely moment where we both acknowledged that the world is messed up and nothing is normal.
Worse though, is my eyes. I fear I have developed cataracts, and that with use everything gets cloudy and I can’t focus and I’m really struggling between three different pairs of glasses to get the job done. So hearing and eye appointments are top of my list. Those are sort of essentials for me…
My days are filled with typical things, a curtain valance ripped from the wall.
Fortunately my handyman was able to come in with wall toggles, and a mask and gloves and replace the brackets ripped out of the wall in short order. I sat in the dining room watching.
My gardens are lovely and I spend my meals sitting by the pond and enjoying what my late husband started and a well coordinated crew finished over the years since his death. Being outside like that I’ve noticed more of what actually happens in nature and it isn’t always pretty. We have a Blue Jay terrorist in the neighborhood. I always knew they were nasty little beasts but didn’t realize they were actual carnivores. Right in front of me, one flew in and stole a tiny baby robin from the nest. The bereft mother robin tried to save her baby and of course the blue jay won that round. I was just as bereft and couldn’t stop apologizing to her. We just looked at each other with despair. There were two other birds left in the next, so she and the dad continued to feed the babies while my friend and I played recorders on the deck. This morning I went out to see why the power was out to all my outdoor fixtures and the garage. I found blood all over the deck and a bit away on the walk, another dead baby bird. Again, the mother robin flew up and looked at me as if to say, the world is cruel, and we just have to carry on. My daughter cleaned up the carnage and I figured out the electrical problem. All in a day’s work.
My birthday was Friday. This is an important year, I turned 65 and am now on Medicare. Such a huge relief. As much as I appreciated having access to the Affordable Care Act this past year once my cobra from my late husband’s policy ended, I can’t tell you how worried I was about getting sick on the road because my very expensive insurance did not cover me outside of North Jersey. So this is a big deal. I made it to Medicare.
My birthday was actually lovely. My sister and my girlfriend made homemade cards, because you can’t really go and hang out in the card store and read cards. There are about 250 birthday wishes on facebook, and I haven’t made a dent in commenting, liking or whatever. Patience everyone. I live with my adult children for now, and my son came in from his overnight shift Friday morning, cooked an awesome brunch skillet, we had wine and he headed off to bed. Yes, I realize I was drinking at 10am. Don’t judge me… My daughter made sure I had plenty of wine and had ordered sushi take out from our favorite place the night before (they sell out quickly). So we have a gorgeous sushi platter, wine, and I never got out of my pajamas the whole day. I had spent the day in edits for my pattern support materials and was completely cross-eyed, but we sat down to start fixing one of the puzzles I got myself for my birthday. Three hours later, and some additional wine, and voila! This was one of my favorites. I want to fix it again soon. Without my daughter so it will take longer.
And so dear readers, it has been a busy month of editing and testing, and reworking and testing some more. Today I launched the 1700 Drop Shoulder Tunic pattern, earlier in the week I launched the 700 Set in Sleeve Tunic pattern. What’s the difference? My 700 tunic has a set in sleeve. It is more feminine and creates a better shoulder line, I much prefer it personally. It is the same sleeve I use in my jackets (patience, we are starting on them next) and it frames the upper body well.
But there was a need for the drop shoulder version, the sleeve and armhole are more like a man’s shirt sleeve, construction is different, and for the men in my classes this is a much preferred look. And for my younger students, or anyone wanting a more gender neutral garment it is more appropriate. The hood variation with the drop shoulder is pretty much my daughter’s wardrobe. View the pattern here.
What I really want to point out dear readers, is the huge amount of technical information available for free on my website. All of the directions for the patterns I’ve published at this point have been reformatted and refreshed, metric equivalents added, and they have all been heavily edited by a sewing professional editor. They are available here for free. No need to buy the pattern to take a look.
Those who have taken classes with me know I love using 15 denier nylon tricot as a seam finish. I highly recommend it for the tunics. I’ve procured a good amount, in about five colors (grey is back), and had my store tech support send me information about how to build a color choice into my supply listings. So if you want Fusi-Knit interfacing, there is one link, just choose from the drop down menu if you want white or black. And there is a link for 15 denier nylon tricot. Just pick the color you want. A 1 yd by 54″ pack is only $4. You’ll have to cut the bias strips yourself, but if you are ordering red dot tracer pattern paper and some interfacing, you can also pick up a pack or two of tricot. I haven’t figured out what to do about shipping because it is so ridiculous. The computer adds a shipping amount per item. Which I set. Which is fine, unless you are ordering multiple items and then shipping gets just silly. I have a query out to my tech support to figure out an alternative way. If your shipping comes to $60, or some ridiculous amount, know I will absolutely refund you the difference over what it costs to ship. I pretty much refund any amount more than about a $2.00 difference (there is the cost of the packaging to consider.)
As I build my instructions to be used by people who don’t take my classes, I understand that the next step for me will be accompanying videos. My daughter and I have a lengthy agenda. I fear I’ll start traveling again before I get to accomplish it all. Meanwhile, in an unrelated conversation with my editor from Threads, when I checked the proof of the Q&A column I answered on Stay Stitching, which will appear in the next issue I believe, I found out that the video I made for them on Stay Stitching is available for free under their basics heading. Access it here. This is such an important step during the construction process for me, and it would have been one of the first videos I produced to go along with my written information. But I don’t have to now, it exists already! I did 8 other videos for them about a year and a half ago, and over the last year and a half they were slowly edited and released. I believe the rest are all under the Threads Insider membership. There is some terrific content there, well worth the subscription. And I think the first two weeks are free, so as long as you are binge watching…
So dear readers, stay safe as things start to open up. Enjoy the outdoors, though sometimes it too can be cruel. Play with yarn, learn a new song, read a book, cook something awesome. This is a time of exploration.