Saturday, April 29, 2023

My Very Strong Body

 This morning, I ran, almost literally ran, a 5k. I walked a little on the hills and I also wanted to stay with Genevieve. Phoebe started out with us but switched to walking with a friend (tiny brag: last year Phoebe ran the entire thing at age 6 with a patient kindergarten teacher as her buddy, even placing 6th in her age group!). 

This is the farthest I have ever run; I usually run a little over a mile in about 10 minutes, usually about twice a week. I am extremely proud of my strong body and mind for accomplishing this personal best! I kept checking in with myself as I ran, and I felt good and strong the whole way - not even that ragged breath, painful lung feeling that I loathe and try to avoid with running. 

My husband pointed out that in cycling, you can add up your weekly miles, double that, and be confident that you can ride that for a longer ride. So I see now how my dogged jogs for the last five years, really not increasing in speed or distance, have created this strength in me. 

Another thing: when I had my first baby, I went down into post-partum depression. I was blindsided and confused. By the time I figured out what was going on and started to climb out of the hole, I felt terribly betrayed by my body. One of my big healing steps was saying this out loud to a therapist, who gently led me to talk to my body, speaking truth and love. 

I have continued to grow in my love for my body beyond what she looks like - is she well-rested, well-fed, and strong? Today was a milestone in that radical self-love. I am definitely in perimenopause now with a whole cluster of symptoms a few months back: hot flashes, mood swings, dry mouth, achy joints, flesh blanket descending on my middle, and my period a skittish, random guest. So I am even more astonished and grateful for my body's endurance today.  I will continue to jog in astonishment and self-love!

A thrifty note: the tee shirt I am wearing is from 2019. I always decline a new one with the registration. Too many branded, logo, advertising tee shirts in the thrift stores for me to contribute to that waste. So I keep wearing my race tee on repeat, even mending the holes that the bunny nibbled in it when someone who shall not be named borrowed my shirt.  

Monday, April 3, 2023

A Long-Suffering Beret and a Wild Hat

I had this silvery-green wool yarn from a local shop, so not cheap. I knitted a beret. The band was much too loose, so I carefully handsewed a little knit headband inside. I wore it last winter, as in, the winter of 21-22. Great color, not a great fit. I wanted it to be a classic shape, the band not too tight or too loose, and a simple decrease. 

 I decided to undo the whole beret and knit it again with a different pattern. I did. It was a eensy-weensy beret. I almost gave up and gave it to Phoebe, but no, I took the dumb thing apart again. Now the yarn was so crinkled that I soaked it in cool water as a skein and laid it out to dry. I used the original pattern with different needles. Still NOT RIGHT. Now I read patterns very carefully, furiously, and doubtfully and finally finally finally, after knitting and re-knitting this beret over the course of the winter, I made a lovely beret that I like! The wool yarn was resilient and wonderful through this laborious process - thank you sheep, shearer, and spinner. 
Photos of me by *Phoebe*!

In a much shorter process, Phoebe and I realized one cold morning just before her bus arrived that she did not have a beanie. I was delighted to solve this problem with my stash. I had seen and noted a local artisan who knitted hats from different weights and kinds of yarn. Like yarn patchwork! Using the little bits! Phoebe was game for a wild hat, and it was SO much fun. Some of the yarn in my stash comes from balls I let my children choose at the creative reuse store as a treat for coming along. That explains this weird pink chenille yarn that becomes excellent next to the other colors and wool. There's also one little strand of eyelash yarn in there, too, making a great texture. I am definitely making more wild hats. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023

When the Dog Bites. . .

 I was at my friend's house recently when she needed help in a hard time and I came across a potholder in her kitchen drawer that I had made long long ago. It was a funny blast from the past, but it also made me laugh out loud because her dog had clearly tasted a corner of the hotpad. 

I asked her if I could replace the bitten hotpad with a pair that matched her new kitchen better. She said yes! 

This is now the third time I have replaced my worn-out handmade hotpads for friends - I like knowing the hotpads are worn because that is what I meant them for. Satisfying all around. 

Monday, March 6, 2023

Two Patchwork Pillows

I have been sitting in my bed more this winter - drinking tea, reading, journaling, you know, cozy things. In the past my whole house was a quiet sanctuary when the children were in bed, but these big beautiful children have independent social lives now and sometimes it takes place right in our house.


Which is good! Hilarious! But not quiet.

So I made myself a patchwork pillow to sit against the headboard and in the magic surprise of patchwork, I adore it. Restful yet not at all bland.

I limited myself to using my small scraps, which makes me extra-proud of my results. I used an extra throw pillow we had around, so I didn't have to buy anything at all for this project. This butterfly quilt was made by Grandma Weaver and I adore it.

I also saw the end of the patchwork living room sofa pillow. It stood up bravely to pillow fights (big kids!) and mending, but it was too worn for more mending. I took the zipper out and used it again. For the last year or so, I have been pretty determined to sew down my stash, but I had a vision for deep purple in some way for this pillow and no fabric to assist me. The striped fabric I found for pennies at the local creative reuse store is delightful in my living room. I pieced it with red and lavender and then I felt led to put baby rick rack on some stripes too. Patchwork magic again! I am thrilled. I am less fond of the other side, but have moved on to other things. 

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Low-waste Tee Shirt Rug

It is Christmas Eve, and the wind chill is -2°. I haven't written a post for months, as I become more middle-aged with all the internal processing and existential thoughts that entails. Possibly I will try to explain some of that sometime, but for right now, I will keep it simple and tell you about my rug triumph. (And throw in some pictures from Christmas tree acquisition, ok, because they're more fun than the rug pics). 
I needed a bath mat, and thought I could perhaps turn some of the ratty t-shirts around here into a rug instead of cutting them up for rags as I usually do. I am oversupplied with rags right now, but not bath mats! I'm calling this low-waste because I can't compost it when it wears out: one or two of the tees had some polyester content. 

I looked at a few YouTube videos of people crocheting rugs and got a big plastic crochet hook. I simply cut the t-shirts into approximately 1" wide strips, as long as I could make the strips, and then sewed them end-to-end on my sewing machine as needed. 
I found the crochet process addictive and delightful. Since I was making an oval, there were no ends of rows that invited me to stop, so I often kept on just going around and around. I started with about a six-inch ball of t-shirt yarn, and when that ran out I made another and kept going. I think there may be four or five t-shirts in this rug. It is actually somewhat heavy for its size and a little wonky in places due to the casual way I cut the strips. 
I also went back in with a needle and white thread and tacked down some of the more flyaway ends, which did not bother me at all. I'm sure a more experienced crochet-er could make a tidier rug, but overall, I am quite pleased. Phoebe has already requested a colorful crocheted rug for her room! We'll see.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

The Vegetable Dress

This dress turned out so differently from my vision. I'm still not sure I like it or will keep it. . . my vision was for a summer dress that was easy to wear, an everyday dress.

Yes, why did I pick fabric with a white background that needed a full lining? And. . . white? Why, Margo? The vegetables spoke to me, I guess? And the dress I made feels like a sweet, cute 1950s housewife dress - it doesn't feel like me! 

I thought by way of decoration that the skirt lining could peek out with a bit of eyelet lace, but I've gotten well-meaning shocked comments that my slip was sticking out.  Overall, I think the dress is just a bit too sweet for me. 

Funnily enough, I was at the optometrist one week, wearing the dress. The receptionist was so tickled to see there were vegetables on my dress. Then, when I brought Phoebe for her appointment next week, she remembered me (I was surprised - it's a big practice) for wearing the vegetable dress previously! 

Fortunately the side pockets I added are successful. And the blue and white is such a refreshing cool vision on the eyes in the deep sticky stink of a city in summer.

I found the bodice very tedious to fit. I needed to take in the top and let out the bottom, but since the dratted thing is lined and a multi-piece princess style, I had to rip out and the reconfigure twice the number of seams. 

All the photos on this post are by Phoebe! She did a fabulous job.

This dress caused me to think more carefully about my wishes for summer dresses. I did some research on pattern styles, and thought of the clothes I have that I like the most for comfort and personal style. Then, I purged my sewing patterns and carefully bought some different ones. Stay tuned - I fit in some successful sewing in my busy summer!

Monday, June 20, 2022

Raspberry Nightie

I cranked out a swishy yellow nightie for the growing girl.

The flowers are just so pretty on this vintage fabric from my stash. I used a size 5 pattern and just eyeballed some width and length. When I had her slip it over her head before I put the finishing sems in, we tore the armscye a bit. I'm afraid the vintage fabric might be a bit fragile. I topstitched a patch over the tear.

I did actually make the nightie too wide, so I put a pleat in the front neckline. Sewing over it with rick rack is a bit homemade-y looking, but I knew the fancier the trims, the more Phoebe would love it.

Well, it is pretty and she loves it! And raspberries. Keeping up with the bramble is a twice-a-day job right now, and the black raspberries are coming in, too. One of the fun parts of summer!