Getting started. Never finished.

Cheap dreams

Found this at my library’s book sale and couldn’t resist it.

I haven’t cracked the box open yet, but I have had stress dreams about money for the past few nights. I don’t think it’s literal, even if it does prompt me to check my account balances when I wake up. I suspect it’s about energy and having enough personal reserves.

Into the woo

I recently started reading Christiane Northrop’s new book, Dodging Energy Vampires: an empath’s guide to evading relationships that drain you and restoring your health and power.

I’m a little bit younger than the generation of women who found Dr. Northrup to be the relevatory Mother Supreme Of Menopause. As a selector of adult non-fiction, I knew her new titles would be well-received. And having finally maybe, just maybe, learned the life-changing magic of declaring some boundaries, I thought this book would provide some insight on a pattern of overextending my energy that I am more consciously trying to curtail.

I am a woman who carries a tarot deck in my purse, and a set of essential oils for emotional remedies. And this book almost makes sense, until she waltzes straight into the woo.

I can’t reconcile her statement that empaths (hi, yes) see people as intrinsically good while some are in fact quite predatory, particularly on empaths. No, they’re needy and damaged, I think. She’d argue that I just don’t see it yet. And then she’ll give examples of empaths who get symptoms of serious illnesses that their family members are just about to be diagnosed with – and their ailments vanish the moment the diagnosis is given. She recounts tales from her own past lives. I can’t take it seriously, and it’s detracting from the impact of the book’s central message: empaths are drawn to heal, and often at their own expense.

I can’t say I am getting nothing from this book, except it gives me imposter syndrome about being an empath (who knew that was a competitive sport?!) and I am having to read it with more than a little side-eye. Mercifully short, so hopefully no retinal damage ensues.

For someone hanging around this many WP buttons….

I really should be more active with this, eh? 

More than the parts

Most of the time, I select fabric just because it catches my eye. Sometimes, there’s a purpose.

Next month is XOXO, and for me it marks a year of sewing in earnest. I decided to make an XOXO dress to celebrate. I gleefully ran around the fabric store to pull the bits together. And then when I started on it at home…


Woozy.


Confusey.


And what was I thinking?

It was the first time in a while that I truly doubted my eye. Not only was I so sure in the fabric shop of how this would work, I had each component cut for exactly the length needed. I started in on the dress, wondering if I had imagined myself into a hot, dizzy mess.

Here’s the result: 


And the kicker: PDX pockets.


Trust your vision.

Did Donna Karan ever put up with this nonsense? 

I suspect not. 


My next cat will be named Tim Gunn.

Cute selvedges FTW

I love the little extra design bonuses. Reminds me of messages scratched into the dead space on records.

Hemming and hawing

I’ve nearly completed this dress: 

It’s nearly floor length. I couldn’t do anything but throw heaps of that floral fabric into it. I put an extra panel in the skirt back to make it even fuller.


The print reminds me of blouses my American grandmother wore. 

What’s keeping me from finishing? I am convinced that somewhere out there is the perfect floral lace trim that needs to peek out from the bottom, and I haven’t found that trim yet. So this gorgeous print sits and waits for its turn to go to the ball. 

That start phase

Today I pieced out a dress combining these two fabrics:


It was when I took a photo of my partial stash that I noticed how well these work together!

I also started the next stage of this shawl, a Doodler by Stephen West:


This photo is the completion of phase one; a cable begins across the top in stage 2. I got the row-before-cabling set up.

And I went to an Intro to Synths class at S1 Synth Library, which also gives me access to using that library for the next month.


All of these new things at the very beginning stages, and Inothing completed. Now wonder I feel unsettled. This should be better in a couple of days when I can make more tangible progress. 

Stash = Selection Paralysis

These are the fabrics that are lingering by my dining table, where I iron and cut my projects. Sewing happens on a much smaller table in my office.


The plum one on top was one of four fabrics I bought in Denverwhile attending the Public Library Association conference. None of them have been used yet.

The seashells print was purchased from a shop of Mississippi Ave in PDX that I think has since vanished. 

The ringspun plaid – subtle, it’s a coffee brown with a inky, could-be-black, could be navy – was from the big fabric store in town, as was the dark denim on the bottom and the graphic map print above the denim. Not pictured: a denim lighter both in shade and weight. I bought five yards of both denims to experiment with, and I’ve made a single-cut dress from the dark denim.

Sandwiched between the map print and the ringspun: a Liberty lawn that reminds me of Gaughin. I cringe slightly at the term “luscious” when it’s applied to textiles. It is appropriate for this print.

So now: what do I do with these, and what’s first? And…. I am stuck. Stacking these for this photo did reveal the delightful, surprising way those plum and seashell fabrics talk to each other, though. 

A flag of bravery, in crepe du chine

It was less than a year ago that I embarked on a challenge to make a dress per month. It started with finally finishing a dress I had long struggled with: a Colette Myrtle in a bright abstracted leopard rayon knit. 

Working with rayon knit, especially if you’re new to it, is much like sewing drunk. It will escape your serger. It will laugh at your attempts to sew curved seams at a consistent allowance. It’s a pretty, drapey beast designed to lure you to novice sewing madness. And I was up against that beast, attempting to coax it into an encased waistband.

But I fecking finished it. I was more frustrated with its half-finished state and Myrtle’s occasional turn-me-inside-out-and-stitch-me-in-blind-belief ways. I figured out that a piece of cardboard would provide the temporary stability to get the elastic encased despite the rayon knit’s wiles.

The second I finished that knit dress, I cut another one in a so-gaudy-it’s-good yellow toile. I finished that Myrtle, hoisted it over my head and down my hips… And realized the elastic waist on a twill fabric was the cruelest thing I could do to my figure. I made it vanish. Then I promptly made another Myrtle in an orange twill festooned with ducks.
Myrtle and I have since made up, and frequently spend productive weekends together. Along the way, I’ve put a few other patterns under my belt, and began to develop my own.

I had one of my own patterns on when I got stopped by a woman who wants to develop a clothing line. Am I ready for this? No. But I know what I need to do to get there. And I also know I’m ready to start experimenting with this silk that has haunted me since the first time I laid eyes on it:


I am just *not* a subtle gal.