With a Little Help From My Friends

Last week I did something pretty far out of my comfort zone, and discovered something delightful in the process. At first glance it seems like it’s got nothing to do with sewing or making, but stick with me for a moment…

I’m a *somewhat* athletic person, but I don’t like to go to gyms or work out in the traditional sense. I keep in passable shape by playing volleyball every week and riding my bike in the summer. I joined a new volleyball team back in January and hooked up with five new teammates that I hadn’t met before. They are all very athletic and super-fit; I think volleyball for them is what they do on their days off from more serious workouts. You know that joke about what do you call someone who hangs around with a bunch of musicians? (The drummer.) Well, on this volleyball team I’m the person who hangs around with a bunch of very fit athletes. (The mascot, maybe?) 😛

My team and I goofing around in the obstacle course

My team and I goofing around in the obstacle course

We all hit it off even though we’d never met before — these folks are great people! — and we’ve become friends, doing things together outside of volleyball like going out dancing. Last week one of my teammates suggested we all try out this new gym which has a big obstacle course and other challenging things like rope climbing, slack lines, and a couple of giant sloped walls you have to take a run at and see if you can haul yourself up to the top. And I was all like:


A million reasons Why Not went through my head, not the least of which was that I was likely going to die or break a leg or at the very least humiliate myself. Also I wouldn’t be able to knit while doing this particular activity, so, like, pffft. But I ended up going anyway, caving into the peer pressure…such a terrible influence these people are, just wanting to do awful healthy things that are fun and keep them in shape! Sheesh. Whatever happened to just getting drunk in the park while eating 3 bags of Doritos and then setting fire to neighbourhood garbage cans?? 😉

When I arrived I had that same feeling of dread I used to get in grade 7 gym class. My volleyball mates were all stoked, while I was wondering why the hell I agreed to this.

They say a dose of humility is good for you, and I got a good one taking a run up that giant wall and missing the top ledge. The face plant is bad enough but then you have to endure the looong slide to the bottom, also on your face. lol. Cartoonish music along the lines of ‘wah wah waaaah’ automatically goes through your head. (Here’s a link with a picture of the wall in question so you can picture what I mean.)

Despite lacking the upper body strength required to get through some of the sections of the obstacle course — I found I started to enjoy myself. I made my way through the course slowly but surely with my friends cheering me on and giving me various boosts and pushes as needed. These folks could easily have been disdainful of my inferior fitness level but they weren’t, and I was grateful.

At one point I faced a steeply-sloped wall that I had to get over by hauling myself up a rope. I pulled as hard as I could, straining with every ounce of strength I had (so, like, not much) and *almost* made it to the top. I didn’t have the strength for the last push, despite my friends shouting at me from the top that I could do it. Just as I was about to let go of the rope, my friends reached down and grabbed my arms, and I found myself being hauled up onto the platform.

I had a significant moment just then. Getting pulled up by my friends was a treat both physically and emotionally. I realized what a great feeling it is to know that you can do things you didn’t think you could do with friends to support and help you. And how great it is to have those friends. I felt like I had accomplished something but more importantly I was reminded how crucial a great support network is, and how lucky I am that I have several of them, in many aspects of my life.

The reason I tell you this long story is because the next day I had a look at your comments on my last post Is There a Pill for This?? in which I was moaning about having sewing block. Honestly, I got a similar feeling reading your suggestions, your expressions of commiseration, and your best wishes for getting over the hump (or over the wall, as the case may be). What a privilege and pleasure it is to have a network of generous people willing to take the time to wish me well. And while sewing block isn’t, of course, the worst thing that could happen to someone by a very long shot, your supportive comments mean a lot to me, my dear sewing friends! You’ve given me just the hand up I needed. (But I still know better than to promise that I’m going to finish sewing something anytime soon! 😉 )

Alright, this post is starting to sound like one of those awful inspirational posters that make me want to poke my own cynical eyes out, so I’ll stop. But seriously, I appreciate that you take time to read this blog and I am very grateful to have you as a support network. And here’s an inspirational poster that’s more my speed, and seems pretty relevant to me and my sewing hobby. Can you relate? 😀

Ineptitude: if you can't learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly

Is There a Pill for This??

I can’t seem to finish sewing anything! I’ve got all kinds of gorgeous fabric, all kinds of great patterns, and all kinds of excitement…and yet, I can’t close the deal. I haven’t finished sewing anything since December. I’ve got sewing block!

Exhibit A: This faux fur jacket has been cut, partially sewn, and hanging around our dining room like a vagrant muppet hoping for a meal for almost four months.


I think one of my cats may even have sprayed on it. (But really, can you blame him?? That thing looks like it’s going to eat all the cat food in the house.)

Eventually, I’m hoping it will look more like this  — so that I can wear it and, y’know, turn myself into the vagrant muppet hoping for dinner:

Burda Faux Fur Coat 01/2016 #122

Burda Faux Fur Coat 01/2016 #122

I think what’s stopping me from completing it is that I’ve never done a lined jacket or coat before. I know it’s not all that difficult, but this is a Burda pattern so the instructions are very brief. I should’ve picked a coat pattern with drawings and detailed instructions. Plus now that Spring is here I have zero motivation to spend time on a fur coat at the moment. Timing is everything, isn’t it?

Exhibit B: this ‘spring parka’ is also underway:


Which is supposed to look like a slightly shortened version of this when it’s done:

Burda's Sporty Parka 02/2016 #117

Burda’s Sporty Parka 02/2016 #117.

I’m sewing it in a lovely blue silk. But I ran out of fabric before I could cut the collar piece. And again, I realize I kinda need more detailed instructions than what Burda supplies because I’m really not sure how to attach the collar and facings and all that business up in there. So it’s on hold at the mo’.

I decided I needed the SIMPLEST, most BASIC thing to sew just to prove I can actually complete something. So I chose this simple shift dress, which is basically a front, a back, pockets, and little strap across the back. Even I will be able to follow Burda’s instructions for this one, surely!

Burda Shift Dress 04/2016 #115

Burda Shift Dress 04/2016 #115

And I found this fantastic fabric for it. That large-scale print may end up wearing me instead of me wearing it, but it’s worth a shot. The fabric is chiffon or something along those lines. It’s gonna be finicky…so I think Sewzilla will likely make an appearance despite this dress’ simplicity. Maybe Sewzilla’s presence is just what I need to get something done!

fabric with roman ruins

Today I started sewing the lining as a way to test the fit before cutting into that loveliness. I wound up with Marty Feldman bust points and some slightly damaged lining fabric:

See the pulled threads in the fabric on the right?

See the pulled threads in the fabric around the dart on the right?

I suspect I need to use a different needle. This lining is fairly fine and has a slight 2-way stretch. Perhaps I need to use a Ballpoint needle to keep it from pulling those lengthwise threads out of place?

Anyway, dear readers, if you happen to know of a cure for sewing block, hook me up, k? 🙂

Huzzah! Me and my Sweetheart are back together!

Look at this swagger! Why? Cause I opened a can of serger whoop-ass on this sweater. I feel like a certified DOMIKNITRIX.

Sweetheart sweater with pink intarsia bow

When I finished knitting this sweater (Sweetheart from Domiknitrix by Jennifer Stafford),  it was way too big. More details and sucky pics here.

Sweetheart sweater before and after

But now my Sweetheart fits much better. And this is how I feel about it:

Sweetheart sweater jumping for joy

I used my serger to trim away the extra room from the sleeve hem all the way along to the waist on each side. Then I pinned up the extra bulk around the sleeve heads and serged around the armholes. Lastly, I wove black elastic thread around the neckline and cinched it in. So many thanks to readers who offered suggestions and encouragement! It worked, y’all!

Sweetheart sweater

And I love it!

Sweetheart sweater