Mishap at the sewing table

March 29, 2010 § 7 Comments

I’ve been doing seamstress work for hire for about a year. This weekend I was tailoring a skirt for one of Josh’s co-workers… and I cut a 2 inch hole into the back of the skirt.

How in the world could that happen?

I was at my serger finishing off the side seams and some of the fabric from the back got caught in the blade. I was being careless.

Last night, I was ready to throw in the towel and say I was never going to do seamstress work ever again. Honestly, right now I’m afraid to tailor anything. I hope that this fear will go away after a couple of months.

I still have to face Josh’s co-worker.

I also figure that I’ll just get bad press from her. That’s what it is.


Knitting, zippers and babies

March 23, 2010 § 2 Comments

At the yarn swap this year, I got 9 skeins of this olive colored wool. In exchange, I sewed in a zipper into a friend’s handknit sweater vest for her husband. For the record, it takes a lot of care to insert a zipper into handknits. Period.

Now, with 9 skeins of yarn, at 156 meters each, I’m knitting myself a sweater. I’ve been staring at the Therapi instructions for a couple of days and it must be that I’m not getting enough sleep cos it just doesn’t make sense. I’m going to knit night tonight and I’m hoping to get some guidance so I can start this puppy.

I’m letting it be my winter 2010/2011 sweater. I’m in no rush.

We did get sick from the turn in weather. It went from sweater weather, nice and cool and mostly sunny and bright, to gray and overcast and rainy and yuck. We’re in pajamas today to see if we scare the cold away by stinking it out. ūüėČ

Last night, after I had put baby brother to bed, I came downstairs and got a phone call from a friend who gave birth to her little baby girl. I am torn. I want to rush over there and shower them with love and food and, of course, their podaegi, but I also want them to have the time to themselves. Congratulations!

Here’s their podaegi (“pod”, for short):

You’ll notice it’s a Sybil (multiple personality, or two non-coordinating fabric) pod- aka. mama/papa pod (I haven’t come up with a good name yet). My friend and her hubby picked out the blanket fabric. Beautiful light blue for mama (and papa):

And zigzag squares on the papa side (and mama, too):

Can you tell that the head rest/shoulder strap is standing up by itself? That’s called padding! There are 4 layers in the shoulder straps plus the layer of padding from the blanket part of the pod. Pretty sweet.

Training a horse

March 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

At the last knit night here in town, I listened as one of the knitters talked about her horse. She was having a really hard time every since the horse flipped out and hit her, several times. She told us that it took a very long hour to retrain the horse (longer than it should take, from her perspective); she managed to quiet the horse’s urge to kick and go batty. Basically, she said, once your horse has kicked or done something that a trained horse shouldn’t do, you have like 30 seconds to let that horse know that if she doesn’t stop she’s going to die.

Yeah. I know. Light knitting discussion.

Let’s lighten things up as I draw the parallel I wanted to draw. I think that this sort of horse training (good or bad aside) is like threading a serger.

Wait. Don’t go. There’s a point to be made.

I had to change one of the needles on my serger and figured I should just get in the habit of always changing both so I don’t forget which one is the …. ok. I’ll get to it. As I was replacing the serger with brand new needles, a couple of things got moved around. For one, the serger itself got moved upstairs to the home of my sewing machine for the duration of my sewing class. Who knows why things shifted.

After replacing the needle and getting a sloppy stitch out of the machine, I tweaked a couple of metal pieces to see if it would work right. It didn’t seem to work, so I cut all the threads (there are 4 on this particular machine) at the cones and started threading from scratch. At that point, I felt like the knitting horse trainer. I let my serger know in no uncertain terms that there would be consequences if it didn’t start working.

Lo and behold, it did. Good job, serger!

(Here’s a photo of a serger like mine. This one is similing.)

Disclaimer: No sergers, needles, or cones of thread were harmed in the writing of this post. No names were changed because no one was innocent.

What my 3 year old can do

March 5, 2010 § 3 Comments

I’ve been frustrated by what I see and what I think a 3 year old can do. What’s interesting is that around me I felt the expectations increase when bilingual baby turned three. She should have table manners, be polite, never say what she thinks, and never scream. Oh no. Never scream.

She eats with her hands, doesn’t always say “thank you”, used to welcome guests to our home with: I don’t want them to be here, screams when we don’t cut her toast the right (unknown) way, and doesn’t fall asleep on her own (nor in her own bed and room).

As you may be able to imagine, we don’t share all of this with everyone. One of the reasons I feel like sharing is that some of these “bad habits” have dissolved into more socially acceptable patterns.

My thinking sounds like this:

She knows how to ________ , why can’t she do it by herself.

I wonder if you, kind reader, as detached as you are from my situation can see how this “logic” doesn’t always fit the changing, developing 3 year old.

Three year olds may scream for what parents and by standers may call no reason and at any given moment. What’s fun (and relieving) to see is that bilingual baby has stopped, after months of validation, saying that she didn’t want our friends to be at our house. One day, when a friend stopped by she said, Hi, in the delightful way kids do. That has continued so far. I suppose I should be prepared in case she reverts.

Reverting is one of the things I’ve had the hardest time with. Bilingual baby was so proud of the fact that she could take herself to the toilet, and did it with incredible frequency. Now, she wants someone to assist with all details pertaining to her toileting. In my head I keep thinking that she should be able to do this… since she knows how.

This expectation has kept me frustrated and a frustrated Leila is an unhappy Leila. I’m sure you know what I mean. I feel like I should adjust what I’ve just said so I come off as patient but still with high expectations instead of whatever you’re thinking of me right now. Maybe you aren’t thinking anything at all.

Same thing goes for baby brother. I think: Why does he keep doing ______? He understands.

With more appropriate expectations of my children (not yours, just mine) I know and will keep true to the thought that baby brother is driven to movement and physical experiences with a passion. He understands the world by throwing things and his body into space (and into people). He means no harm by it and yes I do try to keep him from doing this if I imagine harm coming to someone (him or someone else). His desire to feel governs him more than his desire to sit still and do what he’s told. In one way, I think that he must feel very secure in our love for him that he doesn’t worry about not doing what we’re asking him to do/not do.

Bilingual baby started, a couple of months ago, saying something that also tells me that she knows I will love her even if she does something I’m not crazy about. Here goes our conversation:

BB: Can I have some raisins?

me: Not before breakfast.

BB: I can get them.

me: Breakfast is almost ready. I don’t want you to eat raisins right now, you’ll fill up and your tummy won’t have room for breakfast.

BB: (this is her line) I’m doing it anyway.

me: I prefer if you don’t and wait a bit more.

BB: (eating raisins) I’m eating raisins.

End of story.

I figure this will be going on for our whole relationship. Might as well get used to the fact that she’s not going to do everything I want her to do all the time. For the most part, she does have patience to wait, let her brother go first, etc.

How will she learn manners? And who will expect her to be polite if I always don’t?

Well, I truly believe that children are brought into this world with a very pure soul. That pure soul is so¬†seamlessly¬†connected to the world they came from and they¬†inherently¬†know. Kids, unless we try to change them or we hurt them too often and too roughly, will want what is best for everyone. Yes. They may tell you that the dinner you just cooked is yucky. That’s not bad manners, that’s honesty.

I don’t worry that my kids will say that dinner is yucky when they’re older. Not at all. I’m going to keep going along

For the record, when bilingual baby says “thank you” or “good to see you” or cries when a friend leaves because she didn’t get a kiss and a hug before they left… that’s all her. I didn’t prompt her. I did have to wait and watch the looks on people’s faces when anything but the ‘thank yous’ flew out of her mouth.

Again, this works for me. And for bilingual baby. She is not a child you can mow over. She’ll see it in your eye and hear it in your voice and she won’t go for the insincerity. When I talk about being firm with anyone it’s with myself. I need to be firm with what I mean. Do I really mean what I say? Do I really need those toys cleaned up… or else? Do I really mean all those conditions for my love? If you do _____, then I’ll hold you. And so on.

All in all, that what my 3 year old does.

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