12 December 2012

Twirling your blue skirts

Hello out there!

So way back in August I mentioned my plans to sew up a skirt. Since I never actually wear skirts and since I generally prefer pants (yes, I know. these are fantastic reasons for making a skirt) I figured that my future skirt would be a no-frills kind of deal. You know, neutral or cool colours, clean and crisp lines, and a sensible twill fabric.

Something like this, maybe, except more pared-down:


Instead I ended up cutting skirt pieces out of peach satin of all things--peach satin with a vaguely floral jacquard pattern, what's more. I'm not sure what happened.


Thankfully, unlike my last attempt at florals, I like what I've worked on so far. And really, by my standards, I've been going all out on this project.

07 October 2012

Eleven! This is something new.

A couple weeks ago I tried to write an omnibus post involving recent happenings, my patchwork tutorial, an update on my skirt, and a(nother) look at pants. Needless to say, that never happened. Instead I offer you this quick post, typed out in one go and full of exciting things (at least to me)!

So, a few things have happened since I was last on here. For one thing, the fall term at school started. The past ten sixteen twenty-five days have been hectic. Then a few days later Nothy Lane of A Question for the Teacher passed on the Liebster award to me -- thanks, Nothy! (And sorry for taking so long to get to it!) Nothy had been awarded it for A Question for the Teacher, where she discusses education and posts great reading lists, but I'd recommend you also check out Aft Agley, her incredibly informative and detailed sewing blog.

Finally, I've been signed on for an on-campus writing and blogging job, and I've been transitioning between workplaces. It's my first writing writing job, so I'm pretty excited -- I guess I'm seeing it as proof that jobs for English specialists do, sort of, kind of, exist. Maybe. Ha, ha.

Okay, the Liebster.

The Rules
  1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you.
  3. Create 11 questions for the people you will be giving the award to.
  4. Choose 11 people to award and send them a link to your post. Go to their page and tell them.
  5. No tag backs.

04 September 2012

Organize Your Magazines With 9 Easy Lines of Stitching

What, didn't you know I was a spambot?

My sister's back in town, books and luggage (but mostly books) in tow, which means for the last while we've been re-organizing the home to fit everything. This is a good thing, since we're suddenly finding our place is sunnier than we thought, the walls smoother and emptier and whiter, and the furniture not nearly as plain.

Yay!

But I have to admit that when it comes to moving things around in creative ways I don't always see the appeal, and unlike my sister I don't have any talent for it either (books, again; why can't we leave them stacked in a pile?). So my sister hit on a solution that would both make me feel useful and take some strain off the desk and bookshelf in our room, which was for me to sew a hanger for magazines, notebooks, and folders:

how to make a magazine holder
My old easel doubles as a modelling rack

It's a simple two-pocket design with a handle, but since it's completely lined, with each pocket a roomy 10.5" square, it can hold quite a bit of junk.

Plus, as I mentioned in the title, it's very easy to sew.

Materials:

Note: The lengths given below are the lengths you'll need cut if you're buying the fabric specifically for this project, but the hanger won't actually use all of that fabric. I used leftover cloth pieces for this, which I think is best.

  • 3/4 meters (or about 2 1/2 feet) of a firm, closewoven fabric - quilter's cotton, chambray, twill, cordoruoy, etc. This will be the main fabric.
  • 3/8 meters (or about 1 1/2 feet) of a light fabric. This will be the lining fabric.
  • 1 bamboo stick or thin wooden dowel
  • thread

27 August 2012

33 Variations on a Pizza...sort of.

I've been working on a personal project for several weeks now, which is why I've barely posted anything this last half of summer -- the project took me until this morning to finally wrap up. It's not something sewing related, nor is it something I can take pictures of (let's play 20 questions, come on now!) but maybe in the future I'll post more about it.

A real master of suspense, I am.

Anyway, I didn't run straight to my sewing machine as I was finishing up The Project, but I did find time to do a little baking.


It's a vague approximation of pizza, since I had no cheese on hand, and ditto for mushrooms, bell peppers, and ground beef. What I did have were tomatoes, lots of them, and the ingredients for pizza sauce. And a starter-based baguette dough.

I'd originally planned to make 3 baguettes out of the dough but, like at most places, at our house pizza trumps all other forms of bread. At a given time I'll be kneading some dough for burger buns or a tomato-stuffed white bread, when someone will pass by the counter and see the metal bowl.

"Oh, is that pizza you're making?" they'll ask, just a little too loudly. And then a call from one of the bedrooms -- "Pizza?" -- followed by a cry of "Pizza!" from the balcony, and then another from somewhere near the storage room.

"Pizza, pizza, pizza," comes a small voice from under the floorboards.

07 August 2012

The Skirt's Progress

Or: Sewing and art and why drawing is The Solution

About a week or so ago, I decided I needed a full-length skirt. This was partly because I'd wanted to sew a skirt for a long time, and had nobody to sew one for (my sister wears them, but she's more than capable of sewing her own skirts) and partly because I suspected that they were super easy and convenient to dress in. The problem was, of course, that any skirt I'd really want to wear would have to look like this:

fashion drawing and sketch of pants

Yes, I know those are pants.

But I can admire nice things even if they're not my style, and in the last while I'd seen pleats and gores and button-down panels all over the place, in blog photos and real life, so I finally decided to take the plunge, if you will. Only to clamber backwards on the ledge almost right away. (I like dragging out questionable metaphors to their slow and painful deaths. And mixing metaphors, too, but only sometimes.)

See, I'm so used to self-drafting by now that I barely hesitate at doing up a design for trousers or a blouse or a new jacket. But as I was exclaiming about my great skirt plans to my sister, she calmly suggested that I slow down a bit before planning out elaborate, voluminous, complicated designs, seeing as I never wear skirts, ever. Full of good advice, she is.

I've said before that knowing how things work is half the reason I sew. Putting pieces together is satisfying, but loses a lot of its appeal if I don't know why I'm doing what I'm doing, why pieces fit together or drape the way they do.

19 July 2012

Shirt Alert

(What, where? Who's rhyming?)

Too lazy to do a proper sketch

I've drafted and cut the pieces for a short-sleeved hooded jacket made in a light blue chambray, and am now working up the will to just get on and sew it. I don't usually hesitate over clothes like this, only I'm not sure this shirt is really my style. I mean there's a hood that I like (I like hoods), but that's about it -- which is a little silly since I designed the shirt.

The issue here is more to do with the print:


13 July 2012

It's like --

-- you time your walks around the office building by how fast your desktop screen blacks out.



It's like -- you have "planned walks" around the building in the first place.



08 July 2012

How to do Turned-Edge Applique by Hand

Quick, quick, what's the common link here?

turned edge applique by hand

Well, other than the preoccupation with eating, I should have specified. And yes, there really is a connection between them that has nothing to do with fruit or ice cream!

A close-up might help:

turned edge applique by hand


23 June 2012

Let me tell you


“It's like — someone comes to dinner. They like the curtains. They like your wife's dress. They like the food. Nice, everything's nice, you're just starting to relax.” He leaned back into the chair. “Then they compliment the dinnerware — almost right when you've left the table, this is — and it turns out they can't even tell between earthen and china. You'd feel — ”

“Cheated?”

“Not cheated, I'm not going to say that. But, well, what could you call it?”



____________________________________________

I like writing, a lot. And as such I have a stash of fiction bits that I've spent time on but that probably won't find their way into a longer work, in large part because they don't match my other writing but also because they're not quite cleaned up. So these posts are  not clutter, I'm not going to say that. But, well, I'm trying to fight my tendency toward hoarding; these are things I need out of my way, for a short while at least. Maybe I'll use them eventually (hopefully!). Until then I'll be posting them one by one on this blog.

22 June 2012

5 patchwork tips which I may or may not use

Patchwork as a craft is a distinct and slightly awe-inspiring thing. It has its own cutting tools, its own presser feet, even its own rulers -- and of course it has its own set of sewing rules. I'm not an expert piecer or quilter by any means, but over the past few projects I've adopted a few habits that help me with my patchwork.

1) Use a textured backing to cut cloth on. If I try to trace and cut my fabric right on my regular sewing board, the cloth slips all over the place. By using felt (glued to a stiff backing), fine sandpaper, or craft foam, I can work with the fabric more easily.


2) When making a lot of similar units, pin and sew them in a large batch. I usually pin them all at once, and then "chain sew" them by simply feeding them one after another into the machine without cutting thread in between units. But I always remember to leave a few centimeters of thread between units! At the end I have a long "chain" of pieced units that I can clip apart and then press all at once.


14 June 2012

Quilting with cardboard again

A new week, a new bag, that's pretty much how I roll.

handmade accordion fan bag with zipper

Yeah, right.

As much as I'd liked to have sewn this up in the single week after I finished my turnback cuff shirt, it's actually a project I started way back in September, before the school year even got underway. I'd been obsessing over the whole "quilting with cardboard" idea and decided to make another bag, with the vague notion that it would have more room, a better zipper, a longer handle, a fuller lining -- and of course a set of board-backed knife pleats all along the front. Every bag needs that.

trimming seams for a bag
Before and after trimming the bottom seams.

But the whole process of making those pleats (sorry, no pictures) was so draining that almost right after finishing them I ditched the project completely. That meant that when I finally went back to this bag last Friday, it had spent about nine months being tossed around, stuffed into closets, sat on, and generally mistreated.

06 June 2012

Turnback Cuffs Completed

Turnback cuffs are cool. They're so cool that they confer incredible amounts of awesomeness on whoever's wearing them, at least in that person's own head. After putting on my turnback cuff blouse for the first time this morning, I can attest to this fact wholeheartedly.

That's right.

(On second thought, I'm not sure I did look that cool at all, seeing as I spent at least a third of the day gawping at my own wrists.)

This is the completed James Bond cuff, or turnback cuff, that I've been working on for so long:



30 May 2012

[Insert reference here]

Maybe you could tell from my extended, overly formal explanation the other day that I was nervous about using a Philip Larkin title to refer to a post about turnback cuffs. Can't imagine why I would have been, of course. It's not like the words were taken out of context or anything.

But I couldn't resist! Maybe as an english specialist I can't go too long before I start making references of mild interest and questionable relevance -- either that or I just want to make this blog as much about the "lit major" as the "(sewing) business".

I'm not writing a whole post only to explain that I'll be slipping allusions into my other posts, of course. I do realize that everybody does it already. (Including my sister-blogger, who has the enviable talent of being able to reference anyone from Wallace Stevens to Red Hot Chili Peppers.) I'm just providing some back-story as to why, from now on, you might see a quote like this in a post that claims to be about sewing:

'Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.


27 May 2012

Turnback Cuffs: The Less Deceived

The title is from a poetry collection published by Philip Larkin in 1955. It's called, well, The Less Deceived, and includes such poems as "Toads" and "Lines on a Young Lady's Photograph Album."

When I first decided to sew turnback cuffs I was sure I understood how they worked. You have a long cuff, a tapered end, a couple buttons, and you fold the whole thing over. Easy. But when I started cutting the pattern the silhouette looked remarkably awkward. Naturally, I headed back online to figure out what was wrong.

In searching for tips I happened across a website called The Suits of James Bond. Turnback cuffs, also known as cocktail cuffs, also known as James Bond cuffs? It wasn't exactly hard to realize this site might be useful. On the post devoted to 2-Button Turnback Cuffs, the author presents an image of what a turnback cuff ought to look like when unfolded, which I used in my redesign.

More than that, though, the post gets into details about interfacing and folding and how corners curl -- I think I have a better grasp of what the cuff is supposed to actually do. Well, other than look nice.

So here's my new pattern for the turnback cuff, complete with measurements, now that I'm less deceived about it's purpose and design:

design for a james bond cocktail turnback cuff

22 May 2012

Warning: Detour Ahead

Or - this post has nothing to do with those turnback cuffs I was supposed to be sewing.
Or - why cutting on the grain is important.

For all my worrywarting about self-drafting, I can't seem to stop doing it. Yesterday I finished a pair of black trousers, based on a pattern that I designed and drafted back in the fall.


When designing and sewing these, I used a list of observations I made nearly a year ago in July 2011, about the problem of fitting pants (Part 1 and Part 2). And I think that helped, a lot. These trousers have a good fit around the hips and thighs, they're loose enough but not as baggy as my original pair were, and the stretchy synthetic fabric means they're incredibly comfortable.

17 May 2012

Day 4 - How to sew a Turnback Cuff, sort of.

When it comes to this blouse I almost wish I'd used a pattern.

Don't get me wrong -- I like self-drafting. Taking a couple-dozen measurements and carefully drawing out lines that I'll reverse in a minute because, say, I forgot all about the waist darts?  I like doing all that, because I like being able to know what's going on inside the garment I'm making. Knowing how a piece of clothing will work, or why it'll hang in certain ways is interesting, almost ridiculously so.

(And somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind I probably resemble Calvin's dad, and am convinced that painstaking work, however unnecessary, is the key to building character.)

But what I don't like is to go through all that work and -- no, I'm not going to say "have the garment not fit", though that certainly is frustrating.

13 May 2012

Day 1 - How to Sew a Turnback Cuff

I think this post needs a soundtrack. If I could pull it off without embarrassment, I'd have a tough-guy song playing in the background while the camera panned down this week's shirt, section by section. As it is, I'll have to make do with plain graphics.

You start off, and it looks like a pretty average blouse:



Pointy shirt collar? Check.




Buttons and pocket? Check.


Bust and side darts? Check.





... And then you get to these cuffs:

turnback cuffs sketch

Stop right there.
(Oh wait, you'd have to stop there anyway.)

06 May 2012

Final day! - Slash-and-spread shirt

This shirt is done.


I finally finished off my slash-and-spread shirt last night (about an hour or so after also finishing off several slices of home-made pizza - double satisfaction!) And even though my goal was Friday I'm still pretty proud right now; it's been a while since I designed and completed a sewing project so quickly.


Of course, despite my excellent intentions when it came to this shirt, I changed my design quite a bit. The cyan-coloured sketch above is the original design, but by the time I was done sewing, the pockets had entirely disappeared, along with the band along the bottom and the decorative button.

02 May 2012

Day 6 - Slash-and-Spread Shirt

(I'm getting a little tired of that title.)

So I haven't quite reached the halfway point on my shirt, but I have finished the front yoke section! That's the part that had all the gathers and folds, the slashed-and-spread panel.

I started off like this:


29 April 2012

Day 3 - Slash-and-spread Shirt


Slashing and spreading is used to add fullness to a piece of cloth by, well, "slashing" the pattern tissue into several panels, and then "spreading" those panels out. It's a neat way to adjust a plain shirt pattern, as I'm doing this week:

slash and spread sewing technique

First off, I wanted my shirt to be made of two pieces per side, so I slit the pattern just a couple inches above the armhole line. This way there's a yoke (the top piece) and then the shirt body. Then I "slashed" the pattern into vertical strips:

slash and spread sewing technique

Once I had the strips cut, I placed them on a large sheet of newspaper. For the upper section - the yoke - I wanted there to be loosely gathered "tucks" running from the shoulder line to the bottom seam, so I simply added about 0.5" of space between each panel. But I wanted the body piece to be fuller at the bottom, so I rotated each strip, allowing the pattern to spread out in a fan shape.

After taping down the strips lightly I traced a new pattern, and that was that!

Well, almost. I did make one adjustment, at the hip line, where I actually cut 1.5 " along the side seam, just so the hemline wasn't too big.

Then, of course, came the actual cutting of the cloth. I used a very light silk for the yoke, and a loosewoven, slightly heavier cloth for the body. Any lightweight fabric that drapes nicely would work well for this technique: silk, light linen, cotton, and single-knits are ones that come to mind.

Time to sew!

27 April 2012

Day 1 - Sewing a Slash-and-spread Shirt


(When it comes to alliteration --- I don't skimp.)

This week I'm making a probably-sleeveless shirt, or maybe a tunic, that will look something like this drawing in a sort of vague way.

Actually, scratch that. That's how I normally operate, which is probably part of the reason most of my sewing projects take so long. But this time I'm going to stick carefully to my design. (After all, how else can I create a series of blog posts about it?) My final shirt will look like this, exactly like this, right down to the tiny, decorative button on the front yoke.

Main design features:

The "design feature" of this shirt isn't a feature so much as a technique used for ruching, tucks, gathers - basically for adding any sort of fullness to a garment piece. It's called the slash-and-spread method.

The front yoke1 here will be cut with a lot of extra fabric horizontally, which can then be used for those loose smocking tucks along its lower edge. In the same way, the main body of the shirt will be cut fuller (almost like a quarter-circle) than it normally would be, so that it can be tucked into the band along the bottom hem.


More on how to do all this on Sunday!


________________________________________________________________

1. A yoke is a fitted section of a piece of clothing (usually a shirt) and from it hangs a looser section of the garment. It's often the section around the neck and shoulders, for example the top "panel" that covers the shoulder and back of a dress shirt. In this "slash-and-spread" shirt, the top sections of both the front and back are called "yokes" - even if the front section uses a lot of extra cloth.

One Shirt, One Week

In other words, here's a new plan to speed up my sewing! Except this one makes use of my blog.

Often, my sewing projects revolve around a single key design feature - usually something that I'm trying to understand, like fitted sleeves or a stand collar. And that's how I want to organize my 'sewing' posts from now on. That is, if I'm making a jacket I'll have a series of posts about, for example, fitted sleeves.

And - here's the thing: I'm not going to post only when I'm finished a project (eg: jacket), but as I'm working on it. That means my posts will go from the concept art all the way to completion. This way I'm hoping I can have a two-in-one sort of schedule, one that dictates the progress of both my sewing and my blogging activities.

So. Here's what I'm going to do over the next seven days:

Day 1 (Yes, that's today, Friday. Should I call it Day 0, just to be classy?)

Post a project outline. This will include:
  1. Split line-drawing of the design, the kind where half shows the front, and half the back.
  2. Sketch of the design as I want it to look when worn.
  3. Approximately 75-100 words summarizing the main design features.
Day 3 (Sunday)

Post the procedure for cutting and adjusting pattern pieces for the garment. This will include:
  1. A basic (100-200 words) explanation of how the main design feature of the garment is achieved.
  2. How to create that design feature by tweaking a store-bought pattern or a sloper.
  3. Pictures of the pattern pieces.
  4. What kind of fabric should be used.
Day 6 (Wednesday)

Post a progress-update. This one will include:
  1. Photos of the garment so far.
  2. Minor problems that I discovered while sewing and how to fix them. (After all, these are original designs that I make up partly as I go along, so there will be problems.)
Day 8 (That's actually next Friday, so the total time is still technically a week. But it doesn't sound as good. I knew I should have numbered from 0.)

Post the completed project.
  1. That is all.
I'll have my Day 1 post up in a few hours. Really!

20 April 2012

The city I live in

As I explained in my last post, I'm spending my weekdays inside a small office building on the north side of the city. East of this building is a low brick wall, and east of the wall is a square, paved lot, and under that lot and just beyond it runs a long, sweetly winding river.

No, really! It's one of our city's only three rivers, flowing down from the Oak Ridges Moraine into the lake. And, even better, along with the river comes nearly 150 hectares in total of parkland.

Not, of course, that I'm planning to make my way through tens of square kilometers of green space during my lunch break. Never, of course not - but I can't deny that I'm ridiculously excited about so much space to explore. Yesterday afternoon I hopped down to the river and walked a short way up the paved biking and running path, just far enough to see the beginnings of a half dozen hiking trails spinning off it. And then naturally I managed to splatter my trousers with flecks of mud by veering too far off the path. Slight regret there, but I can't wait to walk through the area properly.

I'd link to a picture on the city's website, or reveal the name of the park and river, but despite this blog's relative invisibility I'm too paranoid to do so. I'm not going to reveal my work location, only to then spend the next hour hearing Gert and Bert's 1 voices in my head, chiding me for my thoughtlessness. Hopefully I'll take a few photos on my break next week (which will not be a suspiciously long break at all) and post an image then. In the mean time I'll be working on finishing some more sewing projects.


________________________________________________________________

1. Two cartoon rabbit siblings who hosted a series of child-safety commercials in the 1990s. They were famous for the catchphrase: "I'm Gert! And this is my brother, Bert! Stay Alert! Stay Safe!"

18 April 2012

Suburban office buildings must be real special...

office worker on coffee break cartoon
...if the people working in them can't bear to step outside for lunch even on a bright spring day.

Scarfing down food and soaking up sun on my break, I was pretty focused on my desire to fight rickets (and other diseases caused by vitamin deficiency). But even so it was hard to ignore the lack of people on the building's very large patio & "garden" -- or more specifically, the lack of people who stayed out. After all, every ten minutes or so somebody would slip out from the revolving door, phone or cigarette in hand, and spend a few minutes pacing through the building's shadows. And of course as soon as their bit of indulgence was over, they'd slink right back inside.

office workers in shadow cartoon
These observations are a little unfair of me, I suppose, seeing as it was moderately chilly last afternoon. And it's also true that a lot of the building's occupants have probably worked here for several years, at least, so maybe they're done with trying to find charm in the same tired places. But still, I couldn't help but find the whole thing very odd. During school, any chance to be outside in the sun is snatched at greedily, as it should be, and to see everybody so content to stay inside confused me.

I'm actually wondering if I'm missing something here. Is taking proper-length breaks considered a sign of laziness? Is drinking water and juice instead of coffee really that odd? Are there some very good reasons for eating lunch at your desk? I'm not feeling sarcastic as I ask these questions, just a little stupid. It seriously never properly sunk into my head that people actually do this every day, and that there's nothing really unusual or wrong about it. Well, nothing unusually wrong about it, at least.

revolving door cartoon

Next post: The other, real reason (fake-o reason number one being sunlight) I'm so eager to use my breaks as a chance to get outside.


13 April 2012

Strawberry shortcake...sort of.

Here's something that I only learned very recently: shortcake is not actually cake! Instead it's an American-style biscuit-pastry made with sugar, so all those times I've heard someone mention "strawberry shortcake" I was in fact hearing about a sweetened Popeyes biscuit with strawberries on top. Why do I find that delicious instead of appropriately disgusting?

strawberry turnovers, fast and easy puff pastry

The strawberry pastries I made a couple weekends ago weren't quite shortcake, but there was a suspiciously biscuit-like pastry involved, along with a tart strawberry filling, and I dare say they tasted just as good.

The pastry was made according to a recipe from an excellent website, King Arthur Flour, which is a resource I use a lot when I want to try out new foods, or when I'm just looking for good baking advice. It was a "fast and easy puff pastry" recipe, which means that of course it really wasn't puff pastry at all. (I've made the real deal with my sister exactly one time, and it was neither fast nor easy!) I made a basic shortcrust dough - flour, butter, salt, baking powder, with the interesting addition of yogourt - and then rolled it out and folded it to create layers, the way I sometimes do with biscuits.

fake puff pastry dough, rolling out shortcrust

After letting the dough rest in the freezer for a week (for convenience, not out of necessity - I think you can get away with a 30-minute chill in the fridge) I was ready to make the turnovers. I sliced up some strawberries, showered them with icing sugar, a bit of cinnamon, and just a pinch of salt, and let them rest while I rolled out the pastry dough.

sliced strawberries

Preheated the oven to about 400 Fahrenheit and cut the dough into 4-inch squares. Loaded the squares with a couple spoons of filling each, folded them into triangles, crimped the edges and slashed the tops, and then finally got them in - and out - of the oven!

flaky buttery strawberry turnovers

Glazing these with a bit of icing sugar and water is a great idea. Eat warm with milk.

09 April 2012

Reworking Patterns

I've never seen the appeal of reusing patterns for clothing. Half the fun of sewing, after all, is in coming up with a new design and then working through its technicalities in three-dimensional space. But in February I took a pattern for a shirt I'd made last year and adjusted it for the blue jacket that I mentioned in my last post - and really? The entire process was just a whole lot of fun.

The original shirt - think of a tunic or a jumper - is made of twill suiting, with light cotton side panels, while the outer shell of the jacket is entirely in a rough wool, which probably explains why I didn't feel like I was just repeating myself. The jacket also added a hood, and fitted sleeves, and pockets, and was lined, and was split down the front with a buttoned panel...so that might also be why I didn't feel like I was just repeating myself. I'm satisfied with the way I didn't feel like I was just repeating myself.

Moving on, this is the original shirt.

twill cotton tunic shirt

...And this is the jacket...

hooded lined herringbone wool jacket

...And this is the jacket with its patterned silk lining gloriously exposed.

silk lining

...Up next, strawberry turnovers! (Despite the lack of connection to either literature or sewing!)


22 February 2012

Plans

New resolution: Every time I catch myself wasting time on the internet (whether I'm reading a vintage sewing article or poring through speculation on The Hobbit: Part 1) I will come over here, to Threaded Dances, and hack together a post. Or at least work on one. Much as I'm doing right now.

I'll still be wasting time, of course, but at least I'll get writing practice - and actual blog posts - out of it. And considering that I'm a chronic time-waster, even if I only follow through on this 1 out of 10 times my posting record will still be an improvement over the last, er, six months.

Also, I just finished a light jacket (yes, a light jacket in February; something's wrong with the weather this year) made of speckled, rough blue wool in herringbone twill, with a patterned cream silk for the lining. Very few pieces in my wardrobe are classy enough to wear with it. I suppose I'll have to fix that, and fast.