Tag Archives: winter

The fruits of procrastination

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I can’t finish Tyo’s Pikachu onesie quite yet. I ran out of yellow thread and, more problematically, I forgot to get yellow zippers and that grippy material for the bottoms of the feet. I could’ve gone out and gotten some, but that would’ve required leaving the house. I don’t have much time off this year and most of what I did have off was spent running from one family engagement to the next. Which is as it should be, but still. Busy. So I’m treating my scant leisure time with fierce protectiveness.

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It’s also been fucking cold. Long, steady, solidly cold, with lots of wind. I needed a tiny bit of black fleece for Pikachu, but it being black fleece (and on sale!) I got two metres. So today, whilst stymied on the Pikachu front, I made a fleece shirt.

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I used my knit sloper, which I haven’t done in about a million years. It felt good.

I used the same technique to up-size my sloper for (not-so-stretchy) fleece as I did with my Grandma’s sweater, with much the same results: the size is good but the shoulders are just about too wide. The sloper has pretty narrow shoulders, though, which is why I went for it. Nice thing about using my knit sloper—it’s cut out of Bristol board, so I just grabbed a sliver of soap from the bathroom (since all my chalk is AWOL. Seriously, everything is AWOL. I mean, I’m not the most organized person, but this is ridiculous.) and traced around it. So much neater than pinning everything!

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When I got to trying-on, I had to scoop out a bit under the arm, but otherwise the fit was pretty good. I thought the body was a bit short so I finished it with a wide band; the sleeves I just hemmed under with a three-step zig-zag.

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The high point of my construction was binding the neckline. I used black cotton-Lycra, the stuff I use for underwear and leggings. I just cut my strip wide, zig-zagged it in place on the right side, folded over so the edge was bound, and top stitched the whole works, then trimmed off whatever I didn’t need from the back.

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It’s not really the right fabric for a top—a little stuff and awkward, not enough drape. Nor is it a wonder of professional-looking finishing. But it’s warm and serviceable and warm and practical and warm and generally just WARM.

Yeah, I fear this blog suffers stylistically in the winter. My brain shuts down and all thoughts of fashion are replaced by cries of “Is it WAAAAARRRMM?!?”

At least it goes well with my fleece pants…

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The Turn

A White Day

I live in Canada. Winter is cold, and there’s a lot of dark. Sometimes the days are brilliant—shining, blue skies, the cold white eye of the sun, and everything glitters like the inside of a diamond. Often these are the days when the cold steals your breath, making you cough, where it knifes through your thighs as you walk, bores a hole between your eyes were even the warmest scarf can’t cover.

Then there are the white days, the prairies’ special trick, where the sky is white, the land is white, and the horizon becomes only a guess. Everything is a middling, dull-white shade. It does not glitter, just fades slowly into night.

Cold Coming In

The nights are long. You rise in darkness, running from blankets to robe to sweaters as quickly as possible. Often it’s dark again by the time you leave work. Entire work weeks can pass in darkness. Months pass without feeling the sun’s warmth on your cheeks.

Vogue tobacco?

There are blizzards, confections of wind and snow to make you stare in awe. Cars creep hesitantly along the roads, snowflakes whirling like unsteady stars, hiding everything: the road’s edge, the lane markings, the oncoming traffic. You stock your car: blankets, candles, chocolate bars. The danger is not so much going off the road. It’s going off the road, too far from help, where you’ll sit in your idling car until the fuel runs out and then the cold seeps in, and you either wait for it or walk for it. That’s when people die. Blizzards are the moments when you bow your head and admit defeat; allow nature her supremacy, and stay home, preferably with a fire and hot chocolate, and tell the story of the farmer who lost his way in a blizzard going from house to barn, and how long it was before they found his frozen body.

Remains

I don’t love the cold. I don’t love winter. I don’t love the prison our houses become, the prison our clothes become, layers piled on layers, constricting and restrictive. I don’t do many of the fun things that make winter worthwhile up here—I don’t skate, play hockey, ski or snowboard.

But I do love the holidays. I love taking a few moments, here at the blackest end of the year, to enjoy the people around me. I love the convergence of roads that lets me see my relatives in wild, energetic bouts, all at once, rather than one or two at a time. I love the food, the lights, the decorations.

I love turkey with cranberry sauce.

Shot with tree.

And I love knowing that, after today, no matter how cold the weather or how majestic the storms, the days will be getting longer, and sooner or later the ground will soften, the snow will melt, and spring will be here.

Happy Solstice, everyone! I hope your holidays are full of family, friends, and togetherness—and if not, then I hope they’re at least filled with other things that make you happy.

(photographs of an abandoned shack at my grandmother’s farm)

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