Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

preppy like that!

As mentioned last post, across the internetz many (mostly)lady-bloggers are sewing up a batch of boy patterns for a blog tour of the designs. The patterns are all PDF indie designs, have a wonderful size range of 3 months to size 16, and they are all featured on an extended sale until the first. I was honored to be asked to participate. The 25th I submitted my first entry. Today, I bring you: 

The Letterman Jacket!

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

So for today: I am The Letterman Jacket by Fairytale Pattern Design. I’ll be discussing them here and in my Flickr tagset.

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

The pattern: if you think about it, a Letterman jacket is a simple garment (certainly simpler than the last jacket I made). What makes it iconic and beautiful are the fabrics used, the details (the distinctive ribbing and collar or center back zip hood), and the patches. Almost any raglan jacket could be easily changed to a letterman jacket. That said, it is wonderful to have a simply-drafted pattern and it was easy for me to modify it for a facing and lining. This particular pattern comes in size 4T to size 16 (please please please let a client request a wee 4T) – a generous size range.

 I made a size 8 in girth and a size 12 in length for my lean green bean boy! I also hand-knit cuffs, hem band, and neckband:

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

 

My welt pockets are perfect! Exactly no one is surprised. That said, some fabrics are far more lovely to work welt pockets in – and melton wool is definitely in that category:

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

 

Finished with a wonderful gold slipper satin and antique brass snaps:

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

And one of my favorite bits: a custom chenille patch:
Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

All in all, a successful venture with a very simple, trusty pattern.

Letterman Jacket (Bundle Up Boy Blog Tour)

You can learn more about the Bundle Up pattern package below – or visit all the blogs that are showcasing the different patterns. Y’all know I tend to draft my own stuff, but these patterns are pretty fabulous and most of them have a great size range. Enjoy!

 
Pre-Colonoscopy

“What’s the buzz?” – or, about three weeks somehow shoehorned into just a couple days

The last few days have been growth days. Doing new things. New, often scary things. Being very busy; busier than I am normally

For instance I am hustling to finish up my projects from the Bundle Up! boys’ blog tour. Typically in my tailoring work I stroll with my head back, cockily finishing up before deadlines, like a Boss. However this time around my fabric order was freakishly late – the fabrics arrived last Thursday. And even then I might have had time but a medical project reared its head. Thursday afternoon I prepped for, and Friday I underwent – a colonoscopy.

Pre-procedure: tired, tired, at the tail end of a thirty-six hour fast, and ready for my Twilight Sleep:

Pre-Colonoscopy

(the “Shadow of the Vampire” look I put down to a puke-green “gown”, hospital lighting, and a very special adventure the day before.) That said I’m not sure if anyone’s done so well during a prep and colonoscopy as I did. (Is that something to be proud of?)

Post-procedure, I slept most the day.

Saturday, feeling quite amazing and energetic, I got to sewing as quick as I could. But of course: kids, housework. A long-lost friend resurfaced and needed some time. And of course – before I forget: we put together the Event Page on Facebook, printed the tickets, and rolled out the poster for our upcoming benefit for a local animal rescue:

(For the love of god, buy a ticket or donate to the cause. We put up our household grocery money to reserve the Theatre and secure film licensing – $750!)

And today?

Well, today. Ralph and I tried out for lead parts in a local production of “Jesus Christ Superstar”.

Yes. Yes, we really did.

Ralph & I Off To Audition

(we both channeled the late and great Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as Sandy Lyle in Along Came Polly)

I didn’t mean to have such a busy week, but when things get busy I get very “one thing at a time” – and sometimes I don’t notice how many “things” I strung together.

I guess out of everything… I mean I am proud of myself for stretching, for reaching out and doing things scary. But the auditions? That is huge for me. Not that long ago the only people who’d heard me sing were my children.

I’ve had a lot of adventures the last few days. I’m ready for a little rest.

Some people in the home, however, continue on much as before. So after a very busy last five days, I leave you with some precious Cat Serenity.

Just An Old Hat

Champions

Pip, Sleeping

 

you’re motoring / what’s your price for flight?

My dog Hutch and I have some kind of bromance going on. But it’s not one of these rude, crass, and fumbly kinds like you’re seeing in so many films today. No our bromance is like – Appaloosa‘s. Or Casablanca‘s. Or “ST:TOS”‘s. Like we’re talking TOP NOTCH bromance. A classic one.

Ralph and the kids are camping this weekend and I’m still sick, and stumbling around like I’m high. Today I was too ill to do much but drink water, eat food brought to me, and care for the pets. As it was, the walk for my dog just about did me in.

It’s ironic – or maybe it’s not, because I never really do “get” what irony is – that the first weekend in a very very long time I have it to myself, I am too sick to do anything really. To sick even for the modest assignments I’d given myself – housework, a sewing project, a few gatherings. Tonight a girlfriend invited me out to a dishy movie and I’m too sick to sit in a theatre. That is just: BALLS.

I’m patient, though. I no longer think of being ill as some persecution or trial. It is rather practice. Practicing patience. Today I had the opportunity of helping out a few friends who called me, and one acquaintance who wanted to borrow something. In fact it was rather odd that just by breathing in and out, and being willing to take calls, I was still able to help people – even in my weakened condition.

Lights out on the porch: windchimes and a summery balm to the air. I’d like to be out running around but it’s okay to be in and having a fever too. #sanguineAF, that’s me.

with Tabasco

Ralph and I sit on the bleachers and watch our children in the pool. My son is so tall and so thin but still has that baby face. To me, anyway. Despite the fact he wears his pants at near-waist, his swim trunks are always hanging exactly low enough that it is precisely just-barely decent enough for public attire. He doesn’t seem to mind a bit. He runs up and holds me close and gives me “a hug for safety”, his warm wet little otter-body a welcome grasp.

Our daughter is growing too. Tonight a friend asks, “Does Phoenix need new clothes?” Good god the answer is Yes, and I think I’ll be answering thusly a while. Watching her now her bathing suit looks fit to burst; I sewed it only a few months ago. She shakes the wet hair out of her eyes and smiles at me. She is a tender little sprig and I’m so fortunate to have her in my home.

My mom flies in from the Seattle airport and then drives home; she’s back from laying my Grandfather to rest and celebrating a mourning Thanksgiving with the extended family. Only a little over a week ago I heard news he was ill and now he is gone. My close friends are giving me the support and the consideration I need during this time. I am still considering the loss. I have so much to say about it now, but I do not know if now is the time.

I find myself with few elders, an estranged family, and painful memories.

Oysters on the half-shell in a restaurant. Reminders. My grandfather liked the oddest foods – amongst them I remember hardtack and hangtown fry. Hangtown fry! I am trying to think of something more odious but it is hard. Maybe I will make up a mess of it and do an offering, then feed my dog, who would surely be interested in the fragrant meal.

Tonight is a time for reflection. Trying not to think of the bank account for this evening. A few slim bills for groceries over the next ten days but I was able to pay all our other bills and for that I am grateful.

Black beans soaking on the counter and tomorrow will be another day.

what hath night to do with sleep?

It’s cold and I’m cold on the ride home. I’m cold on the bike most the year, especially on my return trips. I think I get chilled on the trip out, then I sit in my own sweat a bit and get clammy indoors, then back on the bike. Barring proper cycling gear that’s just how it is. For now. I was bringing quarts of hot water which helped a little but not much.

Just after eight, before I set back off to Hoquiam, my friend Charlie accosted me about biking. “You got any protection?” he asks all surly. He means like, a firearm. He’s seventy-something, grew up in the Appalachian mountains, and he is hardcore. He still plays with guns. He’s been shot. By friends and enemies both, I think. Anyway now he says he’s worried. “I”m worried someone’s gonna grab ahold of you,” he tells me. Yeah, I’m thinking. “It hasn’t happened yet,” I tell him, hiking my leg over. “No – but it could!” He is stubborn. He’s a little pissed. “Yeah…” I say. “There are a lot of sick people out there. – Goodnight!” and I’m off.

The streets are cold, crystal-clear, a great big moon. Near-deserted. Past Myrtle and there’s a loud altercation. I can hear angry screaming, abuse, for a full mile. I am sobered at the thought of all the suffering in the world.

Across the bridge and I pull up to Simpson and a red light; another person on a bike is waiting as well. He turns in partial profile and I recognize him. I got to know him a while back when he had a spell clean and sober. He’d put on weight and lost the hardened look in his eye and he was becoming that sweetheart he is, the one that lives within.

Now though, he doesn’t look great. He’s attending a huge plastic garbage bag with presumably all his belongings, somehow balanced on the bike’s handlebars. He turns and I smile at him and greet him by name. He’s trying to figure out who I am and I notice with a crystal-clear delight two items in his overstuffed backpack – a pair of miniature dachshunds peeping me with large, liquid eyes. I ask about the dogs. He tells me their names – mother and daughter. He asks me how he knows me and I tell him. I tell him I have an eighty-pound dog and can’t pack him in a backpack.

The light turns. I tell the man to Take Care and I’m off into the night. Amber streetlight. Smell of ozone and deep green grass. Almost home.

I pull up to my house to a crumpled dog hair-infused afghan swaddling a huge pile of leaves on the porch. Fancy, I think. And sure enough when I walk in the door my nine year-old tells me: “Mama did you see the leaves I put on the porch? Because they are fancy.”

I lean the bike against the coffee table and stride into the kitchen and greet my husband. And I stand at the stove and eat like three lentil tacos and take a swig of Mexican Coke.

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig.

A "Fancy" Porch

“I thought of that while riding my bicycle.”

It was difficult saying goodbye to my cargo bike, but as I might have imagined, my new bicycle has already gifted me as it is so much lighter and swifter. I have found myself riding even more than previous. These past few weeks, riding has been a wonderful exercise in patience, persistence, courage, and acceptance.

Bicycling is patience-building. Patience with the weather; rain is experienced as unpleasant, and headwinds reduce my speed by many minutes. Patience with my body, which still groans in pain here and there. My body gets stronger and more used to the bike’s stance, but I still walk up Scammell Hill, for instance. And on this hill, I rest a bit while I walk. I just give myself enough time that I can rest when I need to. Why not?

Persistence is manifested, for me, in the fact I ride the bike even though I have a working car (and sometimes, people asking me for rides in that car!). It is a real practice on my part, to commit to a longer travel time instead of darting around in the (mistaken) belief that I “must not waste time” and should use the car. It is also a real practice for me to say “No” to those who want rides! Over the last few weeks I have noticed that the supposed time-saving benefits of a car are sometimes disingenuous or not real. My bike never needs gassing up, for instance, and is easier to park every time. And if the winds are working with me it can be as swift to bike as to drive, depending on where I go!

It takes courage to bike, for me, because cars and car-drivers are not 100% safe, and also people seem to be often telling me how unsafe it is to bike. Due to a little bit of factual danger but probably due a lot more to cultural naysaying, the bike experience can sometimes feel more vulnerable. In a car I have the illusion of safety and control; on the bike, I do not. In a car I am unlikely to get shouted at or sexually harassed; on the bike, I am more likely to get stared at or accosted. Even then, though, things aren’t all that they seem. The more personal/”vulnerable” nature of the bike is mostly a very pleasant thing. I make a lot more eye contact on the bike, smile a lot more, am smiled at in return, can have conversations easily and get to see deer and kitties and puppies and children and people and foliage and our cities’ beauty a lot more. Two days ago I found an enameled ring on the road and gifted it to my son, tying it around his neck by a cord. All in all, the intimacies of the bike are a experienced in a pleasurable way, not a painful one.

When I get home, I submit a prayer of gratitude that I’ve had a safe ride, yet again.

I practice Acceptance when I ride my bike on all the things aforementioned – but most profoundly with my experiences of impermanence and Not-Self. The ride puts me in the moment in a way the convenience of the car leads me to not experience the moment. Bike riding helps me recognize that my ego and my circumstances and my thoughts are finite, limited, impermanent, and in their way, full of suffering. I have a brief bit of time I can meditate and experience the Now and when I do, I touch the infinite, the limitless, the joyful, and I smile at the mystery of my suffering, which is still with me after all these years.

Acceptance and Gratitude permeate my thought-stream while I ride, and even after I get home. I’ve put a couple hundred miles on the bike and due to some pain issues I am ready to take it in and talk about possible adjustments or changes. I find I’ve been thinking about how much I’d greatly enjoy a YMCA membership so I could treat myself to some swimming or yoga or weight lifting to help balance my body from the unique stress of and performance of riding – to un-stiffen my body (and of course, I’d also like a membership so I could take the children swimming!).

But even there, the bike reminds me things don’t have to be perfect for me to be Okay. I can practice acceptance, courage, patience, persistence and gratitude without having the whole thing figured out. I can enjoy my riding even without the perfect geometry, the best biking gear, a pain-free body, or the sometimes-coveted Y membership.

Riding my bike teaches me to smile at The Way Things Are.