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Archive for November, 2009

1) Decide to knit a cowl from a pattern, in the round, on the first try knitting, ever. Fail miserably, rip out 7 times before finally deciding to give up on the pattern and simply knit it. Realize have forgotten how to cast on in the two months since you learned.
2) Decide to purchase silk taffeta for your wedding gown and make it at home.
3) Decide to overload your poor mother with patterns for a) wedding gown, b) mock-up for wedding gown (silk taffeta being a terrifying fabric), c,d,e) cotton blouses, f,g) wool skirts, h,j) cotton dress and matching jacket, and k) silk blouse with dolman sleeves. All vintage, all purchased in frenzy of eBay, etsy and other online searches, within about two weeks.
4) Decide to take on J (matching jacket) by yourself, when your mother is not home to troubleshoot. Get about halfway through before machine decides to pitch a fit.

On the whole, my crafting skills aren’t all that fantastic. I rely on my mother and on whim and on luck. I do have some sewing skills but they are leftovers mainly from middle school when I could still get away with running around in a halter top without wearing a bra. Still, I want to sew, I want to make things, and I am blessed with a boyfriend who likes to do the same. He made me the most fantastic birthday present ever last year, a custom-made tool roll for bike tools! On a background of blue-green (my favorite color), he’d cut out of felt a bicycle and the flowers it trailed, sewed it all together, covered it in plastic and made little pouches on the back for it all! I couldn’t believe it when I opened it up. Also, the awesome PB Tools rainbow hex key set I had no idea I desperately needed.

I’m pretty proud of the progress I’ve made on the jacket. It’s good to know that not all items of clothing I may have the skills to make are boxy, boring affairs. Nor that I am relegated to making pillow cases for the next year. I just need some more experience and continued access to my mother’s stash of fabric.

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We were preparing ourselves for an extremely long wait to hear back regarding my fiancee visa – we had been told 4-6 weeks by the visa company and up to 12 weeks by the British Consulate’s web site. WorldBridge informed us, after I sent the application in, that bank statements printed from the internet were unacceptable and the British Consulate’s phone service indicated long wait times for visa due to a “technical fault”. When I sent in the application, on a Friday, I chose Express Mail, and only after paying for the service was I informed that the package would arrive on Saturday, by noon.

Saturday? It can’t arrive on Saturday! It’s a Consulate! No one will be there! Then, when realizing we’d done something wrong (bank statements), I decided that our only hope was for no one at the consulate to pick it up until Wednesday, at which time it would be returned to me. Many tense trackings later, I discovered Tuesday that it had been signed for at noon the day before. Despair. Oh my god, what if the visa person is having a bad day? Will they deny it out right or actually call me and ask me to addend my application with the correct paperwork? A great flurry of anxiety was born, twin columns on either side of the Atlantic until sleep extinguished them.

Wednesday morning, an email! Our application has been approved and the visa issued! What? How can that be? Can we believe it? It seemed a little anticlimactic, considering the froth of fear we had whipped up. But who knows when it will actually be sent to me. It could take days, it could take…no, there’s no way it could possibly take weeks.

Thursday morning, a phone call! UPS has a package that must be signed for, please be available to receive it. Raptures! Could it be my visa? A quick enumeration of various items I have recently ordered shows there to be none which would require a signature or be forthcoming. It must be my visa! Waiting, waiting, waiting, yet another drive to JoAnn’s Fabrics (what seems like the 10th trip in the past week), look up whenever a large vehicle’s engine is heard, cut fabric, mark fabric, sew fabric (wedding dress, you know), and then….

And then! The big brown truck! I fly out of the house and hop around in front of the delivery person. “Is that from Chicago?” “Let’s see, no…Tampa.” “Oh no!” “No, I’m kidding, it’s from the British Consulate? You were just so excited I couldn’t help myself.” “I’M GETTING MARRIED! That’s my visa!” “Ohhh, congratulations!”

Sign, run, rip, out falls paperwork and wonder of wonders, my passport. With my visa inside. It says Marriage/CP. No work or recourse to public funds. Entry Clearance!

I cannot credit how fast it all happened. I hardly believe I have it and must look at it now and again, gazing in wonderment at the slip of embossed paper pasted into the most valuable booklet I now own.

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Is this one of those times when my parsimony, like a tired slip, is peeking out from under my normally gaudy exterior? When I will live to regret not spending a few more ducats in the face of such grand improvements to my life? Yes, possibly. After accruing over $5,000 in credit card debt on the way to trying to be allowed to stay in England with my fiancé, I am staring down the barrel of just another $150 and quavering at its enormity. This time it won’t be spent in gathering more than the bare minimum items of clothing necessities (like, could I have please just told myself that I could afford two pairs of those delicious Diesel jeans that I can no longer find? the ones that are just so perfect I could die and go to heaven in them?) but would be spent to improve my eyesight.

Seven years ago I spent a number of ducats I gained through bodily injury – two car accidents suffered in under one month. After some time, and some lawerly wrangling, I was awarded a princely sum and felt I could afford to have Lasik eye surgery. It really was awesome. And I spent $150 per eye (there’s that number again!) extra so that I could have a lifetime guarantee of satisfaction. I am on the brink of now having the surgery again, but that little bit extra required, a $150 eye exam, and not being 100% sure whether the surgery is yet needed stays my hand when I reach for the phone to set an appointment. Is it really that bad? Could I not wait? What if there are side effects? What if I have the exam, spend the money, and find out my eyes aren’t bad enough for another surgery?

Ojala que vaya en Londres soon enough, and then I won’t be able to get it for several more years. Do I want to put up with glasses if it gets bad enough? Or do I just suck it up and spend the monies now? Tough call.

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Lately I’m whining about how hot it is, I feel like I’m melting and it’s one third of the way through November. I know I’m just being a wimp, especially after weathering supra-106 F temperatures in northern California. You want to know what it’s like to be cooked, that’s where you’ll find out. NYC and FL have nothing on those temperatures!

I didn’t manage to get more than about 15 stitches done on my cowl out west so this afternoon my grandma and I are going to this big house where a lady has offered space free of charge for people to complete craft projects. I hear tell there will be knitters present and I will be attempting to learn a different technique, in order that I may at least finish this first project and think towards the likelihood of starting a second. I suspect that I will finish this row (knit, slip, knit, slip, … swap!) and then switch to one plain old stitch so I don’t have to count. It’s too much for my brain at this early stage.

Mom and I have been making…well, let’s take a step back. A lot has changed, again. Two and a half months ago I thought I was back Stateside for good but just didn’t give the situation long enough to play out. At the end of this week I send in my visa application to the British Consulate in Chicago. I have a vintage pattern for a wedding dress, I have beautiful blue silk taffeta for a wedding dress, and my mom and I are sewing up a storm.

For those uninitiated into the ways of vintage patterns (*holds up hand*) they are MUCH more detailed than modern ones. I have never seen so many pressings, so many measurings, so many ripping-outs of details than I have with this dress. Which is why I’m glad Mom was too scared to cut into silk without first doing a mock up. Then, there is the why of my conviction, every time I get near a sewing machine, that clothes will just come spewing out of it wholly made. We have a number of items of clothing to complete. I’m only sure we’ll finish the mock-up and wedding dress but desperately want to finish at least one of the skirts as well before I am allowed to return to England (please, please let me come back!) and everything else will be finished and posted within months.

Kept hearing this song out in CA, thought it sounded like Metric, heard it on the radio here and looked it up to verify. It is. Guess they’ve really made it now.

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