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Archive for July, 2006


Posted by jackie blue on July 24th, 2006

Is how I am feeling today. It should have been a really good day, a really good weekend. It started out with a nice gathering of friends, OK, the reason wasn’t a very happy one, it was a goodbye for Valentina, but it was otherwise a really nice day. And then I had Sunday to look forward to.

You might remember that back in November I lost my little bird, Kelly. I knew I wanted another bird and almost immediately I started looking for a baby parrotlet. Most of the exotic bird stores in Manhattan have long closed. There’s a couple left, and one had some good reviews, so I called and emailed several times. I told them I wanted a male baby and they didn’t have any. They promised to call when they did and even after several more phone calls and email, they never contacted me. They’ve probably had dozens of them by now, but lousy customer service.

That sent me on the breeder trail - and I had decided on a very particular kind of parrotlet, so the trail wasn’t a clear one. Most breeders were out of all the parrotlets, they are a pretty desireable bird it seems. Finally after months of web searching and email, a found a breeder with eggs, and a fabulous price even with shipping from another state, so I stopped looking. I had found my bird, and put a deposit on him. A few days ago I bought all new perches and toys and made a fun environment for him.

Yesterday was pickup day. I was so excited. I had planned to take the train out to the airport, but the night before, my friend Cricket offered to drive me. The weather was in the low 70s, ideal for shipping birds, which is very unusual in late July. Airlines won’t ship birds in 85 degrees or more.

So we head out, and we get to the Cargo terminal. A good thing I didn’t try to go by train, it’s pretty remote from the main terminals. Dismal can’t describe it, it’s sure not the passenger waiting area. We get there 25 minutes after the plane landed, but no bird yet. They said it can take an hour. We sit. We wait. The only refreshments are a soda and candy machine, the only entertainment is a TV playing tennis. I knit. Cricket studies for some board exams. We wait.

It’s soon well past an hour and I’m getting antsy. I start bugging the counter guy. Please call the van person. OK, he tries, the radio is dead. Please call the arrival terminal. We are trying. Please call Cleveland airport. The line is busy. I try calling the breeder, twice. No answer. After an excruciating 2+ hours, we finally learn the bird was not on the plane. I’m crushed and worried about him. I call breeder again. She’s frantic. She makes calls. The bird is still in Cleveland, safe and sound, and her husband goes back to get him.

Delta never called either of us to tell us the flight was switched. And it should have taken FAR less than 2.5 hours for JFK to find out this information. I am furious, so disappointed I don’t have my bird, and relieved he’s at least OK.

The temps are now back in the mid to high 80s and destined to stay that way. The next steps are unclear. It’s too hot to try and ship again, and if I wait a month or more, that bird might be a little older than he should be to really bond with me. The breeder had expressed concern about that bird as well. He was a little small, a little too flighty. Maybe he wasn’t meant for me. I didn’t want a refund yet. She has more eggs hatching now, and will surely have a blue male in the clutch. I might just wait for another baby. It’ll be Sept. by the time they are fully weaned - it will hopefully be cooler. I feel really bad if I end up rejecting this baby for another. He’ll have a home though, so that’s good.

There is a new skirt finished, I wore it Saturday, pictures soon. Right now I’m too busy just being a little bummed. But good things come to those who wait, right? There WILL be a bird for me soon.

Finished Skirt #1

Posted by jackie blue on July 17th, 2006

OK, my first skirt attempt. The Pattern is New Look 6410 #A, the fabric is the ubiquitous Denyse Schmidt quilting fabric. So the ribbon trim took 2 tries and the zipper took 3, but who’s counting?


Despite the *easy on the pattern sleeve, I think this might have been slightly ambitious for a very first project. The low yoke waist and ribbon trim were a little tricky for a first timer, not to mention the invisible zipper. I ordered the special foot since my (older, used) machine came only with a regular zipper foot, and I wasn’t going there even though my mother has always done invisible zippers that way.
I’m happy with it. Perhaps more so than with my second skirt, which needs to be hemmed before it’s photographed. That one was easy, with an elastic waist, but those waists aren’t so big on the flattering.

Sewing is not good for the ego

Posted by jackie blue on July 6th, 2006

There hasn’t been much knitting lately - Cherry needs sleeves and button bands, but sewing has been in full swing. Not that I have anything to show for it, yet, except a big old headache.

This past year I have gained a bunch of weight. I went from a size 2 to a 6 in most cases, and although I’m at my heaviest ever (this is hard to even type) I am still, by most American standards, a relatively small person. I went from slim to “average”, say. So imagine my surprise when I purchase all these sewing patterns and I am nearly off the charts in some of the sizing. I know, I’ve said for years now that clothing companies do all this “vanity sizing” and that today’s 0 and 2 were once a 4 and 6. So, it’s easy to understand why I might have entered double digits in the pattern world. At the top of the charts though, that’s been kind of hard to um….swallow.

Last weekend at my mother’s we did a practice run with one of my skirt patterns and some scrap fabric. Being it was my first time sewing a garment, she helped with the cutting and pinning where I should sew seams. We cut a 14 based on wacky package measurements. At some point, we deemed it a bit too loose and took in seams. There isn’t much to show on that practice piece yet - it hasn’t a zipper and the hem needs redoing, but I got excited enough to start on my own with purchased fabric.

July 4th I stayed in all day and cut and sewed. My machine works a bit differently than my mother’s so there was that handicap. And, I cut a size 12 due to the taking in of the practice piece. But maybe I cut more precisely than my mother did. She’s used to patterns that have an extra line for seam allowance, this one does not. So, after about 6 hours of sewing, I try the thing on, it’s way too tight. Not too tight to wear at my waist, but it’s meant to be a low riding waistband.

Yesterday my mother came in and after 3 hours of trying to salvage the skirt, decided it was just too small. Frustration was at a major high yesterday. I’d ruined fabric I loved and the closer quilting store didn’t have it. I was pretty ready to pack up the sewing machine and be done with it for good.

But I decided to cut that fabric into a sleeveless shirt pattern, so perhaps it will be saved. And I’m going to buy the same fabric again because I love it and I will cut a (much) larger skirt and try not to take those numbers seriously. It’s hard. I know many women wear bigger sizes and they look fantastic so I don’t mean to insult anyone, really. But for me, it’s a big blow. I hate you, pattern companies.

I also have 2 more patterns and fabric I want to work with - so I hope I can stick with this. It doesn’t come as naturally to me as knitting, for sure. But I’m sure going to try again.