Two New Things

Houndstooth Raglan

(The more I stare at this photo, the stranger the pose seems to me! I blame holding the camera remote…)

Two new things in my life: A new top, and a new-to-me car! One fleeting, and one hopefully more long-lasting.

Houndstooth Raglan

I have a car! All to myself! WOOHOO!!!! *Dance party!*

I didn’t get my full license until I was 27 (thought I had a beginner licenses for at least 8 years before that.) Since moving back from Japan, Jamie and I have been sharing a car – and frankly, it’s rather amazing that we made it this long with only one vehicle. Last year I had an hour-long drive to work through farmland, and this year it’s Jamie’s turn. Having only one car really limits which jobs we can apply to, so we were thrilled when my parents offered to sell us their trusty Matrix. It is such a pleasure to be able to leave work whenever I want, instead of waiting for Jamie’s long commute to be over… and I find myself running errands for no reason except that I can! (Well, I always could run errands in our other car, but I had to work out with Jamie if he needed the car first… first world problems, ya’ll!)

My favourite part about having a car (as opposed to biking or riding transit, which I’ve done in various countries for most of my adult life) is having all your stuff with you all the time. I have a slowly growing collection of clothing building up in the car (gotta have a choice of cardigans, jackets and scarves for cold days, right?), as well as lipstick, hand cream, emergency candy for when I’m cranky, and other bits and bobs. I’m a pack-rat by nature, so I find it so satisfying to be prepared!

Houndstooth Raglan

 And now for the top – this IS a sewing blog, right? Not a ramble-about-cars blog…

This is my trusty Jalie Raglan top, which I’ve made 9 times now. I like it best as a sweatshirt pattern – the ones I’ve made in heavier fabrics get a lot more wear than the versions I’ve made in jersey. (I do notice that on this one there is some odd bunching in the back armpit…I blame the two different weights of fabric I used.)

The main body is a polyester double knit that I bought last year. I only got .7m, planning to make a mini/pencil skirt… but I fund I rarely wear skirts, so I went for a shirt instead. (I don’t like having to find a matching shirt AND cardigan AND leggings to go with a skirt… and then all those layers end up feeling bulky around my waist. I much prefer dresses!)

Untitled

(This fabric is from the same line as the leopard double knit I used on my jungle January Lola. With I’d bought more of both!)

The sleeves are made from cotton interlock – I found a bunch at a second-hand store, and it’s what I’ve been using to make J underwear. But too bad, Mister – now this fabric is mine!

Even though this is a TNT, I’ve got a few issues with fit. I wing my alterations each time – maybe it’s time to trace a version just for sweatshirts? The sleeves are an odd just-past-the-elbow length, which I might alter to be either shorter or longer… and the hem of the shirt just isn’t the right length either. It has a slight high-low hem, which usually works well for me, but in this case the hemband creeps upwards and makes it look very puffy. I’m puffy enough without a shirt adding more volume around my waist! I think I’ll cut the band off and resew it so the hem is even in front and back. I tend to ignore most rules for how to look skinnier, but the one rule that makes sense to me is to have shirts end above or below the widest point of the body. This shirt ends right at the widest point of my hips, and that’s bad news.

Houndstooth Raglan

 

 

How do you get around your hometown? Car, bike, walk, transit? (Or never leave your house and do all your shopping online?😉 It varies so much depending on where you live and work – I’d love to hear about it!


35 thoughts on “Two New Things

  1. I live in a village of 600 people, 15 and 20 miles from anything larger and an hour from a “large” city – 50,000 or 250,000. Because our options are so limited, both my husband and I need a vehicle. Our kids will, too, as soon as they are of driving age and in extracurriculars (6 years away for Kid1, thank goodness!), because our district’s schools are about 4 miles away in the middle of cornfields. As far as shopping or errands, we end up holding them until someone ventures out, and then it takes a long time to complete them. Yay for a new car!

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    1. That sounds just like where my husband grew up, except that he was outside the village which was outside the town which was 40 min from a city! It definitely changes the way he thinking about driving… going an hour to do something seems totally reasonable to him! I grew up in a town of 20 000 (now 35 000), so I’m used to being able to get things more locally. Do your kids ride a school bus every day, or do you drop them off?

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      1. They ride the bus – there are 15 routes total in a district with 5 villages and the surrounding farmland of an area the size of the city of Chicago! Unfortunately, they only run immediately after school, so sport practices = pick-ups. Your husband would have been called a “country kid” in elementary school. 🙂 Actually, my husband wishes ours were country kids – apparently 600 people is too many neighbors. 😐

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        1. The truest sign of being a country bumpkin where I grew up was calling the largest nearby city simply, “The City”. As in, “Want to go to The City this weekend?” Do you do that too?

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          1. Oh, heck no. It’s the BIG City. 😉

            K, fo realz, it’s “I have a knitters guild meeting in Madison. You have you be here with the kids.” He does not say such things, because he only meets with other archers at a 3D bow shoot out in the woods or deer out in the woods. 😀

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  2. To get to school for the last year I’ve had to leave at 7.10 and get 2 buses to arrive for school at 9.55. I’ve just passed my driving test so now I can leave a whole hour later and it’s pure bliss!

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  3. I am lucky to live in a great metropolis – Seattle! We have metro, bike lanes, and great neighborhoods. I am lucky to live within a few miles of everything, including Seattle Fabrics and pacific fabrics. My job is taking care of my little one, so in summer I ride my bike a great deal and pull him behind me in a trailer. Any sign of rain and I drive. My husband and I share one car, but he bikes a few days a week or more depending, and it’s not that challenging for us. I am so lucky!

    I love that top! It looks fun and also great for fall! Congrats on the two new things.

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  4. I work from home and live in the countryside, in Devon in the UK. There is a village 20 minutes walk away, with an excellent Post Office/store, but for everything else it’s in the car. A Mini which I love! I used to have a 3 hour round trip commute, so really appreciate this!

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    1. That is a nice chance of pace from your old commute! I spent a year living in a village in Somerset, so I have a soft spot for those corner stores with a bit of everything!🙂

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  5. Your top looks great – love those fabrics! Congrats on the new Matrix! Toyotas are the best and having your own car rocks! So much independence. I could not live without my car. Enjoy!

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    1. My family are die-hard Toyota drivers… when we all get together there is a Camry, the Matrix, and 2 Prius’ … and then our lonely Pontiac G5!😉

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  6. I’m a car girl & love mine. As I have kids that do afternoon activities life would be impossible without a car – plus it means I can drive down to Sydney for sewing meet-ups, it’s only 4 hours away (nothing in Aussie terms!).
    We often bike on the weekends but our town is hilly & our weather often humid so biking is just for fun & visiting friends. Unfortunately being working parents cars are a necessity to get everywhere we need to go on time. Our public transport is only buses and they are not frequent or go to the places we need to go (ballet studio, supermarket, tutor etc)

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    1. That sounds a lot like here – well, minus the humidity and heat! It’s totally possible to bike or bus everywhere in the city, but only if you have all day to do it!😉 Plus, I like to be inside as much as possible in winter, or at least in a nice heated car! Will your girls need to get their own cars as teenagers, or not til they move out and go to uni?

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      1. Time will tell with the girls. It will probably be easiest to get them a little car to run about in, especially Zoe if she continues to dance the way she does. We do have universities in our town, at the moment they offer select courses and don’t have a full campus – however they are building one in the next few years… so they might never move out!!

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  7. Wooo Hooo! Congrats on the new car. You’re a saint for lasting this long with only one between the two of you.

    The raglan looks good to me. Maybe you should just fuss with the hem and sleeve length to something you are more comfortable with. Then wear it with pride cause I think you look good.

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  8. Yay for wheels! And I love your new top – such great fabric!

    I live in Texas where everything is spread really far out and the cities keep growing out into more and more suburbs. My jobs tend to be anywhere from 10 miles to 30 miles away in any direction. Gotta have a car and be prepared to drive because public transportation is a joke and just not practical.

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  9. My kids take the bus to school and I walk, since I live across the street from the campus on which I work! Mr. on the other hand, works in Quebec city, which is 3 hours away…..

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  10. Love the main fabric of your top. 🙂 Congrats on the car! My husband and I shared a car for about a year when he was in grad school. I’d had my own car since I was 15, so it was a tough transition for me. We learned I’m not good at sharing. 😉 I live pretty close to work (no freeway commute – woot!) but not close enough to walk, so I drive. We are lucky to have plenty of restaurants within a few blocks of our house though.

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  11. I live a twenty-minute walk from work, and it’s fantastic. For slightly further away commitments (my Brownie group, LARP) I’ll take the bus, and for visiting my parents in London I’ll take the train.

    Interesting that you mention the pack-rat aspect of car-having – it’s one of the things I really like about not having a car, that I have to pack down everything for my journey/trip into a volume I can carry/get on the bus. It forces me to think a lot more pragmatically about what I actually need in my bag, how many clothes I will genuinely use on a trip away, that sort of thing. My mum is continually amazed when I turn up to stay for a few days every Christmas with only my rucksack’s worth of stuff …

    (I am one of five kids, so my parents have had larger and larger cars, culminating in a nine-seat converted Ford Transit that held seven people and seven people’s luggage for three weeks. They’ve downsized again now two of us have left home, though.)

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  12. I love the independence of having a car. I live in Toronto and I walk 3 blocks to work. Yup! It is awesome. I used to drive to Newmarket when I started teaching. The traffic wasn’t as bad 20 years ago.

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  13. I liked your version of the Jalie top that I bought it. Gotta love those quick download patterns. I have ideas for three…all will look different. I live in Edmonton and I drive everywhere I go. Used to live in Toronto and I used transit then. Hated the subway though.

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  14. Right now I live in the middle of nowhere so when you go “TO TOWN” everyone goes to town together and we do all the shopping in one day. Kids get their licenses as soon as able and drive themselves to high school.
    I’m moving to a little town with a grocery store right across the street and am pretty excited about it! I just got my first car this summer and am loving it!

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  15. Love that fabric! Looks perfect for a top. I’ve been itching to make some long sleeve knit tops but I want thicker knits. No public transport where I live, so its driving everywhere unfortunately. Congrats on the new ride!

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  16. I’m so glad you found a way to use this remnant! It’s so cute!

    I’m one of the few New Yorkers that drives! My movie jobs have me running around all over the place, and I often cover too much territory during one day when I’m out scouting to use public transportation. But if I’m not on a movie, I take the subway, and I try to ride my bike or walk as much as possible to save money. Luckily I can run almost all my routine errands just by walking, so that’s free, but it’s a real workout dragging groceries home… you’d think I’d have bigger biceps than I do!

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  17. we’re car people, no other choices for getting four kids to all the after school activities, grocery store, etc. we live in a far, far out suburb of the Boston area, so it takes us 20-30 minutes to drive to the nearest T-station. someday when the kids are out of the house i’d love to ditch the cars, move closer in and rely on mass transit! car maintenance is so expensive… ugh. congrats on the new car though, we’ve had periods where the husband and I have relied on a single vehicle and it was not fun!

    i really like the sweatshirt, that double knit fabric is so awesome! i know we’re our own worst critics, but i don’t see that the length makes you look wider. i mean, sure maybe standing straight on in front of a mirror you see it, but when are we really standing still? you look great!

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  18. Congrats on the “new” car!! I have had my licence since I was 16 and have always been fortunate to have a car to drive…until my oldest child got her licence…three kids means I haven’t really had my own car in years… Can you sense a rant? lol It’s a little tricky getting everyone where they need to be but it’s a season….hopefully not too long of one!

    I love this sweatshirt! Raglan sleeves are the BEST!

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  19. Lovely top! That fabric is really cute.🙂 And yay for having a car! We’ve had a car for the last year, but only really use it for the bigger grocery runs (or trips to IKEA…) and for longer drives (like the 720km trip to visit family). Berlin has a really good public transport system, but I prefer to go almost everywhere by bike. It usually takes about the same time as taking public transport and has the additional pro of me getting some exercise…😉

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  20. We have two working cars, one dead car, and one sad motorcycle that used to work but is now pretty much no good because its been left to the elements.

    Which is a nice way of saying I’m country. Congrats on the wheels and also I dig the sweatshirt. I think it looks just fine on you.

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  21. Congrats on the new car! And the sweatshirt looks cozy.

    A car is a must for me–my teaching is still entirely based on where I lived before I got married, and I live the next county down with a bridge and a canal between me and there. My retail job is also there, Doug’s job is there, our church is there….needless to say, we’re looking into moving!

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  22. Congratulations on your new car! That must make such difference to your life.

    I live in Brighton (south coast UK) and commute by train to central London for work – it takes about 1.5 hours door to door, which is hard work, but driving would take maybe twice as long. I usually spend the time reading, so it’s not too bad. My boyfriend and I always used to have separate cars, but while living in Brussels for five years we just relied on public transport, and I was reluctant to get back into having two cars when we moved home – we’re in a city with pretty good transport links. We have one car between us, but it’s only a two seater so we have to get our parents to help if we want to transport anything more than just us!

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  23. I feel so lucky that I live in Toronto so I can avoid having a car. I can’t imagine driving around here on a regular basis! Mostly I walk wherever I can (my walking commute to work is 45 minutes, which is fine), and then take transit otherwise. It does mean a bit of planning when I need to run errands – I can’t buy groceries and cat litter on the same trip or my arms would fall off – but it works for me. And I love not having a car.

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