Fall plans: Coziness and stashbusting

Summer came and went fast and my knitting and sewing plans more or less fell into pieces. I stopped knitting to make sure wool was not causing the eczema on my hands. Anyway, I was not very motivated at all to invest time doing things that I enjoy. I preferred to invest it reading about histamine, angioedemas and immune diseases. This didn’t make me closer to the truth but knowledge is power. So I’m now a powerful ill person.

I had lots of plans for sewing, including making Gertie’s bombshell dress, which course I purchased already last year. I even had the fabric, but I didn’t have the heart… nor the weight. I finally recovered 3 out of my 10 lost kilos and I’m more or less stable, so that means I can start sewing for myself again. Another factor is that we moved to a bigger apartment in August, and now I have a dedicated sewing space and a large living room where I can cut fabric, tape patterns and leave things to be able to work on them the day after. Before this was unthinkable. Our tiny living room served as dining room, office, living room and sewing room. If I started sewing, cutting or tracing, I had to remove everything if I didn’t have time to finish at that moment. I also got an ironing board and my creases are a lot more crispy.

As I said, last year was full of plans but I didn’t have the infrastructure to make all happen. That didn’t stop me from dreaming, purchasing fabric or refraining myself from any wonderful bargain I happened to stumble upon. Luckily we had planned a good stash storage for our new apartment, and I stopped feeling that my wool and fabric were going to eat us.

And this is the story about how I started sewing and knitting again. I was working on two sweaters when my life stopped. I recently finished an Owls sweater but I still have no pictures because I need to add buttons. The other one is Armande, from Andi Satterlund. I resumed this one when half of my brain was still busy with medical concepts and had to unravel a section a couple of times. Yes, I know, this is a very simple design, but as I’ve said, half of my brain was focused on my health and the other half was simply tired.

Things are going now better knitwise and I hope I will finish this cardigan very soon.

And about sewing, I finished a couple of things when my health issues started but I haven’t shared them with you. Honestly I didn’t even took pictures and I don’t feel like wearing the bikini I made to show it here. Probably for next summer, I promise. I have a couple of blouses and a skirt that I could show you but I haven’t found yet the perfect location for pictures in the new house. To be honest, I haven’t worked on it, I still need to unpack my tripod. Please bear with me.

What I did was sewing accessories. The weather is a bit warm again, but there were some very cold days that caught us completely by surprise. I even turned the heating on since the pain in my finger joints was starting to be unbearable (and that for knitting is a no-no). So I decided that, even I wanted to sew wonderful dresses, I needed some basic warm garments and accessories to survive the coming winter.

And I’ve made slippers! I’d toyed with the idea of making them for a long while. I even bought the insoles last year and they were there, waiting to be used. I used this tutorial but made my own pattern using some scraps of paper. It’s the same idea that’s explained here, but I didn’t have this site in front of me since I felt lazy while measuring my foot and sitting on the floor.

And they fit like a glove.

Please excuse the sock marks on my feet. I was wearing something else before taking these pictures and I was in a hurry to make them with natural light. I’ve used faux leather for the sole, an old fleece scarf for the lining and some remnants of my first Thurlow trousers (I’m scared of trying them on because I know they won’t fit anymore). The faux leather was on sale because it was a small piece with some stains. It cost around €2 and I don’t mind the stains at all when they are going to face the floor all the time. Anyway, they are almost invisible.

The fleece scarf was a present many years ago from one of my aunts. I never quite liked this scarf and it was in the back of my closets in all the apartments where I lived since then (Vigo, Leuven 1, Leuven 2, Brussels, Madrid 1, Madrid 2). I don’t know why but I was attached to it because it had been a present, so I’m glad that it finally started to have a useful life. It has a vibrant yellow color with some pink and blue flowers. Beautiful for slippers lining but not so much for a scarf.

I really like how they came out, but if I were to make them again, I should probably design them slightly larger if I plan to wear thick socks with them.

And then Gerry joined the fun. See how beautiful his wings are. I see lots of birds on Instagram, and most of them have clipped wings. It makes me very sad because if birds should do just one thing, this is flying. Their metabolism, lungs, bones and digestive system are designed to facilitate this. Why do people clip their wings? They are birds, they should fly. Clipping their wings to make them obey better is cruel, coward and lazy. And if it’s done when they are very young, it prevents them from developing normal muscles. When we took Gerry to the vet last month (for a check up) she congratulated us because he is a very healthy and strong bird.

Another pattern that I had my eye set on was Maria Denmark’s SuperSocks. This is a very easy and quick project, and you can use leftovers since it takes very little fabric. I’ve used a piece from my Skull Fleece Renfrew and still have a lot left.

It’s an easy and straightforward pattern. It’s true that it fits quite well, but next time I would probably make left and right slightly different to have the toe fitting more closely and being actually able to use them inside shoes.

They are very nice and cozy though, and ideal to hang out on the sofa while knitting and watching an episode of our favorite series. I’m actually watching “Call the Midwife“, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s truly beautiful, you should see it.


It was not on purpose, but as I cut both pieces together, there’s almost continuity on the design. You can almost see the complete skulls if I place my feet together.

If the sole is substituted for a different material (faux leather) or if we use some non-slip glue, then they could become more versatile and be also used as slippers.

I’m thinking that this could make a quick Christmas present. I still have some Winnie the Pooh pink fleece from my niece’s hoodie, I’m sure she’ll love it.



You will know when the time comes

The last three weeks have revolved around the schedule to give Leslie his medicines. It was really painful to see him suffering sometimes, but other times he surprised us eating, drinking and bathing. We struggled with the idea of been able to recognize when the moment to end the fight would come. On Friday I called a dear friend from my childhood days. She’s a vet nowadays but works only with small mammals like cats, dogs and rabbits. I didn’t just want a professional advice, just a moral one. She passed exactly the same with their family dog last year and she told me what she tells her patients’ owners: You will know when the time comes.

And she was right. Last Saturday morning Leslie stopped eating. The day before he had an accident when coming out of the bathtub and his breathing was very difficult. Most of the days he had some less worse moments, but that was not happening on Saturday. And he was very pale.

I was scared that taking the decision was going to make me feel guilty and a bad person, but it was not like this; it was clear that the moment had arrived. It was extremely painful, but leaving him like he was, agonizing until the end, was even worse. We did everything we could to give him a nice life after all he suffered and after the unknown life he had. We are people, we’re not perfect and I’m sure we all make mistakes, but everything we did for him was for the best we knew and could, and at least we tried that for three months. We’ll know why this all happened next week, since we now should try to keeps the others happy and healthy.

We miss you, Leslie, with your beautiful singing. You taught me that finches can also be interesting birds with their particular personality. We loved you and did everyhing we could.

Black clouds

Not in Madrid. We had some rainy days but the sun, blue skies, and warm temperatures are temporarily back. But we have black clouds in our apartment. Leslie is been gravely ill for at least the past two weeks.

I found him on the street on a hot Sunday, July 13th. His feathers were in a very bad state and he was thin and very hungry when he arrived.

We soon realized that he was a delicate and shy bird, but after a couple of days he started singing. And it was so beautiful.

We thought his attitude was due to feeling lonely, and after one month waiting for some previous owners that never showed up, we decided to give him a girlfriend. This were going fine, there were no fights and Leslie learned from her to eat more veggies.

But two weeks ago, around 2 months Leslie arrived here, we realized that there was something quite not right with him. I still don’t know whether he developed this here of he already had it. The veterinary made an X-Ray and we discovered a huge mass inside him. This is what’s giving him problems to breath and why he’s not singing anymore. She prescribed two antibiotics and an anti-infammatory to give him every 12 hours. We’ve been giving him his medication every single day and even tried to make him as comfortable as possible, turning the heating on when the nights were cold, keeping the lights and sounds low and giving him all he could need. I didn’t even sew any stitch since then. I could go to the little room to avoid disturbing him but I want to check up on him as much as possible. Our living room has a long shape, and in the evening we eat and stay on the other side of the room, hoping that at least he can get enough sleep.

We went back to the vet two days ago and Leslie is thinner but the mass has grown. The veterinary has mentioned that we should observe when life can be too hard for this little fellow and we may need to pull the plug. Unfortunately I’m unable to do so while he keeps eating, drinking and bathing like you can see here. I hate to see him suffering but I can’t give up if he doesn’t. I don’t believe in the word ‘pet’, I believe in family members, and he’s one of them. I’m not doing anything that I wouldn’t do for any other family member.