Chambray Shorts

Trigg ShortsI had such fun making Rodd’s Trigg Shorts for New Year’s Eve that I decided to make another pair. I’ve had this chambray in my stash for a few years, thinking it might make a nice pair of shorts. And guess what? It does!

I asked the Snook if I needed to make any size adjustments, and the only thing he asked for was a slightly bigger waistband when fully stretched out (like when he’s pulling them on). Consequently I made the same size as before – size D – but this time I extended the waistband piece by about an inch. (So I added around 2″ in total.) I still cut my elastic the same length, which meant that I just needed to stretch it a bit more when sewing. As you can see, you can’t really tell at all but it makes it a little stretchier. The only other change I made was to use machine-sewn buttonholes for the waist tie, rather than metal eyelets.

Trigg Shorts

I decided to get a little whimsical with the pocket bags and used some red polka dot from my stash. Cute, huh?

Pockets

GlowStitch LEDs

I’ve had some fun combining LEDs with textiles before, most notably with my Canva Three Commas Cushion and my light-up CampJS beanie. Both of them required laborious hand-sewing though, so I was very excited to see Steph’s newest project – GlowStitch LEDs. These use conductive tape rather than thread, and can therefore be machine sewn. AMAZING! I’ve backed the crowdfunding campaign, and I can’t wait to get them and have a play. I especially liked Steph’s project log where she talks about all the decisions along the way, the mistakes she made, and the lessons she’s learned. Very cool…

A Quilt for Baby Taos

Moda Vera MIxed Bag Charm PackMy dear friends Josh and Jamie welcomed their new baby son Taos this year, and I decided that I wanted to make him a little quilt. I’ve had this Moda Fabrics “Mixed Bag” Brushed Cotton charm pack in my stash for a long time, and I realised it would be perfect for a little one. (A charm pack is a set of precut 5”x5” fabric squares, all from the same fabric line so they coordinate.) I started googling to get inspiration and spotted this Building Blocks pattern. I realised that I didn’t even need the pattern; I could just design my own using the same idea.

I settled on a design of 4 columns of 10 blocks each against a white background. I played with a few different layouts on my dining room table and got Rodd to give his opinion. I decided to go with the one on the left here, which was organised vertically by colour.

Piecing the quilt top was very quick! I used a plain white cotton for the background, which contrasted nicely with the brushed texture of the blocks. I sewed it together in horizontal rows, making sure each alternating row was offset by using a half block at the beginning or end.

Sewing the quilt top

Once I had all the rows done, I simply joined them all together. Charm packs certainly made the process go faster. I had the whole thing put together in less than a day!

Finished quilt top

The back side of the quilt was more challenging. I thought it would be fun to use another fabric from the line, but it’s so old that I could find very little of it available online. I finally found one of the zigzag prints at the Remnant Warehouse; it’s not brushed but it’s fine. I still had 2 squares left over from the charm pack so I decided to break it up. I inserted a row of white along with the two squares and a plain one with some embroidery. This meant I got to do some playing around with the fancy computerised features of my machine…

Embroidery practice

It was a lot of fun, even if the final version still came out a little crooked. I figure that gives it charm. 🙂

For the quilting, I sandwiched the front and back with a thin cotton wadding. (It’s too warm in Sydney for anything else.) I decided on long vertical lines but I deliberately made them a bit wonky and wandering. I thought that tied in nicely to the “wobbly blocks” theme I had going on. Then I used more of the backing fabric for the binding around the edge. I had fun doing the final slip-stitching by hand up at the Snook homestead in front of the fire.

Sewing quilt binding

Here’s the final quilt front:

Quilt front

And the back (I put a little “handmade” label on as well):

Quilt back

We met up with Josh and Taos in November and I got to give them the quilt. I told Josh my Mom’s standard Quilt Gift Rule: it comes with lifetime repairs, but only if you actually use it! Josh later sent me a photo showing baby Taos having a play on his new blanket. ❤️

Baby Taos

Video gaming

A few months back, I won a Nintendo Switch in a contest at work. I haven’t owned a video game console in a long time, so it’s been fun messing around with it. I signed up for a yearlong Switch Online membership so I could play some of the NES games from my childhood, but before long I got sucked into Tetris 99. This is an online “battle royale” version of Tetris where you play against 98 other people and try to be the last person standing. So far my best performance is 2nd place, and I’m still hoping to win one someday. (It’s hard. You have to both play Tetris but also strategically target your opponents to dump garbage blocks on them at the same time.)

I was surprised by how expensive games are these days. The top tier ones are well over $80 each! I didn’t want to jump into one of those without being sure I’d actually play. Then last month I started reading lists of the best video games of the year in search of one to try out. I kept seeing Dave the Diver mentioned, and it seemed like a fun idea – harpooning fish and running a sushi restaurant. I downloaded the demo and quickly fell in love. When I spotted it on sale, I jumped on it.

THIS GAME RULES. When I wasn’t sewing over my Christmas holiday, I was probably playing Dave the Diver. At first I felt a bit overwhelmed between fishing and running the restaurant, but the game does a good job of slowly introducing you to different features and tasks. There were only a few times I had to resort to looking things up (e.g. the advantages and disadvantages of using the “Auto-supply ingredients” option when creating your nightly sushi menu). The cutscenes are hilarious, and more than once I laughed watching Bancho put together his latest masterpiece or Duff upgrade my underwater rifle. I couldn’t believe the wide variety of mini-games and gameplay mechanisms, from petting manatees to solving underwater puzzles with laser beams and mirrors to competitive seahorse racing to cooking food for a televised chef battle to a fever dream anime popstar rhythm game. You can even decorate the restaurant! I remember the terror at facing down each of the bosses (especially the Great White Shark and the Giant Gadon), and my annoyance at that goddamn narwhal that kept spearing me. (Let’s just say that once I levelled up my skills, narwhal sushi featured on the restaurant menu heavily.)

Narwhal

I finished the main story of the game on Christmas Day. It has a surprisingly touching end scene, and I actually felt a little sad that it was over. Thankfully you can keep playing to complete your fish collection, and it took me another couple of days to track down the last few. (That bonito was a real pain!) Now I’m working on getting three-star versions of everything, which means catching them in a net rather than harpooning them. I also received a surprise new task – there’s apparently one more secret boss I can take on during the next stormy night. So I’m not done with Dave yet! I really, really recommend this game, and it was well worth the price in terms of the hours of fun it delivers. My only complaint is that I had a couple game crashes along the way, most frustratingly after I’d completed some difficult task that I then had to redo. It only happened a couple times though, and the auto save mostly worked. (I’ve seen the developers pushing updates, so hopefully they’re addressing this.)

After I finished Dave, my friend Amy recommended Unpacking. This is another game I’d seen recommended in recent years. It’s a very simple concept, barely even a game at all really: you have a series of rooms where you unpacking moving boxes and put things away. That’s it. But as you go, you start to learn things about the main character. You see the things she carries from house to house, and you learn about her hobbies and her passions. I don’t want to spoil anything because this is really a game that needs to be experienced to have the proper effect, but there was one point – where she was moving in with her boyfriend – where I had a realisation that really pissed me off on her behalf. And then when I saw where she was moving to next… I think I actually said “OH NO” out loud in my living room. It’s a lovely game, especially for people who maybe don’t think of themselves as gamers. I’ve never experienced anything like it. It’s quite short – you can finish it in just a couple hours – and it’s very satisfying in the end. I was also really pleased to learn that the game was made by an Australian studio! Definitely worth checking out.

Yacht rockin’ New Year’s Eve

Happy 2024! We spent the evening at the Marrickville Bowlo with our friends Jody, Alayne, and Meredith watching Smooth Sailing ring in the new year with yacht rock classics of the 70s and 80s…

Smooth Sailing band

Of course, I had to make us special outfits for the occasion. I’ve been wanting to make Rodd a matching short set for some time (inspired by Taika Waititi’s pineapples), and I happened to have the perfect fabric in my stash (courtesy of my mother): Robert Kaufman’s Seersucker Coastal Print with tiny pink flamingoes. For the shirt, I used my tried and tested Seamwork Negroni pattern, just straightening the side seams and grading out a size at the waistline for some extra roominess. For the shorts, I used the Trigg Shorts pattern and modified them to have a full lining (because the seersucker was a bit see-through). I used some plain white cotton to sew a version without any pockets, and then inserted that into the seersucker before joining on the waistband. Worked great!

Rodd in his flaming short set

For my outfit, I decided to go literal with the Charm Mariner Top. This was my first time sewing princess seams, so I wisely opted to make a muslin first with an old bedsheet. I’m glad I did, because the fit was Not Great. Turns out that Charm revised their sizing a few years back, and they have two separate ranges now: the old one from 2-20, and the new one from 18-34. I happen to fall in the overlap. My first muslin was using the new range, so I decided to try the old one for comparison. That second one was better, but still needed some tweaks. I ended up removing half an inch at the top of each shoulder, and half an inch in width at the underarm as well. Not gonna lie – it was a fiddly pattern and I felt clueless as I tried to figure out how to improve it. Happily, the end result more than justified all my efforts:

Sailor Suit Kris

The fabric for the top is a navy cotton piqué I got at the Fabric Store, and I LOVE it. It’s woven but had a lovely thickness and drape to it. For the collar, I used white cotton lawn (sandwiched with some interfacing). You’re meant to use ribbon for the decoration, but I realised I had some navy bias binding that would work perfectly. I simply folded it in half and then edge stitched two rows around the edge. Here’s a photo halfway through, when I realised it was going to look awesome…

Decorating the collar

The red knot tie is a piece of actual silk that we found in the remnant box for $10. It was quite sheer so I used a double layer of it. Once I knotted it, I sewed a safety pin onto the back so I could pin it to the shirt. That way I can take it off for laundering. I paired the top with a pair of navy shorts from Uniqlo.

Aren’t we cute?!

Selfie of me and Rodd

The AWS Dress v2.0 (with matching shoes!)

If you’ve met me at a tech event in the past 5 years, there’s a good chance that I was wearing my AWS dress.

AWS dress

This was something I made in 2018 to celebrate and thank everyone that donated to Frocktober that year. The fabric was designed by me and printed by Spoonflower (4yds of Cotton Poplin Ultra), and the dress itself was a Colette Rue. I made my own piping for the waist panels. The fit on the Rue is/was notoriously weird though, and I struggled to get a version that fit me and would sit where I wanted it to. In the end, the bust is rather baggy and the shoulders are so wide I have to use fashion tape to stick them to my bra straps. (And I have wide shoulders!) I also wasn’t thrilled with the fabric, which wrinkles easily and looks a bit like bedsheets. But everybody seemed to get a big kick out of it, so I continued to break it out for AWS events over the subsequent years. I even got a selfie in it with Amazon CTO Dr. Werner Vogels!

AWS Dress t-shirtThis past February, I went to Singapore to co-present a big keynote for one of our AWS Innovate events. To my surprise and delight, my colleague Ethan handed me a special t-shirt to wear. How cute is that? It’s got a little illustration of me in the dress! I later asked him for the original image file, and I had some stickers made up to hand out at events. This thing was really taking on a life of its own.

That said – I was tired of the white, and I felt like it was past time for a new version. So I created a new design using 28 AWS service icons, arranged in a brick formation along with the AWS logo. I picked icons for my favourite services as well as ones that I thought just looked cool, and with a goal of getting a nice range of colours. Then I sent it off to Spoonflower to get printed onto 5 meters of their Organic Cotton Sateen fabric. It’s a heavier weight with almost a shine to it, thanks to the thicker weave. (Note: I found though that it’s very easy to create a visible snag when pinning, so I tried to only pin through the white bits where it’s less noticeable. Using better pins would probably help too, I think.)

AWS fabric and dressOnce I had the fabric, it was time to choose a design. I had deliberately purchased enough to make a full skirt if I wanted, and I thought for a while about doing some sort of retro style shirt dress. (I’ve had my eye on McCalls 6696 for a long time now.) But once I had all the pattern pieces printed out*, I realised that it was a bad choice. Any style that involved lots of seaming or shaping would either distort the printed icons, or result in me spending hours trying to line things up perfectly. I needed a simpler design that would show off the print to maximum effect. After a lot of research, I landed on the Seamwork Benning. It’s a loose and comfortable fit, with a simple shape (mostly rectangles) and not too many seams. No need for a zipper, and YAY RUFFLES!

*If you don’t sew or haven’t bought a pattern in decades, you might not realise that you can now buy patterns as PDFs! I’m a big fan, though it does mean you have to spend the first hour gluing all the pages together…

I wisely decided to create a prototype first to make sure I had the size correct, and that I understood all the steps. I used some random tropical light cotton fabric I had in my stash. I didn’t have quite enough meterage for the full version so I shortened the bottom ruffle. It was a quick project… but the shape ended up pretty sack-like on me. It looked better with a belt for waist definition, but the style isn’t actually meant to be belted. This showed me that I definitely needed to go down a size in the real version!

Benning Prototype dress

So finally it was time to start the real version. I spent a lot of time laying out the pattern pieces. I needed to make sure the icons weren’t upside-down, and I carefully adjusted the placement so that the two horizontal seams (at the waist and the second ruffle) would fall between rows of icons and thus not cut any in half. I also ensured that the repeat would be properly maintained the whole way down the dress. I actually overthought this a bit, as I also tried to make sure the horizontal pattern would be correct… before realising that the gathers for the ruffles would mess that up regardless.

Once I had the fabric cut out, it was time to assemble the bodice. There is a side bust dart to provide a little shaping. This dress is not fully lined, but instead has a simple facing around the neckline. This is like a partial lining, a bit of fabric that is sewn around the neck opening and then flipped to the inside. This gives you a nice finish around the neck and helps the garment to lie flat. I used some white cotton from my stash, along with some iron-on interfacing to give it a little extra weight. As you can see in the photo, I used my overlocker machine to finish the bottom edge of the facing.

Sewing the collar facing

One of the advantages of this design is that the sleeves are “cut-on,” meaning they’re part of the bodice so you don’t have to sew them on separately. So once you’ve sewing the shoulders together and attached the facing, you can go ahead and hem the sleeves and finish the side seams. I decided to be fancy and use French seams, just to challenge myself and to give a nicer finish. This way all the raw edges are fully encased on the inside of the garment.

French side seams

And with that, the bodice is done! You can see that the facing wants to flip out a bit, despite my understitching. I think this is something I just need to practice more.

Completed bodice

The next step was to assemble the skirt. The middle section has the pockets (of course it has pockets!), so I again French seamed those and inserted into the side seams. For each ruffle, you run a few rows of basting stitches and then pull those tails to create the gathers. I was really paranoid about my gathers being even, so I used a LOT of pins.

Sewing the ruffle

Yeah, these seams took a long time to sew. I made a little video.

Once the first ruffle seam was finished, I used the overlocker to finish the raw edges. Then I had to do another even longer one for the bottom ruffle!

Pinning the bottom ruffle

Then all that was left was a quick hem, and it was ready to try on. The moment of truth…

AWS dress v2

Hm. I was pleased with my sewing and finishing skills, but not so much with the fit. Even going down a size, it was still giving less “breezy summer dress” and more “giant Victorian nightgown.” I decided to shorten the bottom ruffle by chopping off the bottom row of icons. I also performed some very delicate surgery on the waist seam. I carefully unpicked just the center portion of the front waistband and created two small matching vertical darts, each of which took in 1/2″. Then I redistributed the ruffles and resewed the seam. That meant I took out an additional 1″ at the front, which is subtle but really helps it look less like a tent. Much better!

Improvement

After finishing the dress, I still had a fair bit of the fabric left… and I decided that I needed to craft some accessories. That’s when I discovered SneakerKit. This company will sell you everything you need to make your own pair of shoes! While most folks use them to make leather shoes, I could see on Instagram that many people were also creating fabric shoes. I ordered my kit from Maker’s Leather Supply in Australia, along with a packet of the metal eyelets.

The first step is to prepare your pattern. I downloaded the Classic 3 in 1 and chose the high-top. Then I had to cut out my pieces.

Cutting out pattern

The SneakerKit site has really good instructions, but they’re intended for working with leather. To use fabric, I had to do some research and figure things out myself. Most of the blogs I’d read about making fabric shoes suggested using some very thick interfacing to help stiffen the sides. So my next step was to trace my pieces onto my thick iron-on interfacing. I used a bit of masking tape to join the two side pieces together at the heel. You have to remember to flip each pattern piece over to create the mirror-image piece for the other foot. (I marked mine with L and R to keep track.)

Tracing the pieces

Next I cut out the interfacing pieces.

Cutting out interfacing

I decided that the insides of my shoes would just be white fabric. So I took the interfacing the ironed it to white cotton, and then cut out around the interfacing. Note: I left 1/4″ excess along every edge that would be sewn to use as seam allowance. (You can see this better on subsequent photos.)

Cutting out the pieces

I then used the interfaced lining pieces to cut out the exterior fabric. For the tongues, I decided to use some of the leftovers from my v1 dress, and I tried to line up the pieces so the AWS logo would be nicely visible on the toebox. Once I had them placed, I cut them out.

Placing the pieces

For the side pieces, I made sure to line the heels up exactly between two icons so I could ensure both shoes looked the same.

Cutting the side panels

Now it’s time to sew! I sewed each piece together going just around the edge of the interfacing. (All of the bits along the bottom of the shoe are left open so you can turn them inside out afterwards.)

Sewing

Then I trimmed down the lining piece seam allowance by half just to make it lie flatter when I turned it inside out.

Trimming seam allowance

And then I turned each piece out and gave it a good press to make sure it was flat and all the corners were properly turned out.

Turning the pieces out

I placed the pieces on the rubber soles just to get an idea of what they were going to look like. Hey, this is pretty good!

Coming together...

I decided to some topstitching around each piece. This means I sewed a decorative line 1/4″ from the edge around the tongue and each side piece. (Again, I left the bottom edges unfinished.)

Topstitching

For the side panels, I discovered I had some red ribbon that would work perfectly for the loop at the heel (to help you pull them on). I cut out appropriate length, doubled it over, and sewed it down as I was doing the topstitching. (You can see it in the photo below.) Then I used the overlocker to close off the bottom of each piece. Later I went back and sewed down the edges of the ribbon to make sure it was extra secure.

Overlocking

The pattern has a LOT of little holes marked on the sides that need to be transferred to the fabric pieces. I started by using an awl (a very pointy tool) to poke holes in the paper pieces, using some cardboard to protect my worktop.

Poking holes

Then I placed the paper piece on the fabric panel and used a pen to make the placement of the holes.

Marking the holes

For the laces, I didn’t have the recommended tool for cutting the holes and setting the eyelets. Instead I used a regular paper holepunch to make the holes, which thankfully were the right size. It actually worked pretty well! Occasionally it had trouble completely cutting out the hole, but I was able to use the awl and some scissors to fix it up.

Punching holes

To set the eyelets, if you don’t have the tool you can use a hammer. I’ve done this in the past and had a couple of the little hammer tools in my craft box. I tried it in the house on a piece of plywood, but I needed something a bit firmer. I ended up doing it outside on the pavement, with a bit of cardboard to keep the fabric from getting dirty. I only mangled one of the eyelets, which necessitated using needle-nosed pliers to peel back the little bits and remove it to try again. So do your best not to screw any of them up!

Hammering the eyelets

With that, all of the pieces were complete and ready to be sewn onto the soles!

Finished pieces

The rubber soles have holes marked around the edges, but you need to use a thick, sharp needle to pierce through and open them up. Note: sewing through rubber is really, really tiring on your hands! I had to take frequent breaks.

Piercing the soles

Now it’s time to sew the pieces to the sole. The SneakerKit comes with heavy waxed thread and a long sharp needle to help you out. I had to watch the video many times to make sure I was doing it correctly. (There’s a very specific order you’re meant to sew the holes in.) As you work your way around, you sew on the tongue as well.

Sewing the shoes

Again, this is murder on your hands. I found that even with pre-poking the holes, they were hard to find in the rubber and for every stitch I had to dig around to find it.

Sewing the sides

When you finish the stitching, have to use a lighter to melt the threads on the inside. Then you simply put in the insole, lace them up, and you’re done! (Well, except there’s a whole other shoe to assemble. 😩)

Finished shoe

I managed to find some AWS Training & Certification laces in my swag bag, which went perfectly. I also bought a can of Scotchguard and gave them a good spray to help repel stains. They’re pretty comfortable, but I’m not sure yet how long they’ll last. If I were doing it again, I’d try to get even stiffer interfacing, as this is still pretty soft. I figure if/when they fall apart, I’ll pull the tops off and try something else!

AWS Shoes

But guess what? I still had some fabric left over, and with less than week left until AWS re:Invent, I decided to make a shirt.

Starting a shirt

I had to piece a few bits together, but I just managed to eke out a Tessuti “Arkie” shirt. Again, I used white cotton for the facing and for the underside of the collar. No French seams on this one as I was flying to finish it in time!

Arkie shirt

My AWS capsule wardrobe should hopefully be enough for the near future. 😜 Let me know if I’ve inspired you!

Singapore, Melbourne, and the Emergency Room

So many trips to document! After a quiet January settling back in Sydney, in February I headed to Singapore to help deliver the opening and closing keynotes for AWS Innovate AIML edition.

Me in a mask

I headed into the office to meet with a few colleagues. The view is pretty nice…

Working from the office

For the keynotes, we were going to stream them live from a greenscreen studio. I headed over early in the morning for hair and makeup, where I found a special surprise waiting: my colleague Ethan had created a special t-shirt with me wearing my AWS dress!

Me all made up

How cute is that?? We spent a very long day of finalising the content, rehearsing, and pre-recording a dress rehearsal. That night, I headed out to Brewerks in Clarke Quay for dinner. Singapore is such a pretty city.

Singapore

I had a very early start the next day for the actual live stream. It went really well. Thanks to Ethan and my awesome co-host Dean for making everything so fun!

Dean, Ethan, and me

The weather wasn’t great in Singapore that week, but I did manage to work by the pool for a few hours.

Sitting by the pool

I also attended the AWS Singapore meetup one night, which we held in our offices. Massive turnout, and a really great evening of talks.

AWS Meetup Singapore

The next day, I met up with the two members of my team based in Singapore – Cathy and Donnie!

Cathy, me, and Donnie

We also hosted a dinner for some of the AWS Community members in Singapore: AWS Heroes, AWS Community Builders, and user group leaders.

On my very last night, I went out for dinner with my good buddy Gabe and his wife Alex. They took me to a local place that was super crowded, insanely tasty, and so cheap. Singaporeans are spoiled for food, I tell ya.

Gabe and Alex

It was a quick trip – just a week – but it was great getting to catch up with all these folks!

A couple weeks later, the Snook and I both flew to Melbourne where I’d be delivering the closing talk of ServerlessDays ANZ.

Me and Rodd on the airplane

We made it just in time to attend the speakers’ dinner that night, and then had a lovely walk back along the Yarra.

Me and Rodd in Melbourne

The next day was the conference. The venue at Federation Square was gorgeous! My buddies Lars Klint and Pete Hanssens were on the organising committee and kicked things off.

Kicking off ServerlessDays ANZ

Great crowd!

Selfie with crowd

Here are some of the amazing other speakers! The talks are all up on YouTube.

Speakers

My session was the last one of the day…

Mic'ed up and ready to go!

Thankfully it went realy well and I was happy that it was so well received! Thanks to my colleagues Paul, Stephen, Gregor, and Derek for all their help with the event.

Me presenting

Me from the audience

After the conference, we all headed to a nearby bar for the afterparty…

The next morning we headed out into the city to be tourists. We mooched around the Queen Victoria Markets and enjoyed the sunshine. The hot weather helped us justify stopping off at Brick Lane Shed for a sneaky beer!

Me and Rodd

We also had a late lunch of some very tasty bagels from Bowery to Williamsburg.

Snooky with a bagel

We had a plan to meet someone at ACMI but had some time to kill, so we decided to check out the “Story of the Moving Image” exhibition.

Then we headed up to the lab to meet my friend J Rosenbaum and check out their fascinating new artwork Gender Tapestry. We took selfies that were uploaded and featured in some of the creepy generated faces.

That night, the Snook – a notorious hater of musicals – gave me a lovely birthday present of attending & Juliet with me. (It helped that I told him all the songs were from the catalogue of Max Martin, Swedish Pop producer extraordinaire!)

& Juliet

I LOVED IT. It’s a retelling of Romeo and Juliet with loads of pop song mash-ups, a gay romance, great costumes, fantastic dancing, and Rob “Millsy” Mills as Shakespeare. I mean, WAS THIS WRITTEN FOR ME?!

& Juliet

Afterwards, we headed to trendy Bar Ampere for dinner and cocktails.

Bar Ampere

On our last day, we headed down to St. Kilda to enjoy the sunshine and check out the markets.

Luna Park

We were delighted to discover the nearby St. Kilda Community Gardens. Lovely place!

We went for a walk along the beach. I always think of the line from the Paul Kelly song – “Where the palm trees have it hard.”

St. Kilda beach

We finished our trip with a spot of furniture browsing in Collingwood followed by beers at The Craft & Co.

Beers

And that’s where it would have ended, a nice ending to the weekend… except for a little accident on the way back to the hotel. Here’s how I described it to my sister:

So Rodd and I were briefly walking back to our hotel in Melbourne so we could head to the airport. Down one of the busiest shopping streets, people everywhere.
I walk over, like, a manhole or something.
And my left foot lands crookedly
And I start stumbling forward
And I can’t get my feet under me
And it’s like slow motion, and I’m like, yep, I’m going down. 😂
And rather than try to land on my knees or my hands, perhaps sensing that I could risk breaking something that way, instead I face plant.
Literally belly flop on the pavement, taking the brunt of the fall on my boobs.
The Asian couple in front of me were like horrified “ARE YOU OKAY?!?”
And Rodd helped me up and I’m okay
Skinned my elbow a tiny bit
But I suspect my chest is gonna hurt tomorrow.
So that’s me. Still falling on my face, as a grown-ass adult.

Over the course of the next week, my chest started to feel increasingly sore. I didn’t have any visible bruising, but sleeping on my left side was impossible and it got harder and harder to breathe. Finally I started to get worried that something was really wrong, so we headed to the hospital.

In the hospital

A few hours and a couple X-rays and an EKG later, they confirmed that I wasn’t having a heart attack. The doctor couldn’t rule out a cracked rib, but didn’t see one on the X-ray. The only thing I could do was wait until it stopped hurting, which took a few more weeks. In retrospect, seems likely that it was a case of costochondritis, where the cartilage between the ribs gets inflamed. I’m super grateful to the Australian health care system and the doctors for helping me rule out anything more serious! (Oh, and it didn’t cost me anything. 😅)

Minecraft Socks

Minecraft SocksI think these socks win the prize for the longest time from start to finish, and they probably also set a record for the number of times I frogged and restarted! My initial cast-on was way back in April 2021 – back when I was still livestreaming my knitting – and I finally handed them over to the Snook yesterday.

The yarn is Drover Self-Striping from Colagirl Collective that I bought from Convent & Chapel many years ago. I can’t find any record of the colorway name or number, but the lime/grey/black reminded me of Minecraft. My original plan was to do the Undulating Rib socks, but I realised after casting on that it was fighting with the self-striping. So eventually I frogged them and started over. I settled on a simple broken-rib pattern, which gave a sort of pixelation effect and kept me from being too bored. :

Row 1: *K2, P2* repeat to end
Row 2 & 4: Knit
Row 3: *P2, K2* repeat to end

I knitted them toe-up with a circular needle (using the Magic Loop technique). Normally I prefer to knit both at the same time, but the wool was pre-balled and I had no way to access the other end. That meant I had to knit them one-at-a-time, and of course I lost my notes during the long gap after finishing the first one. It was only really an issue on the heel, which I decided to knit using a traditional gusset and heel flap (but in reverse). I suspect that my numbers are slightly different on the two of them, but I was already knitting these as fairly baggy house socks so I figure a few stitches either way doesn’t really matter.

The Snook was pretty happy to receive these, as the weather has turned decidedly Autumnal and the floors are feeling a bit cool in the mornings!

Minecraft Socks

Teacup power-ups

I spent a good twenty minutes today playing with the browser demo of Jane Austen’s 8-bit Adventure. It’s awesome! Can’t wait for the full version to drop.

The Roald Dahl rewrite kerfuffle

Over at RoaldDahlFans.com, I finally wrote down my thoughts about the whole rewrite controversy over the past couple weeks. I was quoted in the Telegraph article that broke the story, and it was honestly a little scary to get pulled into a culture war. For the record, I don’t support the changes, but only because they let Dahl off the hook for his indefensible and wrong attitudes. Dude wasn’t a saint, and if society has evolved past his racism and misogyny, let’s leave his books in the past where they belong.