A Dummies’ Guide to ME/CFS: Part I, Intro

It has come to my attention that while I write this blog from the perspective of someone suffering from ME/CFS, there may be many reading who are not entirely familiar with the disease. So I decided to write a guide to ME/CFS for the uninitiated, covering everything from symptoms to prognosis, treatment and research. I hope it will contain some information for the seasoned spoonie too.

I can’t pretend to be an expert – this series is based on my 6 years of living with the disease, as well as reading books by authoritative experts in the field and other research (such as patient surveys, ME/CFS organisations, news articles, books and journal articles). It is my experience that patients know far, far more about their illnesses than many medical professionals, solely based on their experience living with the illness 24/7.

Continue reading “A Dummies’ Guide to ME/CFS: Part I, Intro”

Burda / McCall’s 6696 shirt dress hack: on slopers vs blocks

Warning: contains a GIF

Any sewing aficionado not living under a rock will be aware of McCall’s 6696, their famous shirtdress pattern. Gorgeous variations abound online, and for good reason – it seems to be one of those unicorn patterns that looks good on just about anyone. Except me, of course.

A woman in a floral print shirtdress.
But you made a shirtdress, you say! Read on.

Being a lover of dresses and shirt dresses in particular, I’d been wanting to make M6696 for a long time. I even had the perfect vintage doona cover to make it from. Unfortunately (and predictably), as soon as I put sleeves on my muslin, I couldn’t move my arms – the chest was far too tight, all around my shoulders. I’d already busted my ass making adjustments, and after I’d futzed around with the muslin, I concluded that there was no way my hulk back would fit in this pattern. So I turned to my trusty Burda instead.

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Winter knitting and what’s on the needles

In foreground, someone is knitting a grey scarf. In background is an iPad with the scarf pattern.

This winter, I knit a pleasingly large number of accessories. Most were from stash yarn, meaning I spent basically no money and received hours of fun and some fab hats and scarves. What I knit (click through to the Rav project page for more, you can follow along at shibz):

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Indie Pattern Companies or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Big 4, Part II

Welcome back. In Part I, I discussed drafting errors, grafts and crotches in indie patterns. In Part II, I finally utilise my psyc degree for completely useless purposes and share sordid stories of brand loyalty. For those with visual difficulties, there is a GIF at the end of the post.

Indie pattern company lovers: I get the hype, I really do. Being a member of several online communities that have an inclination to cult-like behaviour, I have seen and participated in many trends which were little more than clever marketing campaigns. I have seen knitting lovers fight for the right to purchase $100+ skeins of yarn. On buy swap sell groups, brand lovers will line up to purchase a stained $200 dress, or bid each other upwards of $1000 for a jacket that cost $300 retail. I’ve even sold crotch-stained tights to a diehard Gorman lover.* I’VE SEEN SOME SHIT GUYS.**

Gorman puffer jacket. Height of fashion, or some shit a farmer would wear in the rain?

Continue reading “Indie Pattern Companies or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Big 4, Part II”

Indie Pattern Companies or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Big 4, Part I

Warning: this is a long post, as I coalesce thoughts that I’ve had for a long time into words. I’m sharing this in two parts, as it ended up much longer than I expected. Bear with me – or not! 

 

A man riding a nuclear bomb. From Dr Strangelove.
My feels writing this post.

Indie sewing patterns: you either love them or you….love them. In the online sewing community, there seems to be little choice: the narrative is one of the Nasty Big 4 Corporations (McCall’s, Simplicity, Vogue and Butterick, alternately known as McVoguerick) wielding their industrial might to crush the little guy, indie pattern companies. They are the hero of this story, the hard-working small business owners come good. For a long while now, I’ve suspected that the success of indie pattern companies is built more on hype than good drafting, and the release of Colette Pattern’s Rue dress has brought these thoughts to a head.

Continue reading “Indie Pattern Companies or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Big 4, Part I”

It must be love

You guys – I’ve finally found my perfect match. Every sewist knows the struggle with patterns that aren’t quite drafted for their body type – the restrictive arms, the too-wide neckline, and the dress that looks cute on the envelope, but looks more like a muu-muu on your body. Enter European sewing magazines: well-drafted, stylish, and the perfect fit for my body.

A woman wearing a dirndl
And they have a dirndl issue every year. What’s not to love?

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Disability and gaslighting: when being disabled makes you crazy

Warning: contains experiences of gaslighting and abuse. There is a GIF near the end.

Recently, I had an altercation with a family member on Facebook. They published a meme which is all too common on social media: the inspirational disabled person. The image was of a Paralympic horse rider, with the caption, “no excuses.”

An image of an equestrian Paralympian. The comment is "these people are amazing, no excuses !!"

Continue reading “Disability and gaslighting: when being disabled makes you crazy”