Wednesday, May 20, 2020

April

Since April 7, we've been in a semi lock-down. Since April 17, it's compulsory to wear masks in public. Since the last time I blogged, April 7th, the number of infections have shot from 1,375 and 6 deaths to 29,364 infections and 22 deaths as of 20th May. Most of the infections occurred among migrant workers who live in dormitories. Despite everything the government did, the number of infections from the workers who live in dorms keep on coming. Outside the dorms in the community, the number of infections has gone down to one digit. This means we're on track to exit our semi lock-down on June 1st.

However, the easing of measures will be done in 3 phases which really means life won't be back to normal on June 2nd. In fact retail and dine-in won't be allowed in phase 1 so to me, it's as good as stay home for another month. Students will be allowed to go back to school, some every day, some on alternate days. The parents must be so relieved. Two things that won't change for a long time - safe distancing and wearing of masks. I'm tired of it but I understand why it's necessary so I will cooperate and do the right thing not just for myself but for everyone.

Hubs will continue to work from home for maybe forever. I don't know. Once retail is open, I'm going to get a new table because I really need my cutting table for sewing. My son signed up for summer school which is conducted online. One of the modules require lab work so... My daughter has started her internship and of course it's work from home. In order words, life will be status quo for this family. #stayhomesg

Since April, I've been diligently improving my skills in knitting. (you can see what I knit in my Instagram) It's been my dream to knit toys and finally I did it. I'm quite surprised I'm able to do it because I tried for many years over the past few decades and always gave up.

I started with the blue cat and then I couldn't stop. The pattern for the tiny cat is from here.

This is Grace with all her possessions. The pattern for Grace is from here. The hat - I winged it. The clothes are cut by placing the fabric against the body and eyeballing it. The dress I made using a pattern I made for my Lammily doll.

The patterns for the bags are from My Knitted Doll book. If I were 10 years younger I would knit human size versions of these bags.

I love the hairband I made for Grace. The pattern is by Laura Nelkin. I will make another one for myself.

And I knitted a few tiny ones. Most patterns are from mochimochiland or from the books Adventures in Mochimochi land and Teeny Tiny Mochi Mochi. I think the yellow chick is from Spud And Chloe at the farm.

I have so many patterns in my desktop waiting to be knitted. But I have to pace myself because I'm not young anymore and I don't want to hurt my hands and wrists. I know I've got a lot more to learn. For one, my tension is horrible. I'm not consistent at all. And I can't seem to handle more than one yarn at a time.

Look what the cat dragged in. Here I was attempting a Christmas ball. The pattern is from here. I would love to do more complex fair isle knitting but oh boy, I can't hold the yarn. I've tried the different methods in youtube but nothing stuck.

And I made one blouse for my daughter. Originally it was meant for her to wear to work but since she's working from home, all she needs is t shirt and shorts! Would you believe this pattern is Shirt No 1 which I've made before for myself?

So, overall, we've managed to survive our semi lock-down quite well. We played mahjong once and the rest of the time, we do our own stuff. The major thing each day is meals. What a headache. For exercise, I've totally stopped running because it's dangerous to do it with the mask on and dangerous to not wear masks as you never know how the public may react. You know who's the scariest people on earth? Vigilante. Sometimes I exercise at home with youtube but I've managed to hurt parts of myself so I've been mostly sitting on my butt a lot. A lot. I've put on massive amount of fat mostly around my tummy. And probably my butt. Anyone else? I think I snack way too much but I can't stop. It's like, I want to stop but then I think, it's a pandemic. So why not?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

March

Hi friends,

Wherever you are, your country must be facing some sort of shutdown in one form or another. Over in Singapore, we kinda had it easy from January to March. Our government did not order a shutdown and we pretty much carried on with our normal lives. Instead, our govt took many, many measures - in fact too many which kept changing that it was too hard to keep track. Well, sad to say it became clear to our leaders that a semi shutdown was needed as the number of infections kept going up. As of yesterday, we've had 1,375 infections and 6 deaths. A few clusters recently emerged in foreign workers dormitories and pres-schools. So I expect the numbers to explode in the next few weeks.

From today to 4th May, only essential services are open. Schools will go fully online from tomorrow. As for food, we can buy takeaway but no more dining in. We are asked to stay home but allowed to exercise in the park but not in groups and we have to adhere to safe distancing rules. We have a keep 1 metre apart rule in public. Take a look at this instagram account to see how it's applied - with tape and creativity.

The semi shutdown aka circuit breaker measures were announced last Friday at 4pm. So that gave everyone 3.75 days heads-up and of course locals ran to the supermarkets (even though supermarkets will remain open), bookstores and Ikea. In fact things got so bad, Ikea had to make a plea to people to stop going to their stores. Because of safe distancing rules, there is a limit to the number of people allowed in so there was a long queue outside the store. The public libraries also got flooded with people who were there to stock up before the month long closure. I too stocked up on my books but I went before the panic started and there was hardly anyone at the library.

For us, hubs has been working from home since March. My kids' universities too have already been functioning semi online. My cutting table became hub's office table. He also took one of my monitors. (I have 2) He sits 3 steps away from me and my pc. Next to him is my son's working area. My daughter's work area is the sofa where she has a small table. We spend most of our time in the living room. It can get quite noisy. The biggest challenge is hubs working from home because his working hours are from around 4pm to 1 or 2am. That's downtime for most people but for him that's when the day begins. Hubs the working person is quite different from hubs the person I'm married to. For one, hubs the office guy is quite inconsiderate. He turns on music rather loudly, watches all sorts of stuff (e.g. shoe reviews) loudly and farts up a storm. I had assumed that since he's "at work", he would adhere to office etiquette. I guess that's the privilege of working from home. Fart without restraint. Unfortunately, due to the position of his butt and where I sit, I get direct hit... And he eats non-stop. After his dinner, his mouth gets itchy and he eats some snacks. And then some more and more until his work ends. In fact, he never stops eating! I've always wondered why he smells of food when he returns home from work.

As for my kids, I've discovered that my son's idea of listening to his lecture is to log on and go back to sleep. I'm a bit concerned. My daughter makes the effort to wake up to listen to lectures. But listening to lectures make her go into a coma for the rest of the day. I think we're quite similar. If I watch a sewing video, I go into a deep sleep. I've discovered from listening to my daughter when she's on conference calls with her course mates that she has a scary serious voice. She also says stuff I've never heard come out of her mouth before like "It seems we have two trains of thoughts." It seems I have 2 daughters.

I hope we'll survive the next four weeks without anyone losing her mind (me). I've asked my family to exercise together once a day. I feel having some kind of routine especially one that burns energy will help us. My daughter says once a day is too much so maybe every other day. We'll see how it goes.

In March as expected, I couldn't sew much - too noisy and I've lost my cutting table to hubs. But I did complete 2 skirts for my daughter and I finally finished a lace scarf I started a couple of years ago.

This is the first skirt I made mostly to test the fit of the pattern on my daughter. She is a lot curvier around the hips so harder to fit. For the zipper, I used a centered zipper installation even though I dislike this method. I managed to do it without basting the seam because I find it horrible to remove the basting stitches. The skirt comes with two in seam pockets, a straight waistband and I used leftover fabric from my Cleo skirt. It is 21" long and sits on the waist.

And I completed the A line flare skirt with 2 pockets which my daughter likes.

I used a lapped zipper installation which I honestly find a lot easier than a centered zipper installation and the result is better. The zipper gets hidden.

When I was making the pattern, I forgot I was cutting on the fold and added seam allowances so I ended up having to add a little pleat to take care of the excess fabric. Actually I rather like the pleat and the next time I make a similar skirt I will add more allowances to make the pleat more visible.

The skirt is 25" long, has a straight waistband and 2 side pockets.

My daughter says she likes the skirt so I'm happy she's happy.

I finally finished this lace scarf (pattern by Eunny Jang) I started in September 2018. It took me so long to finish because it got so boring. When I started it, I was pretty new to lace knitting. Since then, I've completed a few lace shawls more complicated in design so it felt pointless. I was going to rip it out but then I couldn't because I had already completed so many rows. Finally I pushed myself to finish the edging on both ends but I couldn't understand what went wrong.

I have 47 stitches. To do the edging, I cast on 12 stitches. The edging pattern has 8 rows. For every odd no row, I "eat up" 1 body stitch which means I "eat up" a total of 4 stitches for every repeat. Here's the thing. After I've completed the edging, I end up with 3 stitches because 47 - 44 = 3. So what do I do with the 3 stitches? Remember I have the 12 cast on stitches? So I did nothing with the 3 stitches and did a bind off for 3 + 12 = 15 stitches. Wrong move. See the pic above. I get a weird pointy thing.

When I did the edging for the remaining end of the scarf, I thought why not add one more stitch to the 3 stitches so I could do one more repeat of the pattern. 3 + 1 = 4 and these 4 gets eaten up so I will end up with 12 stitches for binding off. Bad move. See pic above. I don't know what I got. Very disappointed indeed. I kept thinking I must have understood the pattern wrongly. But now I don't care anymore. I have moved on to other lace projects.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

February

Hello friends,

How was your February? So the coronavirus now called COVID-19 didn't go away huh? To date, Singapore has a total of 110 people who tested positive. 78 have recovered and were discharged. Seeing how aggressively the government is going about locating and testing suspected cases, I'm quite relieved the number of infection isn't higher. <touch wood> The number of infection is going to continue to rise. That's for sure.

The number of infected cases outside China has exploded and that is very worrying. From today, Singapore closed its borders to travellers (regardless of nationalities) who have travelled through Iran, northern Italy or South Korea in addition to China.

Just a thought: some countries which do not have a high number of infection are probably not testing for the virus aggressively enough.

Oh, we've managed to buy a few little bottles of hand sanitizer. I bought 2 from a costume jewellery shop. Then I walked past another shop and they were selling Himalaya hand sanitizer. So I bought another 2 more little bottles because I've heard of Himalaya brand but not the first one I bought out of desperation. Then I discovered supermarkets have ready stock of hand sanitizer. Grr... So we have enough hand sanitizer to last us till the year 2024. My son was very happy to receive the hand sanitizer.

Masks are still a bit hard to find at pharmacies and supermarkets. By chance, hubs walked past a pop-up and bought a box of 50 for $35 recently. We're still on the no-mask team unless we're sick so we're in no danger of running out of masks. Sometime in February there was panic buying of rice, instant noodles, canned food and toilet paper. Thankfully that has passed and life has pretty much returned to normal. During the period of empty shelves at supermarkets, I asked myself what would be the one food item I would hate not to have and it turned out to be carrots. Yes, carrots. Luckily carrots keep quite well. I buy 2 packets each time to last 1 week or so and I would get super annoyed if the supermarkets run out of carrots.

Recently I had to go to the Immigration center to get my ID. Since it's a government agency, I thought the crew would be fully masked up. I was surprised that apart from the thermal scanning of body temperature, there were no other precautionary measures. To enter any library, (yes, library) I need to get my temperature scanned as well as scan my ID and the crew were fully masked. The immigration staff had to touch my hand to scan my thumbprint and because my thumbprints were faint, she had to do it a few times on both my thumbs. I couldn't wait to get out of the place to go wash my hands for 20 seconds and guess what? I couldn't find a washroom. I ended up using my hand sanitizer which also made me sneeze my head off.

Then of course we had a medical emergency. My girl needed to see a ENT specialist ASAP but she had been delaying because she was scared of catching COVID-19. It didn't help that her doctor is located at the hospital which had a COVID-19 patient who was diagnosed late. The patient had Dengue fever AND COVID-19. Poor thing. Finally I put my foot down and decided my daughter's hearing is more important than the fear of catching COVID-19. Before we could enter the clinic we had to sign a health declaration form and go through the thermal scanning. There was a queue but it moved pretty quickly. Thankfully, the officers manning the queue were fully masked. One self-entitled woman went to argue with the crew insisting she be handed the health declaration form right away. I guess she didn't want to queue. I slapped her silly in my head.

Alright, enough about the virus. In February I made a few pairs of shorts. For each pair, I played around with the crotch curve just for fun.

My daughter said this pair of shorts is a little short for me. I guess she's used to seeing me in mom shorts. I used this fabric which keeps growing in my store room. Each time I use some, I discover more.

It's an ordinary pair of shorts with fold over band, elastic and I added in-seam pocket. By the way, is it in-seam or on-seam pocket?

I discovered a bag of 1 yard fabric which someone had gifted me years ago. I used some to make the next 2 pairs of shorts.

Same technique as the blue shorts, just a bit longer in reaction to my daughter's feedback.

Just to change things up, I added side pockets and a separate waistband.

The above 3 pairs of shorts - I think they're okay for wearing out. For home wear, I made 2 using fabric which could have been a bed sheet or a curtain.

I don't know why I made 2 pairs of shorts using the exact same fabric. No pockets as they're for lazing around. And I promise I won't wear them out.
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