Some switch flipped in my brain today. Some alarm went off, screaming, “Winter’s coming! Winter’s coming!” It’s the same alarm that drove me to knit endlessly while pregnant with both kids, only then the alarm screamed, “Cold baby! Cold baby!”
It was 81 degrees here in Portland yesterday. It got up to 70 or so here today. And yet, once Kiddo was at school and Girlie at daycare this morning, in spite of the very impressive to-do list before me, all the work that needed my attention, I was absolutely compelled to make sure we were ready for winter. I pulled out all the coats to see whose needed repair, whose needed cleaning, whose wouldn’t do at all for another year. (For the record, we have three broken zippers, two shredded linings, and a missing hood among us, and Girlie doesn’t have a coat that fits at all.)
My beloved red coat, which I’ve worn nearly to death over many years, is from the sixties. The original lining was disintegrating, and there would be no more patching it together. This summer I brought it to a seamstress who quoted $150 to replace the lining. I’m sure that was a fair price. It seemed fair. I don’t have $150 to spend on relining my coat this year.
When I was pregnant with Kiddo and the coat would no longer button, my mother moved the buttons so I could wear it through the winter. That was seven years ago. I never did get around to moving the buttons back to where they belong, so the coat (which is double-breasted) did this weird asymmetrical thing across my chest. Not a great look. And it was missing two buttons off the front, on the decorative side. And a sleeve button, and a pocket button. My favorite coat, bought for five bucks at the Stuyvesant Town Flea Market in like 1991 or ’92… How do I let the things I love get to such a state? It’s also filthy. Did I mention that? I’ve loved this thing into rags.
Today I cut the shredded, hanging lining out. So my lovely vintage coat now has no lining. Fine. I’ll be a little less fancy and a little less warm. This is Portland–I’ll layer. And I dug through my button stash and found four buttons that match the originals–luckily a standard four-hole black. I sewed those on. Then I moved the repositioned chest buttons back into place so it would fit properly again. I spent three hours fixing my coat when I could have been (should have been) writing. But…no… That’s the thinking that allowed the coat to get into such a state. Now it’s fixed. Unlined and filthy, but fixed. It will have to remain unlined (though I dream of relining it one day in a rich purple. If the book sells well, I’ll do exactly that), but I can get it cleaned. And then I’ll have my favorite red coat again, just as loved, but looking cared for. Which is a nice change. Poor neglected thing. It must be hard to be a needed, useful, loved thing of mine. I use them hard. I’m careless. I’m prone to spilling coffee and plunging my hands into dirt.
And a beloved coat resurrected merits a new scarf and hat, and my worn old mitts finally died so I need to make some of those, and all of that is in the works, but first…the kids, and Billy. Everyone needs a new hat this year, and Billy and the kids also need cowls and mitts. When I finished with the coat, I dug through the yarn stash and flipped through patterns and planned out a new hat, cowl, and mitts set for each of them. I’ll finish those and then I’ll make a new hat for myself (felted to shed the rain, since the red coat has no hood), and a new small shawl (knitters, it’s Marin. I’m making it in Malabrigo sock in Ravelry Red).
I haven’t felt like knitting much of anything but mindless socks on the playground since Girlie was born. I’m hesitant to announce the knitting mojo is fully back, but…well…I cast on for three things today alone. That’s probably a sign.