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The annual winter holiday is only a week away and there is work to be done! The first task is always make a new shirt. Imagine showing up in Palm Springs with last year’s creations! Oh the scandal; there would be talk.*

I completed sewing on the buttons of this lovely, shirt #102 or something, which I christened ‘Turtle Shirt”.  It was suggested to me to create a camisa using warm colours, pastels, and subtle earth-tones. Ha. Fat chance of that. I go for color, bold, loud, and cool – like my men.  I think this is one of my ‘loudest’ shirts. I just hope it doesn’t cause too many headaches.

This year’s drama personae include DougT and Leon AKA the Wild One, with Larry H. and Tim C. They are all fine fellows, many of them ex-bloggers, and all well over four feet. Larry and Tim have never been to CA, so they should be dazzled by the chatoyance of Palm Springs.
Other fine fellows, also well over four feet but who are blogging still, will make cameo appearances: Ron T and his intrepid sidekick Pat, and (the dear!) Fearsome Beard will appear to provide dignity and gravitas to an otherwise party of depravity.

Throughout the week I will slowly gather items vital for a proper and successful winter holiday.  The bricolage of ragtags include:

Books and Kindle

Shirts for days

Bottles of proper gin and scotch (no rubbish)

Cryptic Crossword puzzles and a sharpened pencil
Whatever my angst about preparing for the debacle, I need not worry about the wardrobe. The last time I looked I have approximately fifty Spo-shirts from which to choose. I need only bring these and a bathing suit. Come to think of it I don’t really need the bathing suit.  That’s one less thing to bring and makes room for another bottle of bourbon.

 

*Actually there is always talk. Lots of it. A week in Palm Springs with chums is quite the chinwag.

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Behold! Shirt #101 is concluded! 

I bought this fabric some years ago when I was visiting Honolulu. The pattern looked fabulous and it captured the ur-text of the place. The fabric sat on the shelf for years until I finally got around to tackling the ticklish task of how to properly line up the front.

It turned out well; the front lines up well enough. I fear the shirt is a bit small. On the positive, I have a new frock for February’s winter holiday. On the negative I need to lose some weight pronto to fit into it. Imagine showing up in Palm Springs looking pudgy! Oh, the horror! Oh, the talk!

The red matches my eyes.

 

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Behold! I have made another shirt. 

This awful thing is a Christmas gift; it is certainly not for me. Sooner I’d eat rats in Tewkesbury than wear this monstrosity. But it is a very special shirt:

MSU Shirt is #100: I have made one hundred shirts. 

What an achievement; what a milestone.

What started as a dare many years ago (“Why don’t you make your own shirts?”) evolved into a pleasurable hobby. In time I’ve taught myself how to do my own trousers, makes quilts, and alter clothing. I have the quiet satisfaction of an autodidact.  Mastery makes a man feel good about himself.

By wearing my creations when I travel – and to The Spo-shirt charity tour- I have made international friends, some of them are now dear blogger buddies. I am so grateful for this.

My shirt list tells me I have possess 48 of the 100 made, and the other 52 were given to others. Many of the recipients are well over four feet. Only a few shirts have ‘disappeared’; I don’t know the whereabouts of the recipients. Happily nearly all Spo-shirt owners remain in touch. It gives me a myriad of warm fuzzies knowing they have a piece of me.

I hope the MSU horror is well received at Christmas. I think it will be. It is one of a kind. I will put away the sewing machine for awhile, but only for a little while. I have a lot of projects waiting in 2017.

I wish could don every Spo-fan with one, for the delight it would give me to see everyone in bright bold colours of my industry. Perhaps in time I will.

The Board of Directors Here at Spo-Reflections – or so I am told – sent a text message telling me my recent posts were ‘too doleful and disconsolate”; please write something more cheerful. I am dubious as The Board a) doesn’t know how to text and b) couldn’t spell doleful or disconsolate to save their life.  I suspect they got The Norns to send the message for them. Whoever it was, they have a point. It’s time to lighten things up.

I have a lot of Spo-shirts in various stages. Todd sent his back for alterations and I have several in various stages:

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I’ve promised Kelly this rainbow shirt for what seems like ages. It should be completed by this weekend. I like the yoke and pocket combination; I hope he does as well. 

 

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This one is for Urs Truly; it will be done soon after I finish Kelly’s shirt. The fabric has irregular bars and stripes. I am particular proud of the pocket for the bars line up with the ones on the front. It reminds me of Crate&Barrel furniture. 

 

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This one is actually finished ! I need to pop it in the post for the man who requested it. I made it extra long, apropos for giraffe types.

 

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Every year friend Doug debuts a new shirt at his bug convention- except this year when he wore a repeat. There was talk. I better get cracking lest that fashion faux repeat itself next summer.  He recently sent me this moth-eaten fabric. I suspect the moths are genuine. He will be the toast of town. Think of an actress on the red carpet with a designer dress on her back with the press in hot pursuit. 

 

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Here are three fabulous fabrics for future features. 

Unfortunately the nephew ended up going to That Other School in Michigan; I better get another three yards more apropos. 

The lobster and blue striped fabrics were bought in Prince Edward Island.

Laurent wants the blue one.

I don’t know who gets the lobster but I may keep it for myself. The red matches my eyes.

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Last February in celebration of the tenth anniversary of Spo-reflections I had a lottery to make some lucky Spo-fan a shirt.  Todd G. (the dear!) was the winner.  He wanted a ‘train shirt’. He sent me some fabric and I got going – sort of. The shirt took a long time.

You could say I got off track.

I was challenged as it was ‘custom made’: I combined a few patterns to make it so. Halfway through I changed directions. The project was a stop-and-go endeavor, not unlike a slow moving train.

At one point I fancied making the shirt backwards thus putting the cow-catchers on the back end, for at the rate I was going I wasn’t going to catch any cows. But there wasn’t anything to prevent them from climbing on board at the rear.

However it is finally concluded. Someone popped it in the post earlier this week and by now Todd has it. I sure hope the shirt fits and he is satisfied.

 

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One reason the train shirt was so slow to leave the station was I was making another shirt at the same time. A few years ago I bought some orange/yellow batik fabric. I tucked it away only to lose interest. As is sometimes the case, the finished project looks better than the fabric. This one compliments my collection for I don’t one of this colour.

I was considering giving it to somebody/anybody, but I decided to keep it for myself after all.

 

 

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I made another shirt. This one is a commission/request from Spo-fan Raven. He and I worked together to find the right fabric, he sent it, and off I went to work. At times the shirt felt cursed; almost everything had an impediment.  At one point I had to make the decision to take it all apart in order to redo the collar.  However it came out OK. The pocket is a little off-center. All my shirts have a ‘quirk’ to them. His texts convey he is happy. Off it goes this week.

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Yesterday I spent some time frantically looking for a Spo-shirt only to realize I had given it away. Oops. It is an ill wind that blows nobody good, for it prompted me to do an inventory of what’s been made and who has what. If I may be so bold as to compare my sewing to artistry, I know of artists who keep a careful catalog of what they make and where their work goes.  Others make’em and leave it to Fate.  I love a list, so I decided to make one. It was a bit of a treasure hunt and logic puzzle deducing such. In the end it wasn’t really hard to do. I have photos; I have blog and journal entries. Like jigsaw puzzle pieces they were put together into a pastiche.  Actually, it was jolly good fun.

On my bucket list is to make 100 shirts. It turns out I have made 90.  I have 44. The other 46 were given away as gifts. That’s ~ 50% kept and 50% given.  I now know the who has what Shirt. Alas there are five shirts ‘lost’ to me; they were made for friends who have disappeared. (1)

Most keepers of Spo-shirts have one shirt. However, ten have more than one. The ‘record’ is DougT who has six shirts.(2)

My shirt rack is sagging with foudroyant fabric of forty four shirts. In 2016 I plan to be picky as to what I make for myself. Future fabrics must be fabulous – no rubbish.

Perhaps I need to consider throwing old ones out. These oldsters are ‘retired’ as they are faded, dog-eared, and frankly not made well compared to later creations. They are at a proverbial ‘B” table, hanging in the guest room closet. I seldom wear them but neither I can’t get myself to throw them out.  I see them as old and faithful servants who have worked hard and deserve to rest.

I don’t quite recall when I made my first shirt (3) but as a hobby (or artistic expression) I have not lost the joy. Hobbies should be fun, and this one remains so. I hope if/when I grow bored with sewing I will feel guilt-less to put it down. But  hat doesn’t seem to be the case yet.  I have ten shirts to go to reach one hundred.  Maybe there were be one hundred more. Who can say.

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(1) I admit I am more sad about the loss of the contact with shirts than the loss of the friends. But that’s the risk of given things away.

(2) His are all butterflies and bugs. DougT attends an annual convention of bug-nuts. He has to have a new gown each year, lest there is talk.

(3) I recall I was living in Ann Arbor at the time, so the circa is 2000-2005.  I should pull out my journals as figure this out precisely.

Addendum: thank goodness for my journals!  I found this:

9 February 2002  “I started my shirt sewing project with the Key West blue trial pattern. The parts [paper pattern] are cut out; fabric is washed. Ready for pins and cutting. I need someone to show me how to use a sewing machine.”

6 April 2002  “I have finished the shirt – resewing the R sleeve, fixing the collar, sew [sic] on the pocket, cut button holes. It only needs the buttons. It has puckers and wrinkles and crooked seams, but I am so pleased with it. Next shirt will be so much easier and better. How nice to end on Easter. “

 

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This entry isn’t long, profound, or witty’; it is merely another “shirt post”.

I friend of Chinese heritage requested a Spo-shirt for his birthday.  He says cranes are good luck; he wished for a shirt ‘with cranes’. I think this suffices.

I hope he has lots of luck.

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As a thank you he offered me a good bottle of bourbon or to take us to China in 2017.  What a deal.

Tomorrow is Father’s Day and next weekend is Father’s birthday, so the old man has been much on my mind. I don’t recall how old he will be. I know one of the reasons why I can’t remember his age is I don’t like to face the fact he is gettnig old, frail, and – taboo word – in the dying process. Not that he is ill, but he has ailments. Father and I are alike as two peas in looks and temperament. When I use FaceTime it is like looking into the mirror of Dorien Grey. “This is what I will look like in twenty-five years”. Someone says he never has to wonder what i would be like ‘when I’m 64″ for he knows this way.  Next weekend is my high school reunion; I am looking forward to attending it, but not as much as a boat ride with Father and what brothers may come in for the occasion. There is nothing Father likes better than being with his family on his speed boat, chasing freighters on Lake St. Clair.  For the occasion I have made him this shirt :

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It is full up of nautical flags. His favorite jacket of all time is made from an old nautical flag. After forty years of wearing it the threadbare spencer is literally falling apart; this shirt is a close-enough thing and I hope he likes it.

I would like my parents to move out here for the climate and the advantage there are no stairs in the house. He is too polite to tell me he would sooner eat rats in Tewkesbury for how can I, his #1 Son (one of nature’s bachelors) ever hope to compete against Sons #2-4 who all have grandchildren? Not a chance.  Besides, he is quite happy where he is. He never complains – ever. He is one of the most content and fortunate fellows I have ever known. So happy Father’s Day and happy birthday too. May this next year be your best one yet.   I look forward to having a snort with him (no rubbish) and taking him out for the obligatory small chocolate cone.

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It’s another “I made a shirt and I am showing it off’ entry….

Although this time I made two of them more of less at the same time.
The first is an ersatz tarot card fabric. I made it for a friend who is coming to town this week:

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I hope he likes it. The ‘purist’ in me finds the pseudo-cards not to my taste.

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I realize I’ve been making a lot of shirts for others. The ratio of gift-shirts to “keepers” is predominately the former. So I made this gecko shirt for myself:

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It is how I like them: bright, colourful, and bold – like my men.

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Now – I must finish the ‘orange’ shirt for Sandy G. in faraway Australia, the rusty/red for Raven (the dear!), and two little fairy shirts for my nieces Princess-Goddess and Warrior-Queen who come a-visiting in April.

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