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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.



Every once in awhile I make a plain one-coloured shirt and surmount it with a yoke made quilt-like from scrapes of previous projects.  These are the leftovers from shirts I have made for others. The yoke becomes a sort of encyclopedia or list or what I have done.

This way I get to wear a piece of shirt made for others, shirts I no longer have. I can look at the yoke are recall what I have done in life.

Some Spo-fans may recognize bits from previous posts, or even shirts they possess.

I am not so certain about this one. There is something I don’t quite like about it. The yoke turned out OK. It is the colour I suppose that isn’t agreeing with me. I was going to make the shirt fuchsia but decided to go with red as I don’t have one.

Oh well. Perhaps it will grow on me. At least the red matches my eyes.



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:


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. 



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. 



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.



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. 



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.


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.



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.




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.


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.



(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. “



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.


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

Home life news seems dull and commonplace to the writer but often is of interest to the reader.  Perhaps it is resembles the medicine cabinet where there is a mild thrill to have a look-see even if the contents are mundane.

I’m afraid mine is quite dull and commonplace. My office looks quite well now the objects d’art are up.  I am back in the gym, slowly regaining stamina after a long hiatus from last month’s pneumonia.  My diet is going fair; Someone’s more austere diet is even more successful.  I get up, walk Harper, and go to work. After work I partake exercise then come home for supper. After some paperwork I seem to be turning in early.  I lead a dull life.

So here are some photos to amuse and germinate comments.


Spo-fans may recall my courageous encounter with mutant spiders while visiting Ottawa this July.  As a reward for valor I got this marvelous T-shirt.  You can’t read the writing but it is in French. It translates to “I hugged the spider and lived to tell the tale” 


Speaking of Ottawa I purchased a print of the painting “The Death of General Wolfe” which hangs in their gallery.  The print now hangs in my office. So far no patient has voiced any interest in it, probably because they are focused on getting the amphetamines.  I’ve stopped telling the story of General Wolfe as no one has a clue (or interest) who he was.


I am making two little shirts, one for Princess-Goddess and the other for Warrior-Queen. They are well under four week. These mini-shirts are covered in fairies and glitter. The shirts are going to be too big, alas, but I hope the munchkins grow into them. Meanwhile they can function as pajamas.

Here is my favorite coaster.


I am tired. Nighty-night.  I hope to have something more erudite and profound anon.

Rumor has it there are people who can put together a week’s worth of clothing and travel items in a flash a few hours before they leave for their flight. I am not one of them; I am a poor packer.  Although we leave Friday I am already beginning to pack. It takes me a few days to gather up the items I believe necessary and to figure out what ensembles are needed. Although I vow overtime to ‘pack light’ I still manage to create a trousseau worthy of a two week’s voyage on one of the more luxurious cruise lines.  Grandmother lived by the philosophy if she went somewhere and she realized something was behind she either a) lived without or b) bought a new one.  My inner boy scout finds this antithesis to ‘be prepared’.  I start making a list of ‘things that shan’t be missed’ days ahead of the departure. Throughout the week I will be minding my own business, when there is a sudden interjection into my thinking like the word ‘headphones’. I pull out my list and write that down. On the eve of the departure day I check off the list to ascertain nothing is left behind.  This gallimaufry ranges from vitals (tickets, money, passport, and backscratcher) to the frivolous (sudoku puzzles for the airplane and baby bottles of bourbon).

I also start packing clothes days in advance. This isn’t like the mentioned items, as it is jolly good fun. I’ve developed a tradition (or is it a superstition?) I must make a new shirt for each major holiday. As I am going to Canada, here’s the latest number:

Wearing it I hope to ‘blend in’ as a Newfoundlander and no one will suspect I am a Yankee tourist. A few Canadian FB friends are too polite to tell me directly I am living in a fool’s paradise but I rather like it.

The first round of packing always reveals either extreme: I have packed too much or too little.  I make adjustments. I know enough to ‘leave some room’ for I buy things when on holiday.

Some Spo-fans may be wondering if Someone is similar. No,  he is not. He packs while I am working so I never see how he manages it but he is expert at packing. He rivals Mary Poppins with her carpet bag when it comes to packing things, and he always packs the minimal. He tends to wear the same shirt several time (horror!)

Sometimes I can sweet talk him into packing my things for me and he manages every time (clever man!) to get whatever I laid out into the one suitcase.

This is the real secret to successful suitcase packing: get someone to do it for you.

It is very late and I am very tired from a long work day. I suppose if I was more rested this entry would be well written or longer in length. But I have been waiting what seems a very long while to write this and tonight I can. I didn’t want to wait..


Today I got back the shirt I made for the late Wayne Cajun. I am greatly indebted to Ron T. (the dear!) who made the phone calls to save it before it was hauled away. Later he retrieved it and popped it in the post.  The package greeted me when I got home this evening.

I suppose I was being selfish, but when I heard of his passing I realized I wanted his shirt. There are a few shirts I’ve made for people who have disappeared and never to be seen again, but this was the first time a Spo-shirt recipient has died. I couldn’t abide the thought the shirt was going to Goodwill along with his clothes without sentiment where it would cease to be a treasure. I began to feel Wayne would similarly disappear if I did not get back this gift.

It is said we die twice: the first time is our physical death and the second time is when no one alive remembers us. So long as I have this shirt to remind me of him, Wayne will live on in my mind and memory. Perhaps I won’t wear it, but have it hang in my closet as as sort of ‘retired’ garment.

I am very glad to have known Wayne and to have made him a shirt. I am grateful to have it back. I smell olives.

Butterfly Cajun

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