The curtain has gone up on the tenth year of my marriage. Spend that long with anyone and you’re bound to shape each other permanently. These years have seen the usual measure of love, loss, laughter, tears, worry, contentment, frustration, and joy. I’ve watched him plunge into founding a start-up. He’s watched me knit a whole lot. I don’t think either of us really fathoms why the other would want to put so much effort and time into that, but mostly we try to admire the qualities that come to the surface in pursuit of mastery. We daily test and refine our agreement about what matters in the world as we muddle through parenting the small humans we’ve jointly made, and we spell each other when forbearance wears thin. Only this evening he noted the set of my jaw as the children pawed at me for peanuts and frozen peas like so many half-tame zoo bears and he calmly started peeling a cucumber, thereby drawing the little camp raiders to himself and fixing me a Hendricks and tonic at once. I cherish that sensitivity.

We had a long-delayed dinner date yesterday while my parents put the littles to bed. Waiting for a table, we strolled down the docks to look at the boats and watch the sea planes take off. He’d scoffed at my wanting to bring the proper camera along, so I had to make do with his phone for a few shots of our dress-up attire. This is the Negroni shirt I made for his Christmas present and gave to him in May once I’d finally attached the &@#$ snaps. Let’s all take a moment to laugh at my clueless self of December, thinking it would save time to do snaps instead of all those buttons and buttonholes. I’m sure there are seasoned snappers who could have banged out this project in ten minutes. For me there were hours of squinting at internet tutorials and my snap setting pliers and back at the tutorials interspersed with failure to stick the things to the fabric at all or bending the prongs until the snaps looked like squashed beetles and still hadn’t adhered to their backings. Just the memory of it makes me tense. I managed the cuffs and then stuffed the whole shirt back in the closet for several dejected months of time out. And let’s not judge my decision to use yellow flannel recycled from a crib sheet instead of interfacing because I didn’t have enough on hand. I swear I read somewhere on the internet that one could do this; I just didn’t realize that the fronts wouldn’t be sewn down inside to hide the flannel and now it reminds me of insulation peeping out of an unfinished wall. Ah well, keep learning or die, right?


Negroni_back Negroni3:4

The fabric I’d absolutely use again, though. It’s a Robert Kauffman chambray, soft and intriguingly streaky. I got some more for a shirt for myself, which I’ll undertake once the memory of the pain has faded. (They say this happens with childbirth, but two years out I’m prepared to say they lie. Serial mothers are just made of stern stuff.)

My dress was a far simpler project. I’ll admit it was insane to follow the whim to make a garment to wear to a formal party in three days’ time, but Rae Hoekstra bailed me out with her Washi dress pattern. This came together very easily indeed, although I was hemming and pressing down to the last possible minute, with the children flitting about me like Cinderella’s little forest minions offering tiny pitchers of extra water for the iron. I followed Rae’s hints here to lengthen Washi for a maxi version. I didn’t get the bust darts right—they fit quite well, but I’m sure it’s not at all professional to have a frown in your dart because you were too lazy to redraw the gore so you just moved the point of the dart and skewed the seam allowances. Where has shirring been all my life, by the way? Turns out it’s easy and fun on the first attempt. So is the Nani Iro double gauze I splurged on. I felt more than a little smug slinking through an evening gala in what amounts to pajamas. I think I need actual pajamas made of double gauze.


So here we are, he with grey salting his hair, I with brown splotches on my forehead that didn’t fade as advertised after the last pregnancy—all the marks of having lived a little since we made our vows. There’s work to do, weather ahead, but I’m gladder than ever of the company I chose. He’s as much my home as is this seabound shelter up north. Yes to whatever the tides bring us.