Round Peg In a Square Hole-crafts

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I have FINALLY made some progress on mothballing my sewing room!

I know; this is not something that most crafters are actually excited about doing, but for me, it's a big deal.

For a lot of personal reasons, this is what needs to be done at this time, but I have been, understandably, I think, dragging my feet on it. Over a year ago, I rented a storage unit and started moving boxes of fabric into it. The idea was that I would take everything off of one of the 5 free-standing metal racks that are/were in the sewing room, dismantle the rack, tote everything to the storage unit, rebuild the shelving unit, and re-stack everything on it. In the end, I hope to end up with a nook in the main part of the house (the current sewing room is off the garage) where I could store essentials: notions, patterns, corset hardware, fabric and trimmings, as well as either my costume shoes or my hats, or possibly some of each, depending on how things fit into the space.

I hit the first snag when I had emptied the sewing room of everything that was not on the racks or in drawers, which, unfortunately, filled a large part of the storage space. I really wanted to have access to what was in storage, but I was kind of stuck. Finally, a friend (thanks, Trina!) suggested that I needed to buy more racks, and set these up in the storage space, so that I could leave two or three of the other racks at home, for use in the eventual nook. That enabled me to do another spurt of moving, and I even managed to clear off one of the old racks, move it and reload it, but then I got stuck again. I couldn't seem to clear off any of the three remaining old racks, so I could dismantle it. But this weekend, I finally got the last rack that had to be moved into storage cleared off, broken down, transported, re-assembled, and refilled, DESPITE getting to the storage place after the office had closed and so having to move all the pieces of the rack on a rickety luggage carrier, instead of their flatbed cart. I was on a roll! I would not be defeated! Even by the idiots who pulled the stop button on the elevator! (Who knew that pulling that wouldn't sound an alarm?)

Anyway, I'm hoping that I'm now on the home stretch for this. There is still a lot of work to be done (a LOT (shudder)) but I'm hoping that I can get this done soon, since the only time I can really work on it is on Sundays and football season starts soon!


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Yarn Monkey Found!

Somone (Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, Sandysays!) on the Sock Madness list posted a new blog address for Yarn Monkey! Apparently, she managed to delete her own blog, and even though she immediately signed back on to try to rebuild it, someone else had taken the address/name in the intervening minutes. So, now she is here and says there will be sign-ups for the new Sock War in the next few weeks! I'm so excited! And so glad I found her in time to sign up! Squeeeeeee!

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

A Very Nicky Post

Turns out that all the pics I have to post today have to do with Nicky Epstein, in one way or another. Most are out of her book Knits for Barbie Doll., but the poncho has two different pieces out of her edging books. So! On to the updates.

First, the poncho. I had recently bought Sam some new clothes, which she picked out, and they were all in the green-brown-orange-Earthish-tones group. Which is fine, except that the only sweaters and ponchos she had were white, black, and pink. Now, she doesn't care, but *I* do, so I picked over what I had in stash in acrylic (hey, she's *6*, it HAS to be washable!) in that color range. Came up with quite a few browns, tans, two different oranges and several creams. Sam and I then went through Nicky Epstein's first two edging books (because putting fringe on the first poncho I made for her took longer than knitting the freakin' thing and I wasn't going through THAT again!) and she picked out a lace edging, then fell in love with the kitties, so I said I'd do that, too.

Those were mistakes number one and two. Turns out, that trim doesn't knit up at all the way it looks in the book. Maybe I need to block it? Dunno. Anyway, when I had a few repeats of the pattern done, I showed it to Sam and asked if she still liked it, or if she wanted something else, since it didn't come out the way it did in the book. She was cool with it, though she picked up immediately on the same thing that I did, the huge gaping hole in the pattern that was NOT obvious in the picture in the book. Weird. Have sussed out how to fix it, should I ever need to do this trim again, but was too far along to frog when I finally had figured it out.

Mistake number two was to do color work that was not Fair Isle on a project done in the round, which included decreases on every row. Pain in the patootie, but I got it figured out, both the wrapping at the end of each row before turning and how to make the decreases slant the right way done both from the right side and from the wrong side. And I am pleased with the way the kitties came out; they kind of make the whole thing. I even managed to weave all the ends in, by doing it while on a telecon.

Perhaps mistake number 0 was to make it out of, as Ellen says, "crunchy acrylic". Sam dislikes "itchy yarn" (read, wool, including the two pair of hand-knit socks I made for her) but this stuff isn't all that much softer. She likes it, but I'm going to see what chemistry will do: I intend to dose it with some serious liquid fabric softener, and see what happens. Stay tuned.

On to Barbie! I have certainly gotten my money's worth out of Knits for Barbie Doll! And Sam still has a long list of things she wants out of it, after I finish the other thing I'm working on for her (more about that, later). First, let's see a pic of the poncho that I showed in progress some time ago:
Pleased with how it came out, except that the fringe won't lay flat, even after steaming, so I'm not quite sure what to do. Also, I've got to try to work the patterns over, so that I'm knitting in the round more and seaming less. (Hey, I'm lazy.)

Next, we have the sun dress:
Done with crochet and pearl cottons, held double, it's quite nice, and knitted up pretty quickly. Think I need to move the snaps, though, if Ms. B is going to stay decent.

Next, we have the Christmas sweater, which also knitted up very quickly in doubled pearl cotton. Was tedious as all heck to assemble it, but at least I had the sense to put all the beads on before I assembled it. (The story of getting the star-shaped sequin off the bottom of the bottle in which I had transported it to SnB I will leave for another time.....) In any case, it is quite cute and is almost-instant gratification, which is important for the first grade set.

Finally, we have the skating outfit:
Again, pleased with the looks, but wish I had knit the yoke in the round. Will try that next time it is practical (The next two Barbie outfits in the queue are a bathing suit and a strapless evening gown, so it doesn't apply.) Also, the bottoms of the sleeves are a little tight, which makes it quite an operation to get the silly things over her permanently-stuck-out thumbs. As always, Sam picked the colors, and I am always pleased to note that her color sense is different from mine, but what she chooses does work. She has quite an artistic eye. (Not that I'm biased, or anything....)

Now, for the upcoming projects. Currently on the needles is another tea cozy (another green-and-green one, this time for Corinne) and a wig in bright yellow. Am hoping that this will satisfy Sam's desire to go to school as Hannah Montana, but I'm not holding my breath. Had to cut down the wig pattern, for two reasons: the original is written for adults, and I knit so loosely that I nearly always have to drop down two needle sizes to get gauge. Tried that with this, but the fabric came out so stiff that I just wasn't happy with it, so I used larger needles and cut the stitches down by a third. Will have to recalculate when I do these for adults; I think that Kate and Belle and I need to wear these to a con, at some point.

Oh, and I finished the last corset in time, but only sold one, with one additional special order. Sigh. Really had hoped to sell more.....

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Summer Work

O.K., got some pics and finally found the cord to download them, so let's recap What I Did On My Summer (non-)Vacation:

First up, I have to confess something: I have a side business making corsets. I have no plans to quit my day job, as I couldn't afford the cut in pay, and I really wouldn't want to do it all the time (despite what I said in my last post), but it brings in pin money and makes it possible to go to cons and such. I rarely remember to take pics of them before I hand them over to the folks who sell them, but managed to get some of them this time:

That's silver satin trimmed with white; cafe-au-lait heavy taffeta trimmed in cream; grass-green slubby silk trimmed in white; and pale blue satin trimmed in cream. There were three more delivered before that, but can't remember the fabrics or colors (will update later). And I still have one in black satin trimmed in black and red that needs about 45 min. more work done on it. Should get that done tonight or tomorrow, and deliver it tomorrow evening. (There's a small costuming conference in LA this weekend, Costume College, which has as it's theme this year the Civil War Era, so I'm desperate to get as many of my corsets there as possible, as it is exactly the sort of folk who are interested in them.)

In addition, I've got one more tea cozy done:

I'm pleased with how it came out; the fabric is very thick, and I'm thinking of adapting it to make hot pads. Got the pattern here, but have made some modifications to it.

What else?.... I've made some progress on Sam's poncho, but have gotten to the point where a) it's pretty awkward to work on, unless I'm sitting down, and b) I'm putting in a row of kitties, so I have to read a chart, which means I have to pay attention, which means it's going slower. Hope to get the kitties done fairly quickly, so I can go back to the mindless stockinette-in-the-round. (No pic, yet.)

Made a little progress on the Barbie stuff, but have been concentrating on corsets this month. Should be able to get back to the original Material Girl, now.

Oh, and have turned the heel on the Mash-up Madness socks. They seem a little tight over the instep, despite the fact that I picked up double the number of stitches recommended. It's O.K. once you put it on, but it is hard to pull them over your heel. Oh, well. (Again, no pic, yet.)

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