Round Peg In a Square Hole-crafts

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sleeves. Why Did it Have to be...Sleeves?

(You may have to be above a certain age to get that joke....)

Spent Sunday down at Kate's, working on our Super Secret Historical Masquerade Entry. This involved a carioca shirt and the ruffling thereof, so by the end of the day, I was pretty much sick of sleeves. (And ruffles. And satin. But I digress.) Anyway, the shirt was well on it's way by the time I left, so I'm confident that Kate was able to finish it and the pants pretty easily. (Right? Right, Kate? You were able to finish, weren't you? *crickets chirruping in the distance*....)

The bad news is that I came home to yet MORE Sleeves From Hell(tm). Much as I love "The Incredibles", right now I want nothing more than to take the animators out and SHOOT them! What possessed them to give Edna those sleeves?!?!?!? Are they insane? Don't they know that some of us will be compelled to try to render in 3-D what can, really, only exist in 2-D? And that we would drive ourselves insane in the process? Not to mention not getting any packing, cleaning, or knitting (not necessarily in that order) done in the meantime.

O.K., I admit that it is partly my fault. First, for telling my daughter, "Sure, honey, I'll make you an Edna costume." I mean, I had planned to make one for myself, after all; I could just use hers as a prototype. Secondly, when it became clear that the pointed strips I had cut would not work with the originally-intended amount of overlap, I did make the decision to cut more strips, instead of cutting all new, wider strips. But that is no excuse for the freakin' thing to go all feral on me! It was clear from the images that the points in one row lined up with the dips in the previous row; thus, when I realized that I had to add rows, and added them in the middle (had to be done that way, because of the shape of a sleeve, to make the lengths work), the fact that I added an odd number of rows meant that the points on all the subsequent rows had to be moved. And then, somehow, I miscounted (don't ask me; triple-redundancy failed me) and had to add yet another row, in the middle, then re-adjust all the rows above, because by now the ones below had all been sewn down. (And after finding out it was a stretchy fabric the hard way--when my strips all grew loooooonger during the working and the pressing--and thus having to ease them back to the right size, requiring another pass through the sewing machine for each of 16 freakin' rows PER SLEEVE, I wasn't ABOUT to rip them out again.) So, we're talking about 32 point strips, each of which had to make 4 passes each through various sewing machines, and it's no wonder I'm out for blood at this point.

However, there is good news: the sleeves. are. done. There, I said it. They're done, they're ready to be put into the tunic (which, oddly enough, went together much more easily than I had anticipated.....what is it planning?.....). I was working on the tunic this morning, and it, too is now ready for the sleeves, plus a final fitting and a little handwork. My promise to my daughter will be fulfilled, and even if it kills me, I can die happy, with the knowledge that I am a Good Mom. Whew!


Friday, April 18, 2008

Geeky Crafter or Crafty Geek: You Decide

O.K., to quote Hailey Mills in the Parent Trap, I've had "a scathingly brilliant idea" (in more ways than one). Let me tell you about it.

While I grew out of the little girl stage where I loved unicorns and rainbows, I have always loved the color progression of rainbows, and have often included it in my knitting. However, it has been increasingly hard over the years to find washable, affordable, soft yarn in the requisite colors. In fact, I was recently reduced to dying my own to make the rainbow-striped leg warmers that my step-great-niece asked for as a Christmas present. Since the dying was not entirely successful, I was whinging about it to myself last night, when I had a thought: once I get the final color dyed, I could dye up sets of yarns to sell that had all the appropriate colors! If I got it down to a science, I could just buy lots of different weights of yarn, and dye them up the way I did for the legwarmers, especially now that I know how it's done. I might even do kits, or self-striping sock yarn, or.....

And the "scathingly brilliant" part? I was trying to come up with a name that conveyed the idea without sounding too sappy or cutesy, when it finally hit me: Roy G. Biv Yarns.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

CC26 is Fast Approaching.....

...and, for once, I actually feel almost ready.

But what, you may ask, is CC26? It is Costume Con 26, and it is hard to believe a) that there have been 26 Costume Cons, and b) it has been on the order of 10 years since I've been to one. Used to go every year, both CC and Worldcon. But then, DD came along, and the Hubster quit his job to stay home with her, and luxuries like cons on the other side of the country and cable TV went by the boards. But, for the first time in umpty-ump years, CC is within driving distance of the old homestead, so I'm packing the Hubster and the DD into the car and we're off for a wild weekend of ogling other peoples clothes, and showing off our own.

May write a more complete summary of What to Expect When You Attend Costume Con at some point (or may just post the article I wrote for our costuming group's newsletter), but a short summary would be wise. It is a 3 to 4 day event, where the days are filled with panels about how to wire your costume for electricity, how to glue without asphyxiating oneself, how to research both historical and science fiction/fantasy costumes, how to run a Masquerade, how to be a good Masquerade participant, how to document a recreation or historical costume, how to herd costumers in a large group entry, truth and fiction about corsets; you know, just about what you'd expect. It's the evening where the fun starts. There is a Friday Night Social, and there are two costuming competitions : the Science Fiction/Fantasy Masquerade and the Historical Masquerade. There is also often a Single Pattern Contest, where everyone is free to take the listed pattern and put their own twist on it, then enter it in a fashion show. And there is also the Future Fashion Competition, where people submit costume designs well in advance, they are judged and the winners are printed in a booklet that is sent to all the con members. The designers have the right to reserve their designs for themselves to make, or they can open it up so that anyone can make them. These are then also entered into a Fashion Show. Oh, and there's also usually a doll contest, and sometimes an additional competition: one year it was a cod piece competition, the next year the guys demanded equal time, so there was a bra competition. This year, there is a props competition, with a somewhat loose definition of what constitutes a prop. (I, for example, have been requested to enter some of my tea cozies and an enormous muff, mentioned in an earlier post.)

The Friday Night Social usually has a theme; this year, the theme is Victorian Underwear. Now (as I believe I said in an earlier post) I think I can lay claim to a larger wardrobe of Victorian underwear, corsets in particular, than pretty much any other rocket scientist in the world. However, I also have a 7 year old daughter, and while I'm not shy about wearing a corset in front of her, a friend came up with a fabulous idea, for herself and her two daughters: Victorian nightgowns. I thought this was a great notion, and so made them for myself and Sam: (unfortunately, Blogger is being a pain, and not allowing me to post pictures, so you'll have to follow the links: mine, Sam's, both.)

I'm very happy with how they came out, and even happier that they are done more than a week before needed, thankyouverymuch. Mine needs some adjusting, since I was faking the pattern, but it is wearable, and Sam's has a foot-deep hem, so that I can let it down as she grows. (She doesn't grow so much as telescope; she gets very little larger around, just lo-o-o-onger. With this hem, she should be able to wear it until she fits mine.) The only thing I don't like about them is that they are so thin. I'll have to wear my regency slip under mine, and I'll find something for Sam to wear under hers, so that we can be seen in public. And I was sad to hear that the woman whose idea this originally was (hi, Denison!) has been unable to make them for her and her girls, which is too bad; I thought we'd have made an adorable picture. (Oh, I forgot to mention that I also made nightcaps for us, (no pix, yet) and you've already seen the slippers.)

My lunatic friends and I are entering the Historical Masquerade with an amusing entry. (The costumes are serious (well, most of them), but the presentation is not.) Can't show you any more about that until after the con, but I promise to take good pics and blog about it right afterwards. Suffice it to say that it involves several different historical periods and a conga line; let your imagination chew on that for a while. The good news is that my dress is all but done: I have to hem the sleeves and put in the snaps and hooks, make loops and sew on buttons, and have Kate trim the hem, then hand-turn it. But all of that is handwork, and I should get the sleeves and all the fasteners done tonight at WeHo S&B, and Kate will trim the hem on Sunday, so I should have that done as well before we leave.

Where I am a little behind is on Sam's costumes. It might appear that a girl who already has two Disney princess costumes, a fairy costume (including at least half a dozen sets of wings to choose from), a mermaid costume, another fairy costume, a ballerina costume and a hula girl outfit might not need anything more. There, you would be wrong. There are two other costumes in the works for her, one at her instigation, and one at mine. Though she has never seen the TV show Firefly, I just have to dress her as Kayleigh; most of it is purchased, but have you ever tried to find a jumpsuit for a kid? I'm having to improvise, fortunately with sale items. It won't be exactly right, but she'll look a lot like Kayleigh's kid sister, especially if Belle gets the parasol painted. I've taken the sleeves off the shirt; now, I just have to sew them on to the pants (well, I suppose finding the pants would be the first thing) and deconstruct a shirt that's too small for her, for her to wear underneath. Other than that, we're good to go.

The one she asked for was Edna Mode from the Incredibles. Since I had already planned to make said costume for me, I kind of knew what was involved, and have been slowly assembling the pieces needed though I had a bear of a time finding a cheap wig small enough for Sam. The one I have is too big, but it will do. Sunglasses with the lenses popped out give the huge black frames, and though it was surprisingly hard to find black full-length leggings in her size (there were capris everywhere), I finally did, and found black tights and black flat shoes (well, ballet slippers) as well. Now, all I have left is the tunic and those @#$%@! sleeves, which I had planned to do this past Sunday and just didn't happen. Time is running out, but I think I can do it. Wish me luck!

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Socks and Other Unmentionables

I've been meaning to write a post titled, "I'm Doomed! Doomed, I Tell You!", but, you guessed it, I died before I could do so. Oh, well. Just to clarify, I'm talking about Sock Madness, and once again, I made it through to Round 2, but didn't make the next cut. The cool thing about SM, though, is that you get all the patterns, no matter when you get knocked out. AND the community is fantastic! A great bunch of people. Definitely worth the two down days that always follow getting knocked out of the running. And this time, I'm almost done with the socks, whereas last time, I had picked poorly for the yarn, and ended up frogging what little I had managed to do before my untimely demise. The one pic I have of the socks-in-progress is pretty bad; I'll wait until I have the pair finished and can take a good shot of them. The second round socks were Reversai: socks that look the same, inside and out. A cool concept, a great pattern. I will be happy with these when I finish them.

On to other things! I've made great progress on the leg warmers, though I'm stalled out on them, in favor of more challenging items. (And I forgot how SM speeds up as the rounds progress: I'm not yet done with my Reversai, and the lace weight sock will be released on Thursday! Yikes!) But I do a little on it, here and there; it's good for the treadmill, since it's not on tiny needles, and I really don't have to pay much attention to it. They're so late already, not sure a little more matters. Will have to get around to dying the red soon, though. I've GOT to remember to pick up some KoolAid......

I finished Barbie's sweater, almost in time for her Easter birthday (finished it up that morning), and made the hat later, but ran out of yarn on the pants. This puzzles me extremely, as I doubled what the recommended yardage was, as I was going to be holding the yarn doubled, only to later realize that the yardage given was for holding yarn doubled. Do I really knit that loosely, that more than double the yardage wasn't enough, by more than half the pants? I find that difficult to believe. Never had this trouble with Nickey Epstein's Barbie book before, but I guess there's always a first time....

Outside of competitive sock knitting, what I have been spending most of my crafting time on is the costumes for Costume Con 26, which starts April 25. I'm cautiously pleased with my progress, and hope I'm not tempting Murphy to mess with me by saying that I think I will get the costumes done with time to spare. I have assembled most of the pieces of Sam's Kayleigh costume, though I have to do some modification of some of the pieces I bought. I have everything I need for her Edna costume, except the fabric for her tunic, which I should be able to get Friday. The tunic itself isn't too difficult, except for the sleeves; thank goodness little girls have small arms! Our nightgowns are almost done (hems, buttons and button holes, and one structural seam); I still have to make our nightcaps, and decide if I want to do the wrappers or not. And my dress for the historical Masquerade is probably about half done, not counting the hand-rolled hems on the skirt and the sleeves. It will be drop-dead gorgeous, if I do say so myself, and I can't wait to post a pic. If I can get most of the rest of the historical gown done on Friday--or--clean house on Friday, so I can sew on Sunday, I should be down to handwork by next week. Please, please, pleeeeeeeeeeeez make it so!

Oh, I did get one body blow recently: remember all those scarves that I made for the flea market at my daughter's school? A dozen hand-made scarves, some knitted in fun fur, some loopy ones crochetted in Homespun? They never made it to the sale; they were put, instead, in the donation box, to be sent to the school on the poor side of town that we help out on a regular basis. I was really bummed; I know it's not particularly admirable, but I was looking forward to the "ooh!"s and "ah!"s that I would have overheard, to seeing how much they were selling for, and how fast (and if!) they sold out. Disappointing.

Still have several old projects in progress: the sweater coat (though I heard of a great trick to soften it up, so I won't worry about finishing it up and having the recipient not like it, so THAT's a good thing. Thanks, Ellen!); the Red Carpet convertible (keep going back and forth on that one. I think I've finally resolved to finish it in a short length and maybe try a corset version of it later on, maybe in chenille); the second sock of the pattern I designed for SM2; the (shudder) embroidered tablecloth. There's also a blankie for the Hubster that I bought the yarn for, but have not yet picked a pattern. And the Farm Blanket that I keep forgetting about, for some reason. Have cast on socks for Kate's birthday, but have not made much progress yet, and have asked for the measurements for the German Stockings I'm making for a friend. (Is it rude to write to a woman and ask, "Is it O.K. if I knit these socks for your husband?" Shall have to ask Miss Manners. From Kate and Belle's responses, I was apparently not thinking clearly, in that their husbands and they themselves need these socks. We shall see.)

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