Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Domestic Issues

Things have been a bit difficult on the making things front for the past two weeks, with domestic issues getting in the way. When I say domestic issues, I mean the unexpected and therefore unplanned addition to our household, pictured here in a playful mood and trying to hide inside a slipper.

This is Charlie, formerly a stray who has been hanging around in our area since the end of last summer. He was a lot smaller then and I only got a good look at him at the beginning of January which was when I realised from his condition that all was not well. I started to feed him and generally win him over while I went through the gruelling process of trying to either find his owner or find him a new home.

To cut a very long story short, Charlie has now been adopted by us. He's been neutered, blood tested, had a broken tooth removed, has his very own microchip and in a week or two, his vaccinations will be complete. He is no longer painfully thin and with our help, his many war wounds are healing and he's nowhere near so scabby, bedraggled or tatty as he was. His coat actually has a shine to it and as the vet put it - he is beginning to look like he belongs to someone.

The downside of all of this (apart from the time, worry and cost) is that my resident cat, Missy is not at all happy with this development. While she was very happy to play with Charlie outside as a stray, having him inside her house, sitting in her favourite places, eating her food and getting affection from her mum is just not on.

However, things have now progressed to the point that Missy (pictured defending her box) - a stroppy tortie at the best of times - has discovered that she can bully Charlie. She is asserting her authority over him at every opportunity, while he does his best to usurp her wishes whenever he thinks she isn't watching. As a disputed territorial trophy, my lap and hands are not my own. I cannot sit or walk or stand anywhere in the house without coming under feline assault of the affectionate and vocal kind and this in turn is having a severe impact on my ability to finish projects I have ongoing.

Nonetheless, using special stealth tactics to escape feline observation I have been plodding on with a couple of things. Not as much as I'd like, but it's better than nothing.

Costume wise, I'm concentrating on Shards as always and having finished the riding jacket I'm pushing on with preparing for a faux-pregnancy. The baby bump which I'll need for Easter is very nearly complete, I just have to finish attaching the outer shell and then add some straps to hold it securely in place.

It is shown here, pinned and ready for sewing, modelled on a pillow which is substituting for me. Making one of these is actually quite easy and I recommend it as a method for making any body padding which you want to look fairly realistic. The cushion is made of several layers of cotton batting, cut in successively smaller ovals and sewn on top of one another. To smooth out the bumps, I just sewed another four layers of batting on top giving a dome as shown. Once it is strapped in place and dressed with costume over the top it will be a fairly convincing pregnant belly. From experience, I can say that wearing one of these is awkward and having the extra inches is strangely ungainly but it isn't heavy and will stay where it is put.

I've started on the costume to go over the top and here we have another work in progress, a sort of waistcoat made up in black moleskin. This is a replacement for a bodice, it's soft and unboned and quite loose fitting - for a bodice anyway. I've added godets to the front along with princess seams (I saw a similar bodice in a historical costume book and thought, gosh it makes her look pregnant). I've added in modesty panels to the sides which will be vented and tied together with points.

It's all looking good at the moment and I'll add a skirt this weekend... Providing of course the cats let me!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Opportunities to spend money, lots of money

This Saturday I shall be off to the LARP Fair in Yorkshire and reading down through the list of confirmed traders, I'm happy to see old favourites like Herts Fabrics and Jim the Pot...

Which means that I can buy fabric and giant mugs, yay!

Of course, I don't actually need giant mugs but I do need fabric... I always need fabric.

It is also interesting since both of the aforementioned traders and several of the others on the list normally aim their business at re-enactors. Jim (the Pot) of Trinity Court Potteries is notorious for giving fascinating lectures about the historical significance of each of his pots and will refuse to sell you something if it isn't your period. A sign of how things have moved along I guess, since I know that a lot roleplayers regularly attend historical markets in the ever continuing search for kit.

Time to compile a list methinks.

And check my bank balance.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


A picture illustrating why it is you can never have too many hats, scarves and gloves....

This was the view from my back door at 8:30am this morning.

The large cardboard box in the foreground was standing next to the bins waiting to be broken up, but my enterprising cat decided it was going to waste and would make a fun snow tunnel and shelter.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Scarf and Jacket

This weekend I seem to have done a lot of faffing and not much just getting on with making things up. My excuse... I was in pain; I have good days and bad days with my knee and this weekend counted as bad. I blame the weather, I really don't cope with cold and while the sun was out, we have to remember it *is* February.

Anyway, when not moving in a gingerly fashion or worrying about cats I did sew on a lot of buttons and finish the scarf I was crocheting. I decided on the style of top and jacket I need for Shards so only really have the skirt to sort out in my head now. I also cut out the first pieces of batting for baby bump mark 2, fitted the base to me and started sewing the first few layers together. So not a total loss, I guess.

And so some pictures...

First up, time to inject some colour into the procedings with a loud version of the one skien scarf from The Happy Hooker.

I liked the way this one made up, the instructions were clear and since it only uses a single stitch type (doubles or trebles depending on whether you're reading American or British patterns) it was easy and made up very quickly. The photo here doesn't really do it justice - in the flesh it makes me think of smarties - but worn over a plain dark layer and wrapped a couple times around my neck it looked quite pretty in a colourful way. :)

The jacket for Shards is also finished. This one is in brown cotton moleskin and lined in cotton (back and sleeves) and silk (front and skirts). Those flaps conceal real, functioning pockets!

I've yet to wear it over the full kit, so don't have any photo's of it in context I'm afraid, but picture it over full culottes and worn with a tricorn and I think you get the idea.

And finally, for those who might wish to see... A flash of the hideous diamond check pink silk lining, which I think is just perfect. :D

Thursday, February 01, 2007

One jacket very nearly complete

All the button holes are done... Just 22 buttons to sew on and then some vigourous ironing!

Knit-Wits was fun last night and I made good progress on the scarf I'm crocheting. The difference in how quickly something can be made up when crocheted compared to knitting is striking though. I started this scarf (a loud version of the one skein scarf from The Happy Hooker) on Monday night whilst watching TV as I couldn't face sewing button holes. I picked it up again last night and with only the border to go now, I'd say that one more evening and it will be done.

In other news I'm getting a hankering to use my lucet again. I don't have any particular need to make laces, but I found myself thinking about decent gimps and whether I should experiment with a different base yarn while I was driving to work this morning. All of which means I may have to make some laces just to get it out of my system.

Edited to add link
I have a double lucet that Dave bought me for Christmas a couple of years ago, but have no idea how to use... And I just found instructions! Yay! A happy me.