Wednesday, August 29, 2007

And back to the real world

I think today is Wednesday. That is, blogger is telling me it is Wednesday and my diary agrees, so it must be Wednesday but my poor body clock has lost all sense of time. It's an even worse shock to realise that August is very nearly over and we're almost in September!

The reason for this loss of time and complete disassociation with the calendar as accepted by the rest of the world is of course having not long returned from being cacooned from reality in Candleston campsite and eleven days of Shards.

Once we'd got past the first weekend, the weather cleared and was fine, which cheered us all up enormously. We were camping in our usual luxurious and prepared fashion, so the rain didn't hamper us too much, but had it continued throughout the full eleven days it would have dampened our spirits somewhat.

As it was, a good time was had by all, with the first two segments being particularly excellent - from my viewpoint at least. The last few days were a bit slow, mostly due to the nature of the plot and the focus on the tribal types, which made it difficult to get involved.

I took some knitting with me and completed two washcloths, with another half done. They're great for picking up and putting down, so made good knitting projects for those quiet moments as well as first thing in the morning. Pictures and details later.

Dave's new costume looked very 'fly' as he would put it, however the character it was intended for only survived about eight hours in game. Rather than have all that hard work go completely to waste, the tunic was passed to another player to pad out their kit for the week. I've got to say, it looked equally good on him.

Monday afternoon we packed up fairly promptly for us and were not the last off site (miraculously), but lost a lot of time due to car trouble. My brakes were resisting and rather than drive all the way home, I called the AA and waited for them to be checked out. It turned out the heavy rain that first weekend, followed by very warm weather and not moving the car was the problem, with a thin coating of rust having formed on the brake disks. A drive with the AA man and some aggressive braking sorted things out and then we drove home, finally getting back to Coventry just after midnight. This was much, much later than we should have done, but those brakes needed checking out.

Now... I have a mountain of laundry to do, plus a load of washing up. I also have a zip to replace with eyelets on my tent since it's about given up the ghost now. Mostly though, I'm trying to adjust to being back in the real world and marvelling at just how tired I feel.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Can you tell what it is yet?

Having braved the sun to run a few necessary errands, I'm now hiding indoors and psyching myself up to do a spot of sewing. I'm currently very proud of myself as I've displayed an unusual amount of self control and walked away from both fabric and yarn!

Yes, I was in Coventry and stuck my head into Busy Fingers, for no particular reason other than I was walking past. There I saw several interesting offcuts in upholstery weight fabrics which would have made very nice waistcoats - and if Dave had been there no doubt frock coats would have been mentioned - or cushion covers if you prefer tamer sewing pursuits.

I also checked out their bargain buckets/baskets and saw some very nice rich wool mixes of the fussy variety. By that I mean, they had either bits stuck onto the yarn or were variegated and multi-threaded (i.e. two or more threads of a different type wrapped around each other). Very nice, ranging from 50% to 79% wool and just 99p per 50g! Believe me, it took a lot of will power to put the yarn down and walk away.

Now some pictures of Dave wearing the robe I finished on Tuesday.

This is a robe of my own design, with input from Dave as to the features he wanted to see. It's meant to be clerical in appearance, with a deep collar, lots of swish but minimal hampering of movement.

The fabric is a brushed, heavy weight cotton which is both considerably lighter and cheaper than an equivalent amount of wool. I've split it front and back to make sure he can fight in this one (although officially, the split would be there so he could ride) and added gores to the sides to increase the fullness of the hem. The gores run from under the arm to the hem, but I've sewn the side seams closed again at the top to waist level, so that the gores fold in on themselves when Dave is standing still.

The collar is a simple folded over affair with the neck hole big enough for him to pull the whole caboodle over his head. The sleeves are straight and only slightly tapered to the wrist, again intended to give him plenty of movement.

As always, click on the images to see bigger versions.

Special thanks for help with the photoshoot must go to the director, one Missy Cat who closely supervised the wardrobe and the positioning of the model in each shot.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

And now for a very important announcement

In the interests of finding a palatable alternative to my current favourite tea (and yes, tea has finally made it onto my blog) in order to stave off the fear that Morrisons (the only place in Coventry that I can find it) will stop stocking it, I decided to give Twinings Everyday Tea a try. Mostly for Richard's benefit this, but I can report that I have decided I like this tea. It's still not my favourite, but it is on a par with Tetley's normal tea, so it's mild, inoffensive and refreshing but without the kick found in standard breakfast teas.

In other words, just like a lot of the Twinings range, it gets my thumbs up.

And now that I've covered the vitally important subject of tea, onto creative pursuits.

Last weekend was very sewing orientated as I settled down to start making Dave a new costume for Shards. Friday night I drafted a pattern for a new robe and then drew straight onto the fabric, since I was running very short on time and it is quite a simple garment. Some time later, after much pain from my knee, bloodshed from Dave - who pinned one piece when I had to get up from the floor for a minute - and some wielding of scissors and I had all the pieces cut out.

Saturday afternoon I edged them, since experience has taught me it's a lot easier to edge fabric *before* it's sewn up than after. Edging is of course boring and tedious, but absolutely necessary since this robe will not be lined, is made from cotton which will fray if I don't take steps to prevent it and is going to be subject to significant wear and tear... LARP is incredibly hard on costume and of course, the robe needs to be able to survive the washing machine.

Sunday I sewed all the pieces together. I even set the sleeves and attached the collar, much to my amazement at my own efficiency. Over the last two nights I've continued with the hand finishing bits, namely I closed the collar by hand and I've oversewn the side seams using a matress stitch to make the gores sit right.

Alas, no photo's yet as it was quite late when I finished last night and I need to get Dave to pose whilst wearing it for me, but I will get some taken soon-ish.

Tonight I'm intending to leave Dave with a pile of ironing, in the form of the cotton for his cyclas. I've washed it and dried it, but he's been studiously ignoring it for the past few days. Since I intend to start on the pattern for that one tomorrow night, I think it's down to him to finish prepping the fabric so I can get started ASAP.

In other news, in an effort to earn brownie points Dave bought me a selection of jewelry pliers at Hobbycraft. Apparently they have sets of them half price at the moment, so those who like to make wired jewelry or stitchmarkers, take note.

And finally, I finished my second attempt at a washcloth (of which I do have a picture).

While its the same diagonally knit square as last time, taken from One Skien Wonders, this time I've crocheted a Picot stle edge, taken from Knitting Loves Crochet.

The last time I tried to crochet around some knitting, the crochet was too tight and forced the washcloth to curl up around the edges. To overcome this, rather than fighting my naturally tight crochet - a battle I'll leave for later methinks - I used the next size up hook, i.e. a 4.5mm rather than a 4mm and this time it worked well. I'm quite pleased with the way its turned out and envisage making many more...

As always, click on the photo to see a bigger version.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

As I sit here shivering...

A couple of weeks after moving from my sub tropical office, in which the temperature rarely dropped below 28C, I have now decided I hate air conditioning. Or rather, I have a strong dislike for aircon which is set to an inhumanly low temperature, blows fiercely, has no obvious temperature or direction controls and the only way to deal with it's bitterly cold enslaught is to use a very long stick to close the vent immediately in front of my desk. Sadly, the vent reopens itself as soon as my back is turned and I am engaged in a never ending battle to try to stop myself from being chilled to the bone.

A complaint has been registered (the maintenance guys are coming to rue the day I moved) and even though a guy from the environmental office showed up and played with the controls for an hour, he could not stop the offending vent from blasting freezing cold air at my desk hour after hour as I try to work. I suspect there is nothing for it and I will be forced to bring a cardi and gloves into work to combat the cold.

The cotton I ordered from Chawla's showed up yesterday afternoon, so top marks to them for service and delivery. I ordered on Sunday afternoon, so three working days - including Monday as the day they processed the order - is not bad at all. The fabric itself is as advertised and I forsee much sewing in my near future. So much sewing and so little time, which means I've warned Dave he might need to lend a hand. It is for him after all!

I headed off to Knitwits last night, but didn't make much progress on the scarf I'm working on as I didn't seem to be able to concentrate. I kept making mistakes, loosing count and having to unknit stitches which was proving frustrating.

I'm going to put it down to where I was sitting; the accoustics seemed to be making everything echo and very loud so it felt as if I was being overwhelmed by noise which crept up on me as the evening pressed on. I've been sat on that side of the room before and the noise has never been a problem in the past so I'm not sure what was going on there. Perhaps I was feeling more sensitive to it? Or they moved something in the room? Wierd really.

Right, I'm off to find a long stick. I have an aircon vent to prod.