Thursday, March 29, 2007

And finally we have one wobbly lined scarf

I remain unreasonably busy at work with no let up in sight and with the weekend nearly in here I'm hoping it arrives while I still have some mental reserves otherwise I'll be hard pushed to achieve very much.

I refused to linger longer than I'm officially supposed to last night so that I'd make it home in time to head to the Knitwits meeting, which was very quiet with only five of us sitting next to the window. I did however get a comfy seat which was a bonus and made good progress on the wobbly line scarf. Such good progress in fact, that when I went home I ploughed on and finished it!!!!

Cue me last night trying to get Dave to show some enthusiasm for woolen winter garments and waving it under his nose again this morning before heading out to work. He says it's very stretchy, which I think is a compliment.

Anyway, here it is along with my ever present assistant Charlie who lay down next to the scarf the instant I got the camera out and refused to budge. No matter how I try, I can't cut him out of the picture (and who'd want to, he is so sweet) so we get two for one in this image.

This scarf is the result of many weeks, intermittant knitting with a row here and a row there as the approach as I've tried to fit it in around work and sewing projects. I'm relieved to finally get it done - all seventy six inches of it - and feeling very pleased with myself since it is stitch perfect. I even cast off in pattern!

For any who are interested, it's based on this pattern but I've increased the stitch count as when I knit up a few inches to test the pattern, it proved to be only 3 inches wide as opposed to the more respectable 6 inches it is now. I'm very pleased with the result, which is a long, thick and good width scarf which should keep someone very warm in winter.

(As always, click on the image to see a bigger version.)

Monday, March 26, 2007

A 'Maternity' Bodice

Having spent the weekend working, I haven't really had much time to myself the past few days and today is shaping up in a similar fashion. In need of a bit of light relief when I finally made it home last night, I decided to lace up the maternity bodice which I set the last eyelet for on Friday.

Yes, it is finally finished, having taken far longer than something this size really should have. Made from black cotton moleskin with a cotton lining, this bodice is loose fitting, with godets set into the princess seams at the front to give it a high waisted appearance. The sides are laced closed and fitted with sewn in modesty panels, making the bodice adjustable.

The photo's don't really do it justice and it's out of context, worn over a modern top and skirt.

It's intended as a costume piece for Shards to fit a character who is pregnant, hence the loose fit and lack of boning. However, as it is based on a bodice from an illustration dating to the 1620's, I think it could be used as basic kit for other games if I wished. Either way, it looked pretty good on, fitting properly at the shoulders but very roomy everywhere else.

I'll be aiming to do a costume check next weekend, when I'll try the bodice with the rest of the kit, complete with padding. Providing Dave can be persuaded to man the camera, more pictures may be taken then.

(Click on the photo's to see bigger versions...)

Friday, March 23, 2007

More steady progress...

Four more eyelets to go! Four and then the little bodice will be done. Now, I need to work out a cunning plan to detach Charlie (the cat) from my side long enough to complete this project and all will be fine.

This week I've been gearing myself up for a critical migration at work which will see me working through the coming weekend, so I've been fairly wiped out by the time I get home. However, I have managed to knit another fifty rows or so of the wobbly line scarf and now with the end in sight, I just want to get this one done so I can move on.

I did see something interesting at the Knit-Wits meeting on Wednesday night where one of the ladies admited to knitting backwards. That is, she knits across the row and then knits back without turning her work. I watched her in action and she did seem to have a fair speed going there. Intrigued, I browsed Knitty and came across this article. And yes, I can see that not turning your work would be very useful if you're working something complicated or involving more than one thread - much like why you'd use the non-turn lucet techniques. One to bear in mind for the future, should I ever get really good at knitting...

Monday, March 19, 2007

A fun filled weekend...

The weekend just gone I headed over to the Re-enactors Market for my usual hunt around specialised traders stalls for props or the raw materials to make costume.

This time out, I resisted buying fabric - mostly because I didn't see anything I liked - but sadly still spent far more money than I should have. I blame the luxury of having all those shiny things in one place rather than having to hunt all over the internet... It is just so hard to resist.

With no fabric in my haul, I did buy a couple of costume reference books; namely The Medieval Tailor's Assistant and The Tudor Tailor. I did look at a lot of costume, doing my usual critical examination of the seams and build where I'm mentally working out how to make something similar. The Re-enactors Market is a wonderful source of inspiration for this sort of thing.

Other purchases included the obligatory felt hat, a broach, a nice compass and a pretty sundial thing which I don't know the name for but it will be a very nice prop. I also bought a couple of Egyptian bags and yet another braiding disk.

The braiding disk will be my third one and is the purchase I felt guilty about since I've yet to successfully weave a single braid using the Kumihimo method which is essentially how you should be using with this disk. I can't get the tension right on either the individual strands of yarn or the center pull through the disk (or Marudai if we were talking proper Kumihimo I guess). However, after chatting to the guy selling the disks for some tips on where I'm going wrong I decided to try one of his disks. For the moment, I'm swamped with projects but I do intend to have another go with this real soon...

The rest of the weekend was spent doing either domestic things, fretting about the cat or setting eyelets.

The new cat (or ex-stray) Charlie went outside for the first time on Saturday, hence the fretting. Saturday he was very unnerved by the whole experience and was obviously worried we'd lock him out as he didn't really wander very far. Sunday however he made up for lost time, disappearing for close onto three hours before returning. When he came in, once he'd had his initial fuss he was the quietest I've seen him in a while and actually laid down on the sofa to go to sleep last night rather than being glued to my side.

In between calling for the cat I started setting eyelets into the loose fitting bodice I'm making for Shards. So far I've set forty three eyelets, leaving me with just thirteen to do so I'm hopeful I'll get it finished this week. All of which means, I'm getting there - slowly but surely.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Looking forward to seamingly endless eyelet setting...

I headed out to the Knit-Wits meeting last night - having missed last weeks, because I had a cold - where I managed to knit a full twenty-four rows of my wobbly line scarf. This one (my second proper knitting project) is taking me forever to make up, not because it's particularly difficult but because I've been concentrating on making costume for Shards. As it was, last night I was expecting to be sewing but ran out of hem the night before on the skirt I'm currently making. The translation of that being, that I finished hand-sewing the hem and so had nothing portable to take with me.

I headed over to Richard's for the weekend, making use of his spare room in the evening, while struggling around Shining Death doing a LARP event during the day. Determined to make good use of the time, I took two projects with me - the maternity bodice and matching skirt. Both of these had reached a stage requiring hand-sewing so were perfect for working on whilst nattering away to Richard and his fellow guests, Matt and Gareth in the evening.

The maternity* bodice is almost done. Thanks to my efforts last weekend, I've sewn the binding around the armholes so all that's left now is the eyelets, which I hope to make a start on tonight.

Those who know me, know I hate setting or sewing eyelets, which is ironic since so much of the costume I make features them in some way or another. The alternative is to use buttons or loops, but since I typically hand-sew those as well... Let's just say that fastenings are my least favourite part of finishing a garment and leave it at that!

The bodice will need eyelets (or most likely metal gromits) set into the centre front seam as well as the side seams. I still need to press and then sew a flap to each side seam in readiness for this, and then comes the fun of deciding whether to punch a hole or to poke a hole with an awl. The secret to good metal eyelets is to use as small and tight a hole as possible, which means the awl is usually my favoured method, but it's fiddly and time consuming. Not so time consuming as sewing eyelets, but it still takes a surprisingly long time to set metal eyelets, even when you've had a lot of practice.

The maternity* skirt is also nearly finished. As usual, I've opted to use a kilt pin rather than a zip to hold the side closed and was planning on using elastic to help hold the waistband in place. I've never chosen to use elastic before, since most of the costume I make is loosely based on historical clothing. The only reason I thought I'd try it was the skirt has to sit high around the base of my ribcage to allow for the bump*, so I wanted the waistband to have some give in it which would have allowed me to breathe. Sadly, disaster struck from the combination of lack of experience and cheap, nasty elastic which lost all elasticity once sewn - hence I'm having a rethink. I've pleated the skirt into the waistband, so it's not a huge amount of gather we're talking about which means I may opt for a drawstring instead.

So getting there, slowly but surely.

* The costume described within this posting is designed to go over a series of fake pregnant bellies. The LARP character they're intended for is expecting and so I'm simulating the pregnancy with costume.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Just what every LARPer needs, a crocheted jerkin

Now this interesting little garment caught my eye today and unlike most people, my first thought was 'Oh, wow! I want one!'...

If I saw this in a charity shop I'd buy it in a flash. I know it's the LARPer in me, but I can see lots of costume potential there and it's clearly in the same league as Dave's knitted cravat.