Monday, July 30, 2007

With only two free weekends to go...

This weekend we headed off to Ripley to visit friends on Saturday which was fun. The drive home was not so fun, with heavy rain, lots of surface water and an accident just after Junction 27 of the M1 all conspiring to make it a long and stressful journey. I was relieved when I finally pulled up outside our door and promptly fell into bed.

On Sunday, I concentrated on preparing to make Dave another costume for Shards, going by his vague brief that he wanted robes and a tabbard which should be very full, flared, be vaguely clerical and look good with armour. Richard's suggestions that we add hand sewn embroidered livery are going to be ignored for now, unless of course Dave decides to do it himself!

Cue me translating Dave's request into a floor length tunic, split at the front and flaring from under the arm. If I'm so inclined, I may also add gores (or godets) to the sides so that he has lots of potential swish. A mid calf length cyclas with a side fastening colar will do the job as a tabbard methinks and by the time it's all belted it should do the job.

A quick dive into my stash and I located 5 meters of a brushed cotton which will do nicely for his tunic, which I promptly dropped into the washing machine. Nothing to hand that would do for the cyclas so I discovered the joys (or not) of internet shopping for fabric and after spending a good couple of hours combing the interweb I finally ordered some cotton twill from Chawla's, who seem to sell discount fabric. I've never heard of them before so this is a bit of a test order but since its just a few meters of cotton I thought it worth trying them.

Finally, on a totally unrelated subject, some links to scarves I found in Magknits...

What looks like a manly scarf...
Because it looked intriguing...
And because I'm looking for some simple lacey scarves...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Water, water everywhere...

It's been a quiet week so far as I recover from camping last weekend.

To say it rained is a bit of an understatement and we were very lucky to make it to site when we did. Many thanks have to be given to Richard who drove and bravely tackled what can only be described as a very hairy journey on Friday afternoon. We arrived only about an hour or so behind schedule having driven roads already under six inches of water in places and rapidly getting deeper. Pitching camp in the continuing downpour was not pleasant and for myself, once we were finally sorted I'd have happily crawled into my nice warm sleeping bag and stayed there! News from those travelling behind us told of roads being closed, massive detours and those real unfortunates who were marooned (along with their cars) on the motorway.

The event itself went ahead as planned and we did see enough breaks in the weather through the weekend to make it work. I've definitely played through worse and with the campsite sitting on sand, the surface water drained away quickly so things weren't too bad. Cold and damp couldn't be avoided though, as everything was so wet by the end of Friday night that it just didn't get a chance to dry out. Fortunately (being an experienced camper), I had plenty of gas and tea and the means to boil water which meant things were very much bearable.

The bump worked well although it was hard for people to really tell since I was swaddled in a long and full woolen cloak for most of the weekend. I did somehow manage to forget my jacket, but as I pointed out I was wearing four vests, my thermals and something in the order of sixty layers of padding, so I got by.

And to think I'd been worried about overheating at events this summer!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, we now have baby bump mark 2.5

The bump is done!!!!!!

This bump is mark 2.5 since it's actually the first bump I made, enlarged last year from six months to nine months and I've just enlarged again, to represent two occupants rather than one.

The picture was taken on Saturday, while I was adding a few layers of quilt batting to the top of the bump so it doesn't look quite so like someone stuck a giant 'C' to my tummy. The pink lines are to remind me where the bottom of the bust line or high waist is and over which the bump must not spread.

Once I was done here, I added another two layers of batting over the whole thing, which smoothed out any sewing lines. Then I covered everything up with another sports vest, two sizes larger than the original. I sewed up the bottom, sides, arms and neckline, then added straps above the bump (under the bust) and between the legs to stop it shifting about when worn. No shifting is vitally important, otherwise the bump becomes very annoying and uncomfortable to wear.

I've just done a costume check and boy, oh boy do I look huge and whale like once I have skirts on. No pictures as Dave isn't around and I don't think I can do the outfit justice from a mirror. Do I look like I am carrying twins in this rig? Oh yes...

Friday, July 13, 2007

The dangers of Hobbycraft

Today I popped into Hobbycraft to buy some cotton tape. It was a genuine errand, because the bump is growing and I'm starting to pull out the layers to the side and top, meaning it will soon be done. Only, now it is so much bigger it's going to need an extra strap to give it a bit more support under the bust and one inch cotton tape will do the trick nicely.

So off I drove to Hobbycraft, because I didn't really want to head into Coventry and more specifically the market just for cotton tape.

Sadly, Hobbycraft did not have any cotton tape, either carded or on a reel. Obviously, I had to search the store - just in case - to make sure they hadn't hidden it anywhere else. Of course, I totally forgot the inherent danger in searching a store such as Hobbycraft.

I came away with a pair of bent cable needles, which I'm going to need if I put my newly taught ability to knit cables to use. Seven different satin bias bindings, all very pretty. Some buttons, also pretty. A knitting needle bag. Oh and some angora yarn... OK quite a bit of angora yarn which just looked too fluffy and soft and in colours I liked, that I bought it. Which of course means I'm going to have to knit more scarves. I can see what everyone is going to get for Christmas this year!

I blame work. It's been a hard week since I've had to move office, which entailed packing up a whole lot of stuff and throwing even more stuff away since I was moving to a cubicle. Then I persuaded my (nice) boss into helping me carry everything to a van so we could drive it a mile up the road and then unload it again. On arrival, the lift ate my chair. It's still in there three days later, nice and securely locked in a steel cage that appears to be stuck six inches up from floor level. Hopefully, someone will arrive some day soon to release it...

Hence, after the week I've had, I probably should have avoided Hobbycraft which is packed full of goodies. At least I didn't make it onto the mezzanine, or I'd have acquired books and beads and tools and numerous other goodies.

Now, all I have to do is see if Dave can be persuaded to go into Coventry market for me, after all I do still need that cotton tape...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Tewkesbury and stuff

Today is Sunday and marvel all who read this. I am typing in my first ever blog entry from my new internet connection. Yes, we are now online at home although the truth be told and apart from the few hours I spent getting things working on Friday night, this is the first time I've logged on this weekend. I've been busy (as always) and so haven't really had much time to sit playing.

I took Friday off work and spent the majority of the day cleaning, while I waited for the internet to activate itself. I did finish a knitted washcloth I've been having a bit of an experiment with. The pattern for this one is simple enough since it was knitted on the diagonal, using a yarn over to give the holes around the edge. I decided to try putting a simple crocheted border on, but as you can see from the curling I think I got the tension wrong. Ho hum. Experience and all that, but that is why I was having an experiment.

Other than that I've started adding layers to the bump, work which is going well but is both time consuming and hard on the hands. It is definitely growing though, so progress is being made. Slow progress.

We headed off to Tewkesbury for the medieval fayre and battle yesterday where I was very good, not buying any fabric or yarns or... well anything craft related really. Mostly because I didn't see anything that caught my eye, despite several hours of searching. I was hoping to pick up a new lucet and maybe a fancy turned needlecase, but they were barely in evidence in the fayre. I did however pick up a music book and a couple of recorders, which means I suppose I'll have to teach myself how to play now.

We missed the battle itself due to being engrossed in shopping, although the guns were noticeably loud. This fellow was prowling around the market, pointing at people in an ominous fashion for some reason or other.

In all, a good - if long and very tiring - day. The weather held. I didn't spend too much money. Good company. Someone else was driving (Thanks Richard!) and much fun was had.

Monday, July 02, 2007

One soggy weekend later

With the hoped for dry weather failing to materialise over the weekend, very little got done outdoors and I seem to have had an expensive few days.

I've reluctantly decided that I need to join the rest of the online world, connecting from a broadband ISP... I've also come to the reluctant conclusion that I may need my own computer. Hence, this weekend I placed an order with BT and parted with hard earned pennies so there is at least one decent computer in the house, rather than the hand-me-downs that I normally make do with.

Said newly acquired computer is now at work so I can configure it prior to discovering the joys of a proper internet connection at home.

I also headed into town and in a moment of weakness bought the only new craft offerings on the shelf in Waterstones. I had a couple more book tokens left over from Christmas - I do tend to hang on to them for months and months and months - so it wasn't as bad as it could have been and I walked away with a copy of Knitting Loves Crochet and Crocheted Accessories . The first one in particular looks fantastic, if I had the skill to make anything listed in there of course!

Saturday night, I finished the ribbon scarf I've been working on.

This one is pretty rather than practical and when it catches the light (demonstrated with a flash here) it really does come alive. Drop stitch knits up quickly and the ribbon wasn't too troublesome to use, although I did have tension issues when starting a new yarn. With such a loose stitch (8mm needles) and shiney, slippery ribbon it really didn't hold together too well. Fortunately, going around with a needle and carefully weaving through the ends took care of that though, as I was able to add tension to that first stitch with the new yarn.

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

I revisited the bump as planned, but discovered one downfall of making things so sturdily. My intention is to take the larger bump apart, reversing the final construction phases - which make it wearable - so I can get back to the padding. Then I'll start increasing the padding once more, before putting a new shell over the top and reattaching the straps. The theory is sound methinks, but when I sew something together I intend it to stay sewn together despite any rigours that it might suffer due to the stresses of LARP. Hence it took me a good two and a half hours yesterday with a seam ripper to gently remove the straps and outer layers.

I finally got there though and the bump is now divested of everything which makes it useable... Heres hoping I get it suitably grown and wearable in time for the next event!