Sunday, March 31, 2019

1 shoe 2 shoes, now it's blue shoes...

in which our plucky heroine decided it was time...

I've been craving a pair of blue shoes for ages, and given how difficult it is for me to find any shoes at all that fit...

These started out as a clearance pair of Xero Hana shoes; I took a chance and it turned out that their men's last is acceptable for my hard-to-fit feet. But I sure didn't want boring beige...

So, the first step was to mix up some indigo blue acrylic paint, and carefully paint the canvas. I also used a brown sharpie to color the elastic on either side of the tongue. The laces that came with these shoes were much too long, and the ends dragged on the ground in a way that would be a trip hazard, so I removed them.

While the shoes were wearable sans laces, I remembered that I had stashed a few replacement laces kits for my former Keen water sandals. It wasn't too difficult to adapt the instructions to work for these shoes.

Since the shoes are now blue with brown (and spiffy black laces), they will coordinate with basically all my clothing, and will be a chance for me to trade out my heavy Keen work shoes for a lighter more minimal/flexible shoe in the summertime.

I really like how adding the Keen elastic laces makes the shoes look more "finished"... although I might not be finished with these - it is tempting to add some decorative painted motifs to the uppers

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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter #2 stripey vest buttonschicken wire
2 2 tiny enamels bead swag ends-
3 blue floral blousepainted shoes -
4 Sólbein cardigan
new elastic laces -
5 xx x
6 x x
x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x
x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - ever and always the wellspring of kindness from friends...

Monday, March 18, 2019

knit-picky

in which our plucky heroine dissects her completed cardigan...

Finished my Sólbein cardigan, including knitting the button bands and sewing on the toggles. Wet-blocked and currently drying in the shade. The very rustic style is just right! I'm very happy with the colorwork, my choice of antler toggles, and how well the chosen "indigo/denim" colors will coordinate with most of my wardrobe. When attaching the sleeves, I placed the increase line down back of sleeve instead of at underarm to allow more space for arm curve, underarm doesn't need extra room, elbow does.

I'm less pleased with my own errors, but done is better than perfect. In not knowing how best to deal with the disparity between my bone structure and my circumference, despite my efforts to adapt the instructions, I ended up with Very Deep armscyes, and sleeves that are several inches too long. (this is the knitting equivalent of my identical problem with commercial sewing patterns - if the circumference is big enough to fit around my bodacious bosom, the armholes are halfway to my elbows) I'm thinking about adding a line of I-cord along the neckline edge, since the ribbing really stretches when I wear the cardigan, and if I-cord were also added to the cuff edges, would allow for removing the plain cuff ribbing (shortening the sleeves) and also stabilising the cuffs.

The bottom hemline was seriously irregular, dipping down in front and way up at each side. I suspect that where the armscye was located ended up was causing the problem, due to grading based on circumference (same problem I have with RTW, and with commercial sewing patterns. I solved it by opening a portion of the body just above the ribbing, and adding in a sort of diamond/leaf shape made from short rows, and then grafting it back closed, thereby pushing the errant hemline closer to level.
Given that the last (adult) sweater I knitted was nineteen years ago, I feel pretty chuffed. This is to keep me warm, not for a county fair competition (so the few minor errors made are not significant) which it will do quite well. It may become a middle layer worn over winter garments, rather than the spring/autumn cardigan I intended. The texture reminds me of the mohair cardigans that were popular when I was in middle school. I am looking forward to seeking out a different approach to cardigan knitting, as there is enough additional Lettlopi in my Big Box of Yarn for a second one, in a quite splendid black tinged with turquoise/teal/multicolor...
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a bit of Jim Henson textilia whimsy
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I adore reading the essays on artmaking that Luann Udell writes - she is able to clearly communicate useful truths in a kindhearted and comprehensible way. When I read this recent essay, I thought: this is exactly where one of my greatest struggles is, I doubt my ability, my creativity, and I am stopped in my tracks. Over and over again. I need to learn, to remember somehow, as she suggests, to "pat doubt on its head, shush it lovingly, and move it back to its corner". Not just in my creative life, but in my life in general, I keep noticing how my doubt has held me back from even trying to have the life I imagined would be possible.
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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter #2 stripey vest buttonschicken wire
2 2 tiny enamels bead swag ends-
3 blue floral blousex -
4 Sólbein cardigan
x -
5 xx x
6 x x
x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x
x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - Today, when attempting to get to the bus, and needing to cross the parkway, which is always troublesome, the bus driver not only saw me, but held the bus until I could get across and board. When I left the bus, in addition to the traditional Portland "thank you driver" I specifically thanked her for not only noticing and waiting for me, but for the several other times I had seen her notice people trying to get to the stops on time and waiting for them... Doesn't take much to thank people for being thoughtful and aware, and made both of our days a little better

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tuesday tidbits, media, and music

in which our plucky heroine gets some use of going round in circles...


Even when pain levels are stupid, I can still knit round and round, and therefore my Solbein cardigan is progressing apace: the colorwork knitting on the yoke is done! Another few rows of plain indigo blue, and it will be time to divide the body and sleeve sections.
Then the already knit segments will be grafted to the yoke, and all that will remain to do is to steek the center front, knit the trim bands and toggle loops, and block the finished cardigan... I may be slower than some, but getting a whole garment knit in the first quarter of the year is still an accomplishment I hope to succeed at.
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an animated take on an Edward Gorey classic:

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SWAP progress: I already cut out my blouse from the printed cotton lawn that I purchased with my prize from CCL's Dress challenge earlier this year. I have often admired how Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) uses piping on many of her garments, and have decided to try adding a narrow flat piping around the collar and front button placket. I think it would really be a nice bit of detailing, to help delineate the collar and placket, which otherwise sort of blend into the print.

I've never done this before, and so my first step is going to be to find some black linen or cotton in the resource shelves that is thin enough to not add a lump of excess thickness when folded in half and inserted into the edge seams. Why oh why do I not have some black batiste or handkerchief linen?!?? (edited: I headed out, after an intensive search of the fabric on hand turned up nothing suitable, and bought a half yard of black cotton lawn at Modern Domestic)
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a dapper singer with a slightly rude but highly amusing song:

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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter #2 stripey vest buttonschicken wire
2 2 tiny enamels bead swag ends-
3 blue floral blousex -
4 x
x -
5 xx x
6 x x
x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x
x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - I can take sticks and string and make myself warm clothing - thanks Mom for teaching me how to knit when I was just a little child!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine picks out the good parts to share...

Despite having exponential increase* in my pain levels, which rather severely curtailed some of the planned weekend activity, there were still some excellent times with my northern friends. Isabel brought her daughter, and on Saturday afternoon Genevieve wanted to make some block printed trim for her SCA clothes. We set up a work station and she took an assortment of my tiny blocks and printed (in multiple colors) enough trim yardage to decorate two gowns.
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Genevieve asked if carving her own blocks was an option, so that is planned for a future visit... she has many things she wants to learn, where I could be a mentor; her mom and I talked about a Craft Camp here sometime during a school break, when she could come and stay for longer than a weekend

Saturday night we returned to Enat Kitchen, our favorite Ethiopian restaurant, and enjoyed a delightful feast of tasty lamb bits in two very different iterations, as well as salad and injera. Nom nom nom! Early bedtime, because time change the next day.

Isabel had spent time Saturday pulling out the fence stakes and tidying the former chicken zone, and we gathered more cardboard to underlay future expansion of the wood chips in the backyard. Because it was very cold Sunday morning, instead of yardwork first, we all three worked on another crafty activity, bead stringing...

These bead swag strands each will hang between the two brooches that fasten the "apron-dress", to decorate their Viking era norse clothing for events this summer. Isabel strung the lower strand, using beads she has been collecting, and supplemented with some from my supplies.

Genevieve strung the upper strand, and I gave her an assortment of possible beads to choose from out of what I have on hand. I always forget how much longer it takes to learn a new skill, and to choose which beads are desired, so they both spent several hours happily stringing beads.

I managed to restring the ends of my own bead swag, which really were in need of improvement. I had last strung them at least twenty years ago, and have been wanting for several years to replace the antler discs and amber chips for shaped beads more historically plausible.
 
my bead swag is the bottom one, and the various charms and coins hanging from it are either organization insignia, awards, or souvenirs of special occasions
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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter #2 stripey vest buttonschicken wire
2 2 tiny enamels bead swag ends-
3 blue floral blousex -
4 x
x -
5 xx x
6 x x
x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x
x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - living long enough to be a Virtual Great Aunt...


* stupid ankle pain, back to the level 8+ that it was in the beginning, bad enough that I decided to take Vitamin I (aka ibuprofen) despite the horrid effects it has on my systems, just so I could try and get some sleep. ankle hot, and is obviously swollen. I am icing it 3 x a day. In too much pain to do any of my PT... this is not okay, will be phoning my medical clinic Monday.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

wishful Wednesday

in which our plucky heroine focuses on what is good...


sewing table still life

Finished the indigo/multicolor floral blouse today, which has me a bit more than halfway done with my SWAP garments... Cotton lawn is lovely to wear, and only a bit challenging to sew because so lightweight. The brown buttons I salvaged (when I repaired my striped vest) bring out the few brown accents in the botanical print, and will help it coordinate with both the brown and denim pinafores that I have in my wardrobe as well as the two SWAP pinafores.

SWAP 2019
# INDIGO BLUE BROWN PRINT/ACCENT
1 pinstripe linen dress --
2 - corduroy pinafore
3 -oxford cloth blouse -
4 -
- mushroom print blouse
5 -- dk blue floral blouse
6 handknit cardigan -
-
7 - - feather print knit top
8 dk denim pinafore - -
9 batik popover dress
- -
10 -
- blue black floral blouse
11 - leggings or jacket -
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Today the last of knitting three colors in one row, huzzah! I am pleased to have found a workaround for that issue, pleased with how the cardigan yoke looks so far, and very pleased to be almost done with the colorwork. Knitting is one of the few puzzles I enjoy, and there will be more bits to solve as I complete this, as there will be the "how do I attach all these pieces", and the "how do I create a multiple I-cord button band for toggles"...
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I wish that my machine had a straight stitch throat plate and presser foot. But, since there isn't one manufactured for it either originally or aftermarket, I will instead direct attention to this absolutely lovely British tea towel, by one of my favorite artists... I just may have to acquire this, though I would probably hang it on the wall as kitchen art rather than use it for the intended purpose of drying dishes!
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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter #2 stripey vest buttons-
2 2 tiny enamels x-
3 blue floral blousex -
4 x
x -
5 xx x
6 x x
x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x
x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x


today's gratitude - indeed, I am grateful for both the time and skill to sew my own clothing, as well as the fabrics I had collected over the years, which now are turning into garments that make me happy when I wear them

Monday, March 4, 2019

this is a solid color...

in which our plucky heroine recieves some clarification...

As is obvious, the Sólbein cardigan is only partway there...
Laid out atop a handknit cardigan (dark grey with a running horse on the back, mostly obsucured in this photo) that fits me, I am uncertain what parts will need additional length once I actually finish the yoke... probably the sleeves, and maybe the body will need another inch or so. Most folks make these sweaters all in one piece either bottom up or top down, I just have to do things my own peculiar way sometimes...

After posting my dilemma about is this solid color or patterned, the coordinator of SWAP 2109 called it as a solid, pointing out that the completed cardigan would happily be worn with a print. So yay!! this gives me a bit more leeway to also include the additional printed blouses I want to make. Still need to decide on at least one more solid color garment.

Had an idea today, about a third option, in addition to possibly either a knit fabric top, or pair of leggings... could use the rest of the brushed brown twill fabric, if there is enough of it, to make a kind of "chore coat". Back when I was in high school, there was a vogue for wearing Carhartt jackets, which always seemed uber practical to me (all those pockets, and the option to button in a warm lining). I could modify my shirt pattern, lengthen it a bit and make the sleeves full length as well, and maybe add the double pockets from Carolyn's blog. Would be a good option to also use the motorcycle jacket armscye gussets as well, in order to increase mobility. (this would be a great option for a bicycle riding jacket, for times when it wasn't raining or bitter cold... hmmm....)

Sunday, March 3, 2019

sleepy Sunday + fabric frustration

in which our plucky heroine suffered so much wind chill that my fingers turned blue pinning up my laundry outside to dry in the cold sunny windy day...


Colorwork patterning on the cardigan yoke is about 80% completed. Once that is done, I can line up the sleeve and body pieces, as well as the yoke, on the handknit cardigan that does fit me, and see what is what. There will probably be some assorted adjustments to make at that point, before attaching everything together. Final part will be to steek the center front, and pick up and knit the front bands and loops for the toggles, block the sweater, then sew the toggles in place.
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Had to take the buttons off my striped garter stitch vest, since one had fallen off and been lost, and there wes nothing similar enough in the button box. Substituted in some faux tortoise shell suit buttons from who knows where. but the removed dark warm brown buttons will be ideal for the dark blue/multicolor floral lawn blouse soon to be made. No great loss without some gain.
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I'm feeling a bit frustrated, not with my plan, but with what to do about the final unresolved piece...

As my SWAP plan stands now, I will have two cardigans, one hand knit in shades of blue and one hand stitched indigo/brown (both count as prints), two pinafores one indigo and one brown, two indigo dresses, three blouses (two count as prints), and a knit top (print #5). I need one more garment to make up the eleven. I guess I should just continue ahead with the yest unfinished pieces I do know will be part of SWAP, and continue to mull over what options would work with the rules, the gaps in my wardrobe, and with the fabric I currently have on hand that fits the rules.

There is a length of solid brown ribbed cotton jersey that could be made into something, possibly leggings, and some plain cotton jersey, also brown. The only indigo/navy plain fabrics I have on hand are other chunks of linen, intended to make SCA clothing, I am already including two plain color pinafores in my two neutrals, and that will bring my total number of pinafores in my closet up to eight, which is right where I want to be. Goal is to have eight each of the garments I wear*, a goal I have been working towards for many years now.

What I want to do is to make one more print blouse, using my prize fabric, but that puts me over the top for numbers of printed and/or patterned SWAP garments. I could make another brown jersey top, but I don't really need any more knit tops right now, I have plenty, because I also sometimes actually purchase them RTW (when they have colors that coordinate with my palette, not pinks and purples!). Probably the best option I can figure right now would be to make a second pair of brown leggings for cold weather. I know I would wear them, although they are boring they are also quick to sew.

today's gratitude - wool blankets and a feather comforter on the bed

*pinafore, everyday dress, popover dress, blouse, knit top, leggings...


Saturday, March 2, 2019

Saturday snippets - moar tiny enamels etc

in which our plucky heroine proceeds resolutely forward...

charter #2 is done... (still not happy with the drapery, but I'm going to call it good enough) and in fixing the not-always-inevitable paint droplet, I ended up adding a little cat hiding behind the woman's skirts...
as always, I was experimenting... on the lefthand figure, I did some very rough shading over the base color of blue, with a darker blue, and then decided to see what would happen if I added stripes... by varying the distance between the stripes, all of a sudden the legs became very dimensional!

My pleasure at figuring this out was tempered by the difficulty I had with the woman's clothing. I tried my best to make some kind of sense out of it, drapery is even more difficult to parse out than faces, at least human faces have a somewhat consistent if varied structure.
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Am continuing to slowly make progress on the cardigan yoke (which might go faster if I knitted more than just when I am on transit). Today I realised it was large enough to add an additional cable length to the circular needle, which also allowed me to pull it over my head to get an idea of how it will look.

Am most pleased with my color choices, the varied indigo/denim blues are a great match for my eyes, and the "sunbeams" in the colorwork remind me vaguely of the way eye color also varies with a vertical grain perpendicular to the circumference. The yoke is about a third of the way done, since there are two more increase rounds yet to add, despite my being about halfway up the colorwork chart. It will be a lovely thing, when completed; with luck it will be done while it is still cool enough to wear it. My hope is to have it completed this month...
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This week I began several new tiny 1/2" enamels for regalia; some will become Very Small brooches to fasten the edges of Roman garb. As long as Tullia keeps getting recognised for her contributions, I will keep making these... (and for other people who also think that this is a good idea, too!)

In 2015 I first made a set of tiny regalia brooches for Tullia, which she used as a way of fastening her Roman tunica, and being able to display her awards and local affiliations and interests in a subtle way... Then in 2016, she was awarded a Jambe de Lion, and several Baronial awards, so more tiny enamels were needed. These most current two, below, are the dragon head from the Barony of Dragon's Mist, where she now resides, and the Goutte de Sange, an An Tir kingdom service award...

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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter #2 stripey vest buttons-
2 2 tiny enamels x-
3 xx -
4 x
x -
5 xx x
6 x x
x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x
x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x


today's gratitude - it was a beautiful day today, not cold, not hot, not raining or snowing... and my acupuncture treatment eased the pain wonderfully, at least for the moment