Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Sick of lists yet?

I've concluded that because I'm about to go on holiday my brain has gone into overdrive when it comes to list-making. I think it's because it's the only way to still the voice of panic saying things like "No, wait, it's not really Tuesday!" or "You didn't print out your ticket!" or "Go buy a new toothbrush!" or my personal favourite "Must not fall asleep! Might miss flight!". This despite the fact that I'm not leaving for TWO MORE DAYS!

So, listy listy listy to silence the voice.

Still to do for Coronation, needlework-wise
  • finish hemming veil (tonight and tomorrow)
  • finish teal gown
  • hem and embroider handkerchiefs
  • make blue court tunic for the spouse (while at mum's)

Holiday needlework stuff

  • all of the above plus
  • make two pairs of garters for mum (working on the airplane)
  • cast on for Anne-trelac socks on the 21st
  • finish Odessa hat
  • finish booties
  • finish Calorimetry

Many things to do. Fortunately I have the day off tomorrow. Let's see just how much I can get done in the next 36 hours!

Monday, 16 June 2008


The Yarn Harlot observed in one of her books that the appeal of knitting is the act of magically transforming one thing into another thing. The same holds true for sewing - you start with a pice of fabric, and with a little (or a lot!) of cutting and sewing you arrive at something completely new.

Or do you? Well, let's think about a sample of my current projects. Odessa - string into beaded hat. Grey floaty scarf - string into amazing airy piece of lace. Teal gown - rectangle of fabric into a dress. Veil - rectangle of fabric into... Oh, wait. Nuts. A rectangle of fabric. No wonder it's no fun to work on! No transformation! No magic! In all seriousness, I'm sure that's why it's not much fun. Once it's done, I get to hold it up, look at it, admire my hemming, and then have a rectangle of sage-green fabric.

Still, teal gown is going well. I finished the neck hemming over lunch and am going to sew the neckline trim on tonight while in the pub for a Shire meeting. Lots of fun.

I am resolutely not working on any of the lovely knitting projects that are calling out to me. Not a bit. And it bites.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Tidying again

The sewing was making me nuts, so I spent a goodly portion of yesterday and this morning sorting things out in my stash. It's been productive in an inverse way, for I have been frogging again. The Clapotis and the Interlocking Cables Sweater are no more. I didn't like the Clapotis. It was boring to knit and I don't really like working with that yarn on something so big. So it's been ripped.

The sweater was a little more of a surprise. I was rereading my old blog entries (looking for typos!), and found the one where I was musing on the kind of knitting that I actually wear. And I was looking at that sweater. I don't wear heavy sweaters. I certainly don't wear off-the-shoulder sweaters. So why, for goodness' sake, was I knitting an aran-weight, cabled, off-the-shoulder sweater? Mostly because the pattern looked like a lot of fun and I wanted to knit something with obscene amounts of cables. Great, but not on something for me.

My husband, on the other hand, loves heavy Aran sweaters. And I just so happen to have several patterns that he loves. And I've got 2700 yards of this yarn, which is more that enough to make him a suitably ornate and baggy sweater. So, the yarn will hibernate until the weather is cold enough that working on it will actually be fun.

Of course, now that I've ripped out the sweater I was making myself, suddenly I don't have anything on the needles to wear to meet the Yarn Harlot. That's ok - don't forget, I have all that 4-ply wool that I got back in March to make myself a Fair-Isle vest!

I also ripped out the experimental sleeve that I'd been working on for the coatigan. It really wasn't working. So it's gone, and I'll make normal sleeves for that, again once it's cool enough to have a lapful of sweater. Socks and lace in the summer.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Summer Knitting Goals for a contest!

Ali is having a contest over on her blog whereby one creates a list of summer knitting goals. By telling her, one is entered into a draw for all the bits to make a lovely summery top-down raglan sweater, something I've always wanted to try. And since we all know how much I love making lists, I thought that bit might be fun too! So, here are my summer knitting goals in no particular order:

  • Knit a flag for the 198 Countries Peace Project
  • Knit 4 pairs of socks
  • Finish knitting my Swallowtail Shawl
  • Update my Ravelry notebook with photos of all my stash and projects
  • Finish at least 2 other projects, however small
I think it's reasonable, especially when you consider that the small projects I have in mind are a half-knit pair of booties and a half-knit hat!

Stuff that I still need to get done before Coronation

1. Hem and embroider 4 handkerchiefs
2. Put reinforcing gussets into the slit tops of the husband's tunic
3. Finish hemming green veil
4. Finish making teal gown (lots left to do on this one)
5. Make up a pair of green braies
6. Knit 2 pairs of garters for Mum
7. Make a Byzantine court tunic for the husband (doing this while visiting Mum next week)
8. Buy a sleeping bag
9. Finish knitting fingerless gloves for Weaving Friend, hopefully

I think that's everything. There's other stuff that I'd like to do, like swatch for my silk gloves, clean my entire flat and finish reading all my library books, but the above will suffice for now.

I cast on for a Calorimetry yesterday to use up some of my neverending supply of Rowan Tapestry. And actually, I'm really enjoying it. I can see why people knit so many of them. It's made by working short rows, so for the first half of it, every rows gets shorter and shorter. And then when it's time to work longer rows again, well, you're already more than halfway done! Using up some of this yarn is one of my revised Mission:Possible goals, so I have high hopes of finishing that this month. It'll bring me up to 5 finished projects! And 2 of the remaining ones are socks, so they'll get done over SoS.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

A very pleasant evening

Chicken korma, a fabulous documentary about the construction of the Great Wall of China, another repeat done on my Odessa Hat. And there was something else, now what was it...?

Oh yes. I remember.


I thank you, I thank you.

Lack of blog fodder

The real trouble with spending so much time sewing rather than knitting is that it really isn't all that interesting to blog about. Until I get myself a much better camera, I'm really not going to do that much more photography simply because taking pictures is such a hassle. And really, a pile of fabric just keeps looking like a pile of fabric until it's done and turned into a garment. And even then it only looks like something once it's being modelled.

One good thing about it is that it's giving me lots of time to think about what I want to work on next. And in fact, to think about needlework in general. I resent having my knitting and sewing time taken up by things that aren't knitting or sewing. So, I've been thinking a lot about organizing my supplies. Not my stash - that's pretty much as organized as it's going to get until I've reduced it more. No, I mean things like my tools, books and accessories.

My crochet hooks have their own case, and so does the set of bamboo straights that my lovely grandmother got me for Christmas a couple of years ago. I'd like to have a second case for hooks because the one I have now doesn't have spaces big enough for my jumbo hooks. I'd also like to have a case for all of my other straights that will keep them sorted and safer than the vase on my table. I've got fabric to make a roll-up case for my DPNs, but just haven't had the time or energy to figure out exactly what I want to do with it. My sewing needles live in a beautiful embroidered needlecase made by my mother, so they are fine where they are.

Something else I've been meaning to do is sort out some jars for all of my little oddments, like stitchmarkers and beads. I'd love to make embroidered jar toppers, but then I'd have to figure out how to attach them.

It's all so frustrating - there are many, many things that I want to do, and I just don't have enough time!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Slowly going mad

I am so sick of sewing! And yet it's all I want to do! ARGGHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I spent most of my free time over the weekend sewing. It was productive. I'm nearly done with my red gown. And yet, I haven't gotten nearly as much done as I'd hoped (I was hoping to finish it yesterday), and I can't go any faster because it's killing my left arm and both wrists. Incredibly frustrating. Basically when I can't sew it's all I want to do, and when I am sewing I'd rather be knitting. And I still have a ton to do before Coronation.

I am making fairly good progress on my Odessa hat, though. Only 4 more repeats of the pattern and then the decreases for the top. It would be the perfect portable mindless project if it weren't for the beads. They are fiddly as hell, and I can't figure out a decent transportable storage container for them. Right now they are living in a dip bowl on my needlework table.

I want to knit socks. I want to work on my Swallowtail Shawl. I want to crochet my bedspread. What I'm going to do, probably right up until the 27th, is hem miles and miles of costumes. Ick.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Revisiting the stash

I've acquired a fair amount of yarn and needles recently. This has made me curious about the contents of my stash. So, I've ben gradually looking at everything, remembering what I'd planned for it, and pondering whether my plan was right for the yarn. I've been destashing yarn that I didn't love, some to a charity shop, some to various friends. I'm feeling a lot better about my stash, generally. But for the sake of knowing my shopping and making up habits, I thought I might do a list of everything in the stash and what I'm planning to make with it. Terrifying thought, but who knows, it might be enlightening. So here it is!

1. 2 cones of cobweb-weight silk for making gloves
2. 1 skein of sock yarn for making gloves for my spouse
3. enough yarn of various types for 16 pairs of socks
3. 12 balls of wool for making a Fair Isle vest
4. various yarns for 7 shawls
5. 5 balls of yarn for 3 scarves
6. 4 balls of ribbon yarn for a sarong
7. 10 balls of cotton yarn for a tank top
8. 5 balls of cotton for baby clothes
9. 2.5 balls of cotton for dishcloths
10. odd balls for 4 hats
11. acrylic scraps for testing out scarves from Knitting New Scarves
12. sock yarn scraps for baby clothes

Plus the 12 projects I have on the needles/hook right now, plus my various sewing projects.

Eeeeek! The list could be more detailed, but frankly I think this is scary enough as it is! That's a minimum of 34 projects. Better get cracking...

Thursday, 5 June 2008

The problem with garb-making...

...is that once it's done, you have to find somewhere to keep it! I'm obsessive enough that I want all of my SCA stuff to be in one place, and currently the only place big enough in our flat that is suitable is one of our two blanket boxes. Well, the blanket boxes are both full. One contains the out-of-season duvet and the guest bedding, and the other one is full of all my tablecloths, plus a couple of vases, some board games, things like that. Or at least it used to be full of those things. The other big storage place in our flat is the hall closet. The back half of said closet is where our boiler is, so it's not a good place for anything that could be damaged by heat. Like, say, my leather shoes. It is a good place for things like the millions of scarves I've accumulated.

(As an aside? I swear I don't remember making this many scarves. They must be breeding or something. Ignore the one I have on the needles and the couple in my queue. And let's not even talk about the shawls. Just drop it, ok?)

So in a fit of genius (!) I decided that cleaning out the hall closet would allow me to transfer the contents of blanket box 2 to the closet, thereby creating a home for all the garb. Simple, right? Wrong! First problem - I didn't have any decent storage containers for the "stuff" in the closet. Enter one trip to Argos for a set of three seagrass baskets. Basket 1 is now full of hats and gloves. Basket 2 has all the first aid stuff, and Basket 3 has useful odds and ends, like string and a flashlight. I've cleared an entire carrier bag full of things out of the closet, too. And the rearranging means that I can now get all of the original contents (minus the purged stuff) and the board games into the closet. Woohoo!

Unfortunately, the tablecloths don't fit. And neither do the vases. And neither does the extra set of guest bedding I'd forgotten we had. So right now the really fancy tablecloths are still in the blanket box at the very bottom. (They are too big for our table, so don't get used.) The bedding should just about fit into the other box, but the other box does double-duty as my needlework table. I really need to clean off the top of that so I can get to the box contents. I may give away the vases, since we have loads, but I really need to find a better solution for the tablecloths than layering the lot onto the dining table...

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Pictures! At Last!

I can't believe I went through the whole month of May without a single blog photo. Ah well, I was busy with the making of things. So to make up, here are a couple of the recent objects in my life.

The belt made by my lovely friend, first of all. The picture is crummy, since my camera really hates fine detail. But isn't it lovely? Oh, and did I mention she also made the belt buckle????

And my finished chemise! Lovely medieval underwear! (In the darker picture? That's a fold of the fabric. Not what you're thinking at all.)

And my finished green tunic! Oh yes, between an evening in front of a very silly movie and a lovely spouse who's basically volunteered to do all the cooking until all the garb-making is done, I finished it. It was too late at night for a modeled photo, so this one on the bed will have to do. Amusingly, it also fits me, bar the too-long sleeves.

Monday, 2 June 2008


Betrayed by the frailties of my own body, I didn't manage to get the green tunic finished over the weekend. I had done so much sewing that I was having muscle spasms in my right forearm every time I made a stitch! So on Sunday I worked on my Odessa hat, which was great. I might even get it finished this month, who knows?

I also worked on my veil. I'd cut it a little wider than I needed, which ended up being a good thing. Turns out that it has some stains on the edges, so I was able to just cut them off. Now it's just a case of pinning, ironing and hemming. I hope to get that done this week, once the last little bits of hemming on the tunic are done.

And I went shopping. For a good reason! I had bargained with a friend who does tablet-weaving for a belt in exchange for some elbow-length fingerless gloves. Foolishly, I figured that she wouldn't have time to make it for ages, but no. When we met up at the Shire picnic on Saturday, she had finished it! It's absolutely gorgeous, and will look splendid with my teal gown. I'd brought along the skein of Alpaca Silk I bought back in March to see if the texture was ok for her gloves (she's allergic to wool, poor thing), and not only did she love the yarn, but she loved the colour! So I went and got a second skein to make her the gloves. And since I was in the yarn shop on the 1st of June, when I'd declared 100g of yarn to be permissable, I indulged in a skein of Jitterbug in the colourway Copper Beach. It's destined to become a pair of socks for the husband once Summer of Socks starts! I also got a set of DPNs in a size I didn't have for the gloves and some removable stitch markers.

A frustrating lunch hour, though, as I'd forgotten my black sewing thread and couldn't sew. So instead I worked on another pair of booties. The first one is nearly done, so I will have a gift to take when I go to visit Baby and his mum! Yes, one of my friends has had her baby. Amusingly, he arrived on her birthday.