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Practicality and Wool

So I decided to take part in this year’s Historical Monthly Challenge, hosted by the ever lovely Dreamstress and her band of merry (wo)men.  So far I have hit a few snags, the first being not remembering to check it until finals were scarily approaching.  As such, I decided to take part in the May challenge of Practicality.  I have cut and mostly sewn a lovely chemise, because what else is one of the most practical of garments?

Here is snag number two: Our A/C is out.  Not too horrible, but in the 80+ degree Fahrenheit weather plus ridiculous humidity, I just cannot bring myself to turn on my iron, and an unpressed garment is something I am not willing to try and finagle my way out of.  I had the repairmen over today, and while they fixed (replaced) my ancient thermostat, a piece is broken and I have to wait for the property manager to OK it before they can repair it.  *sarcasm* Yay!

Knitting, however, is something I will always do and although I mostly use wool, it really hasn’t been too bad (lack of air conditioning not withstanding).  As a result, and the time I have between making my apartment look semi-decent for the ac guys and the 5 week condensed online course I am taking, I am almost done with my Snowflake sweater.

I’m about to pass out with the heat coming off of the computer, so cross your fingers for me to get the A/C fixed this week!


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I Am a Moron

I’m not new at this, I swear!  So why did I just spend a frustrating half hour of my life searching for an error in a pattern that doesn’t exist?

I’m working on the beautiful and gorgeous Snowflake by TinCanKnits.  I’ve loved this pattern for years, and I’m finally working on it.

I’m making it in a xs, and I just spent an ungodly amount of time searching for an error that only existed in my head.  I saw that after the yoke I needed 260 stitches.  I had that.  Then after putting the sleeves on placeholders, I needed 170.  Ok, but that wasn’t working!!  Then I realized my problem.  I had 53 each for the arms, and the 77 for the front and back and I couldn’t figure out where the 16 for the CO on the underarms came from!!

Then I realized my mistake.  I’ve been knitting for over 15 years, and I was reading CO as Cast off, not Cast on…..  I still can’t believe I did that.  It’s worthy of bashing my head against the wall.

Just to prove that I’m not as dumb as I seem, I got my final grades back for this round of classes.  Two B’s and two A’s.  My final test grades were, 100, 92, 84, and 80.  The 100 was in Art History, and the 92 was in pre-calculus.  I got an A in pre-cal, and yet I can’t figure out how 77×2 + 16 = 170.

If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sulk now.

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Finals and Papers

I have two history papers due on Tuesday, one for art history and one for world history, and after that, FINALS!!  Well, the first week of May…

So instead of sewing, I am hard at work writing on the Kyoto Imperial Palace, and a funerary stela that has a spindle on it!

I give you instead, beautiful fashion plates.  Enjoy!

And I recommend checking out the fashion plate slideshow at the Charleston Museum website.

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Looking Through the Past

I’ve been working hard on my corset muslin, almost done with it, in between school and my heavy duty spring cleaning.  I also purchased the delightful Victorian Undergarments Class from Historical Sewing.  I don’t yet have a good set of undergarments to shape out a dress, but as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself and looking at all of the delightful fashion plates from the late Victorian era.  I do love a good hoopskirt, but my favorite era is the lovely bustles of the 1870’s-80’s.

I did a google image search for fashion plates, and found these two, one from ’75 and one from ’76.

This one has five beautiful dresses, but my favorites easily being the first, second and fourth.  I love a good plaid, and the first dress just screams my name in the way that the fifth just fails to do, and the fir on the blue fourth dress.  Exquisite.  And I love a deep purple.  Jewel tones have always been my favorite colors.   They are dark, without being dark, and just such vibrancy!  I could go on all day, but I think I’ll move on to the next picture.

Guess which one is my favorite?

You’re probably wrong.  See that sliver of purple?  The hint of a lovely purple and plaid/checkered print.  It intrigues me.  The blue is nice, and the white and pink is gorgeous, if way too girly for me, but the hint of the purple dress just sends me running to the fabric store.  (Not literally, I’m way too broke for that!)  Maybe someday, but for now, I have a set of undergarments to finish!

Side note:  In my traveling, between classes time I have been working on a Totoro variation of Paper Dolls by the lovely Katie Davies.  I’m basing my design off of the lovely project by Ghanima with Totoro and the soot sprites from Spirited Away.  Mine is going to be a cardigan and I’m only on the first few inches, but here is a pic of the WIP:

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The red is my waste yarn for the i-cord bind off.

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As you can see, I ripped out the red and did a i-cord bind off.  The ends shown are where I’m going to steek this for a cardigan.  I’m not sure yet if I’m going to be putting in a zipper or a buttonband, but I’ll figure that out when I’m done.


As you can see, I don’t have much of the black.  I’m going to work up to the underarms and then figure out what to do.  I do however, like that the sprites are understated against the dark grey.  This was intentional, and I’m not sure if I’m going to give Totoro the same treatment or not.  I kinda like the surprise of detail, but who knows?   Any opinions?

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Corset Pattern and Cleaning

I’m almost done with my crafting room, and I have the corset pattern printed out.


I’m super excited about it, but I no longer have a copy of Photoshop, so I was forced to use GIMP instead.  It’s a fine program, but I’ve used Photoshop extensively for years, so working the new program was fairly awkward to figure out.  Because of that, I was forced to be “rough” in my measurements.  I figure I can fix any great differences in my mock-ups.  I don’t know how well it can be seen, but the seam allowances are only 1/4″, so I do plan to add some more allowance.


I took a better picture to show this.


Now, it is getting super late, so I’m off to bed.  Night!

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Spring Cleaning and Allergy Season!

As allergy season comes along with all the subtlety of a charging bull, I am cleaning and organizing my “crafting” room.  As I am a multi-crafter, flitting about wherever the fancy takes me, I have a lot of stuff to organize.  I have a couple binders of knitting patterns, a bin of sewing patterns, some crocheting patterns, more embroidery patterns than I will ever finish in my lifetime, plus random bits of drawing materials.  I just finished going through all of my sewing patterns and digitally organizing them for easy access.  I need to get a better storage area, but for now they are stuck in a bin.  Tomorrow I plan on going through my knit patterns and organizing them as well.

I also swung by my yarn store today and picked up 15 skeins of Quince & Co. I got two skeins with white mohair, and six dark blue finch, six grey finch, and one dark green finch.  This may be the last time for a while I can purchase yarn, so I’m stocking up.  Cause that makes sense….

I’ve also decided that I’m taking part in the Foundations Revealed competition.  I’m trying for Theme 1: Black and White.  And because I am crazy, I’m going to try and draft a period pattern from a patent.  This one.  Luckily a lot of the instructions are on the FR website, courtesy of a Miss Sandra Stuart.  I’ve dabbled in corsetry before, but never gotten past the fitting of the muslin.  I honestly think it is because I tried too simple of a pattern…..  My first tries in crafting tend to be the equivalent of jumping out of an airplane, I like to challenge myself.  Or else I get bored.  My first sweater had cabling and lace detail, on size US 4 needles, and my first lace shawl was the most complex thing I could find on Ravelry.  Once I know I can do something crazy and insane, I tend to dial it back for future projects, because I am confident in everything I do.

So as soon as Spring cleaning is done, I shall get started on a new project.  Let’s see how that goes, huh?

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A Note on Swatching

We’ve all heard it. “Swatches are essential.” Well, are they?

Long answer short: yes.

But we’re stuck, because swatches are lying little b****es. They’ve stabbed us in the back so many times that we’ve forgotten how to trust. That too long sweater? For once I actually followed the pattern, but that sneaky b*****d lied and told me that I was doing things right on schedule. 

I know why they do it (sometimes), they stretch more with more weight or they shrink (that one I don’t get). 

Which is why I always swatch, they just usually come out looking very “project-shaped”. I am one of those knitters that don’t mind reknitting a few times (more than three, and I’ll be asking “what project?”). The reason I do this is because when the swatch is a part of the project, it lies less.  Yes, sometimes the yarn changes when washed or colors bleed, but I have a simple work-around: small swatches for color-work to test bleeding or separate washes for first time items (or until I’m satisfied that all of the dye is safely in place).  As for changes in washed items, I haven’t really had a problem. Sometimes I make a hat or something where gauge doesn’t really matter if I’m worried, but it’s still almost always a usable project.  I’m going to be honest: I don’t dislike swatches because they lie or because they’re sneaky, it’s really because that yarn is pretty much gone.  Sure, you could rip it out and combine it with other similar yarn or swatches, but I don’t.  I even keep the yarn used to tie together skeins.  I don’t cut it (if I can), I put it into a baggie to use as stitch markers and scrap yarn.  None of my yarn is “wasted”.

So what prompted my rant on swatches?  I actually swatched.  Multiple times.  Why?


I’m designing a sweater.

Oh, and once I was done with the swatches, I turned a few into dog sweaters, so still no waste.  🙂


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