hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
2015 continues to be the best year of my life (so far). All my hard work at the beginning of the year paid off; I got the coolest, most me job ever, and the mental health benefits I get from not being a student have left me with more energy and inspiration to Do Stuff than I've ever had before. (And I've impressed a lot of people at work, so I'm half expecting a permanent job offer so I don't have to go back to school. Or at least maybe the possibility of getting to work there again next summer.)

This post will be photo free because I really don't enjoy the photographing, editing, and other faff that goes into illustrated posts. Some of the things I'm going to write about have been badly photographed and posted to Instagram (petra_4_8) but the things I've made are invariably far prettier in real life than in pictures, so.

Knitting: Finished a purple laceweight alpaca cardigan that was going to be waist-length but fortunately ended up hip-length by complete accident. Currently working on a two-colour fair isle baby vest in a cotton/bamboo/merino blend that will be a display item in mum's brand new yarn shop that opened about three weeks ago. I unfortunately hate the yarn -- there's no give in it, which hurts my hands a lot! But it's very pretty and soft so it should be a great choice for anyone who knows they like to work with cotton.

Spinning: Hardly anything. Finished a Navajo-plied reddish alpaca and started a (hopefully) laceweight merino/silk blend on the wheel. Spun a tiny hank of laceweight angora on a drop spindle at the Renaissance market a few weeks ago. I hadn't tried to spin angora since last summer, and it was quite a revelation to see how much better my spinning is! I also think angora is very well suited for a super light spindle, because it gives you the time to draft it.

Historical sewing: I did finish a forehead cloth with rolled hems, a coif, and an apron. They are super duper awesome, and the apron especially makes the outfit come together. I've bought some linen fabric at fleamarkets, which I think may be appropriate for a dress/kirtle type thing, but I haven't had the time to think much about it, and I still don't know where to start!

Modern sewing: I bought a sewing machine in May! So far I've made a pleated skirt out of an Ikea fabric that has blue flowers on white, and a jersey dress with blue Dala horses on cream. The jersey dress has a circle skirt (the hem is 6 metres!), the bodice pattern was made using a tank top, and I drafted sleeves (!!) using an online tutorial. It's almost perfect in terms of fit (thanks to being in a stretchy material?!), and I learned so much about sewing jersey that the final seam (at the neckband) is really kind of perfect. Before I started sewing this summer, my entire sewing experience was a skirt in 2008 and a whole lot of mending the thighs of jeans, so I'm very happy with my adventurousness and progress.

(My work is related to education, and I sure do get a stab of envy every time I come across someone who is studying at one of the well-known textiles/tailoring/design schools. I have to keep telling myself that the hobby level is enough for me!)
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
I'm struggling to motivate myself to get through the last quarter of this semester's schoolwork, partly because I'm discovering the exciting world of historical reenactment. I was at an event last weekend that really made me want to learn to sew so I can make my own garb*, as well as relearning tablet weaving, blackwork embroidery, bobbin lace, etc. which I've dabbled in before but quit because I had nothing to use the products for.

I'm super lost when it comes to dressmaking (and so far too shy to ask for help from the reenactment guild I've joined) but I think I could figure out enough to make a decent coif and apron before our big market-at-the-castle event at the end of July, preferably with some blackwork and bobbin lace details. To that end I've started a small bit of blackwork on a cotton not-quite-evenweave using cotton embroidery thread (unwaxed! Wax is #1 on my tool wishlist) for practice.

Blackwork embroidery in progress

I was surprised to find that it's so much more fun than I remembered, and so much more fun than cross-stitching. It's something about the thought required to not miss any stitches and not get caught in corners without a "way out".

I've also discovered the research about 15th century spinning and am working on developing my own technique with it. I didn't have a distaff at the event last weekend, but I brought spindles and carded wool and spent most of the Saturday drop spinning. I filled two spindles with singles and Andean plied them (first one, then the other). Mighty pleased that they came out at about 30m each (haven't weighed them) and perfectly balanced; my first properly good spindle spun yarns!

Two skeins of spindle spun yarn

Another item on my tool wishlist is a pair of combs. I only have carders at the moment which means any fibre I prepare myself now makes for very fuzzy yarn, which isn't great for any of the things I want to do. I think the fleece I've got would be great for combing, too, but I don't know enough about combs to decide which ones would be suitable for me.

Now, if only I could get as excited about my paper in microeconomics, I'd be all set.

* I've borrowed garb from the guild so I'm good for a few events at least. But the coif I borrowed doesn't fit me very well, and they had no aprons to lend, so those are the things that would make the biggest difference right now.
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
I'm having a lot of thoughts about community and putting myself out there and FEAR and stuff, which is part of the reason why I haven't posted here since my March spinning glee. The other part being: finishing my degree! AKA getting through lots of exams, including stressful orals. That is all done now and I want to post and so I will post.

I haven't actually been spinning, but I have been knitting. I finished the second sleeve of the Featherweight cardigan (with improvised lace cuffs) last night.

Photo! )

And, inspired by my awesome creative inspiring daring flatmate (who will only be my flatmate for another month, sadface), I sewed a skirt in an afternoon last week, and then wore it to the cinema about three minutes after finishing.

Another photo! )

Next up in crafting is to continue spinning (a month of exams left little energy for new and exciting things, so knitting to cope was the way to go), and to keep thinking about maybe making the Carnaby skirt. (I would make it longer, and wider. But then it'd get very heavy and I'd not want to wear it, so maybe I'm better off looking at pretty shawl patterns for my leftover BEIGE alpaca instead.)


hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)

August 2015



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