Sleep dev and it's only Monday

I've finished the hand stitching of the bloomers for the convention. Tonight also involved a quick trip to JoAnn's in search of fabric for the "Saloon Girl" inspired costume. Beautiful purple crepe Silk was purchased along with some back sheer goodness with little black satin bows. It's going to be good. Tomorrow calls for the finishing of the bias and hand sewn hem on the jacket along with a muslin cut out and fitting for the top of the Saloon girl outfit. The pattern has shoulders, yuk! This needs to be cute and revealing. Thus the sleeveless, but with cute straps top in mind. Pictures to follow, and hopefully sleep : (

A Yolo Experience

Today was spent up near Davis in the mild heat checking out the Yolo Fiber Mill.  Amazing stuff!  There were awesome vendors from all different categories, even a guy selling a couple of bottles of Olive Oil.  Tactile was there...and with my wheel!!!  YEA!!!  Sorry, still dancing around the house with a GIANT SMILE.  YEA!!!  Okie, that over, for now : )  Brooke helped me to assemble my beautiful new child, and then i proceeded to camp out spinning for a while.  Bliss...  I had brought some of the Alpaca i bought in Taos and it's spinning wonderfully.  Super soft and such a pretty blue/gren combo.


There was a guided tour of the Mill learning about the carding, spinning, and plying processes on the super mega giant machines.  So many awesome gear shots.  I'm totally getting excited about Steampunk Halloween (separate post to follow with a costume update).

Also managed to remember that my camera takes those moving pictures things...movies i think ; )  Here is the guy who makes the plying happen desmonstrating how it works and another showing the winding off of a skien of yarn.  It's amazing what technology has produced over the years, and more amazing to think that most of these machines were from the 50's-60's ish.

A Sporting Costume

Tonight was the sewing and fitting of the muslin version of the Jacket i'm working on for the Steampunk Convention at the end of the month.  It came out pretty good!  I ordered the starting pattern from Laughing Moon - #110 Ladies 1890's Sporting Costume.  Small adjustments to the fit, and some rotating of the sleeves and...much better!  Tomorrow i get to go fabric shopping ; )  I hoping to complete the full (quick lined) jacket and a pair of long bloomers by the end of this weekend.  Wish me luck...i'll need it.

Here are some pictures of the muslin...


Crafty Weekend

Saturday was Color!  It was a super blast, and a special thank you goes out to Kristine from A Verb for Keeping Warm for letting me crash her totally full Fiber Prep Class.  I had a great time learning about the wondrous joys of hand carding, the patience required for drum carders, and the deadliness of hand combs.  I am very proud of myself for not drawing any blood on those combs, they are super crazy sharp and painful!

Today started with open studio meandering in the city with the primary goal of checking out a good friends photography, Steve Baudonnet with pieces up at Iceberger Gallery in the Mission.  His current work with machines and pollution (and tobacco) is beautiful.  My favorite is the picture of an engine on a dining room table with half finished plates of chicken.  You're just waiting for the 50's mom in the polka dot dress to come out.

Next was a walk through CapsuleSF in Hayes Valley.  This is totally the most time i've spent in the city in months, minus work with totally doesn't count.  Amazing hand made jewlery, clothes, and trinkettes.  I picked up some cute cloth button bobby pins with little geishas on them from Vividot.

Also found some new stripey socks from RockNSocks, which were much needed as i have had to part with two pairs of too holy socks in the last two days.  The winner for awesome today was totally the silkscreened tank, that was silkscreened in front of me on the tank i choose with the design i choose...[insert GRIN]...AWESOME!!!  The company was Juror2 and they had all sorts of different designs for all different walks of people.  I got one that's very dracula/grim reaper called "The Traveler", very dre_ah ;)

Halloween in two weeks...costume rush

So with the rapidly approaching holiday of Halloween i am nearing panic mode as i ordered Costume Period Patterns from Laughing Moon today with the "Special Shipping Comment" of "For Halloween, please rush.  Thank you".  I'm hoping they read that section.  Sewing will consume most of my time until Halloween, assuming i get those patterns before sunday.  I browsed around JoAnn's today, pretty bland.  Once i have the yardage amount i'm planning to head over to Stone Mountain and see if something there catches my eye.

To help complete the Steampunkish outfits i started the "Mrs. Lovett's Mitts" pattern this evening.  They will be the perfect accessory to either period dress with exciting fabrics/trims - AND - jeans and a t-shirt incase i get no sewing done before next friday.

Mrs. Lovett's Mitts

Beginning Crochet: With my hands held

This morning involved waking up at a reasonable time to pull out the dusty crochet hooks, grab some yarn, and head down to the Knit-One-One Studio for a "Beginning Crochet" Class.  It was a blast!  Susan Miles taught the class and was super patient with me as i crashed the day by showing up for part two...with having been out of town for part one.  She had me caught up in the first hour and ready to go.  I learned new crafty abbreviations like dc and hdc.  A whole new world has been opened up : )  Thank_You_Susan!

My 1st Granny Square!!!

The rest of the class started a hat while i learned the basics.  I kept up with the granny squares and even managed to finish one!  This was a big part for me.  My great grandmother made beautiful granny square blankets, ponchos, everything, and i have one of these beautiful blankets over the back of my couch.  People always complement me on it as i hide the knitting from no one, but i have always had to admit that i don't have the faintest clue about crochet.  Now i can hold my head high and proclaim my great grandmother made that and (eventually) i will be able to turn to my own and say...this one's mine [insert ridicilously large grin on face].

The other driver for learning to crochet was Amigurumi, only the cutest little things ever.  I fell in love with all of the zombie doll keychains, square stackable cats, and plain adorable dragons that are all crocheted.  Now i have the basics down and can buy some of those super adorable pattern books and not just look at the pretty pictures.


New Life to Drop Spindle Spinning

I've taken the classes, sat there for hours on end, but just never really got into drop spindle spinning.  While at the Taos Fiber festival there were BEAUTIFUL spindles from Woolly Designs.  At first i looked.  The next day i tried a bottom whirl drop spindle.  OMG, i loved it!  I picked up a heavier spindle then i currently have (1.9 ozs).  Between the low whirl and the extra weight something just clicked and i've been doing a bit each day since.

I am really enjoying my new purchase, and at just $40 it was within the budget even after the 6 lbs of roving (can't wait for it all to arrive in the mail).

I've been spinning everywhere, ncluding spinning at the Airport in Alburquerque while waiting for my flight.  An older gentelman walked by while i was spinning and said "She's making a kite!".  I'm not quite sure where this came from...


Clouds and Cardigan Blues

Today marked day one of the 25th Taos Wool Festival. There was roving, yarn, rugs, wheels, spindles, looms...all things fiber related. Everyone had out their best and it was good stuff. The weather was perfect with a dash of sun, but mostly a light cool overcast with the rain saved for the night.

I especially fell in love with the roving at LoneSome Stone Fiber. I bought way too much, something like 5 pounds all together. Luckily they were willing to ship it, otherwise my fellow plane mates may not have been too happy with me.

In the afternoon there was a Ravelry Meetup. A very sweet woman brought homemade pumpkin cupcakes, delicious. It was nice to meet the gang and pickup some swag (Yea for Stickers!!!).

I even got some time to sit and listen to an amazing woman playing the Celtic harp and work on my cardigan.

Natural Dyes: Day Two (all about the Indigo)

Today was devoted to the wonderful Indigo. We learned about the different kinds of indigo: Natural, Synthetic, and "Instant"; discussing the pro's and con's for each. I totally need to plant some Japanese Indigo plants in the backyard...

We prepared an Indigo Stock Solution using powdered Natural Indigo, "Spectralite" (Thiourea Dioxide) as the Reducing agent, and Soda Ash as the Alkali. Then we learned about "waiting". It's this crazy thing where you sit around and eventually something don't even always know when.
Indigo: The Chemicals we use Indigo: The Mixture

After the waiting was up, about 20 minutes, we added some of the Stock Solution to a large pot of water, stirred a bit, and did some more "waiting". Once the waiting was over with we checked theheat, color, and the pH and added Alkali and Reducing Agent accordingly to achieve:

1) Temperature (around 110 F)
2) Color (lookin for that Grass Green)
3) pH (Wool about 9.5~10)

Grass Green Please Incase the Indigo don't behave so good

All of the Dying Stars aligned and we began the dipping! We did once pass of over dye on all of the colors we had done yesterday. My Favorite is totally the over dyed Cutch, beautiful soft green. Holding the yarn in the dye pot for 3 minutes isn't so bad, but doing more then one skien at a time is totally the way to go!

End Product: Overdye and Straight Indigo Yarns Dips

Well the class ended, i learned a lot, and can't wait to get home and start bringing even more crafty stuff into my home/life...They're SOOO pretty!!!!

Natural Dyes: Day One

Today, Day One of the Natural Dyes class in Taos. I think I've found an additional creative outlet. The first day was tons of fun. We made a mordant of Alum with Cream of Tartar, soaked the fiber, and prepared 6 different natural dye baths in mason jars for the small skeins of wool. We worked with: Madder, Marigold, Cochineal, Cutch, Logwood, Brazilwood, and Osage Orange.

It's interesting how different each plant dye stuffs needed to be prepared. From using an electric blender to chop up the Madder to the instant mix and go of the Cutch. So far the Logwood is my favorite; beautifully rich blues and purples. A tie for second goes to Marigold and the Cochineal. Yes, yes, i know...the Cochineal is bright magenta; but i'm drawn to it. I think it's because it's SOOOO super concentrated in the final form.

After getting all of our mini skeins through the dye baths we pulled out one of each color to run though an Iron shift. Neat! Who knew that Iron could have such an effect on color, "Saddening" as Lisel called it, all of the colors to a softer shade. Only one was drastically changed - Marigold. I now know where 60's olive green comes from.

Checking the Iron Shift dye vat All Iron Shifted

Last was "leaving everything out to dry". Tomorrow we dye and over dye some from today in Indigo. I love blue.

All in a Days Work