I do my little turn on the catwalk

See?  Cat walk.

See? Cat walk.

I guess it’s time for some cat spam, seeing as our kittens have been with us for three months.  Morrigan is the our tuxedo girl and she’s the brave, slippery, “I really want to be picked up but will never admit it” kitty. The tabby boy is Alistair and he is a love bug. He’ll start meowing and batting at your leg, but all he wants is to be picked up and draped on your shoulder. He is high energy though and we think he’s part Egyptian mau since he chirps and ‘mrrp’s as he runs around. They actually like going outside with harnesses, but that’s more to do with being outside. They tolerate the harnesses because it’s their passport to the outdoors. It was pretty funny when we first put them on since the cats looked like they forgot how their legs worked and stiffly fell over. Legs worked just fine when they got outside.

Sewing and knitting with them has been a bit challenging since they like to “help out:”  Sitting on my fabric, chasing the pen across the painter’s plastic as I try to trace a pattern, batting at fabric while I’m trying to iron, crawling behind my sewing machine while I’m there… and let’s not get into knitting.

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But I’m still getting stuff finished, like this “Northern Line” sweater by Alex Tinsley for RetroLemon’s stripey sweater KAL.  And my Tania culottes (red not-skirt) that I sewed for Irish dance class.
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Dear Alice,

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I want all of your outfits.

Momeraths,
Liz

(I love both Mia Wasikowska and the coat she is wearing.  Not sure what to think about the upcoming “Alice Through the Looking Glass” movie, but they might get to one of my favorite evolutionary concepts: The Red Queen)

Local resources

Jonas and Anya from Sarah Ellerton's "The Phoenix Requiem," both impeccably dressed

Jonas and Anya from Sarah Ellerton’s “The Phoenix Requiem,” both impeccably dressed

In preparation for tailoring a morning coat and  Anya’s traveling dress (http://requiem.seraph-inn.com/viewcomic.php?page=282), I made a visit to the UW School of Drama’s library last Thursday.  I had been requesting all the Victorian costuming books I could find in the university catalog and then realized that 90% of them came from the Drama Library.  I walked into the TT500 aisle and promptly started hyperventilating and pulling each volume off the shelf individually, placing each of the 100 books I looked at back after I scanned the contents.  I found Jean Hunnisett’s book, from which I drafted my Red Mage corset from, to multiple books on tailoring, tailoring for men, costuming through the ages, Edwardian costumes, Victorian coats, fabric draping, pattern making, and more.  And they had an extensive gamut of Past Patterns and Folkwear Patterns, many of which I would love to own but hadn’t the funds or projects in mind to purchase them.   I’m sure I looked like a cat on Nepetalactone and walked out with over a dozen hardcover volumes.  The patterns were library use only, but the library cheerfully informed that I could bring paper and trace patterns to my heart’s content. (And I don’t think you even need to be affiliated with the UW to go in and browse/trace.)  I LOVE LIBRARIES.

Last night I totally had a (stress?) dream in which I was going to my friends wedding, but had to refashion the Cascade skirt I am working on into a stripey confection not unlike Eliza Doolittle’s Royal Ascot ensemble.  

Nope.

Uh, no.

Clearly, I have been reading too many Victorian/Edwardian tailoring books.  I don’t even like “My Fair Lady.”

Anyway, still excited to start this project.

I also bit the bullet and bought my first serger from my local “Quality Vacuum & Sewing” store: a Babylock Lauren on super sale as a birthday present from Art.  I had been avoiding buying one for so long, telling myself that I can totally sew knits using a zigzag stitch my regular sewing machine and finishing my edges with French/flatfelled/pinked seams.   After two popped seams on my kitty Plantain shirt (unblogged), hours spent faux French-seaming my Tania culottes, and upcoming projects (hello morning coat and knight armor sweatshirt), I was ready for a serger experience.  There are local sewing studios around that let you rent time to use their machines, including sergers, but my miserly Chinese blood realized the $10/hr could soon be put toward a $300 serger.  So yes, a brand new Lauren is shipping out from their warehouse and I should get her by the end of the week. =D  And the people at the store said they would be happy to teach me how to use my new serger if I bring it back in.  Yay, local resources! ^_____^

Also, kittens in two weeks?  I can only hope!

Finding homeostasis

This post is more scape-goaty and reflective than my previous posts.  I used to have a livejournal, which may or may not explain things, and I thought typing things out might help me sort out my thoughts.  I might take it down later, we’ll see.

It’s not news that I’ve been in a creative slump over the last two years.  Over the last 6 months, I sewed up a pair of pajama pants for my husband, but nothing for me.  I’ve knitted up a bunch of things to be sure, but I don’t get the same amount of joy I get from sewing clothes.  I’ve even stopped baking macarons on a regular basis.  I can blame the large amount of time spent on knitting, unpacking, lack of data, uncertainty of grant funding…but I actually think the biggest drain on my motivation has been peer pressure and the idea that I need to make things that will impress other people.

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Knitting bag for a Norwegian

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Ah, Unofficial Harry Potter Knits. One day, I will tackle your Tapestry vest

Tangentially related to the previous post: I’ve been sewing knitting project bags!  This one is for another college friend who was sorely disappointed that, as a Norwegian, she wouldn’t be able to get her hands on the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits.  So I covertly connected with her husband and got it to her for her birthday!  I wanted to send a little something else to, so I made her this knitting bag.  Again, we went to college in Portland and this “Birdie Spokes” fabric seemed apt. =)

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Uhm, my skin looks mottled due to the sunlight filtered through a screen. It’s not contagious. =)

I found that I like having pockets inside my projected to hold needles, a folded pattern, and my tube of tapestry needles/stitch markers.

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Recognize the pocket fabric?  Yep, I used the leftover fabric from Lily’s dress (mainly the uneven shirt hem) for pockets.  It’s a fairly simple addition and I stitched some thin pockets for DPNs.

Charlie tunic & penguin for Lily the firebrand

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Appropriate gifts for a girl of two years?

Wow, I have really fallen off the blogging train over the last year and I’m not certain why… I always photograph things that I make and think of comments to write….just never get around to actually posting.  Maybe it’s data related: I’ve been going through a data slump recently because I’ve been optimizing a protocol, which just doesn’t satisfy me as much as testing hypotheses.  My friend calls me a “data junkie,” which I guess refers to the euphoric feeling I get when I get a great result, so maybe I post more when I’m feeling more productive.

I’m also going to unjustly scapegoat knitting: I’m a slow knitter and simple knitting projects take exponentially longer than complex sewing projects.  Cabled hat for a friend: 1 month.  My red mage outfit, complete with corset, belt, and hats: 1 month. *sigh*

But anyway, do you have the time to listen to me whine?  Probably not. =)

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Yep, ’twas autumn in Seattle

My friends’ daughter Lily turned two back in the autumn, which is when I finished up her birthday presents: a Charlie tunic dress and a purple penguin (I think it’s always nice to include a toy and a non-toy item in a kid’s gift).  I also threw the pattern for Green Bee’s Lily dress because I thought it was oddly appropriate.  Anyway, Lily is amazing: she is preternaturally intelligent (her parents are geniuses in my eyes), bold, knows her own mind. and  Really, firebrand.  Oh, and cute to boot.

My friend commented that she had a difficult time finding lightweight summer dresses to protect Lily’s Scandinavian-ancestry skin from the sun.  Hm….oh really? *steeples fingers* I know, I know, I could have actually made the *Lily* pattern, but the Charlie tunic came to mind since it was cuter and, er, more earthy….I don’t know, we all attended college in Portland, which rubs off on you.

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