Sunday, October 16, 2011

Proud, but not prideful

You can tell this isn't Kansas because it's in color.
One of the first full garments I ever sewed by myself was a Wednesday Addams dress for Halloween one year and I still have it in my closet. Mom helped, of course, but she claims it's all my work and I can't help but be a little proud of it.

I made the above dress for Iris in '04 and the pattern is more fiddly than it looks, but that there is Dorothy Gale's dress. It's a licensed pattern, so it's the official Wizard of Oz Dorothy dress. I even compared it to the movie to make sure it was right and not some half-baked approximation.

There's been a Halloween costume dry spell the past few years and I've partly been thankful for it. Grad school occupies my brain like the 99% on Wall St., only it's been going on for much longer and I'm more willing to give into its demands. She's been wearing the costumes from her dance recitals and it's great she gets some additional use from them, but every year she doesn't ask me to make something for her, I feel a little bit like a kicked puppy.

Maybe that's silly, but in my head Mama is supposed to make the Halloween costumes. That's part of what a good mama does and it's one of the parts I really like. I like making something for the offspring that she's excited to wear and while I've made her lots of clothes, a Halloween costume is special.

Anyway, it's that time of year again and much to my relief, she's asked me to make her a fairy costume. She wanted a skirt and I suggested a vest to help hold up her wings. First, she wanted to be a woodland fairy and I'm thinking, "Browns and greens - no problem." I even found a camo that might have worked very well for such a thing. Unfortunately, she changed her mind in the fabric store. She wanted to be a rainbow fairy instead and no, there was no way to change her mind.

We got the last bit of a rainbow striped quilter's cotton and it was perfect. In fact, I think this is some of my best work. The black panel has a black lace layered in front of the cotton to give it a little opacity and it makes the other colors really grab your retinas and smack 'em around a bit. Both of the black fabrics were stash. Pro tip: Children grow. Measure them before you cut fabric to make a garment. Sure, you may have measured them last week, but they probably grew last night. I must admit to inserting this panel because I failed to measure the kiddo before cutting. It turned out to be a happy accident.

The closure is an invisible zipper and hook-and-eye, but the waistband has elastic in it to allow for growth of said kiddo. She should be able to wear it for a couple more inches of tummy growth. That might be a month or a couple years-- it's hard to say. Anyway, it fits perfectly, drapes well, the zipper looks great, and it the whole garment is the exact perfect thing for her. Not to mention that she loves it and is excited to wear it for Halloween. The part I'm really proud of is that I made this entirely without a pattern. I made it with maths from my brain.

I feel like a good mom again and that here's something that's as it should be. I feel talented and competent. I feel proud.

...but not prideful. I thank Athene for granting me skill with a needle, I thank Bekah for being a good influence in the use of references, I thank Iris for asking me to make this for her, I thank the Kindergarten teacher who suggested I learn to sew, and most of all, I thank my mom for teaching me.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

It's not because I don't love you

Support Public Radio: They don't yell at you in the morning.
I'm continuing apace with handkerchief production, having finished one with a pine branch, one with the chemical structure of serotonin and the words "Serotonin: get happy!" and another one with initials on. I've got another with initials in the queueue...ue..ue and have plans to coffee dye one and stitch the chemical structure for caffeine in brown.

Anyway, I hope this ennui passes, though with October being fully itself and November looming on the horizon, I remain unconvinced. At least some stitching of some kind is getting done.

I've also got a Halloween costume to sew for a little girl and more presents to make than I really have time to make. If you don't get anything from me this year, it's not because I don't love you.

In other news, fall break for Iris and the school I'm working at has ended, so it's back to work for me tomorrow. Additionally, I just got the window on my Volvo fixed and it cost nearly as much as the car. (Say it with me: "Cheaper than a car payment. Cheaper than a car payment..." It's the cash-payer's mantra.) I managed to fix the fuel door myself and the head liner is high up on my list next to the trim piece that came unglued. That is, barring any unforeseen circumstances (Hephaestos forbid!). Lastly, husband's birthday is on Tuesday. Incidentally, it's also National Coming Out Day.

Monday, October 03, 2011

There's a lot going on here

Last night, Bubby and I went to a show on campus for an evening of free entertainment. We were up a little later than usual, so she's still sacked out in bed, but we had a grand time. She has had a deep fascination with China for some time now, so when I dropped her off for Chinese lessons last time, they gave us tickets to Song of Silk. The show was a mix of dance, music, and theater from many different regions of China, including a yak dance from Tibet. Her favorite part was the fan dance, but they had a demonstration of several instruments that was also very cool. There's one called the suona that can, apparently, hold its own with a set of bagpipes.

No lie. They didn't need a microphone for it. There were, sadly, no bagpipes or men in kilts last night, but we did see a dude in a fabulous hat.

We also saw a lady play the pipa, which I have dubbed the Chinese banjo. This video is of the lady we saw playing the same song we heard last night.

I would love to hear the pipa and the banjo together. That would make my day.

In other news, I haven't been doing much knitting lately. My knitting mojo has wandered off to Bermuda and is probably sipping mojitos and making a lovely scarf. If you see it, send it home, willya?

I did manage to finish a pair of circle socks (Ravelry link) and have been doing a fair bit of embroidery as well. I finished a couple of for-sale hankies and have lately been working on gift hankies for the menfolk I know and am related to. This is in preparation for the winter holiday season and I fear that I'm just not going to be able to finish all my making this year. I'm not sure I ever do, but I've been quite busy lately and having difficulty finding time that isn't occupied by something - mostly somethings that are not conducive to knitting. I've also lost my needle gauge, which makes the whole process a little more frustrating.

I'm sure that my knitting mojo will eventually miss me and come back home, hopefully with my needle gauge, and I can commence to knitting again. In the mean time, here are some pictures of recently embroidered hankies.

This one is just some freehand vines and leaves. I'd planned some kind of trumpet flower to go with, but decided to leave it as-is.

To the left we see poppies, a fairly common theme in embroidery. To the right and on the opposite corner of the same hanky is the chemical structure for morphine.

The biggest trick lately is balancing all of the things and doing them as well as is reasonably expected. I think I'm doing okay at it, actually, but I do miss knitting. I am deciding to take comfort in the fact that I'm not unproductive, I'm just productive in different areas of my life.