Monday, December 27, 2010

Winding down

As far as creative crafty matters go, the year has been rather busy. Numerous mitts and caps were completed, along with another pair of socks for gift giving. I do believe I've mastered heels and gussets at last, and have a goal of learning to do cables and bobbles, among other interesting things, to make the leg portion more interesting for myself. I have just put down my needles after playing with a scrap of yarn and realizing that I can manage a candle flame design as well. I've got enough different colors from Knit Picks sampler packs that I've ordered over the past couple of years, that I may just use all that lace yarn to make multiple scarves for NEXT year's holiday gifts (or birthday gifts) as the case may be.

I am rather proud of myself for making a mans 1820 tail coat, alterations and all, to fit. Knocked out a Regency waistcoat in a day, and will knock out another one before the next Jane Austen Ball, scheduled for January 22nd. Speaking of which, I have ordered an additional two yards of the beautiful sea blue silk taffeta, and will start on my new ballgown soon. I want to have it finished well before the week of the ball, unlike last year, where I was sewing hooks on the bodice back about the time we were supposed to be leaving. So we were an hour late to the afternoon tea and entertainment before the ball. We still got to eat anyway. Not doing it again this next time around.

I brainstormed while sitting on the museum terrace yesterday on my lunch break. I noticed a couple of different visitors were wearing 3/4 length coats that closely resembled Spencer jackets as they had higher waistlines. If I were to make a 3/4 length pelisse with the Spencer waist, it just wouldn't look right. But if I were to make a Spencer and find a way to attach a separate full length skirt to the waistband - say an arrangement of hidden buttons and velcro - I might have a two in one solution to the need for a coat. I've been looking at past ball photos, along with thinking about what some of the other ladies have worn, and while it might be nice to have a full length pelisse in something scrumptious like a silk dupioni, or an evening cape in black velvet, neither would be really practical. This year I carried a paisley shawl made of wool, which was period correct, albeit for daytime. I may have to resort to my black pashmina for the sake of coordinating with my new dress. However, if I could find a nice navy wool gabardine, I think it might work for the 2/1 coat. I could go the other route and make a black velvet Spencer, but considering how cold it is late on a January night in Pasadena, I want something warm and practical.

I had a request for a dupioni rose pin, much like Winky's Christmas Rose, which I made last year for the Immy Homemade Craft Exchange. I haven't had time to knock it out yet - will get it done next week before my next museum shift, and after I'm feeling better. I think I may have picked something up at the last Regency dance practice evening. All that taking partners and neighbors by the hand as we're doing the various figures - someone was bound to have the Winter cold.

I made money doing custom sewing this year; however those jobs were not coming often enough. I took a fashion illustration course, and the instructor suggested that I find a way to sell my artwork on notecards, or some other such thing. She also thinks that I should be illustrating pattern envelopes, so if my hands hold out, it could be something to look into. With all the holiday knitting and baking, my carpal tunnel was really irritated, and I was in pain in a way that I haven't been in years. I have to find my splint that immobilizes my hand/wrist/forearm just in case. I had to produce so many drawings this past term, that I was starting to feel the wrist irritation, and on top of that, my hands were cramping up. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't sew/knit/draw/paint/embroider. I'd be lost. Aside from leading tours at the museum, it's about the only pleasure I really get these days.

I doubt that anyone will miss them, so I did not get photos of a lot of my most recent knitting projects. I had too much to do, and they were all made on deadlines. I think I shall photograph the candle flame once that gets going - it's a 24 row repeat, and I figure I can break at rows 12 or 24 if I'm smart - those would be the natural breaks. The pattern seems logical enough, with nothing but y/o's, ssk's, k2tog's, and the old k's or p's, so I shouldn't get too bamboozled. Number 4 needles seem awfully big for lace yarn, but I suppose they're make the thing grow faster.

That is all...