Monday, November 16, 2009

Drops Cardigan

I bought six skeins of Drops Alpaca at Hither at Yarn in Torrington, CT for $5.25 a skein. The yarn is wonderfully soft and the pattern support is great. There were hundreds of free patterns on their website. Unfortunately, the patterns don't have names, but numbers. I suppose the numbers make the patterns more universal? Since all the patterns are translated from norwegian, names might not translate well. In fact there are 2853 patterns in British English but only 2224 in American English. Hmm. Anyway, there was a plethora of patterns for my yarn and I found a cute cardie that I liked. I cast on for pattern 88-4 in early September and love how the fabric turned out: nice and soft, just a little halo without being too obnoxiously fuzzy. I didn't even have trouble ripping back three inches when I discovered a random yarn over.

Since I'm a slow knitter, the cardigan is not done yet. I've got the main body done and the yarn really shows off the cables. See?

Both sleeves are being knitted up right now, to prevent "second sleeve syndrome".

Monday, November 2, 2009

Nutcracker Past

It's November! Normally I'd be elbow-deep in Nutcracker costumes by now. My beautiful daughter E, is the dancer in the family. She's been in a local production(one of many)of the Nutcracker for many years, and I've had to make her a new costume the last five years. Because she's always been small for her age, she doesn't usually fit into the studio's stock costumes. The director usually lets me run free with the E's costume, as long as it coordinates role's color scheme. I would buy whatever fabric I liked and be reimbursed later.

Last year, E was Arabian Coffee. The costume had many parts: purple bra-top, satin vest, see-thru harem pants, satin belt with hanging chains, purple bloomers. The most annoying part was probably the pants. I couldn't find a fabric I really liked and the settled with some kind of sheer fabric. We had to spray it with Static-Guard before every show.

The year before, I made my first tu-tu for Spanish Hot Chocolate. It was a pain, but since I'm also a quilter, I used my handy-dandy rotary cutter and cut strips and strips and strips...(you get the idea) of tulle for the tu-tu. The previous costume mistress(who doesn't quilt) tried to discourage me from making a tutu. She told me how tedious it was to cut the strips and wanted E to wear the stock costume. Poor E looked ridiculous! The crotch came down to her knees, the tu-tu was a mile wide and the bodice made her look like she had boobs coming out of her shoulders.

The costume I made had the same colors: black and red. I scaled down the size of the tu-tu to be more proportional to E's frame. The bodice was made from a really nice black velvet and I added an embroidered red insert down the center. That was probably my best Nutcracker costume.

E was Clara three years ago. That was an easy year for me. She was able to wear the party dress and the dress for the second act with minimal adjustments. I just had to make a night gown for the battle scene. Of course that's just the costumes I made for my own daughter. Let's not forget the soldier pants, harem tops, mouse costumes, snow-ball hats/mittens... I had to adjust or make.

E is attending a different dance school this year and they have their own Nutcracker. Though I'll miss seeing my creations on stage, I'm not telling anyone at the new studio that I sew. Maybe I can do some Christmas quilting or knitting during those long rehearsals?

Halloween: Year Of The Sharpie

Halloween was very wet. As a result, trick-or-treaters were scarce and we ended up with too much extra candy!! I drove J and M around the neighborhood while they ran from house to house. Poor M. Her feet and tights got soaked and her paper crown started wilting. Well, I stayed dry in my car.

I'm pretty pleased with the costumes this year. M's queen of hearts outfit looked fine, but I think I would have been happier if I had used taffeta instead of the halloween satin. It would have looked better in a stiffer fabric. The points of the black and yellow diamonds don't quite meet, but it's just a halloween costume. I Sharpied red hearts all over a pair of tights. I think that completed the outfit!

J's costume was an easy one. The pants were his own, the shirt was his sister's. I made separate cuffs and a turtle neck from leftover knit fabric, Sharpied brown stripes and hand tacked to the shirt.

I never got a good picture of E, but took one of her costume this morning. She didn't want a traditional satiny "Alice" costume, but picked a blue fabric from the calico wall. No Sharpies were involved in the making of her costume.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My First Post

I've joined the blogisphere. My kids will be laughing their heads off when they find out. Do I have time for this? Probably not, but here I am anyway.

Halloween is in three days and I'm still working on costumes. M's costume is done. She's going to be the Queen of Hearts. I wonder if she realizes that the queen is the villain in Alice in Wonderland. E's Alice costume is 99% done, just need to hem the apron. J wants to be an oompa loompa: brown shirt, white pants, orange face. Done!