Monday, February 28, 2011

Rainy Monday

Rainy Day Walk by Steve p2008

Things are really starting to get busy at my day job, so it might as well rain outside. That way when I look out the window my heart won't be yearning to be out in the sunshine.

Yesterday I had a class of lovely students for my bead crochet bangle class. There was success with the technique all around and next week we'll be working on finishing the projects. It's always so much fun to see the materials that students choose for projects, and it's a real thrill when they are successful with the technique.

This is just a short post because I have to run off to my cubicle now. Enjoy your Monday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Spinning for Fat Lace

Here are two sister skeins in a worsted weight that I recently finished.

You might be surprised by what I intended to do with them.

Yes, that is hairpin lace-making going on there. With handspun yarn no less. Silly me.

I have only one more strip to make in order to complete the scarf. 

This particular yarn has so many colors in it that it would be hard to name them all. The predominant hue is a medium coral. The scarf has a nice bouncy feeling to it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fashion Tapas: Romance of the Hat and Hair in the 1830s

Bonnets. Are you are old enough to remember getting a new Easter bonnet every year? They're not so fashionable now, but they certainly were during the Romantic Period.

A unique feature of some of the hats during the 1830s was a steep crown. Look at the second hat from the upper left in the fashion plate below.

1833 fashion plate from Wikipedia Comons

The bonnets with the steep crown were designed to accommodate a  popular hairstyle called the Apollo's knot:

Apollo's Knot hairstyle 1830s 

The hair was worn all curly at the sides. A top knot like this would be more for evening wear. During the day the hair might be worn in a bun at the back--like Lady Jane's below. The other bonnets would work better for her type of styling. (Isn't she a beauty?)

Lady Jane Elizabeth Digby as painted by Stieler 1831

Regardless of the bonnet's shape, you could be sure that it would be festooned with ribbons, lace, flowers, or bows. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spinning When Things Are Out of Control

I've been absent for a while. Life presented some family situations which required my attention, some research, and plenty of worry. Things are at an equilibrium now, so here I am again.

Spinning is just the thing for soothing frayed nerves. If you're a dancer like me, you can just turn on some music and keep twirling like a dervish. And if you love to turn fiber into yarn, you can get out your wheel. I did both.

I don't have any personal dervish photos to share, but I do have yarn.

Pink was the perfect color to spin for relaxation and while feeling family love. Pink comes in so many pretty shades and tints. This was a tonal roving in a greyish pink--what I would call Victorian pink. The yarn is skeined in the photo and has just been lifted off the swift. It has not been given its twist-setting water bath yet.

Here is how relaxed it looks after its bath. I feel the same way after mine.

On my wheel right now is this pretty bubble gum pink roving of superwash merino:

It has a little more yellow to it and that is perfect because it spins like butter.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fashion Tapas: Dainty Feet & Pretty Hands

From the Empire period during the reign of Napolean, through the Romantic period, women's shoes were more like flat ballet slippers. They were made of delicate fabrics, often to coordinate with a dress.

This image from the Kyoto Costume Institute shows a fine example of both a shoe and a finely knit stocking with silk embroidery work at the ankle.

Gloves and fingerless mitts were worn. This example, from the same collection, is a pair of lacy black mitts that were knit from silk and then embellished with bead embroidery.

To see the fine detail, click on the pictures. You will go to zoomable images from digital archives at the Kyoto Costume Institute website. Also, if you love fashion history, you would love this two-volume set which Mr. Cha Cha gave me as a gift:

FASHION, A History from the 18th to the 20th Century, The Collection of the Kyoto Costume Institute

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dance and Knit or Crochet

Wow! Now this is my kind of event: a tea dance at a venue with a "great big shiny dance floor", a DJ playing music from the 20s, 30s, 40, & 50s, and a "knitting, crochet, and craft corner." You can read the announcement over at the Artyarn blog.

Leave it to the Brits to come up with an event featuring such a marvelous combination! If it were close by, Mr. Cha Cha and I would surely go. I could take both my dance shoes and a knitting project!

So, what would one where to this tea dance that has a craft corner? Something both crafty-fashionable and danceable. Something like one of the artsy, sexy items below would be just perfect.

Recycled crochet doilies dress are really hot right now:

Recycled Doilie Dress by thewindowlady

Cocoon Crochet Dress (Reserved for Martha) by Ruby Pearl

I'm not sure you could easily dance in it, but this crochet tunic is pretty sexy:

Irish Lace Tunic by FlyingcowBG

How about this not-only-for-weddings dress:

Peach Wedding Dress by subrosa123

Or, if you want to crochet your own very danceable dress, check out this Lily Chin pattern available through the Interweave store.

Friday, February 4, 2011

In the Studio Today: Machine Knitting

I've been working on a vegan machine-knit scarf for Hazel, who designed the excellent banner that you see at the top of the page here.

I pulled it off the machine so you could get a look at it. That metal tool in the background with the row of eyelet teeth is called a garter bar. It's used to removed fabric from the machine in order to turn it around and rehang it so that the back becomes the front. It's how you do garter stitch on a single-bed knitting machine.

When you knit on a machine the threads (or yarn) are kept under much higher tension than when you knit by hand. Weights are used to hold the fabric down and keep it from jumping off the row of hooks across the machine bed.

When you remove the fabric, it looks very different from how it will after it is blocked.

Here's another picture after it's been straightened and smoothed a little. You can see in this picture a better idea of how it will look after washing and blocking.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Puffy Sleeves for Sale

Perhaps after reading the last post about the underpinnings for romantic sleeves you might be getting a hankering for some big sleeves of your own. The post will help you out.

If you want something knitted or crocheted:

Made to Order Romantic Shrug by reflectionsbyds

The Puff Shrug in Olive by a CatsNest

Handknit LongSleeved Crop Sweater by BlancaLoveCraft

If you want to knit something yourself:

Pattern for Puffed Sleeve Sweater by vanessaewing

If you are thinking more of something vintage in fabric:

80s Old Gold Brocade Bolero at motherofthemob

Vintage 70s Balloon Sleeved Tunic at viralthreads

Or if you want to sew something from a vintage pattern:

1953 McCalls  9560 Teen Blouse Sewing Pattern at midvalecottage

1930s Maris Wrixon Evening Gown Pattern at patternshop

And if you don't want to wear puffy sleeves but just see some in cool art:

When You See Her, Woman with Puffed Sleeves by thefarbeyondstudio

Happy shopping, sleeve lovers!