Friday, December 07, 2007

Nearly better now, haha

My glandular fever (aka sore throat) lasted a grand total of seven days. I obviously have a hardcore immune system. Oh yeah, these white blood cells are trained like Spartans. With any luck I'll be back in uni in January and still able to go to America.

Our Christmas tree is up, take a look.















Doesn't it look...well, amateur. But in a festive and enthusiastic kind of a way. Planning to have a fake Christmas dinner with my housemates on Wednesday and since we're a bit late to make christmas cake or pudding we've decided we're going to have the very traditional apple crumble. Hmm. I would have fought for yule log or trifle, but I like apple crumble, so I can't complain.

Back onto knitting for me now, I'm about halfway through my first Broadstreet mitten (except I'm not actually following the pattern, so they're just Broadstreetish) I still love this yarn and I can't believe its taken me over 2 years to getting round to using it. These are my chocolate chip cookie dough gloves.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Bed rest is for wimps

So apparently its more a case of I have glandular fever. As in, right now. As in, ill, infectious and not allowed to interact with other human beings. Well, bugger.

Ysterday I got a letter from the doctor (yet another different one, I'm collecting the whole set) stating that for the next three weeks I can't go to university, I can't go to work and I can't have any form of social life. So glad I hadn't bought tickets yet for any of the Christmas events I wanted to go to. Oh, and there goes the lovely deadline the day before my birthday. I was looking forward to doing nothing on my 22nd and now I'll have at least a 3 week extension. *sigh*

Hey ho, I'm not gonna let it get me down, so I'm spending today looking for a Christmas tree to put up tomorrow! Yay!

P.S. Finished Dad's socks yesterday, will take a photo Christmas day, when there is actually a foot or two in them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I have been ill. Apparently. Hmm.

I have been in and out of various GP's surgeries and hospital waiting rooms this week since finally getting round to telling my doctor (well, a doctor, my doctor has been off so I've seen 3 different people this week) that I've been feeling tired for the last 3 months. I'm not the kind of person who generally goes to the doctor and I can't remember that last time I took a day off sick, so I've been pretty much ignoring it over the summer and telling myself that feeling tired wasn't a big deal, but it has eventually come to my attention that its affecting my work. I think in the last design unit I was putting the blah feeling down to lack of creative inspiration, but now that I'm doing practical work that requires knowledge rather than imagination its getting obvious that I'm struggling to concentrate on things I can usually do easily. Finally toddled off to the doctor once my supervisor noticed me staring at a coat pattern for about half an hour without picking up a pencil and threatened to send me home if she saw me again before I had spoken to someone.

Amazingly, I wasn't told to go home and stop being a hypochondriac and was instead packed off to Bournemouth Royal for blood tests, and just got the results today. Thinking about it over the weekend, I was expecting the most likely thing to hear was 'You're slightly anaemic, eat more red meat and stop buying chicken just because its the cheapest thing in the supermarket'. I was certainly not expecting the tests to come back positive for glandular fever. Huh? Ok, fabulous, its common among young people and not overly serious, but really, I've had glandular fever recently and haven't noticed? Isn't there supposed to be a sore throat involved at the very least? How did I miss that one? Hey ho, I'm off for more needley goodness in a couple of weeks to see if its gone or if its still an issue. Oh, and I have slightly abnormal liver functions as a result so my doctor has advised me not to drink. I pouted at him and told him I would moderate myself but he shouldn't expect miracles in the run-up to Christmas. Ha, I laugh in the face of danger.

No knitting photos I'm afraid, sitting around for hours in waiting rooms is wonderful for knitting progress and I've nearly finished sock 2, but it shockingly looks exactly the same as sock 1 so doesn't make for very exciting photographs.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Christmas knitting is well on its way (hurrah), this is sock 1 from Yarn Harlot's Earl Grey socks for my Dad. It looks huge, probably because it's largely stocking stitch and the last socks I made were ribbed, but I think it should fit. This only took me a week, very pleased with that, since I remember my ribbed socks taking fricking ages. Sock 2 will take longer (though I HAVE started it) now that I've started my next unit on the costume course, but still, it's going well so I may just finish it in time to make myself some mittens and a jumper to celebrate/hide from the winter.




















We're now a week into our making project at uni, and I'm torn between being excited about it, and being extremely pissed off, almost to the point of making a formal complaint because my unit leader is being such a useless twat (ahem). Everyone had their designs and their model's names handed out on Wednesday, except me. She forgot about me. Seriously. Once I finally did have a design, I was told they had run out of male acting students, so I would have to fit mine to a first year costume student, so there's every possibility that it won't actually appear in the costume show. Now here comes the fun part. Nobody bothered to tell said costume student that he was modelling for me so he didn't come in to be measured last week. If it wasn't for the fact that I already know him, he still wouldn't know now. As it is, I won't be able to measure him till tomorrow which puts me at a four day disadvantage to everyone else in the class. *fume*
On the other hand, I'm dead excited because the cutting workshops have renewed my love for the eighteenth century. Mmmm, sack back dresses and square cut coats, yom yom yom. All perfect seams and pleats as far as the eye can see. Precision cutting is why I want to do costume. Everyone else was staring at me wierdly when I admitted how happy flat pattern drafting made me.

This is the design I will (eventually) be making. It wasn't my first choice, but it's grown on me now, especially since Francis (my model) is flouncy and over the top and absolutely PERFECT for this character.











Thursday, November 08, 2007

Confessions of a Rapunzel hater

Ok, I have to admit to something embarrassing. A couple of weeks ago I realised why Rapunzel doesn't fit. If any of you have read the pattern, you will now that the moss stitch section is actually fair isle moss stitch. It's not in a pattern of any kind, just every other stitch, in the same colour yarn so I decided it was kind of pointless to go through the fiddly process of learning fair isle which wasn't going to be that noticeable. I just left it out. What didn't click in my inexperienced brain was that fair isle has lots of little threads woven across the back. Which stops it stretching so much. Which changes the gauge. Ah.

Boy do I feel foolish.

Mind you, what I said about not knitting without doing the maths first still stands, even with the shoulder seams in the right place, the sleeves are too long, something of a rarity for me. Once I pluck up the courage I will take it into university to attack it with the overlockers and pray it doesn't unravel.

On a brighter note, I had my hand-in today! Yays! No coursework for the weekend and my Christmas gift yarn has arrived from cnyttanpatterns.com. I've been very good and not even unwrapped the package for the last 3 days so I'm making up for it tomorrow by spending the entire day on the sofa knitting, watching DVDs and eating cake. Oh yes. It will be magnificent.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Happy Hallowe'en

Ok, a bit late I know, but I was at work last night and I have been studiously designing all day. We had a Hallowe'en theme night last night and I was the only barmaid who bothered to get dressed up (well, made-up). Most disappointing. Took me about an hour to do this, and about the same again to take it all off again at the end of the night, and I am TX from Terminator 3, NOT Seven of Nine - that got so annoying by the end of the night.

















All that trouble to run around behind a bar all night. Mind you, I have so much coursework to do that if I hadn't been working I probably wouldn't have gone out last night at all, so it can't be all bad.

I am still not knitting, honest, this is just something I forgot to blog when I finished it at the start of the summer holidays.


















This was started aaages ago, last summer when I was getting bored and annoyed with my gloves and I had time to kill in New York and decided to go hunting for yarn shops. The yarn is alpaca and the ball band is...around here somewhere I'm sure..., the needles were just a last second grab because I only had DPNs with me and I'm so pissed off that I chucked the packaging away ecause they are the most beautiful needles I've ever usedand if I knew the brand I'd go and buy the entire set right now. Hey ho, probably best I can't find them again, gone slightly over budget this month anyway.

Less than a week til the deadline, then I can start knitting again! And reading, and watching TV, and going out, and generally enjoying life. Sounds like a distant dream really...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hurrah, yet another distraction.

Oh God, I got my Ravelry invite last night. This was badly timed. How on Earth am I gonna meet my coursework deadline now? Meep.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Forgot about this yesterday...

Alison at Mother of all Needles tagged me for the 8 random things meme last week, so here you go, a bunch of random stuff you never needed to know about me:

1. I'm far more into film than music. This makes it quite awkward to be a student, as the inevitable question everyone asks when getting to know each other is 'What kind of music are you into?' I hate that question.

2. I feel more at home on the streets of Manhattan than I do in London. I plan to move to New York for a few years after I graduate.

3. I was apparently quite a lovely teenager. This may have been because I had already gone through my phase of having no friends and writing poetry about death. At the age of nine.

4. I've been a member of my university juggling club for nearly a year now. I can spin poi, I've just started to learn devilsticks, but to the huge disappointment of the 5 people who've tried to teach me, I still can't juggle.

5. I developed a taste for books at an early age. No, seriously. I used to eat them.

6. I have a huge weakness for Scottish accents. This works out quite well as I also have something of a weakness for men in kilts.

7. My favourite TV programme ever is Spaced by Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson. However, I think I first watched it too young and it made too much of an impression on me. Since falling in love with Tim Bisley at the age of 11, every guy I've dated has been skinny, scruffy and slightly geeky.

8. I don't agree with cosmetic surgery, but I would jump at the chance if they ever figured out how to give humans gills.

Right, I am now making a pledge not to do any knitting whatsoever for the next 3 weeks as I'm so scarily behind with my coursework. Let's see how long that lasts.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mmmmmshopping

Last Wednesday (hmm, that was a while ago, not had a chance to blog in far too long) the uni took us on a fabric shopping trip to London to get samples for our design project. Since I plan to make all my costumes from cheapo fabrics bought from the uni and manipulated in the craft room rather than buying fancy expensive Soho stuff, and since the trip wasn't optional, I moaned most of the way there.

Until I remembered that there's a John Lewis on Oxford Street.

This is a Big Thing for me. We don't have any yarn shops in Bournemouth. Or, more accurately, we have about 7 (which I looked up on yell.com and wasted 2 days visiting), all of which sell plastic yarn and plastic needles. Not a single scrap of natural fibres anywhere near me.

So after trying not to drool all the way down the road, I dragged my rather sceptical, non-knitting friend Lucy up to the haberdashery section with me, and after LOTS of oohing ad aahing emerged with 11 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby for another jumper I'm designing.
















Yom yom yom.

Once we got into the yarny goodness Lucy didn't seem so sceptical and eventually admitted that she'd quite like to make a scarf. I tried very hard not to bounce excitedly as I forced yarn and needles into her hands and pushed her towards the till. I thought she might be a little put off if she realised just how insane people turn once they catch the yarn bug.

Eventually re-appeared in the real world feeling elated, but also slightly ashamed of spending £50 on yarn (John Lewis not too friendly for a student budget), so to make myself feel better I went into Schuh and bought some new boots. I am the Queen of Logic. They were a huge bargain though, and so pretty, and they fitted my legs perfectly. I know that for a pair of boots with laces and buckles up the wazoo that was a fairly silly reason since I could just adjust them if they didn't fit, but having the display pair hug my calves like a second skin just felt like fate.





















I LOVE thse boots. I just went to take the bins out and got a wolf whistle from the builders over the road. Heh.

Spent the coach ride back teaching Lucy how to cast on and do drop stitches (she already knew how to do garter stitch but wanted something a bit faster). I've taught a couple of people to knit before but I always find it weird going slow enough to break down exactly what I'm doing. At first Lucy was having trouble holding the yarn and needles at the same time, and I realised that I picked my yarn so automatically that I actually had no idea what I was doing with my fingers, so I had to teach myself again before I could teach her! She's now itching to add tassels because apparently it isn't a scarf without tassels.

It was my cousin's 30th birthday this weekend so I went home to drive up there with my parents and to show off my new yarn and boots to my Mum on the way. My Mum has this wonderful ability to completely outdo my splurges and stop me feeling guilty by buying far more impulse purchases than me. Our study now contains - along with the yarn winder, niddy-noody, drum carder and THREE spinning wheels - a knitting machine and a loom. It is no wonder my Dad's going grey.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

CanDo Dance Company

I wasn't planning on updating my blog again (just setting myself up for more disappointment when I inevitably let it slide again), but I've just come back from seeing the CanDo Company at the Poole Lighthouse theatre and feel I should make a note of my thoughts.



This is definitely not the kind of thing I would go to see if my course leaders hadn't decided it was compulsory. CanDo is, according to its website, 'the leading contemporary dance company of disabled and non- disabled dancers.' Contemporary dance scares me. I like dance for the sake of dancing, purely for the joy of movement and music. I like interpretive dance up to a point, in the sense of telling a story, like classical ballet. Dancing to convey an abstract emotion or idea on the other hand, is another thing entirely. I find it a little pretentious to tell the truth. Then we get onto my main problem - disabled dancers. I've seen a couple of pieces before with disabled dancers or actors and they always seem to me to be a little bit patronising. I'm sure they don't mean to be but I can never shake the feeling that there's someone behind me whispering 'Oh isn't it nice that they can still express themselves this well after going through so much hardship, the poor dears'. There's always been an uncomfortable air of the carnival freak show for me. Having said that, they are award winning so I went with high hopes and perfectly prepared to leave admitting that I was wrong.

Unfortunately it was worse.

The Stepfather by Arthur Pita

The Stepfather was story based, a little confusing due to flashbacks, comedy rewinding (ugh, clich├ęd) and two identical costumes which I initially thought were twins but turned out to be the same person, but basically it's about the joys of hillbilly incest, murder and suicide. Fair enough potential, but really spoiled by uninteresting choreography, ill advised 'comedy moments' (sex scene with crutches springs to mind) and, horror of horrors, dancers out of time. What offended me most though was the divide between the able and disabled dancers. For a company that list disabled before non disabled dancers, I was quite surprised to see only two out of seven, one of whom could dance fine supported on one crutch. The one wheelchair user was not in fact in a wheelchair but was either crawling on the floor, dragging himself along by his arms, or hanging with useless dangling limbs like a puppet. On the scene on the floor, he and the non-disabled dancer - this was where the identical costumes came in - were doing a synchronised routine involving just arm and spine movements. That was working really well until the second dancer started pushing of the ground a little further, then adding a little kick, then spinning round and prancing about as if to show off what he could do on his perfect legs. Near the end when the disabled dancer was playing the hanged man, the wire was lowered just enough so that his feet touched the floor and it looked like he was standing upright while the drowned girl danced round him. I kid you not, I could hear the barker in my head yelling 'Roll up Ladies and Gentleman, look amazed as it stands on its hind legs, almost like a real human being!'

I was fuming so much I nearly left in the interval. I would have done if it hadn't involved pushing past my tutors to leave the theatre. I consoled myself with some nice soothing over-priced icecream instead.

And Who Shall Go To The Ball by Rafael Bonachela

I am glad I stayed for the second half, if only to get the bitter taste out of my mouth (I went into a bit of a rant in the first half, did you notice?). It was far, far better. Rafael Bonachela's choreography was beautiful and dynamic, the actors actually dancing with each other rather than just around each other, with some really stunning dance moves for both the able and disabled dancers, who finally had a proper part in the routine rather than a novelty byline. Unfortunately it was an abstract, conceptual piece and I did not like that one bit. I arrived too late to buy a program so I had no idea it was called And Who Shall Go To The Ball and consequently not a clue what it was about. All it was, to me, was your average monochromatic costumes, very minimal set design and atmospheric 'music' consisting entirely of random drum beats and violin screeches. It seems odd that I liked the dancing but not the piece as a whole. I suppose its like loving the lyrics of a song but hating the melody. So, Rafael's piece was good but I didn't like it, but this is purely a matter of personal preference.

If you do like modern conceptual dance, I would recommend that you see CanDoCo, but don't worry too much about arriving early. Go on, stay in the bar, have another drink. And if you do get there in time for the first act, just shut your eyes and listen to the fantastic Violent Femmes music. It'll make it all better, I promse.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Chloe adjustments

So I pretty much spent the last few days in bed with a cold. Fantastic. The only person I know who had a cold recently was my old housemate Martin who I met on Thursday night and gave one brief hug to. Bah, stupid physical contact. Of course getting home from work at half 3 in the morning does not help matters much either. Mind you, it was glowstick night yesterday which made it all worthwhile (they do themed promotions every Saturday) - I have a glowstick in my bin now that's still glowing.

I've redone Chloe up to the point where I start the yoke with some neat little shoulder darts, hopefully it should fit better now, but I won't really be able to tell till I get up to the neck again.




















It looks better with actual arms in, I promise.
















Vaguely busy week at uni for the first time next week. I'm so not prepared for that. I blame Martin.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I am finally back online in Bournemouth after being pissed about by Virgin Media for about 2 weeks and my God I have missed it so much. I have access to the internet at uni, but the library is always so busy that I just about have time to check my email before I have to relinquish the computer to someone who's actually trying to do work (pah, who are they trying to kid?) I am gonna attempt to keep up to date on my blog now I'm back on the net, partly because it's a fantastic way to procrastinate from what I'm supposed to be doing (my poor sketchbook is lying abandoned under a pile of books and magazines on my desk) and partly because Alison called me sparkly and full of life, and that made me disproportionately happy. And also because I get to use words like disproportionately, which just don't fit into everyday conversation.

So, yes, 2 week catch up, uni is going slowly, we're on a design project (my last with any luck) at the moment which means largely independent study rather than studio time, so not that great for getting back into the swing of early mornings. I'm in the same house as last year, which is great 'cause I don't have to work to make it feel like home. My new housemates are lovely, though at this stage that opinion is mainly based on the fact that I'm not the only person in the house doing the washing up and taking the bins out. I also just started a job last week working behind the bar of my favourite club - could be a little odd when I go there on a night out, but at least I like the music and the clientele. It's only 2 nights a week on minimum wage, but I get by pretty well on my student loan anyway so that just means an extra £70 a week to spend on whatever I want. I’m thinking new knee high boots, if I ever find a decent shoe shop that sells half sizes.

Knitting wise I'm in a bit of a bad mood recently. I seamed up Rapunzel when I got back and it doesn't fit. I am devastated. Seriously, I think this was designed for rugby players; the shoulder seams are about 3 inches longer than my shoulders. I vow never to knit from another pattern without doing my own maths first. I'm currently debating whether to cut and sew (dead scary) or rip it back and knit it again (annoying as hell).
I got Chloe up to the neckline, but yesterday I decided it was a bit baggy in the chest so I've ripped that back to where I attached the sleeves and I'm gonna put some more decreases in it.
On a more positive note, I finished my roll neck jumper just before the holidays (but forgot to take it home). I realised halfway through knitting it that it wasn't going to fit me, but was hoping it would fit my mum, and Ta Da! It does! Success at last.



Friday, September 21, 2007

Not dead yet. It's a close call though.

So, first year at uni is long gone and only a week left till year two starts since the summer holidays flew past in a haze of nothingness. Initially I made up my mind that I was going to stay in Bournemouth, get a job and revel in my independence. Then I realised that I was barely earning enough to pay rent, all my friends were at home and Bournemouth is full of foreigners in the summer. Ok, the Polish people who suddenly invaded my house were nice, but it's a bit odd to get the bus to work every day and never hear an English voice. I lasted about a month before I came crawling back to my parents' house. Eh, I have the rest of my life to be independent.

Managed to successfully finish the Elizabethan costume, and yes, it did look vaguely more exciting in colour.

























And here's a closeup of the headdress and ruff (look, knitting! oooo):


























And the shoes! I love the shoes, they makes me happy















Eighteenth century menswear to come this year, with any luck.
Can't wait to start second year, not only do I get to specialise in making (no more designing, yaay), but there's a possiblity of a study exchange to America in the Spring term.
*small squeals of excitement*

Since I have been way too lazy to get myself a job back in Wycombe, the last two months have been spent moulded to the sofa watching an endless string of Buffy, Spaced, Doctor Who and Heroes (in between getting drunk, my summer hasn't been that wasted) and trying to get back into the swing of knitting.
At the moment I'm attempting to design my first garment. It's called Chloe. According to the note scribbled beside a sketch I did about a year ago, this is because it was inspired by a photo of Chloe Sevigny, but I can't honestly say I remember that. I'm sure it was a lovely picture though.
Progress so far...




It's based on Tempting as a starting point, because I love the way the sleeves are attached on that, plus some bust shaping (which you can't see on the photo because I managed to take a photo of the back - genius), and a yoke with some type of collar. Not sure what type yet, kind of making it up as I go along. I've ground to a halt at the moment though as the neckline's getting too small for the needle, so I'm back to zombie knitting until I can buy some more DPNs.
Zombie knitting (mostly while getting annoyed trying to work out yoke decreases) has been a matching hat, scarf and mittens set - finished but not photographed, and a spiral bag - a frugalhaus pattern that seems to have disappeared from the internet, which I started yesterday. I don't have gauge for that though, and I want to make it about half the size it's supposed to be in the pattern so....not really sure how that's gonna work out. I may end up with some huge shell shaped table mats instead.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Fitting on Wednesday. Eep


Toile almost finished (well, getting there), I'm getting very bored of calico, can't wait to start making it in a proper fabric.


The bodice is practically done, complete with hanging sleeves, though I need to redo the shoulder rolls, which aren't big enough here

Eyelets for lacing up the back
Half finished partlet to fill in the neckline

Bumroll! I don't know why this gets me so excited.


Hayley cartridge pleating the petticoat, which looks like a sleeping bag because the shop had run out of sensible fabric.

So, just have to do the neck and wrist ruffs, the headdress, the top skirt, finish the petticoat and partlet and redo the shoulder rolls. Before Wednesday morning. Oh dear.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hmm, so I abandoned the blog for another year. Oops. Well, trust me, you havn't missed much - I managed a grand total of 2 FOs in 2006 and I really cannot remember that last time I had a free moment to sit down and knit. *sigh*

Anyhoo, the gloves finally got started in June (I got some very odd looks for knitting gloves in 45C heat)


















Ah, the everpresent mirror shot

These are knitted sans pattern (oh yes, I am so proud) from the lovely tropical fish inspired sockyarn Amanda sent me way back when for SP6. Opal I think - lost the ball band along the way. There are two of them, honest, but they got quite a bit of wear this winter and one of the fingers needs repairing.

The other FO was a stuffed stegosaurus for Chris back in April (he was a little amused that I still thought he was of an appropriate age for stuffed toys). That was from a pattern, and it was gorgeously silly, but I can't find it anymore. Hmmph. Turned out way easier than I thought, since it was my first toy, tail spikes and all. He was called Texas, and was incredibly goofy (my embroidery skills displaying themselves to full effect on the face.)

Wish I'd got a picture, but sadly the boyfriend is no more, and I feel it is not generally accepted good etiquette to ring up ex-lovers demanding photos of their dinosaurs.

I'm now finally at university (it's taken me long enough), doing Costume for Screen and Stage at Bournemouth, which is great, when its not driving me nuts and interrupting my sleep patterns. I just started my first making project a week and a half ago, and have been given a design for the widow from the Taming of the Shrew to make for April. Feeling a little daunted by the costs at the moment. We're probably going to need about 20m of various fabrics. Why couldn't I pick a nice cheap course like Maths? Hey ho. Spent this week pattern drafting and we should be ready to cross our fingers and start sewing up our toile tomorrow.


















What the finished project will (hopefully) look like












Our bodice pattern - or at least two fifths of it

My lovely partner Hayley and our insane metre long hanging sleeves