Sunday, 30 June 2013

Some updates

Some quick updates on the medieval costume:

1. I started re-attaching last year's braid neck-trim... and it looked awful. One quick trip to Spotlight later and I have new braid. (Discounted and discontinued, so I got extra.) It is a dull gold. I also got some cord to match.

2. The sleeve linings are sewn but not attached to the dress yet. They are a vivid rust colour. They look good.

3. I am about to cut out the edgings for sleeves and hem. They will take time and energy and may not work. They are a boring brown. They will look... authentic. Also, due to the weather forecast, the hem edging may actually have to be functional in keeping the mud off, so I have to make it deeper.

4. This is turning into a very busy week. I have no idea how much time will be available for doing this costume.

5. There are a few spots on the dress where the dye blotched. I probably don't have time to do anything about this. Unfortunately, it's in a rather visible area. Well... visible from certain angles, anyway.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Preparing to go Medieval

So the costume for this year's Abbey Medieval Festival is UNDERWAY!

Not a costume I'll be able to enter in their costume competition, since it involves knit fabric and a serious lack of authenticity, but on the other hand I will be able to finish it in time, which is a very definite plus.

It is, in fact, last year's costume with alterations. The costume was originally made for a costume party I went to as Eowyn from The Two Towers - the white dress she wears when we first see her at Edoras. For the Eowyn version, the dress had a gold hip-belt, gold ribbon/cord down centre front, gold/jewel braid around the neckline and cord binding the upper sleeves. Worn with white shoes and a gold band across the forehead, it was pretty effective (the only real problem was the lack of long golden hair. Ah well).

Then for last year's Abbey I removed all the trimmings except for the neck-braid and pinned my hair up under a sheer white scarf draped across the front neck to look like a veil/wimple. I forget what shoes I wore, but I also had a wide-brimmed straw hat to keep the sun off.

This year I started by removing the braid trim, and then used Dylon Machine Dye in Navy to dye the dress. I tumble-dried it, which I was a bit worried about (being cotton) but it seems to have been ok. It's come out a nice dusty blue with just a hint of green - the original fabric was 'natural' rather than pure white, so had just a touch of yellow in. Colour-mixing rules apply to dyeing as per usual. I had suspected this would be the case, which was why I didn't dye it green in the first place - yellow-green not being my best colour, I didn't want to take the risk!

The plan now is to re-attach the braid around the neck, line the hanging parts of the sleeves (I'd hoped to do this last year but it didn't happen. Those visible seams really bugged me!) and edge the sleeves and hem with a contrasting fabric - partly for a historically accurate look, and partly because the white polycotton thread didn't dye and is rather obvious on those hems. I also want to make a pair of undersleeves so my arms aren't just showing everywhere in the hanging sleeves, as ladies of the time would most certainly have had another garment on under the outer dress.

Then there's the question of shoes, hat/head-dress, belt, accessories... and at least some of these will undoubtedly have to wait for another year, since I only have 10 days to do all of this!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013


So. Damn. Cold.

I know it's winter here, but still, it's supposed to be the sub-tropics. It just shouldn't be this cold, is all.

Wall-hangings for the twins are proceeding apace - i.e. they are done apart from the actual calligraphy. All dressmaking is on hold until I get them done - I need all the daylight I can get!

Doll costumes continue - the Welsh doll outfit is taking more time than expected because I've redone the shawl at least 3 times already. Still, I think I've got it figured out now.

An unexpected crochet hat happened the other day. I blame the yarn fumes. California 8ply 100% wool in colour 'Storm' (which is green and purple, go figure). From the stash, though, so it was stashbusting, not startitis. (It's important to keep these things straight.) And I'm thinking of doing a pair of wristwarmers in the leftovers.

It's ideal weather for baking, so chocolate biscuits might be happening sometime soon. No more muffins just yet though - we still have quite a few in the freezer.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Rain, rain, go away

At the moment:

Some things I want to do I can't do because the light is too bad and I can't see.

Some things I want to do I can't do because they wouldn't dry in this weather.

Some things I want to do I can't do because they can't be done until I have other things done first, which I can't do because either I can't see or they wouldn't dry.

And I did all the other things yesterday.

Also, the Abbey Medieval Festival has just announced it's having a costume competition this year - announced with LESS THAN A MONTH to go - emphasizing historical accuracy and skill/techniques - and somehow I still think I would have a chance of getting something done. No.

Thursday, 6 June 2013


I've been taking things pretty easily for the last week, on account of not wanting to precipitate another bout of RSI (one was most definitely enough!). Also, I seem to be on a doll-clothes kick as far as knitting goes, and doing a lot of work with fine yarn and needles really doesn't help wrist tension. I've being trying to use ergonomic techniques for knitting - like using different hand positions for knit rows and purl rows - which work pretty well until you get to a rib section, and then you're basically stuffed. But basically, I'm recovered, and am trying to create a Welsh costume based on the patterns in the old Patons booklet I got the Russian doll costume out of: "Dolls Clothes Around the World".

I'm a bit annoyed with the dressmaking at the moment, as I've been trying out the patterns from the Surefit pattern making kits, and have made a pair of trousers that still don't fit despite having followed instructions. However, I've now got some interfacing that can apparently also be used for toile fitting - BEST idea ever if it works! - and will try again. I'm also going to try the blouse from the same kits and see if it fits any better.

Meanwhile my baby twin cousins are rapidly approaching their 2nd birthday, and of course I need to make their presents. These are going to be co-ordinated wall-hangings featuring their names and some nursery-rhymes, in the same style as the ones I did for my other little cousins when they were babies - made from cardboard and ribbons, the name is on one side and the nursery rhyme on the other. Hopefully I'll have enough time to get these done!