Entries Tagged 'stringy bits' ↓

Oops, Fell Off Again

Yes, I kinda fell off the internet again.

Robin is still wandering the country in training. I hear from him, usually a short Facebook post, about once per week. He’s on trainer #4, and I’m hoping will be done soon. He’s spent a couple weeks waiting for trainers, but at least he’s been being paid for the waiting.

Two weeks ago Ron started orientation with Schneider, half of last week was kinda flail-ish with getting his truck and getting it fixed and cleaned, so today starts his first real week. He left stupid early this morning, and will be back Saturday, so home Saturday night through Sunday night. So far he’s happy with Schneider, and his shoulder is enjoying not dealing with tarps.

The dogs are Not Pleased with being crated all day. Once we settle into a more predictable pay schedule and pay off some bills that have accumulated, I’m hoping I can get a daily service to come and let them out around the middle of the day.

Thanksgiving with the extended family-by-choice was fun. 8 of us total, which meant we all had “real” plates and flatware, and the house was pretty much full.

Last weekend we bought a Charlie Brown Christmas tree – Peanuts brand and everything. We were at Ace Hardware, and saw a pre-lighted 18” tree, and we considered it. I wandered through the aisle of holiday stuff and found the Charlie Brown tree and snagged it. It’s a proper straggly thing, crossed-boards base, one red ornament, and a “Linus blanket”. It’s sitting on top of the living room water bottle (to be fairly safe from toppling by playing dogs), and Christmas presents are being piled on/around the “Christmas Chair” nearby.

Natter about craft shows at the local high schools can be found on the Otter blog.

Yesterday we went to the storage locker for a couple Otter-ish things, and cotton duck from my fabric stash. In the afternoon we made an apron for Ron from said duck. It’s fairly long, and the bottom turns up and is attached at the sides, and the edge stiffened with some leather, so it forms a big pocket to catch chips when he’s woodcarving.

I also shopped the stash for upholstery fabric, and made new slipcovers for the bolsters that live on/around the couch. They’re 2-3 couches old, and an icky faded blue that do not match the blue couch we have now. Once I had the covers done (which didn’t even take too long), we decided to pull the old dead foam out of the bolsters, and re-stuffed them with fiberfill from Sweet Potato, Ron’s co-driver bear, who has developed holes in multiple seams. So now we have a pair of cylindrical bolsters that look nice and are actually useful again.

The Water Resources Christmas luncheon and staff meeting is on Thursday, so last week I made myself a new shirt and vest. Both had some issues, but were solved. I just need to put a hook and eye on the neckline opening of the shirt. I should consider ironing it, too, but I don’t know if I’ll get that far.

Wait, What?

How did we get over halfway through March?

Vests came out pretty well, except for a minor issue trimming one, which pressed out. I wore them to the floodplain managers’ conference, and one of them to a meeting last week. In other sewing news, I also made a couple sorta-scrubs tops, one of which turned out fine, and one of which had to be rescued from a failed attempt at a boat-neck. And I looked at fabric at Spoonflower.com, and have a rather large wish list.

Took Metra and Amtrak to and from Springfield for the conference. From now on I’m paying the extra for Business class on Amtrak – slightly nicer seats, more legroom, priority boarding, and access to the something something club at Union Station – a nicer waiting area with snacks and drinks (including alcoholic, at certain times of day).  You can access the mumble club and get priority boarding by paying for it, which is what I did, and accidentally making 2/3 of the trip in Business class.

There are four more snakes in the house. Two weeks ago we went to the local herp/exotic animal show, and a Corn Snake and Irian Jaya carpet python followed us home. Yesterday we went to a big twice-yearly show, and almost made it, but a King Ratsnake and Water Python jumped out at us. I was also admiring Reticulated Pythons, but they’re tooooo big. And smart, from what I understand.

Today I went to Ikea and got some more shelving, triggered by evicting various things from shelving we had to make room for three of the four new snakes (My water python baby in a half-size Cambro tub (9″x12″-ish as Kajura (sex unknown) is so tiny).

The biggest chunk of shelving is on the second-story landing, replacing the laundry hamper, and holding new hamper bins. I don’t know why I didn’t do that years ago, much more useful than a hamper with unused space up above. The other pieces are under the windows on my side of the room and Ron’s.

Made a small rib roast for dinner, with new potatoes boiled, drained, cut into chunks, and added back to the pot they cooked in, where onions had been cooking in butter/margarine, seasoned with Penzey’s Fox Point seasoning (salt, alliums alliums alliums, and green peppercorns). Yum yum yum.




Higgledy-Piggledy Month

Since I last posted things have kind of turned upside-down and inside-out and higgledy-piggledy.

Ron and Toshiba have amicably separated, as of February 1.

Ron is working on getting a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) endorsement, so he can drive big trucks. At this point he’s passed the written exams for his CDL learner’s permit, not sure when he gets behind the wheel.

Since Ron has been at home, he and Robin made most of the baked goods we sent to the Capricon Cafe – banana bread, corn muffins, and many different kinds of scones (I did a few scones).

Nageswari definitely seems to be getting more used to us – she’s been seen out soaking several times.

Robin cleaned the pantry a couple weeks ago. Wow, space!

I could *not* come up with any good ideas for birthday/Christmas presents for my Mom, and finally in a fit of possible insanity I ordered her a reproduction china doll (with soft body) similar to mine, and sent here a couple Japanese-style outfits. She was thrilled. Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance!

More natter about things that have been worked on over at the Otter blog.

Last Monday I fell off the step-stool while spot-cleaning snake enclosures. Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch. Mostly just stiff Tuesday, pretty sore and uncomfortable (and stayed home) Wednesday and Thursday.

I was going to do some sewing last Monday afternoon, but instead I spent the day flopping around the couch being sore and headachey (did go to acute care, they didn’t think I needed imaging after physical and basic neuro exam).

We have new neighbors (house to the north sold, finally), Mom, Dad, and four grade-school-ish boys. They seem very nice.

The weather last weekend was insane. 30-40 degrees F would have been warm for Capricon weekend. Mid-60s was mind-boggling. Then last week lower-70s.

Had the house open to get fresh air in much of last weekend.

Then it got cold again, and so for the last week or more I’ve been reminded on or off that my sinuses hate big temperature swings.

Capricon: Robin commuted and worked for Dave, Ron commuted and lurked around the Cafe a bit, I stayed home.

We have a new stove, since the oven died in the old one (a while back).

Also a “portable” countertop dishwasher. Was not willing to sacrifice more floor/counter space to a larger unit.

Got rid of the full-sized dish drainer and mat, and obtained a small mat and a roll-up grate-mat that can sit across the sink for larger items that don’t go in the dishwasher (cast iron, larger pots & pans, etc.).

The downstairs bathroom faucet has been replaced with a high-arch bar faucet, with a hose adapter, and there’s a coil-y hose with good spray head hanging on a rack in the bathroom. Watering snakes is much simpler now.

Got the drafting table mostly cleaned off again (see Otter blog), and used my big cutting mat.

Did sewing this weekend – two vests and a jacket, all un-lined. The jacket is kimono-style, vests have kimono-style collars, and square shoulders. Finished the vests, except for a good pressing that will hopefully tame trim issues on one, hand-sewing on the jacket to go.

Vests are to wear over mock-tee shirts at the annual floodplain managers’ conference next week.

Waiting on a new enclosure for Fezzik, Tanami, or Nageswari – depends on how big they all are when it arrives in a couple months. Yes, a long wait, but worth it.

MuseCon Report

Interesting, my last blog post is dated for last Saturday, but it refers to last Friday as “this morning”. 

Anyway, for MuseCon, last Thursday night we stayed at home, and Friday morning we took the dogs to the vet’s, because many good reasons, then went to the hotel. Robin left for the hotel about the same time Ron and I left the house with the dogs, so that he could go help at Dave’s storage locker and do all his Logistics things.

MuseCon was busy. Ops took over hanging all signage, so I sorted signs and left them to it. I was in charge of Stanford/the Workshop Room/Blinkie Room (however you want to think of it). Friday that consisted primarily on making sure that everybody was on the same page for how the room would be set up (blinkies and other soldering things on the south half, everything else on the north half). Most of the Open Builds had moved to the Muse Salon in Marlborough, so Stanford proceeded relatively smoothly, biggest thing was getting hotel engineering to crank up the A/C, because if the room was too warm with <6 people in it for setup on Friday, it was going to be WAY TOO HOT once it got busy.  

I spent more time in the Salon (vs. Stanford) than I probably should have. I left my knitting at home, other than the turkish braid demo stuff, but I brought some doll clothing materials and tools and worked on kosode. Karen and I discussed ideas for the Salon and Stanford for next year, and have some ideas, considering above re: most Open Builds already having moved to the Salon. 

Saturday afternoon we reprised the Letterpress Printing Overview, and Saturday night we reprised Dramatic Readings of Music. This time for dramatic readings the chairs were all in a big circle (I think a leftover from a previous session), which was a good arrangement. Sunday morning we did Braided Snake Wristbands (3-strand mystery braid) for/in the kids programming room.

I took my Inuk and my classical guitar to MuseCon, and Saturday evening before dramatic readings I took them down to the Salon, where Andrea played them through an amplifier with distortion and feedback. Both sounded good, but the classical guitar played that way just sounded so wroooong to me. Andrea fell in love with the Inuk. 

Sunday night we went to the hotel restaurant/steakhouse, had sticker shock at the steak prices, and decided to just get soup, salad, and share a twice-baked potato, which was enormous. Then we went to the Necro-Muse music circle, where I flailed away through most of my classical-ish repertoire (mostly shorter bits out of my method book), Ron tried a couple banjo things, and Cathy McManamon made my Inuk sound very nice indeed. 

We stayed at the hotel Sunday night, and went to breakfast with Ron’s parents on Monday morning. Ron’s sister Alisa had also come to MuseCon, but she left Sunday afternoon. I think they all had a good time.

After breakfast we finished packing, hooked up the trailer, and headed home, where we dropped off the trailer, unloaded the truck, and then went out to pick up the dogs. Gimli was a very very tired puppy, he pretty much spent Monday asleep. Ron and I, and I assume Robin, also took naps. Nobody wanted to cook, so both lunch and dinner were invoked. 

Little Caesar’s called after Ron and the dogs and I had gone to bed, somebody up the food chain had scheduled Robin to open Tuesday morning. And close Wednesday night (at least it wasn’t a clopening). When he’d last checked his schedule, he didn’t have to work until Thursday. He was Not Amused. I can’t say I blame him.

Wednesday morning I had a definitely upset tummy, and stayed home, pretty sure combination of sinus/allergy issues and being tired from MuseCon. At one point Robin came downstairs and told me if I was going to nap I should go up and flop in bed. Grumble grumble grumble acting all adult who does this smart-alek kid think he is anyway? Which I did not do, but I did flop on the couch instead of sitting up. And in the afternoon I tried not to nap again. 

Last night Ron and Robin took blinkie stuff and Mr. Slushie back to D’s. Our stuff is still scattered around the house, and needs to go back to storage. Otter Necessities has an event (Lake Count-I-Con) in two weeks, so a trip to storage will happen some time between now and then to take coolers, etc. back and pick up Otter’s stuff that was stashed for MuseCon.
And that pretty much brings us up to today. Except for snake-natter, which will be its own post. 

Catching Up, Again

Since its been almost a month since I last posted, let’s revisit some of the topics from last time.

Ron’s still fighting insomnia. Visited our family physician yesterday to discuss options. We’ll see how those work out.

The Tree of Damocles (an American Elm) is scheduled for removal the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, along with another little elm and a branch coming over from the back neighbors’ yard. We could take care of the little elm and the branch ourselves, but the minor cost increase is definitely worth letting the professionals take them out/down, and dispose of the remains. Emphasis on the disposal part.

Banjo and guitar lessons still going well.  And Ron got me a wonderful new guitar-like thing, an “Inuk” by Godin Guitars, which is based on an Oud (middle-eastern-ish). It has 11 strings – the highest-pitched 10 are tuned in pairs, same tuning as a guitar. The lowest string is a single. All sets of strings are wound, usually the three highest guitar strings (on metal-strung guitars) are smooth. And the strings fan out as they go (each pair stays parallel). It does have frets (Godin also makes an oud, which does not have frets). It has its own unique sound. And I need to fret it differently than my regular guitars. Short audio/video clip of somebody that knows what they’re doing with it here.

No progress on Bollywood films.

Got a vest made for Robin (the black and silver), which came out well. Got another made for Ron, without the collar of damnation, which came out ok. I thought I could fix the wrinkling on the neckline by adjusting the shoulder seam, but more investigation while Ron was wearing it makes me think the real fix involves alterations to the body.

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 Got a new outfit made for myself. Dark brown skirt, made like hakama, dark red shirt, and a gold brocade jacket, cut along the lines of a kosode, with burgundy trim. The jacket went together as planned, although the very fussy details I committed made it take a while. The shirt, from a Simplicity pattern, turned out well, once I added gussets down the side and underarm. The pattern is set up for different bust sizes, and fits pretty well. I’ll be modifying my gussets (so they play nicely together) and making another couple. I also plan on re-drafting the sleeves, which are fine if you never want to get your elbows away from your sides, but make the shirt ride up funny otherwise.

Teslacon was interesting. I don’t know how to just attend a convention. There were some (IMO) issues – a schedule that was in micro-print, didn’t include the dealer’s room or entertainers, and which left off the hotel map (that was in the PDF version on-line), and opening the dealer’s room an hour early on Sunday without telling the dealers.

Ron got two corset/vests at Teslacon. He looks very very snazzy in them. Also a couple ascot ties. I got a cowl (hood) that matches my new outfit fairly well, a couple big scarves/shawls, a pile of books, and a cuttlefish.

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 Robin got a hat and mask from Blonde Swan. I will post a picture of Ron in one of his corsets and me in my new outfit once I get it from Ron. I also got extremely drunk on Friday night. Ron assures me I was not an annoying drunk. I remember the general gist of everything I said, which was pretty much lacking any brain-mouth filter.  I do remember torquey-torquey-turkey (I was wearing one of Ron’s torques), and that my drinky was smiling at me.  Which it totally was (pumpkin martini).

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Took a vacation/recovery day yesterday, have today off for Veteran’s Day.

And now the cleaning fairies are here, so I’m going to get out of their way…


Stolen Knitting and Not-Dead Dog

Much of the weekend I was working on something like 40 pouches. More natter on that on the Otter blog.

But I did get a bit on the current mittens. As is my wont, I work on both mittens, doing a bit on one and then the other, so they leapfrog. This pair has a section of narrow bands on the fingers, and then a section of Komi geometric patterning on the palm and thumb. I’m making them top-down, got the last narrow band done on one mitten, and on Saturday afternoon was going to get the second one to the same point.

Except I couldn’t find it. I knew I’d worked on it earlier in the day, but it was gone. It bugged me all evening. I looked, Ron looked, Robin looked, Marmaduke looked. It stayed gone. I started to cast on a replacement, then pulled the cast-on back out. Hunted some more. I looked out in the yard, on suspicion of thieving by Pippin. No mitten.

I went to bed annoyed with the missing mitten. It hadn’t re-appeared come morning. We went out to get breakfast. When we got home, I decided to check the back yard again, in daylight (the flashlight function on my iPhone is impressive, but still…). Ron volunteered for that job, and found it. Pippin had stolen it, and since the (little) balls of yarn were tucked inside and the mitten pinned shut with the working needle, there was no tell-tale trail of yarn leading out the dog door, like the other time he stole knitting.

In Pippin’s favor, having seems to be the thing, not chewing. So the mitten was undamaged. And I suspects he only steals knitting that’s fallen on the floor, which I think this mitten had done. Knitting left out on a table, the arm of the couch, or even in an open tote bag on the floor seems to be safe.  And as soon as Ron walked in the door with it, he knew he was in trouble (not a lot of trouble, but still).

Anyway, here’s one of the two mittens, ready to have a bunch of ends from the narrow bands, which are alternating blue and purple, darned in, and then start in the palm patterning, which will be in blue:


Alas, I forgot to wear purple for St. Urho’s Day yesterday. Sob sob.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Robin and I are both wearing orange and green. I have a green collared shirt, unbuttoned about halfway down over an orange T-shirt (and a denim skirt and navy leggings). Robin’s wearing an orange shirt, olive drab kilt, and black vest. I know Ron was talking about wearing orange and green yesterday, not sure he remembered this morning. I currently have Flogging Molly playing on my iWhatsit. Going to switch to Gaelic Storm if I have much loaded, or whatever vaguely celtic I have. And I have leftover corned beef and potatoes (not a cabbage fan) from last week for lunch, so I think that’s festive enough.

If wearing both orange and green makes you twitch, deal. My mother was Catholic, and a Kennedy (no relation to those Kennedys, AFAIK). Dad is a Scandihoovian Lutheran. Robin is just contrary. So orange and green it is.


Catching Up, Over Thataway . . .

I have a big catching-up post covering the last week, but its over on the Otter Necessities blog.

You really do want to go take a look, it turns out that Robin’s room actually has a floor! There’s photographic proof and everything!

And I condensed my yarn stash, but pictures of neatly-stacked bins in a closet really aren’t interesting, so there aren’t any. Here or there.

I finished a set of mittens this week, and have started another. The finished mittens are purple with yellow flowers, made from the leftovers from my purple, yellow, and orange Komi mittens. The mittens I’m working on now are yellow (a different one) and blue leftovers from socks I made several years ago, and some more of the leftover purple.

The purple and yellow mittens definitely need blocking. I keep looking at these mitten blockers, but I don’t like the cutouts that allow you to use the thumb bits as wraps-per-inch gauges, I’m afraid that they’ll snag floats. And the other thing is that most of the mittens I make have pointy tops.  The other choice are these longer gauntlet/wrist warmer blockers, which have smooth thumb pieces, but don’t narrow down for ribbing around the wrist.  And don’t have pointy tops. Maybe I’ll e-mail the seller and ask if I can get the mitten blockers with smooth thumb bits.

Or I could get Robin to make me a wooden pair with smooth thumbs, and pointy tops. We might even have plywood or other lumber of a reasonable thickness in the stash…


Moving Closer to Sewing

Ron didn’t get the hems pinned on my long vest over the weekend, but that’s because we got busy doing other things.

I spent most of Saturday working on the latest program book (for the floodplain managers’ conference next week), and bits of Sunday morning and evening, so I could send it off to the printer Monday morning.  Yay! I have my life back!

Placing a PeaPod order on Friday, I was tempted strangely by a frozen “Cajun” Turtucken with sausage, which was on sale. We had it for dinner Saturday. It was more like a turkey roll with an inner layer of duck, and some bits of softer brown stuff that I think was either sausage or stuffing, with green herby bits. It was rather dry. It was greatly improved by making curry out of it on Sunday, chopped up and mixed with browned onions, coconut milk, a chicken bahai (spelling approximate) seasoning packet, a slosh of key lime juice, and chunks of oriental sweet potato, all cooked in the crock pot. The oriental sweet potato (as well as the seasoning mix) was from Eurofresh. It had a darker, more reddish skin, and white flesh. It also seemed to be less sweet than the standard sweet potato/yam. It wouldn’t look right in a sweet potato dish on Thanksgiving, but I’ll probably buy them again for things like curry. The one I got was really big – one was plenty for a batch of curry that mostly-filled the 4-quart stock pot. That may just be a function of time of year, IIRC the available yams were also big.

Other not-sewing things done Sunday included getting new hiking boots for Robin, since his old pair had developed a hole, and hitting a couple places looking for a new case/cover for Ron’s iPad (he ended up with an Otter Defender).

Getting closer to sewing, on Sunday afternoon Ron went with me to JoAnn, to look for fabric to coordinate with my long-vest brocade to make a sash, to wear if I don’t want to wear a corset (externally), and possibly trim for the neck opening and cuffs of the shirt. We couldn’t find any brocades/fancy-schmancy fabrics that coordinated with the dark burgundy, but I did find a pretty teal sari-ish fabric with a gold brocade pattern and selvedge borders. I got a couple yards of that, which is more I need for a sash, but I wanted to have enough selvedges for shirt trim. I also got 5 yards of solid teal kona cotton, to make a skirt or pants or something with, and for the back side of the sash.

Found sash directions on a Civil War-era forum I’ve been lurking on for a while, which confirmed how I’d pretty much planned to make it – sew the fabric over a stiff lining, close with hooks and eyes, and use a fake knot or sew the tails to hang one from the back side and the other to flip over the top edge.. I suspect I may have read the directions previously. Not sure if I’m going to go in search of buckram to stiffen it, or hit the stash for cotton duck. I’m thinking I may get some embroidery floss

The sari-ish fabric was on sale, I’m wondering if I should have gotten another yard or so to make a vest for Ron. Or maybe that would be too much matchy-matchy, not sure.

Debating what I want to cover my butt for this outfit. So far the choices are baggy/blousy pants, as in the ones in the Folkwear Sarouelles pattern, a split skirt, probably this one from Laughing Moon Mercantile, or the Folkwear Walking Skirt, which I think is more Edwardian than Victorian, but whatever. I’m not sure the walking skirt is going to work on my figure, I suspect it may not have enough space over the hips.

Currently a split skirt is the front-runner. The Folkwear version has the front panel permanently attached to one leg, and one review implies that it’s awkward to wear/walk in. There’s a version from Truly Victorian, based on a 1901 tailoring guide, which I like the look of but thought I wouldn’t have enough fabric for, but I see now that I was looking at the longer version. I like the back pleats and side openings, which I think would work better if I need to take it in for shrinking-me. Hmm, decisions, decisions. Neither the Laughing Moon or Truly Victorian goes big enough for my hip size (unless I’ve lost more there than I realize), so maybe I will go with the Truly Victorian one.

The Folkwear Vintage Vests and Victorian Shirt patterns arrived yesterday. Shirt fabric is out for delivery today, but it doesn’t appear that the vest fabric has shipped yet.


In Search Of Folkwear 502

In my previous post, I forgot to mention that I discovered an out-of-print Folkwear pattern that I’m now lusting after: No. 502, Russian Cossack Uniform.

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We wants it, Precious!  Wants it for steampunk outfit(s)! Wants it for Girl Genius Jaeger uniform! Want want want!

Unfortunately, it is not only out of print, but very unavailably so. Of course, I discovered it just a couple weeks *after* one sold on eBay.ca for a not-unreasonable price (CAN$25). I’ve got an eBay search set up for it, hopefully I’ll be able to find one sooner or later.

Not Sewing Yet

I’ve been working on the floodplain managers’ conference program book, so sewing has been at a standstill.

However, I’ve been poking around learning how Victorian-era vests were made and what with. And then deciding what I was and wasn’t going to do along those lines, because steampunk isn’t exactly historically accurate.

Today I ordered patterns and fabric. I went ahead and got the Folkwear vest and Victorian shirt patterns. I don’t recall the authenticity-minded opinion on the shirt, but the vest pattern gets a thumbs-up. I ordered from Vogue, so there’s a chance I could have the patterns as early as tomorrow.

For the vests I got two black brocades, one with a grey fern-leaf pattern, and one with a brown floral. I also got floral (rose) brocades in green and amber. I got enough amber for two vests. Lining was typically muslin, so I’m good there. For the backs I got black, dark grey, and brown cotton sateen – vests usually had brown “holland” (polished linen) backs, but black and dark grey aren’t out of the question, and sateen is the usual modern alternate to holland.  So, I have enough fabric for 5 vests. Good thing I’ve develop an urge to make vests.

The two black brocades are actually stretchy, with 2-3% lycra content, but vests were typically interfaced, so a layer of muslin should both act and interfacing and un-stretchy the brocades.

Didn’t order OD twill for Russian-ish uniform tunics, the vest bug jumped the queue.

From fabrics.com I got cotton broadcloth ($3-ish/yard) in black, grey, and tan, for shirts. Or whatever. Dressy shirts were actually white most of the time, but given our hard water, I decided that I’d be making not-white dress shirts, thanksverymuch.

First step on the vests will be tracing the pattern onto the non-woven interfacing-ish material I have, then cutting out the basic shell in muslin to see what alterations may need to be made for Ron and Robin.  After, however, I hem my long vest. Ron has promised to mark/pin the hems for me this weekend, unless I’m busy with the program book and/or leatherworking.