Friday, 30 March 2012

eBook promotion

Enter "paseitje" (without quotes) coupon code at Ravelry checkout for a 25% discount on each eBook you purchase! Applicable to all innerShelter eBooks (Esporòfits, Chordata, Somnium/Venenum and Ledrada). Valid until the 15th of April. Click here to redeem your coupon code.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Ledrada give-away and other life stuff

In order to boost Ravelry project pages for the Ledrada set, I’ll be giving away 5 copies of the eBook to the first 5 commenters to this thread!

Hurry up and post :)

And of course it would be nice if you took some pics of your FO (shawl and/or mitts!) and created a project page! ;)

In other life news, yesterday I finished the test-week for the DTP course for the unemployed. It was in fact some sort of protracted evaluation. In the end I was selected for the waiting list, even though I was told to improve my spoken Dutch (which is admittedly not great...). So the waiting list may go from a few weeks to a few months. I may know which tomorrow. Meanwhile, wait! and prepare to wait! some more...

Friday, 23 March 2012

Grey and green pt.3

Just finished it! perhaps it needs a little ironing...

Too big for the XS mannequin of course.
Inside out
I got a couple of sports bras two days ago (the only ones I found that fit me and didn't have underwires), but they are a little too high on the center. Thinking of unpick the binding off one and cutting away a little bit. They are grey like this dress so I think it could be a good match (definitely after fixing since this dress has a very deep neckline). I think I am gonna try it out now :)

Oh, and the inside of the dress, it is all lined except the sleeve caps. I wonder if it will be too warm for summer, but hey now it is spring :)

Edit: Ok, I fixed the bra :) first I unpicked the binding and stitched a line further in on one of the cups, cut off that piece and tried it on. Then I used the cut-off piece to mark the other cup, stitch etc the same way. Before unpicking the other side of the binding I marked the middle point with a pin. The binding was a bit short for the new lower neckline, but very stretchy, and once sewn brings the cups in a little which is a good thing since I just sliced across a less cupped-in place than the original edge (does that make any sense?). So I pinned and basted and stitched the binding in place. The cup foam is thinner at the edge, this was challenging since now the new edge was like twice as thick. Makes for a less than perfect edge, but I am happy enough with it. I put it on the mannequin over the other untouched bra to show the difference.

So here it is under the new dress. When it peeks out a little at the center it is ok since it is nearly the same grey :)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Grey and green pt.2

Well underway with this dress! I am so far very happy with the results. I like to think that this green is flattering to me, and the fabric is oh so soft! I worry about durability but oh hey.

So I am at this point:

I still need to serge the join between bodice and waistband, then move on to the skirt. Very straightforward from here on. I finally used gathers under the bust instead of darts, it looked much better.

For this project I am trying to exercise restraint. I am a very impatient person and I rush into things looking for instant gratification. Quality suffers. My joints suffer (perhaps stress makes me tense up). So I decided to breathe deeply and do one thing at a time, a little every day (I even cleaned up the work surface -read dining room table- every day! yay me). Day 1 I bought the fabric and cut the pattern, Day 2 I cut the fabric, Day 3 (yesterday) I put the bodice and sleeves together and attached them to the bodice, Day 5, which is today, is for the waistband. I got home quite early today and I put the waistband together carefully, still feeling fresh and relaxed I decided to take a little break and then continue and attach it to the bodice. I am now taking another break, and considering finishing the dress today. Or perhaps I should just serge this last seam and leave it for tomorrow. This formula has worked so beautifully perhaps I should continue at the same pace :) I'll see.

For this dress, I originally wanted to use a waistband based on this dress (source unknown unfortunately, Google picture search was fruitless as well), but with alternating colours. I decided to take it a bit easier on the waistband and try this later on another dress, meanwhile "training" with a similar but simpler waistband, like this vintage image. So it turned out like this:

The lining is peeking out. I learned a few things to make it easier and better next time, so I am glad I went with the simpler one.

I have been saving pictures for quite a long time to use as inspiration for sewing these jersey dresses (and recently uploaded many of them here, since then I just pin to this board what I find around that I like).
I have a lot of woven fabric in the closet but it has been completely forgotten as of late. The jersey dresses are flattering, extremely comfortable and easy to wear (dresses in general I guess, just pick one and some shoes and you are done, but since ready to wear dresses very rarely fit me I didn't really know!). They do wear off faster than your average woven fabric, but the other pros make up for it, I think. And they are so much easier to make! At least I have found a formula that works very well for me. Narrow shoulders and small bust means I can get away with no closures whatsoever (I must admit zippers are my bane). I just slip all of these dresses over the head. I like fitted clothes, on the upper part of my body anyway, and these stretch a lot, so I basically modify my base pattern, which was based on a combination of garments that fit with some negative ease, on a rather freehand manner, cut the fabric adding the seam allowance as I cut (oh the horror :D), sew it up, and it nearly always fits. When in doubt I baste and make adjustments, which are usually none to minimal. The skirts are always A line since I have wide and heavy hips. Easy peasy.

It turns also rather cheap. Clothes here are quite expensive, at least the ones with a nice material and finishing are. Add to that that I don't find dresses that fit me or colours that flatter me. Depending on the dress (sleeves, facings etc) I use between 3 and 1,5 metres of fabric, viscose or cotton jersey, which costs between 10 and 15€ per metre (fabric is not too cheap here either). This one dress was around 20€ including thread and lining, and I think that's a pretty good deal!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Grey and green

Last Monday I bought some fabric on a whim, 1m of very soft grey jersey rayon and 0.5m of a vibrant mossy green, for a short sleeved dress. The grey is rather beautiful, very slightly warmish, so that it goes rather well with this green. At least I think so :) I can't quite get the tones right in the pictures:

I modified my jersey dress pattern a bit and then cut the pieces on Tuesday. I did not have enough for lining the back bodice part so I cut it from a very fine nude nylon jersey. I thought I better line other pieces as well so I ended up cutting linings for all pieces (except the front of the bodice that is lined in self fabric) minus sleeves (cuffs are folded double too).

Today I put together the bodice and sleeves:

Temporarily pinned at center and some "darts"
Hopefully tomorrow on to the waistband which will be a bit challenging I think.

These days I am going to a "test week" for a DTP course I mentioned some time ago. The waiting list may still be very long (unknown exactly how much) but they are already having us "tested" to see what level we are at. Or something. I am having to wake up at 6:45 which I am totally not used to! Yesterday there was a lot of talking but today we got to work. I finished everything there was to do quite early so they sent me home!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mint green

Mint, eucalyptus, this sort of unsaturated, sometimes slightly grey, sometimes more juicy green, I've always liked it a lot but never thought I could pull it off much. I am after all a recovering metalhead* of the may-be-confused-for-a-goth variety.

I guess one of the best side effects of growing older is a very distinct "who the fuck cares" attitude :)

I particularly like these green shades with peachy pink and coral, and I've been pinning lots of those examples in this Pinterest board. I also used it years ago for this necklace I often wear (yes despite all! it is small ;) where I combined eucalyptus green and teal (it depicts eucalyptus leaves and blossoms after all) with the pink of the blossoms and the setting in copper - I love copper and I wish it didn't stain skin green!):

Eucaliptus - Necklace and earrings 2008
Enamel over copper, copper, aventurine, amazonite
So, last Friday I went to the local yarn store with my friend. I am happy to say she may now have been bitten and irredeemably infected by the knitting bug ;D while there I was having a look at the new spring/summer yarns. I do have a clear objective this spring/summer which is to overcome my knitting curse: ever since I started knitting just now 4 years ago, I haven't been able to pick up the needles during the spring and particularly during the summer months. Probably a failure to pick up suitable yarn and/or projects. So yeah, I thought I should pick a decidedly summery yarn. Here it is:

Katia Mykonos
My original idea was to knit a Coachella which has been on my queue for a long time, and I wanted to knit it in black or dark grey. Yeah I know... but for that more casual look I always must revert to the metalhead of the may-be-confused-for-a-goth variety, nothing to do about it. So I had my doubts I would actually get much use of a sleeveless top in this shade. Shawl it is:

I am making it up as I go. I quite like the fabric produced by this yarn (I am using needles slightly bigger than recommended). The yarn itself is quite cool as well. Bunch of darker green matte threads + 1 golden thread wrapped in a light and shiny thread, which gives a stiff silk/papery look. The yarn however feels deliciously soft and knits very drapey. We'll see where this goes! I have so much yarn (5 balls) that I may make a fully fringed shawl. Shock, horror.

I probably should have kept this yarn for later in the year when it gets warmer, at this rate it won't last long, and these last two days we have had to put the heating on... but I guess there is more where this came from ;)

*Recovering in the fashion sense, into which I very happily relapse when I feel like it. Never "recovering" in the musical sense though!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Busy day :)

Today I finally published my Esporòfits eBook with all the patterns! also on Etsy and Patternfish (to go up soon, this goes to my pattern page meanwhile).

I revised the patterns thoroughly yet again, and decided it was about time I published the mittens' pattern in Spanish. I had a nearly finished translation around for ages and today I finished it up, laid it out in the new landscape design, and published it in Ravelry as well.

Yesterday my featured pattern add started running on the Ravelry pattern page so I am hoping a little more exposure these 15 days :)

Chordata eBook and hat are up on Etsy as well. And I suppose that is all for today! Messy kitchen here I come ;P

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Hair and two new hats

Yesterday, I went to the hairdresser. I had not gone to one since 2004 or thereabouts. Before that, very long stretches of time passed in between visits, too. Simply, it has been a very rare occasion that I have come out of one satisfied (and a few of those where happy freak accidents).

One such time is when I got a haircut in an Afro salon (to fix a disgraceful haircut I got talked into). This woman actually knew how to deal with curly hair! I have always wanted long hair anyway so I switched to cutting my hair myself every many months or years. It is actually very easy if you want a simple haircut (which is always advisable for curly hair anyway!). I follow this technique. If you Google that you will find more info, even some videos. I cut my boyfriend's hair this way as well. His is very loosely wavy which is less forgiving than mine (which curls up and you wouldn't see hem imperfections anyway), but this has always worked beautifully.

But I digress. Yes I went to the hairdresser to get my hair lightened. I have become quite bored with my appearance of late. I blame this on a recalcitrant eyelid eccema due to which I can't wear makeup, not in the way I like anyway! So hair it is, I decided to sacrifice my "virgin" (all of it was not chemically treated and only very seldom I briefly bring a hairdrier near it) hair in the altar of boredom.

Basically I wanted to lighten slightly all over, evenly, and gradually lighten more and more later on, then have a warm coppery tone all over. I did want lighter tips and darker roots to avoid high maintenance of roots, and because I just like lighter tips.
I chose a salon because they use Elumen hair dye which I wanted to try, and I am very happy with the actual colour. Not the bleaching though. I was advised against all over lightening since this supposedly damages the hair too much. I said I just wanted this effect, do it any way you like, but please no stripey highlights. Well, I got, you guessed it, nearly the opposite of what I asked for :D Got some stripey highlights on my crown, with to high a contrast with my very dark natural colour, and the tips of my hair look nearly the same, much darker. Sigh? I also don't understand why burning a few strands a lot is better than burning them all just a little, especially if this is not at all the effect I was looking after.

Quick phone snap my friend took

Again, I think this happened due to my hair structure. Even when dyeing, curly hair doesn't behave in the same way. I have a great taper from roots to tips (which resulted in a much smaller volume of actual hair being highlighted at the tips than the roots when done the usual way), and once it dries it behaves very differently from straight hair (the curls make deep shadows, but the crown lays flat). Will I ever learn?

I am left with two choices, throwing away more money to apparently not get what I want, or trying to do it myself. We'll see...

On to more positive things! I have published two hat patterns this month :) both match other patterns because I am perhaps a little bit obsessed with sets!

First came my Esporòfits Beret. I have mentioned it before. I had it tested by some great ladies and now it is published too!

It is now available in Etsy, Ravelry and Patternfish!

For this one I also took a video illustrating the cast on method (alternate Twisted German and Long Tail COs):

Next in line is the Chordata hat. This one was designed quite organically. I wanted the hat to cover my ears without coming down too low over my eyes, so I made a piece of ribbing for the back, and then two flaps picked up from there and joining at center front, from which stitches are (partially, since the ribbing is continued uninterruptedly) picked up for the body of the hat. Once finished I realised I could also wear it backwards in a similar manner. I went for a slouchy hat but the pattern includes directions for a more fitted one as well:

Already available in Ravelry, soon also in Etsy and Patternfish :)

As I was writing this entry, I received a wonderful package from the amazing artist János Gábor Varga: Etsy shop, Website, Flickr, Boticca interview. I love the clever ways in which he manipulates simple chunks of iron! His progress pictures are always fascinating. Finally I own one of his pieces :) I couldn't pass this beautiful one up, originally titled Medusa from Italian (such we call jellyfish in most latin languages), it does indeed look like one of these fascinating creatures, and my screen name being Medvssa in many places, I couldn't pass it up! 

Work in progress and finished piece, pictures by János

Together with this one, I received a collaboration piece he worked on as well. I sent him two enamels and he sent one of them back set in a beautiful riveted copper box (it was admittedly a rather big enamel for a pendant!) with cute matching spoon. His pictures are better than any I could take so here it goes:

I have to see what I use it for, I wouldn't be able to decide which enamel to place in it!
So that will be all for today. For the next day or two I want to work on an unfinished jersey dress I started long ago, hopefully so I can wear it to the Exhibition opening this Friday. I have opened a Pinterest account, and I have found myself pinning lots and lots of jersey dresses with details I like to one of my boards (aptly named "jersey"? haha). Those will be ideas for dresses to come since this one is already cut and partially assembled! lot of ideas though, but very difficult to find the right shades of fabric! There is only one local fabric store with limited choice. I have to find out which stores to visit in Brussels or Antwerp :)

Phew that was a long post :)