Friday, October 26, 2012

Event PSA - Alice in Wonderland Tea!

There is a lovely be-costumed Tea scheduled for the 10th of next month!

I've been thinking off an on again about hosting my own Tea, since the last one was such a success, but this is even better! 

My good friend Jannean is visiting for the weekend, and will be in attendance as well as my sister and her Hubs!  If you'd like to go, buy/reserve tickets ASAP - the host is getting nervous that there are not as many attendees as hoped.  (It will be a fabulous party, no matter how many people are or are not there!!)

Please note, costumes of any sort are encouraged!  The photography alone is worth it - if you've never been to Thanksgiving Point, you certainly should go!  (And what better time to go, than with fellow costuming enthusiasts?!)


Come out and enjoy the beautiful gardens of Thanksgiving Point through the doorway of Alice and Wonderland Steampunk style!

Partake in the delightful and delicious treats and sweets picked by The Hatter himself and dance around with the March Hare and the darling Door Mouse (should she wake up.)

The menu is:

- Assorted Petites Croissants
- Fresh Seasonal Sliced Fruit
- Garden Vegetable Crudites with Herbed Ranch Dip
- Petite Fours
- Assorted Tartlets (Chocolate Raspberry & Lemon Berry)
- Flavored Cheesecakes (Vanilla & Raspberry Swirl)
- Lemon Bars
- Dozen Cucumber & Cream Cheese Canapes
- Sparkling Cranberry Juice and Hot Tea

Take pictures with Alice or BE Alice, the White King or Queen. But whatever you do, however you are, just don't miss out on this scene!

- Costume contest for the best Steampunk'd Alice in Wonderland Character.

- Door prizes by the Door Mouse.

- Marvelous Music

Tickets are $20.00 per person, which includes food, drink, and photography in the gardens.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Tale of the Cunning Hat

Jayne: “How’s it sit? Pretty cunning, don’tchya think?”
Kaylee: “I think it’s the sweetest hat ever.”
Wash: “A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he’s not afraid of anything.”
Jayne: “Damn straight.”

This project was meant to be.  I quite literally purchased the yarn for this project from a gal named Kaylee. KAYLEE!!  It totally made my day!

If you haven't guessed yet, I am attempting to turn this.....

I'm feelin' mighty 'Ma Cobb' right about now!

Now, if there is a level below novice, that's where I am when it comes to knitting.  But.  I am determined!  I read as many knitting patterns* as I could manage, and tried to digest what they were telling me.  (I have the same disease in knitting that I do in crochet - try as I might, I cannot understand a pattern to save my life!)

Unfortunately, my local craft store choice was quite limited RE: circular needles and yarn weights.  I had read that a bulky yarn is preferred, but I could only find 'Super Bulky', and no corresponding sized needles.  I had also read elsewhere that a double strand may work just as well, but, with each skein at $4 a pop, and lack of appropriate needle sizes, I thought better of it, and went with a regular (...whatsit.....worsted??) weight.

I ended up getting (I kid you not!) Vanna White's brand of yarn; "Vanna's Choice" in Cranberry (180), Terracotta (134), Rust (135), and Mustard (158).  You'll notice I got two versions of an orange-y color....I couldn't decide in the store which I liked better, and I ended up using the Rust.  (I think.  I'll double-check that!)

I bought a size 8, and size 10 set of circular needles, because I wasn't quite sure which size would be better, and out of 3 stores I went to, I couldn't find a 9 (which apparently is the correct size to use with this yarn??)  except in hugely expensive knitting kits, but neglected to remember to check the length of the circular  needle.  I ended up doing an emergency needlectomy and shortened the plastic connector-y bit by a good 6" or so, using some pliers, scissors and glue.....and so far so good.  (Which leads me to there such a thing as circular knitting needles with elastic in the middle bit?  If not, it should be invented, stat.)

Holy 'Twisted German' Batman!
One particular set of instructions mentioned that the cast-on technique for the original was probably 'Twisted German' or 'Estonia'.  Huh.  I had no idea that there even was more than one cast on technique!  Second hurdle: Learn new cast on technique.  Enter Youtube!  I watched a few 'how to' videos on Twisted German Cast On, but the one that finally made the 'CLICK!' sound in my brain was this one, from iknitwithcatfur.

I messed around with using the cast on technique, and trying to get it to be a somewhat relatively even tension, and ended up with a pretty acceptable approximation, I believe!

There is certainly room for a whole load of improvement.  However, the Jayne Hat is a bit on the.......rustic side, so I'm not at all worried about making my version look too terribly polished!  (Thank goodness!)

Ribbing accomplished......eventually!
The next hurdle was to remember how to to rib knit.  For some reason, even though I actually was doing it right, it kept looking wrong to me - so I ended up ripping out the first 3 rows + the cast on over and over and over and over.....wasting precious time practicing my new-found and remembered from dusty recesses knitting skillz.
The lesson learned here is to forge ahead and do it even if it looks wrong.  Wait, that is a terrible lesson!  Hah!

I probably could have done the ribbing a couple of rows shorter, (I ended up doing 6 rows in this version) but I think it'll be OK, especially once stretched out over a real noggin'.  :)  Next time I'll probably do 4 and call it good.

Ribbing + knit.
I think I eventually got at least close to a perfect size (if a little bit on the big side) with 100 stitches around.  If I had to take a wild stab, I'd say that 100=XL/XXL, 96=L 92=M 88=S 84=XS.  Ish.

And now on to what I'm comfortable with....straight up knitting for rows and rows and rows and rows.....

I'm a teeny bit nervous about the red ear-flapadoodles (decreases, ZOMG!), but I have a while to go before I tackle that particular beastie!

Oh, and also, remember how I've confessed that I am a terrible gadget junkie? I know how to make pom poms without a special gadget?  Of course.  Have I been making pom poms without a gadget as long as I've been needing to make my own pom poms.  Of course.  But then.  As I was perusing the paltry selection of knitting needles, what did I spy?!  Yes.  Yet another gadget.  It still remains to be seen as to how well it functions, but I now have another doo-dad to add to my ridiculous collection!  I'll post about how well it works when I get to that point!

*A list of of the most helpful patterns and instructions I found on the Jayne Hat:
Keiyla's Blog (This one has particularly helpful; it has a lot of screen caps that I used for visual reference, and some pretty danged detailed observations - most of which are far too detailed for my purposes, but extremely interesting, nonetheless!)
Katydid Knits  (PDF)
The Canny Crafter
Ravelry/Erika Barcott
Geek Crafts
Redshirt Knitting
Knitting Ninja

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Sanna, over at Rococo Atelier has kindly nominated me for 'The Versatile Blogger' award.  Thank you, it is just the boost I needed as I re-gather some much-needed energy in my sewing (and blogging)!!!

The rules are:

1) Thank and link back to the person who nominated you
2) Paste the award to your blog (I'll work on Blogger layout has been kind of funky for a while!)
3) Tell 7 things about yourself
4) Nominate up to* 15 other blogs

7 Things About Me

  • Halloween has always been by very favorite holiday.  (Tis the season, and all)  Oddly enough, the more I got into costuming as a hobby, the less and less I've done things very Halloween-y.
  • I've been a member of the SCA for going on 13 (or 14?) years.  My early years were more focused on the martial combat aspect of the game, but as I grew older (and suffered multiple car accidents), my focus (quite happliy) has shifted to clothing, embroidery, cooking, illumination and music.  The SCA has been the bulk of my costuming experience, although I'm trying to branch out!  I've been out of the loop in my local SCA group for far too long, and I thoroughly intend to get my act together soon and start playing again.  (I miss my friends!!)
  • I am super-lucky that my wonderful husband completely supports me and my costuming habit - even if he doesn't quite.....get it.  (Love you, honey!)  In the last few years, I've been attempting to stretch my costume making and events to include other eras.  I'm hoping to make next year a better year than the last few for costumed events!
  • I am an addict for sewing gadgets and specialty gizmos.  I can never, ever have enough!  My two favorite things right now (because I used them both so much on my last project!) are my applique scissors, and my rotary cutting machine (I just wish they had a bigger selection of cutting blades!).
  • I hate sleeves.  With a blinding and bloody passion.  I dread, and sometimes choose my next project solely dependent upon the sleeves.  (I am going to follow this tutorial faithfully next time I have to do set in sleeves, and see if I can manage a set of sleeves with minimal angst!)
  • I've been able to survive costuming almost solely from my stash for the past 3+ years!  (Granted, one year of that has been all quiet on the costume front, but still.....)  I'm not sure if that is a good thing, or a bad thing!  (Actually, one of my upcoming posts is probably going to be along the stash-busting lines...)
  • My very favorite colors are lavender, sage-y green, and an awful shade of green, that my good friend Holly calls "Greemp" (Funnily enough, when going to look for a color swatch, the one that most closely resembles my fav color is called, of all things, "Offbeat Green"!)

Nominate Other Blogs**

In no particular order:
  • To Bead or Not To Bead  Phae is a ridiculously enthusiastic and awesome costumer who does Queen Elizabeth for local Ren Faires.  She is so generous and lovely!
  • The Compleatly Dressed Anachronist  I have been lurking and following Edyth for quite some time - and I love her!  (She has prompted multiple linen and wool splurges that I have yet to delve into!)  Is is creepy to say I've been thinking of a trip to an event in the Middle on the off chance of meeting her IRL?  Yeah, probably creepy. 
  • Bella Miss Ella  I've been a fan since the good 'ole Livejournal days!  (And I have to admit, I've been awful about keeping up with my good friends over at Livejournal.  Boo!)  She has such a fun outlook, and is such a creative costumer.  I can't say enough about how much I wish to meet her some day!  
  • Madame Isis' Toilette  I have been following Isis' 18th c. blog, Isis' Wardrobe, but somehow missed the fact that she started a toiletries-centric blog!  A woman after my own heart!  
  • Is that an Apres?  Hastings puts the phrase "over the top" to shame!  She's constantly doing crazy, huge, detailed projects that would put me in an early grave!  This gal knows how to dream, and dream big!
  • See Jane Sew  It seems like yesterday that I (very uncharacteristically, by the by) spotted and immediately accosted Jane at Uprising!  I wish I saw her more often nowadays, and it does seem that I saw her more when she lived out of state!  I miss you, Jane!
  • Mode Historique  It's no secret - I want to grow up to be her!  The few times I have met her in person, she's been as kind and gracious as I would imagine she would be.  She's ridiculously talented, and has a head for research - and certainly knows her stuff.  My husband probably thinks I'm nuts....The first time Sarah commented on my humble blog, I went flying downstairs and shouted "MY COSTUMING HERO COMMENTED ON MY BLOG! OMG!!1!"  A while after that, at my first attendance at Costume College, she stopped me in the hall, and introduced herself.  And guess what - after she continued on her way, frantic phone call to my husband followed....and you guessed it......."MY COSTUMING HERO JUST RECOGNIZED ME IN THE HALLWAY AND INTRODUCED HERSELF!  OMG!!1!"  So yeah.  It's true, I'm a fangirl.
  • The Path Within  Jaquelinne can do anything.  She's like Superman, only prettier!  Seriously, folks.  Her extensive repertoire of crafty craftyness is mind-boggling!  I adore this woman!  She has such a steady calm and grace about her, that one can't help but feel at peace whenever she is around!
  • Festive Attyre  I've been avidly following Jen since the Festive Attyre website.  She's been such a huge costuming inspiration over the years!  I love her incredible range of work - holy cow, this woman does everything! 
  • The Anéa Journal  If you looked for Italian stuff on the internet, you've no doubt stumbled across her blog.  She has got an amazing array of pictures and resources, too!  I am so in love with the gowns that she makes - enough to make one drool!  Italians represent!
    Desperate Needle  Have you seen her Mina gown??  If not, go.  Look now.  I'll wait......You're back?  Gorgeous, no?!
  • Before the Automobile  I cannot believe how insanely perfect this woman looks.  I love her look - she's so poised and put together from head to toe!  Were I a jealous person, I would most certainly put her at the top of my 'so very jealous of' list!
  • The Couture Courtesan  Another fine lady I've been covertly stalking since LiveJournal.  I am always amazed at the wide array of skill she possesses!  I'm pretty sure by now, she's done one of everything!  She always looks so classic and stylish - no matter what century she's wearing.
  • Costuming Drama  That fateful day at Costume College when she declared "We have the same name, we have to be friends!".....And dare I say, although I've been an awful, absentee friend the past year, I love this girl!  She is So Awesome.  The 'Other Noelle' has so much energy and talent - I wish I could live like her!
  • Démodé  What I wouldn't give to spend a weekend sewing with Kendra!  I just want to lick her brain and gain some knowledge!  As a side-note, unbeknownst to me, I met her briefly at Costume-Con 23 (I think it was 23?), when I swerved, stomped on my brakes and headed towards all the pretty, be-costumed people walking down the street.  I then called my friends,forced them to dress up in the gowns I had made for them, and show up to this 'Thing' that was going on.  (At the time of the frantic phone calls, I still had no idea what was going on!)  I'd been avidly devouring anything costume-related I could find on the internet - I would have died if I known the person I was talking to was The Kendra. 

*my own addition.  :)
**I know not everyone participates in 'blog awards', but I thought it would be nice to be able to give a shout-out to people I think are pretty dang rad, whether they've already received, or do not participate in blog awards!   

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ironing and Ironing Accessories pt. II

Boards and Hams and Pressing Aids, Oh My!

Pressing hams are the best!  They come in two basic types (although there are all manner of shapes to be had) - a ham loaf-y looking thing with one end bigger than the other (hence the name, I suppose!); and a thinner log shape.  If you were saying to yourself "But Noelle, how do I press open curved seams?" in the last post, well, this is your answer.  There is almost no curve in the ham loaf-y thing that will not fit a curved seam with a little fiddling.  But next, one might say "But Noelle!  What about narrow items that I can't press open seams without squishing the rest of my thing?!" (narrow things like sleeves)....for that you have a ham.......log?  (Just googled it.  I guess it's called a seam roll?  I like 'Ham Log' better, personally.)

For longer seams that I can't just throw over my ironing board (things like pants legs), I use a mini ironing pad....thing.  There are specialty ironing boards for such things, but I find my simple little pad does a great job.

And then, there are the ever-vexing corners and points - how in the world does one press those seams?  Well, enter a point presser!  I happened to find mine jumbled in with wooden decor items at my local thrift store (they obvs. didn't know what it was!), and purchased it for a whopping $0.50.  It does look like it is hand made, rather than purchased, and I'm pretty sure it's not a hardwood, but for fifty cents, who am I to argue?

The other side of the point presser is called a 'clapper', and aids in setting seams - just steam a seam open, and use the base to hold (really, really press down!) open the seam until cooled, setting in the seam or crease.  (This is super helpful for bulky seams that just don't want to stay open.)

Now, on to the ever-familiar ironing board!  The most important thing here is to keep the cover clean.  Ironing board covers are really easy to make, too!  There are a ton of tutorials out there - just make sure you pre-wash, the fabric is color-fast, and can hold up to a lot of abuse.

One of my favorite things in my sewing room is my pressing board....a vast expanse of ironable surface!  (Here's how I made it)  You can use the same principle to make any size or shape of portable ironing board....pretty sweet!

On a side-note, a few layers of towels can be used in a pinch as a portable ironing board...just be sure that you're not scorching whatever surface it is resting on!

Another nifty little gadget is this finger protector thing I picked up at some point from a quilting shop.  It comes in really handy when doing fiddly little ironing bits.  (It kind of looks like a knitted finger balaclava...)

And speaking of fiddly little ironing bits, a couple of things that are handy to have (although by no means are necessary) are mini irons.  My favorite is a clover brand crafting iron - the little iron-shaped head is super helpful for pressing corners, and the ball and wand shapes are fantasic for partlets and other shaped things.

The little electric mini iron (of course it's lavender!) is great for getting into tiny spaces that a regular iron couldn't dream of...