Tuesday, April 05, 2011

I've been unfaithful...

to my wooly fiber stuff. I confess, I've been obsessed with making Renaissance costumes. Only it's become kind of a serious obsession. Like I've now started hand-sewing trim to my bodices. Like I draft my own bodice, shift, and skirt patterns rather than using ready-made ones. Like I have a HUGE fabric stash comprised mostly of linen for garments and wool remnants for trim. Like I have linen and silk thread with which to learn how to embroider blackwork, cuz it's more period. Like I've completely ignored my lovely spindles, and have only knit a pair of stockings to use with my Ren Faire costumes. Yeah, an obession like that.

So, I've hit 2 Ren Faires thus far this year. If I have my way, I'll visit at LEAST 5 more. In Big Bear, San Diego, and Northern California too! So, of course, I had to make sure I have enough variety in my peasanty wardrobe. I mean, how embarrassing to be seen/photographed in the same outfit more than once...I mean, a peasant has her dignity!
So here's a pic from Ren Faire #1, the Palm Springs Ren Fest.

Yes, I also made my boyos' tabbards. I made the chemise, the bodice, the removable sleeves, and both skirts. I also have a coif I made, but ditched cuz hubby didn't like it. This Ren Fest was a total DUD, as it was comprised of like 10 vendors, and 2 stages, and the food court consisted of one booth for Chinese food, one ice cream booth, and one other that sold funnel cakes. At least there was an ale truck. Anyway, we stayed for no more than 1 1/2 hours. Sad :-(
This is from Ren Faire #2, the Spring Escondido Renaissance Faire.

This is my Flemish peasant ensemble. I made the side-lacing tan kirtle as well as the totally reversible over-gown. Drafted both patterns, thank you very much, and you may recognize the sleeves from the prior outfit...Hey, mix & match is SO period, dahling! And I made the linen shirt the night before/morning of, so the cuffs are not finished in ruffled cuffs to match the collar like I planned, but I had used the selvedge edges, so they're kind of 'done'. I love the pinky-coral linen of the gown! I still need a partlet and an apron, but I think this costume was a resounding success in the reproductin dept.
Google "Flemish gown", and you'll see :-) Here's a front view, just cuz. This Faire was little, but WAAAY cooler than that Palm Springs atrocity. The lovely grassy, oak-shaded setting, the engaging, costumed attendees, and the entertaining stage shows really made this one worth being at. I'm even planning on going back for the Fall version later this year!

In other costume-y news, I've most-recently finished a front-lacing brown heavy-linen kirtle with really cool felt guards on the skirt & bodice, but I still have to hand-sew the eyelets. Bugger! I have also made 3 new skirts, and 2 other new bodices for this year (in addition to the ones I've already worn), so I think I'll be ok for future faires. Maybe. I have some really pretty dove grey and some deep terracotta linen I just HAD to buy! Oh yeah, and I made that really cool pirate coat, so I need to make a costume to go with it, right? Yeah, an obsession like that :-)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I want a new drug

...One that's not spindles!!

But where's the fun in that? Here are my newest additions, 3 beauteous Kunderts. I'm so glad I splurged & got the hand-carved cedar. The wood is just gorgeous & is even lovelier with the carvings.

So, I'm going to actually use my spindles and participate in the Ravelry Spindlers Group January challenge to spin a skein of yarn this month.
This month's theme is "Have a Drink". Mine will be "Malibu Mojito", comprised of 1 ply of green merino/silk (the mojito) & 1 ply of white wool (like the Malibu bottle), to become a scarf for Deanna. I'm shooting for a worsted/chunky weight, and am trying not to overspin this. It's a challenge, cuz I keep wanting to spin my default yarn, which is sport/dk weight. But I'm the boss of my spinning, and I'll get it done! :-)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Spindlicious Def:

As I alluded in my previous post, my spindle collection has grown, and the babies finally arrived:

This beauty is a special-order Woolly Designs "Flowers" spindle by Tracy Eichheim. Truly a lovely hand-crafted unique design! The cut-outs are also cut by hand - super impressive. I'm so happy with this one!

Also got my Spindlewood Co. special order square spindle:
This one spins like a dream, and is so different-looking. Its whorl is of bloodwood & yellowheart, and the contrast in the colors is so nice. And the circles stay perfect when the spindle is in motion. Steve is an extremely talented woodworker!

Not to be outdone, the Spanish Peacock does it again:
My special-order Snowflake spindle finally arrived, and was sooo worth the 6-weeks wait time. The light Holly wood is perfectly contrasted with the black Ebony. Spectacular! I can't say enough about how much I love Mike's work.

And it just so happened that Sheila Bosworth posted on the Spindlers list that they had Midi's available, so hopped over to the website immediately and was lucky enough to snag a gorgeous Pau Amarillo one:
This spindle sooo lives up to the hype of the Bosworth Spindles. It spins smoothly, and FOREVER! So psyched I was able to finally get my hands on one of these.

So, here are my beauties all together:

Who needs flowers?

I've also knitted some great Christmas gifts for my friends, but I'm most-proud of the Christine Bag. Knitting was a breeze, and only took about 3 hours, but the lining was horrible. But I learned a lot from the process, so when I do one for me, it'll go a lot smoother...hope springs eternal!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Just checking in

Yes, I suck at blogging, but I have been crafty, so I'll show you pictures...
First, I have to show you my Kunderts. I LOVE Kundert spindles! I actually have another on the way...a beautiful cedar, purpleheart & maple one. I can't have enough, and they are so gorgeous, well-made, and spin forever! They're individually hand-crafted, and are so reasonably priced I'm going to pick up as many as I can before Steven Kundert gets wise and starts charging more for these spectacular works of art :-)
Here are my other spindles. I've got 2 Spanish Peacocks, which are also wonderfully hand-crafted, and I've got another one of those on the way, too. Steve is making me a custom one with a white Holly wood whorl (Hollywood, hehe!) and a black Ebony shaft with a SNOWFLAKE design! I can't wait! Of course I have my Golding, a lovely carved spindle from etsy, and another Walnut etsy find. Oh, and I've delved into Turkish spindles. I haven't quite gotten the hang of spinning bottom whorl, but I do love the idea of being able to get a ball of yarn right off my spindle, and not having to do the whole winding into a center-pull ball to ply thing, so I'll keep it up till I master it. I have also an awesome Spindlewood Co square-whorl spindle being made for me, which will be totally unique. And I can't wait till next payday to order a Tom Forrester...probably one of the geometric ones. Yes, I have a bona fide spindle addiction, but I figure there are worse things I could be...

So, to support my spindle habit, and to protect my lovelies on the go, I also knit and felted a nice spindle bag for my yarn in progress.
I am not too happy with how much it shrunk in height, so I didn't felt it further, but it still does the job. I've actually ordered a fabric spindle bag from a nice vendor on etsy, so I'm eagerly awaiting that.

I'm also almost finished with a pair of socks, of which I'll take a picture once they're done. Oh, and this is my first complete 4 oz of yarn spun & plied (plyed?) entirely on a spindle: I spun this up in an airport, on the beach in Cancun, and everywhere in between. All done on my cute heart Kundert spindle. I'm thinking a diamond modular scarf will be just the thing to showcase the color changes on the yarn, but I need to create the pattern first :-).

Oh, I also got a new drum carder...a Fancy Kitty one. Sorry, no pic yet. So, I've experimented on my carder to test how well it does with fine wool, and processed some Brown CVM fleece, which came out sooo soft and lofty, but which has TONS of VM, so I'm not too happy. I also carded some super-crimpy Merino fleece with some fun colorful sari silk, and spindled a little sample (next time I'll add more silk). Also, I spun my first Merino roving in a lovely brick color. It took a little getting used to, and the resulting yarn is more uneven than I like, but, hey, it's handspun! I have 8 oz of this, and it matches a pair of Uggs I have perfectly, so I'll probably make a scarf & hat.

OK, and non-fiber crafty stuff was also made:
This is a pirate coat I sewed recently. The lapels just about killed me! I still have to put on clasps in the front, and buttons on the cuffs, and hand-sew the lining shut, but the hard stuff's done, and I'm happy with this purty little number.

So, my ambitious plans for the future include dyeing some fleece, carding cool mixed batts with different colors & fibers, and of course, spinning & knitting when I can; I'll let you know how it goes. :-)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

New Obsessions

As if I needed another craft to vie for my already-limited free time, my friends convinced me that buying a sewing machine would be good way to save money in my quest to clothe myself and my family for Renaissance Faires. I was easy to persuade, seeing as how the prices for said Faire costumes are completely outrageous!

Anyway, I now have 5 skirts, 3 bodices (complete w/boning), 1 chemise, 2 kids shirts, and a pirate vest under my belt...and they ain't half bad, if I do say so myself. And, I can make them out of the natural fibers which really make the outfits look great, cuz they sure didn't have polyester back then ;-). So, here are just 2 of the outfits I've come up with:

I've got my piratey costume, complete with the felt hat I hand-formed and decorated myself, and 2 authentic linen skirts. I must admit that I bought the chemise, but I did make the bodice.
My peasant costume was pretty cool too, because I got to make bracers and I learned how to drop spin just so I could roam about the Faire doing a period activity. This bodice came out a little too small, but it's a bodice, so it still works!

Yes, the Ren Faire inspired me to learn spindling, which I had resisted until now. But I took a class at my local yarn shop, found that it's super-easy since I already know how to spin on a wheel, and I'm officially hooked! So now I've bought waaay too many 4 oz braids of handpainted wool and have a bonafide spindle addiction:

I've got a custom-made Spanish Peacock Purpleheart, Golding Celtic Knot, a little Poppy one off etsy, and a nice Kundert (my first). Lovely!
Anyway, this is why you'll forgive me for not knitting lately. :-)

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I regret being seduced by the beauty and softness that is Malabrigo, throwing good sense out the window, and not attempting this Olympic project in the called-for chunky weight yarn. Because of my poor choice, I've wasted precious competition time on calculating stitch counts (which I HATE doing) and the knitting is of course much slower at the worsted gauge because of inceased number of over-all stitches I must make. DUH!

Also, the finished sweater is not going to look anything like the cozy cushy sweater I had envisioned. Again, because of the poor yarn choice. I'm hoping it will still be nice anyway.

I'm decreasing for the waist, but I think I put too many too close together, because it takes in rather sharply. I'm thinking it doesn't look good and I'm going to have to rip.

I'm still giving it my all, but I'm quickly losing faith that I'll finish this thing by the 28th.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I've been shying away from the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics challenge because I'm aleady hopelessly limited on knitting time due to my 3-4 hour DAILY commute, my full-time job, my boys' homework, just to name a few.

However, I'm being sucked in to the whole thing, and would like to challenge myself to actually finish something. AND, I finally succumbed to peer pressure and ordered and got my first-ever Malabrigo worsted in a lovely colorway called Autumn Forest:

I want to work with this RIGHT NOW, and don't want it to become stash and then get sucked into the whole "I don't want to use this stash yarn I've had forever because I'm waiting for the PERFECT project for it" and then I end up a crazy yarn hoarder.

So, I'm going to try to do "Sedum" by Jane Richmond. It's a free Ravelry download, so check it out!
Doesn't it just scream "comfy" and "cozy"? I think it would be the perfect project for the super-soft, cushy, warm Malabrigo. So, I'm going for it.

It doesn't seem like it will be a technical challenge for me, but it is definitely a time-constraint challenge. So, this will require self-discipline and extreme time-management, which I need to work on anyway. I'm signed up for both the Knitting Olympics and Ravelymics, so there is great potential for public humiliation should I fail. Let the games begin!