This blog has been very yarn-centric for quite some time, but it does say "three types of needles" in my description of the site, and so sewing needles deserve their rightful place as well.
This weekend was my weekend to work on my Halloween costume. With a few friends, this year, we are going to be Godzilligan's Island. The inspiration is fairly simple, taken from Inherent Vice, the newest Thomas Pynchon novel. I haven't read it, so I don't know the context, but the phrase was enough to sell me.
Now, I am the kind of person who owns a Ginger dress, but I think we all know who the funnest person to be in Godzilligan's Island is:
Through some lucky fluke, I found a children's dinosaur costume at Goodwill. Because of my lack of height, I was able to put the thing on, however, it was not "ideal." I recently got to spend time with a participant in Godzilligan's Island who owns a serger (a nifty machine that sews and cuts at the same time, giving a nice finished edge). We serged off the legs, turning the bottom into a tails's coat. This seems like a natural choice to me. If you don't think so, just think about it for a minute, and I think you will come around.
Today I put in some time working on the face. The original dinosaur face looked like this:
It is pretty fierce for a children's costume, but it isn't Godzilla. Using the left over fabric from the legs, I constructed what I thought were the salient parts of Godzilla's face: more prominent brows, ridges on the head, closer together nostrils, lips, and, of course, big old teeth and a lower jaw. Here it is pinned:
He looks a little like Mick Jagger or some too much plastic surgery housewife to me here. Here it is with all the sewing complete:
I am most pleased about the new eye lids. Also the head ridges, although they are a little hard to see in this photo. They really give him a much meaner look. I still have to work out the back spikes. I'm not sure what material I could make them out of that would also not be annoying in regard to sitting in a car, being in a crowd, etc. I think they are important though, for being recognizable as Godzilla.
The setting: for Labor Day weekend, (I know, a million years ago), my husband and I went to visit his parents in New Hampshire on Little Sunapee Lake. Little Sunapee Lake is right next to Pleasant Lake, and the aptly named Pleasant Lake is very nice to drive around. While driving, we noticed a little sign for Skyeview Alpacas. With an eye toward maybe getting some fiber and ogling some alpaca, we set up a time to stop by with the owner Sue King.
When we got there, she let us right into the pen and handed food pellets all around. We stood in the pen with the young males, who for the most part were still a little shy. They had just had their haircuts in March, so they weren’t as bushy as a lot of alpaca are in photos, but they were super cute, and their lack of hair allowed us to really appreciate how silly their necks are. Once they figured out we had food, there were a few smart guys who became friendlier. Sue said each season she names the newborns in a particular rubric. The season all these fellows had been born, it was Musicals. We learned that our particular new best buddies were Oklahoma and Brigadoon. I can’t remember who as whom now, so I’m not going to try to identify the photos. Needless to say, you can imagine how charming it all was to have a bunch of sweet soft animals with silly names eating out of your hand.
Sue also had angora bunnies. She said that was how she started. First she got the bunnies, then she started spinning, then she got the alpaca. She took one of the bunnies out of his cage and let me pet him, but I didn’t get any photos of their accommodations because bunny hutches aren't actually the most gorgeous places, espcially when the residents shed really long hair that gets all over everything. I can, however, easily imagine a pleasant world in which I had an angora bunny that I brushed every day and followed while it hopped around the yard. (More easily, anyway, than a world where my two alpaca pull me to work in a little wagon. I would never imagine anything of the kind, how could you think such a thing?) Thebunnies are big and silly and very soft. I’ve always been a little skeptical of rabbits because they don’t make any noise, but I think, if it was a “working” rabbit, it would be a nice pet.
After the animal tour, Sue showed us into her home where she has a little store set up, selling lovely sweaters and blankets and yarns, all alpaca. It was very pleasant just to go around touching everything. My in-laws bought quite a bit, and we got the yarn for that baby hat from a few posts back. In the end, Sue threw in a full unwashed fleece that is a very pretty medium reddish brown color. I don’t have a photo right now, but it is a little dirty looking still, so maybe that is for the best. Once I get my act together and process it, I’ll take plenty of photos.
UPDATE: I forgot the mention the most facinating thing that Sue told us, which is, that after being domesticated for 4,000 years, alpaca don't have top front teeth anymore! They just don't need it, I guess, which made feeding them from our hands a lot less scary because there was no chance of getting bitten!
Well, here I am, doing what could be a Wonder Woman pose. Finished item after finished item. But really, this onslaugt is mearly a hint to the sad state of affairs many of these projects have been languishing in for months. I can't even recall when I finished this puppy, but it had to have been at least May, if not earlier.
How to tell the story of the sweater without telling the story of the yarn? The yarn, a beautiful Alpaca/Silk blend from Blue Sky Alpaca, was purchased last November! A wonderful lady I've known almost all my life wanted to take me yarn shopping when I was home for Thanksgiving last year. I excitedly selected a pattern and we found this stuff to make it. My original plan was to make this bobble lace skirt. I'm enough of a knitting newbie to brush aside the idea that a knit skirt might not be a good idea vis a vie opacity. As I worked on the bobble lace, and my how I worked, I watched my visions of a cute warm skirt dwindle, and every time I googled photos of the skirt to see how other people's work had turned out to gain motivation, I just saw a lot of underpants through skirts!
As the yarn and pattern sat sadly inactive, the Summer issue of Interweave Knits showed up, and in it, this Lace Saddle Tee for which I had the perfect yarn! It was meant to be, and then it turned out that the pattern was really neat. The sleaves are knit using short rows, and the designer included in the pattern the yarn over method for creating short rows, instead of the wrap method, and this has totally been a revalation for me for my toy knitting, so, double bonus!
Anyway, I actually wore it to work today, my first time ever wearing something I made out of the house. It is soft and fits, and is perfect for a slightly cool day like today when worn over a long sleeved t-shirt.
I have been finishing things like there is no tomorrow. Really. Because it feels like Christmas is tomorrow and I haven't even started my Christmas knitting. Not that I have a whole lot. I think I have actually been fairly reasonable this year. And it is only October.
Anyway, I've been trying to finish off some long standing projects as a way of procrastinating. I've decided not to start any new projects just yet, despite the inviting whispers coming from one of my new knitted lace doilies books. And before you even murmur "Who needs a doily, you've made tons you aren't doing anything with" I would say that doilies seem like a good road to getting comfortable with a technique, and if I'm ever going to knit the lace shawl of my dreams (which I will only wear in my dreams) then I should get comfortable with the technique.
Okay, well, enough with the suspense, the Plum sweater is basically finished. I realized looking back that the first time I posted about it was in February, so, as a reminder for everyone, here is a photo from the original instruction pamphlet:
And here is my nearly finished product:
This poor thing was sitting in a tote bag for months, front and back finished, sleeves finished, just waiting for me to get over my anxiety of side seams. Well I did. And also this was my first experience with steam blocking, which, as far as I could tell from my research, amounts to ironing the sweater from the back.
The torso of the sweater may be a little short to wear with jeans, but it works great with a high waisted skirt. I'm sure that is what it was planned for. Judging by the model, I don't think that she wore dungarees unless she was out on the farm or something. If you look closely at the first photo, you can see the pearlescent snaps along the right shoulder. Those were quite a pain, and I'm still not totally sure that they will stay. Perhaps it was the thick knitting, or maybe the lack of special snap applying pliers, but somehow they just don't want to stay.
The reason I say almost finished is because the original pattern called for "Parapads, the ready made shoulder pad." I had thought I could get by without shoulder pads, but I think, now, that they would actually add something to the garment so I'm going to have to get some. I'm putting it off though, because it has been boiling here temperature wise, and I don't really care to wear a fair isle double thick wool sweater right now.
And finally, another little knit co-worker gift as part of what my husband is calling the office beautification project, some happy little fuchsia flowers: