New Elephant Tummies!

January 23rd, 2011

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Kayakwoman and I stumbled out of the quilt store in a foggy daze. My arms were full of the above traitorous substance. It was a long, hard trip, but sometimes you just have to restock your elephant contrast fabrics.Of course, elephants aren’t the only project I have. If they were, I might have something to show for myself. I did finish the green mittens, which means my hands have been properly warm for the first time all season.

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The base yarn is 100% wool. The cuff is plain, but for the body of the mitten I doubled the wool with a strand of dark green mohair for extra warmth. They smell a little sheepy/goaty when damp, but as far as I’m concerned that means they’re doing their job.I have three other “main” projects at the moment. First is the “12 socks in 12 months” challenge, which is on track so far. I did have to backtrack a bit due to ill-fitting cuffs, but I should finish the January socks tonight.The second project is a winter coat, which I’ll hopefully finish by…erm…spring.

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The third is the Colette Patterns Palette Challenge. I’m not incredibly far along on this, but partly I need a trip to the (real) fabric store to help me choose colors and materials. The idea is to choose a selection of colors and inspirations, then build a pre-determined partial Spring wardrobe. More information is available here.Apart from that, I’m just trying not to freeze. I love you too, Michigan.

The first knitting of 2011

January 4th, 2011

Okay, most of this knitting was finished several months ago. Starting with the last knitting of 2010, I give you the Owl Sweater:

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I made the smallest size, using Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride in Autumn Harvest. It fits very well and quite comfortable. The only downside is that it’s itchy. I’m usually not bothered by the itch of wool, but I think it’s more pronounced because this sweater is so close-fitting. It’s also surprisingly cool to wear in relation to the weight, but then again it is made of wool. (Wool breathes, repels water and dirt, and is generally excellent for temperature control.) I’m hoping that long sleeves are comfortable to wear underneath.

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I’ve only put eyes on one owl, but I think I might like it that way. I’m giving it a few weeks before I decide.The “bridge” project is Nora’s blanket:

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One of my friends had a baby in October, and this was is my gift. I could have finished the knitting in time quite easily, and yet somehow my plans didn’t turn out that way. Still, most of the knitting has been done since November; I just needed to finish embellishing the corners so I could block it out and deliver it. Unfortunately, I got slow.

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I finally finished the detail work on New Year’s Eve, wove in the ends, and blocked today. I’m pretty pleased with the embellishments; the elephant eye should be horizontal for visibility and the E should be one stitch closer to the H. I’m counting this as the first “finished” knitting of 2011.I’ve also decided to try the “12 socks in 12 months” plan, à la Yarn Harlot. For January I’ve started these:

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The pattern is Welt Fantastic from Sensational Knitted Socks. (I seem to have a weakness for chevron stitches; they particularly work well with self-striping yarns.) My current large sewing project is to design and build a winter coat (to be finished by…well…probably spring, to be honest). I’m also getting around to the vast pile of garments-to-be-altered that I told people I’d do several months ago. Now that I’m arguably “readjusted”, it’s a little easier to get things done.

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By the river in late November.

I’m hoping this productive streak can last, but that remains to be seen. I have a little more time off work than usual, but we get busy again near Valentine’s day. Finally, I’m planning to be stricter about making things this year in an overall sense. That includes these funny creatures:

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I’m sure you’re already aware, but they’re pretty cuddly. You probably want one.  <:3 )~

No time to ____.

December 25th, 2010

Knit? Sew? Spin? Read? Listen? Sleep? Cook? Draw? Clean? Hike? (…..post?)

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Linzertorte, à la Kelsey.

I suppose having “no time” is a theoretical impossibility, and yet somehow I never seem to get anything done. I’m not really sure that I have any “followers”, but it can’t hurt to make an appearance? (Actually, I do have one: hi Moom, I love you too.)I’ve been working for Kilwin’s Chocolates in Ann Arbor for about eight months, which is a nice change from school. Sometimes I wish I were better at filling my brain before I go in, but I’m usually busy enough that it doesn’t matter. I currently work as a cook, which entails working on a copper kettle to make caramel, fudge, caramel corn varieties, and brittle. We also have small kettles to make chocolate-dipped items, etc. The question people ask us most frequently is “how do you all stay so skinny when you work HERE?” It’s rather silly considering that we regularly lug 50 lb. boxes up and down the stairs, not to mention the energy that goes into working on your feet and controlling the kettle. I’ll admit there’s an element of “product control”, but most of us really don’t eat that much of the product. When I’m hungry at work I usually crave salt, so I just eat pretzels. (Crunchy, delicious, salt-delivery vessels.)

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Vintage; amber glass. 

 The rest of my year has involved a lot of starting projects, thinking about starting projects, really seriously intending to start projects, and finding that I can’t find enough time to commit to any of those intentions past the first three hours.A few fortunate projects have survived from start to finish, including this one:

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Colette Patterns; Ceylon.

I haven’t managed to take a photo of the finished product so far, but it did turn out very well. Her patterns are always well-balanced, carefully drafted, and clearly explained. My only discontent is that her smallest size is still a full inch above my measurements, but I’m quite adept at grading so it’s not really a problem. I’d heard that her sizing ran small and so made this in size 0 without grading. It looks fine on me, but if I’m not standing up exactly straight  the bodice gaps away from my body. I should have known better; her 0 is equivalent to a women’s 2-4. (I should also learn to use slopers when I’m not designing, but it’s such a huge time suck that I have trouble committing.)

I made Macaron next, this time grading down a full pattern size This worked quite well, although I should have included a small bust adjustment in my re-draftings as designs for a C-average. I took in an extra inch+ which worked quite well with this particular dress construction. The seams are only about 3/8″ off. At any rate, I love the pockets and the sheer contrast I used makes it good for cooking.

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Er…as you can see, I haven’t taken a real photo of this one either. However, I don’t think you can really complain as you got the Penguin and our Proof of Beer Pockets for free. Isn’t that the hinge of any truly successful christmas dress? (Thanks to Karen/DogMomster for the photo!!)

I’m going to call that a good start. I’m not going to promise any near-future updates as those always seem to be empty, but if I do take any real photos I’ll probably think of it. Now I’m required to go eat my body weight in Real Food to counteract the month I’ve just spent preparing for holiday sales. I suggest you do the same.

<:3 )~

Spring.

April 27th, 2010

Current computer background:

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Who knew these little bushes had flowers?! (Probably everyone but me.)

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Yesterday resulted in the first sunburn of the year. All I wanted to do was read outside, but the sun had other plans. I still seem to have some extra sun resistance in my face, arms, upper back, upper chest, shins, and feet. However, I was lying on my stomach. Now I have burns down the backs of my thighs, knees, and calves.

It’s not as bad as last summer’s discovery: there is a very definitive line on my back where the sun resistance stops. I had a burn on that line that lasted for two weeks. Ow!!

To be completely random…

Last week’s book list:

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon

The Final Solution: A Story of Detection – Michael Chabon

The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut

Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories – Lauren Groff

Still Life with Woodpecker – Tom Robbins

Current list:

What is the What – Dave Eggers

The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

Quick Update–

April 10th, 2010

Custom elephant listings on etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mousenest

More colors to come.

I feel like I’ve been trampled.

April 4th, 2010

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A whole herd of elephants has sprung up from my house, gobbled every tasty thing in the vicinity, then stampeded North to hang out with small children.

First, there was the herd of eight, affectionately known as “The Herd”.

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They’re pretty cute as a huddle, and also as a line:

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Of course, families and holidays always bring surprises. So, an additional family unit was added to the herd:

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What does that make me? Uhm, a very sleepy little elephant-maker. As people keep asking, no I am not sick of making elephants. I am slightly tired of making *nothing but* elephants, but Ill take it.

Elephant production will continue at a slightly slower pace, allowing me to (finally!!) start work on the long-promised aardvarks. They’re going to be cute; I can feel it.

I’m also starting on a somewhat larger venture, beginning with this:

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More photos as progress unfolds, and in the meantime? Keep checking etsy!! I’ll list elephants etc. as I complete them.

Another Project Down…

March 26th, 2010

I feel that’s become my default title for the inevitable “I finished another show and that’s why I haven’t been posting and really I’ll get better but now I’m catching up on all the stuff I didn’t do before when I should have because of the show and I PROMISE I’LL POST!!” post.

Before I started the “blog”, I didn’t realize how difficult it would actually be to keep up with it. I have the same reservations people always talk about, where I’m not sure how much and/or what parts of my life I feel are appropriate writing material. Sometimes I just don’t want to talk about my situation.

Whatever it is, it’s almost equally difficult to always post about projects. Either I have little to say about the process and tons of photos, or too much to say and no photos.

I still haven’t figured out exactly what I get back from doing this. Partly its a way to organize thoughts, except I’ve never been great with keeping journals. At some times I feel like it’s a really nice way to record what I’m doing, and at others I’m at a loss and simply don’t feel like it.

That all brings me to the current point, which is that I don’t have a lot of evidence of my latest show. In fact, all I really have to show are my costumes. I think they came out pretty nicely. I was in charge of costuming myself for this show; although I did not make any of the pieces, I did spend a sizeable chunk of time scouring the thrift stores.

I should remind you of the show…it was Beyond Therapy by Christopher Durang. (Yes, he’s the guy who wrote Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You. I guess I’m just built for Durang?)

Before we get to the dresses, we’ll start with the 80s hair…

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I know, I know.

Moving on. First dress:

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Sparkly shawl and purse courtesy of Moom‘s closet…

Second dress:

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This was a lucky, lucky find. Size 0 polyester with horrendous shoulderpads? Yes please!! We’re going for *ACK!!* here…

Third dress:

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Please note that my facial expression has, by this photo, progressed from “argh photos” to “hurry up kid, or I’m going to start thwacking you with my shiny silver purse”. (Thanks to Jeremy for taking all the photos…) Anyhow, YES that is purple paisley. Yes, I’ll be wearing this one again.

Fourth dress:

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That dress was mine to start. (Okay, since you asked so nicely, so were the tights!!) This was probably my favorite outfit in many ways, although the final dress was appropriate in its own right. Bringing me to…

Fifth dress:

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That dress was preexisting as well. Flashy gold belt and purse are (once again) courtesy of Moom. Oh! As are the earrings and necklace! The sweater-thing? Wow. I can’t imagine where it came from? But thank you to whoever left it at the Salvation Army!!

I think what amazed me the most about this process was how lucky I was for sizing. I’m not large, so pickings are usually slim. The second dress was an especially lucky find; not only that, but it was the first thing I chose!!

Okay, now I’m exhausted. Soon I’ll have evidence of the herd. “The WHAT?!?”, you say? Yes, I’m making a whole herd of elephants. Just imagine the cutosity, and come back in about a week.

Elephant Empire

March 19th, 2010

Geronimo

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Crustacean

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Akbar

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Three elephants who have bravely made giant, flying leaps into the etsy pool! All sold to (admittedly) friends and relations, but I feel pretty good about that. I am now creating Sophia. Look out world…

Here I go…

March 10th, 2010

I’m posting on Etsy.

Go have a look!

While I’m at it, my latest show opens this weekend.

I promise a “real” update soon!!

Etsy

March 1st, 2010

After all this talk, I’m finally trying to kick myself into action on this etsy thing. I made my account nearly four years ago, and I’ve never listed anything. As a student there was no time for starting a “business”, but now I’m hoping I can work something out.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/mousenest

Original patterns, high quality materials, totally handmade.

The problem with selling handknits is that no one will ever pay accurately for the time and materials, and I’m pretty unwilling to sell sub-par pieces. So, under-priced items it is until I find a working system. Hopefully I can be affordable/accessible without sacrificing fair compensation for my work.

Fortunately, it’s a little easier to charge accurately for sewing. Next up? I’ll be listing handmade elephants. Other creatures to come!!