Thursday, August 22, 2013

Escher in Het Paleis

I love M.C. Escher.  Always have.  Woodblock prints have always been appealing to me, as have black and white images, and images that play mind games with you.  Escher uses all three brilliantly.

Den Haag (the Hague) has a museum dedicated to Escher, in a palace where Queen Emma (the current king's great-grandmother) lived for much of her life.  The palace is mostly empty now, except for these amazing chandeliers in all shapes.

This one was my favorite!

And in case you don't know Escher, here's one of his woodblock prints.

The top floor of the palace was dedicated to all the fun and interactive stuff.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #16: Separates

The goal for this challenge was to make a 'separate', or "items that can be paired with other pieces in your wardrobe to extend a look."  That's tricky when you don't really have a historic wardrobe to extend.  So I made two pieces.  I'm relatively happy with both.

I think I'll make the blouse again with different fabric, and will extend the front piece out a bit and take out some width on the side pieces.  I have a bit too much side-boob showing for comfort (you'll see in the photos), though it works just fine with a camisole underneath.

The skirt was a bit tricky.  I found the fabric in my parents' cedar chest when I was home this summer; my dad thinks he bought it on one of his navy trips, which would have been 30 years ago.  It's really scratchy, and ridiculously loosely woven, so I have no idea what it was intended for.  Maybe curtains?  Or a tablecloth?  It's also 50/50 wool and poly, which isn't my usual cup of tea.  And it had permanent crease marks from being folded in the same position for 30 years.  Who could blame it?  Although it certainly didn't want to hold any creases I tried to give it.  Due to the scratchiness, I needed to line it, not taking into account the fact that the pattern really needs light weight fabric to work.  My wool kinda feels like mid-to-light weight, so I thought I'd be fine, but wasn't. So the bit in front that is supposed to be wavy just juts out towards the side.  It's awkward.  I'm going to have to turn it into a pleat somehow, but I haven't figured out the best way yet...

The Challenge: Separates

Fabric: Blouse: cotton. Skirt: 50/50 wool/poly

Pattern: Blouse: tutorial from The Dreamstress. Skirt: Decades of Style shaped-seam skirt.

Year: 1930's (though the blouse is early 30's and the skirt is more mid-30's)

Notions: Skirt: zipper and hook/eye

How historically accurate is it? I know the patterns are good, but I'm not sure about my fabric.  They skirt fabric is obviously incorrect, but it was free, so you got to do what you got to do.

Hours to complete: Blouse: maybe 5. Skirt: a really annoying 12.

First worn: Maybe Saturday for a dinner party.

Total cost: The blouse was maybe $12, and notions for the skirt about $4.

And the photos.

Very cool blouse fabric.

The should be wavy bit,

My awesome alternating hems.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Crochet Catch-Up: Autumn Shawl for Mom

This shawl was made for my Mom's 60th birthday.  I finished it in less than a month, not because of procrastination on my part, but because I made one up in purple and decided I wanted it for myself. So I had to make another one for her.

Yarn: Misti Alpaca--Hand Paint Lace, 100% Alpaca, Lace / 2-ply

Pattern: Piquant Shawl by Lily Go, found here

Notes: I adore patterns by Lily Go.  This shawl was my first (technically second, see above) by her, and it was incredibly simple to work up.  You work the outside edge first then build in the middle, so that part got a bit tiresome, but that's true of most any shawl.  

Before blocking

After blocking

All the pins. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Crochet Catch-Up: Purple Honeycomb Mitts

I made these for an old high school friend as a New Year's challenge to myself to make 5 things for people who commented on a Facebook post announcing I was doing said project.

These were probably the most difficult things I've ever made.  They were my first attempt at fingerless gloves, so suddenly I'm working in the round for the first time in a long time.  Also, I discovered different pattern makers write in-the-round patterns differently, depending how they do in the round.  Related to that, I learned that there are different ways to crochet in the round, depending on how you want your seam to look.

Also, the pattern was either not written in my language, or not written well.  One, one of the seams ran up the outside of the hand, and the other hand had the seam running up the inside.  That didn't seem right.  Two, the stitches on the back of the hand seemed to get increasingly off each round--though that may have been my stitching method.  So I eventually drew out my own pattern.  But they eventually got done, and I found it really hard to send these off after all the work.  I may have to make myself a pair, now that I've worked all the kinks out.

Yarn: Katia Merino Baby, 100% merino, sport / 5-ply

Pattern: Holly Berry Gloves, found here. Though I left off the bottom strap thing.

Crochet Catch-Up: Peach Granny-Square Mitts

I made these for a college friend of mine who we always called Peach, due to her coloring and adorable rosy cheeks.

Yarn: Katia Capri, 100% cotton, sport / 5-ply

Pattern: Cafe Wristers, found here

Notes: These were really easy to work up, all except the middle stitches on the tied ends, which involved crocheting into row upon row of chain stitch.  Chain stitches weren't meant to be crocheted into, as there's really nothing there, so that bit was really tight and annoying.  They're also a bit bulky, so if I try them again I may use a lighter weight yarn.