Monday, January 28, 2013

Mortem's Tricks or Treats:Sincerest Form of Flattery

My my, I have been a busy bee this past week or so-- which will explain my absence.
I couldn't decide whether to bombard you all with the updates into one fat post... or to torture you all slowly in the upcoming days. I think I'll do the latter.

I'll start with the most recent update, which will begin with a giant disclaimer:

This is a homage piece; I do not own the rights to the following, nor will I distribute the pattern in any way shape or form, so please do not ask. It is all property of Archaical-- so if you want one, then please go to her site here.

Now that I have that off my chest...

I'm not one to "copy" another artist's work on a whim; it takes a special set of circumstances for the notion to  create enough momentum to even remotely cross my mind, and conversely weigh the pro's and con's of doing so. If I had limitless funds and limited knowledge on the particular craft, I would buy one in a heartbeat; just as I have with Louise Black's corset at the time of its purchase, and many more like that. Unfortunately funds fluctuate terribly, identical to that of my moods. So my conclusion seemed inevitable... they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...

Through mere observation, I was able to recreate one of the infamous hoods. I was armed with nothing but my finite knowledge of knitting, tools, and ambition to succeed.
I exaggerated the ears just slightly so that they resembled bat ears more than cat ears. I also made the scarf bits of the hood wider, so it would curl less and cover more. The colors were my choice, of course; I adore many things purple and black! You could just as easily say they are my favorite colors. I didn't use the large yarn which is evident in her original hoods, but it really didn't take much of the regular stuff to complete it. It took me approximately one day and one night to complete-- I imagine with the larger yarn it would take half the time; I don't consider myself to be a quick and prolific knitter by any means, FYI.

I recommend purchasing one of these hoods-- it's quite comfy, and very handy not to mention cute! It's also quite fun to tease a scaredy cat into thinking you're a large animal with-- Poe will attest to just that!

Off topic:

I was nominated by not one, but three lovely ladies (Bones & Lilies, Breakfast on Mars, and Drinking! Not Studying) for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award

The honor of receiving this comes with the duty of listing 5 of my most aberrant habits. So, in order of peculiarity:

  1. I concentrate best when I have a tape dispenser near me, so I can snap a piece and place it at random on my body. Although most anything sticky does suffice-- just not jam sticky... I'm very particular about that.
  2. I willingly clean just about any mess, and some were really quite grotesque-- but I vehemently refuse to do dishes.
  3. I don't speak as I write. I am very closed mouthed in person; though I may have much to say, it very rarely comes out, and when it does it's haphazard and awkward at best. I tend, very much, to mumble. I have done very well during phone conversation, though-- it's a long process.
  4. I tend to be quite absent minded-- I wander without consciously knowing it, I'll randomly stare blankly, and at one point or another I have misplaced every item I have ever owned... and they are usually in equally peculiar areas: my phone has been found in the fridge, in the shower, in the microwave, on high selves where I couldn't possibly have reached without a stool... and that is an example of one item!
  5. When items are in front of me, I subconsciously move them around until they "feel right"... but this habit never happens inside my craft room where I need it most. Even I find that odd, and contradicting to 4 as well...

So now I list some of the bloggers which inspire me and haven't been tagged, in no particular order:

Totally voluntary; you won't hurt my feelings if you refuse, I'll still keep reading your blogs!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Skeleton Closet: Roaring 20's Glam

One of my favorite eras of glitz, glamor and fashion-- ah the 20's.
I would be remiss to say it wasn't the paradigm of forward thinking. Oh yes, women wore knee length skirts, smoked in public, wore copious amounts of make up... but most importantly, were able to vote in the U.S.

As many know, it was the era when fashion became free of the strict moral concepts it once had; so as previously mentioned, the length of skirts went higher and higher, and sleeveless dresses entered the scene in a profound way. A distinct characteristic of high fashion during the 20's were the dropped waistlines; you'll notice that many of the fashions of the 20's are blocky and boyish-- this was exactly the point, to free the form and unite comfort and freedom of movement, while still embracing femininity.

So if you haven't guessed, today's outfit is a rip-roaring 20's inspired outfit!

Modern Day Vintage! xoxo

When starting this outfit, it began with my make up; I loaded my brush with too much black... this wasn't exactly the look I intended, but I went with it. Instead of angling my brows as I normally do, I tried a softer curved brow; droopier, in the likes of Clara Bow.
Source - Coco Chanel
 I couldn't really grasp it very well, and my brow turned out thicker than intended. They ended up looking more like Coco Chanel's brows.

Well, happenstance made all the make up work out in the end... but then, what will I do with my hair? The style of hair in the 20's is very short and bobbed. I didn't feel like chopping off my locks just yet... so I experimented. My hair is naturally very curly, so I just started rolling and pinning. I grabbed a piece of lace, and a vintage brooch my mother gave me, and pinned all that to my head, too.

I had several strings of glass pearls that I never had the chance to wear for the longest time. I remember making them with the intention of one day incorporating more 1920's flair into my wardrobe. Well, every pearl has its day!

What I am wearing:

  • Top - thrifted
  • Skirt - thrifted
  • Necklaces & Headband - Selfmade
  • Shoes - Thrifted
  • Bangle - Gifted

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Freakshow Films: Deliciously Short

It takes a distinguished person to create a movie, but it takes a truly unique individual to make a story come to life. Sometimes, the movie doesn't even have to be hours long to become something special...

The movies I am about to mention are what I consider works of art; pieces that need no verbal explanation of how great they are. Instead I will simply ask that you sit and watch for a few moments...

The Scree by Paul McDermott

Zero by Christopher Kezelos

The Legend of the Scarecrow

If you liked the work of Paul McDermott and Christopher Kezelos, I urge you to watch The Girl Who Swallowed Bees and The Maker.

Please feel free to comment with your opinion, and perhaps some suggestions for other films!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tales of Trial and Terror: A "Brooke's Column of Leaves" Success Story

I did it! I did it! I solved the mystery of the missing stitches! Rejoice!

The Brooke's Column of Leaves pattern gave me such a run for my money; I didn't think I'd ever get past the 1st row. I frogged and restarted more times than I kept count... because I am so brand new to knitting, I didn't even know that I could insert a "life line" which essentially keeps all the good stitching when you need to "frog" (pull apart your stitches).

So without further ado...
My column of leaves swatch

I feel like a dolt for not connecting the simple concept in my head sooner... on both the life line and the unique stitch I wasn't properly executing; the YO (yarn over).
In my defense, the tutorial video was of rather poor quality add to the fact that it was using a continental style of knitting; I am English style knitter, also known as a "thrower"... and yet to add more to the fact, I am completely and utterly youtube and vintage book taught; I have absolutely no individual guidance.

However, in case any of my readers choose to do this as well, fret not, knitting isn't actually as difficult as it may seem-- frustrating, but once you get the hang of the hand maneuvers, placement of the working yarn, and abbreviations, you will breeze through nearly any project. And really, it isn't a ton to remember; you can buy a vintage book for cents and it'll likely contain a list of abbreviations in case you're like me and hate remembering them. I highly recommend the Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework.
It's one book that I find invaluable and nearly abundant, I see them all the time at thrift stores for $1; unfortunately for myself, my copy is back in Canada so I can't really offer an excerpt from it.

The next book I'd recommend is a book my awesome neighbors purchased for me in trade for one of my bleach art shirts. It is the Better Homes & Gardens Complete Book of Knitting, Crochet  & Embroidery. It was also a dollar from the thrift store.

Truth be told, I had given up on creating the Brooke's pattern; it was only during work on one of the patterns inside this book that lead me to my epiphany.

See, I was wondering if it was maybe the pattern that wasn't working and no one responding to any similar inquiries that made this so frustrating. So I tried something from the book, just in case; after trying one pattern over and over with no success, I knew then it was me doing something wrong; I was coming several stitches short again!

While working my way through yet another pattern from the book, it hit me; since the YO created a new stitch, why not bring one back over? Low and behold, it worked! I was so dumbfounded having realized I did it.

So here's the pictorial low down:

There are great videos demonstrating a yarn over for your viewing movement needs; my favorite by far is this one; they refer to it as a Yarn Forward but it is essentially the same as a yarn over:

Here is a small tip that I used for keeping track of my rows and the stitches I was working on:

My memory is just as bad as my eyesight, so I needed extra help to keep me on track, and it was as simple as using sticky notes and a highlighter pen.
Using the sticky notes to frame 3-4 stitches and block the other rows helped a ton! Highlighting every right side row also ensured that I was moving along the proper row, too! I found it really really helpful to make a mark on the row I chose to insert a life line into; for me I chose the 4th and 8th rows; so that if you put it down for a long time and need to frog when you pick back up, you'll know which row you placed your lifeline into so you can begin again. I used yarn for my lifeline, but I think it would be exponentially easier to use plastic cording; like the kind used in braid keychains; that's just preference. If you're working with lace weight yarn, it'd probably be best to use crochet cotton.

Here is my favorite video demonstrating how to insert your life line:

I can't wait to finish this scarf and send it off to its forever home!

I hope my info helped in some small way; please let me know if you're going to try as well!

P.S. I am using Lion Brand's Tweed Stripes in 215 Athena bulky weight 5. You can hardly see it, but it has subtle hints of green and blues within the purple and lilac tones. The needles are 6mm.
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