Hmph! Looks like I managed to commit a double post. Sorry. Move along.
Soooo, I've sure been quiet lately, haven't I? Boy is life busy! Here are the bits of fiberous news that I've accumulated:
I spun a gorgeous inkle out of Gutermann heavy-duty sewing thread...which turns out to be 100% polyester, would you believe? I sewed it on the sleeves of a nice new dress that I made for SCA purposes. The dress has maunch sleeves--this means, lots of trim! I need to make more of the same inkle to put around the neck opening. When it's not the middle of the night, I'll post pictures of the trim, the dress, and the manuscript that the garment is based on.
In less authentic news, I still haven't hemmed the grey wool cloak. I hate hemming. It's the most boring part of the whole project.
Oh! And in hemming news...I learned from making that dress I mentioned earlier that it's a bad idea to sew the lining to the outer fabric all around the hem. The light wool I used for the dress sagged to a different length than the red linnen/rayon that I used for lining fabric, and now there's this really icky sort of potato-sack effect around the bottom, and I have to do it all over again! Did I mention that I hate hemming? And potatoes aren't even period!
In slightly-more-authentic-but-not-much news, I got a whole bunch more nice, heavy wool from the $1 table! Trouble is, it's all in lengths of 1 to 1 1/2 yards. I think I will take it back up north and share it with my starving student friends for making hoods. What I did get, though, was seven (!) yards of a lovely dark green wool, all cut into 1-yard lengths. No problem...I used what I learned about fabric-scrimping from my Bocksten Bog cape, and have turned out two lovely half-circles, with enough left for a smaller half-circle, or possibly a nice hood. Then I ran into this dilemma...I was thinking, "gosh, my poor, starving student friends up in Berkeley, going to all those chilly events without the right clothes...maybe I should donate these cloaks to the loaner garb." Then I thought, "but gosh, it would be fun to have a full-circle cloak." My instincts toward selfishness, generosity, and practicality all squabbled in my head for a while, until I hit upon the most fabulous solution: I am making two half-circle cloaks that button together to form a full circle! This way, I can loan out the two halves individually, or I can wear one and lend the other. Or (and this is the really cool part) I can wear the full circle around, and when I see some poor chilly person, I can whip off the cloak, undo the buttons, and voila! Just like Saint Martin. I am thinking of calling it the Saint Martin Cloak. I am also trying to get clever enough with the buttons that I can slip out of it unnoticed when drunken lords get over-friendly, kind of like those lizards that drop their tails and run. "Hey, milady, hows about a little...hey, where'd she go?" For this reason, I am also thinking of calling it the Chastity Cloak. Of course then I'd have to hunt down the lord in the morning to get my cloak back...
Oh, another thing about the Chastity Cloak...it's damned elfy. I didn't really mean for things to turn out this way...you see, I was thinking of making some prank garb to wear to Ducal Prize, which is this sort of tongue-in-cheek SCA event. I was planning to make a short green cotton tunic, get some yellow tights and a robin-hood hat and some pointy ears and go under my "new persona," Leggy-Lass. I may still do that...but at Estrella I bought some elfy-looking trim. Very pretty. Not very period.
And now I've sewn it onto my lovely, authentic, half-circle cloaks. The color was just too perfect, and it really does look nice. And now I've got these two gorgeous twin cloaks, perfect for, say, Elladan and Elrohir. Gosh I'm a nerd. And they button together to make a reeeeally nice, imposing full-circle cloak, with a line of trim down the front and down the back. I even made a little facing that buttons in place to keep the full-circle cloak from having a cold spot in back. Will I even be able to share?
Enough about garb, how 'bout spinning? I dyed half of my merino/silk yarn with the madder...it came out a very interesting color, a bit duller than I expected, but still very pretty. I think I will leave the other half of the yarn white instead of dyeing it yellow.
It turns out that my cousin Emily is into knitting. This is great, because she and I haven't really connected so far, and I'd really like to be her friend. She is in middle school right now and at kind of a tough age. But she likes all the same nerdy stuff I like. She's even reading books by Lloyd Alexander! (Note to self: digress on this topic later). Anyway, I brought my spinning stuff over to Uncle John's house for our Thursday night dinner and gave a little demo...everybody thought it was super cool, but I don't think I turned them into spinning addicts. They laughed at the dark grey wool roving I brought over--"Grandma hair!" they said.
I also put together a palette of roving to try and make socks out of. I dyed some wool/opossum roving I had with the madder dyebath, and got kind of a neat raspberry color. The dark grey wool could pass for chocolate, and then I have some creamy white. Mm, dessert socks. Have been blending the fibers with nice results, and also tried some navajo plying, which is really neat.
Right, so, mentioning Lloyd Alexander earlier reminded me that I have a little more story to tell. That dress I mentioned earlier, with the inkle trim? I made it in order to wear it to an SCA event, a feast put on by the College of St. Katherine, my starving-student pals. I went to the feast and had the most terrific time! I ate, I danced, I connected with new and old friends. Brought my inkle loom and got great advice for faster warping. On the same trip, I went to a concert by my most favorite band in the world, the Future Bible Heroes! They were unbelievable.
Then I drove with my friend to one of Berkeley's most excellent bookstores, Dark Carnival. (The Other Change of Hobbit is Berkeley's other most excellent bookstore.) Dark Carnival had everything I could possibly want, and more! I came away with:
--Falling out of Cars, the newest novel by Jeff Noon, and only available as an import.
--The Wasp Factory, by Iain Banks. Dark Carnival is the only bookstore I've found that keeps Banks consistently in stock.
--The Reptile Room, by Lemony Snicket, on tape. The great thing about getting the Series of Unfortunate Events on tape is that each one comes with a song by the Gothic Archies, another fabulous band headed by Stephen Merritt, the super-genius that brought us the Magnetc Fields and (ta-daa!) the Future Bible Heroes! Yaaaay!
--Last but not least, The First Two Lives of Lukas Kasha, by Lloyd Alexander. This was one of my very first favorite books, and one that I checked out from the library several times. I was astounded to see it for sale, and in a hardcover edition identical the one I had read so long ago! I don't know whether to keep it or give it to my cousin. Maybe I should lend it to her.
One final note: Dark Carnival also had a great little box-set of Robin McKinley books, including Spindle's End, a wonderful retelling of Sleeping Beauty, with some lovely touches for spinners.