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1  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 104 ENTRIES / Victorian Geisha Mermaid (PIC HEAVY) on: November 10, 2014 06:52:57 AM

After last year's unicorn costume, I decided that this year I'd be a mermaid. And not just a mermaid, but a Victorian mermaid!

It all started with the underskirt. I used this free trained skirt pattern as my basis, with some help from Yesterday's Thimble, Historical Sewing, and various diagrams and extant garments. It's made from a cotton bedsheet and a voile curtain and cinches closed with a snoopy ribbon. The now-filthy train is detachable.

The skirt itself is almost exactly the skirt with train balayeuse, but the back panel is divided into top and bottom. If I did it again, I'd make the train in two halves because it doesn't drape quite right. It's made from a really nice cotton sateen bedsheet overlaid with real fishing net down the back and interlined with poly-cotton broadcloth. The front is trimmed with a deep ruffle of fishing net covered in dollar store gems. In the second photo, all the trim is on, including custom dyed eyelet lace, metallic braid, metallic ribbon, and metallic net down the sides. You can just see the metallic "grass" around the train that's pretending to be seaweed. It cinches closed with tasseled gold drapery cord.

The overskirt is just a rectangle pleated on the sides with another rectangle gathered in the back. The outer fabric is this amazing drapery fabric lined with a green poly-cotton bedsheet. I added a green organza ruffle around the waistband and the fins are more organza set into polyester satin cones. The tail and fins are secured to the skirt with elastic loops on faux pearl buttons, and there's a lobster suncatcher hitching a ride. You also get a better view of the seaweed around the train. It cinches closed with a green scarf or sash I found at a second hand shop.

My crown was modeled on headdresses worn in central Asia, but I totally get why people said it has a geisha vibe. I started with a round dollar store place mat sewn to a headband and embellished it with shells, gems, pearls, fishing net, fake plant matter of various kinds, metallic grass, pearl trim and five tiny seahorse buttons. The back has clusters of green net sprouting more grass.

Unfortunately, I don't have any good shots of my shawl (Esjan by Stephen West), felted starfish purse (modeled on this one), or bra (inspired by maaany different rave bras on Etsy). I started spinning the yarn for the shawl last winter, felted the starfish purse a month early, and was still gluing things to my boobs while my fiance packed the car for our trip! Aw well, here's some full length shots, which include my crap-ton of necklaces and bracelets. I also dyed my hair pink, wore huge pink feather lashes, and glued teal feather lashes to my eyebrows and ears.

There's more progress pictures on my photobucket and a whole pinboard of inspiring mermaid stuff.
2  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Looking for a name for a knitting technique on: July 30, 2014 10:13:04 PM
It's called something like "leaving live stitches." I used that technique when I made these. Someone had noted on their Ravelry project page (I'm sure the project that inspired me is several pages in) that they'd left live stitches to pick up for the ribbing, and that seemed much more sensible to me than binding off only to pick up stitches again.
3  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: Spinning kit? on: June 20, 2014 06:47:31 AM
If you search for groups on Ravelry using your location as a key word, you should be able to find a "meatspace" guild or club Cheesy For example, while I'm in northern Ontario, I managed to find a guild that operates out of Ottawa so that some day I can go for classes and stuff. Ravelry also has groups dedicated to beginner spinners and spindle spinners which are chock full of incredible resources and a community of fibre fanatics who'll see you onto the right track Cheesy

I'm exclusively a spindle spinner and have been for almost a year and a half now! I use both drops and supports, and let me just confess right away that I've spent enough money on spindles to buy a wheel Tongue The thing is, I never have $300-$800 at a time that isn't already allocated to rent/food/etc, so it's easier to just buy a couple spindles here and there and build up my "herd." That's not even counting the $$$ I've spent on two sets of handcards, a blending board, a turbo knitting set, and more fluff than you can shake a stick at.

Starter stuff: spindle, fluff, YouTube. The wool might be tender after so long, depending on how it was stored, and I'm clueless about the flax. If the wool breaks easily when you give two ends of a staple length a good tug, it's not going to be easy to use. Also, carpet beetles and moths may have munched it, so look it over thoroughly for mysterious debris, insect parts and chewed areas. Since you don't have any prep equipment yet, stick to top, roving and batts. A lot of people recommend corriedale and BFL as beginner wools, but honestly, I just bought a bunch of random crap and had at it. Literally, I bought Sheep Shed Studio's 3lb Funky Bag o' Crap Tongue Then I bought Olde Whittemore handcards on eBay and a kilo of Botany Lap Waste from World of Wool. Thus began the long and dizzying fall down the rabbit hole of fibre fun!
4  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Re: Shiny Silver Hologram Lame' Leotard! (Lots of pics!) on: June 19, 2014 07:59:49 PM
Ooh! Just as nice as the gold one! Are you going to make a whole series in different colours?
5  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Best wool roving to use to be dye... on: June 18, 2014 05:44:14 AM
Sheep Shed sells by the pound. I was very pleased with the quality of their superwash :-)

World of Wool also has a good variety of natural coloured wool.
6  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Discussion and Questions / Re: How to dehair musk ox? on: June 07, 2014 05:43:49 AM
I'm confused; don't musk oxen shed their coats? There shouldn't be any hair, in that case, just downy undercoat. I've never bought any, so that's the extent of my potential helpfulness.
7  FIBER ARTS / Felting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Any wet felters put your hand up! on: June 01, 2014 10:25:42 AM
Me! Me! I've only done four wet felted projects so far, but they were all fun, and I got better with each one :-) The only thing really holding me back is that wet felting is so time intensive. It's not really something I can put down every half hour like spinning or knitting.

What sort of swap did you have in mind?
8  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Re: Fiber Friday 30 March 2014 on: May 31, 2014 06:35:49 PM
Somewhere on Ravelry, there was a thread about finishing yarns, and it turns out, there's options! I did the whole MUST WHACK EVERYTHING thing before that. My methods now revolve around how I spun the yarn. All of these were a woolen or semi-woolen method of spinning, so they were hot washed, hot rinsed and then cold rinsed to shock them into staying open and fluffy. The super thick yarn was spun pretty randomly, so it poofed and wisped in the most wonderful ways! For the rare times I want a shiny, smooth yarn, I spin worsted and wash and rinse in lukewarm water.

Short version: yarn always blooms in hot water because the scales on each hair get lifted up. Cold shocking means they shrink down quickly instead of slowly, locking in the poof factor.
9  FIBER ARTS / Spinning: Completed Projects / Re: Fiber Friday 30 March 2014 on: May 31, 2014 07:32:31 AM
Woohoo Fibre Friday! I was at the in-laws all day yesterday, so I didn't even see that we had one!

Oooh, jexxican, how could you let such a pretty batt sit for so long! And yay for alpaca fleece! I LOVE alpaca fleece!

Yay puppygirl! I love your ice cream yarn! It definitely makes me think of summer :-)

I got some yarny things finished this month :-) First up is some crapaca spun on my new fave support spindle from Ghstworks. I call it crapaca because it was the hairiest, greasiest, nastiest alpaca roving ever. I don't know why I thought I could pull the hairs out at a 50/50 blend of hair and fluff. I suspect it was processed on equipment designed for wool, as the soft stuff was short (shredded?) and the whole thing was tacky feeling. I tried from the end on a drop spindle, from a rolag on a drop spindle, and eventually had a brilliant moment where I tried spinning from the fold on a support spindle. This is destined to be a purse or something. 2.8 oz, 197 yards and around fingering weight. Shown unwashed.

I also FINALLY finished plying my 6 oz skein of alpaca/silk from World of Wool. I spun it supported and put the whoooooole top onto one spindle. What was I thinking?!?! That said, it was a beautiful spin, and I now have 348 yards of fingering weight deliciousness! Shown unwashed, and I have a feeling it will bloom huge and end up DK or even light worsted.

And lastly, I challenged myself to make the fattest yarn I possibly could. I used alpaca I washed and dyed myself with onion skins and spinach (the spinach was a fail, it's very pale). Spun and chain plied on a 3.9 oz ginormous vintage Turk I call The Beast. 5.3 oz, 57 yards, super bulky. It's very rustic, with lots of slubs and wispy bits. It bloomed a lot after washing.

LOL, why do I have so much more to say about a yarn I hate, than I do about the pretty ones? :-P

EDIT: oh, hey, jexxican, the thread title says March instead of May :-P
10  ORGANIZED CRAFT SWAPS / The Swap Gallery / Re: Random Swap Round 5 Gallery on: May 24, 2014 11:43:13 AM
Yesterday was one of the BEST DAYS EVER!!!! Dreadlocklove and I met up at a fancy coffee shop where I had my first chai latte in 5, yes 5 years. It was almost surreal, sitting in such a nice environment, chatting with a fellow Craftster (so nice to talk to someone who understands those crafty urges!) for over an hour while we took turns pulling goodies out of our boxes :-) And oh, the spoilage!!!! She's off to the cottage this weekend, so you'll have to wait to see her goodies, but behold the glorious craftasticness of Dreadlocklove!!!!!

First up is this gorgeous little bowl made in a pinched technique in shades of purple. It has a spiral of dots around the base that reminds me of Australian Aborigine art. It's sitting on an issue of Felt magazine, chock full of inspiring projects, and holding beautiful fabric beads made from scarf scraps and thread, and one of the flower hair doohickies she made for me. The other one that I was wearing is in my fiance's car, so I cant get it back until tonight.

Can you believe that Dreadlocklove rates herself as a beginner spinner??? My early yarns didn't look this good! She has such a gentle hand! From left to right are a scarf scrap yarn, a Karakul single (which I'd never seen before! It's all wiry and crunchy, such a fantastic texture!), and an alpaca blend single in green, brown and orange, one of my fave combos!

Fibre goodies!!!!! She hand dyed the two ounce braid herself in the yummiest shades of pink, purple and blue! I couldn't help myself, I started spinning it when I got home from work :-P And I didn't even know you could buy hemp fibre! She gave me an assortment of colours that's sure to keep me amused for awhile. It's so fine, like tussah silk.

The photo does not do justice to this piece! I cried. I had to pant and wave my hands, I was so overcome! I'm feeling weepy just thinking of the love and care that went into this amazing spirit doll. Her serene face is polymer clay, with a halo of hemp fibre, wool, feathers and eyelash yarn for hair. Her body is a twist of a scarf, tied with embroidery thread and decorated with other scraps of scarf and a blue-green bead. She has such good vibes!!!! So calming, just to look at her. I've had trouble sleeping for as long as I can remember, so she's propped in the purple bowl beside my bed, where she'll be the last thing I see at night and the first thing I see in the morning :-)

*sniffle* BEST SWAP EVER!!!!!!


I've prettied up my doll's new home :-)

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