A weekend crafting with Bowie

I wanted to write this post days ago but life got in the way, work piled up and days have just 24 hours. I could use my time in a better way if the Doctor came for me and left me here again just 5 minutes later, but I wouldn’t then probably be writing posts but fighting for my life in a different place and time.

As the Tolkien convention is approaching (November 1st, gulp!) we need to get our costumes ready. I spent last weekend sewing parts of my dress and drafting a making a muslin for Koen’s pants. He finally found another design that appeal him more than the previous one, and after a couple of days trying to wrap my head over that front design and consulting with Koen, I finally used the Jedediah pants pattern and then drafted front and back yokes to get a similar effect. I made a muslin for shorts and it looked exactly how he wanted so that’s one big thing less to worry about.

In the meantime he was busy with a hammer putting metallic eyelets to his faux leather vest. Just give a hammer to a man and he’ll be happy to help you ūüėČ Koen is half naked here, but don’t be mistaken, it was quite cold and I was wearing a thick sweater. I guess that happens when you have Belgian genes!

I bought a couple of meters of leather cord just to test how it would look like. Koen loved it from the instant he saw it. And it smells a lot of leather. One funny thing is that Koen used almost all two meters just for the shoulders! I bought more for this weekend, but I just hope he learns to leave short ends.

See how innocent he looks! You can hardly believe he used almost two meters of cord just for the shoulders. Just a little angel (and the pony my sister gave me years ago is watching him so that he doesn’t waste cord, mwhahahaha).

We were working for hours on end while listening to David Bowie, one of my last obsessions. I think working too hard is affecting me and listening to Bowie after work while I load the dishwasher is quite therapeutic. It could be the strange lyrics, the rhythm or his sexy voice.

And about this song… if you didn’t know, it’s the main theme of the TV show Life on Mars (ha, same title). We watched the first episode of the British series some time ago. At first I was not very convinced by the main actor and Koen found the plot too weird.

And you know, there are so many shows to watch that we didn’t continue with it; but after seeing again John Simm performing as The Master, I completely changed my mind. This scene is pure energy!

(SPOILERS: This is already a bit old but just in case, don’t watch it you haven’t seen the last 3 episodes of season 3)

Those episodes were hard and so enjoyable at the same time. They remain as my favorite of the new series. And as this post is already heavy on videos, I leave you one more from the Doctor Who Confidential behind the scenes. Too much stress, bring on the Doctor.

More than 15 years later

If you’ve been following me for a while you would think that after the Summer frenzy participating in sew alongs, it appears I’m suddenly doing nothing. It’s not that Fall has me completely paralyzed, it’s not that I have no ideas for future sewing projects. In fact I have a lot in my head right now, but I need to finish some projects for this month. Koen and I are attending a Tolkien convention at the end of this month and we need to be properly attired. That means that I have a lot of planning, designing and sewing.

My dress is more or less on track. I’m getting my inspiration from¬†this wonderful Cation Designs project (hey, Cynthia, I hope you don’t mind) drafting the pattern myself and using 4.5 meters of blue sateen from that fabric by the kilo shop I’ve mentioned before. I think I bought that fabric more than 15 years ago, when I first had plans to attend this convention but finally couldn’t. Then life got in the way and here I am with that fabric more than 15¬† years later and finally going for the first time. I made a cape at that moment that I still treasure so I’ll wear it this time.

Picture taken from Cation Designs

And off course Koen wanted a costume too. He is such an easy going person that when we talk about clothes he surprises me because nothing is good enough for him. And off course no matter what I say and how popular capes are in the Spanish Tolkien Society, he maintains his no capes policy.

We browsed the internet a bit and we found these pictures as inspiration:

He also wanted a faux leather vest like the Zoe’s in Firefly, but with simpler lines.

As I wanted Koen to feel involved and happy with his costume we went fabric shopping together and he chose the fabrics for his costume. For the vest he chose a beautiful dark brown faux leather and for the pants a dark grey fabric that was ok. But for the shirt he chose a beige knit that is still giving me headaches. And off course, from the original design he just wants that open slit with strings, because he wants short sleeves and the general structure of a t-shirt; ah, and he wants to tuck it inside his pants, so the look will be completely different. That wouldn’t be a problem if he also wanted a regular t-shirt collar. I bought the Strathcona Henley from Thread Theory designs¬†and I improvised some facings to imitate what he wanted (and which don’t want to behave properly). Now that it’s almost finished and he’s tried it on he’s just asked for a tongue like the one of a shoe to conceal a bit his chest. I’m still thinking about how to do that.

For the pants I’m planning to adapt his Jedediah but I’m getting worried because I don’t seem to be able to finish anything and I’m running out of time. I’ve cut the vest but I still need to see if it has the desired length and I’m still thinking how to resolve the stringy thingy he wants for the sides. Ah, and he also wants bracers and a pouch. We seriously need to sit down together this weekend to make this work out.

Borbo the Butterfly

This past Wednesday we went out for dinner to celebrate not only my friend Annalisa’s birthday by also the birthday of one of the guys from our capoeira class. He’s from the same region as me. We don’t talk a lot though since he’s quite younger than me but he’s a great boy. His capoeira nickname is Borboleta (butterfly), so I decided to make him this:

There are lots of butterfly patterns in Ravelry, but I didn’t browse too much because already from the beginning I wanted to make this one from Freshstitches. She has great animal and monster patterns with a funny cartoon vibe.

Nowadays I don’t enjoy crochet so much, although it was the first craft I learned and the first one that saved me from my stress. When I talk to people that knit and crochet what I hear most is that they prefer crochet because it’s easier and because it feels better for their backs and necks. And it’s kind of funny, because it’s just the opposite for me. Knitting feels painless even after several hours, while with crochet I usually get some pain in my right hand. Nothing too bad, but I feel it gets tired quite fast and my neck feels also quite¬†uncomfortable. After some thought I discovered why this¬†discrepancy. It’s true that when I started knitting I mimicked my grandmother’s English style, but switched fast to Continental and never went back. Somehow it feels much more relaxed and I don’t need to bent my body in strange ways. And the people who tells me that knitting kills their backs and necks are throwers (they knit English style). In Spain few people use circular needles, and those long straight ones are specially convenient for throwers since they tend to stick them under their armpits. That’s what I see over here and that’s what I remember my grandmother doing. I re-learned knitting in Brussels, with people from Croatia, Finland and¬†Sweden, and Continental style was just more popular among them. And probably that’s why I picked up that style.

Another thing is that when I knit I barely need to look at my knitting. I do it from time to time, especially if I’m doing lace or cables, but generally I can go blind and watch something in the meantime (I love that); but with crochet I need to look whenever I start a stitch. I don’t need to look during the whole process of making a stitch, but I need to look at where I stick my hook into. Off course I can also watch a TV show like this too, but it’s a less mindless process.

This is just to explain why I barely crochet now. That and also because I mostly enjoy making clothes and I prefer the look of knitted ones.

And by the way, he loved this present, hugged me profusely and said in his most candid tone: “I really know that you love me like you were my mother”. ¬†Well, that would explain why I felt we were in different worlds. Different ages, yes, but also different generations?

Serenity is gone

Some time ago I discovered a pattern to knit Serenity. I left my browser tab open for a very long time. Anytime I had to restart my computer I restored my tabs just to get that tab with the PDF pattern in it again. Just a reminder to knit it one day, not too late. But the last time I restored my tabs I received an error, and when I tried to reload it, the domain didn’t exist anymore.

I went again to the pattern Ravelry page and it still links to http://serenityship.wordpress.com/, which still links to the old link. Unfortunately the domain Klgardner doesn’t exist anymore. Browsing the web I also found the pattern here, but you need an Evernote account to access it.

Since this is a free pattern designed by Kelly Lane Gardner, and I guess she had an issue renewing the domain, I’m uploading it to my blog to have it available to everybody. You can download it here -> serenity_pattern

If the original link is reestablished and the author wants me to get it removed from here, I’ll do so, otherwise, please feel free to download it and thank Kelly for her effort. I’ve dropped her a line on her Raverly profile to let her know.

Updated: Kelly has just answered one of my messages and said that she has made some recent changes to her website and hopes to have it fixed soon. In the meantime feel free to download the pattern from here.

Updated 2: Kelly has moved the pattern to a new location. You can get it here.

Link to the pattern: serenity_pattern

To the infinity and beyond!

Last Saturday was the birthday of my friend Annalisa. We met unexpectedly in an activity that was not in my plans. Yes, we met in Capoeira class. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here, but I started practicing Capoeira because I was in the need of some aerobic activity. I went to the gym 5 minutes from my place and tried, or better said, suffered a first and last spinning class (the one with the bike, ha) and Koen convinced me to try Capoeira, that was also available at the same gym. And I got hooked. I met Annalisa there. She missed a lot of classes but together we convinced each other to take things more seriously. I just wanted to move a bit, do some exercise, and found a friend and a great sport. We instantly connected. It doesn’t happen often, it could have been that we both are thirty-something and in the same wavelength.

She is from Italy and spent the weekend there with her family. There was class today but she not going because she’s just arrived from Italy and I’m not going because I’ve been feeling not very well lately. I’ll give it to her at the next class. I have an appointment with my¬†allergist¬†tomorrow morning, so I stopped taking my¬†antihistaminics¬†last week just in case we are doing some tests again. Just the day after stopping ¬†taking the pills I started to feel a bit ill, but I don’t know whether it’s either a cold or just allergy. It’s kind of weird, since among all the allergies I have (no few) ragweed was not one of them. But what else could be at this time of the year in a dry place? It’s not only that I’m sneezing all the time and I have a running nose, but I’m having itches all over my body, and in one of the pictures below you can see a couple of wheals on my face. I’m having them over and over and sometimes my lower lip gets a bit swollen on the left side. Last night I woke up at 4 am with a horrible itch just were the ankle joins the foot. I had to get up to put some cream to calm it down.

I have made this infinity scarf for Annalisa for her birthday. I more or less followed this recipe¬†but my rectangle measurements were 150 x 56 cm (30 cm shorter than the original). Since this cotton blend is a knit I used a narrow zig-zag stitch. At first I was going to use cotton voile, since it’s what most infinity scarf recipes recommend, but I found this wonderful lacy knit I couldn’t let it pass. And I confess it, I love blue.

As you can see, I’ve recently bought a remote for my camera. This is from Amazon and it was cheaper than the official for Nikon. It’s simple but it does exactly what it’s expected. A nice buy!

The elasticity of the knit fabric makes the scarf very comfortable and versatile, something I hadn’t thought of before, when I was thinking of using cotton voile. It’s also very soft and¬†breathable, and since it’s elastic you can even easily fold it in three for extra coziness.

Even if I’m not showing a happy and convinced face here I definitely love it. Just mind me, I have itches everywhere, a running nose and a light headache.

A Sweater!

My niece Paula had tonsils removal surgery a couple of weeks ago. And you now, she’s been at home for some days completely spoiled. I saw her yesterday on Skype and she didn’t want to talk to me until I mentioned that it was a pity that she didn’t because I was preparing a present for her to take to Vigo in my next visit in December (her birthday and Christmas). Suddenly she sat up very straight in front of my mother’s laptop, and when I asked her if she knew what I had for her she exclaimed: “A Sweater!”. It made me laugh out loud!

Because two years ago I made her this cardigan:

And last year I made this lovely sweater:

So in her little and smart brain she is expecting something like that again. To be honest, I haven’t started already, and this year it’s not going to be a knitted sweater but this wonderful reversible zippie hoodie:

Image taken from Kitschycoo

I just need to find a beautiful fabric so that Paula gets impressed when she sees it.

And I’m not knitting anything for her this year for two reasons. First because I also want to sew for her and my time is limited, and second because I have to knit for two other kids in my life.

I want to make this cardigan for Koen’s nephew, who will turn one year this month (and the hat if I have the time):

Image taken from Ravelry

And this one for one of my best friends’ baby that should be born one of this days. I’ve already made it for Koen’s nephew ant it was an easy and fast knit. I also want to make the Aviatrix hat again in matching wool.

This one is Koen’s nephew

It’s going to be her second baby and it’s amazing how much we changed since we were at school. I have this little group of friends. We are just four, but three of us met for the first time at school when we were four years old. It’s not that we were inseparable for this last 31 years, but we spent our teenage years together and that creates strong bonds. We are also very different and have our lives, but we manage to meet at least a couple of days per year and talk about the good old days. I’m really looking forward to do it again this December.

I’m not a Fall girl

This Fall is being harder on me than I expected. Last Winter lasted terribly long, almost until the end of what should have been Spring. We almost believed Summer was not going to come, but it did, and it was very dry and hot as it’s always here. And suddenly we are in Fall. Last year the beginning of Fall was still quite warm and sunny; well when is Madrid not sunny? These last days apparently. Today we’ve been conceded a truce, but last weekend it rained cats and dogs and I think the rest of the week is going to be the same. I’ve just washed some clothes because I love to let them dry out on the sun and from tomorrow onwards it’s not going to be possible. Strange weather for this time of the year in generally dry and sunny ¬†Madrid.

I used to feel this tired when I was living Belgium. Winters were long and dark there, so I guess this apathy is just due to this sudden bad weather.

I see everybody excited about sewing for Fall and Winter knitting, but I feel an uncanny aversion to Fall and Winter colors and clothes. I hate greys and browns after wearing some vivid colors in Summer, heavy clothes compared to light ones. Why is it so difficult to find Fall and Winter clothes in happy colors? Even when making my own garments I’m also a bit tied to colors, since Winter fabrics tend to show more those dark and sad greys and browns.

I had the plan of knitting Hetty this month and I was looking for a happy teal color. That Berroco Blackstone Tweed is impossible to find in Spain and they don’t sell it at Laine et Tricot¬†(France), where I normally buy. I finally saw it at¬†Loop Knitting¬†(UK), but many of the colors were either sold out or there were like two or three skeins left. I finally bought some¬†maroon¬†skeins (Cranberry Bog) that looked more or less nice, but now that I’m knitting with them I find them depressing. It’s a really Wintery color, don’t you think?

Fall is already here and I can only think about making Hawaiian tops or Tiki dresses like the last one Amanda made. I guess this is what happens when you know bloggers from the South Hemisphere. You become green with envy.