Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Work In Progress Wednesday - 4/13/2011

Well, for a couple weeks life was so busy that I didn't have time to make anything, so there was no WIP worth reporting! But things have calmed down a little, and now I can once again share how things are!

Gokk - my self-designed imagined alien based on a single passing quote from Babylon 5 - hasn't progressed since I last shared him two weeks ago, but I hope to have him finished soon (certainly by next Wednesday!) so I figured I might as well share another in-progress shot. :)

Mystery Amigurumi Project
Another Nerd Wars inspired project, I'm actually almost done with this (I started it yesterday, but it's working up very fast, which is good cause I'm still really busy) but it's part of a secret plan by my team, and since I think one or two Nerd Wars folks might actually read my blog, I don't want to show anything that will spoil it, so I took the most obscure, non-understandable picture of this I could manage:

It should be done by Friday, but I won't be sharing it as a FO until after the 20th ( Friday's FO, I guess).

Handspun Romney Progress
A while ago I shared some homespun I was working on. I had one night earlier this week that I was so tired that spinning was about all I had the brain power for, and I made some progress!

I think I'm getting better! And I haven't even gone in to the pound of fiber I bought - and Maryland Sheep and Wool is in less than a month - so there will be more spinning in my future!

Crochet Zouave Jacket
This is the project that I'm really excited about. Last fall, I visited the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and spotted a little display case they had with a small selection of books from their library. It was clear that what was in the case was rotated pretty frequently, and I really lucked out: when I was there, it was a display of fashion from the American Civil War. (I'm a big Civil War buff; I wrote a long post about it yesterday because yesterday was the anniversary of the first shots of the war being fired). Anyway, in that case I saw this image:

From the moment I saw it, I knew I HAD to make it. It's from an issue of Godey's Lady's Magazine from October of 1862. That was August. Flash to a couple weeks ago when the new Nerd Wars challenges were announced. One of them was "Reading Rainbow" - make an object inspired by a book you have read or are reading. Well, I certainly read enough about the Civil War (I later found out that I had to do it based off of a fiction book, so ostensibly I was inspired by Mike Shaara's "The Killer Angels" - the book the movie Gettysburg is based on - which is historical fiction). The first step was to hunt down the pattern. This proved both easy and difficult, and took a couple of days, but I was able to find a full text.

However, the next step was actually making it! The pattern called for "Berlin wool." I did some research and found out that Berlin wool is basically tapestry embroidery thread, which is the equivalent of fingering weight. And all Berlin wool was 100% merino. I went out and spent the most money I've ever spent on yarn to get some absolutely gorgeous fingering weight merino. I get it home...and I realize I shouldn't have trusted my memory. The pattern called for double Berlin wool. I felt like an idiot. However, undaunted, I simply decided to use two lengths of my gorgeous wool simultaneously (even though that means I now don't have I'll be buying more today. $80 bucks worth of yarn. Dear god. I just remind myself that buying a FO like this would cost much, much more).

So, the directions are semi-incomprehensible. It's not just changes in how patterns are written, it's that they are actually badly written. For example, early in the pattern they "establish" that one "rib" is composed of two rows of dc. However, at other points throughout the pattern they use rib and row interchangeably, which makes it impossible to tell at any given point which one they are talking about - and it can make a big difference! Then, there's no way in the pattern to figure out how the piece you start with actually relates to your body (is it the middle of the under arm? Is it the back of the under arm?). Furthermore, they frequently talk about the "parts" of the shoulder, as in the top of the shoulder (okay, I can tell where that is) and the middle of the shoulder. Where the heck is the middle of my shoulder? So all in all, the first couple of days were pretty frustrating. Finally, when I'd read it about two dozen times, I thought I had a pretty good idea of what they intended regardless of what nonsense they had actually written, and since I made the decision to just improvise around what I think they meant, things have gone much better. All in all, though, I'm exceptionally thankful that I'm an experienced sewer and have made bodices before, and therefore know basically how they go together and what the different sections need to look like, or else I'd be totally screwed. Anyway, in the past week I've made a little over half the bodice.

On the left is one half of the body, with the front forward. The back isn't quite fitting right, so I'm going to have to put in a third panel or else it's never going around my stomach, but that's okay, I already know how I'm going to do it. The right is the underarm for the second side.

This is definitely an instance where the fit won't really be right until it's all put together and the buttons are on, but here's a preliminary shot of how it looks.

And of course, after I do the bodice, I have to figure out the arms. Joy of joy. :) (actually, the arm directions look significantly clearer because there is no fit involved in quite the same way). But I'm still both nervous and excited - this is the first real item of clothing I've ever crocheted (ie, not a scarf or a hat).

So! That's my adventure. I'm sure I'll write more about it. :)

You know you want to take a look at what every one else is working on to this fine WIP Wednesday! Just head over to Tami's Amis!

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