Hope you all had a warmer weekend than I did. But I also hope it was as endlessly memorable.
Hope you all had a warmer weekend than I did. But I also hope it was as endlessly memorable.
My favorite show in the whole world is I Love Lucy. I’ve seen every episode a million times. Literally. One million times.
My friends are always a little surprised at my strong, unwavering love for the show. I suppose it’s unusual for someone of my generation, but I always watched it as a child and it just never loses its appeal with me. The affinity is so strong that it extends to others that feel the same way about the show…there’s a kinship. Like I have some sort of understanding with other Lucy fans…
Really when it comes down to it, I just love Lucy. Seriously. She was funny, witty, beautiful, quirky, and (because I’m that kind of lady) I loved her style–the 50s style.
So here is my attempt at channeling Lucy, except with some patent pumps, which I’m not so sure Lucy would’ve been so into.
I found the pattern for this 50s-60s style Vogue dress on Ebay, a Vogue Couturier pattern by Belinda Bellville. When you go back that far you’re really confronted with how sizes have changed to make women feel skinny and buy more clothes (the old conspiracy theory I’m so fond of). I’m often shocked at the small size I am in today’s sizes, mainly because I’m not that small relative to many people I know so I’m not sure what sizes are left for them…do they go into the negatives? Must they walk around in sack-like size 0s? Perhaps they delve into kid sizes. In any case, the old sizes, where I’m well into the double digits, make far more sense…even if it does hurt my ego for a short minute.
The fabric is a Japanese double cotton gauze by Nani Iro. It’s quite nice–more substantial than normal gauze, but light. The dress itself is very fitted on top with a satin charmeuse yoke and armbands, puffy sleeves, and a very gathered skirt (mostly gathered in the back). The front is pleated with a pocket tucked in one of the pleats. I love the hidden pocket–nothing is more gratifying than when you buy something unaware that it has a pocket and then one day you just discover it…and the whole day is perfect from that point forward.
The shape I found to be very reminiscent of Lucy’s house dresses that were so adorable to me. She always seemed so lovely and dressed up at home. Whenever I came home from school, my parents would make me change out of my good school clothes into “house clothes.” Just having that rule in place (which makes complete sense and is one I abide by now on my own) made me want to dress nicely at home. It makes no sense, really–but I wanted nice house clothes.
This will not be a house dress. I really love this one. I tried hard to finally make something where the inside looked just as neatly done as the outside. So I used french seams, yoke facings (which in the past I’ve been too lazy to do–but should always be done!!), and (this will sound horrible to sewers that it isn’t something I always do) matching thread. I’m actually relatively careless with a lot of sewing projects, but lately I’ve been really trying to exercise some patience. It generally pays off…
See you tomorrow-ish for the final Day…
I’m just very, very disappointed.
courtesy of the best blog around, Grist.
This is how change happens–indoctrinate the children. It’s kind of like with new fuel economy standards for cars…you have to wait a while for the fleet to turnover, but once it does, BAM. The entire fleet emits far less than before because cars are just built differently.
My generation has far greater environmental awareness than the baby boomers and the same will be (or already is) true of children today and the generations before them. They’re just programmed differently–recycling is standard practice, riding a bicycle or taking public transportation is not for the “lower class” but for the very cool eco-conscious, and being vegetarian is normal and healthy rather than some sort of bizarre hippie weakness. I already see this within my peers and can only assume through efforts like the one above that the future generations will take these concepts to the next level.
The change may be slow, but it’s going to be powerful when it comes.
I really wanted to change the course of these next couple of days to write about some substantive goings on, particularly in the realm of normal everyday people making an environmental difference….but I’m sick and busy with a lot of work and other professional goings on.
So, like yesterday, I present to you an ongoing project: my Petal, pattern by Stephanie Japel. I was inspired by this version (on Ravelry) by Ravelry user Natsuko. I am basically making the exact same thing, even with her sizing modification using size 6 needles rather 7s. I loved her entire creation, dress and all and realized I had some perfect Be Sweet Bambino in Coral that needed to be frogged from a yarn-eating Twinkle project that I would probably never ever wear after taking the photos of it for this blog (kind of like my Vogue Twinkle Dress). I was initially going to make the Gitane Tunic Dress from the new Town and Country book, but after spending $100 on Bambino in black and coral for this project, a quarter of the way through I realized I would still need about $75 more of yarn to actually finish. The whole thing definitely seemed not so worth the money and trouble. I still think it’s beautiful and think it would actually be better (by which I mean at all wearable and at all affordable) if I modified the pattern to use 3 strands of yarn instead of 4 and used smaller needles to get a less chunky final product. But that seemed like a lot of effort…
So I frogged what I had and am going strong on this little cardigan.
A note on the yarn.
It’s INCREDIBLE. In all ways. It meets so much of my criteria: socially responsible, organic, low impact dyes, alternative fiber (bamboo); but it’s also crazy soft and the colors are beautiful and rich. Even if it weren’t “good” and “green”, the yarn itself is just gorgeous and soft like a cloud. Most perfect for baby stuff, so I just ordered a bunch to make a baby blanket for a friend.
Almost there, friends…3 more days!
I’m back to showing you projects in progress…
This will someday be the Raglan Wrap from Laura Irwin’s Boutique Knits. I really love this border, which is an interesting stitch involving pulling yarn-overs over 2 stitches–very simple, but new to me.
Beyond that, the pattern is really basic.
I’m using Malabrigo Organic Cotton in Pimenta and Pacae, which is very nice. It’s not as soft as other organic cottons, but it’s crisp, in a good way–if that makes sense. I’m hoping this will be a simple, basic piece that I can wear a lot and throughout the year.
This is not an exciting post.
So I leave you with my WWII message for the day:
This a bit of an unusual FO, though I’ve mentioned it before…homemade deodorant. I have many, many issues with conventional deodorant, particularly that all I can find in the women’s “deodorant” section is antiperspirant. My problem with antiperspirant is that it is full of chemicals and even metals that may cause me health problems that researchers are unsure about now, but are studying, such as the link between aluminum and alzheimers.
I also just generally find it unhealthy to block the natural, toxin-eliminating process of sweating. And I find it curious that it is virtually impossible to find just deodorant for women (not the chemical and aluminum filled anti-perspirants), yet the aluminum-free options for men are plentiful. For some time I was using men’s Speedstick as my only moderately effective option, but I got a little tired of smelling like my dad and a little resentful that as a woman it wasn’t enough to just smell nice, but I wasn’t allowed to even sweat at all either. There are of course the natural alternatives that don’t impose such mandates, Tom’s, Jason, and many others, but to be perfectly honest they did absolutely nothing for me. Perhaps I am unusually smelly, but it became a huge problem.
And then I found it. Amy Karol’s Angry Chicken blog saved my life with this homemade deodorant recipe. It’s suprisingly simple (shea butter, cocoa butter, baking soda, corn starch, vitamin E, and whatever essential oils you’d like to smell like) and is even more surprisingly effective. I followed the recipe exactly, with the same oils and using a half pint mason jar, which lasts me a few months. The only thing I may add for next time is vegetable glycerin, which others had commented would be good for additional softness. The recipe fills the jar with a cream deodorant that you rub on. A pea-sized ball takes my smelly pits through a whole day and it’s literally the only thing that has ever been 100% effective–no stink. At all. Even through the 100 degree DC summers.
It won’t keep you from sweating, but like I said, for most of us, sweating is meant to happen–and it’s a good thing.
Another great thing about homemade deodorant is eliminating a lot of unnecessary plastic packaging (though you will still have some from the materials to make a few batches of deodorant) and reclaiming certain products for the homemade realm that I think we’ve all been conditioned to believe we must buy from large companies. This is true of many things that are so laden with chemicals, that I personally actually believed they had to be made that way to be effective–like shampoo, face lotion, lip balm, and many others. It’s great to break down these products to what we actually need from them and make a product to do just that, simply and naturally. Like using baking soda to neutralize odor–we all know it does this, but for some reason it’s become difficult to make that next leap of putting it on my pits.
Another plus–I actually find the recipe easier than walking to the store to buy myself deodorant.
Ok folks, this is getting difficult. I knew I didn’t have twelve finished products to share with you, but I forged on with the charade. So now begins the I-must-atone-for-my-lies-and-show-you-the-myriad-of-ongoing-projects-I-have-which-illustrate-my-inability-to-commit portion of… Twelve Days of Non-Denominational blah blah blah.
I would actually have a great FO to show you had the yarn not completely betrayed me.
Here sits my completely knitted, seamed and otherwise lovely Phildar Meshy Sweater.
It sits soaking in a bucket, anxiously awaiting either its death or ascension to glory at the hands of this first-time dyer. You will notice that even while it sits in a large bucket of water, it is comprised of two distinct colors–a very light grey and a darker grey-blue.
This was unintentional and not completely my fault. The yarn I used is Rowan Purelife in Logwood–for the entire sweater, but from two different sources. In my research, I have found that logwood is very prone to fade and rub off, and natural dyes in general can produce extremely different results in different dye lots. I still believe the yarn itself is fantastic, I just caution all of you organic knitters out there to buy all the yarn you think you’ll need at once, from the same dye lot.
Because if not, you must delve deeply into the world of natural dyeing in order to fix your beautifully knitted sweater that now looks like a colorblock 80s mess. I’ll give you full documentation of my dyeing endeavor once it’s completed, but let me tell you–it’s not what I thought it would be. Dyers will laugh, but I seriously thought I’d just squirt some color into a bucket of water and stick my sweater in it for an hour or so. But no no no. I have to scour, then pre-mordant, and then dye. I have no measuring implements, so it will be improvised.
I’m fully prepared for my sweater to die. from the dyeing.
Possibly in memoriam, I wish to say that this sweater became kind of annoying to knit. Quite a bit of knitting through back loops and the excitement of dropping stitches doesn’t come until the end. That being said, I really am happy with the design, fit, and shape. It’s very cool and…I think I’m realizing that I may shed tears if I kill my sweater.
The only thing that was a real problem was the sleeves. According to my non-French-speaking translation of this French pattern, the sleeves are given no shape whatsoever–I mean no armhole shaping at all, just tubes of sleeve. It looks surprisingly nice on, but when I followed the pattern exactly, the armholes were too small. My fix was to still drop the appropriate stitches at the end, but pick them up again after creating the ladders and knit a couple of more rows–so no stitches were lost and the armholes would be almost twice as large. They’re still a little tight, but fit decently.
I’m hoping to get to dyeing this week, so I’ll report back.
Let’s cross our fingers for a real FO, rather than a eulogy.
See you Monday for Day #7!
This is my latest sewing endeavor that I think is the most detailed work I’ve done to date.
The pattern comes from Burdastyle: the Jennifer Blouse. It’s made of a peachish silk, which is crepe-like, but I think knit. I loved this pattern for it’s nicely placed pintucks that add subtle, but feminine detail. The cuffs are also entirely pintucked, which does take quite a bit of time and patience, but looks quite nice and polished.
The inset is not part of the pattern, but was entirely inspired by the creation of another Burdastyle member, CarotteSauvage. Her creations generally give me inspiration and a level of artistic quality that I hope to infuse into every future project. This was a lesson in how the addition of simple shapes, placed in interesting, 3 dimensional ways can really make an otherwise plain pattern into something artful and beautiful.
The finished product came out a little big, though I do like the loose-fitting shape. The inset and neckline could also use some little refining touch-ups, which I will get around to…someday. Overall this enters my list of favorites–it’s my masterpiece of the moment.
Ok, see you tomorrow for Day #6…I’m running out of things to share, so the format will have to change slightly. I will also be out of town for the weekend, so some days off will also have to be had.
Happy New Year everybody!