Friday, August 29, 2008

Ren Faire take 2

So in addition to going to Stitches last week, I also went to the Renaissance Faire again (it's only an hour away). This time, I was an awesome pirate. See?

I bought a nifty pirate flask as well. The costume was very comfy, unlike some of the other fancy ones I've done before, all except for those boots, which you can't really see. It seems wrong to be a pirate without boots, but I wish I had brought something comfy to change into.
The awesome part is that much of this came from my wardrobe already. The big change was the shirt - it was originally a dress shirt with black and red pinstripes, but in addition to being to tight in general, it was much too tight in the arms. So I decided I needed puffy sleeves, like any good pirate. I also added on some cheap storebought lace to the collar and sleeves.
The corset is the reverse of the one I wore last time. Yay for reversible corsets. The belt I just happened to have. The pocket watch is my new favorite watch. I picked up a gold one and a silver one at an estate sale - they're the kind you have to wind, which I actually really like. The sword is my old fencing foil.
The hat I actually got at the Brookfield Zoo. They have a pet-the-stingray exhibit, which is awesome, and for some reason they sell pirate stuff in a gift shop outside it. It's getting near the end of the season, so it was 40% off. It's a black woven straw hat, but if you look closely you can see the band has silver skull-and-crossbones on it. I also got pirate flipflops, which is incredibly cool, but less authentic.
The fishnets were just from my hosiery collection. The pants are cheap yoga pants, inspired by some I borrowed from my mom. I wanted to show off more of the fishnets, so I made some little garters to hold up the bottoms. Garters are incredibly easy to make, for the record. I took a bit of bias tape lace and some black elastic, and then just sewed right up middle while pulling the elastic as stretched out as it could go. When it went back into place, it ruffled up just like a garter should. I'm glad to know this, because storebought garters seem to come in only size, and that's Too Small For Me. These were perfectly comfy.
The little purse I did actually make from scratch, and I'm pretty proud of it. It's just a simple drawstring bag, but I got it in my head that a metal drawstring would be incredibly cool. I really didn't know if it would work well, but once it had snagged all available threads, it was just fine. The metal is fancy jewelry chain that was on sale. I stitched what I had extra around the opening of the bag. It's nearly taut when the bag is open, and drapes when it's closed. At each of the parts where it drapes, I added a little skeleton key charm, also cheap jewelry supplies on sale. I added a few other baubles at the front, but that's about it. I think any pirate would be proud of this bag.
So that's my spiffy costume. I'm a little sad that the Ren Faire is going to be closing for the season, because I might be tempted to go again. It's just a shame that there aren't more occasions to wear costumes in public. One holiday per year is simply not enough.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


So, Stitches Midwest was today. It moved to the Schaumburg convention center, where parking is free. And thanks to Debbie Macomber, who had a coupon for her book signing, admission today was also free. So in theory, one could go to Stitches and not spend any money. In theory.
I had a plan going in. I was going to buy some beautiful new sock needles, some roving, and maybe one or two really good deals or two. I kind of sort of stuck to that.
On the first pass, I found some nice sock yarn for $5. Really, you can't fault me for $5 sock yarn. It also came with a nice shopping bag that will get reused as a project bag.
I did buy the beautiful sock needles right away, which were far too expensive. I knew they were going to be expensive, and they still cost more than I was expecting. However, they are lovely 5" dpns in lightweight aluminum with a grippy body and an extra-pointy "stilletto" ends. I am such a sock junkie that these will get a lot of use. I had tried the straight version of these needles last year at Stitches, and they were so very beautiful I nearly bought some then. The only thing that held me back was that I really don't use straight needles, and they were planning on doing dpns. I can't wait to test them out. I hear they are doing circulars next year, which may also prove my undoing.
As for roving, I was a little disappointed in the choices. Too much of it was too variegated and not well dyed. I like tonal, but brightly colored yarns and I had some trouble finding it. I got some lovely naturally died orangey-red with yellow in corriedale and silk, about 5 oz, which I will get me a small project like hats or mittens, or so I'm told.
I also got some lovely grey wool mixed with fibers of recycled sari silk. It was an 8 oz. bag, and it should spin up really well.
Then, well, then I hit a really good deal I couldn't resist. You know that yarn that my naughty little kitten liked to steal? Well, they had bags of it at 60% off. I had heard rumors the yarn was being discontinued, and this was 2/3 off. So, I kind of bought a couple of bags of that. That's really where my plan fell apart.
So, the plan falling apart that much, I also broke down and bought a kit for thrummed mittens. I have been wanting to do some, and after trying some on, I couldn't resist this set. The nice shop owner even assembled a custom kit for me, since the colors I wanted weren't available. I got light grey mitts with dark grey thrums. Also, did I mention they're alpaca? They're alpaca. Nothing is going to be warmer this winter, and Chicago has some nasty winters.
But really, yarn hauls aside, it was really just a fun experience. I saw some people from my various knitting groups, and some people I haven't seen in quite some time. It was a lot of fun. And, barring the ridiculous amounts of money I spent, free. Sort of.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Don't Buy Gateway

Both, yes both, my laptop and my desktop are dead. The desktop was getting old, and I knew it was on its last leg anyway. The laptop has been a nightmare, and Gateway has been giving me the run around on replacing my defective hard drive. I am so incredibly mad at them, there are not words. Well, there will be many, many words in a cranky letter to the most important people I can get it to. But yeah.
So, that's the reason for the not blogging. Sorry. In the meantime, I've finished some awesome socks, participated in the Pratchgan, bought a new spinning wheel, bought a loom, made a Clapotis, and am going to be an awesome pirate at the Renaissance Faire tomorrow. I have also not been going to the Wednesday meeting because I am a total Olympics junkie, and my work schedule has gotten absurd.
Pictures of much of the insanity later, just thought I'd throw in the brief summary.