Monday, October 29, 2007

Got Goth?

I had hoped to have more Goth for this, but alas, I haven't had the time to make anything I had in mind. So here is my sparse entry for Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I had grand plans. I was going to make a Maggie Jackson style Halloween scarf. I was going to use my spiff new GPP stamps to make an insert for my travel mug. I was going to decorate my room. I did, however, get the spiff single volume of Poe's complete works at Barnes & Noble. I also got a beautiful book of gothic paintings. I've been listening to my Mannheim Steamroller Halloween CD. And, the week of Stitches, I made this scarf, here modeled by the lovely dressform Abigail:
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Here's an uber-closeup of the crosses I found for it:
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I'm pleased with the way it turned out. Very simple, but it's just what I wanted. And this particular one is a bit goth, it being black and bearing crosses. But subtle goth.

Not as subtle goth? I've been painting my nails black.
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The rest of my contribution is actually shared with my Mom. Mom is an awesome decorator. And she loves Halloween as much as I do. Particularly cute or elegant Halloween stuff, not so much the gory and horrifying stuff. So here's a brief tour of our house, with Mom's decorations, and a few of my own.
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(That black blob is my feathered hat from the RenFest. Doesn't photograph well AT ALL.)

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(Bottles from Victorian Trading Co. I love them!)

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And even the yarn room:
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I know this post is already long, so I won't give you a tour of my Halloween sock collection (though you did get a glimpse up there of my pyjama pants). I do want to leave you with a video treat, though. This song is second only to the Monster Mash as my favorite Halloweeny song. It's by a German punk band called Die Arzte, And the video does a great job of showing what the lyrics are telling you. Trust me, it's funny. For those of you who, like me, do not speak German, here is a translation of the lyrics: Monsterparty

Happy Halloween!!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

To-Do List

Recently I've found that if I am going to accomplish anything, especially at work, I need to have a to-do list. Otherwise I forget half -- if not all -- of what I was planning to do, and it never gets done.

With that in mind, I've been thinking about writing down all of the various crafts that I want to learn, and posting about them to share my aspirations and to commit to them, because once they're public I can't take them back.

If anybody knows anyone I could learn any of the following crafts from, please let me know. I realize that there's a lot on this list, and I probably won't be good at all or even most of them -- jack of all trades, master of none, right? But they are all skills and techniques that I would at least like to be familiar with and be able to play with if and when the inspiration strikes. Here goes, in alphabetical order (I am an archivist, after all):

1. Bookbinding. Been in love with books all my life, and even moreso since studying medieval ones. I understand how books are bound, I know the basic process, I just have never done it myself.

2. Chainmaille. Okay, so technically I've learned this one. But only the very basics, and I haven't done much with it. Hell, I've only worked on it once. When I have more time, when the show is over, I'm going to get back to this one.

3. Digital image manipulation. I just want to be able to play with stuff on the computer and make it look good. Don't need to be a digital artist, I'd settle for a decent working knowledge of Photoshop's basic functions.

4. Leatherwork. Touched on this somewhat in SCA. Haven't learned much, though. I've been wanting to get into this one for years, though.

5. Metalwork. This one is less of a priority. I just think it would be nice to be able to cast my own pewter charms. And maybe spindle whorls.

6. Photography. I've said it before. I'm not very good at taking pictures. Once again, this one could be basic. I just want to be better than I am at it.

7. Polymer Clay. Just think of the awesome low-whorl spindles I could make with polymer clay whorls. Yes, a craft to support one of my other crafts. Shameless.

8. Screen printing. Been wanting to do this for a couple of years now. Just haven't gotten around to doing it. Really need to, though.

9. Weaving. Would give me something else to do with my handspun, right? I don't want to get into big-time weaving, just small-loom stuff. A small table loom. Like the one Mom and I have had sitting downstairs for YEARS.

10. Woodworking. Yes, another support craft. But one that would support oh-so-many of my other crafts. I just need to start following Dad around the workshop again on weekends. And find someplace to pick up woodturning and woodburning and all that fancy decorative stuff.

Wow. I ended up with ten crafts/arts on the list. Not much to ask, right? ;) I know I'm a nut, but even if I don't run with any of the above, I want to at least be able to try each one. Call it a desire for a greater education. Or maybe the need to have a hand in the creation of the things around me. Really, though, I just like to make stuff.

Monday, October 22, 2007

OMG! Spinxx0rz!

Wait, what? I spin? No way! Cool!

It's been far too long since I've had a post for Handspun Monday. But lookie! It's Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Now, I know I mentioned the FABULOUS roving I got from Kid Hollow Farm at Stitches. It's called "Fall Harvest." Looks something like this (and thanks to Pam you can now click on the pictures to get them full size):

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Closer look? Okay, here ya go:
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Yum. It's like pumpkins and grapes and vines and Autumn all in one pack of fluffy goodness.

Well, it was such fluffy goodness that on Sunday, yes last Sunday, the Sunday of Stitches weekend, less than 24 hours after I bought said roving, I sat down at Merriweather and didn't leave her until I had this:
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(Shown here in my lap, with my Halloween pyjama pants on :))

I didn't worry about which direction the twist was going, or how much fiber I was letting through, or how thick or thin it was, or consistency, or any of that stuffy stuff. I just let the roving spin as it wanted to, and let Merriweather start in whichever direction she wanted to spin in. It was a very organic process, and so refreshing. It actually made doing the work I had to do last weekend much easier. And I can't wait until I have time to do the same thing over again. I refuse to spin this stuff when I only have a few minutes. It's a whole bobbin spun, plied, and skeined or nothing. Cos I mean, really, just look at it.

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It's a meditation.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Okay, still no pictures to post. Haven't downloaded them from my camera. And I haven't taken any of what I've spun. But I wanted to post anyway, and rant a little about how very over my head I am in. If you don't want to hear me rant, just stop reading. But opening up about stuff helps me get my head in order.

See, with the costumes for the show, I feel like I'm just treading water. No matter how many people I dress, there are still five million more. And I only have one person helping me. It's a nightmare. Not that I'm not enjoying it at all, but it's just getting more and more stressful.

And because I put it aside for so long, I now have to finish that baby blanket I was crocheting by this weekend. Funny thing, that's also the first deadline for costumes. Hm. Funny how that worked out.

And there's a good deal of personal stress that I won't get into here but suffice to say it's all a bit draining.

Wouldn't it be nice if we could each just take a month whenever needed and say "bug off, world, I need some time to myself!" and just do whatever inspires us? I think that would be fantastic. I definitely need about a month to myself. That would be nice. But alas, I have no such month, so I guess that means I'm off to bed so I can get to work in the morning!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

*falls over*

Stitches is evil. In a good way.

I am exhausted, broke, and overwhelmed, but happy. Stitches East has done this to me.

It's not my fault.

Well, maybe a little.

See, all year I've been looking forward to Stitches. All. Year. And it was finally here! Mom and I signed up for a Thursday class so we could be up there for the Market Preview for students. And I signed up for a class all day on Saturday with (oh my GAWD) Maggie Jackson. *swoon* I want to be just like her when I grow up...

So Thursday was a blast. I had to take a half day off from work, but it was worth it. Pattern Writing 101 became three hours of why Carrie may never write a sweater pattern ever. But it was informative and helpful, and Edie Eckman is a wonderful teacher and a really nice person. Dinner made me feel better, though, because the SoTS got together, along with a couple of honorary members, and had a fabulous dinner at which the bartender did not charge us for our beer. Free stuff is always a good thing. Especially when you are about to break the bank. Heh heh. Heh. Oh boy.

Blue Moon Fiber Arts was my first stop. I probably should've just gone home after that. The mad crowds there were, well, mad. As in insane. But I managed to find what I wanted, and a bit more... heh heh... For the record, the element with the atomic number 6 is carbon. It also happens to be a beautiful yarn color. (I should mention that pictures will be forthcoming.)

Beyond that, everything is a blur. I know I got to The Mannings' booth. Because that's where I found the Zitron roving that I've been dying for, and the stars and stripes self-patterning sock yarn. And I know I spent more on one ball of yarn than any single ball of yarn should cost, except for that particular ball of yarn, which is more expensive normally but was discounted for the show. That very special ball of yarn happens to be quiviut. Musk ox down. Oh so fluffy, oh so soft. And oh so mine.

And I know that I met Doris Chan. *cue fangirl* SQUEEEE!!! She's my new hero. I love her books. In fact, I bought Everyday Crochet without even looking through it. And she is the sweetest person EVER. She was excited to hear that I had made the pineapple skirt and love it, and even more excited to hear that I want to make one out of hemp, because she's made a skirt out of hemp, and she promised to wear said hemp skirt on Saturday so I could see it. The pattern's not available yet, but it will be soon I think.

I even bought a present for my spinning wheel. Merriweather now has a new orifice hook, and it's appropriately blue. Sheila and Michael Ernst do such beautiful work.

Let me tell you, going to work on Friday was tough. I definitely had a yarn-over. But I made it through because I had to go offsite with a couple of my officemates, and I have fun with them. And at Murph's place I finished my newest project, of which I will post pictures when I'm ready for the big reveal.

So Saturday I had to get up at the crack of DOOOOOM to get to class on time. I mean I got up earlier than I do for work. That ain't right. But I did it. And I got there on time, in my pineapple skirt and my new project, strangely bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (I do have a bushy tail, being a squirrel and all). In line at Starbucks I ran into -- guess who -- Doris Chan! And she was wearing her hemp skirt, and it is beautiful. And she did like my pineapple skirt in BRIGHT pink Microspun. *glee* It was a good way to start the morning.

My day with Maggie Jackson was amazing. She's so clever, it amazes me the way she thinks to put things together. Her designs are so offbeat, and while there are a lot of them that I wouldn't necessarily wear, I love the way she combines techniques and puts things together in different and unexpected ways. She's just so inspiring. And I'm an even bigger fan now that I've taken her class. In fact, I'm going to do a Halloween scarf a la Maggie Jackson, because it's FUN. If I have the time between now and Halloween, that is. *crosses fingers* And as soon as I become rich and have about $5000 to spare, I'm totally going on one of her Knitting Retreats in Spain. Definitely. I'd say it's a life goal.

Now, because I needed more stuff like I need a hole in my head, where did I go at lunch and after class? Oh, back to the market, with Mom, who had come along on Saturday just to shop. Yes, I got the hemp for my skirt. And some Habu stainless steel and wool. And maybe (just maybe) some roving from Kid Hollow Farm. Which this morning I couldn't resist playing with, and I might (just maybe) have sat down at my spinning wheel and stood back up with a full skein of two-ply bulky yarn. Might have. I couldn't help it! It's not my fault! The roving was calling to me! It was like the Amityville Horror in reverse.

And now it's all over. And I had to spend the day (except for the brief spinning break) doing alterations for the show. Gonna be a hellishly busy week. But nowhere near as fun. *sigh*

Is it next year yet?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Obsession Confession

Alright, alright! I'll talk!

Ever since she was kind enough to comment on my post, I've been reading Michelle Ward's blog. I've always admired her work in Somerset Studio. Little did I know that we seem to have a lot of the same tastes. I mean come on; gothic style fan, HIM fan, uses a lot of architecture and gothic elements in her design work... To those of you who know me in real life, does that not sound like ALL of my favorite things?

Anyway, she's got a street team. And the Crusades for this street team are really more like creative challenges. The most recent of which is to share something (or things) that you have a "crush" on. Person, place, or thing. Anybody that knows me knows that I have kind of an obsessive personality, and so I fixate on something for a while, only to move on to the next shiny object later. Because of this, I had a hard time thinking of anything I could post as a single, sustained "crush." Well, on the very last possible day to join in, I finally have a post.

I, Carrie, have a crush on crosses.

Being Catholic (or Catholic-ish), I do place a personal and spiritual value on them. But I also find them aesthetically pleasing, thrilling even. I know, it's probably a little weird. But I just love crosses. Latin, Greek, Maltese (my favorite), Jerusalem (my other favorite), embellished, plain, crucifix, stone, wood, metal, painted, I just love them. You might say I'm a connoiseur of crosses.

Michelle Ward's "Graven" set of unmounted rubber stamps caught my fancy as soon as I saw them. They are the most beautiful collection of crosses and related motifs. I had to have them. Well, they arrived today, and I have just been in such a good mood. Not only that, but I also decided that hmm, I DO have a crush to post!

I gathered some of my things with crosses for a photoshoot. I'm sure I have other stuff scattered about the house, but this is the stuff I could lay my hands on (and remembered where it all was!) and that I knew is my favorite stuff.

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True to form, it's a sorta crappy photograph. Sorry. I really need to work on my photography skills. At any rate, ignoring the poor quality of the picture, the items featured are as follows, from left to right:
1. the shirt I bought at my first Billy Idol concert in 2003. Incidentally, Billy Idol is also fond of crosses. (And no, the autograph on the shirt is not real, it's printed. The real one is on my concert pants!)
2. (on top of the shirt) a cross that I bought to wear with my SCA garb.
3. the Graven sheet
4. (on top of the rubber) the necklace I wear almost every day. (closeup to follow)
5. two of my favorite belts. The one on top is identical to the one I spotted on my best friend not long after we met, and I'd been looking for one like it. Found it at PacSun. The one below that, with the huge buckle, is from New York and Company.

The necklace I wear most days has two very meaningful pendants. One is a Jerusalem cross that I bought to wear in my friend's show Last Rights. The other is a medal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help that I bought on my high school senior retreat.

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So there you have it. I've come clean. I love crosses, and I'm not ashamed!