Sunday, 30 January 2011

The Black Swan

This week has been very ballet themed for me.

Last night i had a cinematic experience and a half when we went to see The Black Swan. It was fairly intense to say the least and I found it very sad and also very scary and walked away quite shaken. But I am pleased I saw it and think it's good to have a shock sometimes. It was nothing a good pasta dinner and a bottle of beer couldn't shake away. And despite the darkness of the film, it was grand to have a glimpse of some ballet dancing- it is an amazing discipline.

At the moment I am involved with Sussex Youth Ballet Company (SYBC), helping to make some costumes for their forthcoming show. My task is shirts and waistcoats for the Ballerinos. There are just two of them and they need two sets of costumes each, so it is not too much work, but it is enough to be keeping me busy for the next few weeks. I have made good progress on the first set of outfits, black velvet waistcoats and burgundy shirts. The girls are wearing black tights with burgundy tutus and perhaps I will be allowed to trim those with gold too.

work in progress -much to do

The other set of costumes are lighter and brighter and more fantastical so I am looking forward to getting started with those. I am finding costume making quite a lot of fun as there is a bit less pressure for perfection than with clothes, and much more room for flamboyance. And it is going to be so exciting to see my creations on the stage.

a little tribute to the black swan i made

Ton, pas da deux,

Emilie. x

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Tyranny of Choice

It was a long long time ago when i first started thinking of making a patchwork quilt. I had put off the idea though because to start with I just found it far too difficult and overwhelming to choose from the fabrics, and designs and all the possibilities.

However, it has remained in the back of my mind as something to do and after a little innocent browse on ebay, I was kicked into action when I came across a seller who does small squares of Cath Kidston fabric in patchwork packs. I love those designs. So i bought some (perhaps that was a bit impulsive, especially when i already have a lot of projects on the go - but maybe it was good for me)

two of the designs included. they are cut from Cath's Haberdashery fabric and it is nice to have a samp - le it would be good to use for summer dresses.

I bought three packs of these and knew that it wasn't really enough, but felt I didn't want to go over the top. it was enough to start the ball rolling though and i managed to find some scraps of fabrics (and cut up some old dresses) to make enough triangles.

trianglation - i did these by cutting 20cm squares into quarters

Late last night was not a god time to start to put them together - but i did have an attempt and this was quite a revealing process. I have a lot of different patterns and colours here so it makes it hard to know how best to arrange them. I thought that random might be good because patterns might naturally form, but i think now that it might just look too messy so I managed to draw a design which will form overlapping star shapes.

it doesn't look much, but it took a lot of my effort!

When i tried laying out a couple of squares, i realised that I also needed to think about how i want to cluster my fabrics. I have grouped my triangles into colour but (especially with white background) there are lots of different designs in each set. my first thought was to mix them up as much as i could, but now I am thinking maybe clustering like fabrics together and having something more symmetrical would be nicer.

ARGH! who knows when i will commit to sewing my squares together, but I am pleased that i have made a start on this project.

yours, weighing up the options,
Emilia. xxx

Sunday, 16 January 2011

It began in Africa

This week i made another miniature, she is dedicated to my friend Liosliath who is living in Camaroon at the moment and who gave our Christmas gifts wrapped in some fabric. So i decided i would put it to use in a small tiny dress for  a new tiny friend. i can not really think of a nice name for her so i call her Jane.

Jane the little one

I also made for her a cotton garter stitch cardigan because we're not in africa and it's quite chilly. And a necklace to complete the look.

I think she is quite in vogue too by the looks of things as there are many african inspired outfits on the catwalks of late.

this one is by roberto cavalli. it is quite like the one i made i think

This was quite a nice theme for the week because I also had this mixtape arrive earlier this month made for me by Joe for the mixtape project


He has taken some better pictures here. It is really very nice indeed to hear some African rhythms on these grim English days. I have been enjoying the music in the mornings. This reminds me that i must get cracking with my january mixtape. 

Yours out of africa,
Emilia. x

Thursday, 13 January 2011

New year knit (in moderation)

Although I am attempting to spend less time knitting, it is hard to shake it from it's position as hobby number 1. And so although i do feel i have spent a little less of my time knitting this last week or two (an achievement!) there is a little knit purl going on...

evidence - article 1 - knitting on the train

After the success of my december knitting, i decided that it would be grand to continue following patterns and to embark on another project from the same chapter of Rowan book 44.

this one is called Dietrich

A lovely romantic pattern to lighten my heart during the hardest of the winter months. I enjoy knitting to Martha's Piaf record for optimum 1940s romance. My cardigan will be raspberry red instead, but hopefully just as lovely. i am looking forward to the crochet challenge it presents too.

berry nice
Yours warm of heart,
Emilia xxx

Marlene Dietrich - what a beauty

Monday, 10 January 2011

Flickr: the new challenge

I am trying to pay more attention to my photography at the moment and I got a new camera for christmas which was a step in the right direction. it is not an artistic camera, but it is much better than my other one and has a lovely big display which helps me a lot.

Last week i took another step which was to make myself an account for Flickr. it seems that it is a really nice place to display the pictures and i think it will encourage me to be more mindful when i snap. also i like it when i can see what people are knitting on flickr and things like that so i hope people will be able to see the things i do too and enjoy looking through my pictures. i have not quite got it worked out just yet and i think it will be a learning curve, just like making my blog really.

here is where you can see my flickr pictures. there is not very much there so far, but one day i hope for a grand collection of lovely things.

Yours happily snappily,
Emily. xx

Sunday, 9 January 2011

little one part 2

Introducing the new little friend. I called her Lady Grey because I used grey wool for her hair. And also because she looks grand in a miniature version of my recent knitting and skirt making projects. That is a fun pastime for my quiet evenings and a nice thing to do with leftover materials.

I used my pattern from my Stitch Yourself project. She was so much fun! All the pictures of her still fill me with delight!

Yours downsizingly,
Emilia xx

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Saplings of new year stitchings

Now it is the new year, and my mind is on resolutions. I was inspired to read Debbie's resolutions as they are like challenges for the year ahead. I especially can relate to her resolution to knit a little less and read a little more. That is definitely one i am trying to do too.

One distration from my needles and wool is a cross stitch sampler kit that i got for christmas. I know that cross stitch is not all that hip (unlike knitting) but this one doesn't have a single forever friend in sight, and when it is complete, i think will be quite wonderful.


I read in the book Mad Bad and Sad, that embroidery used to be bad news in days of old because it made women detached from their family and from society at large. There was one woman who was murdered by her daughter and they blamed it on the needle work. I only hope i can keep a handle on it. The little bit i have done i found very pleasing, but I am not sure it is quite as addictive as crochet (i have gone cold turkey on the crochet since the last time) and does take more concentration than knitting.

I won't ruin the surprise, but will update my progress to see how it grows. It will be a long term project, but my resolution is to finish within the year. it will be quite a triumph!

saplings of a mighty oak

Wishing you a happy new year,

Emilia. xxx

Monday, 3 January 2011

Back to school

Tomorrow begins a new school term, but i realise i have not yet shown and told about last term's triumph. I finished my evening class project numero uno before christmas. my trouser inspired pleated skirt.

(i have just noticed the terrible shadows and creases! sorry for this!)

The process was a really intereting one and i learnt a lot of good skills along the way.

I started with a version in miniture. this was a really useful exercise as i drew a pattern in quarter size which meant going through the process again to refresh my mind. it was easier the second time (and in small) and it gave me an opportunity to see how my initial idea and pattern adaptation would really work in fabric.

first step - creating the mini toile to see how my idea would work in practice

Once i was happy, i used my block which i had created in the first couple of classes and applied the same manipulation techniques i had tested in miniature to create my real life pattern!

Here is a picture of my pattern pieces. i am quite proud of these. i definitely have plans to use them again, perhaps with some minor adjustments. I had to alter my toile as it was far too big, but didn't do another mock up before making the final piece which meant that my final version ended up still slightly big (it is hard to now how tight would be practical!) i got around this with belt loops so i can wear my skirt on the waist as i intended. I can update my pattern again for next time, although might also try another in a heavier fabric as i know that can sometimes make quite a difference to fit.

I put in-seam pockets in, as i enjoy putting my hands in my pockets, and also they are useful when you find something. I used mint green lining for mine and was really pleased with the effect! We also covered some construction techniques in classes which I found really useful. Although i thought i knew how to do things like seams ad zips, there are all sorts of techniques to achieve different effects. I didn't try any of the decorative seams in my skirt, but did put into practice what i learnt about concealed zips and slip stitch hems...

 a concealed zip which means no stitching on the right side of the fabric - definitely a pleasing result for a first attempt.

We learnt how to sew our hems with no visible stitching on either side - it was quite obvious once we were shown, but i had never known it before

Next term is blouses and bodices. this will be much more of challenge i think. but i am really looking forward to getting my teeth into all the new things I will learn during that process. For christmas i got this great book which has a lot of techniques to apply to my own dressmaking and looks like it will be a very good companion to my classes as has sections on garment types as well as specific finishing techniques.

time to up my game
And also i got a Pattern Master!! 

for all my pattern drafting needs!

New term, I am ready,
Yours fastened up and finished off,

Emilia. xxxx