Spent all day doing cartridge pleats. There are two layers to the skirt- one is this really beautiful netting with fuzzy black floral overlay. It used to be white and black, but Will overdyed it blue. The second layer is a purple blue taffeta. It's going to be a really fantastic dress. For the most beautiful boy ever. The actor has a 27 inch waist (yowza! skinnypants), so those two layers of fabric, almost 6 feet long, had to be gathered down, which was tricky. This has been a pleat-tastic show for me! I made box pleats for Ophelia's dress last week.
I finished my first ever sweater! It's made of delightfully light weight alpaca! And its turquoise, the most beautiful color. I love it. I can also see why they tell you not to knit sweaters for other people (the curse of the boyfriend sweater) Because there are strange in consistancies in hand knit items. But I am going to wear it every day!
Sometimes I work for the tailor, Ed. I don't get to do as complicated things for him, because he has such a traditional, complicated method. But yesterday I made some pants for him! They were huge diaper pants, with no crotch seam! The center front panel was also the center back, it folded around, and two side pieces left room for little leg holes. They looked really funny, just like an adult upholstery diaper! I tool a picture of the pocket, because I think its just so interesting how pockets are put into things, so logical and yet still kind of tricky. Like origami. Actually, making these pants was a lot like origami. I'll put a picture of them up when they're on stage.
My main project recently has been Ophelia's dress. I posted a picture of the mock up and research before. The dress is made up of all these layers of really beautiful lace. The feathery bits on the end are called eyelash. We've been piecing different bits of lace together, especially on the bodice. It turns out you can just cut up little parts of the lace and then sew it on in different areas, and make this amazing, constructed lacy fabric, that looks really complicated and like it was woven specifically for the garment. But its just held together with a zig zag stich!
This dress has three layers to it, a peach chiffon layer, a sheer sparkly layer, and then the lace. My boss Jill showed me this magical thing. Instead of doing french seams on the lace, we made peach bias tape and lined the seams with it. So that when its against the underskirt, it completely disappears. So cool! The worst part about making this dress has been knowing that when we're all done, we're going to have to turn it over to Will in crafts, and he's going to distress it. Sad!
My father went on a scientific expedition to study the ice sheets in Antarctica. Here's the website about his expedition and others. http://polardiscovery.whoi.edu/ Its incredible what they do, it looks amazing down there, at the bottom of the earth, bleak and beautiful. Before he went, I knit him a hat! (Which I wrote about already, but didn't have a picture) It was my first time using two different color yarns to make a shape. It got a little messy on the inside, and I had to take a needle and thread to it, so the red part wouldn't fall apart. But for a first attempt!
Back in November I read No Idle Hands: a Social History of American Knitting by Anne Macdonald, and it made me cry. One quote in particular, from the diary of Lavinia Porter: "I never recall that sad parting from my dear sister on the plains of Kansas without tears flowing fast and free. It was like tearing our hearts asunder. But such sorrows are to be endured, not described. Climbing into the wagon, with everything we possessed piled high behind us, we turned our faces toward the land of golden promise that lay far beyond the Rocky Mountains." Its hard to imagine now, being so far away from your family and not knowing if you'd ever see them again, and traveling in rickety, awful wagons, and being so isolated. Anne Macdonald wrote about how all through American History women knitted to quiet their minds, to keep their anxieties at bay. During wars and economic recession and terrible hardship on the frontier, women would knit not only to keep their families warm, but also to loose themselves in quiet creative monotony. My motives for knitting are similar, though my circumstances are much less extreme. The first thing I knit when I arrived in Baltimore was a scarf based on the one Mary Poppins has. I felt as if my life was way more chaotic than the Banks household, and I needed a magic nanny with the voice of Julie Andrews. I bought bargain bin sparkly yarn at AC Moore, and size 13 needles at Rite Aid (isn't it crazy they sell knitting needles?) and it took me about a week to knit, just doing garter stitch with yarn so small and needles so big. Then I ironed it out with the industrial iron at work, so it would look all lacy like Mary P.'s. It stretched out twice as long. I ended up giving it to my boss, who I have great affection for. So I the only picture I have is the little sample I made on #10 needles. Right after I finished that project, it became clear that my girlfriend and I were breaking up in a painful way. So I decided to knit her a scarf. Not totally logical, but I thought if I put all my frustration, sadness and anger into scarf form, I don't know, we'd get back together, all wars would end and Julie Andrews would come down from the sky and make me a princess. I made it out of chenille on number 8 needles, with 2 by 2 ribbing. Obviously I didn't give it to her, not after all that work, and after it came out so warm and soft and lovely. I was really into it too, because it was red and blue and therefore sort of patriotic and therefore just like the knitting described in "No Idle Hands." I've decided I'll give it to the next girl who loves me. And then I made myself a hat! My old hat was a comfort hat, I would put it on when I was sad or stressed out, and it would make me feel better. But, new winter, I have to make a new hat. I used the bunny ear pattern from the Stitch n Bitch book, but decided to leave off the ears. Because when I put them on they looked really goofy. This was my first time doing seed stitch, which I was afraid of until I made this. (What do you mean? Knit the purls? Purl the knits? don't you get confused?!) And it was my first time making i-cord! Which is my new favorite thing to do. My father liked this hat so much, I made him one that was gray and had red stars above the ear flaps. I wish I had a picture of that one! This has been a brief chronicle of how knitting helped me get my life together. I haven't gone over the prairie or sent sons off to fight the rebels. But I know that if I keep knitting, everything will be alright.
New years always seemed like such a tacked on holiday, as if the calander making people just couldn’t let go of the christmas season yet. The Jewish new year, in the fall, makes more sense to me, because it happens right as school begins, which is the time to make resolutions. I actually did go out, this year, though it is my normal habit to stay indoors and be in bed by 10 to avoid shennagians.
I have a vague memory of the new year’s episode of “Will and Grace”, Will’s resolution is to “move on” with his life, get a boyfriend, not be so needy, etc. The episode ends with him kissing Grace at the stroke of midnight, and him saying “kissing a woman, that’s the opposite of moving on.”
If you replace Will with Nelly, Grace with a random dude, and woman with man, then you have my evening.
The gentlemen are really digging me right now, and I can’t figure out why. Some guy even followed me home the other night! I am really really out, all I talk about are gay things. It’s got to be one of two things:
1. Ladies aren’t as bold as gentlemen, and are intimidated by my straighty looks. Or 2. I’m not hanging out with the right crowd.
So I geuss my resolutions should be A. Initate conversations with more lesbians. B. Hang out with more different crowds. Or hidden option C. Stop caring that I’m single. And just say no to kissing dudes.
For one of the first times at CenterStage, I worked with Will in the dye kitchen. We're doing an independent project together, making a costume for a living statue. He's a judge statue, and he's all bronze, which has worn into mostly patina green. Will dyed a suit and cape yesterday, and today I covered all of it with a watered down mint green acrylic paint. I totally got a paint headache. He looks a little sinister doesn't he? The woman who asked us to do this gave us no insight into why she needed a living judge statue. We're a little worried that it's going to be some sort of weird porn thing, or maybe a presidential assassination attempt. I was really flattered that Will asked me to work on this with him. His job, Craftsperson, is totally the job that I want someday. He gets to do everything, making hats, dye-ing, distressing, fat suits, armor. (On the other hand maybe I would miss dress making- AH! I don't know, this is why I'm the intern.) The best part about minty statue man is that I'm getting paid $800! That will quadruple my bank account.
I had a really fun day at work today. Even though it’s exciting to run wardrobe and be part of the show every night, I'm glad to be back in the shop. I'm always endlessly optimistic about the new show (and totally disparaging after it opens) but so far I love Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The designer is a woman named Candy, who is very into using fashion for inspiration. She gave us a bunch of shoots from Italian Vogue as research. Totally a change from the last three shows. This is the pattern Jill draped and had me mock up today.
The sleeve is the long piece sticking out the back, so when it was sewn, I didn't have to set a sleeve, I just went all the way up the side. I learned that's called a kimono sleeve. It’s going to be fierce when it’s done in the real fabric, which is shiny and dark blue.
It goes over a sexy sheath dress, and will be worn by the character Gertrude. Because the sleeves were kimono sleeves, they needed gussets, which Jill showed me how to do. I think I may have done that before as a sample, but with Jill instruction it was much easier, though mine didn't look quite as nice as Jill’s.
Jill had Sarah working on Ophelia's mock up, which was beautiful.
This is the image we were given to work with.
Tomorrow Jill is going to pattern the dress that Alfred is going to wear. Yes, I said Alfred. The character is apparently a boy-whore. And he wears a Shakespearean style dress. I hope I get to work on it.
I was inspired by my old friend Laurel to write about knitting things, which is what she does on her blog, www.wildthreads.blogspot.com. I am falling in love with this as I knit it. It's a very simple lace pattern called "feather and fan," and I'm doing it with fingering weight sock yarn. I know it's a little bit your hippie gramma's summer house, but hey, thats me and I love it! Here's a picture of the yarn as I was balling it up. The other thing I'm really excited about right now is the sparkley yarn my friend Nora made me for ChristmaKwanzaakkkauh. That's right, I said made, as in spun herself! A skill that astounds me. I can't wait to make myself a little blue hat out of it! I’ve been having this really insane urge to photograph and catalog all of my yarn and the projects I want to make. I geuss that was also inspired by Laurel, and her membership in the website Ravelry. I don’t know if I can go there yet.