Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In which we make witchy yarn washing brew.

When I was home a couple of weeks ago, my mom and I visited the local yarn store, Sage. It is staffed by my former fourth grade teacher and assorted other older ladies with fabulous accessories. My mumsy and I decided to embark on a felting project, and after getting rather witchy instructions from one of the yarn lady and armed with new wool, we were ready to begin. It was rather like knitting a sweater. And, of course, we wanted to finish it before I left, so we were obsessively knitting, taking turns and measuring our work constantly.
Here it is about to journey into the transforming washer. Note the Ivory, an integral part of this witchy process.

Washing machines are actually very scary. Our little mixture, which also included blue jeans, bubbled and gurgled, in what seemed to me an unnecessarily violent process. The hat looked pretty bad the first couple of times we took it out. We're nervous felters. We've had some bad experiences. But pretty quickly it started getting delightfully thick. We put it on our highly technical, expensive and offical head form.

I bring this up now, because I got a wonderful package from home, labled "Le CHAPEAU!" And lo and behold!

So mote it be.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How did I get here?

Sometimes my job just gets really insane. Today we had fittings with Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Ariel. Disney princessess, right down to the hair color and the sunny, sing song voice.

None of them thought it would be a good idea to wear panties.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Presidents' Day!

How do you celebrate Presidents' Day? It's easy to be cynical about past leaders, all being pasty white dudes, most of them a who-bit blood thirsty. But I love them! I don't know why, but something about the presidents fills me with glee. I used to make everyone at the College Light Opera try and help me remember all of them in order, but mostly they just called me a nerd and ignored me. It's upseting how often history turns into party trivia, but at least if it's trivia, some one will remember. And I don't feel so bad about doing it to the Presidents, because as soon as they're elected they become the answer to a trivia question. So I decided to celebrate this fine Presidents' Day by writing something about each of our chiefs!

George Washington, 1789-1797 Revolutionary war leader, red head and general hottie, he could have been king if he hadn’t been such a polite modest dude. He would be horrified if he knew there were naked statues of him.

John Adams, 1797-1801 As he once sang to Thomas Jefferson in the musical 1776, he was obnoxious and disliked. But he was married to Abigail, total babe and advocate for women’s rights.

Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809 Another red headed hottie, he was really smart, made a funky house in Virginia, played the violin and liked to have sex with slaves.

James Madison, 1809-1817 He declared war on the British in 1812, which was the beginning of the War of 1812, which accomplished nothing but making the year 1812 less boring.

James Monroe, 1817-1825 Made up a doctrine. You've probably heard it.

John Quincy Adams, 1825-1829 This is what it says about him on the Internet Public Library: “President Adams regularly swam nude in the Potomac River. Anne Royall, the first American professional journalist, knew of Adams’ 5 A.M. swims. After being refused interviews with the president time after time, she went to the river, gathered his clothes and sat on them until she had her interview. Before this, no female had interviewed a president.” I don’t know what “first American professional journalist” means, but Anne Royall rocks.

Andrew Jackson, 1829-1837 Killed lots and lots of Indians and got away with it.

Martin Van Buren, 1837-1841 My high school history textbook referred to him as “the little magician.” I have no idea why.

William Henry Harrison, 1841 He caught a cold while delivering his inaugural address and then died a month later because medicine in the 1840s consisted of whiskey and a hacksaw.

John Tyler, 1841-1845 Became president because Harrison popped his clogs, and then proceeded to do nothing that would ever appear on an AP history exam.

James Knox Polk, 1845-1849 Bullied (or “polked”) Mexico into giving the U.S. lots of land.

Zachary Taylor, 1849-1850 His super cool nickname was “Old Rough and Ready.” My imagination kinda goes to extremes with that one. He also died in office because of the whiskey-and-hacksaw medicinal practices of the times.

Millard Fillmore, 1850-1853 Well, I have no idea, but he sure has lots of Ls in his name.

Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857 Again, according to the Internet public library, the Democrat’s campaign slogan was: "We Polked you in 1844; we shall Pierce you in 1852." Politics were way puny back then!

James Buchanan, 1857-1861 He was the only president never to marry. My boss at the College Light Opera was convinced he was gay. I think he just had no lips and did nothing about the Civil War.

Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865 An unconventional hottie, he was the tallest president. Possibly bi polar, probably not bi sexual, he kept our country from becoming bisected. He held séances at the White House, enjoyed the work of Edgar Allan Poe, and died from being shot in the head.

Andrew Johnson, 1865-1869 No body liked him.

Ulysses Simpson Grant, 1869-1877 He rocked the Civil War, but sucked at being president.

Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 1877-1881 Ah, the presidency of Rutherford Hayes. I shall always remember him as being the president we got to in June, right as school was letting out. But I do know he had an impressive beard.

James Abram Garfield, 1881 I think some one named a cat after him. Then he got shot.

Chester Alan Arthur, 1881-1885 Famous for being the hardest president to remember.

Grover Cleveland, 1885-1889 Okay, Cleveland? Really? Who knows?

Benjamin Harrison, 1889-1893 Don’t worry, he won’t be on the AP exam. Wikipedia says he had electricity installed in the white house, but was afraid to touch the light switches.

Grover Cleveland, 1893-1897 Oh! Now I remember! Cleveland was the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms!

William McKinley, 1897-1901 My high school textbook thought he was pretty cool, but Howard Zinn thinks he’s a douchebag. In any event, he was shot by an anarchist who would have enjoyed A People’s History of the United States.

Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1909 Despite looking kind of dweeby, he led the charge up San Juan Hill in one of those wars where we stole other peoples land. He liked bears and carried a big stick.

William Howard Taft, 1909-1913 I don’t think he got stuck in the bathtub, because he looks quite trim in this video!

Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921 President during World War I. He could have been really cool, if he hadn’t been a racist and basically set Europe up for WWII. So I guess he wasn’t cool. He had a hot young wife, though, who ran the country after he had a nervous break down during his 2nd term.

Warren Gamaliel Harding, 1921-1923 Even though this was during Prohibition; he liked drink, burlesque shows, extramarital affairs and poker.

Calvin Coolidge, 1923-1929 Didn’t do much. But he called it “laissez-faire” and people thought that made it okay.

Herbert Clark Hoover, 1929-1933 The economy went to shit while he was president. People started calling newspapers Hoover Blankets. But he redeemed himself with vacuums.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933-1945 A hottie in a wheel chair, he fixed the economy with some socialism and some WWII. Not letting the wheel chair thing stop his mojo, he had an awesome wife and was making it with his mistress when he bit it.

Harry S. Truman, 1945-1953 He decided to drop the atomic bomb. That sucked. He tried his best to be cool, but it didn’t really work out for him.

Dwight David Eisenhower 1953-1961 Because it was the 50s, and he was a general, he didn’t really know how to party.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1961-1963 “Polked” both Jackie O. and Marilyn Monroe. Threw such awesome parties that Vanity Fair is still writing about them. Then he was shot in the neck.

Lyndon Baines Johnson, 1963-1969 Again, a president that tried really hard to be cool with some civil rights and some health care for people who were tired of whiskey and saws, but was thwarted by this thing called Vietnam.

Richard Milhous Nixon, 1969-1974 He didn’t even try to be cool.

Gerald Rudolph Ford, 1974-1977 What? I don’t even remember him! Where did he come from? Must be a fluke. I bet Howard Zinn hates him though.

James Earl Carter, Jr., 1977-1981 A pretty righteous liberal dude, but all I can remember about him is that story that he was once attacked by a swimming rabbit while he was canoeing. I wonder if that’s true. (AUGH!It's totally true!Swamp rabbit!)

Ronald Wilson Reagan, 1981-1989 Despite being completly flakey, many Republicans have alters to him in their homes.

George Herbert Walker Bush, 1989-1993 Whoo! My parents thought he was bad! They didn’t even know what was coming!

William Jefferson Clinton, 1993-2001 Another thwarted presidential attempt to be cool. But I heard a really good limerick! Okay:
There once was a girl named Lewinsky
Who played beautiful flute like Stravinsky
But it was "Hail to the Chief"
On a flute made of beef
That stole the front page from Kaczynski!

George Walker Bush, 2001-2008 Sheesh, what a way to start the millennium! And then we re-elected him! He makes the whiskey and hacksaw approach seem like a good option.

Did I miss anything? Or make any mistakes? Any more fun President facts? Have a Happy and Safe President’s Day!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Deliciously Home

Sometimes it just feels so right to be at home. I am so lucky, I have work in a great place where we make beautiful things (like this fantastic gold dress) and I have friends who seek my company. Even with all of this goodness, I still feel distinctly melancholy sometimes. Today, in particular, in the midst of a large crowd, I felt very acutely lonely, in a way that I haven't in a long time. There is no better remedy for this situation than bowing out early for the comfort of home.

Perhaps one of the reasons for this fatigue is over work. It has been quite stressful recently at the little costume shop of horrors. I've been doing mostly assisting work this week, rolling fabric, xeroxing, maintaining the designer's bible (which is constantly being raided and added too) and swatching. There is nothing more stressful to me than being asked to take a pair of scissors to an untouched piece of million dollar fabric. I don't want to design, and my conviction is only strengthened by the fact that I am seriously jealous of my co-workers making wonderful 1900s corsets and bloomers and camisoles while I make binders.
I did, however, score some rocking vintage corset covers when we cleaned out camisole stock. I have to figure out a way to wear things like this. I want to be a little more adventurous in my clothing choices (mum's going to laugh at that) but what good are having such awesome items if they are never worn? Theater clothes have such odd fake history, one of the camis I stole has fake blood stains, I'm going to have to do some repairing. Tomorrow I'm going to Philly to see my Nora, hopefully mad crafting will ensue.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Back in Baltimore and stressing about the next show.

To celebrate having new camera batteries, I took a picture of me wearing my new hat, sweater and scarf!

I wore all of these things to work today. (And yes, I'm on the floor. It was a long day, this show, A Little Night Music, is going to destroy the costume shop. And then my life. But more about that later.) Because my new hat (complete with Nora Yarn! (TM)) is so rockin', here's another picture!

I also made some wrist gaurds for my supervisor's daughter. She's going to be 4 tomorrow! I'm sure these will be lost immediately, but that's okay. As with all little kid gifts, it's for the parent more than the kid. My boss saw something similar on another kid, and was talking about how much she loved them, and how it would be good because her baby gets chapped wrists.

They fit me! I need some. I hope they aren't too big for her. I love the yarn, it's like candy!
So tomorrow I have to go into work and the first thing I have to do are plackets. It's not that I haven't done about 10 on each show, it's just that it's stressful! And complicated- I guess I just don't have enough experience to be confident in my placket abilities just yet. And, of course, I'm making silk charmeuse bloomers, meaning I only have one shot to nail it. Just like how the Rebel Alliance only has one chance to take down the Death Star.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Home and having to take it all apart.

I'm at home, sitting with my wonderful mother in front of the fire! My mom made the most fabulous leaf boarder sample.
It's terribly cute. It was a shame she had to undo it, but she wanted to put the green yarn in a hat. Even though it's hard to take apart something I've worked on, I suppose it's part of the nature of knitting. In No Idle Hands(Which I wrote about already once) Anne Macdonald talks about how often yarn from one thing was reused for another. In Stitch 'N Bitch Debbie Stoller writes: "When my mother was small, it was standard practice to buy yarn and knit a sweater for a child, then, a year or so later, unravel and reknit it, with a bit more yarn, when the child had outgrown the original. Then there was the time, during the Second World War, that my grandmother had to unravel an old cotton bedspread-- which her own mother had knit-- to make underwear for her children." So bittersweet.
My mother taught me everything that I know about how to knit, but I have to give Ms. Debbie Stoller a lot of credit for being able to talk the knitting lingo. I've never heard anyone talk about "frogging" their project, but I have to believe her.
"In knitter's parlance, unraveling a large part of knitting is called frogging. Get it? A frog goes 'ribbit, ribbit' and your going to 'rip it, rip it.' Hey, I couldn't make these things up."
I couldn't make it either, and I had to start over on the hat I was working on. I really wanted to make a hat with the yarn Nora made me and I also wanted to use up some sweater leftovers. I was really excited, perhaps too much so, because I finished the hat and it was enormous.
(Well, it doesn't look too big in this cell phone photo, I really need new camera batteries!) So I undid the whole thing.

Fortunately, I was not discouraged, partially because I am home, and filled with lasagna, and also because the Nora yarn is wonderful to work with! I desperately need more. It looks so pretty knitted up too, all sparkly and turquoise.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Excitment in Nelly - ville.

I finished! I finished! I finally finished my feather and fan scarf! I shut off my phone and just knitted for hours. And I'm done!

Better pictures later when I've purchased batteries for my camera. I immediately want to start a new project! Especially because this means I have no projects now. Maybe a turquoise hat with the yarn Nora made me.

In other news, I found a new dress that I want even more!

Its from this cool site full of beautiful vintage dresses. I want it! Why is it that every dress I find on the internet that I want is two hundred dollars? (Also, why is it that these vintage dress sites all look like they were designed in 1998? I can't complain because they bring me pretty and I can't html, but still!) Anyway! love to all and to all a good night!

Friday, February 1, 2008