Sunday, August 04, 2013

Making it fit!

So, I married a slim man. A very slim man. So slim that even in his mid-forties, he's still able to fit into boyswear. It's actually becoming more and more challenging for him to find pants that fit, as the stores cater to a larger public. There are several stores that just don't carry his size anymore.

I also had a very slim childhood. Then I had kids, and we don't need to discuss further. But the outcome of this is, we have very slim children. Gothboy similarly has a tough time finding skinny jeans that actually fit skinny. (When our house was burgled last fall and we discovered several of his pairs of skinny pants missing, we were mystified. Not many humans could fit into those pants. Our insurance agent swore the culprit must be a friend of the kids, based on that one piece of information. Later we found out the suspect was fifteen years old, which made more sense.) And our ballerina girl stays remarkably fit, naturally remaining very slim.

So when shopping recently, she found a dress she liked, but it just didn't fit perfectly. It was just so cute, but too baggy.

To the sewing room! I bought some black satin ribbon to make loops, but when I got it open, it turned out to be velvet. Oops! I stitched the edges, hoping to minimize fraying, and then sewed a line of loops on both sides of the back of the dress.

She picked out a darkly purple ribbon for laces, and we laced her into the dress.

Check it out! It fits!

I don't sew as much as I used to, but it's sure nice to be able to fix things when needed!

Saturday, August 03, 2013


One afternoon, we were discussing Hexipuff project, matching stories to yarn, when I got it in my head that I wanted a hexipuff that expressed "River, make her blue again!"

My vision was a gradient, with white fading into blue. But while you can buy gradients from a number of indie dyers these days, you're not going to get a hexipuff-sized gradient. So I had to make one.

Take One: KoolAid

I purused the online koolaid guides to find a perfect TARDIS blue, and was shocked--SHOCKED--to find that Koolaid doesn't make a TARDIS blue. So rude! I decided to use Berry Blue, because that's what I had in my Koolaid stash (yes, I have a Koolaid stash. No, it's not for drinking), and originally thought that if I added a tea bag, it might dirty up the colour a little to make it more like the target shade. But as I was preparing to dye, I decided just to go with the colour straight, just to see what happened.

Step one: Separate the yarn into loops of about 0.5 grams each, tied loosely.

(see that loop up top? I forgot what I was doing and broke the yarn on that one. Oops!)

Step two: soak the yarn in a 1 to 1 water/vinegar solution until the fibre is saturated.

Step three: In a small pot, mix one cup water with one packet Berry Blue. Add 3 generous drops of blue food colouring. Bring to a boil

Step four: Turn down the heat to medium. Add the loops to the pot, one at a time. After each loop is added, let it soak for five minutes, then add the next loop. When all loops have been added, leave in the pot until the dye is exhausted (water appears clear.)

Step five: Carefully remove the loops from the solution. (This is why I tied each loop, to keep them from tangling.)  Rinse under running water. Press gently in an old towel to remove excess water, and spread out to dry.

And here it is, a 3 gram gradient!

Unfortunately, even though I tied the loops loosely, the ties still left some white spots in the yarn.

I had envisioned that I'd have some white in the final product, but it turns out that I dyed too much yarn to make it to white.

I actually coloured in some white spots with Sharpie, just to make it prettier. I love the results, but it's not really TARDIS blue. Maybe I should have added a tea bag...

Take Two: Sharpie

Step One: Knit up a hexipuff out of white yarn.

Step two: Colour with a blue Sharpie.

I was really excited to try this, but I only had a fine marker in the house, and it didn't do a very good job. I gave up until I could go buy a bigger Sharpie.

 Step three: Spray it with water to get the colours to run.

Step four: When it is dry, iron it for 3 minutes on each side. (Don't iron the needle cable!)

 Step five: Stuff and stitch closed!

This one looks more TARDIS-y, but the colour isn't as saturated as I'd like.

I quite like the results!

"River, make her blue again!!"

Hello Blog

The lack of blogging indicates neither a lack of enthusiasm for blogging nor a lack of enthusiasm for the subject matter. Instead, it reflects family politics and territorial disputes, and consequently a loss of the blogging habit. Here's some blogging, we'll see if the habit changes or not.

My main thrust of effort this spring has been working on my Doctor Who Hexiquilt. I started it two years ago this month, and it has received waxing and waning attention in the intervening time. I averaged about 25 puffs a month this calendar year, until summer arrived and my total was 23 for June and July. It turns out I can only knit tiny hexagons for so long before my brain demands Intellectual Stimulation in the form of something more complicated, but that's another story.

Every hexipuff is designed to tie in to Doctor Who somehow. The story might be told through colour or illustration, and the relevance might be subtle or strong, tenuous or conspicuous.

For the very most obvious, I have the TARDIS stitched on a background of a "time vortex" colourway, and K9.

Here's some others that might not scream "Doctor Who!" to those who don't watch the show.



(Okay, Rose doesn't actually have a poodle on her skirt. I've noticed that most people actually think it does, and this puff is easily identifiable by those I've asked.)



And some that might seem rather obscure, like the duck.

"There's never any ducks!" "Then how do you know it's a duck pond?"

 Some were chosen because their colours closely (or slightly) matched the colours of a screenshot...


...or they might just suggest a scenario to me. For example, these were made from a colourway entitled Poison No. 5, which I associated with the Tenth Doctor getting poisoned in The Unicorn and the Wasp.

"Something's inhibiting my enzymes!"

My personal disclaimer for this project is:

All stories of Doctor Who are fair game, and my usage of any story, character, or image does not indicate my personal feelings about that particular whatever. No assumptions about my opinions of an episode's quality can be made by its inclusion or lack of inclusion in the project.

The project is necessarily heavy on New Who, simply because I am still learning Old Who. There's a lot of material in the Old Who to cover, and I'm working on it!

I suspect I have about 200 puffs so far. Here's a few samples of month's-end pics:

All Doctor Who images are copyright the BBC. I downloaded them all from various sources, to not commit the crime of hotlinking, but everything is BBC's property anyway.