Monday, October 29, 2007

FFXI, how I miss thee...

I've spent large portions of the last 3 1/2 years playing a little MMORPG called Final Fantasy XI. We decided to cancel our accounts for this last month for a number of sound reasons, but I shortly began to really miss it. Not only do I still thoroughly enjoy the game itself, but a large portion of my social life is involved in it. So this afternoon I've spent several hours cruising Youtube, jumping from video to video, trying to satisfy my thirst for this long-standing activity of mine, and to pass the time until a few days from now when I can reactivate my account.

The above video is in no way representative of actual gameplay, and I wouldn't ordinarily listen to the song for more than a few seconds, but it does give a bit of a feel for the sense of community, as well as showing pretty well the gorgeous graphics of the game. Besides, I really like the video as a whole, and have for years. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Thursday, October 18, 2007

You spin me right round, baby, right round...

But first, another sewing installment. Not the most flattering picture ever, and the dress needs a good pressing, but meh. I'd started refurbishing this gown - one of my earliest renditions of a cotehardie - back in June, when I didn't have a camera to record the "before". Basically, after ten years of adoring this gown, the long sleeves were shredding, and I was tired of the neckline treatment. So I pulled the sleeves off and made new ones, then picked the black linen border off the neckline and cut the front down two inches in the middle. Aaaaaaand then I got distracted and didn't finish the neckline until today when I had some ENERGY!!! I could probably stand to go over the seams and check for popped stitches, but again, meh. The skirt is actually quite full, more so than it appears in this picture - it stands out better with the correct undergarments (in this pic it's just a bra and yoga pants). Properly I should be wearing a chemise and kirtle underneath, and possibly false sleeves pinned on at the shoulder. The gown itself is a lovely handkerchief weight linen that has survived the wear and tear of ten years of abuse astonishingly well. The seams at the shoulders and armscyes are wearing; when I stitched the new sleeves in, I had to sew the new seam a couple of millimeters in so the it wouldn't simply tear out again instantly. All in all, it's great for the kind of summer weather you don't see much of here in Oregon. :/ However, given enough correct under- and overgarments, it should do all right here, as well.

Construction details: I adapted a commercial princess-line dress pattern to have a longer skirt, and originally a higher neckline - I think this refurb put the neck basically back where the original pattern had it. The seams were sewn by machine to begin with, and the original neckline serged (I had a friend who let me borrow hers occasionally), but all repairs and alterations since have been by hand. Because of the way I adapted the commercial pattern, the skirt was originally fairly narrow. I added the black gores (and the black neckline no longer extant) to honor my foster father, whose colors are yellow and black, as well as general decoration and skirt-widening. I was asked to march as a part of the procession (along with his other adopted daughters) when he was awarded his Pelican, the highest SCA award for service. Now, with the navy sleeves, the dress looks pretty Halloween-y; maybe I'll wear it for dress-up this year. I wouldn't make another "cotehardie" in this manner again; I've learned a great deal about patternmaking and construction in the decade or so since I made this, and all the gowns I've made or refurbished since show my improving knowledge. However, this remains a favorite gown because it's so incredibly comfortable and well-fitting - there's even room to let the bust and waist out a bit if I get any curvier!

On to the spinning!

This is 52 yards of the Icelandic/Red Mohair roving I bought at the Oregon Flock and Fiber Fest, spun and plied. Please note, this is my first plied yarn! I still need to set the twist, though. It came out a fairly dense sport-type weight - not too bad for having been aiming for fingering weight! I don't know wraps per inch, I didn't have a ruler handy. It's not the most even spinning ever, but although it's perceptibly thick and thin, I'm fairly pleased with it, and also pleased how the plying more or less evened it out. The color reads overall as a sort of oatmeal; the Icelandic wool is a pale gray-tan, and the mohair is reddish brown - so if you look close, it's oatmeal with cinnamon stirred in. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And Now for Something Completely Different.

I've spent entirely too much time today writing long emails back and forth with Ann, and she's got me going on a project I'd kinda been inspired to do, but the inertia... Anyway, I originally started this blog to talk about my costuming projects, which you may still see if you look at the nice list on the left and open up the very earliest entries. I have quite a number of finished medieval costumes in my closet (and others, but mostly medieval) because of my interest in the SCA. I also have a few garments half-finished or in the middle of modifications, but we won't go there today. It's not pretty.

Instead, I have for your delectation one of my favorite wool tunics, only recently restored to me. It's a true, brilliant red, something digital cameras have a hard time capturing. I fulled the fabric before cutting the pieces out, so it's quite warm and cozy, and entirely hand-stitched - although I'm pretty sure it needed a few... reinforcements? before I was quite done. It certainly needs them now! It also spent the last three years in a plastic bag on my mother's garage floor, with a few other garments, so it's pretty crumpled and even a bit motheaten. :( As you will see from the photos, it's technically a WiP, because I have never finished the embroidery, but I may never finish that during the life of the garment, and I have never let it stop me from wearing the tunic!

This tunic could have been worn anywhere from Roman times up to the sixteenth century or so; in the last couple of centuries, it would have been more of a working class garment than a fashionable one. The embroidery design is from a Dover book of Celtic knotwork transfer designs, possibly this one. The embroidery itself is executed in silk floss, in backstitch for the outlines and chainstitch for the fill. The neck is lined about four inches deep with linen, quilted to the surface for stability.

Yes, that is a needle poked through the work. I always figured that if I didn't give myself permission to wear it while I was embroidering, I'd never get to wear it! It does mean I have to be careful with my hugs while wearing the tunic. I'm not quite certain how I'm going to finish the colors... but that's the fun of it all! I've always thought it would be fun to fill in the eyes with some kind of semiprecious stone bead, like my favorite garnet, but that's a ways off.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Rainbow of Socks!

I haven't posted recently because I'm pretty distracted with a big chunk of life right now. Maybe I can post about it soon.

In the mean time, I was putting my socks away after washing a couple of days ago, and realized that I can do the classic ROY G BIV with them - well, I wore the greenurple ones yesterday, so they're not in this picture... but you get the idea. :)