Sunday, 25 May 2008

My Second Book

I finished this one last Wednesday night. It is A4 sized, which is not my favourite, I prefer a smaller, fatter book generally, but we all had to do the same. However, I love the colour, and I rolled some gold lines at the top and bottom of the spine (you can hardly see them in the photo). It was a little more complicated than the last one, below you can see the hollow spine that we did. Tucking the cover material in down the spine was quite difficult and scary as you have to do it quickly before the glue dries. It has chocolate coloured double endpapers too.

For our final book we are allowed to chose the format and materials. I've gone for something a little wider than A5, with 16 signatures, and I'm going to look for some interesting patterned or marbled paper for the endpapers. They are going to be half bound with leather, and it's a toss-up between red crocodile (just embossed with the print, not real crocodile!) or metallic bronze! The bronze stuff is amazing, I think people donate all sorts of weird stuff to the department, but it might turn out looking like Liberace's diary, so perhaps I'll stick with the red.

And this is my Minimalist cardigan, the back and right front done. The band of stockinette has rolled rather dramatically, so I hope it will smooth out when I block it. I really need to hurry up and finish it, so I can actually wear it sometime this winter!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Coin Necklace

The Sashiko cushion cover is finished! It was actually very quick and easy to make, thanks to the pre-printed fabric. I backed it in red cotton and put some press-studs on to fasten it.

This is a necklace I made over the weekend. It was inspired by an Eastern European peasant necklace (possible Romanian?) that I saw in a book about beadwork around the world. The original had real silver coins and many strands of red coral beads, while mine are just glass. The coins are Arabic and the medallions have the Virgin Mary on them. I haven't done much bead jewellery before, but I kind of enjoyed it, apart from when a whole string of beads broke all over the floor!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

To Mrs Darcy or Not to Mrs Darcy

My Malabrigo Tuareg arrived a few weeks ago but I haven't had time to get a proper photo of it, so here it is. I'm very happy with the colour, it's a deep turquoise with a hint of green. I wound one of the skeins into a ball (getting horribly tangled up in the process) and started knitting the Mrs Darcy cardigan. About 10cm into the back I realised I had a problem.

As you can see, the person wearing the cardigan (I'm assuming it is Mary Weaver) has a long narrow torso, long slim arms and a small bust. Unfortunately, I am the exact opposite: short body, high waist, large shoulders, a definite bust and arms that are neither long nor slim. So, I think there will have to be some drastic changes made to the pattern otherwise it will never fit. I want the ribbing to sit on my waist, so I will have to increase the number of rows below it to prevent it being a midriff top. I'd also like to make the v-neck a little less deep, so hopefully it will sit on my boobs and not under and around them like a Minoan corset. The armholes need to be deeper, as with my giant shoulders I find even normal garments rather tight under the arms, and someone somewhere mentioned that the ones on Mrs Darcy are very tight. I measured, and they are. So that will mean re-working the sleeve caps too. Oh dear, is it all worth it?

There's a nice tutorial at The Purl Bee about sashiko, which is a traditional form of embroidery from Japan. Originally it was used to patch together several layers of material for warmth and to repair old clothes, but of course over time it became quite beautifully decorative, and there are a number of patterns with evocative names like Rising Steam or Fishing Nets. It's done entirely in lines of running stitch, usually with white thread on indigo cloth, and has a simple yet elegant, geometric look.

I just discovered Kimono House in Melbourne which sells pre-printed fabric, needles and thread (as well lots of other gorgeous Japanese fabric) and also runs classes on sashiko and other Japanese crafts, and bought myself a little kit with a Key pattern, which I am hoping to make into a cushion cover for my former karate teacher's birthday this week (it will be a little late!).

In other, non craft related news, the Wolf and I went to see Neil Gaiman speak last Sunday which was very interesting, and then to the signing on Monday at the State Library, where he read from his forthcoming The Graveyard Book and signed about 300+ people's books. We had a fairly long wait, but when we finally got to him, he was so utterly charming and friendly, and made you feel like it would just make his day to sign your particular book! It's so heartening to find out that someone you admire is even more delightful in person than you previously thought.