Saturday, February 25, 2017

Sissi and the crinoline

I already mentioned a few times here that "I used to be a dressmaker"...It was long before the Internet. When I was about twelve I started sewing stuff for míself. I did not have a sewing machine, so the pieces were simple, but then for my 14th birthday I got a sewing machine from my dad. It could only sew a straight line, but I loved it (french seems I love thee). Later I inherited another machine from him, that was used to sew glider wings from  thick dacron materials (you can imagine the shape it was it)...After finishing highshcool I spent two years in a special vocational shcool, and the got my own industrial straight machine and a rickety old serger, and I worked as a dressmaker for years. Even when we lived in the USA used to make very fancy, very expensive clothes for a high end boutique in that was in the Mayfair Mall. Then we came home, spent a few years out in the country with the garden, while sewing got less and less role in my life. Then Christopher was born. Since he was put in the room that used to be my sewing room... you can guess what happened...So many things, I can't even beginn to list them, be it enough that I kept dreaming of making clothes... But for about 15 years I did not. I was even afraid I forgot how to. Yes, I would never say that out loud, but I was afraid... It never stopped me from buying fabrics however...Last summer I even cleaned my sewing room almost enough to be able to sew in there, but...but but but. I know.
There is another long story about historical dancing, a Jane Austen ball I did not went to, more dancing, some new friends, and Grand 19th century ball (Sissi ball for short after the Empress of Austria, who was also the queen of Hungary at that time), and the necessity of making not one but two  ball gowns complete with crinolines and all.
So, after such a long tome I got scissors, needles in my hand, dusted the sewing machines and cut into it.
The whole thing started off with a rash promise to my young friend. I could not, or really did not want to back out of it, but my condition was that she will at least keep me company, maybe even help me through the way, so , everyone, meet Zsófi :-)
I bought a simple pattern for a basic ballgown, but I did not want to spend more on patterns. Thankfully there is a pretty good video series on youtube, with that and my experience we have been able to put it together.
There were some funny moments, some intense ones, but it was so good working on this, and working together. Honestly, the fact that Zsófi blindly trusted me, and believed I CAN make it, without seeing ANY proof that I can sew was a big incentive. And her help, was also invaluable.
You know that other pair of hands that helps guide the bones in the channel, that holds the gigantic thing while you try to guide it under the needles with both hands, which hands me the pins, the scissors, the whatever and the jokes, the gossip and the laughs.
Zsófi is a bit taller than me, this particular crinoline fits her better than me... and we can still decide that we need to shorten it a bit, a dance practice will answer that question.
Some technical details: 27 meters of boning steel was used, 8 full circles, the lowest two with 330 cm of circumference. We used about 20 meters of grosgrain ribbon, and I dunno exactly how much of simple cotton... I think it is caled muslin in English? The type that is used for sheets. 
And while we were at it we put together the first petticoat for her. Also no pattern, just winging it from the top of my head... And when we finished I thought, yes, I still have it in me. I still have it.
So, I am afraid, you can expect more sewing posts over the coming times... after all the blog is named "The crafty side of life" in order to embrace all kinds of crafts not only knitting. I hope you don't mind :-) 

Friday, February 24, 2017

#yarnlovechallenge #thebesttipp

My best tip would be that you all should try to SEE (or "read") your knitting. See the structure of knitting in general, from the structure of the knitted stitch through the structure of a pattern to the structure of a finished piece. It will be so much easier to be independent from the style you knit and the style the pattern is written (and the differences in between), you can follow and see a lot easier where in a particular stitch pattern you are, and it will be so much easier to change things that are not exactly right (like adding a stitch or two, or decrease somewhat more at some places).

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Yarnlovechallenge... throwback

My very sirst finished object... I already wrote about this doll and her dress a couple of times. I was about six when I did it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yarnlovechallenge...curently wearing

In other words from head to toe in DROPS...
The shawl is one of the several  I crocheted of the DROPS Forget me knot pattern, this time From a blue/green Delight.
You can't see it, but I am wearing plain socks from Fabel, my mittens from leftover yarn, and you already seen my spring cardigan. The coat (PerUna) és a szoknya is from a second hand shop. So did the green Benetton bag :-)
 (Photoes Christopher Laurent Deli)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Yarnlovechallenge... on the go.

I know, I was a bad blogger and failed this challenge miserably... I will try to make up for a few of the themes, but I see now, that I will not be able to do them all, nor would I do them in order.

However I cannot miss out the theeme for today :-) You see, I was late to go to University, I started in my forties, and I spent five years travelling back and fort almost every week to a city about 190 kms away, taking a trainride of 2,5 hours (if nothing happened with the train---and usually something did.). I made a rule that on the train going and coming home I will NOT study, work, do homework, or anything study and/or work related. But rest, think, and knit (I kept this rule most of the times, with a very few exception). I started to post "I knit everywhere" kind of pictures, including knitting in a concert, on the tram, and then on the train and in uniclasses became the main background for my knitting... With time university took over my life, and since most of the times I went on fridays, the "friday knitting on the train" posts became regular feauture on my FB timeline. Since I am also an avid coke drinker, there was inevitably a coke can or bottle somehwere in the picture, thus the pictures "friday's knitting on the train whith a coke in the picture"... if you search the hashtag #vonatoskólás on FB you will find quite a few of them.
Then in one of my knitting groups we did asked for pictures of knitting while travelling, and then the theme got picked up by a lot of knitters (most of them don't even know where the whole thing originates from). Here is a montage of some of those pictures.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Yarnlovechallenge... community

I've been always enchanted by the community aspect of knitting, especially what the Internet helped to develop, so much I even wrote my BA thesis on it.
Every since I got faimilar with the Internet I looked for and found friends, but I was also working on making an actual live community... It started out as the late Budapest International Craft Club, but then turned into wednesday night knitting and then turned into something else, then I went to university and let it slip, and then someone else started doing knitting meetings... but change is a part of life. However I was organizing WWKIP day, back when in Hungary even knitters laughed at the idea of getting together ina cafe to knit.
At the beginning there was only a few of us.
Then a bit more...
 Sometimes new people came...
 I even thaught my friends to knit, in order to show them how it can forge friendships and communities.
 And how it can bring together a Mexican-American, a truly English and and a Hungarian woman... (along with many others).
And these are only examples what community and knitting means to me.

back to regular scheduling... yarnlovechallenge/speed

I was so happy about my new sweater and so busy with work and other stuff, like feeling sorry for myself (the two things are totally unrelated, do not worry. Yet. Maybe never, and I will work on this, but not yet anyway), that I missed a few days of posting... you see me and the best intentions. I will try to make up for the missing parts by posting more than once a day, I will see how it goes.

As for the #yarnlovechallenge and speed I could post about the shawl I knitted in four days, the green yarn I spun incredily fast (for me at least), or the sweater that took me three days to finish, or the fact that in a really good day, when I knit a lot, but I also do other things I can knit up about 200 meters of yarn (I can spin about that much too)... I would not mention how slow I can get, about the days I can hardly muster one row...

For pictures I will give you a pair of pictures that are very remotely fiber-related, as human hair IS actually a fiber. And though there is not much I like about my hair, its thinning and white, but at least it grows kind of fast. While I was coloring my hair that was not an advantage, but I am happy about it now. The two picture was taken one year srom each other.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Insider information

Almost every season of DROPS collections have at least one modell that I have to have. No matter what. This year my love at first sight was their Sprigtime Walley series. By now I know the DROPS modells well enough, to be able to use the last days of the Alpaca Party sale and get the yarn without actually having the pattern. 
Translating their patterns means that I get the English version a few days earlier, than it is actually published. Translating something also means, that I have to read it very thoroughly and analyze it, not only for the text but being a well practiced knitter makes it possible to "see" from a technical, proffessional viewpoint, what I am writing about. 
 To all this add the fact that I pretty much dislike winter (OK,  admit, I hate it wholeheartedly), by january I need something green, something spring-ey. No wonder that right after I finished the new year's sweater I started on it.
 Only a few minor changes to the pattern. I pushed the colors toward the less yellowy colors (which make my hair looks more yellow, than it really is) and used the green (insted of the pistachio) for base, and red (instead of the corall), and the petrol (instead of the turqoise), but the average effect is still fresh and spring-like.
 Since gaining weight in the last few years (thanks tyroid) made me rethink of what needs to be hidden on my body, I added a couple of centimeters to the length of the sweater. Furthermore, I wanted to replicate the effect of the wide cuff that is becoming my trademark of sorts, so I repeated the edging pattern about 12 times.
Once again the pattern is rather straighforward, easy to follow, and the changes were only to suit my preferences and do NOT refer (otherwise nonextistent) defects of the pattern. I used the stitchcounts given for size M, while I generally wear things sized L. However, the sweater has patterns that needs to and can be blocked rather severly. To get perfect sizing you might want to check the diagram and make and block a gauge swatch and calculate form there.
Pattern: Spring Walley cardigan, by DROPS
Yarn: DROPS Flora (5 skeins and a bit of the green,- if I made it to its original length five would have been enough, less than 1 skein of white, and the colors were leftover from my earlier projects)
Needles: 3 mm for the one colored parts, 3,5 mm for the fair isle patterns, 2,75 for the garter stitch edging.
Photoes: Christopher Laurent Deli

currently making

Still the #yarnlovechallenge , in which the theme is "currently making"...
Among the about hundred other things I am actively working on the following things:
A Boreal sweater... that is my knitting when I am home. (Yarn Drops Lima, Pattern Kate Davies)
 When I am out in places, like with someone in a cafe, or the theatrical group I joined, I have the Dragon Heart shawl (Drops yarn, Drops pattern) with me, for which I don't need a printed pattern, only minimal counting is involved.
However, when I go to the movies with my boy, I take something I really, really easy, that do not need counting (only at certain points), in fact it doesn't require me to look at it. (some second hand leftover sockyarn and the pattern from my head).
As for spinning, I also have a don't really need to pay much attention kind of spinning on it, this is what I took to the TV studio, and spun in whatever thicknes felt comfortable there.
 And there is this very fine spinning, a laceweight, I am planning to weave with.
So here you go... nand we do not mention those , like the sock that needs a pair, or,the other, just one cuff... or the sweater(s) that needs half a sleeve to finish, nor all those items that are abandoned at various stage of readiness all around my place. Maybe sometimes...

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Close up

Well, for close up here is some close up pictures of my hadnddyed stuffa nd handspun yarn.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


I've been trying to get back to more or less regular posting after the year end's break, but somehow it just did not happen. Now I found the perefect excuse in the yarnlovechallenge :-)
Here is a theme for a picture for each day of February

 So here is for the first day of #yarnlovechallenge :
Intro, but then, if you read this blog, you know more about me than you ever wanted :
I've been knitting and crocheting since I was six, I've been sweing and making clothes...I don't know, maybe since I was 12, spinning for about 9-10 years now, and lately I also took up weaving.
(Lets not mention my cooking, baking, acting, gardening or dancing skills, whatever level they are on). I am interested in .... aside from yarn and fiber, in the English language, culture and history.
(photo: Boglárka Erdélyi)
Also my boy is my everything:
He is my system administrator, photographer, travelling companion, my proffessional nagger... among a ton of other things.