Saturday, November 26, 2005

Another Hogwarts House Scarf

For Ravenclaw, the cleverest would always be the bestI've made two Gryffindor scarves for two Potter-mad girls, but every Sorting Hat quiz I've ever seen puts me in Ravenclaw, so naturally it's blue and silver for me. I took a page from saintjay's book and put my monogram in seed stitch on the bottom stripe. So much more subtle than duplicate stitch! Now I just have miles of stockinette stitch to slog through, which is some good mindless TV knitting.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Miriam & Kay clean up the wreckageWe had an extremely pleasant Thanksgiving dinner with our dear friends, and ate far too much of many varieites of wonderful food. It really is a blessing to have close friends nearby when we have up & moved away from our families... our move this year has been good for all of us for many reasons, but it was a wrench leaving family behind, that's for sure. I'm looking forward to our visit next month. Anyway, Miriam & I are cleaning up here; evidence of the abundance of our feast is all about us!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Fluffy Cuffs

Warm & fluffyIn my ongoing quest to winterize our wardrobes, I made myself a quick pair of mittens inspired by the Fluffy Cuff pattern in the first Stitch 'n' Bitch book. Some modifications for gauge went on, though. The cuffs are knit in the outrageously soft Berroco Plush on size 10 1/2 needles; the mittens are knit in Elann Highland Wool on size 6. The cuffs can be turned up, or flipped down for a gauntlet-style mitten. Warm!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sesquicentennial Ball

Last night, of course, was the long-awaited Warrensburg Sesquicentennial Ball. To commemorate the founding of a little town southeast of Kansas City in 1855 by Martin Warren, the local Chamber of Commerce threw an antebellum-themed ball, complete with musicians from Missouri Town. As always, click on any photo for a larger version.

Slaving away over a hot ironIf you've been following my "to hoop or not to hoop" saga, you'll remember that we decided against crinolines and opted instead for layers. This, of course, means starch and ironing. I have determined that the life of an ironing-woman back then must have been hell. And I even had the advantage of a modern electric iron with an on-off switch, I can't imagine what it would have been like in the days of stove-heated irons.

Petticoat junctionTwo down, two to go. Eventually all the petticoats were starched and pressed, waiting to be worn.

Getting dressedLate afternoon, we grabbed all our stuff and went over to Miriam & Cliff's to get dressed. The resulting chaos was amusing, but we all managed to get our gowns on somehow. Traditionally, one of the layers is a petticoat of red flannel, even though it doesn't match the dress. Miriam is putting my hair back with gel here -- the only way women really wore their hair in this period was parted in the middle, usually drawn into a bun at the nape of the neck. I covered my short, modern hair with a snood, which looked reasonably period.

Hair salonAli, having longer hair, was able to do more with it. She endured having her hair in curlers all day so she would have pretty ringlets. I swept her hair up at the sides & let the curls fall in a cascade in the back, which was really quite flattering.

Past PatternsMiriam & I both used the same bodice pattern from Past Patterns, but we chose different sleeve views. We've been joking that we have accidentally made one another's gowns for the ball -- Miriam usually wears jewel tones where I usually opt for earth tones -- but I generally prefer a simpler line (view A's bell sleeve) where Miriam likes more elaborate garb (view B's puffed sleeve). Anyway, here we are in our pattern-envelope pose.

Arriving at the ballLacking a horse and carriage, we all piled into the minivan (and let me tell you, trying to get three grown or mostly-grown women in ballgowns, plus two men in frock coats, plus one girl in a taffeta party dress into the van is actually more of a challenge than getting seven football players with gear into it. Fortunately, the minivan, despite being the uncoolest vehicle on the planet, was able to rise to this occasion as well as it did for that football game.) We arrived at the ball, which was well-attended but not huge -- there were maybe between 80 to 100 folks there, most wearing some kind of attempt at a costume. Some of the costumes were a bit cheesy, but there were several absolutely beautiful gowns. The men were equally handsome in their frock coats and vests -- doesn't Mike look dashing?

The Professor and her husbandMiriam was even more accesorized than I; she had a lovely fan (which she unfortunately lost during the Grande Promenade), a period bonnet, a pretty reticule that I made for her from scraps on Friday night while she was still trimming her bodice, and some beautiful pearls. Cliff was turned out in a smart grey frock coat and a cravat that matched the trim on Miriam's gown.

Pretty belles all in a rowThe girls looked equally lovely. Ali's gown was one of the most gorgeous there (I am speaking completely without bias, of course.) She borrowed a pair of long gloves from Miriam. Ellen, being two years younger than Ali, isn't quite ready to wear a full-blown gown yet; she was dressed in a really pretty child's party frock made of a pink moire taffeta, and looked charming.

Leading the reelFor the first two hours of the ball, a dance band from Missouri Town played period tunes, and a dance instructor taught & called the dances. Here, Mike leads a reel with his beautiful daughter (I can't remember the name of the reel, darn it!) (Of course, Mike saved all the waltzes for his wife.) The woman in the pink dress with her back to the camera is the dance instructor from Missouri Town; she is going over the figures before the dance starts. Miriam & Cliff are the third couple in this set.

Step forward and bowIt wouldn't have been a proper antebellum ball without that best-loved dance, of course -- the Virginia Reel. Miriam & Cliff lead it here. Of course, my camera batteries chose this moment to go belly-up, so I couldn't get a picture of the sashay! Darn the luck.

Hop hop hopLuckily, a photographer was kind enough to loan us a couple of spare AA batteries. For the second half of the dancing, the CMSU Alumni Swing Band jumped us forward to the big-band era. They got a little silly with a few sets -- here they are playing the Bunny Hop! Not an easy dance to do in ballgowns.

Everybody swore it was the most fun than we'd had in years! I wish we could do this about once a fortnight or so.

Friday, November 18, 2005

All the cool kids have one

The T.I. succumbs to the Frappr map craze

Hey, add yourself to my Frappr map, huh? Everybody seems to have one of these things on a blog now. And I'm never one to pass up a blog-meme bandwagon.

This Ain't No Foolin' Around

I don't know what I look like.Why look, my free sample of Bernat Disco yarn has arrived. It's the coppery brown color called, uh, "Mr. Brown". Really. Who thought that one up?

It's a weird, glittery, crunchy, plasticy kind of eyelash, and I have no idea what to do with it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Snow Fall

As I was leaving work this evening, I realized that the wind was whipping little white flakes into my face. Snow! Before Thanksgiving! Just a little bit, and not sticking, but still. Time to break out the flannel sheets.

Monday, November 14, 2005

What kind of princess am I?

The Accolade
The Noble Princess

You are just and fair, a perfectionist with a strong sense of proper decorum. You are very attracted to chivalry, ceremony and dignity. For the most part you are rather sensible, but you are also very idealistic.

Role Models: Guinevere, Princess Fiona (of Shrek)

You are most likely to: Get kidnapped by a stray dragon.

What Kind of Princess are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Artwork is The Accolade by Edmund Blair-Leighton.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

A return to good health

My complaint about feeling kind of punky with a headcold was interpreted by some of my readers as a major illness. (Hi Mom & Dad! I'm fine, really.) Rest assured that I am feeling much better with a couple doses of doxycillin under my belt, and I expect to be fully recovered very shortly. Sorry to have alarmed you.

Lacy Gloves

A lady never goes out without her glovesI've finished the last accessory piece for my ballgown, the wrist-length lace gloves. They were done in Elann's Endless Summer Lara, a fingering-weight cotton, on size 6 needles. I did a simple feather-and-fan pattern on the backs of the hands; the rest is just plain stockinette stitch.

Gloves are a bit fiddly, but not terribly difficult; but you'd never know that from the reactions I got from people watching me knit these. "Oh my gosh, that's amazing, I don't know how you can do that, it looks so hard," etc. All I can say is, don't look too closely at the joins between the fingers -- that's where the "handmade" shows ;-)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Indian Summer

Surprise! Indian summer has returned for (presumably) one final fling, and it is unseasonably warm & dry for this late in the year. Cough, cough, drip. The cold-then-hot weather has done a number on me, and I'm fighting a headcold & losing... it seems to have settled in my chest & is making me miserable. I saw the doc today who pronounced it viral, but with a secondary bacterial infection, and gave me some antibiotics to take for ten days. I hate to do that, but sometimes ya just gotta grit your teeth. Hopefully I won't breed up a nice resistant bacteria strain.

Blech. I'm too foggy to knit, even. :-(

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Seeing the photo of me trying on my ball gown made me realize that I am woefully under-accessorized. So the following additions will be made to the costume:

1. I have a lovely amethyst cameo pendant & matching chandelier earrings (a gift from my sweet huz) that will be perfect.
2. I made a small reticule -- a sort of a wrist purse -- to carry my things.
3. A lacy snood will cover my (too modern) hair. I cranked it out in a day & a half out of some black lace-weight cotton, using a simple k2tog, yo pattern. Easy!
4. Lastly, if I knit quickly & diligently, I will be able to finish a pair of wrist-length lace gloves out of the same black cotton. I cast them on this morning & I am about halfway up the palm of the first glove. Wish me luck, and speed!

Ali also has a pendant & earrings, plus I will see if I can pick up some pretty combs at Walgreen's to do up her hair.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ball dress is finished

Blue belleDid you forget all about my monster sewing project for the sesquicentennial costume ball coming up this month? I haven't. I've been working away on my dress, which is plainer than Ali's but has a lovely black Venice lace trim at the neck & bell sleeves. Behold, the finished dress. I was terrified that I was going to try on the bodice & it wouldn't work with the corset, or something, but my fears came to nothing.

Mike wound up purchasing his costume, complete with a hat & a pocket watch & a walking stick, so he is quite the 1855 gentleman. Won't it be fun? I promise to bring the camera & take lots of pictures.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Aibhlinn complete

It's pronounced Ave-leenI've finished Knitty's Aibhlinn, and I have to say I just LOVE this cowl. Light, warm, cozy, and stylish, except when one has messy hair & inadequate lighting for one's photograph. Anyway. Yarn is Sirdar Denim Tweed DK, knit on size 7 needles. It took seemingly FOREVER to knit -- the staggered k3,p3 rib was rather boring to slog through, but Denim Tweed is light, springy & well-behaved, even for the bobbles. This may be the pattern that gets me to change my mind about bobbles; I have never liked them before but they work well here.

My new fave scarf!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Trick or Treat!

Trick or treatA quickie of the kid's costumes, a little Darth Vader & a Viking princess. Blessed Samhain, everyone!