Resurrecting Dresses (Part 1)

A new Goodwill popped up in the little town where I go to college. It’s been there for a couple months but I had yet to find anything beyond a few shirts I wanted too wear as they were.

A few weeks or so ago I found two dresses that I loved. A a fit of brilliance, though, I forgot to take before pictures. The best I can do are some (rather dodgy) screen shots of the before footage from Episode 32.

I knew when I picked the red dress off of the rack that I wanted to take out the waist panel and to shorted the hem by a bit. The purple dress I was less sure about. I knew I wanted to shorten it as well. My only other idea was to take off the buttons and find other ones to replace them with.

I had the time over spring break to modify them, so I got to it. I started with the red one. The first thing I did was to remove the shoulder pads be ripping out the seams.

 

Then, second step was to pin all of the pleats at the waist of the dress. They were nice and crisp and I didn’t want to loose them and have to refold them after I removed the waist panel.

After about an hour (it probably wouldn’t have taken as long, but I got majorly distracted by something, Twitter I think…) of seam ripping I had removed the waist panel from the top and skirt pieces. After examining the dress I cut out the excess button band. I was originally planning moving the skirt up, but, I realized that I would have to rip out the entire button band. I decided it simply wasn’t worth it.

After spending a few minutes trying to decide if I should turn the dress halves into a crop top and skirt combo (I decided that the top would be a bit too cropped) I pinned the top and skirt together. Luckily, they were now the same width so there was no need to gather the top like I thought I would have to. I simply seamed them together.

After trying on the dress I realized it was now too big. I put a tuck in the back just above the middle pleat. (It’s the seam between my thumb and forefinger above) Then, the last step was to hem it. I put it on and figured out where knee-length on the skirt would be. In the end, I raised it about 5 & 1/4 inches. ( 13 & 1/3 centimeters).

By then it felt like it the dress I wanted it to be, so I stopped fiddling. Now I just have to wait for it to be warm enough to wear it!

Enjoyed this post? Stay tuned for the second installment where I resurrect the purple dress above.

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Process versus Product

Do you ever get stuck with your knitting? So stuck your knitting muse had fled for higher ground. Left you to flail in the quicksand of ennui.

I had been working out how to knit my new shawl design for a little over a week, and had finally started to get somewhere, when I got stuck. I tried a few times to create vertical slip-stitch motifs that let the yarn shine.

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After a week of waffling, in an attempt to recapture my muse, Jake suggested I break out my scrappy yarn blanket. At first I dismissed the suggestion. Eventually, after days of fidgeting and simply just watching TV, rather than multitasking, I gave in.

I pulled out my blanket. It was bliss. Not needing to think about what I was knitting, to not have to decide what was coming next.

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The miniskeins are set out and photographed so I know in what order they will be knit. The chosen skeins wait in an old plastic bag from my LYS, separate from the rest of the other skeins.

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Once I dug back into my blanket I couldn’t stop. I knit over a row of squares in a few days, I’m about two squares in the second row now, and I’m planning to knit some more while I watch Jake play Bioshock 2 tonight.

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It’s nice to get sucked back into a project where I’m not in charge of what happens next, I can just follow along and enjoy.

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It helped me to feel at peace enough to frog my partial row of mistakes, wind up the tangled extra yarn, and start back at it again. The balance of process and product sometimes just needs to be respected.

 

Book Review: A Tale of Two Cities

1953Title: A Tale of Two Cities

Author: Charles Dickens

Year Published: 1859

Category: Classic Historical Fiction

*No Spoilers*

 

 

A Tale of two cities is a fictionalized retelling of the French Revolution that occurred in 1789. The story begins in 1776, on a cold and dreary road on England. Jarvis Lorry is on his way to ‘resurrect’ an old friend, Alexandre Manette, with the help of his daughter, Lucy Manette.

As the events unfold, the family lives happily in London, Lucy and Alexandre, with their friends Charles Darnay, Sydney Carton, Miss Pross, and Stryver. However, as happy as they are in London, there is unrest in France. In the poorest district of Paris the DeFarge’s plot and plan.

As the Revolution nears, old secrets are revealed and wrongs need to be righted. Turbulence and terror lift the happy family from their home and lands them in Paris. It’s a race to save the one who is most dear to the Manettes.

Dickens takes his time building the suspension until you nearly need la guillotine to cut through it. All the characters seem scattered and unrelated but slowly, masterfully, he knit’s them together like the damning stitches of the tricoteuse, Madame Defarge.

 

I rate it: 4/5

Goodreads says: 3.8/5

Amazon says: 4.3/5

Would you like Raisins?

Oatmeal knitting. That knitting that is simple, sturdy, and sticks to your ribs. (Especially if it’s a sweater.) It’s a steaming bowl first thing on a chilly Saturday morning. It’s pretty plain on it’s own.

The humble oats don’t offer much flavor or much ‘zing’, but they get the job done, and fortify you for the day to come.

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The fields of Asphodel Stockinette

There are common additions to Oatmeal, though. They make it more palatable and nutritious.

Milk is one that adds calcium and will work to strengthen your bones and holds together the Oatmeal and all of its extras.

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Stretchy and strong ribs(ing) keeps the hem together.

Then, of course, there’s raisins, adding a bit of flavor and a pop of color.

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Stripes add just the right kind of contrast. 

Lastly, my personal favorite, brown sugar. Heaped on top to add a little sweetness and change it up from the regular, ‘boring’ (but still just as nice) oatmeal.

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A hood. Just the thing to top it off.

Put all of these together and you have a  wonderfully warm bowl of oatmeal that you can savor and appreciate in its simplicity.

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PS~ This might totally ruin the metaphor, but go back to the stripe picture and check out my invisible seam. I’m super proud that I can’t tell which one it is.

 

To KIP is to Knit in Public

I try to take my knitting with me everywhere I can. That includes to class. I go to a small state university and seem to be accruing a reputation as ‘that girl who knits’, much like I was in high school.

However, I’m far from the only fiber freak on campus. There’s the fact that a few friends and I have started a fiber arts (I prefer the term ‘fiber appreciation’) club on campus. It started with four and has mushroomed to somewhere around fifteen with about thirteen members attending each week.

However, when I knit in class or in the hallways or the lounge for education students I notice more fiber aficionados (Is that better than freak? I really like alliteration.) in my wake, if I my be so self-absorbed.

In my assessment class I have been knitting (and cross stitching) while we watch the movie Stand and Deliver (10/10 would recommend). It’s interesting. I have the same professor for both of my classes on Tuesday and Thursday. My classmates don’t change much as well.

I was knitting in my morning class and while I was waiting for my afternoon class to start, I noticed  one of my classmates crocheting as I pulled out my knitting. Of course, there’s no proof that seeing me knitting in the morning prompted her to get out her crocheting in the afternoon, but I would like to think so.

As I was leaving my class I noticed another girl in the neighboring classroom knitting. See what I mean about uncovering fiber-lovers in my wake? Like I said, it’s rather self-centered of me to assume that I’m the catalyst, but, remembering how nervous I was when I first started knitting in public (way back in middle school), I know it would have been a lot easier if I had seen someone else knitting too.

So, if you’re considering knitting or crafting in public, go for it. You never know what will happen.