oh joyous season!

the season of sleeping in! i have now been off work for two whole weeks, and it is nice! sleeping willy nilly, time to do stuff. so far, that has mainly meant cooking and baking and cleaning (well not so much cleaning, really) and hosting and shopping. but the house has almost recovered from the holiday influx, so it is just about time to get back into project mode. currently on the go: the sewing table project. the base is assembled (and i've already started piling crap on the shelves) - next step is to attach the top, and then all that's left are the gatelegs, hinges, and edging. speaking of which, i need a mitre box. just when i think i have all the hardware i need, something else pops up...

next: finish painting the room, and refinish/reupholster the comfy chair. i can do all of that in two weeks, right? right?!?


free knitting patterns webring

since i have *two* whole free knitting patterns up here now, i thought i'd add filmcraft to the free knitting patterns webring.

check out the rest of the ring for more free patterns!

List Sites in the Free Knitting Patterns Netring

This site in the Free Knitting Patterns Netring
is owned by filmcraft.

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double-knitting explained

okay, here's my attempt at explaining the double-knit tubes technique i used to make the kodama dolls.

basically, what you do is cast on an even number of stitches, in this case 6.

cast on six stitches

carefully slip it off your needle,

slide them off the needle

fold it in half,

fold the row of stitches in half

and then slide it back on to your needle, alternating stitches from each half. so, your original six stitches get picked up in this order: st 1, st 6, st 2, st 5, st 3, st 4.

pick up the stitches carefully, alternating one from each side

to make the kodama dolls, you start by knitting both legs at once, each with a separate ball of yarn. so, repeat the steps above so that you have two sets of stitches - one for each leg.

cast on 6 more stitches from a new ball of yarn

... and repeat the folding trick

now, the tricky part.

when you start knitting, you keep the two halves separate by knitting one stitch, bringing the yarn to front,

knit stitch #1, and bring the yarn to the front

slipping one purlwise,

slip stitch #6 purlwise, keeping it separate from the yarn you're knitting with

bringing the yarn to the back,

bring the yarn to the back

knitting one stitch,

now, knit stitch #2

bringing the yarn to front, slipping one purlwise, bringing the yarn to the back. keeping the above example, you’d knit st 1, slip st 6, knit st 2, slip st 5, knit st 3, slip st 4, then turn, and knit st 4, slip st 3, knit st 5, slip st 2, knit st 6, and slip st 1. it takes a bit of practice to keep the two halves separate – it’s easy to get the stitches caught around one another – so take it slow.

once you've done a few rows, it's a little clearer to see how what you're knitting looks like a tube - whether you look at it from front or back, it will look like a strip of stockinette three stitches wide, even though you have six stitches on the needle.

and this is important to remember – you're only knitting half a row at a time! what feels like knitting two rows is actually only knitting one row, since you’re only working half the stitches. so when you’re knitting this pattern, remember this if you’re counting rows as you knit them – and count the rows up from the bottom to double-check your progress.

there’s a really great description of how to use double-knitting to knit two socks at once at knitty. it also has better pictures - not blurry like mine!



now that loudxmouse has received the package i sent for the miyazaki swap, i'm going to post my blurry pics here!

loudxmouse said that she was keen on kodama, among other things. kodama are little sprites that look like this:

so i decided, why not recreate that image as a handbag?

i made the handbag out of a few different-but-similar shades of dark green fabric. i appliqued a few leafy bits on, and to hold the kodama dolls, i made leaf-edged pockets, and top-stitched them so they'd stay nice and pointy:

then, i knitted and felted some little kodama dolls to tuck into the shrubbery:

here's a close up of my favourite little guy:

again, i chickened out of trying to felt them in the washing machine, and just did them in the bathroom sink - it only took fifteen minutes! - and then propped them in front a heating vent to dry quickly.

i've written up a pattern for knitting the wee kodama dolls, if anyone is interested. i made up the pattern using the two-needle tube double-knitting technique that erin explained to me a while ago. i also took a couple of snaps of the work-in-progress, which i'll put up tomorrow, since double-knitting is easy to do once you get it, but tricky to figure out the first time.


"f***ing awesome!"

that's what tg said when i showed him the awesome totoro hat and soot-sprite bootees that i got from loudxmouse for the craftster miyazaki swap! super cool and super cute!!

totoro hat & soot-sprite bootees

can't wait to have a real baby to put in them! in the meantime, they fit my old bear pretty well... mum made "poony" for me when i was an infant, and he's still going strong, waiting for the offspring to try to chew off his ears:

poony wear the totoro hat & soot-sprite bootees

and here's a close-up so you can get a better look at the hat. he's awesome!

poony wearing the totoro hat

whee! i'm so happy! in other good mail news, two of the other things i was waiting for in the mail - both of wish i spent cold hard cash on, so i was getting antsy - also arrived in the mail. we're down to a missing-mail count of only one letter. a good thing too, since i bought some sari yarn on monday, and as i was paypal-ing the seller, i started to think: "am i crazy? my mail never arrives! what the hell am i doing!" but now i am at peace again.

now, off to post pics on craftster...


whee and boo

whee! my craftster miyazaki swap stuff finally arrived! i don't have time to open it now (i should be running to the subway as i type), but will open & post some pics when i get home tonight. now, if only the stuff i ordered from ebay and the letter my mum sent would arrive...

also, boo. on the weekend i posted about my adventures in carpentry while the paint was drying on my project out in the garage. when i went back out to finish the job, my drill... died. just stopped turning on. grr! we opened it up and looked inside and it looked fine, so i've no idea what the problem is. so near and yet so far...


wow, it's a while since i've updated, hasn't it?

but it's not for lack of activity. i seem to be consumed by two impulses lately: nesting and napping. and nesting involves a fair amount of work! right now (and for the past couple of weekends... i find i really can't push myself these days, need lots of downtime) i'm working on building a proper sewing table.

have you ever noticed how most of the craft boards rarely touch woodworking? there's almost zero carpentry talk on craftster. for all the feminist talk of the stitch'n'bitch gals, there is still this huge gender divide when it comes to crafts. there are maybe 5 guys for every hundred gals posting on the knitting boards, and women still seem to avoid the more heavy-lifting crafts like the plague. i don't get it. it counts as "around the house" work, so shouldn't carpentry be traditionally done by women more than men? the only historical reason i can think of offhand for why this would be is that most of the traditionally female arts are doable while baby-sitting, but carpentry... well, not so much. the tools are loud, there's all that sawdust in the air (i dream of someday getting one of these), they don't make masks and goggles in infant sizes, etc.

but at least until thumper gets here, power tools are fun! we all need furniture! and more importantly, we all need places to work on our crafts and store our stashes!

while the garage fills with my lumber/varnish/screws/poswer tools stash, the soon-to-be-baby room is over-run with yarn and fabric. so, i'm building a sewing table (it sill be so nice to have something the right size for laying out patterns!) to put in thumper's room, with storage underneath for all of my stuff, and - this is the clever part - gate-legs so that it will fold down to a reasonable size (this is not a big room we're talking about) and conceal my crap as well. i am very very excited!!

also to come - pics of miyazaki swap stuff (when the packages arrive at their destinations). stay tuned!



i've decided the little green daisy dress is film-related, because i'm thinking i'll give it to the post supervisor of shorts in motion because her wee girl has had a rough go of it in the couple of weeks that she's been around. is that cheating? oh well.

i have five little daisies made so far, two to go. i went looking on knitting pattern central for flower ideas, and this was the closest to what i was looking for. i'll post my final modified flower pattern once i get some pictures up.

but i can tell you one thing - hand-knitting with fingering-weight wool on 2mm needles is reminding me all over again why i got the knitting machine. yikes.


almost finished!

well, it is ages since i have posted, and this isn't film related, but i've almost finished the wee dress/cardigan thingy (based on a nightgown pattern, but of course i had to change some things) that i started ages ago. in my defence we've been very busy with family and of course all i want to do is nap!

without further ado, here is filmcraft's first ever machine-knit project:

daisy dress

daisy dress detail

i have a million ends to run in, and i want to add little daisies where the bodice meets the skirt (and yes i know, the making of flowers is what has stopped me from getting the in the mood for love sweater finished, but i don't care).



crap, crap, crap. can anyone point me to a source for spare parts for a fifty-year-old knitting machine?

this morning i was picking up some dropped stitches (whoops - i do that a lot) on my knitmaster 4500, and the latch on one of the hooks broke!

where on earth can i find a replacement? does anyone have an idea? i know some knitmaster (aka knit-king) users will buy additional machines just to use for spare parts, but i don't know where I would find one... i guess if i have to, i can take one of the end hooks and use it, and just never knit anything using the full width of the machine? that wouldn't be as bad as missing a hook in the middle...


meanwhile, here's something to amuse you: a knitting machine made of lego! link courtesy of kidoodles on the knittingmachines yahoo group.



finally, some photos of totoro! there was a laundry emergency yesterday morning, so i didn't get the photos off the camera until now. but here he is, in all his fuzzy glory:

totoro meets totoro

totoro finds a hat

i'm especially please with the whiskers - they stand out nicely, without being prickly.

download pattern here: knitted totoro pattern



filmcraft has a camera again! i took pictures this morning of totoro (the neighbours must think i'm insane, playing with toys on the front lawn in my pyjamas), and will post them as soon as my husband gets out of the shower (apparently there is some software that needs installing before i can actually get at the pictures - serves me right for not making sure there was a card in the camera in the first place).

so soon! any minute now, i will edit this post and add some photos!


knitted totoro pattern!

well, no new photos due to the ongoing tragedy of the camera, but after much futzing, i have finally typed out the first ever filmcraft knitting pattern for the felty totoro toy! it's in pdf format. let me know if i've messed it up somehow, as i'm feeling a bit out of it, to tell the truth (apparently light-headedness and dizziness are common symptoms among preggos - who knew?).


i just realised i left out the most important part - yarn! gauge!! i told you i was feeling out of it... i knitted this guy out of a double strand of white buffalo unspun (which comes in a weird sort of bale of six-stranded raw wool - i split it so i was only using two of the six strands), about the same weight as a heavy worsted yarn, on 9 mm needles (u.s. size 13). i just want to fall asleep right now, will fix the pdf in the morning...

(edit again)

okay, i think i have it fixed... now i'm really going to bed!


here he is!!

my neighbour totoro:

totoro - nice 'n' felty

as you can see i still have to tack his ears into place, add his whiskers, and embroider in his nose and pupils. but you can certainly tell what it's supposed to be!

coming soon: the pattern.


in the tradition of film noir, filmcraft is more suspenseful than the average craft blog - will she or won't she?

that is, will she or won't she finish any of the projects she starts.

well yesterday i finally got around to felting my totoro doll! he's quite cute. i decided to try hand-felting him, since it's my first attempt at felting, and i was a bit afeared to just throw him in the laundry. so, i tossed him in the sink with a squirt of dishsoap and started agitating.

for ages, nothing seemed to be happening except that the water got all absorbed into the wool, and i had way too much soap (i hardly used any, i swear!). i kept adding more and more warm water, and let some of the bubbles down the drain. and it seemed to take forever.

but finally, i started to notice progress! about twenty minutes in (and boy, were my arms tired), things started happening. and once they started, they really got going. it was neat to feel the change in texture.

mr. t is currently drying out in the living room. i sort of liined him with a plastic bag, and then stuffed that bag with bags, so he'd keep his shape as he dried, and since they bags are all together, it'll be easy to pull them out.

while he's drying, i've been busy with whiskers. a commenter suggested stiff fishing line to give body to the whiskers. but how would i get it nicely covered with yarn? and, i was worried about the ends being nicely finished. these concerns were excuse enough for me to procrastinate for a while, but then while tidying up i found a spool of fishing line! (why was this in the house? i have no idea.) it was labelled "extra limp" as opposed to stiff, but hey, it presented itself, and so far i've relied on scraps and whatnot and haven't spent a cent on this toy, why not keep it that way?

i decided to try braiding the fishing line with embroidery floss, and i haven't attached the whiskers yet, but they look (and feel) pretty good. i'm quite pleased.

anyway, in keeping with tradition i don't have any photos uploaded (but i did take pictures last night! really!), but maybe i'll get them up later today!


ha ha!

more dispaches from the toronto international film festival:

yesterday afternoon i was talking to someone else who was at the botched tiff borat screening, and he told us that the replacement screening was going to be at the elgin, and we'd probably have a not-bad chance of getting rush tickets, since it wasn't hugely publicised, and a lot of the industry people would have other plans.

since the film we were seeing at 6 o'clock was also going to be at the elgin, we were perfectly positioned to investigate the line-up possibilities.

the 6 o'clock film was brand upon the brain! by auteur of the bizarre, guy maddin. it's the story of the childhood of guy maddin, housepainter, who grew up in a lighthouse where his parents ran an orphanage. but something is strange about these orphans, so the lightbulb kids, harpists and stars of the series of mystery books, come to investigate. it's a silent film, mostly black & white, and the screening was accompanied by an 11-piece ensemble of orchestra members, a few singers from the toronto children's chorus, and three foley artists. there were a few technical glitches (they didn't even let us in the building until more than twenty minutes after the film was supposed to start), but the film was so compelling, so filled with strange and wonderful inventions, that the tech problems didn't really interfere at all. trying to describe it to tg after, erin and i couldn't stop adding more details - the aerophone! the hamster-and-metronome! the nectarite ring! and on and on.

when we left the theatre, there were only thirty people in the borat rush line-up, so we decided - why not? other than the fact that i would probably fall asleep before we got in to the midnight screening (we lined up at eight-thirty - i should have brought my knitting!), and if not before, then definitely during. i haven't been one to stay up past ten o'clock at the latest since i got knocked up.

our seats were of course in the very back of the elgin theatre, but it's a well-designed venue, so our view was totally unobstructed. borat: cultural learnings of america for make benefit glorious nation of kazakhstan was... well, borat was borat. as erin described it, "slightly more shocking and slightly less funny than i expected." very shocking (you don't see that much full-frontal male nudity, among other things, in most comedies). but still very funny. it tells the story of borat sagdiyev, kazakhstani television reporter, who goes to america on a mission from his government to find out what americans are like and how they got to be the greatest country in the world, so kazakhstan can follow in their footsteps. this allows him to work his schtick. if you're familiar with borat, you know what to expect - he does the fish-out-of-water thing, plays with stereotypes and through his apparent innocence and ignorance encourages people to show off their worst sides: their bigoted underbellies. you either like borat or you don't; i like borat, so i found the film hysterical. as did the rest of the audience - i missed more than a few lines because the audience was roaring with laughter. and i didn't nod off once.



man, am i depressed. i was up at dawn on wednesday, on the phone and computer, trying to get festival tickets to see borat and for your consideration. couldn't get through till both were sold out.

so, this morning i had brunch with a bunch of filmmakers and the tiff programmers and miscellaneous other industry types. so i got the low-down on last night's borat screening.

the projector broke down 10 minutes in, so they have rescheduled it for tonight. well, no biggie, right? at least we didn't miss anything.

but, for 30 minutes or so while they were trying to fix the projector, sacha baron cohen got up on stage to entertain the audience!

...and he was joined by a couple of audience members... michael moore and larry david!!

doing an impromptu comedy routine!!!

gah, we should have been there, the pain is almost too much. this would be a perfect time to get drunk if i wasn't knocked up. phooey!



well, after some frustration re my inability to cast off, i signed up for the knittingmachines yahoo group. everyone there is so advanced - i have no idea what they're talking about - and the list is incredibly busy/fast-moving. yikes! got a few tips though.

best was some diagrams sent by susan rans, the woman behind my knitting machines and me. finally things are beginning to make sense! thanks to all for the tips.

i stumbled across this while googling "knitting machines." it brings new meaning to the phrase "go big or go home."

in other news, i am all bummed that i wasn't able to get borat tickets this morning - i spent twenty minutes dialling the tiff box office and didn't get through. i was also pounding away on tg's computer (it's faster than mine), and by the time i got through to the online box office they were all gone. wah. i wonder if there are any strings i can pull.



finally, i have started messing around with the knitting machine! it's the beginning of a whole new era of frustration! so far, i have learned that you really need to keep your pyjama sleeves far away from the thing, and ditto long hair (ouch). i have also learned how to not mess up the tension, how to do a lovely picot edge (really irritating process), and how to decrease.

unfortunately, i can not figure out how to cast off. that should be the easy part, no? but it ain't. i keep screwing it up somehow. i've started knitting a wee baby nightie, largely because the pattern is extremely simple, and i've done the back except for casting off. i'm half tempted to just put it on a pair of needles and do it by hand.

now, off to google some diagrams, i hope... the instruction manual is woefully short on diagrams. since the machine is approximately 50 years old, i may be right out of luck!


here he is...

not felted yet, but here's the to-be-felted totoro all sewn up:

knitted totoro, sewn up and ready to felt

question is, do i have any black wool lying around in the filmcraft stash waiting to be used for his nose and pupils. but what to do about whiskers? part of me wants to twist some wire through yarn to make nice stiff whiskers, but i have a feeling the baby-safety people would freak out over that. and i have to worry about that kind of crap now. maybe starch would work? make whiskers stiff but not lethal? anyone have any ideas?



well, i woke up at six o'clock this morning, so i though, what better time to start knitting those slippers i mentioned earlier? i've done all the heel shaping, with progressive consternation, and finally when i shoved the half-finished product on my foot, i realised my fears were justified: the thing is huge. hmm. the plain janes slipper pattern didn't mention a size at all, but since i have gigantor-style feet (size 10 - 9 1/2 if i'm lucky) i was initially worried that they'd be too small. but i figured oh well, knitting is stretchy, right? i even had the tension down exactly. maybe it's because i decided to make them all in stockinette instead of garter. oh well, i guess it's itme for me to make up another pattern.



finally filmcraft has photos again! tg had the old crummy digital camera with him, so i've been able to take a few pics of totoro and upload them.

here's his body, which looks right now like osme kind of creepy ghost:

knitted totoro - body

here's his ears - one lying flat, the other folded and ready to be sewn:

knitted totoro - ears

here's what the base and tail section looks like flat:

knitted totoro - tail and bottom

knitted totoro - tail and bottom

well i'd better get stitching... enough of this day has been thrown away already!

more argh

what a waste of an afternoon... i started rooting around tg's den (the den of iniquity, i call it) and eventually turned up the ol' webcam which used to be installed on my machine, but hasn't been used in over two years (approximately).

i googled to try to find the drivers, located them, tried to download them, had to sign up for a dumb website to access them, clicked through pages of no-thank-yous to various free! offers to complete the sign-up process, finally downloaded the thing, it didn't work (didn't even have all the components for the installation), tried the second version, it downloaded okay and seemed to install okay, but that doesn't mean it actually works. gah.

i can't believe how much time i have wasted on this thing... oh well, tg is home now, maybe he can help...


so, totoro's body is done. his ears and tail are done. he's ready to sew up and felt and stuff and i want to get going but i want to take pictures first. augh! just killed some time looking around for old, crappy digital camera that we had before we got (and lost, grr) the nice one. can't find it; presumably tg has it with him. so - no news at all here, really, i'm just grumpy. i'm half inclined to just crawl back into bed and watch the last five episodes of honey and clover.

but a ray of hope for y'all: once i get him felted and stuffed, and he has proven to be a passable representation of the creature, i will post the pattern i made up, so you can knit one yourself.

if only i had a camera!


bon bad

once i've done totoro, i thought i'd make these slippers to take to the hospital in january (yes, i'm getting ahead of myself, be quiet). but, i am ashamed to say, i've never done a three-needle cast-off before. as luck would have it, there are great instructions at yarn magazine! it's a great source for other info, too. check it out:

yarn magazine

meanwhile, another movie recommendation (being pregnant and sitting quietly in a dark room are two activities that go together well): bon cop bad cop.

normally i'm not a fan of the cop/buddy genre, but this one has some clever twists on the old genre. in this case, the odd couple is a french cop (patrick huard) and an english cop (colm feore) - guess which one is the wild child and which one is uptight. a body is found at the québec/ontario border - whose responsibility is it? this dilemma is decided in the most hilariously gruesome manner, which sets the tone of the film to follow. there's a lot of violence (it is a cop flick, after all), but all cleverly done and with humour. i can't remember the last time i laughed that hard at a film (or coughed that hard - i apologize to anyone who had the misfortune to sit near my sick husband and myself!).

yes, that is a body hanging over the edge of the sign



i finished totoro's body on sunday night! now i just have to work out the ears and arms and such.

in other news, last night we watched brick, which was awesome. i have always loved film noir dialogue, so it was great to hear it reworked in this setting. one of the friends we watched it with said they found the patter disconcerting at first since it is so unlike how "real teens" would speak - but how many screenwriters successfully use naturalistic dialogue? those who try (woody allen, david mamet) are mocked for their "idiosyncratic" style. in fact, real people do stammer and repeat themselves and say "like" too much and talk over one another. that's the problem with naturalistic dialogue - it can be difficult to listen to. i think most of us would rather shoot ourselves rather than listen to two hours of real teen talk. i get enough realism in real life; when i'm watching a film, i would much prefer to hear something clever and snappy.


feeling nesty

okay, so i'm feeling nesty and wanting to make things, but have too much hip pain to do much! fortunately, that won't stop me from knitting. so, i've gone back to a project i started months ago, before the Time of Much Sleep.


unfortunately our digital camera has gone awol, so no pics of thr project-in-progress at the moment. i am currently about halfway done the body, using white buffalo unspun. soon, the felting will begin.


the cop-out post

i really haven't been doing anything. i just don't have the energy. but project constant gardener has kept going without me. everything is out of control, actually. the pumpkin is completely taking over, growing a metre or two every week (this isn't even the most recent picture, and already it looks small to me here):

pumpkin attack!

and i've got a ton of lettuces going too:

the relaxing chair

i spent some time staking up the tomatoes today (they got knocked down by the pumpkin vine) and discovered that there were green beans, which i had given up on! also a couple of cucumbers on the way. it's no surprise then that we're having salad with dinner tonight, with vinaigrette with fresh tarragon and marjoram.


i'm back!

i've been busy for the last couple of months crafting the ultimate creation:

i'm having a baby!!

it's going to take another five months or so before it's finished - i'm hoping to get it done in january.

meanwhile, i've been too tired to get much else done, and i've had to put my knitting projects on hold (what size will i end up? who knows?)

but expect filmcraft to resume once i've got that mythical second-trimester burst of energy! any day now! please!


you know what?

i have a thrilling new knitting machine and tons of books just waiting for me to play, but it's been 34 degrees and humid for the last couple of days, and the thought of even touching alpaca makes me want to cry.


oh, i'm bad

i was looking at my stash this morning and feeling bad that i haven't posted in an age. bad bad bad.


i just had a happy thought. two happy thoughts, actually.

1: this sweater from bonnie & clyde:

faye dunaway in bonnie & clyde

2: i'm getting my knitting machine this weekend!!



okay, i've been bad about updating, but i just opened a box from elann, and when i saw the gorgeousness within - enough baby silk (80% alpaca, 20% silk) to make the stripy "a bout de souffle" sweater - well, i don't think i'll have the patience to wait for the knitting machine to get started.

and, i have the perfect pattern to work from:

lux 1958 ladies' sweater

it's from a 1958 lux soap knitting book, so it's just about the right era and everything. it calls for 2.5 mm and 3 mm needles though - yikes! but considering the yarn is tiny (and gorgeous), tiny needles make sense, i guess... it's just that instructions like "cast on 120 sts" strike fear into my heart.


busy busy busy

it's been a crazy week what with visiting family and all, so i haven't been getting anything done. even my half-done totoro is trapped in my knitting bag in the bedroom which has been given over to my husband's mum. but i do have some new yarn, and i'm thinking i'll make a sweater like this one, only in red & black stripes instead:

jean seberg in breathless

as soon as i get my knitting machine here! or maybe i'll get impatient and work it by hand.


erin is going to be soooo jealous

guess what i bought today? a knitting machine!! for reals! i am super-excited. unfortunately i shan't be able to bring it home straight away, as i am travelling by bus on this trip (don't ask, the weekend has been a bit of a disaster). but it is tres cool. and i know it must be easy to use because the picture of the lady inside the lid of the case is smiling!

whee!! what a find. it almost makes up for the rest of this weekend.



i just added filmcraft to the knitting blog webring! hundreds of blogs about knitting!

knitting bloggers

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i've finished assembling the "i'm in the mood for love" sweater! i used mattress stitch to do up the sides (see ridiculously prideful post below) but to attach the collar i decided to try grafting, to increase stretchability (i have a big head). it fits! i'm so excited! hopefully tonight i'll get the decorations done, and post some photos.

pardon my excitement, but i'm much better at starting projects than i am at finishing them, so i'm very excited to have the first official filmcraft project almost finished!


whatever happened to...

so you may be wondering what happened to the "in the mood for love" cheongsam sweater that i was working on at the start of the filmcraft blog. simple: i got to the boring part, i.e. the part where you stop knitting and start sewing the pieces together.

well, today i started seaming, and it's looking good! i'm quite proud of my little seam, actually.

cheongsam sweater - seam



i just got my birthday swap package! i'm trying to figure out if i can come up with a film-related excuse to post pics, or whether i need an excuse at all. it's my blog, dammit!



i got a gift certificate to knitpicks for my birthday! now i just have to decide between all those lovely yarns...


it's my wedding anniversary!

one year ago today, my husband and i got married. like the die-hard diy-er that i am, i decided to make my own wedding gown, and bake our cake myself.

never do this.

but i digress. how does this all relate to filmcraft? well, my wedding gown was a replica of a gown worn by silent film star norma talmadge. i was looking for ideas when i came across this gorgeous gown:

gown worn by norma talmadge in 1930

gown worn by norma talmadge in 1930

it was on a vintagewear site called the frock. it was selling for over two grand, and i will bet that norma talmadge was a lot smaller than i am. so i decided to make my own, all in white of course. and since one of the reasons i wanted to make my own was that i balked at the idea of dropping a huge amount of money on a polyester dress (and just about all wedding gowns under $2000 are polyester), and since polyester doesn't drape nicely and draing is a crucial component of the gown, i decided to make it all out of silk.

here are some of my sketches when i was working out the pattern:

sketch of wedding gown showing seams

sketch of wedding gown showing pattern pieces

it's actually a pretty simple design if you look at it: a front panel, side panels, and two panels in the back; shoulder straps (i considered making these out of velvet at one point) that continue down the front to just above the knee, a simple skirt with three inset panels for fullness, and shoulder drapes.


all easier said than done, of course. especially when working in silk charmeuse.

i decided to start with the interfacing. i cut my pattern out of cotton muslin, leaving huge seam allowances in case i needed to do any alterations, and basted it together. after trying it on a million times, and tweaking the fit endlessly, i was finally confident that i had what i wanted.

i then took apart the muslin model and used it as a pattern to cut out the dress fabric and the lining (which was silk habotai). but before getting to the cutting stage, i pressed the fabrics very carefully using easy-on spray starch to lessen the slip-slidy-ness, and being careful to keep the grain straight. the drapiness that makes the final product gorgeous also makes it a headache to work with.

a lot of ironing to do

i even basted the fabrics and muslin together to make sure nothing slipped while i was cutting, and did the cutting at my friend gayle's house, since she has a proper cutting board and good scissors.

i sound baste-crazy, don't i? i did a lot of basting on the liger tote as well. i usedn't to ever baste, when i was young and impatient to get stuff done instantaneously. i didn't really save any time though, as i ended up spending a lot more time ripping things out! and things didn't generally look as nice when finished. "more haste, less speed" as my mother would say.

and a lot of hand sewing

one aspect that took a longish time and a lot of basting was the back closure. i hate the fake buttons you see on a lot of weeding gowns, so i decided to have actual buttons with actual loops that would actually button up. for stability, i had a hidden zipper that was attached only to the muslin interfacing and lining. this meant the buttons and outer charmeuse shell of the dress weren't subjected to any undue strain in the waist area, because the muslin was doing all the work. if you look at the inner workings of older dresses, you'll notice they often have a separate internal waistband for this reason - it's one of those areas where there is a lot of body movement and thus strain, and more delicate fabrics won't stand up without extra hidden support.

a view of the back with buttons

wow, this post is getting really long.

the final really time-consuming aspect of the dress was the hemming - all rolled by hand to be as invisible as possible. no mean feat with fabric as soft and frayable as silk. my gown didn't have as huge a hem as some do - i imagine anything with a hoop or train would take forever. i was up til four o'clock in the morning working on it. i will confess that part of the hem was only basted when i went down the aisle. i don't think anyone noticed though:

officially married!

so was all that work worth it for a few hours of old hollywood glamour? you betcha! and i figure if i ever get nominated for an oscar, i'll wear it again.

paparazzi shot