Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Bath On Film

Back in February I went on a day trip to Bath with the boy and a couple of friendly Photosoc-ers. We wandered about, took photos, ate bagels in Queen Square, took photos, had coffee, took photos...
These are all from a roll of Rollei RPX 400 shot in my Pentax K1000 with 50mm 1:2 lens if you're interested in that sort of thing. More of my photos (but not these yet) can be found on my Flickr photostream. The XL photo size wouldn't fit in my theme but I think these will enlarge if you click on them. They were all developed & scanned by that lovely, useful boy of mine.

All photos by me, if you'd like to use them in a non-profit creative way I'm flattered, but please let me know & link back here.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Nostalgic Floral

Remember the floral bedsheet I acquired recently? Well it looks like these sheets have lasted well, and there're plenty of them about.

Sarah Rooftops has it (complete with cat) and it is in duvet form still.

Meanwhile in Edinburgh it is becoming fox-shaped:
Miss Foxette, from A Wooden Tree

Zoe of Zoe's crafts has three different colourways! Lucky lady. She's got them in her newly decorated spice rack.
Pilfered from this post

She also has the evidence that the sheets are originally from M&S.

Leanne on Vanilla Teapot loves it so much she has it as her blog background.

Anyone else come across this on their travels? Links! Pictures! I'll curate a little gallery of it :)

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

A Week Or So

There's lovely cherry blossom everywhere

  • Last week I had a big Maths exam, 20 credit points (the whole year is 120) which didn't go brilliantly. I may have passed. It's frustrating trying to learn how to do questions with no example solutions (no past paper solutions at all, minimal solutions to problem sheets) and figure out things which are more dependent on your knowledge of things like what the sum from 1 to n of 1/k happens to be than your knowledge of the unit material. I'm terrible with such things, it feels like there's a big fact sheet I'm meant to have memorised at some point but I missed the memo.
    And that crushes my confidence and fledgling ability to get my head round probability theory. Gah. This exam is out of the way now, only six more to get through in May/June!
  • I've tried burrata, as recommended by a certain dressmaking genius by the name of Oona. Waitrose had it reduced, from an introductory offer price too, so I snapped it up.

    Funny looking thing!
    SO CREAMY. Insanely creamy. Definitely to be eaten with crusty bread.
  • I finally bought an Emmy The Great CD, First Love. I saw her at The Fleece in October, I was having a bit of a difficult time and spent most of the gig close to or in tears but I'm glad I went. This is not an album to listen closely to when you're feeling vulnerable, it's full of loss and sadness.
  • My days are now full of background writing for my project thesis and fiddling with Open CV for Android which seems a lot more complicated than it could be. Stupid things. On the plus side I chose my units such that I only have one coursework to do apart from this and it's a fairly straightforward one.
  • I've had a play with my blog design, got rid of a broken Flickr widget, added a page which has no content yet, and changed the background to cheery blue polka dots. This is the same background I had on my Myspace page, back in the day. Nostalgia!
  • I've had a look in the freezer and figured out what I need to eat my way through before the end of the year/my flat contract. It's mostly reduced things I couldn't eat at the time, meat from large packs which I bought as it was better value for money, and strange stews I must have got sick of before finishing. Hmmm.
  •  On Thursday the boy & I went for a post-supper walk to the suspension bridge. His camera is capable of taking photos in the dark, mine not so much. I got a couple of presentable ones though. I also got very cold!

Bridge! All lit up.
  • After an abortive attempt on Saturday that turned into brunch we made it out to Arnos Vale on Sunday with Matt & Alice. It's a huuge place and parts of it are incredibly overgrown. Photos were taken, names were spotted (the best was Pobjoy) and there was discussion of what is and isn't appropriate in a graveyard.
Cameras at the ready, spot which is digital.
Now back to the algorithms, happy Tuesday!

Monday, 16 April 2012

M6503 - Inspiration

After seeing M6503 on StitchyWitch, and thinking up a dozen different variations I'd like to have, I somewhat hastily bought it on eBay (no JoAnns for $0.99 pattern sales over here). It looks like a fairly simple pattern (allegedly "easy") and resembles some of my favourite dresses. Hurrah!

I'm a big fan of dresses and actually managed to wear a different one every day for most of December (á la Dressember). I might do that again and document it; it'd be harder in the summer though, some are just too hot.
Although I haven't seen any completed makes among the blogs I follow, Googling turned up a few, including a Make This Look on Sew Weekly which is a different interpretation to how I'd seen the pattern originally. Looking at other people's completed dresses seems like a really good idea in terms of finding out what the fit is like and what parts of the construction might cause difficulties. Yay for the internet!

Here's a little round up of what I found, in link form:
  • Azalea & Rosebud Fiberworks - vintage inspired view A in aqua. I think the collar ruffles with the busy print are not for me, convenient since she reports difficulty with constructing the ruffle "sandwich" of the collar edge.
  •  Historical Quintessence - straight view D in a strong floral prin. No problems reported beyond cosy sleeves. Good to be reminded of that since I seem to suffer from larger upper arms, though they've yet to descend into bingo wings...
  • Sewing And Music  - She used view D to make a version of a Modcloth dress. I *think* she's quite a petite lady, the waistband looks lower than I imagine it should be and she mentions taking length out of the bodice if she were to make it again.
  • Four Square Walls - this lady seems to take pattern altering in her stride, she's made not one but two dresses from this pattern. One is a longer-bodiced colour block version of view D, and the other is a heavily modified view A or B made to resemble another Modcloth dress, and it looks really nice. She observes that "the gathered bust was basically drafted for a double-Z cup" so that's something to look out for.
Modcloth is a very popular source of inspiration, and it's not hard to see why. So many pretty things. Definitely not within the price range I'd go for (but, as previously discussed, I am a horrible cheapskate).

I'm almost entirely new to dressmaking (apart from a too-tight halter top made for a birthday disco when I was 11) so when I finally get around to making this I won't be altering anything much.
If I do become confident enough, however, the idea of a version where the back section of the waistband is elasticated appeals to me. My umbrella dress has this feature and it means I can pull it over my head, so I might be able to lose the zip and the accompanying pokey-zip-top-in-the-armpit discomfort. The other thing my umbrella dress has is a waist tie. It's attached to the waistband up to the side seam and ties in a bow round the back, neatly covering the elastic (when I can make it stay).

Me & the wonderful Mr Adam in London, several years ago (outtake)

I can't seem to find  photos that show the structure of this dress very well, but here's an idea. The ruffle goes all the way around the back of the neck (irritating) and it's a bit too short for my liking (no bending over!) but otherwise it's nigh-on perfect. I just had a look and the armholes are finished with self bias binding and the neck is faced. Look at me, I know fancy sewing words!
I have a sixites duvet cover (previously seen here) and a new Asda charcoal grey double flat sheet, either of which might become a muslin for a sleeveless view B at some point in the future. However until I'm done with this here degree and have some sort of a future sorted out there'll be no dressmaking for me.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Here's One I Made Earlier

In a few months the boy will (all things being well) become Dr Boy, PhD; he's spent three and a half years doing clever things with waveforms and Matlab (and occasionally explosions). Over that time he's spent a lot of time in his lab with many late night Sainsbury's meal deals, to the point where he and his colleagues have joked about having "Home Sweet Home" on the wall.
Well, I thought, I can do cross-stitch and Valentines' Day is coming up, why not?

Much tinkering in Paint and many hours of stitching later I had this:

Sorry for the photo quality, I nabbed this from Facebook.
My strip of aida came from Sew & Sew in St Nicholas Markets in Bristol (lovely place, go!). I didn't know what shape I wanted initially but this was available by the metre so I went for it. It took quite a lot of fiddling to get the design how I wanted. You can see its evolution in my MS Paint prototypes.
First I nabbed the aida square template from Subversive Cross Stitch (although it's basically a grid), and had a look at some images of samplers to see how letters are formed. Then I laid out the letters I wanted and experimented with different borders.

Non-destructive iterative design process. Geeky.
Crosses and large hearts got rejected in favour of smaller hearts and dots. Then I had the bright idea of adding a green wave to make it more Electrical Engineering-y. I made it up as I went along, and I think I did a decent job considering how hard it is to depict a curve in cross stitch!
I made sure the top and bottom of the wave were the same, this made it simpler to sew as I could just mirror the pattern of stitches rather than having to refer to my diagram constantly.

Once I'd got the wave how I wanted it I moved onto the hearts. All the way along looked like overkill but having them only in the middle looked odd - so I added resistors!
I used Google images and a bit of brain power to work out how to make those. They're missing the gold stripe but that was a bit complicated to add, plus I had no gold thread and it looked better without. I'm told it doesn't really matter anyway.

Now I just had to arrange the resistor colours (they're all genuine resistor ratings) and stitch it up. Cross stitch is addictive, I managed to make the whole thing in two days flat, stitching compulsively in between coursework and (during) lectures!
The finished thing was well received, and has found a home above the boy's desk, up above the grand plan and the thesis cat.
Here it is in place, in said lab:

I'm quite proud of it.
I haven't done any cross stitch since as it really is quite an intensive activity, crochet takes far better to being picked up and put down. My friends might end up with amusing samplers for Christmas though...