Friday, June 19, 2015

Ballroom Tip: Eraser Earring Backs

While we've been discussing things that get lost on dance floors, let's not forget earrings.  We sweat on them and whip them around at high speeds, and eventually the earring back gives up and the earring itself flies off.  It doesn't help that our earrings tend to be large, dangling, and covered in rhinestones.
One trick is to support or replace your earring backs with small erasers.  I use an eraser that I removed from a broken pencil and cut in half.  The rubber doesn't slip easily, so while it is more annoying to put your earrings on, you are much less likely to loose one.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Projects to love

Sometimes I knit a thing because it is a perfect gift for someone else.  Sometimes I knit a thing because the pattern seems perfect for the yarn, or because I find it an intriguing experiment and a chance to learn something.  The things produced are useful, but perhaps not meaningful in the creation phase.  They were produced for the end result, the result of product knitting if you will.  Sometimes, though, I am smitten, and the knitting becomes focused on the process.  I have two of those on the needles right now.

Project one is the Orchid Thief shawlette.  This is my train knitting right now, and progress has been greatly slowed by my habit of spreading it out to admire the diamonds and lovely central petals and how the yarn is all shades of blue and purple with hints of lavender and this is how knitting progress comes to a screeching halt.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Ballroom Tip: Reclaiming Rhinestones

As discussed last week, typically rhinestones falling off costumes is a bad thing.  However, there are times when you might want to remove rhinestones from a costume or accessory. For example, perhaps you stoned your shoes and the shoes have worn out. Perhaps a a bracelet broke and is no longer wearable, or a stoned hair piece ripped.  The object is no longer usable, but the stones might still be.
Start by breaking down your object if necessary.  I have taken pictures of doing this for a small hair piece, but if I were doing this to a costume, I would dismantle the costume by removing the skirts and leotard, ripping out elastics, and leaving only fabric pieces with stones.  Place the fabrics in a container big enough to hold the fabric submerged and that you don't mind having chemicals in.  Here I'm retiring a hair piece I made and no longer use, and I put it in a small plastic yogurt container.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Ballroom Tip: Replace Missing Stones

Ballgowns molt.  Latin dresses shed.  The hand-sewn fringe snaps off, and the hand-glued rhinestones peel from their backings.  Feathers are the worst; I heard a DSI commentator say that the dance floor looked like someone had shot a crow after a black feather dress had left the floor.

I find it tragic, having spent hours and hours stoning dresses.  At risk of convincing you that I am a complete weirdo, I will admit that I often pick up stones I find on the floor of the dressing room at competitions.  It seems so wrong to just leave those expensive rocks lying there.
While a few missing stones are unlikely to be noticed, a dress will start to look shabby if too many of them disappear.  To keep a dress in good condition, take the time to replace the stones.  For buying small quantities of rhinestones, I have purchased from Dreamtime Creations while living in the US and Modastrass while living in Europe and can recommend both of them.  Dreamtime Creations has the better selection of Swarovski colors, though.  For larger quantities, Chrisanne has competitive prices for Swarovski, Preciosa, and their own in-house line; Chrisanne also sells their own rhinestone glue in both large and travel-sized bottles.  DSI does as well.  Other glues often used for rhinestones are Gem-Tac and E6000.
As you can see, the Jade Anna dress has lost some sequins and stones in her first competitions, so I need to do a bit of refurbishing.  She needs to be ready to dance again for my next competition in a few weeks.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Finished: Jaywalker Socks

I am primarily a transit knitter.  Much of my knitting is done in ten minute snatches while I'm waiting for or on the bus.  Train travel, which happens about once a week for me now, is also excellent for handwork.  Big lace projects have claimed the train knitting time lately, so the bus knitting time goes to socks and hats and other simple things that can be started and stopped easily.  One shouldn't underestimate the bus knitting time, though; I spend 20-40 minutes a day on public transit of one form or another, and as the weather gets warm enough for me to knit while standing at the bus-stop, that will only increase.
This is how, while bigger projects get all the screen time, a finished pair of socks pops into the Knitbook without previous mention.  These are my recently cast-off Jaywalkers.  The Jaywalker is one of Grumperina's most famous designs and a fine example of her skill in pattern-writing.  She provides little details for a nice finish as well as ample information on the techniques used, so no previous sock experience is needed for this pattern.  The chevrons do wonders for self-patterning yarns, and as this yarn has so much patterning going on, I doubt any other pattern could compliment it as well.  The yarn is Opal, and while not soft, it is sturdy enough to handle several froggings without looking ratty.  I think I did a good job of matching yarn to pattern here.