shanmonster: (Default)
I realized today that I hadn't posted a picture of the most recent dress I made. It is based off the Kragelund gown recovered from Kragelund Bog in Jutland, and dated to late 12th or very early 13th c. CE.

I made mine from linen, and made the belt and trim via tablet weaving. The photos aren't the prettiest, but here's what it looks like:

[Bog dress]

Here's a close-up of the trim I wove:

[Tablet-woven trim]

And here's what I wove yesterday, while experimenting with patterns:

[Blue and cream trim]

It's a little bit wonky in one or two places, but I'm pleased with the pattern, over all. I used light blue, dark blue, and cream-coloured wool on a sample pattern from Card Weaving.
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
Two weeks later, and I think I'm finally over this cold. My lungs are still tetchy, but I am thinking of giving them a test drive by going for a run shortly. I've also finally scheduled an appointment with a sports doctor about my ever-problematic foot. I sure hope he can figure out a solution. Last week, it blew up after a dance class and was hurting like whoa and basically feeling like it was filled with a bunch of randomly-placed bones and tendons. When my foot is acting up, I can't dance for shit, not even floorwork.

I attended an ATS class with [ profile] mystress yesterday. It was nice to dust off some old moves I haven't thought about in over a decade. I'd forgotten all about the tribal variations of the camel. I always liked those! It's too bad I won't be able to attend all of the classes, but at least I'll get a refresher. And now I am thinking about breaking out the kasiklar for the first time in ages. I used to play those, sometimes even in performance. I remember once combining them with floorwork, even, which was kinda neat!

I've been doing so much dancing lately, and I love it. I'm intrigued by the differences between contemporary dance and belly dance. Right now, the fashion in contemporary seems to be in keeping the movements clean and unadorned, whereas in belly dance, so much is decorated with flowery arm or hand movements. I want to look into taking regular technique classes, but think I might have to travel to Guelph to do so. I guess I have some research to do!

In case I haven't mentioned it, [ profile] f00dave got hired on at a sweet job, and now I am planning on going back to school for the winter term. I only want to go part-time, but I'm excited. I'd start in the fall term, except that I'm going to the UK for a while in mid-September, so that screws up the term. In the meantime, I'm studying outside of a university environment. I'm taking dance, yoga, and art classes. My first sumi-e class is this Friday, and I'll be starting an advanced yoga class on Thursday. I'm excited! As for university, I'm thinking of fine arts, classics, and/or Latin.

I'm also looking forward to continuing my adventures in textiles and costume design. I currently have no projects on the go, but that's partially by design. My office is in a dreadful state, and I'd like to get some semblance of order before I mess it all back up again. That being said, I think I'll try my hand at making a Viking hat, next.

I'm contemplating putting together an introductory workshop on tablet weaving. I want to experiment a bit more, first, though, so I can figure out how to fix other people's fuck-ups. I could also put together a workshop on how to make Rus-style poofy pants, or how to make a Viking tunic, but I think those might be less interesting to most people.
shanmonster: (Default)
I've been doing quite a bit of crafting lately. Not only have I made more Viking clothes (a pair of poofy Rus-style Viking pants, most recently), but I've also continued experimenting with tablet weaving. Here are some photos of my most recent creations: )

And the finished products (so far). I take no responsibility for those horrid white socks. Heheheh....

[Kyle and I in garb]
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
[A-viking I will go]

Well, mostly complete. I still don't have hose, braies, naalbind socks/mitts/hat, turn shoes, winingas, or a tablet woven-belt. But, I do have THIS: )

Coat Gloat

Apr. 19th, 2011 02:51 pm
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
And here is the finished coat. I say it's finished, even as I make the decision to add a bead and loop closure. I was all about the fibula closure, but since this is a synthetic fabric, I don't think it is forgiving enough to be pinned over and over again. I don't want the coat to get all mangled. So now I need to find an appropriate bead or button. Hmm....

The coat is not perfect, but the mistakes are minor and are on the inside of the garment. Mistakes I made on my own dance coat were not repeated on this one. I'd say I've leveled up again. This one was much faster to make. Of course, it's also a simpler design. I'm already tempted to make another. I'm proud of this coat. I think it looks really nice, and I used no pre-made patterns from it, just my own measurements and proportions based off diagrams and photos I found online, and my own hard-earned understanding of how to sew gussets.

I have lots of the trim left over, and a few decent scraps of the green fabric. I may have to make myself a dance costume with it, eventually. Ha!

I still want to make a complete Viking men's costume. Well, maybe not the shoes. I don't enjoy working with heavy leather enough for that. But I do want to weave a belt, and potentially weave winingas, too. I want to learn naalbinding so that I can make stockings and a hat, but that might not happen for a long time. I'm pretty awful at naalbinding. I still want to make a tunic, trousers, foot bags (like socks, but not), a cloak, and a hat. I still have fox fur left. Perhaps I'll trim the hat with it.

And then there's the woman's outfit, which I haven't even begun thinking about, yet. Oy.

shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
Yes, it's coat time again. I'm on a roll. I would like to finish the Viking coat for [ profile] knightky by tomorrow. I just have some trim to sew on, and then it's done. I want to tablet weave a belt to go with it, but that will have to wait. I have a dress I want to make, next.

In the meantime, here's what I can show. The coat is very obviously not my size, but it fits Kyle just fine.

[Fox fur collar]

The coat that I based this design on was entirely lined with squirrel fur. Since that is not a viable option for me, I lined it with plain old lining fabric, and used fox fur for the collar as a nod to the original lining. Fox, squirrel. Close enough, right? I also made the collar removable with hook and eye closures so the coat can be dry-cleaned.

[Sleeve detail]

Here's the pretty, pretty trim I purchased specifically for this coat. I love it so much! You can also see a peek of the plain brown lining.

I will have more photos when I can put the coat on the person it was made for.
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
I have been battling my coat all day. I think I am winning, but have been taking heavy casualties. At one point, I threaded a needle, tied a knot in the thread, started sewing, and the thread was not there. Not a sign of it anywhere. Aliens beamed it away, I swear. So I rethreaded the needle, sewed the clasp back on, and then realized I'd sewn the wrong side of the clasp on. Argh!

After a bit of hyperventilation, I cut into the armpits of the coat and made the openings larger, "serged" the edges (zigzag with my regular machine), and then sewed in the gussets. They turned out just fine. I'm glad I have experience with gussets. I'd hate to have had this coat be my first experience with them. They're so tetchy.


I managed to even the sleeves out as much as possible by tacking them up at the top. They hang much better now, but are a bit on the short side, now. This could be remedied by sewing on a matching trim at the cuff, but I don't have anything appropriate. So it will have to wait.

More trim needs to be sewn on, and two more clasps. I also need to resew a couple of the clasps. Getting them to sit straight is proving to be a serious pain in the kiester. But my next task is to complete the lining of the coat, and then to hem it off.

[Crooked clasps]

I may very well finish tomorrow. The end is in sight. And then I can get back to the Viking coat.


Mar. 13th, 2011 08:49 pm
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
The coat continues. Here's where I'm at, now.


I've been hand-sewing silk/Merino wool yarn onto the edges as trim. It takes a while, as I'm sure you can guess. I'm attaching clasps. I still need to do the armpit gussets, and then finish the lining along the bottom, and hem the whole thing up. I want to add trim to the sleeves, and I also want to figure out how to get them from hanging funny. [ profile] valkryor is awesome, and showed me how to line sleeves. These sleeves were fine, but for some reason, they're not hanging neatly anymore. So weird. They were fine at her place. I think I'll have to do some tacking up near the top of the sleeve. I just hope I can find a way that looks ok.

Eventually, I want to sew the yarn as stripes all along the body of the coat, but that's a long-term project.

I hope to have this done in the next day or two, because then I want to finish [ profile] knightky's coat. So much sewing. So many coats....
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
I've hit a snag with my coat. I can't get the sleeves to hang right with the lining. They look all bunchy. I believe I chose a project more ambitious than my sewing skills can handle. I don't have any more of the silver fabric for lining. I used up everything but the tiniest scraps.

If worse comes to worse, I can take the sleeves off altogether and have a lovely long vest. But I want those sleeves. Especially since I'm dancing outside in March.

I need a sewing fairy godmother to sweep in and make everything all better. Augh.
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
I'm making headway on my coat. I have it mostly lined, and the sleeves are attached. I still need to finish lining it, finish up the edges, add the clasps and trim, and hem the bottom, but it's looking like an actual coat now, and not just a bunch of pretty fabric.


[Coat with one sleeve]

I used the ghawazee coat pattern from Atira's Patterns. The pattern sizing runs small. How small? This coat is a size large, and it fits me just right. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm not exactly a big person.

I didn't have enough of the silver to line the whole thing, so I used some navy blue for the top part of the sleeves where it won't show. I'm pleased that it's not looking like crap. Huzzah!

I still have to finish the accessories. I have a knit cowl. Somewhere.... I need to make a belt, arm warmers, and possibly a hat. I will wear my giant gold and black skirt underneath the coat. It's not a perfect match, but it's not bad, and I don't have the time or fabric to make a matching tiered skirt. I have grey suede pants with silver detailing which perfectly matches the coat, so I'll wear them under the skirt and hopefully keep warm. And because I'm wearing black with the skirt, I can wear my black jazz shoes and it should look fine.

All this, and I still haven't decided on the music for dancing, yet. Sheesh.


Feb. 8th, 2011 10:00 pm
shanmonster: (Default)
I located my pattern and cut into the fabric. After a knock-down battle with my sewing machine, the coat is coming along just fine.

[Ghawazee coat]

I think I'll make bell sleeves instead of the standard draping ones. For trim, I'm thinking of using a subdued gold cord edging, and some sort of jacquard. Maybe in white? Hmm.... I'll play with it and see what I come up with. I like designing on the fly.

Sew What?

Feb. 7th, 2011 04:30 pm
shanmonster: (Liothu'a)
I went to Fabricland and looked all over for a fabric for my new Ghawazee coat. I wanted a white or pale dove grey wool, but none was to be found in the appropriate thickness. And then I found this in the sale rack for drapery/upholstery.

It's much richer in person. The photo doesn't really do it justice. It's a peculiar bluish-silver, with pale blue and gold embroidery. I plan on lining it with a heavy bluish-silver satin that my sister gave me as a birthday present years ago.

I also bought some dark blue and gold tassels, because I'm going to need a belt or hip sash to go with it. So now I just need to start cutting and sewing.

I always dread cutting into nice fabric.


Make Me

Feb. 2nd, 2011 09:21 pm
shanmonster: (Default)
Today has been a day of making. It started with making my room neat. I won't say that was a total triumph, but I certainly made a dent. I also started the process for traveling internationally by beginning to fill out the paperwork for a passport. Of course, I realized my birth certificate is AWOL, so I had to fill out paperwork to order in a new one. But the process is underway. I will travel. I really want to. I've never been to Europe. Yet.

I made myself a member of CADA today, which means I can now get reimbursed for a lot of my dance training. This will make it much easier for me to continue to progress as a dancer. It also gets me accident insurance, which could be handy in case I break myself in half doing splits or something.

And then I slaved over a sonnet for a few hours. I've decided to work in the Shakespearean form (rhyme scheme of ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG), and that was a struggle and a half. My brain rebelled the whole time, squealing DO NOT WANT DO NOT WANT DO NOT WANT the whole time, but damn it, who's in control? My brain or me? I say me. And so I got the first stanza finished, and am on my way with the second. So there, brain. Suck on it.

I finally relented and gave my brain a break by knitting another cowl scarf, this time out of wool/rayon and mohair/polyamide (whatever that is). It's very silky and soft, and not nearly as froufrou girly-girl as I thought it might be, despite its purple/pink combination.


And then it was time to challenge myself again, this time with naalbinding. This is my very first attempt:


It's a bit wonky, but it seems to look right. Not knowing anyone who actually practices this ancient art, I can't exactly ask for advice. But the incomprehensible (to me) Nordic woman in the tutorial video seems to be making something that looks like this. So I think I'm on the right track. My next couple of attempts were worse, so I think that's my brain saying "Enough!" for now. Ok. I'll give it a break. Poor brain. I asked so much of it today. What it doesn't realize is how I'm going to make it do my bidding again tomorrow. Shhh.....


Feb. 1st, 2011 11:49 am
shanmonster: (Default)
So today is supposed to mark the biggest, giantest, most snowpocalyptic blizzard of forever and a half. I'm treating it like I normally do: ignoring it and going on with my daily life. Today I am off to teach a new session of belly dance at another community centre. I have a workout to do, and I have a client to train. I may even pick up a few groceries on the way back from teaching.

I will dress warmly, though. Three cheers for my hand-knit wool scarf, my winter boots, and my thrift shop-scored sheepskin coat!

When I get home, I have to do the dishes and maybe engage in some cookery. And then, if I have the wherewithal, I will attempt to teach myself some basic naalbinding. I'd like to make hats, mittens, and socks the Viking way. Look at some of the stuff made with this ancient technique:

[Viking hat]



And here's a tutorial:

Der Oslostich - ein Nadelbindelehrgang - MyVideo

And on that note, I'm off to teach my dance class. Toodlepip.
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
When I was in grade school, the craft of poetry was considered core material. We learned about meter, strophes, trochees, iambs, etcetera. This was covered off and on from elementary through to high school. I falsely assumed this was still core curriculum in Canadian schools, but after talking with [ profile] knightky, I see this is not the case at all. He doesn't recall ever covering any of this in grade school. I am curious as to what actually is being taught within English/language arts classes, now.

As an English literature major and creative writing minor in university, I continued my studies of the craft of poetry. I've barely thought about it since graduating.

Today I decided to dust off my technical poetry skills. The mission of the day is to write in iambic pentameter.

I started with this concept:
You're my moment of exhalation

The moment when a building swell breaks and sends a rush of water across the shore, smoothing small pebbles and sand, pulling them back into you.

My first attempt resulted in three feet per verse, or trimeter. It's very sing-song, in a nursery rhyme kind of way:
You're the moment I exhale

The time when building swell prevails

And bursts upon the pebbled beach

To pull the sand into your reach.

My second attempt achieved pentameter, but lost the rhyme as it gained pretentiousness:
To think you are the time when I exhale,

When gentle swell doth build and over tips

To send its load of water onto shore

And pulls the grateful sand into its grasp.

Clearly, I need more work. It's all rather schmaltzy, but at least my brain feels like it's getting some of its rusty bits oiled.
shanmonster: (Default)
I was uploading a photo of my sister, and FB suddenly went tits up for me. I didn't worry. Sometimes the site crashes. I got an error message that read, "Account temporarily unavailable. Your account is currently unavailable due to a site issue. We expect this to be resolved shortly. Please try again in a few minutes." No biggy.

I tried again later. Nothing.

An hour or so later, it's still not working. But no one else's account seems effected. No one can access the wall on my account. So I submitted a report. Here's hoping they can resolve the issue. I do the bulk of my networking and event wrangling from there.

EDIT: It's alive again.

In other news, right about now, I'd like to scoop out my uterus with a grapefruit spoon. I had raspberry leaf tea, but it didn't seem to do diddly. So I took an Advil, and am waiting for that to kick in. I need to be functional, and not all bent over and clutching my abdomen. I have to teach a bootcamp class tonight, and I also need to go out for a few errands. There are library books awaiting me.

Ah well, I'll just do some reading for now, waiting for the meds to kick in.

In other news, one of my students gave me a set of weaving sticks last night. So now I have a new toy to play with. I ordered in an inkle loom, and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. Whee!

Link time!

Some fabulous leggings (thanks, [ profile] chernobylred): Striped! Skulled! Mediterranean! Want.... I also want to make my own pair of these cage leggings. Easy peasy.

Historic Enterprises Dark Ages Clothing: Some excellent resources for my costuming endeavours, here. I want to make a whole outfit.

For sale, the house with a very strange hiss-tory: Desperate realtor slashes price on Idaho home infested with SNAKES: I'm not afraid of snakes, but there's no way I'd want to live there. Snake poo everywhere. Ew. And it would stink.

Basic Tablet Weaving: What I've been working on, rather sloppily.
shanmonster: (Tiger claw)
Does anyone within my geographical vicinity have an inkle loom they no longer want/need? I really want to start weaving again. I've looked online, but shipping costs are prohibitive, even if the loom itself is reasonably priced.

I made pretty good progress on the Viking coat yesterday. I don't want to go any further until I can see how it fits [ profile] knightky. If I had an inkle loom, I'd weave my own trim for the coat, as well as make a belt for it.

Although I'd like to make the coat out of heavy wool or silk, I'm using a thick pile velvet-like fabric, instead. I think it looks quite nice, but so very shapeless on me. Of course, I'm only half the size of Kyle, so go figure.

Here is my template, all laid out on my linty floor, based on guesstimation. When I put it all together, it worked out pretty much perfectly. I guess I still have it, when it comes to template design. Huzzah!


Today's creative endeavor was me making peppermint massage oil. I did it this way:

- 8 tsp sweet almond oil
- 6 drops of peppermint essential oil

I put them into a small, tightly-lidded bottle and shook vigorously. I'll let it sit overnight, and then it should be ready to go. It smells wonderful, and took about two minutes to make.
shanmonster: (Zombie ShanMonster)
If water retains the memory of whatever has been put in it, where do you obtain water with no memories?

Also, every time the formula is diluted, what happens to that extraneous water with the extra particulate in it? Is it disposed of in some fashion to ensure it does not contaminate the world's water supply?

I'm curious.


Completely unrelated.... I started making bath products a while back. So far, I've made some lovely salt and sugar scrubs. I was going to make something else that contains borax, but now I can't remember what it was, for the life of me. And now I have a nice big package of borax and I don't know what to do with it. I suppose I could make laundry soap, but I don't really need any, right now.

I don't have lye, so making regular soap isn't going to happen.

Any ideas?


I was hoping to join a craft swap group online, but after shipping off a few things, I don't think it will happen. Holy crap, but Canada Post is prohibitively expensive, now! It cost me $15 to mail off a simple toque. Crazy!


I think I might start plotting out the Viking costuming I wanted to do. I have a bit of time, right now. Now, where to start? Hmm....
shanmonster: (Zombie ShanMonster)
I'm on a roll.

[Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn]

I should read some Lovecraft tonight. It's been too long.
shanmonster: (On the stairs)
I've been working on a lot of things, lately. Mostly, I'm trying to improve myself in a general sense.

I'm trying to improve my cooking. That's going well. Maybe too well. The stuff I make is so delicious I might make myself fat eating it! I try to limit my baking to about once a week, although I did bake two things this week: crackberry pie and ginger banana muffins. They are both really damned good. I'll also be baking more things as Christmas presents. The curry peanut soup is delicious, and I feel less guilty about eating lots of it, because it's crammed with good-for-me: protein (chickpeas, natural peanut butter, and shrimp), and vitamin-rich veggies (sweet potatoes, bell peppers, onions, etc.). And it tastes even better after a day or two in the fridge. It's even better that it's [ profile] f00dave-friendly.

My knitting skills continue to progress. I'm actually pleased with the stuff I've been making. It no longer looks like something a kid might make. It looks good.

My workouts at the gym have been irregular this month because of a pull in my SI joint, but the massage therapy and stretching I've been getting has been helping a lot. I'm starting to feel like my strength is getting back to where it should be. I need to work on my cardio, but my asthma makes it difficult, sometimes. Still, yesterday I was able to do a bunch of skipping (including crossovers which are nice for working the coordination), 320 jumping jacks, 120 dragons, and the rest of my regular isometrics and weight-training. It took me a lot longer than it should have, but I finished it all, so for that, I'm grateful.

I've continued my quest of doing at least one creative thing a day, whether it be cooking, writing, dancing, photography, or crafting. And I share it with others. I think it keeps my brain limber. It certainly fills the time more productively than watching television, and it leaves me with a feeling of satisfaction that I've done something to make the world a nicer place for at least one other person, too.

What I need to work on:
  • Cardio endurance. Skipping is great for this. I should really start running the stairs in my apartment building again, too, now that outdoor running isn't a good option, anymore. It will do my legs and butt a hell of a lot of good, and will also burn off more fat, giving me more muscle definition.
  • Reading. I just haven't been reading many books, lately, and it's pissing me off. The last couple of books I read and enjoyed were Robin Hobbs' newest dragon books. I devoured them pretty fast. I stopped reading Colleen McCullough's Marc Antony and Cleopatra, though. It was getting too silly. I also want to continue to read more of the literary greats. I've been reading Machiavelli and Plato, lately. I need to do more of that, to wake up my lazy brains.
  • Latin. I miss studying it.
  • General crafting. I did a bit of papercraft today, with the skullflake, but really, that's pretty simple stuff. I should be doing much more complex work than that, considering my craft background. It would help if I had some better supplies. The scalpel I was using is pretty dull.
  • Sewing and costume design. I have rather a lot of ideas which I need to make. Everything from dance costumes to historical Viking costuming.
  • Painting. It's been too long, and I'm itching to break out my acrylics again.
  • Crochet. I suck at it. I need to not suck at it.
  • Building more muscle in my arms and chest. I'm pretty pleased with my back, abs, and legs. But they are a lot stronger and more defined than my arms and chest. My shoulders aren't too bad, but they could be better, too. I just need to rack on more weights.
  • Dance technique. I especially want to work on my armwork again. I've let it fall a bit by the wayside in favour of floorwork.
  • Photography. Now that the camera has been repaired, I'm looking forward to doing lots more photography. I have willing human and critter models, and I don't need consent from the inanimate objects I want to do macro-photography of. Mwahahah!

Edit: Look at all the high-impact stuff I've been doing, like skipping and jumping jacks. And note that my bad foot hasn't bothered me since the summer. Is it possible it's finally healed? Oh, I do hope so! Once upon a time, I couldn't do any sort of impact movement with my feet without them swelling up. This hasn't been the case for a long time. I am filled with hope.

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