Friday, December 2, 2016

Sewing Tidbit: Pintucks vs Pleats

So apparently (i.e., after some quick internet reading) a pintuck is just a really narrow knife pleat that's stitched the entire length of the pleat.

Earlier this year I was reveling in discovering that there exist different kinds of pleats.  The internet is a wonderful thing.

Also one "how to make pintucks post" mentioned that there are 60/8 sewing machine needles, finer even than 70/10s.  I want them.  Wants them, my precious!  This past year I've been sewing with longer and longer stitches and almost exclusively my 70/10 needles and with some particularly troublesome fabrics have decided that simply using the finest needle I have works better than my ballpoint or stretch needles.      

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Mad Person-Who-Stitches: New Fabrics For My Stash

I adore printed cottons.  I can (and did) spend a whole trip to the fabric store just browsing the cotton prints and reminding myself that I cannot afford to buy them all.  I made myself stop with four, for now.

First, blue-purple paisleys with mixed flowers on black.  I love paisleys, but they're hard to find in the jewel tones and spacing that I like.

Autumn leaf print, because it was on the 60% off table:

Japanese crest inspired scales, a bit overwhelming in large swathes, but maybe an adorable drawstring bag?  Or cutting out individual scales for detail/embellishment/homemade applique.

Kaleidoscopic rondels in royal blue and gold and scarlett.  I am so in love with this fabric.  I may just hang it up and admire it for a while before I can bring myself to take scissors to it. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Caturday Post: Use Dye for Natural Fibers Only

Tamerlane the World-Conquering Sword investigates my new pot for dyeing fabric.
Not that I would ever dye the World-Conquering Sword: he is the perfect orange tabby kitty already.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Friday Fabulosity: Old Ones Dress

I think it was supposed to be a paisley-ish design, but the "heads" have radiate star-like protrusions, the bodies are barrel-ish, and they have spots (!).  Gentle readers, I present the "Old Ones" dress, clearly a prophecy representing H.P. Lovecraft's Old Ones from At the Mountains of Madness.
Afternoon dress of printed silk satin, ca 1902, shown on The Dreamstress' blog
That the resemblance is vague and open to interpretation through many differing cultural biases does not shake my faith.  I feel the truth in my heart: this dress is madness!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Madness Monday: Mini Mythos

It has come to my attention that Kenneth Hite has written an adorable series of adorable adaptations of H. P. Lovecraft parodying classic children's literature. I now own Clifford the Big Red God (an adaption of :"The Dunwich Horror" and Goodnight Azathoth, which is simply a delight. 

In Goodnight Azathoth, when we say good night to the two little fishes (and something that squishes) we notice that the fishes have a German sub toy in their bowl, an interesting nod to HPL's "The Temple."

The genie lamp in the Goodnight Azathoth room is helpfully labeled "do not rub."  Perfect.

Cliffourd follows "Dunwich Horror" fairly closely, but it is a joy to have the whole thing narrated in the context of Wilbur Whately having the biggest and reddest god in Dunwich (infra-red, so he is invisible!).

These little books bring me such joy.  Next I must acquire Where the Deep Ones Are, an adaptation of "Shadow over Innsmouth" in the style of Maurice Sendak.

Friday, November 18, 2016

iLuminate Comes to Town and My Heart Is Swayed By Blinky Lights

iLuminate is a dance company in which everything is done in the dark, with light.  The costumes light up, as do the props.  Rather than conventional set changes, the lights go off, and then come back in different patterns, taking us from house to street to through a magic portal.  Rather than regular costume changes, the color and patterns of the dancers' gear shifts.  Magic pixel insects called out by a magic paintbrush fly up into the darkness and a green outline rat runs out from under green outline trashcans.  (I am so in love with the green rat.) 

I was extremely impressed.  This is technology meets dance in a way that forces us to pay attention to both, without being so busy making sure we know that Art is a Serious Philosophical Pursuit or They Are Using Modern Technology to do Art as to lose the fun and natural flow.

(Not that I am against art as a serious philosophical pursuit or using modern technology to do art.  I'm in favor of both.  But if you have to tell your audience that your art is Serious and they should be feeling Reverent Aesthetic Bliss, you're doing it wrong.  Likewise if the best use you can come up with for your fancy backdrop projector is a bizarre parade of iconic figures not related to a story mediocre to start with, you're again doing it wrong.) 

Rather, iLuminate gave us a lovely evening exploring what dance looks like if dancers light up the dark, rather than being light-reflecting objects in light.  The story was archetypal: love rejected and accepted, outcasts finding solace in other worlds, magic, giant glowy snakes, and badness being conquered through love and dance.

The choreography was solid and technically impressive.  The lifts and partner tricks were extra impressive done with a partner invisible in the dark.  I felt that hands and lower legs needed more illumination, and the heads less: a number of beautiful high kicks, front and back walkovers, and other moves were not as visible as they needed to be to show off how lovely they were.

The main character was recognizable through his dance, but the other characters needed more personality dance-wise.  (This is something I'm really trying to work on with my dance, so I'm paying extra attention to others' dance, to try to get a feel for what I need to be doing or not doing.)  The blend of hip-hop and ballet was interesting and I thought fairly seamless, although concentrated on big flashy moves rather than on an overall fleshed-out flow.  But that might be me coming from Kuchipudi where you can perfectly well spend half a dance drama simply having the 2 or 3 main characters introduce themselves (the pravesam, or introductory dance.  Satyabhama's pravesam is the highlight of the famous Kuchipudi dance drama Satyabhama.)

I liked what I could hear of the music, it was about being what you are and other good sentiments, but the volume was turned up way way way too loud, and I missed a lot of the treble lines because I had to keep my fingers in my ears. 

iLuminate was founded by Miral Kotb, a software engineer and dancer who meshed her loves.  She is my new hero, and her iLuminate is fabulous!