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April was a very … odd … month; I don’t really know where it went or what I did with it. I’ve been crafting bits and pieces of lots of things, but not really finishing any of it – including crochet for Adelaide’s satellite of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project, and some tortuously slow lace-knitting (with this very yummy yarn). As soon as I have results for this stuff, I will certainly post it.

Something I have finished, though were Mothers’ Day presents. Nothing like a deadline, right?

The frames are from a little vintage shop Fleurieu Peninsula – the matched set of three was perfect for Mothers’ Day. The blackbird on the left is for my Mum, the ducks in the middle are for my Grandma, and the fairy wren on the right is for my Gran. All the little birdies were happily received into their new homes, and Mothers’ Day has been successfully navigated for another year.

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Posted by on May 8, 2011 in Craftiness, Deviousness

 

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Smiling winsomely at watchmakers

Following the sheer awesomness of last year’s steampunk ball, and its associated crafting, I was keen to attend again this year. I had serious plans – my costume was going to be more awesome, my role-playing more full-blown – I even managed to drag a friend into the madness. But my number one goal this time around? Cogs and gears.

Last year, having no clock-innards on my costume made me feel a bit left out. This year, I was determined to accessorize with gears. My dilemma was that I had no idea where to find them. Op-shopping for old clocks proved futile – any gears were either plastic and nasty, or horrifically expensive. Jewellery shops looked funny at me when I mentioned “steampunk”. Model-railway shops were a little more fruitful, but their gears just weren’t pretty at all. Ebay was time-consuming and frustrating.

So, I went cruising the phonebook for watch repairers, and armed with a list of obscure addresses, I ventured forth. Sure, they’d look at me funny too, but it was worth a shot, right?

The watchmakers I encountered fit broadly into two categories: the Organised, and the Collector. The Organised watch repairers had frighteningly clean workshops, with containers of beautiful gears and other minuate of the watchmaking trade. When I asked if, maybe, they had some cogs or gears that I could buy, they gave me a Look and patiently explained that all the gears they had, they used for repairing watches. Duh.

The Collectors, at first glance, looked remarkably similar to the Organised; their shopfronts were just as orderly, their magnifying spectacles just as awesome. But when I inquired about cogs and gears, they looked thoughtful for a moment, then they popped out the back, or levered a dusty briefcase out from under the counter. “No cogs or gears,” they’d say, “but would these do?” And they’d present me with a modest pile of broken watch mechanisms. Some old, some new, all totally beyond repair, and all COMPLETELY AWESOME. When I replied that, yes, these would be perfect, and thank you, and oh my god (and just generally geeked the fuck out), and asked how much they wanted for them, they just looked at me funny. “Take them,” they said, “they’re just broken mechanisms”. And I would smile, and geek out again, and leave with a handful of broken watches.

Once I brought home my haul (gleaned from several very nice Collectors), I appropriated my Mum’s jeweller’s screwdrivers, and went to work. Did you know that some watch-screws are reverse-threaded? That when you try to unscrew them, you actually tighten them instead? I know. I learned. Eventually. And after many hours of cursing, squinting, and the sad demise of the smallest screwdriver, I had this:

SO FREAKING AWESOME.

After some determined embroidery and glueing, my accessories were now 100% more steampunk.

In addition, I made some earrings by the simple expedient of putting an existing earring through a cog. Since I have two piercings in each ear, they looked like this:

I also adapted a tie for my companion on this steampunk adventure, sewing cogs onto his sharp op-shop find:

*     *     *

I realise this post is now unfeasibly long. Nevertheless, a brief word on Olympia: A Steampunk Spectacular. It was ridiculously fun! I was given very little info about my character before the event (I was Miss Coxspring, an amnesiac outpatient of an asylum) but it soon became apparent that I was a genetically engineered psychic weapon who could read minds by having an “episode”. I was told by the game master that the better I roleplayed my fit, the more information I would receive. So I went to town on it, crying, whimpering and generally hyperventilating. As a result, I found out that the prisoners’ control collars were inactive, discovered people who were infected by alien parasites and uncovered Jack the Ripper (who was disguised as a Bishop).

If that weren’t enough, once during the evening, I could knock a whole bunch of people unconscious. I did this by screaming, loudly and repeatedly, and collapsing to the ground. I freaked out a whole lot of people that night. I also think I impressed the event organisers: “Most awesome scream ever!”, “My favourite Miss Coxspring, she set the standard for genetically engineered psychic weapons”.

It was a totally fantastic night, and I’m definitely going back next year.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Craftiness, Deviousness

 

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Happy Birthday (to me)

It’s now officially a year since I started blogging, and I’m quite chuffed that I’m still going! It’s been a fantastic way for me to keep track of what I make – there’s a lot more of it than I realised – and also hopefully a way to show off my craft to people who are not my Mum (who, don’t get me wrong, is a fantastic crafter. She’s just not huge on the swear words).

I fully intend to continue as I have begun; the upcoming year will have much in the way of excitement, including Knitting Nancy, Knitted City, Format Festival (check us out on page 12!) and more stitched profanity. Of course.

*     *     *

In any case, to celebrate the annniversary of this Crafty and Devious blog, here are some shots from our latest Radical Craft outing, the Ninja Picnic, held a few weeks ago in Botanic Park:

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Craftiness, Deviousness

 

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’tis the season

Unsurprisingly, I have overreached somehwat, as is customary at this time of year. This means that I have a whole stack of stuff just waiting to be posted – exegetical profanity, wedding amigurumi and kris kringle cross-stitch, not to mention knitted angler fish, more dad-geekery and Exciting Craft Plans.

However, actually posting these things at the moment is completely beyond me. I’ll get to them in the new year, promise. (Along with finally upgrading my damn blog theme to something at least a little customisable, because this one is frankly giving me the shits.) Anyway, right now, all that thinking and photographing and writing? It’s not gonna happen. I have too much stuff still to make.

*      *      *

In the meantime, please enjoy my offering for the holiday season. I made it last year, but the sentiment still rings as true as ever.

… and to all a good night.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2010 in Craftiness, Deviousness

 

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Deary, deary me…

I realise I have neglected this blog somewhat in recent weeks. This is regretable. However, in my defense: prodution week. It’ll fuck you right up, bitches. Trust me on this.

However, in spite of my complete production-preoccupation, I have been crafting pretty heavily. I always do in production weeks; it’s partly a stress thing and partly a boredom thing.  In any case, I finished my piece for the Phat Quarter swap; now I just need to sign it and board-mount it. I will post pics here as soon as it reaches its recipient. It’s made of interesting variegated threads, a self-devised pattern and teenage movie memories. I’m pretty excited to show it off!

Next, I’m going to try and finish knitting myself a hood, made with this really yummy yarn. I kind of wanted it for winter, but the way it’s looking, it might be finished before summer. Damn complicated lace patterns.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2010 in Deviousness

 

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an antidote to terseness, or, what I’m doing when I’m not making things

I’ve realised that my posts recently have been pretty terse, and I think I want to try verbiage instead.

You know, in lieu of actual craft, since I have no beautiful pictures at the moment. (If you would like pictures, please scroll down. There are lots. Many of them are pretty.)

I do have a lot of works-in-progress, though. Like, waaay too many. I’m knitting a scarf that I started last September, and I’m still halfway through knitting a bamboo/silk camisole. I honestly don’t know where that pattern for that has gone. I’ve got a knit-graffiti tag to be finished, and ‘finished’ can only be defined once I work out where it’s going to end up. On top of all this I am foolishly trying to start a lace hood/cowl thing with my cloud yarn. And I still have a scarf on my loom, which will remain unwoven for now, because I was dumb enough to think that using two kinds of feathers yarn was a good idea. Yeah, no.

There’s also a bunch of cross-stitches that I want to design and make. I’ve got some Bloody Shakespeare ideas that are waiting on art from my awesome artist friends. I also have plans for more NSFW Exegetical Profanity – “FUCK” is definitely the next one, though I’m torn on what the third should be. Four letters, definitely, but I just can’t decide.

There will also, at some point, be a piece of embroidery that asks one of life’s ultimate questions – “where do all the calculators go?”. This will happen just as soon as I design a decent-looking halo-wearing cross-stitch calculator.

I also have a design ready-to-roll, which I want to cross-stitch soon: ‘viva la stitch’, which needs to be ready for the crafternoon’s exciting tour schedule. Thinking of which, I need to co-ordinate and plan for the crafternoon’s exciting tour schedule. July is going to be a MAD MAD MAD month. We’re going down to Flinders Uni for the Students of Sustainability conference (fingers crossed), which totally counts as touring since it takes me two hours and three busses to get there. We’re then heading to Murray Bridge with Format Festival, which will involve hardcore crafternooners sitting around, plotting the radicalisation of rural South Australia’s crafting community. CWA? HTFU.

And THEN we’re going to have a crafternoon. Because there really wasn’t enough going on.

*      *      *

Anyway, I had a really cool moment today. I was out shopping (for lace-up boots with NO FUCKING ZIP! Is that too much to ask? Really? Well, it would appear so.) and stopped into the bakery for lunch. The girl behind the counter said I looked familiar – I sort of recognised her as well, but I could not remember how we knew each other. I live in Adelaide, so stuff like this happens to me on a regular basis, especially since  I’m fairly rubbish at recognising people out of context. The girl at the bakery clearly has no such impairment, however, because she then said, “you’re the crafternoon lady, right?”

Random craft-related recognition! Followed by random craft conversation in bakery, where I found out that one of my “I (heart) zombies” patterns not only got finished, but gifted to a sister. Which is very cool.

This conversation completely made my day.

(Even though I wasted four hours looking for a still-elusive pair of lace-up boots.)

*      *      *

I just realised that, despite my avowed aim of reducing terseness, I’ve written over 500 words of increasingly terse prose. Note to self: remember to use more conjunctions and pronouns, and stop slipping into the imperative voice. Oh. Damn.

Writing ditsy teenage dialogue is messing with my prose.

Damn.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2010 in Deviousness

 

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I didn’t really realise how many frames I was buying

One day, I went op-shopping for some frames to put my finished embroidery in, and I came home with a handful. However, it then became known that I was looking for second-hand frames; in my family, a quest like this quickly becomes contagious. My Mum picked up a few each time she passed by a thrift shop; my Grandma pitched in with several frames from far-flung antique stores.

And so it went, until one day I stopped and looked at what had been wrought.

And I thought: This is so awesome!

This is only a portion of the total frames; there are others that already have actual things in them, including all my Mothers’ Day presents and some other random stitchery.

Some of these are already earmarked for big things – the oval with the panda will end up with more exegetical profanity, and a number of the golden ones are destined for my bloody shakespeare series.

However, there are a couple of other frames that I want to custom-stitch for – the burgundy velvet triptych frame especially. I’m just not sure what, exactly. Anyone have any bright ideas?

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2010 in Craftiness, Deviousness

 

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