Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lolitas in the Closet

There were debates floating around on EGL about if you have to be actively wearing lolita fashion to be considered a Lolita (with a capitol "L") at all. There is one side that decided that you did have to be wearing the fashion to be a part of the lifestyle. There is another side that thought that you don't have to be wearing the fashion actively, but you have to be working your way up to wearing the fashion to be considered a Lolita.

I have considered myself part of the lolita lifestyle for a year now and I don't wear the fashion yet. Part of it is because I don't have the spare money to buy anything new right now. Part of it is that I just didn't have the right amount of confidence to wear it earlier because I discovered it when I was still in college and my confidence in my body image was still developing.

If you take a look at my other activities and my other interests, it wouldn't be a big surprise that I am into this fashion. I enjoy knitting, spinning, tatting, embroidery, sewing, quilting, crocheting, tea, reading, classical music, cats, and many more that makes up the span of the "lolita lifestyle". But if you take a look at what I wear and the make up of my living space, you wouldn't have any idea that I was into cute and frilly at all.

I think that if you are in the lolita closet, then you should come out for yourself. Just recently I picked up an old copy of the Gothic & Lolita Bible and showed it to my mother. She thought it was funny that I was drawn to such a girly fashion, but was glad that I was getting in touch with my feminine side at last. I needed to share this with my mom to consider myself "out of the wardrobe" so to speak, but others may not need to take a direct approach. If anything, start to match your decor to what you are interested in. Or maybe make yourself a giant head eating bow.

For all of you lolitas still hiding in the closet, please come out and accept that there is nothing weird about liking this fashion. Be proud of you interests. You will feel a lot better once you do.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Remembering Turkey Day

Thank you Clip Art for this cute graphic!
Many Americans spent yesterday feasting on turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, and cornbread. My family was no different from any other. Thanksgiving has went from a time of remembering to be thankful for what you have to just being a gigantic feast day. Among my peers, Thanksgiving Day is simply known as "Turkey Day" in honor of the giant turkeys many of us consume. While I love feast days, I wanted to take the time and write a list of things I am thankful for this year.

I am Thankful For:

1. My family for helping me get on my feet after graduation
2. My fiancee for being my rock
3. The ability to teach myself how to cook with quality ingredients
4. Teavivre for being an awesome tea company and letting me review teas on Steepster
5. The abundant amount of yarn in my stash that lets me knit even though my wallet is tight
6. Lolita bloggers being inspirational and beautiful
7. Being able to lose weight when I stop obsessing over it
8. Learning how to sew and quilt with minimal injury to my fingertips
9. Den of Angels for being a fantastic ball-jointed doll community
10. The ability to have patience with myself and to see myself as beautiful

Now, I'm going to go and figure out what type of leftovers my family and I can make out of our Turkey day feast. I wonder if we could have a turkey casserole next year...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lolita and Age: Only for the Young?

There is a disturbing trend going around the lolita community recently. "Old" people are starting to drop out of the community and out of the fashion. I know that it is their choice on what they choose to spend their money on and what they wear, but these people aren't old. These are the people that are just barely turning twenty-two or twenty-three.

Yesterday, Aly Buttons (formally Miss Lumpy) officially announced that she is going to be turning away from the lolita fashion because she is getting older and she feels that her obligations are shifting. I don't blame her for feeling this way. We all change with time and our tastes and style changes. It's part of what makes us human. But, what does this mean to the older lolita bloggers that are still out there and thriving like Miss Caro-Chan of FYeah Lolita or Victoria Suzanne of Parfait Doll or Alice of Pink*Milk*Tea? What does this mean to older girls who are just starting to get into the fashion but can't afford any pieces at this time because they are in college and trying to make ends meet?

This is hitting me fairly hard because not only was Aly Buttons one of my favorite lolita bloggers, we were also around the same age group. I didn't discover the lolita fashion until I was already in college around my twenty-first birthday. Two years later and I just turned twenty-three at the beginning of the month. I also don't have any dresses, but I finally have enough confidence in my ability to coordinate and in my self-image to start to get together some coordinates and start wearing them. Finding lolita is what dragged this academic tom-boy into fashion in the first place.

I am finding it very hard to believe that this fashion is only supposed to be for the young pre-teens and teenagers who can't even afford Bodyline rather than their older counterparts who have jobs and can support this type of fashion. Obviously this won't prevent me from just getting into and enjoying this fashion, but I am afraid that girls will feel pressured to give up the hobby that they love just because they hit a certain age.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Tuesday is for Finishing!

No-Purl Monkeys for Laura
Since I enjoy knitting objects at such a fine gauge, it takes a while for me to finish anything. Naturally, I get excited when I do finish something. I get even more excited when the something I finish was a request from a good friend who is debating about learning to knit socks herself. And she is mainly a crocheter.

She sent me the yarn and I knit it up into a pair of No-Purl Monkeys for her. I stuck a short-row heel on them because I wasn't quite sure how high her arches are and the short-row heels look more like commercial socks than heel flaps.

I was worried about not having enough yarn because she has bigger feet than I do and I made the leg longer than normal, but I finished with plenty of yarn to spare. The leftovers are going with my other leftover sock scraps to use for a pair of scrappy socks in the future.

Autumn Mother/Daughter Hot Pad Collection
The other thing I finished was a pair of quilted hot pads/potholders that I did with my mom. It was our first time quilting and my first real time sewing. I ended up hand-sewing this project because the book had excellent instructions for hand-sewing and I wanted to learn how to do it by hand.

I enjoyed hand-sewing, but I could see how having a sewing machine could help make things go faster. If I made a good portion of my clothes, then I would want to invest in a sewing machine. I am seriously considering that possibility, so mom will teach me how to use her sewing machine so I can see how I like it. It is fully electronic and it is set up so that she could actually do every step of quilting on it if she wanted to.

The Hot Pads I Made

Our next project will be a full dinner set for Christmas. This will include five placemats with matching cloth napkins, two table runners (one for the table and one for the side bar), and about four more hot pads.

I am very excited about this because we will learn even more basic quilting techniques and get a brand new set for the dining room.

I didn't think I would like sewing this much, but I do. It is more fiddly to set up than knitting where you just grab a pair of needles and some yarn, but the actual sewing part is much quicker than knitting. I am already planning a small kitchen set to do now so that when I move out I will have the home-touches that makes it feel like my own place. This includes a pair of oven mitts and some mug rugs. Best of all, I can make my own bedspread and pillow cases. Not everything has to be knitted.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Out of the Knitting Funk!

Taken with Instagram
I have finally picked up my knitting needles again after avoiding them like the plague for the last month. Part of that was because of the release of Pokemon Black 2 which I am having lots of fun playing during the evenings. Part of that is because I have been on the internet more than I realized. Socks do not get knit when you are browsing on the internet.

I am on the second sock of the No Purl Monkeys I am knitting for my college roommate Laura. The leg took me a total of two days to do. The short-row heel also took me two days to do. I kept putting it down in the middle searching for a better way to pick up the wraps from the wrap-and-turns. Sadly, I didn't figure out a good way and just winged it to make it look nicer. This is only my second time doing a short-row heel and I think I am going to spend some time and learn some different techniques to doing this heel. My wrap-and-turns just look bad once I try to pick them back up and I always struggle with holes. There will probably be a post about my exploration into sock heels once I finish the two socks on my needles.

On the bright side, I finally sucked it up and fixed my heels on my Mostly Handspun Socks! My first time with an afterthought heel didn't go as well as I thought it would and I made the heel a little too long.

The fix was a little complicated. I ended up having to cut off the end of my heels because I couldn't find the tail that I had skillfully woven into my sock. Then I had to rip out a little bit more of the heel before I just finished the heel like you would the top of a hat. Yes, there is a little bump on the end of my heel, but it doesn't bother me that much.

The socks are wearing extremely well too! It feels good knowing I took fiber and turned it into yarn and then knit a pair of socks from that yarn. It is an awesome feeling.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Quilting Affair

I have been enchanted by quilts ever since I went to the first Kutztown Folk Festival a couple of summers ago. I went there to see if I could find anything to learn how to spin since I was determined to find a way to start spinning without needing my parent's help to order a start spinning kit online. I came out with my first spindle, a bunch of fiber, and memories of fantastic quilts that were displayed for a quilting competition.

Ever since then I have been wanting to learn how to quilt.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered that my mom has always wanted to learn how to quilt as well. She was the one who rescued the quilting frame from my grandmother and inherited a box full of old fabric that my grandmother was going to use to make a quilt, but never got around to it. At my insistence, we went to a couple of craft stores and found a beginning quilting book as well as a selection of fabric that we agreed would be nice to make a couple of potholders out of.

The fabric had been sitting on our coffee table in the living room untouched because I have been intimidated by actually cutting the fabric. After all, if you make a mistake in knitting it is fairly easy to fix. Just take your project off of the needles and rip the project out, then you can start over. Cutting fabric is not like that. If you make a mistake while cutting you can't just make a do-over.

So, yesterday my mom helped me get over my fear of cutting fabric by making me cut out the first blocks of our potholders. Then she had to take a shot at our fancy rotary blade. The difficult part is over and now I finally can teach myself how to sew. We have enough fabric to make four potholders; two potholders for each of us. I am going to use the yellow fabric that my mom is cutting out for the backing of my potholders and she is going to use the green fabric with the autumn leaves to back her potholders.

I think I am going to hand sew my first potholder and then let mom show me how to use the sewing machine for the second potholder. Once we have the top piecing sewn together, we can progress to learning how to fill it with batting and cutting out the backing. Then it will be off to the quilting stage!