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Monday, February 6, 2012

On the Art of Gift Giving Fibers

In about a week I am about to experience the most hectic week of my life over my rabid gifting habits over special events. I counted them up on my calendar. I have 2 birthdays, valentines day and a wedding, and due to this I spent a lot of time with my friends asking them lots of questions and going through an epic screening process. What do you have? what do you enjoy? When I talked to my mom about it she told me I shouldn't have to do a major interview for every gift that comes to mind, I should be able to just make it and give it to them and they'll like it no questions asked. Personally I disagree, and talking to my boyfriend I felt like it'd be good to explain something to all of my friends, especially with a lot of my friends now budding knitters and crocheters. Before I go into it, its good to read this article.

The Sweater Curse According to Knitty

To sum it up: There is a so called curse that says a sweater for a loved one (mainly a boyfriend/girlfriend ) will ultimately cause a breakup. Why?

1. Making things, especially big items costs a shitload of money. A friend of mine treated me to Tiny Owl Knit's Woodland Hoodlet and everything came from scratch. The circular needles cost him 25, the double pointed needles cost him 15, the 7 skeins of yarn were 10 bucks a piece. roughly we are talking about 110 dollars with a bit over if you include tax. The lowest possible price for needles and yarn would be a bit over 55 dollars if you decided to play cheap. When you really get into crafting to the degree I have, things will start to add. up. fast. And for those guys with people just starting do not expect them on the 3 dollar acrylic forever. Soon they'll learn about wool, and the different types, and mohair. If they do not get to the fancier yarn stores they will start to explore the wool blends and different weights and uses of yarn as they grow, and if there is anything we can all agree on no one likes an uncomfy sweater. When people make gifts they want it to look and feel its definite best.

2. Depending on the size and detail, it takes a shitload of time. I know minimal about cabling, and super decorative lace, and I like to challenge myself by making people things I would not normally make. The average hat can take 30 minutes to 6 hours, The average scarf maybe 2 to 10 hours, and the average sweater anywhere from 1 month to 6, ALL DEPENDING ON DETAIL. And these estimations are based on if you crank them out in a 10 hour workday, not including doing things in between. Me working a new stitch or design on something I never have before is me saying "I love you, and I care about you enough to push my limits where I never have." Hell, how much do you think I love you if Im willing to put 6 months of my life aside to make a sweater JUST FOR YOU? or a bag? or a blanket?

Fiber Artists, put both of those together and tell me how you would feel if your significant other accepts the sweater and will not wear it, or shows any sort of disdain for it. Other halves, put all of this into consideration as you pull out that new sweater or bag that was just made for you. If your girl hasn't beaten you within an inch of your life or you haven't been pulled out for a long talk consider yourself a lucky duck.

Although I do not believe in the sweater curse I do try to take these things into consideration. How do I get past the looming fear that there is a high chance my stuff will be shot down? I ask people what they like, and depending on what resources are available to you ample time is spent with me shoving books and 40 links in faces and getting your input. It ruins the surprise of the gift, but really if I am gonna spend the hours and the money to show you I care I am making sure it is something that even if it isn't something you use, you will look at it and smile, or hold it out to someone years later and say "this is what you call a present, I love it."

Is it a bad method? Besides the "you just know" argument how do you figure out how to make and give gifts, especially making for men? (which is NOT my forte)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mori Girl Questions 11-15

11- name 5 of your favorite mori girl style songs or musicians, even if they’re not explicity “mori.”

Corrine Bailey Rae comes to mind, she has such a sweet sound and everything sounds so relaxed.

"PonPonPon" Its so weird, but it fills me with so much joy

"Konnichiwan Kara One-Two-Three" Hotch-Potchi. Whimsy and puppy paws.

12- name 5 mori girl style hobbies!

1. Gardening: I’ve been doing it since I was little.
2. Picnicking: this is a wonderful pastime that I try to share with my love, but usually we can’t do it (too cold outside, Michigan winters are brutal!) so we curl up inside and do it!
3. Crafting: knitting, crocheting, embroidery, sewing and more. There is something liberating knowing that if you can’t buy your mori items you can make them yourself. Mori just gives me more of a reason to challenge myself and make larger things.
4. Cooking: Especially sweets! Things that promote warmth and relaxation and just give you the warm fuzzies when you eat them
5. Strolling the park

13- What films, if any, inspire your mori girl look and life?

I don’t think I have any in particular that inspire me. I know “Strawberry Fields Forever” does in a way, and I know a lot of the modernized fairy tale movies have really been helping me solidify something.

14- do you like to coordinate the colors in your outfits to match the seasons? what colors do you think are most appropriate for each season, and why, if you’d like to explain?

I do not do well at it, but I do try to coordinate my colors based on the season. As a kid we were forced to learn the “what to wear” common sense due to extreme weather conditions in the south. During the summer is my time to wear light colors and minimal layering. So colors like white are highly recommended for me in the summer. Then as the seasons go on the colors get darker and the layers get heavier.

15- post a photo of your favorite personal mori girl coordinate.

I love this look! plus this is such a serene image to me

Sunday, January 15, 2012

6- What sort of things, outside of fashion, do you consider to be part of a mori girl lifestyle?

This is where I think hippie really blends with mori. I would say it is living in a relaxed and earthy way. A good thing is whether you like the outdoors or not (besides, wearing the outfits are no fun if you do not show them off somehow?) I see a love for animals and nature, and just that daisy chain peace loving sweet nature.

7- Are you also a lolita? I find a lot of mori girls do lolita as well! whether you are or aren’t a lolita, why do you think this is?

I was into Lolita far before I was into mori girl. I don’t officially see myself as one, but I did like making the accessories. The cost to get good Lolita gear was really what held me back and I couldn’t always do super structured items. Im not huge but I am a big girl, so getting loli gear is semi difficult for me.

8- What is your favorite type of plant life? whether it be tree, bush, flower, fruit or vegetable? why is it so special to you?

I have a big soft spot for wildflowers. My all time favorite without a doubt is sunflowers, and that’s just that I used to grow them as a kid and I remember how big and pretty they were.

9- List 10 words that remind you of mori girl or inspire your mori girl life.

Knitting, Crochet, Deer, Daisy, Love, Park, Picnic, Fur, Warmth, Comfort.

10- What are your favorite books? do you think they’re mori or not?

I know what I read is not mori XD Unless you count my Japanese magazines. The closest I’d say would be Love Janis, but my favorite books (Poisonwood bible, Hellsing) definitely not XD

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mori Girl 30 day Challenge

I came across this list earlier in my Mori Kei adventure, and I figured I would share my answers with you a few at a time.

1- naturally, our first question is how did you get into mori girl?

I had always had some objective opinions about what I really am, parents call me an imp, little kids call me a fairy, kids my age call me a hippie. I got interested with Japanese Harauku Fashion in high school and when I got my first Ipod touch got Kawaii Magazine. I bought the Harajuku issue knowing about Lolita and Rocker/Visual Kei, and I found mori girl and liked certain elements. A few months ago I became a fanatic of “Tiny Owl Knits” created by a singer in the Indigo Girls and through crazy looking up I refound a love for the look. I did some research and started collecting yarn to make some things for my store.

2- Who is/are your mori girl idols? who inspires your fashion?

Mostly Stephanie Dosen from Tiny Owl Knits and Natalie from Vanillery Garden. I love everything Stephanie makes and Natalie has really been helping me work out the kinks of the Mori Fashion.

3- Have you ever lived in a rural environment? if you have, do you think it influenced your mori-ness? if you never have, do you think living in a suburban or urban environment influenced your style any?

I visited rural frequently, but I spent a lot of my life as a city dweller. Austinite always means plenty of hippies and hipsters for me. Considering the pride Austin takes in how natural it is, I think its only customary for me to celebrate it by being a mori girl.

4- name 5 things you love about mori girl.

1. The relaxed feel of it, it is less about making yourself look pretty through artificial means and more about comfort and emphasizing natural beauty.
2. The fun that comes with combining textures. Its like a puzzle, but it is possible to have more than one texture and fabric and for it to look good.
3. The fact that if I don’t have it, I can make it. What really drove me to go through with Mori fashion is that one of its staples is knit and crocheted items, which is VERY convenient for me. What I don’t have or can’t buy I can in fact make myself, and its liberating to think the cabled cowl jacket or capelet is mine.
4. The whimsy: What else can you feel when you realize you can be a real life fairy?
5. the challenge: this is really making me think and push. If I hadn’t rekindled a love for mori girl fashion I wouldn’t be trying to make more shapely items such as vests and coats, or try to make different textures in the simplest ways. It’s a puzzle to me and I love puzzles.

5- name 5 things you dislike about mori girl.

1. It takes some effort to look for a lot of items, especially as an urbanite with a jean and sweat majority wardrobe.
2. because I like adding new elements I just cannot look 100 percent Mori Girl every single day.
3. I get so focused on the knit crochet and hair elements I forget about other parts. Out of all my outfits I only have one complete mori girl outfit.
4. I don’t always have the money to spare to get a new type of anything, even the yarn for the items I want.
5. An important element of mori girl is layering. I am lucky that it is cold, but in the summer it is not always practical to wear the heavy stuff. Id have to have an assortment for all seasons.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My First Big Convention

The night before a major convention job I got my christmas present in the mail. My wishlist item: The Athinalabella Candy Resin Tiara! I wore it with my costume to my job, and I put it on on occasions when I just need to feel like a real princess! I Loooooooove it so much!

I love going to conventions, absolutely LOVE it! Even more so when I work there, and explore in my own element. For me, when I go it isn’t just a bunch of random people who are going to look at you and sneer. In conventions EVERYONE IS LIKE YOU! There is no one going around telling you that you are wasting your life, There is no one telling you that you are an absolute child for enjoying this or that you are gay for liking a show about ponies. We are safe among each other, and it is nothing less than a good time for everyone.

I could tell you being part of my job I was always considered the biggest in the group size wise. I wasn’t the cute little 12 year old who looked like a character from Alice in Wonderland, Nor was I a bubblegum pop princess. This time I was neko princess, then Panda girl. But a good couple of days I did something I never thought I could. I served my customers and people loved me. They thought I was kind and had a shining personality and people even made requests for me to go up and dance. And these were people much closer to my age, not 15 year old boys or 17 year olds. We are talking about men in their early twenties and up, in and out of college with girlfriends and kids. It felt really good to know that I was there and worth something, I belonged there and it felt amazing.

Part of the other fun of this is I had the money this year to buy at the con. I tried my best not to splurge, but I went all out!

when we got to the convention I told my brother that if anything else I want panda this year, mainly a hoodie or a fur hat. On my first break I found this! It is a hooded fur scarf with the pockets and paws. This came in big handy when I was wearing my dress and desperately needed pockets. So far I have gotten a lot of compliments for it, I have worn it out several times, and all and all I love it!

Speaking of panda.......

5 conventions later! It took me 5 straight conventions of drooling at them in the corner and I finally got a Kigurumi!

If you dunno, these are full body polyester outfits, commonly used as pajamas. They are known best for the dramatic hoods and animal likeness. I love mine dearly, and it took me talking to my brother several times over to decide on the panda. It fits me like a loose glove and it is amazingly cozy! I use this as my snuggy and my "I'm stressed, so I'm going to wear this!"

It was a fun experience all in all. Hopefully I can keep playing around with this fun stuff in the future!

I am playing more into Harajuku items, so keep an eye out! I might put some more fun stuff in my store!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Worst Case Scenario

The highlight of my day: I was asked to make a set of 4 potholders for roughly 20 dollars. I had a set thing in my head. I was going to do a basic square potholder, straight single crochet with nothing particularly special other than that it was double sided. I come back later to find out that the item that inspired my client to buy it was a scrubby I made (also learned and RE-emphasized for the 40th time by my mother that when I make flyers I must label my items on my flyers accordingly, since the scale made the palm size scrubby look HUGE.) So like the rational person I am I scrap plan A and begin to rework and improvise a nice larger dense scrub. In the middle of this I think “what if I make conceptual items? I know about small potholders in quilting that fit JUST enough to cover your hands and can be used to hold pots AND coffee cups! People LOVE that right?”
Psh, wrong! After frogging several times and getting the silly thing the right size then all of it uniform, I show them proudly for my final consultation with the clients liason (I.e mom)

“These aren’t square, what are they?”
“They are potholders mother, they are convenient so you can use them for a microwave and for the oven.”
“that’s cute, but THEY’RE NOT SQUARE”

Its every craft worker’s worst nightmare: you are given a request for an item and there is little to no description besides what they want, the color and if you are lucky the fiber content. You pour out your heart into what you think is a fun idea and it pretty much gets squashed. Its common though, it happens. The question is what do you do now?

1. Admit that this is a mistake of situation, which can be the hardest for me. I have to deal with this person closer than normal. Crap
2. Asses it: she doesn’t like it because it isn’t beautiful, it just isn’t what she wants
3. Remedy: For me, its making a new set. Plain and simple and pretty. Every mistake should just be seen as a new opportunity, and for me this is just another set to remember to post on esty.
4. Tell the person! You would be surprised how understanding people can be when you just plain mess up, tell them then remedy it, simple and plain

Oh well, you win some you lose some, these cloths need a home.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Rockabilly Love!

My mind has lately exploded with ideas from my surroundings, looking at anything from video game geekery to my love of music subculture. Things are written down, memories and multiple pictures were recovered. The idea process for me can be absolutely bloody carnage: 5 pages later of sketching and about 75 pictures later, I end up with a new favorite trend. This time I am leaning towards rockabilly style.

Yes it is almost the same as the 1950's pinup girls thing I was on last time, but its more modern than that. To put it simply, here is the urban dictionary's multiple definitions.

Rockabilly To the Urban Dictionary

I don't go to urban dictionary often, but it helps when you want the basic gist of something like defining a subculture. Surprisingly enough, this is one of the few definitions where I have not seen an overly nasty troll definition. To the point, the fashion aspect is 1950's hoodlum and greaser styles, and the girls are usually some punked out version of a pinup girl.

My reaction? "punk? pinup? Two things I really love!"

This is a fun fashion for me, because it gives me the freedom to be feminine and girly with cute tops and skirts and pants without feeling absolutely girly. I can be cute and adult too!

So now I am getting to work on a new piece as a basic "Intro to pinup/rockabilly" project. It won't take long and might actually be up tomorrow.

As an indulgence, here is a couple of links for pinup and rockabilly styles.

Delicious Patriotic Pinup Apron
This is something my boyfriend is Vying for to get me <3 I think it'd make a nice photo prop for a picture before he ships out dont you think?

Shirred Rockabilly Top
This is a pretty rad tutorial, once I start getting used to my sewing machine I will be able to make this top!