Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Still recovering . . .

I tell you, getting back my energy after the close of the show has been tough. I've taken daily naps and even slept in a few mornings, which if you know me, you know is very rare. Today was the first morning I have awakened at my normal time of 5 am feeling even remotely chipper.

I worked another hour on the February socks this morning. I am a long way from done but am hoping that I'll have a few hours today, between dance classes and the 45 minutes of free time I usually have at Awana before the awards need to be prepared. It's going to be a challenge to finish these by March 1 and finish the stealth B-day gift before March 4, though. I'll keep you posted.

For those who are interested, the sock pattern is a variation on the Sweetheart Socks from Interweave Knits Holiday 2007 magazine. The magazine is not available anymore but Interweave has been putting out some of the patterns from it as PDF files you can purchase and download. So far, the Sweetheart Socks are not one of them but an e-mailed request might make it available.

Now, my socks are modified because I couldn't make gauge with the yarn and needles I had on hand (I refuse to use 00 or 000 needles - ugghhh!). I removed a couple ribbed wales and re-charted the whole pattern to a toe up configuration. Lest you think I'm some kind of genius, for cable patterns, it just a matter of turning the pattern upside down. The direction of the cable symbols reverse themselves and I could have gotten away without charting it, if I wanted to run around knitting from an upside down magazine all the time. However, since I had to remove some stitches from the pattern anyway, re-charting seemed like the best way to save time in the long run.

If anyone is interested in receiving the re-worked, toe-up chart, just send me your e-mail address and I'll forward it to you via e-mail for free. It won't be a complete pattern, just the charts but I've found that it isn't hard to incorporate a charted pattern into other generic toe-up patterns.

I am very excited to be making plans to attend the Shepherd's Harvest Festival again this Mother's Day weekend. I've been stalking the web site daily, waiting for the class lists to come out. Registration starts March 15, so I'm anxiously awaiting the finalized class roster. I love trying new things at the festival. Hope some of you will join me in attending this year.

Well, time to get my kids going on school. Life goes on, even after the show closes.

Monday, February 25, 2008

I'm back - sort of.

A long nap was required this afternoon, after closing the show yesterday and spending a long night striking the set. A little bit more knitting was accomplished backstage but the race is on to see if I can finish these by the end of February. Just up to the gusset increases now but heels tend to go fast for me, so I'll keep you posted.

BTW, I'm not sure I like the new look of the blog. I needed a wider format for a couple of posts but . . . Hmmm, I'll need to do a little more looking around before I revamp the blog again.

In the meantime, it's back to the regular running routine of taking girls to classes and dance. Thank heaven's hockey is over for another couple of weeks.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Quickie Project

Eureka! I actually have a FO to show today.

This item has a bit of a history. Last week, Dancing Diva managed to lose her cell phone. After re-tracing footsteps, we eventually found it at the high school. It had been found in the parking lot and turned in to the office. Although it still worked, it was a little dinged up and scratched.

Dancing Diva, being the creative soul that she is, managed to cover the dings and scratches with some well placed rhinestones and decorative stickers. However, it was evident that a protective cover would be necessary to prevent further damage if dropped, as well as a way to keep the decorations in place and guarded when tucked into a purse or pocket.

So I quickly whipped up this little cell phone case using some small quantities of leftover yarn. Add a loop to the back to hook a spring clasp and a Hello Kitty button and you've got the quickest little FO in town.

Ain't it sweet?!?

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Just a quick note to show off the latest trophy added to the family collection. DD#2 (affectionately known as Bubba Sue) pulled off a 3rd place finish in our Awana Grand Prix last night.

I guess my husband is getting pretty good at getting these cars to go fast, after 8 years of Grand Prix car building.

Bubba's car was named "Catillac" and managed a top speed of over 213 mph.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Stealth projects, deadlines and the lack of blog fodder

I am stuck once again in the unenviable position of having little to blog about of late. While I've been working hard on a project that has a looming deadline, it's being a birthday gift for someone pretty special who reads my blog and that makes it not bloggable.

My February Socks for A Year in Socks are progressing very slowly. Perhaps knitting them from fingering weight yarn on 0 needles was a bit of a mistake, given the hectic Beauty and the Beast schedule this month. Since I've only finished a couple of repeats of the pattern, they really aren't blog fodder, either.

I've putzed along on a couple other older WIP's as well, but . . . you know, not really worthy of a photo. So I'll just leave you with a mystery photo of the stealth project and hope that your curiosity will serve to keep you all interested in my poor blog until life (and knitting) returns to normal.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Hello, my middle name is "Fatigue"

It has been a whirlwind week at Chez Dramatique! First, Beauty and the Beast has had two shows and it is going very well. As always, there were a few technical glitches, mostly with sound. But the show has been well-received.

In preparation, I ended up doing quite a bit extra set work this week, doing all of the draperies on the set, including the swags in the lair and pit, the swags across the castle platform and a special boudoir drape that gets flown in for Belle's bedroom scenes. It was strenuous since all of the work was done at heights of 10-15 feet or attached to the fly system, which takes some muscle to raise and lower. I was introduced to the catwalk system and spent several hours dangling at precarious angles, freaking out Dancing Diva and other spectators with my daring, aerial acrobatics. Fortunately, I have no fear of heights and am quite comfortable working on ladders and other high places. The work is now done and I managed to survive another day to drape again.

Second, Hockeyman finished his season on Thursday night. In a disappointing loss to EP (0-1), the boys finished 4th in the district, one win shy of going to regional playoffs. HM is taking it very well. I suspect he was very tired and ready to accept either outcome. The boys played exceptionally well in all their games, and the final loss can only be attributed to the EP goalie's flawless game. I'm secretly a little relieved as well, since having playoffs during the show has made life extremely hectic and harried and having a little breathing room is a good thing. But I am sad, too. (sigh)

Lest you think I've forgotten my sweet little Harley-boo, here is a new photo of him. He has decided that this shoe box was a great place to hang out. As you can see, though, he has grown quite a bit and doesn't quite fit in it anymore. He already weighs more than Koda, although he is still visually smaller. I suspect he is going to be one BIG Tom when he reaches his full growth.

He has also become quite attached to the men in the family. If he has a choice (and with 3 girls in the house, he doesn't usually have a choice) he'll cuddle with a man. I don't know whether to laugh or cry when he sees the DH and I sitting together and he makes a beeline for the DH, completely passing by and ignoring me. While Koda is MY cat, choosing my lap over everyone in the house as her favorite, Harley has made every effort to worm his way into the DH's good graces.

Oh well, I guess I can share my cat with my favorite valentine.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Just when you think it is safe to emerge from the sewing room . . .

After costume check-out night, it turns out that there were a few more items that needed to be attended to before we could say we were finished. So far I've sewn one more peasant blouse, added straps to 4 little saucers and started making swags and curtains for the set. I'll be hard at work again on Tuesday afternoon, finishing the swags and curtains before our final dress rehearsal that evening.

Although I took a few shots at our first dress rehearsal, not many of them are very good. The lighting is still being worked on, so there was not quite enough illumination to photograph without a flash. And I never violate the "no flash photography" rule, even at dress rehearsal.

However, for your viewing pleasure, I'll include a few of the better ones.

First, we have Lumiere. I still think there are a few costume pieces missing but I think you can get the general idea. The headpiece and hands are from the Chanhassen Dinner Theater but we have added special effects inner works. The actor portraying Lumiere is extraordinarily good and plays the part to perfection.

Next is Cogsworth. His costume is not quite finished yet, either but it is stunning already, don't you agree. He is equally good at his role and is a great foil to Lumiere.

We also have a photo of the Caryatids in place as the columns of the dungeon. I just love both ladies who are playing these roles. They're fond of saying they just have a "supporting role." What a hoot! If you look carefully, you can just barely see poor Maurice locked in the dungeon.

Last but not least are the plates, one of which is my oldest daughter. In the shot is Mrs. Potts and Chip as well. Both of them require a bit more work to complete their costumes but you can get the general idea of how they're finally going to look.

As for knitting time . . . well, not much. I've found that since I'm known as a costume seamstress, my skills are in great demand as general pinner, fixer-upper, bow-tier, as well as being the source of all things necessary, such as bandaids, safety pins, needle and thread, good fabric scissors, breath mints and water bottles. That's in between singing, dancing, acting and moving set pieces.

Oh, well, maybe after opening night, I'll have time to sit and work on my knitting backstage again.

If you're in the area and want to order tickets, there are still some great seats available. Just go to and order online. And if you want to meet me after the show, I'll be the one who was juggling silk scarves in the tavern scene. Just look for me in the cast greeting line after the show.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Whew!!!! Sewing Room Friday

I finished the last two costume pieces this morning. It's been a marathon month of sewing but I'm very proud and pleased with how much I accomplished. Interested in the final tally?

8 Unitards for wolves
4 Teacup tank tops
4 Teacup pillbox hat foundations
5 Saucer pleated skirts
3 Peasant style blouses
3 Villager skirts
1 Villager vest
2 Underskirts
2 Male shirts
1 Dress (Mrs. Potts)
2 Mop caps
1 Neckerchief
1 Apron

Cut out:
4 Teacup skirts
1 pair of pants
1 men's vest

In addition, I also helped embellish Cogsworth's clock (a little - they put me to work when I had a spare half hour at the dance studio) and put together 12 outfit combinations for Villagers from existing costume stock.

Tomorrow afternoon, all cast members will be getting their final fittings and receiving their costumes for Sunday's dress rehearsal. We'll have a final "pressing party" tomorrow and then it's all finished. I'm bringing my camera to the fittings, so expect some photo-heavy posts next week.

I've had the time of my life but I'm ready to put the sewing machine away for a while.

Excuse me while I go take a nap!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Did I mention we'd have down time?

I did make some progress on the February socks while waiting for my scenes at practice tonight, as expected. That is, when I wasn't distracted by the fabulous solos and show-stopping numbers. Wow, this show is going to rock.

Anyway, as far as the socks to, I'm lovin' the color and the pattern is fairly easy. Now that I'm in the regular repeats, hopefully I'll soon have the pattern memorized and can set the chart aside until the gusset shaping.

Now, for some blogger housekeeping: To answer your question, Sunny G, I'm not sure where you'd find a knitting pattern for a mop cap. Mine was sewn from a self-made pattern. I measured the crown of my head, then added the amount I'd need to "pouf" it out, then added enough for the elastic channel and a brim. When all was said and done, it was a circle with about a 22-24" diameter (including seam allowances).

My guess is if you can find a circular doily or washcloth pattern and keep up the repeats until it is 21-22" or whatever you think you'd need in diameter, including some eyelets for a gathering at 17-18" diameter mark, you'd probably come up with a pretty fair approximation of what I did.

I must say, you have me intrigued by the idea of a knit lace mop cap for Beauty and the Beast. Would I be completely insane to attempt another costume project with just over a week before opening? Hmmmm!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Beauty & the Beast update

Well, the madness continues with BATB (my favorite shorthand expression for Beauty & the Beast). Today we loaded the sets into the auditorium that we're performing in. From noon to 9 pm we were scheduled to finish assembling, painting and arranging the set. My two older children joined me in the marathon construction session.

To add to the chaos, I slipped over to costume central for a few hours to check in with our designer and pick up the next set of costuming assignments. I'll be making teacup and saucer costumes this week, with some creative license thrown in for kicks. What a treat! Being a die-hard Project Runway fan, this is the kind of stuff I really live for.

So, I'll be designing and sewing my little heart out this week. That is, when I'm not in rehearsal for the show. We're one week away from our dress rehearsal, so the race is on to get everything polished and ready for the show.

In sockish news, I did manage to finish the toes of my February Socks. I even did the first row of the chart . . . but that's it. I'm anticipating some knitting time at rehearsals this week, as we all need to be there for entire acts but I won't be on stage for much of it.

That is, if I don't have costume stuff I can work on . . .


Friday, February 01, 2008

Sewing Room Friday and other news

I'm finally going to post some pictures. Believe it or not, I did clean up a little bit before starting this next set of costumes. It's a shameful state, I know, but right now, finishing costumes is a top priority, with a whole crew of us working 6 - 8 hours a day on sewing.

The result of today's efforts is a shirt for Lumiere. On deck for tomorrow, the Beast's tattered shirt and 8 little pill box hats for our teacups.

In knitting news, I cast on my February socks for A Year In Socks today. Unfortunately, I'm not even done with the increases on the toes but considering how much sewing I had to do, I think just casting on was an accomplishment.

In hockey news, the boys played their last two district games this week. We tied Tonka on Tuesday and beat E.P. Black 3-0 tonight. We've earned a double-elimination spot in the playoffs and are just waiting for the last few teams to clinch their spots to find out our playoff schedule. It's going to be a wild couple of weeks in this household, between district playoffs and Beauty and the Beast opening in 13 days.

Yikes! Where's the caffeine? Gimme, gimme!