Thursday, March 27, 2014

I'll be back!

Oh wow, I have really neglected this poor blog of mine. I have spent so much time doing stuff and so little time documenting it! Recently I have also tried to cut down my computer time, which was greatly helped by my trusty old MacBook Pro breaking down. Thank goodness I had pulled myself together and made a habit of backing everything up regularly, so the only loss was the hardware. Now, with a brand new slightly used MacBook Pro I am ready for internet again!

For one, I finally, finally, got around making a new professional website for myself. It's here in blogger, and you can find it at It's been a bit quiet on the work front lately and I hope to turn things around.

With the dawn of a new website, I hope to breathe some life to this blog, too. I thought I'd kickstart a new era by looking at my archives and seeing what I have been meaning to put here but haven't.

The most important thing, perhaps, is my new relationship. Meet Louise:

She's 24 years old, in excellent shape and most importantly, ridiculously cheap! I picked her up at a recycling center where they didn't even know what she was. She just needed a new drive band and we were ready to go. She's a Louet S10, know for being a trusty workhorse. I read about someone who had accidentally tossed her down a flight of stairs and she didn't even flinch! We get along famously and spend a lot of time together, but I have failed to take any pictures since this one. Now that it seems spring is finally here and there is actually some light to take pictures by, I have to remedy the situation.

In other news, I have been dancing...

© Hans Kauppila

And dancing...

And dancing...

And dancing...

Taken by Kerttu Majander

And hanging upside down...

And knitting ridiculous amounts, but alas, no pictures. Now, let's see if I can make this blogging thing a more frequent than biannual affair.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Out of my hands

Finally I have something finished to show you: a cardigan that has been in the works since November has left my hands and resides with its rightful owner. Just in time for summer...

My friend K had a stash of alpaca destined to become a cardigan but just did not seem to find herself picking up the needles and knitting it. I was looking for commissions, so we came to an agreement. The first step was to settle on a pattern. We found the perfect one, but it was not obtainable outside the US so I set off to 'unvent' it.

The body of the cardigan is simple stockinette with garter edges to keep them from rolling and long, set-in sleeves. There are two rows of two buttons closing the front. Usually I prefer to knit as much in the round and in one piece as possible, but as alpaca has a tendency to 'grow' I wanted to minimize that effect with seams on the sides and sleeves. Since the garment is going to be hanging practically open, I shaped the waist even more to compensate.

The gist of the cardigan is its asymmetrical lace collar. That proved to be the tricky part, knitting it to both curve around the neck and grow to the right width, but with some help with my little friends I figured I had a plan. It still didn't curve in the direction I anticipated.

I blocked it on the needles to make sure the length was still right. Then I sewed the collar on and blocked it again on the dress form to make sure it would sit right on the shoulders.

K picked the buttons up later; simple, grey and marbled ones. They don't show much from under the collar. On the whole I'm very pleased with how the garment turned out; it helped that K and me are roughly the same size, so I could double check the fit on myself as I went along.

In other news, we have some new neighbors. Not that we don't have their kin over every single year; they eat all our berries, muck about in the vegetable patch, shit everywhere and are generally a nuisance. But they sure are adorable when they are, indeed, new.

They are baby fieldfares and they look like they are making noises, but actually they are just half asleep with their beaks open. I guess they figure they'll wake up when someone vomits in their mouths. The nest is perched on some fence poles just under the rafters of our garage, on the eye-level of anyone taller than me. At least it's a better place for a nest than another couple had; they managed to build quite a massive structure right above my window before I buckled up and took it down. I felt like a horrible person for it. Hopefully they still had time to build another nest somewhere that was wider than two centimeters and not directly above two inquisitive cats.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Perfect matches

These mitts have been finished since October, but only ended up with their new owner last week. My friend J lost one of his favorite mitts and asked me to make a new one. Miraculously, I found the perfect yarn in the first store I visited. I decided against choosing an off-white base yarn; the new one will get appropriately dirty soon enough, I hope! It was fun to just count the stitches on an existing piece and mirroring them. I hope these two decide to stick together now, despite their age difference or the fact that the older one was so brutally dumped by its life partner.

In other news, if you ever wondered what 16 000 sequins look like - and who hasn't? - take a look at what I got in the mail today:

I'm resisting an urge to pour them all out and roll around in them naked. Let's just hope my luck in finding perfect matches continues when I go to Tallinn next week looking for some fabric to pair off with these. There's a knit around here looking for its fabric soulmate, too, so a lot of luck is needed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Work, work, work

Learning is hard. Especially learning stuff about yourself. For instance, for me it is apparently almost impossible to learn that if I work really hard on a project with a tight deadline, I cannot just carry all that energy over to the next project when the first one is done. No matter how many times it happens, I'm always surprised when the Crash comes. It always makes me equally surprised that if I try to push through the exhaustion, it does not work. And the most amazing surprise of all is that if I actually take a couple of days and rest, I feel better.

The past week has been another learning experience, let's hope it sticks this time. The past month or two have been very busy with work, and all the energy I've had left was spent on dancing more than crafts. Pole dancing, hoop dancing, tribal fusion, oh my! Dancing makes me feel so good, whether I'm busy or between projects it never fails to pick me up.

Despite having had hardly any time or energy for crafts, I do have something small to show you. Helsinki Burlesque Festival is an event I never miss, and this year the theme was 'over the rainbow'. I suck at dressing up as it is and this year my costuming plans fell through, so at the last minute I decided to take a very literal interpretation of the theme and make myself a little fascinator/hair clip thingy.

Because you need a raincloud to make a rainbow... get it? Get it?!

I've had those raindrop glass beads lying around for over three years, they are lovely and I still have a ton left. The fabric is silk and I sewed the sequins on with little beads. I guess a satin fabric would have been more flashy, but that's the story of my life... I dressed up as a raincloud, after all. I even made an elegant little dress with grey jersey and the same silk, but didn't take a picture. It's hard to photograph dresses on yourself, and the darkness of February certainly did not help. I did take an action shot of the clip, though. And had a splendid time!

And the dress is right there, so...

Of course, being sort of easily excitable a person, I now also have not one but two burlesque solo numbers under way, and there's a lot to plan and design and sew. My other craft projects, namely the two knitting ones I shared a glimpse of in the last post, are progressing, but slowly.

Oh, and speaking of learning new things, the big cat has adopted a new, smooth style to hang out and look cool.

The leg is limp. If I grab it and wave it around, he looks at me funny.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Floor

Because life was getting sort of non-hectic before Yule with unfinished presents, graduation, extra wrestling and burlesque, I decided to redo my flooring. The old one was painted a delightful, flaking mint that always looked dirty. The new one is deep walnut laminate and looks fucking awesome.

See the difference?
Of course this meant taking apart all the bookshelves and piling all my worldly possessions in the middle of the room and then dragging them around as the floor progressed.

All work was done under strict feline supervision.
It was well worth the trouble, though! The room which was merely nice before is now pure perfection: 25 square meters with a fireplace, sleeping alcove and beautiful smooth wood imitation floor. My home for the past three years, and hopefully many more.

Now everything has felt paws to protect the floor. I almost put some on the cats.
The whole shebang also gave me a reason to tidy things up a bit. Like rearrange my craft- and bookshelves.

This is the only way my books will fit.

The soldiers were a present. The pig is... well, I think there was a plan at some point. I think.

I have a tin box problem.
And a button problem, but you knew that already.

After a rather busy end of the year, this year I've mostly knitted. Watched TV shows and knitted. Occasionally I've even been able to call it work. Here's a couple of teasers:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New year, new beginnings

I celebrated the turn of the year following a three-year-long tradition: on the 31st of December we fill the house with New Year's Eve guests, and on the 1st of January we fill the house with more guests plus the ones that never left to celebrate my birthday, which falls on December 29th. And on the 2nd of January we lie around in zombie piles and order pizza.

This year there was extra celebration because of my graduation. I called it a Bachelor party, because that's what you have when you stop being a Bachelor. And become a Master instead. Or a Mistress. Whatever.

Anyway, lots of epic fun was had, and at some point I was presented with a complimentary victory cigar, junior size. As a person who has in her life smoked absolutely nothing, ever, it got me thinking. About how much holding a cigar in your mouth resembles holding your own penis in your mouth, a feat for which I have neither the flexibility nor the penis, and about when to smoke it. Obviously I am going to have to, one day, because I am every year more and more of the opinion that most acutely non-lethal things should be experimented with. The only question is to find an occasion worthy of cigar-smoking. This, however - turning 30 and becoming a Master of the Universe Arts - was not it for some reason. Yet if this wasn't it, then what exactly do I want to achieve in my life? A doctorate is not it, and as much as I expect to turn 40, 50 and so on sooner or later, I doubt that will be a cigar-smoking achievement. After all, the only effort I have to make is not to die.

I worry about two things: First, that the year 2011 featured the crowning achievements of my whole life. Second, that I fail to recognize the things that I accomplish and belittle them instead, thus cheating myself out of happiness. Third, that I have just jinxed myself with the last sentence of the previous chapter.

I guess the challenge, let's not call it a resolution, for 2012 is finding new goals to work towards. When I started this blog last February, it was to mark a new beginning. Most of the things I listed then have happened: commission hats, check; dissertation, bitch, check; new website... oh well.

Other things have happened, as well.

A spring boat trip to Stockholm with bingo, quaint tearooms and voodoo exhibitions.

The annual trip to Lammi flax festival, where there were baby sheep.

 Leisurely garden existence and many, many dead little animals.

A kitten lost and found.

The big, huge, scary, amazing project of Lucha Libre! that has irrevocably changed the rest of my fucking life.


Lucha Libre! also marked the beginning of my burlesque career: a career that continued in December when I performed with my group, Stage Fright! at Helsinki Burlesque's Newcomers' Night with not just one but two numbers. One was the same show from Lucha with a new, improved Skeleton Crew.

I cannot get over how hot my skeleton dancers were!

 And another, completely new one, this time not as La Mujerta the ruda wrestling queen, but with a more permanent burlesque identity: Lauren Fuckall. The number was a tragic western ballad that I choreographed and performed together with Scarlett Wilde (not featured in the picture) and I am so very proud of it, and us.

Picture by Tuomas Lairila.

And, of course, so many craft projects that I failed to either finish, take pictures of, or make a post on. Good thing there's a whole other year to do better, or worse. An entire new year to live, dream, do, make stuff, experience, be awesome.

I feel lucky.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Summer memories

It's cold and dark, the wind is blowing wet snow in a horizontal direction and I'm out of words. I feel cold, dark, and tired all the time. The days are measured with cups of tea or coffee with naps in between.

So, I did something I've been meaning to do for a long while and uploaded a bit of summer 2007 into Youtube. When I find the missing power chord for my external drive, I will put the rest of my films online. In the meanwhile, here you go: