Thursday, April 22, 2010

dress rehearsals looming

    We go into dress rehearsal for the show, Bat Boy:The Musical this coming Sunday.  My costumes are in good shape - still a few hems or little things still to do - pulling hosiery, etc.,  but over all pretty good.  Of course there are the unexpected glitches - I made pants for the Wolf in Into the Woods a couple of years ago and was expecting to use them on the character of Pan in this show.  After several summers of making and repairing  Sesame Street Live costumes, I have no great love for faux fur. By using these, all I would have to do was exchange the wolf tail for a goat's tail.  Our students searched through costume storage - no luck.  I finally got the brilliant idea to ask the actor who had played the Wolf if he knew where the pants were.  You guessed it - he has them.  Well, his dad does, but as he is not in contact with his dad any longer, the pants are as good as gone.  So, tomorrow I am cutting out fur pants and a tail for Pan.  Tonight is for cutting the gold lame´ graduation gown for Bat Boy - don't you just wish you were me and could have all this last minute fun???
    Okay, I have a confession.  I was the Big Bird specialist for Sesame Street Live in the years I worked with Vee Corporation - the company that built those costumes.  Thousands of yellow dyed turkey feathers each summer helped pay my expenses in grad. school. But I had plenty of experience with fur, too. Whenever there were fittings for the smaller Muppets, I was called on.  You see, each dancer playing the Muppets has to be within a certain height range.  A tall gentleman would be needed to keep Big Bird the required height (he is 8'2" on the tv show) and  small dancers would play characters like Elmo, Rosita, and others.  That's where I came in.  At 5'3" I  was one of the smaller people in the shop,  the perfect size for some of the smaller characters.  I must say, I do not know how the dancers did it.  I would be in those hot fur costumes for a few minutes and be hot and sticky when I climbed out.  Imagine dancing under hot stage lights wearing totally synthetic (read, non-breathable) fur outfits and heads!
     A graduation gown awaits! Adieu.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Knitting bits

    Started to teach myself to knit Continental style as opposed to English style - the way I was taught as a girl. So far it is slow and my tension is all over the place.  I am told it is actually faster to knit this way, but I think I need a bit more practice!  I want to try a small piece of Fair Isles knitting before summer's end - just a scarf or hat to get the feel for the style. I am told knowing how to knit Continental style will facilitate keeping my yarns from tangling. I must admit I have never been fond of Fair Isles sweaters - that is, until I started reading Alice Starmore's books and patterns.  The woman is such an artist - using incredibly complex palettes to make gorgeous knitwear.  I still am not certain I would have the stick-to-it-ness to knit one of her sweaters, but I might - one never knows.  My real goal for the year is to knit an Aran style fisherman's sweater.
     Years ago, when I was 14 or so, my godmother - a true Irishwoman - had one made for me when she was in Ireland. She had wanted to bring one back for me from the time I was very small, but my mother kept putting her off, saying it was too expensive for me to outgrow.  Finally she gave me the sweater she had had made for me.  It was gorgeous and I have treasured it for more years than I care to admit.  Due to the loose style of this sweater, I can still put it on - and I could wear it if 3/4 sleeves were popular in this style sweater.  My son has worn this sweater.  My daughter is the latest owner of this wonderful garment, and in a few years, I am certain it will be passed down to my youngest child.
      So now I am going to try to create my own fisherman's sweater.  It will be my big knitting challenge for the year - heck,  it might be the challenge of the decade -  because, you see, I have never even knitted a cable, much less some of the bobbles and cross patterns involved in this sweater.  But, if one does not set challenges for oneself how would we ever grow?