Tuesday, 14 July 2009

February Lady Sweater Re-Vamp

February Lady Sweater - New Buttons

February Lady Sweater - New Buttons

Yep, I'm posing again!! (actually these were taken at the same time as the Tamarai ones. I must have been in a very pose-y mood!)

I put new buttons onto my February Lady Sweater(rav project page, since I don't seem to have blogged about this before. Very strange!)

New Buttons!

New Button Close-up

I wasn't wearing it as it was, the buttons were too big, and purple, and plastic. They made the sweater look like it came straight from the 70s. (The buttons probably did come from then!) So on my regular trawl through the local charity shops, I found a set of three buttons which, when I bought them and took them home, looked much nicer next to the fabric of the sweater. So I snipped the other ones off, and sewed these on.

I think it looks much more sophisticated now, and I'm more likely to actually wear it. There's nothing worse than a handknit that stays in the cupboard, is there? But now this one is freed, and can be worn with pride! :D

And while I was taking photographs, here's a gratuitous macro shot of the lace

Macro Lace

Tamarai Fashion Shoot!

Tamarai Fashion Shoot 1

Tamarai Fashion Shoot 2

Tamarai Fashion Shoot 3

Tamarai Fashion Shoot 4

Tamarai Fashion Shoot 5

I finished my Tamarai sweater!!!

(Pattern: Tamarai, by Kai Mistry, from The Inside Loop, winter 2008.

I absolutely love it! I'm so pleased with how it turned out :D (you might have been able to tell that from the big batch of photos of me posing, lol)

It was an amazingly fast knit, 6 days in all. It would have been 5, but I went crazy on Sunday, and tidyed for 6 hours straight. Mental!! But at least the house is a little cleaner now :) I knit for a lot of hours a day though, probably at least six. It was just so addictive! I kept wanting to get to the next landmark, whether that was seperating the arms, or the next bit of shaping, or the next bit of moss stitch.

And there was no seaming at all! Just the ends to weave in. That was a big bonus. When the knitting was finished, the top was finished!!

I followed the pattern exactly. When patterns have body shaping, I'm always a little worried, in case it hits me in the wrong spot, but I tried this on before I started any shaping (after knitting to the length specified), and everything was just at the right place. It's possibly the first pattern where I haven't had to fudge shaping, or rip back at all :)

I am totally going to make another of these. It's a little warm to wear it right now, but it'll be perfect for autumn. It's not too fussy, but it still looks quite cute and dressy. The perfect thing to slip on and be comfortable, and look good :)

Friday, 10 July 2009

What Is A Hafla?

It occurs to me that some (probably most) people reading the above post might not know what a hafla is. After all, before I started bellydancing, I had no ideas such events existed, or that there was even a bellydance community to have events!

Haflas in the UK are basically bellydance parties. There are varying degrees of formality with these parties, ranging from big stage shows starring professional dancers to groups of people dancing together in a living room. Most of the ones I've been to are midway in this scale, with performances from students (and sometimes professionals) from nearby areas. Class performances, solo performances, duets and groups. Egyptian/cabaret style, tribal, fusion. The audience is usually filled with people from nearby classes, and their families and friends, and one performer will get up and do their bit, then the next, etc. There's usually a half-time break for more casual dancing to music and sometimes a buffet is put on at this interval. Then there are more performances and another time to dance at the end.

Sometimes time to dance is interspersed with the performances, so there will be one or two performers, then everyone can dance for a couple of songs, and so on through the night. (We haven't decided which version the August hafla will be yet, with two halves or this more casual arrangement. They both have their good points!)

Sometimes people set up stalls around the edge of the hall, or somewhere at the edge of the venue, whatever it's set up like. They'll sell bellydance costumes, hip belts, jewellery - basically anything sparkly. Bellydancers love sparkly!!!

The proceeds from the ticket sales (at least around here, in this area of Scotland, I can't speak for the rest of the UK) generally go to charity. Sometimes a local one, sometimes something close to the organiser's heart (again, no idea yet what charity will be getting the proceeds from this event!)

Sometimes there's a raffle in the interval. People donate prizes like bottles of wine, or cosmetics, or chocolates, or anything else you can think of (someone I know won a thigh-master once!) and the proceeds from raffle ticket sales go to the charity too. (Guess what? I have no idea if we'll be having a raffle either! I guess writing this post is worth it if only to make a list of all the things I haven't decided!)

And that, in a nutshell, is haflas in the UK, at least this part of Scotland. Does it differ where you live? Or have I forgotton anything important? Leave a comment and let me know what your haflas are like! :D I needs all the help I can get!

Organizing A Hafla

EEP! I have just committed to organizing a hafla (bellydance party) for the end of August. This is scary. I am not an organizer. I procrastinate, put things off, generally I am not good with dealing with things like dates, deadlines, anything like that. And somehow, I have become involved in organizing a large get-together.

This isn't like I've been forced into it. It's actually long been a secret dream of mine to organise a hafla, to have one locally instead of having to travel miles to the nearest event. It's just that, my mouth seems to have run off with itself and decided to make concrete plans where before there was just idle day-dreaming.

Me and a group of friends have been talking about organizing a local hafla for what feels like ages. But it's always been that idle day-dreaming, with nothing getting planned. Well, someone else tried to book a hall in a nearby town, but it was full till November, and since we had already talked about it, they spoke to us about having one here at the end of summer. More idle day-dreaming followed, but I began to see that it could actually happen, and all it would take is a few easy steps in the beginning (like every journey!)

And that's where my mouth started running off. I spoke to some people at the class I attend last night about it, and they were all really keen. So I said I'd phone up the guy who's in charge of the local church hall and book it. And this morning, I did. The first "easy" step, taken care of. Done. The hall is officially booked for August 29th, 6 till 11.

Now though, I am terrified. Everyone keeps saying there is so much to organise when having a hafla. Tickets, performers, sound systems - those are just the ones I can think of now. I'm sure there are a lot more I'm forgetting. There must be. I have a terrible feeling it'll get to the night, and I'll have forgotten some intergral part of the event. :)

I won't be alone in organising it though. I have that group of friends I talked about who I'm sure I can "organise" out of day-dreaming mode, if need be. But I've got a feeling it just took someone to take that first step, and everyone else will jump in with me. I hope so, anyway.

We (me and my friend) have already decided that we're not going to have a buffet or anything at this hafla, just to make it less trouble to organise. Some haflas do have buffets for the half-time interval, as it were, but I think it would just be too much. So the tickets will say "Bring your own drinks and snacks!" Another thing taken care of.

Next week I'll ask people from the class if they want to dance at it, and I've got a list of people I can email to ask to perform. It's all starting to take shape, and it's scary and exciting at the same time!

I thought as it leads up to the hafla, I'd write here about it. About all of the things that need doing, as they need done, and as they get done. It might be useful for other people to have a resource of what another person did to organise a bellydance event. And it lets me write out the adrenaline! I'll tag all the relevant posts "organising a hafla", so later it'll be easy to find all these posts.

(Blimey, I seem to have gone into full organisation mode! What on earth is up with me!!!!)

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


I've started the first of the projects off my big list of doom :)

My cold seems to be all better, and after a thundery, rainy day on Monday, the weather seems to have settled down a little here. So my knitting mojo has returned!! I hardly knew what to do with myself, I hadn't knit for days - I just couldn't concentrate on anything! Knitting seems to be such a large part of my life, I actually felt kind of lost without it (that's really a bit sad to admit, isn't it!)

But yesterday, I went to my bookshelf o' yarn, and picked out the yarn I'd been intending for Tamarai by Kai Mistry (go check out the pattern, it's fab!). And I cast on and proceeded to knit for 5 hours. This is my progress so far:

Tamarai WIP

The yarn is an acrylic - Teddy Vanguard DK, and I'm using 5mm needles. It's knit a bit looser than I would normally knit a DK yarn - 18sts to 4in, but I checked and rechecked the pattern, and it specifically calls for a DK yarn knit at that gauge. It's turning out quite nice and drapy, actually :)

I love how it's turning out. I can't wait to get past the armhole seperation so I can try it on! I think the light purple of the yarn will work quite well with the pattern.

According to Ravelry, I'm the only person to have cast this sweater on! I couldn't believe it, it's such a pretty pattern! The moment I saw it come up in the magazine, I knew I would have to make it. In fact, it's so pretty that I wrote a note to myself in my rav queue ("love this pattern, must make soon!") Well, it took me nearly eight months, but I'm finally doing it, and I must say, I'm very excited about it! :D

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Melting . . .

It is so freakin' HOT here! I'm totally melting in this heat! I'm not sure what temperature it is, google says 28! The sun's not even that bright, but it's very humid and sticky, and I don't like it! I'm definitely more of a cool weather person. Everyone I complain to says I'm mad, and all the neighbours seem to be outside getting sunburnt as I write, but I'm just hiding in the shade of my house, trying not to dissolve into a big puddle of sweat.

I can't concentrate on anything recently, partly because of that cold I had, and now that I'm getting better, I can't concentrate on anything because of the heat! I've got that big list of things I want to make, and my brain is just incapable of focusing on any of it. I finished my sister's socks though, so I've got one xmas present out of the way already! Got to keep thinking positive! :D

I'm busy just now printing some of those patterns out, so that when I can concentrate on actually knitting, I'll have it all ready. For the past two days, I've just been staring at my yarn, thinking how great it'll all be when I'm knitting it up, and what creative potential it all has. Hopefully this heatwave will break soon, and I can get back to my normal routine!