Saturday, July 26, 2014

Project: Hot Water Bottle Cover

I love Ruth Cross' designs. The use of lambswool in muted colours and stag/ox horn buttons give the pieces a lovely rustic effect. There are individual patterns sold on the web shop, along with ready-made and made-to-order garments and accessories. I decided upon the hot water bottle cover. The only patterns available as of currently are for home. If you'd like to knit one for yourself, you can purchase the pattern at

I planned to make this during my mid-year break, so I had something to look forward to after my exams. It has been a while since I've knitted anything - my last project was the chunky scarf. I picked up the same yarn used in their sample (Rowan Big Wool in Concrete 061) because I love the colour. I find it distinctive in that I see a hint of beige within the grey. Actually, I just went along with the whole colour way and chose a similar coloured ribbon too.

This was not the easiest pattern to knit with - especially with all those cables. I wouldn't recommend this for an absolute beginner but if you're familiar with cabling, you're fine. I decided to knit while I was having a Breaking Bad marathon, so it took longer than expected. It's a quick project and a novice will have no trouble going through the pattern.

Yarn, needles and hot water bottle - all the materials you'll need minus the cable needle.
Knitting in progress
The seaming was perhaps the most difficult part for me since I'm not very neat at it. Nevertheless, I'm happy with my product in the end. It doesn't cover my hot water bottle but that's something steaming could fix - that or get a smaller hot water bottle. 

Cover sans hot water bottle.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thoughts: New Batgirl Costume

For fellow comic readers, the news is already out. For readers who might be interested in reading comics: there's going to be a new look for Batgirl - the reboot of Barbara Gordon's Batgirl. With the new costume, it's not a complete reboot and it'll kick off in issue #35. I think it's generally positive reception for the costume design. It's not overly sexualised and it actually looks like something I would wear, and perhaps a lot of girls would too (if we're crime-fighting heroines).

Original article here

There's some fan art out there of the new Batgirl costume. I love Artgerm's work on the magazine cover. Mostly because Babs doesn't look like she's a teenager here. I'm still trying to get my head around going "back" in time. It's also very detailed that I almost thought it was a photograph:
Original link here
I've only recently plunged into the world of comics but I've got mixed feelings about this change, like some of the current Batgirl readers. While I love the outfit, it almost feels like it should go to a new Batgirl character because it has that "handmade" feel: find a leather jacket, iron on a golden bat over the chest, hunt down some golden gloves, gold Docs... sew your own cape... get the gist? Nevertheless, I'm excited to read Batgirl with the brand new look.

Barbara Gordon was the original Batgirl and I had completely latched onto her character as Oracle while I was reading the Birds of Prey (before the New 52). Partly why I started reading comics was to find out what all the fuss was about with Stephanie Brown as Batgirl... and Barbara as Oracle advised her during missions. It was weird for her to revert back to Batgirl because Oracle was already a well-liked character. She was more developed and complex as Oracle than Batgirl. 

Gail Simone, the current writer, will be missed when Batgirl is passed onto Brenden Fletcher (I have not had the chance to read any of his works). I adore her work on Birds of Prey but I haven't read enough New 52 Batgirl to make an opinion.

Speaking of the current costume, I actually like the black and gold. My favourite has to be Stephanie Brown's. I like purple... but I can't imagine purple being on Barbara. 

Of course, if I had to pick whether I want to keep the current costume or go for the new one, I'd say the current one. It's gorgeous and I'm not sure if I like the new tricoloured combination on her. One thing I can say is that the new costume would never work on flaming bright red hair, so that's probably why they toned down the red hair in the sketch.

Over and out.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Project: Gatsby Girl Turban

Debbie Bliss released this pattern a while ago and I thought I'd pick it up. It can be found here. Although it is called a turban, it's definitely not one - it's a bandeau. It's a fairly simple pattern to knit and you can easily decorate it with a brooch or a decorative button.

Bandeaus aren't my kind of accessory but I thought this was a beautiful pattern - simple and easy.
Yarn and needles
 Fibra Natura Inca in Ecru (43034) - 100% wool
This pattern is suitable for a beginner. The knitting is very basic, consisting only of the moss stitch and stockinette. It's a nice alternative for beginners - if you don't want to knit a scarf, you could have a go at this.

Knitting in progress - moss stitch
My yarn isn't the correct weight for this project but I thought I'd increase the size of the needles and weight of the yarn and reduce the number of stitches. So instead of the 4.5mm needles suggested in this pattern, I used a 6mm needle (largest needle size I had in my collection at the time) and a bulky weight yarn.

This pattern could be finished in less than a day but I took my time. There are two pieces to this pattern and you sew it up. I didn't even finish the skein for this project, so it's good if you want to use up leftover yarn from another project.

The finished product looks like a giant bow when laid flat. It looks rather plain but nothing a rhinestone brooch can't fix.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Inspiration: The Night Circus

My copy of The Night Circus
UK/Australian edition of The Night Circus
The Night Circus is written by Erin Morgenstern. It was a book I happened to pick up in the beginning of my travels in the US back in Christmas 2011 and into the new year for 2012. It's a phantasmagorical novel featuring a travelling circus that only opens at night. Two magicians who had been groomed to be opponents in a "competition" happen to fall in love. Most of the cover is black and white because the circus in the book is completely monochrome, except for the rêveurs (the circus fans) who wear items of red so others can identify them. 

I thought this novel was cleverly written and the descriptions of the circus were so intricate, I felt like I was almost there. There are a couple of allusions to Shakespeare's works - particularly Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. Some of themes in this book are heavy and philosophical, so it would be understood better by maturer readers. It is not written as a linear story, giving us various perspectives but these points-of-view join up together in the end. The book focuses more on the circus and its development rather than the two main characters and their love, so I didn't feel much chemistry between the two lovers. I'd love to go more in depth about the book but then it wouldn't be a fashion blog post.

In terms of fashion, I had always imagined the characters in steampunk garb. The novel certainly had a setting that was inspired by steampunk. However, I was particularly inspired by the black, white and red of the book covers and in the books. 

In fact, I had thought of the Kuranosuke Stripe Jumperskirt in Baby the Stars Shine Bright's Kuragehime (Princess Jellyfish) collaboration. To be accurate, it was in Alice & the Pirates (one of the lines of Baby the Stars Shine Bright that focuses on a pirate/punk/goth aesthetic). 

I thought I would coordinate an outfit with stripes and the black-white-red theme. I typically don't reach for stripes. I really liked the idea of wearing stripes back in high school but I never really went for it because I was most comfortable in plaid.

I recalled an outfit on Aria (from Pretty Little Liars) that changed my mind on sheer clothing:
The outfit was gorgeous and I loved the pleated skirt. Initially, I thought it was a dress and apparently, all of those items are from American Apparel. It was a puffy sheer blouse over a striped bodysuit and paired with the pleated skirt, it ended up looking like a dress. Definitely not something a high schooler would wear to school but it certainly gave me ideas.

Unfortunately, I don't have anything vertically striped. I gained my love for vertical stripes since the day I saw the K-ON first season ending where Yui (one of the main characters) with vertical striped stockings.

I would've loved to do a cosplay with this outfit... even more epic with a Les Paul.
I fooled around with Polyvore to come up with this:
There are supposed to be two outfits in mind here. I tried for a dressier one for a night out and a slightly more casual outfit for the day. 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Trend: Backpacks

Backpacks have been trendy for a while. I don't think it's so classy for a woman to be wearing a backpack but it's good for casual settings where you're out and about and have to carry a lot of stuff. My sister (being more of a tomboy) has been hunting for a trendy backpack so I thought I'd make a list of the trendiest backpacks here. She wanted a backpack that was nice to carry around during a day out but large enough to carry her books and other things for uni.

1. Herschel Bags 
This is perhaps the most popular backpack around for university students, namely the Heritage style but I've seen a few Pop Quiz and Settlement bags being carried around. Herschel is a Canadian brand and is readily available for consumers in Sydney as they're being stocked in General Pants and Glue stores.
Pop Quiz


My sister prefers the Little America design and I think it suits her more. Now if only I could find a green one like this... (her favourite colour's green... but not army green or khaki, this kind of green with more blue in it)

Little America

2. JanSport
These backpacks I haven't seen so much on university students in an urban environment (I still see them though) but I've definitely seen a lot of American high school students with them and maybe one or two high school students when I was at high school. These are fairly accessible too in In Sport stores.

3. Caribee
These bags are probably not very trendy but these were very popular during high school (a lot of people used them but it wasn't the IT item). It does the job for a couple of books and they don't cost as much either. As for my sister, this probably isn't it. Though I've got to mention, some high schools here only allow their students to carry the "school bag" - one with the emblem that they sell to students.

4. North Face
North Face is widely popular in the States for their jackets in colder climates (hey, it can get pretty cold if you're in Massachusetts). To be honest, I've only heard of North Face being sold for camping and outdoorsy things before I learned that. It's generally not that popular for us university students here in Sydney but I'll just mention their backpacks. I've got no idea how popular they are but since they're a reliable brand, I guess a lot of students would go for them. Not so trendy here either so I don't know which styles are great for college/university students.

5. Lonsdale
These were the bags my sister first looked into until I diverted her attention towards Herschel. They're okay for high school. I remembered a couple of high school students I've encountered with these bags. It's a fairly popular brand and I've seen people with their backpacks and their duffles. As for college/university student, they could work if you don't require many materials for your classes but I know for sure I can't fit everything I need for uni in that backpack. Also, I don't know if carrying a laptop in this bag is a good idea either.

6. Fjällräven
This Swedish brand is perhaps the least accessible out of the ones in this list so far. These are not sold in any stores in Australia (the ones I think that might sell these don't) and the only way to get your hands on them is to either go overseas and get them yourself or buy online through ASOS and various websites that ship internationally. Their Kanken bag is gaining popularity but they're not as prominent as the Herschel bags. I'm particularly fond of this bag.