Edge lace for my sleeves - I did this on my embroidery machine, on a poly organza with heavy wash-away stabilizer, and then cut the diamonds out and hand-sewed them on.
After much experimenting, the tricks to using metallic thread without it snapping are to keep tension super-low, let the thread spool out from far away (I have it in a mug about a foot away), and don’t make your stitches too dense.
Haven’t been posting much about cosplay, but I’ve been working on stuff so expect some photos over the next few days.
Tonight’s lesson: sometimes you have to try something, and fail… and try something else, and fail… and then keep trying to get it right. Four iterations of rosettes later, I’m finally happy.
acI’m on the hunt for a new hosting provider - the friend who was hosting my sites previously is unfortunately not able to continue doing so. Which means - moving time! And it’s been ages since I shopped around, so I’d love some recs. I don’t need a ton of bandwidth/server stuff, but I do need to be able to install Perl/PHP modules, stuff like that.
(step 2: actually sit down and write my own application for my cosplay site, because I wasn’t really satisfied with the available CMS solutions already)
Progress work on my jacket for Jade! I drafted the pattern Saturday afternoon, spent Saturday night and most of Sunday dyeing white twill the appropriate shade of dark teal, and then started assembling it yesterday. The front closure on this design is so weird….
Very proud of the dye - it took three rounds and four different colors to finally hit what I wanted, so I think I’m justified in that :T Next up: a million yards of twill bias tape.
Someone should have told me the Vorkosigan novels were actually reasonable lengths - I had been putting them off because I didn’t want to get sucked into more Jacqueline Carey 800-page doorstop monstrositities. But I finished Shards of Honour in like five or six hours on Wednesday, and Barrayar yesterday afternoon.
Unsurprisingly I’m enjoying them immensely *g*
because I’ve used the same password system since 2004 and I finally downloaded a password manager like it’s 2012
and oh my god, this is exhausting. I’ve been at it for about four hours now and I’ve still barely scratched the surface. I’m going through and slowly eradicating my last identity from the internet, and separating ashkatom-the-internet-presence from ashkatom-the-real-life. I’ve closed so many old accounts, changed others to random gibberish, gotten rid of the last vestiges of two old projects, locked down my facebook as much as one can
and the internet? the internet is forever. the internet is designed to revel in the fact that it is forever. one of the most forward-thinking communities I know a) requires you to ask the mods to change your username and b) has no account deletion procedure. there are communities I signed up to when I was thirteen with my old identity that cannot be deleted, the password can’t be changed. my situation is complicated by how tightly I’ve interwoven this username with my real life, but at this point? I don’t think I could disappear. not without burning everything to the ground and salting the ashes.
the thing that makes me angry is that it’s so simple. like, I feel like rule one of user-friendly, anti-harassment web design is give someone the gosh-darn autonomy to delete their account so they can control their information. I know, in my history on the internet, all my identities have become inextricably linked, but - you don’t realise how daunting it is until you face it. there’s so much information, and the internet is very good at cataloguing and cross-referencing that information.
I can’t imagine trying to lock my own information down after a breach. it terrifies me. I didn’t know, when I was 13, the kind of climate the internet would grow into. ‘don’t use your real name and don’t tell anyone your address’ was my “internet safety” lecture, and that - that’s not enough. I don’t know what is, anymore - throwaway emails for every account you sign up to, since often the account management/deletion policy isn’t obvious until you’ve already signed up and had cause to go looking? how far do you have to fudge the details of your day-to-day life in conversations with the people you meet? what’s the tradeoff between ‘being able to establish yourself an identity’ and ‘being safe’? where’s the point where safety measures are Enough and the social engineering starts instead? how the fuck do people ever trust anyone.
I am very privileged to be able to ask these questions academically.
I guess what sits most uneasy with me about being confronted with the breadcrumbs of my own life like this is that I have always been an open person. I’ve done good by being an open person, I’ve helped people. I feel very strongly about being an open person, in exposing the details I choose of my life, good or bad. it’s just become obvious to me how easily it could not be my choice.
like I said, it terrifies me.
Cosplay WIP - West Witch, Hat
Frankly the part of this costume I’m most proud of, because I had never made any kind of hat before and it turned out really nicely! I didn’t get all the trim done in time, but that’s easy enough to fix now that it’s not Katsu-crunch. Eternal thanks to @elementalsight who held my hand and offered lots of advice and help while I flailed over this.
Cosplay WIP - West Witch, Skirt Painting
I managed to take photos really quick while I was working on stuff, but did not have time/energy to upload them before Katsu (or even right after Katsu, haha). The underskirt edges were airbrushed, because I make a lot of poor choices but I wasn’t going to let hand-painting 30 yard of hems be one of them. I made some stencils/masks out of plastic, spaced with little wire loops (so that I could spray in between them without the wire blocking off fabric). I used basting spray to hold them down on the fabric, because it cleans up with soap and water if things got gummy. It took a good eight to ten hours to do both the layers.
The top skirt was mostly freehanded - I made some attempts at stencils but they didn’t give me the quality I wanted, so I ended up making a basic template to trace the outline off of using tracing paper, and then sat with a brush and painted in all forty of them. I ended up using part of a Gutterman thread spool to stamp the circles, because my ability to freehand circles with a paintbrush is basically non-existant. This took another eight hours or so total (which explains why I didn’t get a bunch of other stuff finished in time)
Refer Madness spotlights strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy questions I encounter at the library reference desk.
During an otherwise quiet evening on the desk, someone messaged my co-librarian on our library’s chat service with a specific, but not quite specific enough, request. She wanted the title and author of a book in a murder mystery series, published post-2000. She then provided a some 200-word synopsis of the plots and characters in the series, which involved a young girl in rural postwar England who solves crimes in her village “using her bicycle and chemistry skills.”
She’d tried book-related listservs and message boards, to no avail. Since our go-to fiction RA librarian was gone for the evening, we were on our own. But not quite alone: I jaunted over to NoveList Plus, that magical database beloved by librarians and bookish folks everywhere, and entered keywords from the patron’s description—and which serve as this post’s title.
Boom. First result:
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is the first of five books in Alan Bradley’s Flavia De Luce mysteries series. Since NoveList’s plot description was surprisingly sparse, and I wanted to make sure I got the right book in the series, I cross-checked it with its Amazon page and sure enough, NoveList was right on target.
Putting the same search terms into Google yields nothing close to what I was looking for. Google can do many other things well, but its wide generalist’s net can miss what a targeted niche search like NoveList will catch every time.
Which, of course, reminds me of the Neil Gaiman quote you can find on every corner of the librarian internet: “In a world where Google can bring you back 100,000 answers [or in this case 6 million], a librarian can bring you back the right one.”
Thanks to the life-changing magic of NoveList, we got it right tonight.
All hail librarians and their resources.
AND THEIR KNOWLEDGE OF HOW TO FIND THE THING.
help me I am in fabric hellllll
More feathers - I don’t have the energy for a full write-up but basically, for whatever reason, the batch of feathers we got do not want to take up dye. All the tutorials are like ‘just swish them around for a few minutes’, and the two left hand groups in that photos were in the dye baths for a good two hours. The ones on the right I left soaking overnight and then heated up, which finally actually made them more or less the right color and shade.
In sewing, trying to stitch cording in an even geometric pattern across a surface that curves in more than one direction is… basically impossible, really, but you can fudge the sizing some. After a few attempts at laying it out with pins or straight edges, I made a little square of card (actually a business card I had in my wallet, I was in class and going stir-crazy), and started marking out the corners with loops of thread. Tedious, but it works. I have about half the cord down - hopefully I can get the rest done tomorrow. I also turned and ironed the hems of the scalloped underskirts. They still need to be painted, but they’re looking pretty good.
Finally, some fabric porn from my better camera - like I said before, my point and shoot doesn’t really capture the colors (for ex, look at the corset photos), and even the DSLR doesn’t get the full depth of the dupioni in a single shot. But man, is it gorgeous.
Emerging briefly from under my piles of fabric with evidence that I am actually working on things. Stuff being dyed (these fucking feathers, man), giant pile of underskirt hems, overskirt at a super awkward angle, inner layers for the corset. The dupioni I’m using for the overskirt and corset is gorgeous but does not photograph well with my point and shoot.
Cosplay Progress - fancytier Aradia and West Witch
Yaaaay Aradia’s almost done - just need to make wings and the little gear buttons for the cuffs and garter ends. The beading on the shirt turned out… decently (the flash shine makes it kind of hard to see). Boots were some grey Ugg-knockoffs that were $20 on Amazon - I took out the back seam, poked holes with an exacto knife, and then used one of my tapestry needles to thread the charmeuse ‘ribbon’ through. The soles are painted with red Angelus leather paint, which held up well on the sandals I did for D*C
Meanwhile, in Sakizou land: giant bling, giant hat, giant skirt. Making molds of the rhinestones right now so I can make copies in the colors I need, and then I sketched out the underskirt border on one of my muslin panels to get an idea of the size.
God I have so much to do still fffffff
Forewarning, this is going to be way more than three because no, I refuse to pick just three. Sorted by fandom, assume canon-typical violence and language (I will expand if you're not sure and it's a sticking point).
-マサト on pixiv - mostly Kojuro and Masamune (much of it shippy), though plenty of cameos. The art style is fantastic, there's a great range of subject matter from cute and silly to sexy to hearbreaking. And there's no caving to the tropes and cliches common to BL, particularly in Japan - both dudes are just as masculine as they are in canon, and the older, buffer one is just as submissive as in canon. There's some slightly racey sketches in the mix, though nothing explicit.
-Lead A Horse To Water by Mithrigil - this is a 'next gen' fic which I know isn't everyone's cup of tea, but the characterization is fantastic for both OCs and canon characters, and the plot fits in fantastically as a continuation of canon, which is not an easy skill to master. The life of one Katakura Shigenaga, in line to become the second Katakura Kojuro, and the relationships between the Katakura and Date clans. Includes the line "Don’t bottle it up until you do something stupid and I have to punch the Katakura out of you again." from Masamune which is so perfect. Some explicit sex, and focuses on a wakashudo relationship (institutional pederasty in the Japanese warrior classes), though it is consenting.
-The Plague Returned in Winter by Mithrigil - Did you want teenaged Kojuro being fiercely protective of kid Masamune? Drawing on actual history in the process? HERE YOU GO. Attempted filicide, but no other warnings.
-Cutting Loose by Letterblade - pure Masamune/Kojuro PWP, extremely hot. Rough sex with some BDSM.
-The Baths of All The Western Stars by biichama and roachpatrol - A fantastic Helmsman!Sollux fic. As that suggests, body horror and dubious consent within.
-Our Lives on Holiday by ashkatom - A non-SGRUB revolution fic that's actually complete and incidentally AMAZING. Major character death and I will emphasize the 'canon-typical violence' part here, because revolutions are messy things.
-Wreckstuck by faithbegetsfaith - Delicious Alternia history and worldbuilding. All OCs, which makes it accessible to those not in fandom, and you will care way too much about these OCs. Major character death, non-con (but not a major feature), again with the canon-typical violence.
-The Vienna Game by paraTactician - I think half of HS fandom has read it already, but if you haven't - cyberpunk AU troll fic, with a ton of references and shout-outs to various classic cyberpunk works.
-After Us by toastyhat/emptyfeet - a fantastic Ancestor-centric fan animation.
-Firebirds by antiochene - An Avengers Vs. X-Men AU where people are actually in character and the plot makes more sense. Lots of action and story tension, as well as FEELINGS. Major character death, this will almost certainly make you cry. I'm not sorry.
-Rex Racer on the Final Turn by GrayJay - Alex and Scott Summers, and their relationship with each other. Parallels some early X-Men chronology leading up to Alex's introduction though knowing that material is more of a bonus than anything else. Truly fantastic exploration of two characters who frequently get the shaft both in canon and fandom. If you don't like Scott Summers but aren't sure why beyond 'he's uptight and boring', please read this and maybe reconsider?
-Learning Curve - Rictor and Shatterstar, exploring humanity and the bounds of their relationship.
Star Trek AOS - Graduate Vulcan For Fun and Profit by lazulisong - An exploration of James Kirk and his history through language-learning.
Coldfire Trilogy - Before the Face of the Sun by torch - an alternate ending that in my heart is the true one. One of my all-time favorite things to come out of Yuletide!
Pacific Rim - First A Darling, Then A Marvel by isozyme - post-movie, scientists-centric. Newt has a Bad Idea.
FF7 - The Things You Never Know About People by joudama - Turks-centric, particularly Reno, with some backstory and lovely Wutai-related worldbuilding. I didn't originally bookmark this and then totally failed to find it again, so for a long time I wasn't 100% sure I hadn't just dreamed it up.
FF7 - No Resistance by acidragdoll - Shinra-centric AMV set to 'Handlebars' by Flobots
Getbackers - Ivory Bridges by Branch - All the Fuuga relationships. ALL OF THEM.
No. 6 - The Future by ShironoOkami - A lovely post-script/epilogue to the series.
multi - Rock What You've Got by HananoJudgeHolden - Multi-series AMV to 'So Beautiful' by Superchick, celebrating positivity and girl power.