Episode 6: The Dress Travels

There comes a point in many projects where nothing interesting happens. For a very long time, the only possible thing to note is that it’s “still coming along.” Hence, the long pause between posts. I have still been working on the dress and it is still coming along — I’m actually nearing the end of the skirt, at which point I will have something noteworthy to talk about. But in the last couple of weeks, the only interesting things the dress has done is develop an unusual odor (FH suspects the bottle of Miracle Gro housed in the same room as the bag o’ yarn) and travel with us to Rhode Island for my mom’s 60th birthday.

Pictured: The entire Pomata clan. The dress is the one in the middle.

Everyone looks sort of cranky because it was a thousand degrees that day, and I was making them take a picture with almost 1/2 of an inanimate object.

And now, the real star of the blog (and her camera-shy sister):

Episode 5: The Ghosts of Projects Past

Whenever I think of Deadwood, I immediately think of Super Mario Bros.

Stay with me here.

When I was a little girl, I had a nervous fidgety habit, borne of boredom and verging on compulsion. No matter what I was doing, if my hands were not otherwise occupied, they would surely be destroying something. If given unlimited time and fingernails, I would have completely de-wallpapered my childhood home. My mother tried giving me everything from silly putty to malleable wax to keep my evil fingers occupied, but the only thing that really worked was a ball of yarn.

My family watched a lot of movies — easily as many hours per day as most people spend on television. Since the TV was never on simply for background noise, anything we watched demanded our complete attention. This meant many hours of nervous fidgeting, and therefore  many optimistic crochet projects. Ten-year-old me never half-assed anything, so once I’d come to the end of my first sampler I immediately launched into a rapid-fire series of ill-advised projects. Like my attempt at solo synchronized swimming, these quickly unraveled works taught me that just because it looked cool in my mind didn’t mean I could do it.

Or rather, I should have learned that. For some reason, the lesson never stuck. What did stick was the connection between watching movies (or, later in life, television) and working with yarn.

Now I can return to the original, seemingly tenuous connection: Last summer, I finally got around to watching Deadwood. At the time, I had been out of college for a year and my job prospects were looking dismal at best, so I was working on using up my trunkful of scrap yarn. The problem with this method of knitting is that the number of projects that don’t require a large, uniform quantity of yarn is unfortunately small, and I hadn’t yet thought of knitting flowers (more on that some other time). I thought I had enough peach-colored cotton and enough small amounts of other colors to make Mario-themed pajama shorts. I also thought I possessed the expertise to pull off intarsia knitting while writing my own pattern. I was wrong on both counts. Furthermore, I apparently threw the project away when I last organized the Yarn Trunk, because when I went looking for it to get a picture of failure for this post it wasn’t even in my Shame Closet (where failed projects go to ruminate on what they’ve done wrong; not to be confused with the Shame Cabinet, which holds the Matrix sequels and the Star Wars prequels). I never throw old projects away, although every time I looked at this one’s malformed mushrooms the ghost of Al Swearingen would rise up and inventively curse at me for my foolishness.

That project eventually turned into these guys, which I made for my nephew while rewatching Spaced on DVD:

Now any time I think of those little guys, I’ll remember the DVD commentary and how I thought “Geez, they must have recorded this just seconds before Kevin Smith’s head disappeared up his own ass!”

So far in the dress project, I’ve been watching BSG, Coupling, and most notably Twin Peaks. I don’t know if the association will stick, but I kind of hope that when I look back on my wedding pictures I’ll see Kyle MacLachlan’s head superimposed over my dress and think to myself, “Damn good coffee!” I also hope that the dress doesn’t wind up in the Shame Closet, rocking itself to sleep and whispering “YO, K2tog, SSK, S2KP…”

Episode 4: A Discussion of Length

I’ve been watching a lot of Coupling lately (the U.K. version, lest you judge me). So a question of length seems in order.

Have you ever tried shopping for a less-than-floor-length wedding gown? (Have you ever tried shopping for a wedding gown?) The point is, no one carries them. There are a very few online (like Whirlingturban) and maybe a few more not-online boutiques that cater to the nostalgic, but even the larger mainstream bridal boutiques carry mostly strapless ballgowns. God knows those look awesome on some women, but not on everyone.

The only time I’ve seen anyone try on a tea-length gown on the aforementioned SYTTD, it was a really cool redhead with a gaggle of flamboyant gentlemen, and she decided it was “too costumey.” My fiancé would have said the same thing. It looked something like this:

I think it looks fabulous.

Now, I have to note that I am not marrying a gay man. As I am not one myself, that would be an unfortunate situation. But…

Nick does have an alter ego.

And his name is Gay Nick.

And he is a stone cold bitch. He once told me (accurately) that the store Forever 21 was not intended for someone with wide shoulders, when I complained about the fit of a pea coat.

The thing is, Gay Nick hasn’t offered an ounce of fashion advice since I decided to abandon the tea-length dream for a floor-length handmade lace idea. This makes me anxious, much more than his reticence and noncommittal silence when it came to the first dress I loved. The best I’ve gotten out of him so far is that the dress I’m modeling mine after is wrong for me because I hate my arms.

So, I’m asking the Internet to be my replacement Gay Nick. I know why he’s being silent on this issue of fashion — investing the money for yarn and the labor of knitting and the labor of love into this project means that I’d better love it, and he’d better love it too. But more than that, he’s at his core a traditional dude, and he doesn’t want to keep picturing me in my wedding gown when I ask him how the first 16 inches look.

Making the decision to make my own wedding gown means that I don’t get to have the SYTTD EXPERIENCE. I don’t get to play dress-up in front of my friends and family (not that I think that might have been even remotely enjoyable to begin with). Regardless, I still crave input. Every time someone comes up to the desk where I work and asks what I’m doing (shit, I’m admitting that I work on my wedding dress while at work…), I’m a little excited and a little nervous to admit that it’s my wedding dress. I know no one would be honest in that situation. No one would actually say “Good god, THAT’S unfortunate. Let me give you the address of a good dress shop and a gym, for Christ’s sake.” It’s still a little gratifying when people tell me it’s looking good, though.

Will I cry when I first try on my wedding dress? Or will my first reaction be to notice all the mistakes I’ve made? Will I think it’s too costumey? Will I break down and ask Gay Nick for his opinion? I don’t know, but even if I don’t get to have this experience in a high-end boutique, I guarantee champagne, cake, and bitches will be present.