Thursday, October 31, 2013

Important tools in a seamstress' arsenal: numbah 1 (and a little catch-up)

Firstly, dear readers, let me say that I am so grateful to you all for sticking with me through my two-week absence and my last attempted post. There will be a short version (tl;dr for those more versed in chatspeak) and a long explanation version of what's going on in my life at the bottom of this post.

For now, my loves, we'll turn our attention to cosplay! I'd like to point out a tool that those newer to sewing don't always know they should have in their arsenal:

This is the seam ripper I have!
It's served me well. Link is the
image's source.
The seam ripper! I'll admit, when I first started getting tools for my newest addiction hobby, I didn't think I needed a seam ripper. I mean, I'm trying to sew things, not rip up the stuff I sewed! Right? Wasn't long before I proved myself wrong on that particular opinion. I sewed a seam on my Howl shirt far too long and had to rip part of it out, which broke my little amateur heart. I've sewn many seams since then that I've had to rip out for one reason or another, whether it be that the fabric puckered, I sewed the wrong two pieces together, the finished product fit too snugly, or I sewed it to my own pants. (That last has happened on several occasions, but only while hand-sewing.) Seam rippers are essential to the inventory of any seamstress or gentleman seamster.

Things to consider when purchasing a seam ripper:
  • They can come very cheap. The one pictured on the side can be found at the link provided for $3.65 at the time of this posting. A quick search of JoAnn's website found the same seam ripper normally listed at $3.79 but currently on sale for $1.89. They range up and down the scale from the prices listed. Shop carefully!
  • Many have special features designed to make them more comfortable...but really, do you need all that special stuff? I've seen them with comfort grips, padding, all sorts of things. If that's important to you, then by all means, find a tricked-out seam ripper! For me personally, it's best to go simple.
  • Seam rippers also come with a variety of features meant to make them more effective. These range from built-in lights to folding to having an attached magnifying glass. (All of those referenced can be found with a quick search for "seam ripper" on JoAnn's website. Click through a page or two. You'll find them.) If these things are important to you, go for it! Just remember that when you're in a hurry, you may find that magnifying glass gets in your way rather than helps you see the seam, or that the battery on the light goes out and you have a horrid time trying to replace it. Extra bells and whistles, while shiny and wonderful and nice, also increase the number of ways something can go wrong. Bear that in mind.
  • They range in size from a couple of inches to scissor-sized. I find the tiny ones too small to be comfortable and prefer my larger, fits-in-my-hand seam ripper. If you're going to be ripping out long seams but also trying to get in tight places, you might want to consider getting a large and a small seam ripper. I like my mid-size perfectly fine, but that's just me. 
And that's about it! Seam rippers are, for the most part, simple. If you don't have one in your arsenal, I strongly recommend acquiring one (or three - backups are also a good idea if you lose things easily) - you won't regret it. I do believe you'll find yourself using it quite often, too!

Now, dear readers, for the catch-up!

Short version (tl;dr): We put my horse Stinger down two weeks ago Monday. I'd had him over ten years and I mourned him before and after I lost him. I'm still mourning him. The week preceding was a very difficult time. I also started a new job this Monday (four days ago) as a Course Editor! This is very good, happy news, and though I'm adjusting, I'm very happy about it! Also, J-Jo Cosplay, my partner in crime and a master of mayhem, spontaneously decided to take a bus to visit me on Friday and just went home today.

Long version: Three weeks ago this weekend, my horse Stinger's condition started to deteriorate. As mentioned before, he's struggled with cancer in the past and was being treated for it at the time. Last Sunday I noticed that his left hind leg, which he'd been favoring for a while, was significantly swollen and the swelling was fairly firm. This boded ill. I called a different vet and got a second opinion since I already knew what the original vet would say. She gave me the verdict that the swelling resulted from lymphatic drainage and the firmness of it meant it could not be reversed. She gave me options, but none included any real long-term improvement. I made the difficult decision to make him as comfortable as possible for a week and at the end of that time put him down. During that week I cried daily and went through all the stages of grief. It was...rough. I couldn't see past the day we'd put him down. I just walked in a haze of pain and crying. I didn't want to lose him and I couldn't imagine life without him. When Monday rolled around at last, I cried several times that day. My family and friends rallied around me both in person and online. Without their support I would have been lost and floundering. One friend spent the day with me and we watched a movie and gamed some. It still hurt, but I could see forward again. On Wednesday I received a phone call from a lady with whom I'd interviewed a few weeks prior. She offered me a position as a Course Editor, which I naturally jumped on! She said I'd be starting this Monday, which was fine with me though there was a bit of job overlap. J-Jo Cosplay decided to hop on a bus and come visit me because she's wonderful and wanted to make sure I was okay and cheered up, so I picked her up from the bus station Friday. She's been with me through today and on Monday we had an impromptu photoshoot with my Belle cosplay (cape included) out behind my house. She outsourced the editing to the incredible HS Media Cosplay Photography and Videography as a Christmas present to me (her birthday presents to me were incredible too), and even though the shoot was far darker than optimal conditions, several photos came out fairly well! I need to work on expressions more for future photos, however, as I'm far from satisfied with my own expressions in the shots. Still, J-Jo did an amazing job, as did HS! Again, dearest readers, thank you so much for sticking with me and being here for this blog post. I appreciate your patience and loyalty! The update schedule may be changing due to my new job, but that's not for sure yet. I'll keep you all updated.

Here's a little teaser from the shoot for you beloved folks.
HS Media Cosplay Photography and Videography here:
J-Jo Cosplay:

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