Saturday, July 27, 2013

Road to Salt City Steamfest - Days 26 & 27

Hey all. It's been convention time. Yesterday and today I was at Salt City Steamfest and boy was it an experience. I'll show you all pictures later. Namely when I muster up the energy to go find my camera and snag my photos off of it.

Anyway, there are two songs left in our lovely playlist. Tonight you're getting the last two. Tomorrow I'll post a Spotify link to the whole shebang and write out the whole thing.

Tonight's first song is "Trust" by Bitter Ruin.

The last and final song of the playlist is a steampunk anthem. Professor Elemental's back with "Steampowered."

See you all with the whole playlist tomorrow.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 25

Ladies and Gentlemen, last night I promised you costumes. Tonight, I deliver.

This is the costume I will be wearing tomorrow. That is the second blouse I made, my favorite skirt from Clockwork Couture, a belt from the same place, a handmade corset, and various and sundry jewelry pieces. 

This costume is almost entirely handmade by me. That's the first blouse, the skirt I made, and the aforementioned corset. 

This is for the Saturday night ball where we'll listen to Vernian Process and Unwoman. I went a bit more old-fashioned Romani styled for this one. That's an ugly white broom skirt I bought at a thrift store (I wasn't costuming at the time, so I don't know what I was thinking), the first blouse, another alteration on Christine's Corset, a lace overskirt I designed and sewed myself, and a reticule I sewed as well. There's also the Icarus Shawl I made ages ago. There's an interesting bit of jewelry attached to the corset as well. 

I leave tomorrow morning for the convention, and I am so excited I could explode. 

But not so excited I'd forget to post tonight's song. Tonight we'll be listening to "One White Lie" by The Aeronauts.

While there's a version of this song on YouTube, it doesn't have particularly good sound quality, so click on the song name to go to the song on Bandcamp. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Road to Salt City Steamfest - Days 23 & 24

As we get closer and closer to Steamfest (I leave for the convention on Friday), I'm finding it harder and harder to find time to blog.

Suffice to say, the second blouse is finished. I sewed it all last night. I was up until almost midnight finishing it, but it is finished. I like you guys, but not enough to blog at midnight when I'm tired and can't see straight from sewing all night.

Tonight, I made a little reticule. A reticule is a women's drawstring purse. It is awesome.

Tomorrow I will show you all three costumes I've made. Yup, three. They won't be totally complete without me in them, but you'll get the idea from the dressmaker's form.

Tonight's songs start with "Oscar Wilde, Super-Spy" by Bad September.

The next song is "Thorngauge" by The Extraordinary Contraptions.

There's no youtube video of either song, so click on the song names to go hear them on

Tomorrow, there will be costumes. And they will be amazing.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 22

Okay, I've got the photos of the blouse. I'm still in complete awe of this thing. I mean... dudes. I sewed a functioning piece of clothing. Somehow it's almost more impressive to me than the skirt. Here it is:

The waist shaping will come from my corset. It is just the prettiest thing when I'm wearing it. 

Tonight's song is another by Sunday Driver. It's called "Glass House Riot." I will say, they have no good videos up on Youtube. If I were you, I'd just try out the song first. It's a pretty good piece of music.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Days 20 & 21

If you were wondering where I was last night, I was having an early bed time. Like I said earlier, headache season.

But in other news, guys, I made a blouse. A functioning blouse. I finished it just before I got on the computer to blog, so pics (plus maybe process pics of the second one I'm making) will go up tomorrow. I know. Sewing is so fun!!!!

Tonight's songs start with Frenchy and the Punk's "Vaudeville Voodoo."

Then we go back to the 20s with Jill Tracy's "Evil Night Together." (I like to imagine a Bond villain when I listen to this.)

So. To recap. Tomorrow, blouse, second blouse photos, more music. Maybe even another project I've been working on. T-minus 5 days and counting. I'm excited. Are you?

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 19

Guys... I am exhausted. I realized way too late that my summer costume blouse didn't fit right, so I've been sewing a new one. You'll see pictures of the finished product later.

Tonight we have a steampunk-y cover. It's done by artist Emilie Autumn. Her version of Bohemian Rhapsody is not the normal rock version you remember. Check it out:

Hopefully I'll have a finished blouse to show you tomorrow night. Hopefully... assuming I don't make a mistake, that is.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 18

Whenever you go to any kind of convention or gathering where there will be a sizable number of humans packed into a relatively too-small place, it stands to reason that you will want to have a few necessities on hand. Next weekend is Steamfest. This weekend in San Diego (just in case there are those of you just not cool enough to care in the audience) is San Diego Comic Con - the largest convention of its kind and this year tickets sold out in a record breaking 98 minutes.

There are currently 130,000 people milling around a conference center in downtown San Diego and I can guarantee that many of them are having a blast - and they are also tired, hot, smelly and surrounded by annoying people.

I have been in enough situations where I would want a few certain items, and so here is my Convention Kit. These items are ideally able to fit into a smallish messenger bag style purse, or a smallish backpack. Either way, you'll want them in some way, shape or form.

1) Tissues. There will inevitably be coughing, sneezing, allergy and illness ridden people all around you. Keep your germs/snot/facial bodily fluids to yourself. That's how epidemics get started.

2) A hand fan. Preferably one of the folding variety as they get smaller. If you prefer a battery powered unit, try one of those too. Either way, any room filled to capacity with humans is bound to get hot. You can do something about an over-air conditioned room, but you can't do anything about an under-air conditioned one. Flapping hands, programs, pieces of paper and blowing down your cleavage, while entertaining for the rest of us, simply don't do the job.

3) Something to do. If you like Angry Birds on your phone (although, it kinda ruins the spirit of things at a steampunk convention), do that. If you like reading, bring a novel. If you like knitting, crochet, needlepoint - whatever it is to keep you entertained while the annoying people whine about the wait (or to prevent you from becoming one of the annoying people), make sure you have it.

4) Aspirin. Just... don't get caught without it, okay? Trust me.

5) A refillable bottle of water. Because dry swallowing aspirin kinda sucks.

6) Lip balm. These places get weirdly dry, and once you notice your lips are chapped you will be completely obsessed with them until you get some freaking lip balm. Not a fun way to spend the day.

7) If you wear hearing aids like me or any other battery powered correctional device, bring a couple sets of spare batteries. While you should always do this anyway, I'm endlessly surprised at how often people are going with just the batteries already in the device.

8) A small sweater or sweatshirt. For the opposite reason you'd need a fan.

And that's it, folks! Guaranteed to make those who did not pack one of these kits jealous, this is one of the best things I've ever come up with.

Tonight's song is by The Extraordinary Contraptions. It's called "Prelude to the Nocturnis."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 17

So tonight I have another song for you. It is long. Very long. I mean this sucker is reeeaalllly long. At almost seven minutes, it is the longest song in the playlist. It also has quite possibly the catchiest tune of the lot as well. I can guarantee this bad boy's going to be one heck of an ear worm. I've been whistling it for weeks now.

Tonight, Steam Powered Giraffe is back with their song "Captain Albert Alexander." 

Let the steampunk silliness commence! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Days 15 & 16

The trouble with headache season is that they really mess with those best-laid blog plans. I'd say I was sorry, but when you have a headache that bad you don't really feel too bad about not blogging.

Tonight I'm showing you something else I've made for the convention. You guys, I sewed something. Not knit... sewed. I am so incredibly pleased with myself. I made a skirt.

That's it on the dress maker's form. I made the entire thing out of fabric remnants. The drawstring is a bit of microfiber "leather" lashing I got in a package from Wal-Mart (and is too long so should probably be trimmed). 

The pattern is from a company called ModKid, and the pattern is Juliana. I've gotta tell you, this is a beginner seamstress' dream. The skirt is not only very pretty and fun to make, it's a nice challenge after way too many pairs of pajama bottoms (with blog as my witness, I will never make a pair of pajama bottoms again). The instructions are incredibly detailed, the paper is sturdy, not that thin stuff, and it is super easy to do. I learned a whole lot by making that skirt. I highly recommend it for not just costuming, but for fun summer wear. I think I'm going to make another one really soon.

Tonight's music starts with Sunday Driver and their slightly lower tempo song "The General."

And then, just to pick the pace back up, Dr. Steel is back with "Fibonacci Sequence." (Note: This is a fan made video that Dr. Steel really likes as it's on his favorites playlist. The long, strange piece at the beginning was part of a DVD menu that was included into the youtube video because the creator liked it. Wait a little. The music video will come.)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 14

Hi there, blogonauts! I have a splitting headache tonight, so we're just going to go with the song, okay?

I've got another song by Voltaire. It's called "The Industrial Revolution (And How It Ruined My Life)".

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 13

Hello, all! I'm back with more wonderful music for you, as well as a book review!

The book is the first in a series called The Parasol Protectorate. The first book is called Soulless, and is pretty darn amazing.

The book tells the story of Alexia Tarabotti, a spinster who also happens to have no soul. This means that the various vampires and werewolves in Victorian London can't bite her. Unfortunately, when she encounters a particularly unknowledgeable vampire who decides to attack her, she accidentally kills him.

Now Alexia and the rather gruff Lord Maccon are out to solve a supernatural mystery - if they can get around Alexia's rather harsh attitude!

Seriously, this book is amazing, and you should absolutely read it. You can buy it here, on Amazon.

Now, I give you a very funny song by a very funny band. Here is "Steph(v)enson" by The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing. Warning: This is one of the only songs they have that doesn't contain swear words. If you are not a fan of this kind of language, stick to just this song.

See you all tomorrow!

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 12

Hi everyone! How did you like Tabitha? She's a hoot, isn't she.

Today's song is another by The Cog is Dead. It's Blood, Sweat and Tears.

See you tomorrow with another fantastic song!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Days 10 & 11. Meet Tabitha!

Hey there, y'all. Poor Kimberly was feeling just a tad under the weather last night so she and I agreed that we could do a double post today.

I am Dr. Tabitha Clarkwell, Kimberly's steampunk persona. I am from the South - about the central part of the state of South Carolina. My mamma was a chemist of some small repute, and my daddy was a steam engine designer. I was raised in a big plantation house (that oddly enough didn't have a plantation attached - more science, less farming I suppose) with a large library and some equally large labs so I got into the various sciences at a very early age.

When it came time for my debutant ball, I decided I wasn't too keen on being escorted or fawned over (this is a little white lie. In truth, I just forgot about it), so on the day of I rushed through getting into my dress. I quite forgot about the hair, which still had my goggles nested in it and was standing a tad on end since I had been replicating a Leclanché cell - a type of battery invented by Georges Leclanché. I quite forgot about the shocks, and then there was another kind of shock when the high society ladies saw me in my slightly stained, wrinkled, crooked dress, mildly dirty hands and face (what? Working with metals and such can do that to your hands!) and sticky-up hair.

The ball was soon forgotten, but my successful cell wasn't. It sparked an interest in electricity that brought me into school and into my career as an electrical engineer.

As I reached adulthood, I met someone who would change my life. He was another electricity fan by the name of Nikola Tesla. He and I were talking in a restaurant about the theoretical design of a little device we only somewhat jokingly called a death ray. We then went back to his lab to test the theory and successfully built one. Then, being the intelligent, world war fearing folks we are, we dismantled it.

Too bad making a death ray doesn't exactly go unnoticed.

Now, good old Nikola, he's a bit infamous. But most people have never heard of me. So while he continued to profess his success in order to create some level of doubt as to the actual ability of the machine to work, I went on the run from several world governments (and the odd super villain or two) who want me to rebuild it so they can conquer the world. You'd think humanity would come up with a better life goal than world domination.

Well, one of those super villains is named Dr. Steel. This is his song Back and Forth.

The next song on the playlist is by Steam Powered Giraffe (no, that is not a joke or a fake band name). It's their song Brass Goggles.

We'll see y'all tomorrow with another song!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 9

Okay, last night I promised you guys I'd show you a knitted thing for the convention. Well, here it is!

I know. It doesn't look like much. A random rectangle with stuff on it. But rest assured, it's a very cool piece. What you are looking at is a bodice. It's my version of a corset, but there's no boning (because adding boning to knitting is very, very hard to do and can result in your corset disintegrating - go ahead. Ask me how I know), and it will lace up in the back. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Amalfi in what I believe is "apple." It's left over from a sweater I made. 

Using some shiny, brassy fabric, I cut out little gears and appliquéd them on with embroidery thread. There are little small ones and half of some large ones. I used a brown embroidery thread for the small gears and some gold metallic embroidery thread for the large gears. 

I then found some lovely, shimmery, sheer, wired ribbon in the clearance bin at Wal-Mart (there are very few places to buy ribbon around here), and I weaved it through some yarn overs I knit into the garter stitch panels. 

I will also note here that this is a heavy modification (read - I started with that, and then completely bastardized the thing) on a free pattern called Christine's Corset. That's a link to the flickr page with the actual pattern. You'll note that it is very, very different looking, except for the edges where the lacing goes through. I used a thinner yarn, made it fancier, basically turned a utilitarian costume piece into an artsy one. It was a lot of fun to make, and I'm glad I did. 

Tonight I will introduce you to a song that I personally think has elements of an alternate theory behind Jack the Ripper. The primary theory is that Jack the Ripper was a man - either a doctor or a butcher and may have had syphilis. One of the many alternate theories is that Jack the Ripper was actually a Jacqueline - the famous Murderer of Whitechapel was a woman. 

The song is The Surgeon's Widow by Escape the Clouds.

I won't be writing tomorrow. That task will be left to the inestimable Dr. Tabitha Clarkwell, my steampunk persona I pretend to be while in costume.

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 8

This is a pretty late post, and I actually intended to show you one of the things I knitted for the convention. Unfortunately I got sidetracked sewing something and lost track of time, so we'll do the knitted thing tomorrow.

Today's song is The Copper War by The Cog is Dead.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 7

Do you know what I like about this particular post-a-day? I started on the first of the month, so the post number and the date are the same. It should be considered mildly sad that I happen to be this bad at remembering what post I'm on that I need to check to get the numbers right.

Today's song is my absolute favorite in the whole playlist. Seriously, I love it so much last week I set Spotify to private mode and listened to it about 50 times on repeat. It makes me happy.

Professor Elemental's back with the Tom Caruana remix of Splendid. Plus he's got this awesome music video that goes with it.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 6

Hey guys! I'm back.

Before I give you the song of the day, I'm going to review a very cool steampunk book. It also happens to be a knitting book, so even better! It fits with the blog's name (for once in my life).

The book is by The Ladies of Mischief and it's called Needles and Artifice. The book has two main parts. The first is a rip-roaring adventure story involving the ladies. The second part is a series of absolutely stunning patterns. They have beautiful sweaters,

feminine, lacy tops,

and my personal favorite, a double knit, fingering weight scarf with a non-repeating pattern. I'm making one of my own (but I won't post photos until I'm a bit farther along).

If you're into knitting and steampunk, you absolutely need this book. No, you really do. Now stop arguing with me and buy it. 

For today's song, we're going mystery solving with Abney Park again. The song is Victorian Vigilante and it's one of my absolute favorites. 

See you tomorrow, steamboys and steamgirls!

All images are from the book, are by Jessica Glein, and are displayed on their respective Ravelry project pages. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Road to Salt City Steamfest - Days 4 & 5

Hey, guys. Sorry about the lack of a blog post yesterday. It was the fourth and I was out late watching multicolored explosions, you know?

Anyway, because it's late again (never fall asleep early in the evening - it never ends well), here's the next two songs for your playlist.

The first song is "When You're Evil" (which is possibly up there in one of the funniest songs we've got on this playlist) by Voltaire.

The next is "Clarence" by This Way to the Egress.

I'm off to bed, so enjoy these two songs!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 3

Because there are only so many witty things you can say about music before you have the deep seated desire to gouge your eyes out with your own knitting needles, I've decided to add some lovely reviews of various musicians, steampunk shops, artists and various other lovely steampunkery to the daily postings. They might come daily, they might just be when I feel inspired to do so.

That being said, today's review is of the wonderful and marvelous steampunk boutique, Clockwork Couture.

Based out of Burbank, CA, Clockwork Couture has been online since 2008 and last year finally opened up their shop. They stock exclusively cruelty-free clothing and accessories and support their local animal shelter by fostering animals.

I have to say, I've bought a few things from them and it's all been wonderful. Enough so that if you're looking for costume pieces, check out the site (and if you live close enough, consider going to the store! If you do, I'm jealous). You'll see a few things from them in my costume when we finally get to the convention.

For tonight's music selection, we have "Something Wicked (That Way Went)" by Vernian Process.

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest - Day 2

Hello folks! I'm back. And I'm here with another fantastic song for you.

Abney Park is considered to be one of the first (and in my opinion best) truly steampunk bands. They paved the way for many of the others I'll be showing you.

Steampunk land rarely has normal pirates. They do exist, but the more common version is the airship pirate. You know, flys around in an airship of some sort, pillaging and looting is done from the air, that kind of amazing fun thing.

Fortunately for us, Abney Park is just that.

If you have a suggestion for a band or song for the playlist, I'm all ears. The only caveat is that they have to have their music on Spotify. Go wild steampunks!

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Road to Salt City Steamfest

Last night, when he got back from his trip, my stepdad gave me an awesome shirt just because. It says "To save time, let's just assume I'm never wrong." Best. Shirt. Ever.

And since the shirt doesn't lie, I'm going with this idea as being totally awesome.

At the end of July, Mom and I are going to Salt City Steamfest for my birthday. Yes, I know my birthday is a week later. I don't care. Close enough.

Until then, I'm redoing an old idea. Namely the Song a Day concept from Christmas. 

I'll also post a photo of some awesome costume piece I'm making once a week so you can get ready with me!

As previous, all the music I'm providing is on Spotify.

Dudes, this is a giant, Steampunk party, and you're totally invited.

"You're Invited" by Professor Elemental.
Creative Commons License
Help, The Stash is Attacking! When Yarn, Knitting and Growing Up Go Terribly Awry by Kimberly Lewis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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