Saturday, November 18, 2006

My Moustache

Thursday I had my first 'lesson' with Victoria Wood. She has a studio behind her house in Long Beach. I was amazed to realize it doesn't take me any longer to get to Long Beach (1/2 hour) than it does to take Eden to school. Of course, it adds up - 1/2 hour to school, 1/2 hour home, 1/2 hour to LB, 1 hour back to school, 1/2 hour back home. That means I spent 3 hours driving on Thursday!

Anyway, she has a small room with set ups for 3 plus herself. She also has women who sub-contract in their homes. In another room she keeps all her hair. Straight, curly, wavy, every color and everything in between. In another room she has shelves and shelves of head blocks, each customized for her individual clients. The names written on the heads read like the credits from every movie you've ever seen.

First she had 2 of her ventilators show me their techniques. This is a ventilation tool. You will probably have to click on the photo to enlarge it so you can see the teeny tiny hook.

This is what I have to wear to see the hook and the tiny threads of the net that you tie the hairs around.

She continued my lesson by beginning to discuss the techniques used to create the custom caps from nylon netting. I had no idea that netting has a grain and different bias grains. The bias isn't just at a 90 degree line from the length-wise grain. Not only does this make a difference in fitting the cap to the head, it will also be a factor in the way the hair falls. Using the wrong bias grain on a moustache, for instance, will make it so the two sides never lie equally smoothly along the face.

I got really nervous about grain. Imagine doing all the work of ventilating about a gazillion tiny hairs onto a head cap and then the hair doesn't move correctly and the entire film is RUINED! Well, not really ruined, but delayed and you are blacklisted from ever being called by a hairstylist to work on another film because you used an incorrect bias!

While I was there, Sam Jackson's hair stylist came by to discuss Sam's hair needs for his new film. He brought a couple of Vikki's older wigs with him (I'm not sure why). They absolutely blew my mind! One was almost white, but on closer inspection was really very pale grey with little bits of black. It was cropped very short and almost looked like it was felted (a knitterly interpretation) The hairline was complicated and incredible! Even on the head block, it looked absolutely real!

The other was from the film 'Jackie Brown'.

This is an amazing accomplishment because the hair is very thin on the top and sides and you can see his actual scalp coming through. I had no idea how this was accomplished before, but now I know the secret. I am amazed.

This makes knitting a sweater seem like a walk in the park. Will I ever be able to make something like this? Will I be able to see well enough? Am I insane to spend time trying to learn?

My first assignment was to make a moustache. Vikki says a moustache has all the elements of a wig without needing all the ventilating. It has an edge like a hairline and the hairs grow in different directions, just like on head. The color and texture has gradations.

Since I groom my DH's moustache, I am quite familiar with all that. I decided to make a moustache just like his. It took me about 8 hours.

Here is the unused hair - 3 shades. The curl on a moustache is looser than on the head.

Here is my finished moustache before trimming. Can you see the light hairs at the top?

After trimming. By the way, the black outline is a guide and is drawn on the form underneath the net the moustache is made on.

And here it is as if being worn. (I haven't learned what to do with the net edges yet)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Update on Ilga and What Else Is New

Back of Lace Vest

I have a couple of Ilga Leja's patterns. They lend themselves so well to Fleece Artist's yarn. I got bogged down after working the back of this one. I worked most of the first side of the front and made a mistake that I don't know how to correct. Sometimes when I make a mistake on lace, I just make it worse trying to fix it and have to frog the whole thing. It is okay because there is a tiny mistake on about the 3rd row that I was trying to ignore, so this gives me the excuse I need to just start the whole front over again. Also, I am very tense that there won't be enough yarn to finish the design. I bought it as a kit from Colorsong, and I am dead on in gauge, so I should have more faith, but if there is enough, it will be with about 2" to spare. These are the kinds of things that cause me to abandon new projects. Since the reason I knit other people's designs is to avoid the stress of writing patterns for my own, when the project becomes stressful, I just can't go on.

I finished the Charlotte's Web from the Apple Laine yarn and am dying to post a photo, but it is for my niece and I want to surprise her. Also a few bead knitted bracelets are finished. I love knitting with beads (big surprise, huh?)

Now I am working on a baby blue cable knit sweater for my husband's birthday, December 19th. I'm using some luscious cotton/silk from Misti and size 10.5 needles, so it's going fast and so far, I've only had to rip out the first half of a sleeve when I realized I crossed my cable the 2nd time two rows too soon. I am making both sleeves at the same time, so it was a lot to rip. I almost always mess up the equivalent of about 2 days work on every project. Does that happen to you, too? I always have anxieties and doubts as I get further along, too. Now I am worried that the yarn will pill. It is so soft and loose. Not that he will wear it enough to matter. My husband is a clothes horse and rarely wears anything I make him more than once or twice a year.

I have something new and exciting on the horizon. I have been interested in wig making for about a year. Specifically, wig making with African (kinky) hair. After much research, I found a woman, Victoria Wood, who is considered to be the best in the film industry at this speciality. We talked a lot on the phone and finally met in person yesterday. I was really gratified when she said the work I have been doing (self taught) was excellent. She asked me if I would like to apprentice with her and then she will hire me as a sub-contractor. I go tomorrow to her studio to begin! My goal is to be able to make wigs for African American children especially who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy.

Here is the first attempt I made at ventilation. This is what attaching the hair to the cap is called. You use the teeniest, tiniest hook imaginable. I need special magnifying glasses to be able to see the hook and the holes in the net cap. One hair is applied at a time. I love the idea of blending the colors of hair. This little patch, about 1.5" square, took me probably 20 hours. At this rate, an entire wig would take about a year! Victoria assures me I will get faster, and also , I made it too dense.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Well, I Thought I Figured It Out :>(

I haven't posted for a while because I suffered a big letdown the next day. After working on the re-organization of my teeny, tiny studio, I pulled something in my back and then woke up to some kind of ache-y break-y flu. And when I finally sat down at the computer again, WINDOWS WOULDN'T WORK! *$?!@??!

I could only get as far as the Welcome screen and couldn't bear to try to reinstall, so I have (temporarily) given up on Windows.

I finally felt recovered enough to work on my studio reorganization again, and tonight I am starting to see some floor space!

It reminds me of the old Jewish folktale about the poor farmer who had a large family and a very small house. The wise Rabbi of the village advised him to move in all his animals, one by one, and when there wasn't an inch of air left, the Rabbi told him he could move the animals back out to the yard. The farmer was delighted with his huge, spacious house.

I would be so happy if I could actually use my sewing machine again for sewing instead of a place to pile things.

My real goal is to get one knitting machine unburied and find enough space around it to actually sit and operate the carriage.

In the meantime, I have begun a couple of projects from other people's patterns - always relaxing for me. One is a sleeveless lace sweater by Ilga Leja in Lady Godiva, a scrumptuous hand dyed silk and wool from Hand Maiden.

The other is Charlotte's Web from Koigu in a beautiful combination of 5 different colorways from Apple Laine. I bought the yarn from Earthfaire and am going to give this shawl to a dear relative for Hanukkah, so I'm not going to put the photo up till later, because she reads my blog and I want her to be surprised, but here is a photo of the yarn.

In fact, several other projects I've completed in the last 2 weeks cannot be exposed yet for the same reason.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Figured It Out!!!

Oh Hooray!!!
I decided before I took my Windows problem somewhere for help I would sit down with it ONE MORE TIME.
And I did it! It took about 3 hours, but I figured it out!!
I feel like a winner!

New Website Has Gone Live

Last night, Jordana pushed some buttons and Voila! the old website became the new website.

Click here to see it.

I sent out a lot of e-mails to the people in my address books I thought might be interested. It took a long time to send them out, and later on, I noticed that
a) I neglected to put anything into the subject line.
b) There was a typo in the first line of the announcement.
c) I used a link that had been provided by x-cart, my shopping cart software company. I had not tested the link first. Idiot that I am, I just assumed that if the link said, it would take you to my homepage. Ha ha. It took you to an x-cart page. There you found a link to click on that took you into my e-boutique.

It felt like Opening Night on Broadway and the curtain went up to reveal the actors running around getting dressed. Yes, once they found their places, the show went on. Yes, the curtain will go up at the correct time on subsequent nights. And yes, possibly the audience thought that actors running around in their underwear was the way the show was supposed to open.

But I was deflated and crushed. I went into Eden's room, crying, and he rubbed my shoulders and told me no one really cared, anyway. Was that supposed to comfort me?

Maurice was very comforting. "That's just the way things go. It will be fine, you'll see," etc. There, there, there. He did make me feel better, though.

But I got quite a few responses to my e-mail, and everyone was supportive. No one seemed to think there was anything weird about entering my new website through an x-cart portal. One dear friend even pointed out that if the home page had shown up first, some people might not have even realized that I had an e-boutique.

Now there are a myriad of little malfunctions. I await the first sale (to anyone other than myself for testing purposes)

My next major project is to get Windows to work on my MacBook Pro. I bought this specifically because it has the Intel chip and you are supposed to be able to run Windows on it. Come to find out, you need something called Bootcamp to run Windows on the Mac. You can download Bootcamp from the Apple website, but it is a beta edition and Apple does not support it. Also, you must boot up in either Windows or Mac, not run them side by side, like I thought. Also you have to buy Windows. It didn't come with the computer like the Apple OS did.

Listening to Leo Laport, the Tech Guy, I found out there is a program called Parallels that enables Windows and Apple OS to run side by side. Cost: $80. Not too bad. He also said run Windows XP Pro. Bought Parallels. Bought XP Pro. Installed Parallels. Windows wouldn't install properly. Microsoft will not support Windows on a Mac. Apple will not support Windows on a Mac. Haven't had an entire afternoon to sit around on hold hoping to talk to Leo Laport. I just gave up because I was still working on getting the website up.

Now I need to get that Windows to work. There are things I need to do with x-cart that would be so much easier if I could use a Windows based browser.

This is probably more technical bitching and moaning than the average reader wants to know about. Trust me, it's more technical stuff than I want to know about!

But I will persist and I WILL PREVAIL!