Thursday, July 18, 2019

July Projects

Greetings my loves!

It's so, so HOT this week. You know what, I love it. I love summer. I think it's quickly becoming my favorite season. I still may prefer fall, just a bit, but dang  I love the green world and the hot, still air and the blue skies and white clouds because, I think, it makes me feel like moving more slowly, more deliberately, breathing more deeply and taking time to do whatever I'm doing well.

I have stayed outside far more than being indoors lately, so the past few weeks my crafting projects have been portable. I've brought them to baseball games, to 4-H judging day, trips to the park and the beach and have taken them out to work on when visiting with friends. I *did* find some really cute patterns that were on a free table during 4-H summer judging so I picked up a couple for the girls and one for me. I am looking forward to working with them soon.

In the meantime, I've been steadily working at learning crochet and have finished a couple of projects. My most recent one is this little crocheted vest, which is kind of based on the Easy Breezy Fringe Vest pattern from Bluemoonbytlc. I didn't use the kind of yarn called for in the pattern so I had to adjust the size based on my own size and the fact I was using size 5 yarn!

When I got this yarn I didn't have any idea at all about yarn weights or anything. I just thought it was a pretty color and it was on clearance for $1.50 so I bought it. I liked the feel of it. This is Bernet Home Dec in Woodberry. Anyway, I decided to use it for this vest because I thought it would look nice as a fringed vest. I don't have a lot of red items and my one red blouse is kind of cat-clawed beyond respectability. So a red top would be a welcome addition to my wardrobe!

This vest worked up very quickly as it is made in triple crochet. It definitely was a good learning experience and I liked the simple, repetitive pattern since it made me feel like I really was able to practice this stitch and get it down. It took me two days to crochet the back panel and the two fronts and to join them at the shoulders and underarms with a slip stitch. It was my first time using a crochet stitch to stitch two crocheted pieces together and I really liked learning how it was done! Crocheting shaped pieces was pretty cool. It was like making my own fabric before sewing it together!

However, I was nearly out of yarn by the time the main vest was done. I had only enough yarn left to make a few lengths of fringe - certainly not enough to go around the whole hem nicely. Dang! I went back to Wal Mart and they were out of this yarn - none to be found! After looking online I found I could order it but it was more than I was willing to pay. I was pretty disappointed but determined to finish this piece somehow. I ended up finding some beige stretch lace at WalMart and thought it would look pretty sewn around the edges. I sewed it on by hand with a loose ladder stitch so the vest is still stretchable. I wanted the front corners weighted down a bit so the garment would drape nicely so I used the bit of fringe I had to attach to the front opening. I threaded a wood bead on each strand to add a little more weight. This also doubles as a tie to close the front.

The bad things: The vest is big. It's shaped like a rectangle with slight shaping for the neckline but that's it. Otherwise it's very boxy. The weight of the garment and the front ties add a *little* shaping but not much. It's bulky. BUT.

The good: I like the bulky texture. I love the color, I love the softness of the yarn and I think this will be awesome to wear both in the summer over a little shirt or bandeau or in the fall over a peasant blouse or long sleeved t shirt. It goes with almost everything I have.

All in all I'd call this a successful project! I definitely will wear the finished item and I learned a lot by making it. I learned the triple crochet stitch, learned how to join pieces with a slip stitch and practiced blocking a finished project.

I really did not intend for this to become the Summer of Learning Crochet but it seems it's turning out that way! 😂 Here are a few other recently finished projects:

~ Crocheted Hair Net or Snood ~

Snood is almost a bad word to me just because I was/am involved in 1860's reenacting for so long and snoods were always whispered about because they were commonly sold in sutler tents and were worn over long, loose hair. Period accurate hairnets (NOT SNOODS!) are usually made of fine threads that match or closely match the hair, and worn over dressed hair. They may or may not have a decorative band of ruched or pleated ribbon/tassels/beads, etc.

ANYWAY, so, after 20 years (ohmygod) of such indoctrination it's hard to actually deal with my desire for, you know, wanting to make and wear a SNOOD. But this is totally for modern wear and stuffing long, loose hair into it is exactly the reason I wanted one. I don't like using hair ties or tight elastics on my hair since I'm trying to grow it all to one length after years and years of henna-ing and then bleaching and dyeing and cutting bangs of various lengths. Two years ago I stopped all of that and someday it will all be the same length. It's definitely much healthier than it used to be. Still, I don't like using hair ties on it. I generally don't do anything with it at all except condition it each day. Once in a while I'll use shampoo.

This snood was made using this pattern from ravelry. I don't know if I made it the right way or not but it came out useable so I'll use it. You can definitely see where I started each new round. I don't like that visibility but I really couldn't figure out any other way to build upon each round to start the new round. I made it in blue cotton/poly yarn.

I wanted to sew little daisies to the band part of the snood but couldn't find any small enough. I got a package of those tiny ribbon rosettes in the craft section and sewed those on. I love how it turned out!

My first big project was a shawl for my mom. I made this over the course of many evening baseball games. This shawl is based on My First Triangle Shawl from Winding Road Crochet and for the main portion of the shawl I used wool/acrylic yarn from Mandela in colorway Zeus. The colors reminded me so much of my mom that I had to get this yarn and make this for her! Her favorite color is purple and the blues, greys, green and soft yellows and browns remind me of where she grew up and where I spent my early childhood on the east coast, near the ocean. It came out smaller than I wanted so I added a deep border of purple which brought the size up to about 90" in length and 30" wide. It's meant to be more a blanket/throw to cuddle up in when watching tv or reading than an accessory (because I am absolutely sure my mom would *not* wear a shawl in public!)

My current project is a guitar strap for my guitar out of hemp string and green cotton yarn leftover from my halter top. It's about half done but I ran out of hemp so I need to pick up another ball of it next time I go out. I love how it's coming out, though!

I'm definitely getting the itch to sew again and actually have some 1860's trousers cut out and half assembled on my sewing table! After seeing all the gorgeous photos from JaneFest this past weekend I feel kind of like I want to go next year and am starting to become interested in regency fashions again. For now, though, I'll enjoy the slight interest and not rush to make things and burn myself out. Those cute little romper patterns for the girls that I got from the 4-H day would be perfect to start with, after my little break from sewing!

Much love,

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Little David in the Late 18th Century

Back in May I made my oldest son, David, an 18th century style shirt and a workmans cap, buttoned apron and a makeshift pair of pants. I signed him up (perhaps too eagerly!) for an 18th century blacksmith class at a historic site and in the few days I had between his registration and the class date I sewed as quick as I could.

Because I was on a time crunch the only items completely handsewn are the cap and the apron. The shirt has the interior seams machined with all visible stitching done by hand. I was lucky I had the perfect length of this lightweight blue and white striped cotton in my stash! Linen is preferable, of course, for both comfort and period accuracy, but I had to use what I already had. The cap is upcycled from a vintage linen pillowcase and the apron is lightweight cotton canvas. It ought to be linen, or, even better, leather, but like I said, I had to use what I had. And what was comfortable for David, who is still very sensitive to textures/weight/looseness of his clothing. His trousers are modern ones (yikes!) hemmed by hand. I told him they'd work for one day if he wore his shirt untucked so no one could see the waistband. Of course, now they've become his favorite pair of pants to wear! 😂

This entire outfit (if you can call it that!) is full of shortcuts and substitutes but David was extremely happy with it and wore it proudly as soon as it was done. Since then he has frequently worn it, too, because, he says, it makes him feel more like a real blacksmith. 😂

Four children and I loaded up early in the morning the day of the class and drove awhile to the site. Once we got there, however, disappointment struck! Poor David came up to me, his face crestfallen and white, telling me that he was turned away by the gentleman teaching the class because he was too young to take the class. I was heartbroken for him so we just came home, not even staying to look around at the vendors or other demonstrations taking place that day. We got ice cream on the way back so that, perhaps, was worth quite a long drive. 😁 Two days later we found a used, old anvil for a good price and we bought that as well as a blacksmith hammer. Still gotta figure out a forge and get some tongs. . .David keeps me well informed as to what items he needs. We are working on getting everything together and once we do, David and I are going to make some annular and penannular brooches using an awesome tutorial we found online. For those, we just need a torch, which we do have. 

The next day David decided to wear his outfit again in the towns Memorial Day parade. He walked proudly with neighbors and friends, representing the Revolutionary War era in honor of a Revolution vet buried at the cemetery where the parade ended and the memorial ceremony took place. 

I worked a bit on my own 18th century gown the day before we drove out to the historic site. I did not take any pictures, however but hopefully will the next time I have a chance to wear the dress. The bodice was a bit loose after I constructed it last summer and the bagginess below the bustline bothered me. I decided to take in the center front of the bodice by curving in the center front edges a bit below the bustline and taking a little width out. I also decided to put hooks on the dress to close it (even though that is much less common than using pins) so I sewed on twenty hooks and eyes on night at a baseball game. The dress fits much better now and I am vastly pleased with its improved appearance but once we came home from the event, I didn't have the heart to take photos before changing out of my outfit. 

For the girls, I made two white linen caps out of the remaining pillowcase once David's cap was sewn. They also were all hand sewn the day before the event. They didn't get a chance to wear them (I was going to dress them after we arrived) but they will fit for awhile and they can wear them some other time. Anne's dress still fits and for Rosie I put a tuck in the skirt of Benjamin's gown from last year. If we go to Blue Licks in August I will get some pictures then! 

I have twice considered dressing in 18th century attire and pilgriming to the little "old settlers" cemetery near here, not accessible by vehicle. In the end, though, both times I decided the effort was more than I was willing to do just then. Sometime soon though, perhaps, the girls and I will go. Summer is starting to slow down a little with baseball season nearly over and summer judging for 4-H over after this coming week and it's nice to just breathe a little and enjoy the moment and the green, humid, hot world. 

Much love,