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I finished the children's Christmas ornaments so I am officially finished with Christmas sewing. I can spend November and December making anything I want!

These are quite possibly the glitziest felt applique ornaments ever.
2017 Christmas Ornaments

This weekend I'll get to start putting Hallowe'en costumes together, but in the meantime, I think I'll just read.


Sep. 16th, 2017 06:57 am
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I finished my cross-stitching project last night.

Windswept Santa

It probably has more detail stitching and outlining than any other picture I've made in the last 25 years. And so many French knots. So many. I'm not crazy about French knots, but at least I don't hate them I like I used to. This is the first cross-stitching piece that calls for lazy daisies as part of the details too.

This project went really, really fast. I've had a fair bit of free time lately.

Since I still have a week before I'll have access to a sewing machine, I'll keep working on Christmas ornaments for the children. This year they're very shiny.
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I know these posts are boring, but I do like to post every week. Since this is what I'm doing, this is what you get to read.

Here was the state of the picture last week:
Windswept Santa-week 5

Here it is this week:
Windswept Santa - week 6

I finished the cross-stitches and half cross-stitches yesterday and did a fair bit of the backstitching and French knots and the like that the instructions call "details" and I call "outlining." There's a lot left on the outlining, but I'm pleased with how it looks so far. It's amazing how much better it looks with the edges outlined.

Beside cross-stitching, I've been working on Hallowe'en costumes for the children. Since I'm just at the cutting stage, there's nothing to show. I also started a Christmas ornament for one of the girls while I was at a needlework circle on Saturday. It was a lot more portable than the floor stand I'm using for the cross-stitching. I've knit a few rows of my miser's purse too.
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This is a fabulous list of period knitting books.

I will look forward to poking around in it.
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I'm still working on my cross-stitching piece.

This was last week:
Windswept Santa - week 4

Here is this week's progress:
Windswept Santa-week 5

I finished off the last bit at the top, shifted the frame, and did the part of the robes that are on this side of the pattern.

On Saturday I spent a couple of hours working on my miser's purse, and the children and I picked out Hallowe'en costume fabrics on Friday. I've started cutting their costumes out, but since I won't have a sewing machine available for three weeks, I'm not in a huge rush.
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I seem to have done more cross-stitching than I expected this week. The top half is nearly finished.

Last week:
Windswept Santa - Week 3

This week:
Windswept Santa - week 4

Some day I'll have all my things about me again and can do something that might be interesting to someone else.
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I nearly finished the cap I was making. I had cut two sets of ruffles, but in looking at it with one set, I think I'm going to skip the other set. I still need to thread in the drawstrings, but I don't seem to have any tapestry needles with me so it will have to wait until all my stuff is available.

Then I might have spent almost all day Saturday cross-stitching. Here's where it stood Friday:
"Windswept Santa" week 2

Here's where it stands now:
Windswept Santa - Week 3

I did a little Friday night and last night, but most of it was Saturday.
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I’ve been quiet because I started another cross-stitching project. I’m not a daily poster by any means, but I do like to post weekly. Unfortunately, cross-stitching updates are about like beading updates or knitting updates – “Hey, I did some more but it doesn’t look much different.” Maybe a week is long enough to make it seem like more is happening.

Here’s the state of the picture after the first weekend:
"Windswept Santa" week 1

And here it is after the second weekend and intervening week:
"Windswept Santa" week 2

I’m planning to spend the next week or so putting together an 18th century cap that I cut out in June of last year, and then I’ll be back to cross-stitching until it’s time to make the children’s Hallowe’en costumes. Unfortunately, I don’t expect to be able to do much costuming until November at best, and it may be after New Year’s.
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I finished knitting the second side of my current pinball.

Flowering Branch Pinball

I'll have to wait until my wool batting is out of storage before I make it up, but the vast majority of the work is finished.

I have the thread to make one more, but I'm not feeling any urge to so I started on a new cross-stitch piece. I can take breaks from it working on my cap, but since I don't usually feel like cross-stitching, I ought to take advantage of the urge while it lasts.

Take Two

Aug. 4th, 2017 10:24 am
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Since the beading cord did not work for the 17th century garters I want, I bought something else. This is a lace-weight 100% silk yarn.

Silk Yarns

It looks a good deal thicker than the beading cord, but it's got more fluffiness to it. I haven't gauged it yet to see if it knits up to the gauge of the original garters, and I'm not allowed to until I finish the knitting for the pinball that I'm working on now. Twenty-eight rows to go. At that, I probably won't start them right away since I've got an early 19th century long (miser's) purse in progress right now. It's using the beading cord that was unsatisfactory for garters but perfectly satisfactory for purses!
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I finished my Williamsburg cross-stitching project yesterday. I'm really glad to have it out of my stash, but I'm not sure how much I like the finished product.

A Palace Illumination

I'm just not sure whether I want it hanging on my wall. After we're in the new house, I'll have to look around and see if there's a place it would do well. Otherwise, I'll be giving it away.
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I'm posting more for the sake of posting than because I have anything particular to say. After I finished the first side of a pinball two weeks ago, I started a new cross-stitch piece, and there's really not much to say about cross-stitching. I've worked on it a fair bit, and I'm about a third of the way finished with it. It has a lot of blank squares so it's going really fast. At this rate, I'll finish it in about four more weeks, and then I'm planning to get back to pinball knitting.

Anyway, I just wanted to let people know I'm around and reading, just not doing anything very exciting.
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I've been looking at the portrait I'm trying to copy and trying to figure out what shape the kerchief/fichu is. Is it square? If not square, what is it?

You can zoom in quite a bit on the Met website here:

It looks like it's something very sheer with a lot of drape to it. My thought would be silk gauze (modern gauze,) but even that might be too heavy. It seems to have three stripes around the border, which I assume are silk ribbon, roughly 1/4" (6mm) wide and spaced only about 1/8" (3mm) apart. They could have been woven into it, but I'm never going to find that so I would think that applying china silk ribbons would be my best option.

It's long enough to come around from the back across the breast and tie in a bow at the back, but there doesn't seem to be all that much bunched up at the neck. There are definitely two layers at the neck. My experience with 45-45-90 triangular fichus is that there is always a lot of fabric bunched at the neck that needs to be pinned into submission. That's the same shape you get with a square folded on the diagonal so if it were square, it seems like there should be more material at the back of the neck than I see in the painting. On the other hand, the points hanging down from the neck look like right angles, and I can't see how to get two right angles opposite each other without being a square or being some wonky shape with a seam down the middle. I don't see a seam in the painting.

Any suggestions? Any thoughts? Anything I'm missing? Please help!
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I have basically finished the 1790 striped gown based on the one in this picture from the Met.

I still need to do the cuffs, but I don't have the fabric yet. I want to do the kerchief/fichu as well and will do the cuffs when I do them. In the meantime, it's put away for a few months. No pictures of it on me until it's done, but I do have a couple of detail pictures for now.

The pattern matching came out very nicely on the back. The matching at the shoulder seams was purely fortuitous; I didn't even pay attention to it when I was cutting everything out.
1790 Striped Gown Upper Back Detail

And the pleats happened to work out so that the pattern repeat on the fabric was the pleat depth plus reveal so all of the lighter color is pleated out at the waist but falls on the folds. I wasn't trying to do that at all, but I like it that it happened.
1790 Striped Dress Waist Detail

Everything will need to be pressed at some point, but my iron was unavailable at the time so that will wait until I get back to it this fall.
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We went to Williamsburg for vacation this year, but we didn't take a long enough trip to make the driving worthwhile. Last year we were gone almost three weeks with Williamsburg and Louisville, but this year it was only a week and a half. It just wasn't long enough, and it didn't help that the drive up ended up taking four extra hours due to various traffic jams. We did come back through Louisville, but we were only there long enough to go to church and lunch. We were a month too early for the Jane Austen Festival.

We spent three days at the Colonial Williamsburg historic district, but it turns out that they have rearranged their schedules so that all the shops are open on the weekends. We didn't go on any weekend days so we were hunting for open shops quite a bit. It was still nice, but it was just less satisfying than previous trips.

On the other hand, there were certainly lots of good points. The weavers had a table loom set up for children to try out, and my girls loved it and kept asking to go back. We got to lunch and hang out with [ profile] reine_de_coudre one afternoon, which was very nice, and we went to the Williamsburg Heritage Dancers' regular Tuesday night session for the first time. And I wore my new linen items.



I finished my stockings in time to wear them, and you can get a glimpse of them in the picture above. Unfortunately, I forgot to get a good picture of them while I had them on so I'll have to do that sooner or later.

The other outfit I wore was my c. 1780 wool gown.



The third day was 21st century wear.

I've heard so much about linen being the coolest to wear that I wanted to test it out. One day I had a wool gown with cotton-lined bodice and sleeves, a cotton shift, and wool stockings. The next day I had a linen jacket, linen petticoat, linen shift, and wool stockings. Both days I had the same cotton and wool stays, and the weather was about the same. My conclusion was that the linen wasn't actually cooler to wear, but that it did keep me from feeling that the sweat was running down me.
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I found lace-weight cotton yarn that is not mercerized* at Walmart of all places today!  It's soft and fairly fine and on clearance so I bought all five skeins they had for the late 19th century openwork stockings I've been wanting to make.  (Four would probably be enough, but with it being on clearance, prudence dictated purchasing the fifth as well.)  I wish it were a bit finer, but I think it's as good as it's going to get.  

Life being what it is, there's no way I'll start knitting them for at least six months, but I'm excited that I have the yarn.  Now to find a pattern I like...

*or at least, if it is mercerized, it doesn't have the hard finish that most of the finer weights of knitting cotton have

Knit Plain

Jun. 25th, 2017 07:53 am
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You would think that by now I'd have it down that "knit plain" means stockinette. Why did I start garter-stitching the collar of the slipover bodice yesterday? Grumble, rip out, start again. At least I didn't have to pick the stitches up again and could rip back to the first row knit. I had enough time to get past where I was when I realized I had messed up.
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I've finished the main body of the 1919 slipover bodice and am blocking it. I've got a white/natural wool for the collar, but in searching through my Ravelry project list (yes, Ravelry is how I keep track of what I used for everything) I find that I've only used two different sport weight wools so I'll have to get something else for the edgings.

Here's what it looks like right now.
1919 Slipover Bodice - blocking

I found another error in the pattern - when joining the two fronts together, you have to cast on 13 stitches to make the pattern come out right. The pattern calls for casting on 8, but when you look at the picture, it clearly adds 13 stitches.

Incidentally, when I actually knit the front, I found that it mirrors the back armscye so the side seam does fall under the arms. The ribbing made it look really shallow in back, but in blocking it, it really doesn't look so shallow after all.
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 I've done a bit of knitting the last few days.  My stockings are finished with time to spare. Interestingly, I had about two yards of yarn left at the end of the second stocking after running out on the first stocking. I don't know if the extra stitches I picked up after the heel on the first stocking pushed me over the edge on needing more yarn or the yardage was just slightly lower in the first two balls than the second two. In the end, I do have just one odd-colored toe. 

I started working on the 17th century garters I've talked about before. I gauged them and knit about an inch before I decided they weren't working. I posted about the attempt on LJ ( because I didn't want to add the picture to Flickr.  Something more the texture of the silk embroidery floss I've used for pinballs would probably work better, but the floss itself wouldn't be suitable.

I also started working on the 1919 Slipover Bodice that Wearing History sells. I'm guessing that it comes from the 1919 edition of The Columbia Book of Yarns, but I can't find that one online so it's just a guess.  Since I don't know where it comes from, I don't want to add it to the Ravelry database.  (She put it in as a personal pattern when she did her project page.)  I am hoping this will use up the rest of the leftover yarn from the 1892 petticoat as well as a couple of sport-weight leftovers from other projects. I don't mind having a fabric stash, but I don't really want a yarn stash so I'm always extra happy to use up the leftovers.

Incidentally, there is an error in the slipover bodice pattern - it says to cast on 76 stitches for the back, but the pattern doesn't work out that way.  It needs to be 77 stitches. Then you have 61 left after narrowing for the armscyes and cast off 23 for the neck. I'm only just to the neck so I don't know if there will be any more issues. As often happens for me, I had to go down a needle size.  I find it interesting that the armscye is quite shallow on the back (and therefore presumably much deeper on the front) like the 1907 sweater and 1912 vest I've made so the shift to sweater seams directly under the arm like modern sweaters must post-date about 1919 but has occurred by about 1937 because my c. 1937 sweater does have the seams under the arms.  I may be the only one who finds that interesting, though.
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I finally finished my white wool dress based on an illustration from Harper's Bazar in October, 1897.

1897 Harper's Bazar Dress

1897 Harper's Bazar Dress

1897 Harper's Bazar Dress

1897 Harper's Bazar Dress

1897 Harper's Bazar Dress


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