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We have one finished Hallowe'en costume. MT is going to be a ninja turtle. Apparently the orange sash and mask mean he's going to be Michelangelo. I'll take his word for it. We bought the back shell but made all the other pieces. I'll admit the front shell is held on with safety pins, but I didn't exactly like to tack it to the back shell straps and didn't want to sew on more velcro or anything. I don't particularly care for working with velcro...

Ninja Turtle- Michelangelo

He is better at posing for costume pictures than I am.

The girls' witch costumes are nearly finished. They're composed of three pieces each, and two of the pieces are finished. The third pieces are nearly finished and should certainly be finished by Friday when they have a school event with a costume component.
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I finished my new long purse, aka miser's purse. I wanted a purse that I could use for Regency era costuming since I felt that my shamrock purse was too late looking. I found this one at the Met that I really liked, though I couldn't figure out how to make my knitting look just like it.

I played around with a couple of patterns and found one that I felt gave the same flavor, though I didn't try to do it in stripes. I can't even imagine trying to find a suitable substitute for that metallic thread. Mine is made of red silk size E beading cord with purse rings from the Button Baron. The pattern is Purse No. 3 from The Knitting and Netting Book by Miss Watts, published in 1840.

1840's Long (Miser's) Purse

The pattern is supremely simple:
Right side rows: Yarn over, slip one, knit two, pass the slipped stitch over the two knit stitches.
Wrong side rows: Knit.
I cast on 89 stitches so that I could have the multiple of three plus an edge stitch on either side. I knit until it was about 10" long stretched and then blocked it to keep the holes open.

Miser's Purse Pattern

Here's what it looks like without the rings:
Miser's Purse

I did the tassels like the original, but mine aren't as luxuriant. I should have used twice as many wraps on the tassels (60 and 100 instead of 30 and 50,) but I was running low on thread and didn't want to get carried away.

The Ravelry page is here.
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I finished knitting my miser's purse but I'm going to wait until the purse rings I ordered arrive to post about it. Last night I restarted the 17th century garter project. The new yarn seems a bit less slick, and after the first few rows, the stitches are looking nicer. Right now it looks like it's 16 stitches to the inch, which would be just slightly larger than the originals, but I'm okay with that.

17th Century Knit Garters progress 10-3-17

Since I knit about an inch last night, I think it's safe to say that these won't be a fast project.
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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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