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Friday, January 30, 2015

Historical Sew Fortnightly Foundations Challenge - A Change of Direction

Originally the plan was to make the stays, but they're not finished and I've been feeling off colour yesterday and still a bit today so they've not moved.   I am still going to finish them, I have to in order to make the blue dress.  However since I did finish an item that could be considered a foundation on the 14th of this month I'm going to count that for this challenge and the stays will simply be in addition to it. 

What the item is:  746m of sport weight 2-ply handspun yarn (Perendale)

The Challenge:  Foundations

Fabric:  It was originally some perendale roving, it will become 18th century hand knit stockings

Pattern:   None

Year:  1775

Notions:  I used my Majacraft spinning wheel, which is totally not accurate, a spindle would have been more appropriate but the wheel is the tool I'm best with

How historically accurate is it?  Overall probably about 90%, I may have used a modern wheel, but the spinning itself is the same no matter what tool.  The 10% is the prep as I sent it off to the local mill to be carded and washed.  It's slightly overspun and overplied to make improve its wear characteristics.

Hours to complete:  A lot, I'm calling the fibre the neverending grey to give you some idea.

First worn:  Not worn yet, but patted quite a few times, does that count?
Total cost:   Probably about $30.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


The Regency stays are now cut out and I've started sewing them.  The boning channels are in the main pieces, and I've got the gussets partially done, the lining still needs to be attached to them but the fashion fabric is all sewn to them, and I did that by hand.
The inner fabric is cotton duck and the outer or fashion fabric is the most gorgeous silk twill which is tightly woven, no real sheen but is perfect for what I'm doing.
Hip gusset, there is another hip gusset but it goes between the front and side pieces so it comes later.

This is the front of the stays with the bust gussets, the lining isn't in this yet, next I need to put the busk pocket in and then I can attach the lining.
I will get onto the machine sewing tomorrow hopefully, after the groceries and I suspect I'll have to get another curtain track too as Ian broke his second one tonight.

I got a little more done on the shawl, still a very long way to go but it's looking more like it'll be lovely now
Ok, it looks like a wet dishrag, but a little imagination is handy here.

I got some knitting done on the travel socks last night at the guild meeting, loving how this is looking, especially as I dyed it up myself.
I've started destashing yarn as well, I'm finding that the huge amount I have is a little overwhelming and I think having so much is also attracting more that I don't need.  I don't even want it that badly, it just seems to happen.   So I'm thinking if I get it down to manageable proportions I'll feel better and there'll be more working space in the studio.   I've also reduced my queue on Ravelry down from 9 pages to 4 and that feels better too.    I think I need to do the same with my fabric, but for now I have a destash page on Ravelry which is slowly growing and once it's all sorted I'll be listing them all on Facebook.  Getting some money won't hurt either as I'm not getting a lot of work right now.   That's a two sided thing, lovely having more time, not so good having less money; it's something that's out of my control though so I'll make the best out of it.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Day Off?

That was the plan today after yesterday was spent clearing out the lawn area (mowing, cutting edges and using the weed eater).   It went slightly west though.   I went out and banked some money, got some fruit and some things not quite as good for me and then taped together and cut out my PDF patterns before finally sitting down with a good book.
I've also decided a couple of possible DIY things on the list might be better done by professionals.   So I've texted my plumber to see if he's still in business and have asked my brother for help in getting the cupboard door back on the kitchen unit - he's a joiner by trade.

Tomorrow the boys are at home so there will be some housework (with complaining) and picking up the cats food, and possibly some knitting.  I'd love to sew, but the lounge floor is needed to do my cutting out and the boys being home means it won't be available.  I will get the fabric out though!

Saturday, January 17, 2015


There are many distractions from crafting in my life.   Obviously there's family and work (both important) and then there's the work that needs doing on the property.

Last week was spent prepping and then painting every windowframe in the house; they now all look like this:
Nicely white, with 3 coats of gloss enamel and 1 of primer where needed.
The latter part of this week has been spent moving pavers from the garden pile to the end of the driveway as we sold them on Trademe.    There were a total of 1775 which weighed 5.8kg each.   I think I moved close to half of them and was working with minimal breaks for 2 days.   Today we've been helping load them on the purchaser's trailer
This is what's left after 3 loads have left.
I have managed a little spinning and some prep work on my next spinning project
3 skeins of romney (dyed) and one of the everlasting perendale

Halfway through flick carding the East Fresian wool, planning on spinning this for socks and the silk that came with it will be spun for embroidering on the socks.
 The East Fresian is very much like a down breed, and I love down breeds for socks so I think this will work out well.
While doing all this I've been drinking either this stuff or Bundaberg Creaming Soda; both very yummy in the heat.
I've also been weeding, wasn't that long ago we got the whole section cleared, now it's back to a weedy jungle.   The lawn needs mowing too, but I'm loath to do that when the bees love it so much!

No real knitting, well, 2 rows of my socks and 4 on the shawl plus a lifeline, but I think the above may have some impact on that.   I've also printed out 2 sewing patterns and am in the process of trimming them and sticking them together.  One is for my regency stays, the other for workout pants; polar opposites, but both necessary.   I need to finish the stays by the end of the month (eeep!) and the pants by 15th February for the competition.
I will be working on the bits with deadlines first; so that's the stays, the workout pants, the East Fresian spin and then the shawl as it's 1st quarter finish.

I guess that's it for now, hoping I might get a week without major physical labour and that I'll still get some time for little workouts.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

2015 Finish Along - Quarter 1

This will be my final post today; sorry about the influx, but this one is for a linky party.

For the first quarter of 2015 I am planning on finishing my Evenstar Shawl.  At the moment I'm near the end of chart 1 and I have a long way to go, including 3000 beads!  I'm knitting it in a 2-ply cashmere yarn in rose pink and I'm going to be pretty much monogamous on this I think.    Travel socks are allowed some work but as this is such a scary knit I can't afford to get distracted by anything else.

This is it as of right now, just starting row 27 of the first chart.

Historical Sew Fortnightly Plans

  • January – Foundations: make something that is the foundation of a period outfit.

    Well, originally I was going Bustle Era, cos that's the one Dh likes, but I've had feedback from 3 other people now and Regency is winning.   Bustle era will come later.   I'm currently prewashing my cotton duck for the corset which I'll make for this challenge.  I'm going to use the Sense and Sensibility stays pattern as I already have it. 
  • February – Colour Challenge Blue: Make an item that features blue, in any shade from azure to zaffre.

    I've got 4m of sky blue cotton voile which might work for Regency and I've got Simplicity 4055 which with some tweaking might work for a muslin robe.   I think I'll be making the view A bodice and the view B dress and it'll need to be underlined so it's not too see-through.
    Since posting this I've bought (thanks to my birthday voucher) 5m of a cotton/silk narrow striped fabric that would be lovely.
  • March – Stashbusting: Make something using only fabric, patterns, trims & notions that you already have in stash.

    The petticoat to go with the above outfit I think.  I have plenty of plain white cotton that I can use, old sheets come to mind.   It's possible they may have some poly in them, but they're old enough that they may well be 100% cotton too.
  • April – War & Peace: the extremes of conflict and long periods of peacetime both influence what people wear.  Make something that shows the effects of war, or of extended peace.

    Maybe a pelisse in the military style that was popular then, I've got the Sense and Sensibility pattern for this as well and hopefully some red, blue or green wool.  I know I have blue in a fulled wool anyway so this is covered
  • May – Practicality:  Fancy party frocks are all very well, but everyone, even princesses, sometimes needs a practical garment that you can DO things in.  Create the jeans-and-T-Shirt-get-the-house-clean-and-garden-sorted outfit of your chosen period.

    Hmm, for this one I'm not sure, I may even end up back in the eighteenth century for this one.   It'll be winter here in any case so something warm.  Thinking maybe a skirt and jacket.
    Another option I've thought of recently is an apron
  • June – Out of Your Comfort Zone: Create a garment from a time period you haven’t done before, or that uses a new skill or technique that you’ve never tried before.

    I think this may be the dress for the SCA side of things, I have some blue linen that would be perfect.
  • July – Accessorize: The final touch of the right accessory creates the perfect period look.  Bring an outfit together by creating an accessory to go with your historical wardrobe.

    Easy choice here, a goatskin fur muff.   I have the fur already and some satin to line it and I can use some wool roving to stuff it too or make some felt to use as the warm layer.
  • August – Heirlooms & Heritage: Re-create a garment one of your ancestors wore or would have worn, or use an heirloom sewing supply to create a new heirloom to pass down to the next generations.

    Maybe a beaded bag or reticule for this.   I could do a lace shawl as I'm working on a beaded circular shawl and although that's not suitable for the Regency period I'm sure I could fit it into the early 20th century somewhere.  If nothing else a wedding ring shawl, I've found an example of a circular shawl pattern dating to around 1900 in Weldon's Practical Needlework, vol 12.    If I finish it too early though I can always fall back on the quilt for our bed; it's machine sewn but I know quilts have been done through the ages to add warmth to beds.   I'll research before I choose this option though.
  • September – Colour Challenge Brown: it’s not the most exciting colour by modern standards, but brown has been one of the most common, and popular, colours throughout history. Make something brown.

    Not sure what yet, but I'll either use the 2m of cotton velvet I have in stash or one of the brown lambskins.   On thinking this over I also have some camel coloured wool that would be suitable.

  • October – Sewing Secrets: Hide something in your sewing, whether it is an almost invisible mend, a secret pocket, a false fastening or front, or a concealed message (such as a political or moral allegiance).

    No idea what I'll do for this as yet, wonder if I could do a cap with something hidden in white embroidery
  • November – Silver Screen: Be inspired by period fashions as shown onscreen (film or TV), and recreate your favourite historical costume as a historically accurate period piece.

    Outlander, that is all.
  • December – Re-Do:  It’s the last challenge of the year, so let’s keep things simple by re-doing any of the previous 11 challenges.

    I might redo stashbusting and use some of my stash to make the boys and my husband trousers and smocks for the SCA gathering.

    Now, being realistic I may not get all of these done, possibly not even most, but I do want to make more historical items.   I'll still be knitting and spinning and weaving and quilting and of course I know Ian's school wants me to do some sewing for them as well.   I think there'll need to be less computer time to get everything done.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

How am I going?

1.  Health:  Sugar has been massively reduced.   First hot chocolate in a week today and one lolly offered by youngest.   On the exercise front, yesterday I climbed a big hill (the track to the old Akaroa Pa) and walked sufficiently at Akaroa and Birdlings Flat to have sore feet.   Today I also helped shift a bunch of pavers for a friend of ours.

 2.  Spending:  Well, the E-spinner money is gone, but I feel it's in a good cause.  I now have a macro lens for the camera (which I've been wanting since I got the camera) and a new GPS to replace the very frustrating old one.   Harvey Norman had a very good 5 year interest free deal, it won't take anywhere near that long to pay it off, but all my spending money for the next while is spoken for.   It won't affect the main budget though so it's all good.

3.  Crafting:   I'm still trying to decide which era to go for.  I want to make a kirtle so I can go to next year's SCA event, don't have time to do it before this year's one and I'd have to make trousers and smock for each of the menfolk as well.  Good thing about this I only need to make a shift for underwear, no corset.
I also want to do early 1800's cos I love the styles and can see me wearing them now for my day to day wear, and then there's the bustle era which works well for steampunk.   There is a steampunk group in Christchurch too.   For the second 2 I need to do corsets; both different shapes, plus petticoats (also different shapes) etc.   The other difficulty is I will be losing weight due to the removal of sugar so I need to keep that in mind too.

My question for you, should I go Regency or Bustle Era?
This is the sort of shape I like in Regency

And an absolutely gorgeous bustle era dress
I wouldn't necessarily be making these particular dresses, but it gives you an idea; which first?

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