Kelsey and Philip’s Amazing Swedish Adventure!

We’re going to folk school in Sweden for a year.  We will be attending Sätergläntan Folk School in Dalarna, where Philip will be studying blacksmithing and woodworking and I will be studying weaving and spinning.  We decided now would be a good time, as we don’t have children yet and are still young.  When we come back, we hope to open a folk school of our own, where we will have classes and workshops on traditional Scandinavian skills and crafts and dancing.  Of course, we plan to stop in Norway on the way to Sweden to visit Philip’s relatives and attend some dance events.  (I might possibly get a chance to work in a bunad shop for a week too!)

Now for the answers to the questions I know you’re asking:

Yes, this is real.

No, we don’t have all the plans made yet.

No, we don’t have our visa/all our funding/plans yet.  It’s a work in progress.  We just decided this at the end of November.  We haven’t even gotten our official acceptance to the school yet.

Yes, we are applying for grants and scholarships galore.

Yes, we are working on the Swedish language.

Even though we are saving as much money as we can, and applying for grants and scholarships, we may still need more money.  If you feel like helping us, we have a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for our trip.  Depending on how much money you give us, there are different awesome thank-you gifts like bone dice, drinking horns, and gift cards to my store!

Oh, and if you donate a lot, I’ll handknit you a pair of socks.   :)

The link is here:  http://www.gofundme.com/637l3o

If you want to donate to our cause and help our dreams come true, we would greatly appreciate it.  If you want to donate and don’t want to go through GoFundMe, just shoot me an e-mail at kelsey dot seamstress at yahoo dot com.   You’ll still get the same thank-you gifts.

Philip and Me at the Nordic Ball 2013

Philip and Me at the Nordic Ball 2013

If you can’t give us any money, we would still greatly appreciate your prayers and well wishes!  Thanks so much!  Tack så mycket!

 

Published in: on February 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Beginnings of an 1830′s Dress

A Lovely Dress from the 1830's

A Lovely Dress from the 1830′s

About a month and a half ago, in a moment of sheer madness, I decided I was going to sew another big costume.  A big costume, like my 1886 dress I made when I was 16, or my first Civil War Dress.  Maybe it was because I realized I was making far too many dresses for customers without making any for myself.  Maybe it was all the wonderful inspiration from the lovely people participating in the Historical Sew Fortnightly who were churning out lovely costumes left and right.  Maybe it was because I still have several eras I haven’t sewn dresses from.  (A friend in high school once suggested I sew a full costume for every decade of the 19th century.  I’ve still got a ways to go on that.)  Maybe it was because a friend of mine lent me a pattern for an 1830′s dress.

How’er it was, I reignited my secret love for the costumes of the 1830′s, watched “The Young Victoria” several times, read a lot of blog posts,  started doing a lot of research, and started collecting 1830′s pins on Pinterest like nobody’s business.

The first thing I had to do was pick out fabric (to keep me motivated) and make all of the undergarments.  Because, of course, you have to make all the undergarments so you can take measurements and make the dress to fit when you are done.  (Did I do this with most of my previous historical costumes?  No…  I just laced the corsets tight and hoped.  It worked most of the time.)

Does this look like old lady material to you?

Material and Pattern

My friend from the Scandinavian Sewing Group, Sarah, lent me this pattern, and I, after a lot of looking at original dresses and fabric swatches, chose a brown calico.  It was on the half-off rack at the quilt store.  I may have to go back and get more, though, since I realized when I got home the pattern calls for 7 yards of fabric, and I bought 5.  Ooops.  I’m going to be sewing the dress shown on the left, and am going for a late 1830′s look.

Of course, the 1830′s not being a popular time period to sew dresses for, paling beside the popularity of Civil War and the splendor of the bustle years, I had to search a bit for the proper corset pattern.  Past Patterns makes an 1830′s corset pattern, but I didn’t find it until after I ordered the 1800-1820 pattern from The Mantua Maker, figuring I would alter it.

Reluctant to spend money on yet another corset pattern, alter it I did.  I made the bust gussets longer and added hip gussets, and it ended up looking and fitting a lot like corsets from the 1830′s.  Also, I got rid of the shoulder straps.  The 1830′s were rather transitional as far as shoulder straps go, and I decided I just didn’t need them.  I found several examples of 1830′s corsets both with and without straps, and none of the corsets in “The Young Victoria” had straps, and they were very meticulous in recreating the costumes for that movie.

Here is an original 1830′s corset, to give you an idea of how they are supposed to look and fit:

With bonus sleeve puffs!

1830′s Corset

And here is mine all done, kindly modeled for me by the lovely Sally:

With a wooden busk!  (I thought I swore these off after the 1750's dress...)

My 1830′s Corset

Corsets never fit quite right on dress forms unless the form is made for it.  I guarantee it fits me better.  Now, this corset laces up the back, as is usual, and I learned two fun things while making the lacing!

First, metal corset eyelets were invented in 1828.  No hand-sewn eyelets!

Secondly, I knew spiral lacing was used for corsets prior to the invention of the opening front corset busk, but I had never made spiral lacing.  I always heard bad things about how hard it was to do, etc.  Well, let me tell you spiral lacing is amazing!

Dress forms don't squish.

1830′s Spiral Lacing

First of all, it is MUCH faster to lace up than cross-lacing.  Second of all, you only have to put in about half as many eyelets as usual.  I love it.  My husband did agree that having a bodkin (a large blunt needle) would help tremendously in threading the cording through the eyelets.  He might even make one for me!

I did make the corset first, but I didn’t get around to taking pictures of it until after I made the chemise.  The chemise fit nicely into project #15 of The Historical Sew Fortnightly, which was back at the end of July.  How time flies!  It took me five hours to sew, and I haven’t even added lace yet,.  That is the longest a chemise has ever taken me.  (And since I made a simpler chemise literally two days before this one that only took an hour and a half, it was really a stark contrast.)

I decided to use Simplicity 9769 for this chemise, since there is a similar one from the 1830′s in the Met.

Original 1830's Chemise

Original 1830′s Chemise

The one at the Met has a ruffle around the neckline, no lace, and does not have the center front buttons that the Simplicity pattern does, so I decided to leave out the buttons.  But I decided that lace pretty much equals ruffles, so I’m going to add lace, eventually.

My 1830's Chemise

My 1830′s Chemise

The next step was making the corded petticoat, which is done, and I will tell you all about in due time (later this evening, if I can help it.)  I am really liking this era of costuming, the pieces are all so interesting and fun to make!

Published in: on September 3, 2013 at 11:16 am  Comments (1)  
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Pattern Review: Simplicity 9769 Civil War Bloomers

Well, I mentioned a while back I would start writing pattern reviews, so here goes the first one!  It seems fitting that out of my long list of historical patterns I’ve sewn, that the random number selector would choose a pattern from my first foray into sewing historical costumes.

Of course, the bloomers were the last thing I made for my Civil War Dress, just a couple days before the fair, but…  I got them done!

This is what the pattern envelope looks like:

Oh-la-la!

Civil War Undies Pattern!

And here is the sketch version of the same patterns, just for comparison:

I always thought this drawn lady looked so awkward and stiff.

Sketched Undies

As with most Simplicity Civil War patterns, what you see is what you get, for the most part.  The bloomers call for 2 1/4 yards of 45″ wide fabric, (I used quilting muslin.) and eyelet lace, beading, and ribbon.  I used pre-ruffled eyelet, because that it what was easily available at Walmart at the time.  (Yes, this was ten years ago when most Walmarts still sold fabric.)  I finished them off with the beading and peach satin ribbon, which matched the beading and eyelet on the petticoat that went with this dress.   Since then, I haven’t used beading or eyelet on a single one of my costumes, not for any real reason, it was easy to do, I just haven’t felt the need to.  (I’m also not convinced of its authenticity.)

Here are my finished bloomers, with a bonus chemise!

Meet Sally.  She's a bit of a dummy since she lost her head.

1861 Bloomers

The pattern went together really easily– I remember no problems or frustrations.  The fourteen-year-old me giggled and giggled while sewing because, of course, the bloomers are bottomless, just as bloomers from the Victorian Age should be.  (Imagine trying to fish the waistband of your bloomers out from under your corset to use the facilities and the open crotch suddenly makes far more sense.)  It’s got a drawstring in the back half of the waist, which makes adjusting to fit easy while leaving the front yoke smooth and nice.

I’ve made several pairs of bloomers from the same pattern since, for various customers, and it’s my go-to pattern for bloomers.

I give this pattern 5 stars, and recommend it even for advanced beginner sewers.

Published in: on August 30, 2013 at 10:08 pm  Comments (1)  
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Six Flags Ignite: or “How I Sewed for 12 Hours a Day for Two Months and Survived!”

Back in February, I was contacted by the costume designer for Six Flags Chicago’s Ignite program, and asked if I could sew, oh, about 30 Victorian dresses for the first section of the performance, which was set the night of the Great Chicago fire in 1871.  Over the next few weeks, I waited with baited breath to see if this designer would get the contract, and when he did, I was finally able to start ordering in fabric and start sewing in late March!

The basic parameters were this:  The dresses needed to be “quick-change” dresses, all velcro closures, skirt and bodice, and in varying shades of cream and neutral tones, to make the wearers look like they stepped out of a sepia photograph.  They needed to have bustles built into the skirts of the dresses, and bascially reflect the styles of the 1870′s.  Once all of the casting was done, the final count was slimmed down to 21 dresses that I would have to sew, but an accident with a drunk driver (in which I could have died) close to the final deadline caused me to have to bow out on the last two, which the ladies at the costume shop at Six Flags did.  So, I sewed 19 different Victorian dresses in total.  I am going to only very briefly summarize them, because if I went into deep detail, I would most likely bore even the most avid costuming fans among you to tears.  Also, I am still waiting on the professional photos of the actresses wearing these costumes, so I only have the pictures I took in my sewing room.  Please excuse the poor lighting.

The first set of dresses I finished were for the “Vendor Girls”.  These were supposed to represent poorer working class girls selling, well, whatever vendor girls would sell on a fine summer evening in Chicago in 1871.  (And yes, everyone is fully aware that the Great Chicago Fire occurred in the fall.  It was important to the musical story line that the fire be in the summer.)

Vendor Girl Dress #1

Vendor Girl Dress #1

This is the dress for Vendor Girl #1.  It is made of off-white linen and trimmed with lace and yellow linen.   It was also the first dress I made.  I didn’t like the pattern I used for it very much, so it didn’t get used again for any of the other dresses.

Vendor Girl #2

Vendor Girl #2

This is the dress for Vendor Girl #2.  I might have gone a little bit crazy with the ruffles, but hey, it was fun!  Again, all linen.

Vendor Girl #3

Vendor Girl #3

Vendor Girl #3.  Again, very simple, 3/4 length sleeves, but this time I added buttons on top of the velcro closure and a sash, instead of ruffles or a collar.  And in the back of that sash…

Look at that bow!

Look at that bow!

I put a ginormous bow.  I used the wonderful bow making tutorial over at Historical Sewing to get me started, and let me tell you– I am now addicted to making big bows!  They are so fun and add such a wonderful pop!  Plus, they are all sewn, so they can’t come untied!  Linen dress, with a cotton sash and bow.

After the vendor girl dresses, there were the dresses for the Dance Hall Ladies.  There were supposed to be six of them, but due to the aforementioned accident, I only made five.  Here they are, in all their glory.

Dance Hall Lady #1

Dance Hall Lady #1

Dance Hall Lady #1:  This was one of the only dresses I managed to sew in only one day, cutting to finishing.  And yes, I did flatline the bodice, and finish the seams, and do my best, if my best rushed, job.  And I ruffled up about 5 yards of can-can netting for that bustle.

Dance Hall Lady #1, Back View

Dance Hall Lady #1, Back View

I adore that peplum.  I think the peplum is a far-too-often forgotten detail in Victorian clothing, but it adds just such a nice touch to this dress.

Dance Hall Lady #1, Collar Detail

Dance Hall Lady #1, Collar Detail

And the collar.  Lace!

Dance Hall Lady #2

Dance Hall Lady #2

Dance Hall Lady #2:  This dress was done on the last day of the big stretch, and was made of this material that, well, I can’t say it was my favorite.  The gold was a strange stiff grosgrain type stuff that was not much fun to sew, but did have nice body and hold its shape well, especially in the sleeves!  The green was a very thin polyester satin that was a bit slippery to sew down.

Dance Hall Lady #2, Side

Dance Hall Lady #2, Side

Sleeve Detail

Sleeve Detail

There is no netting or lining or stuffing in that sleeve.  The fabric does that on its own.  Wow!

Dance Hall Lady #3

Dance Hall Lady #3

Dance Hall Lady #3:  Again, all linen, with an apron drape on the skirt and another bodice with a peplum.  I really liked the teal striped linen, and actually have a bit leftover that might find its way into a future project.  You never know!

Dance Hall Lady #3 Side View

Dance Hall Lady #3 Side View

Dance Hall Lady #5, Side View

Dance Hall Lady #5, Side View

Dance Hall Lady #5:  Linen, white with a grey pinstripe, with lavender trim.  This dress was fun, and unusual.  It was based on an original that was all dark grey and lavender, if I remember right, and had the most unusual collar!  Of course, I had to make that collar.

Collar with Tiny Pleats

Collar with Tiny Pleats

The original also had a very strangely shaped bustle.  To add some variety, I went ahead and made that strange shaped bustle too!

The Strangest Bustle Ever

The Strangest Bustle Ever

I am really not sure I ever want to do that bustle again.

Dance Hall Lady #6

Dance Hall Lady #6

Dance Hall Lady #6:  This has got to be one of my favorite dresses.  I searched high and low for an appropriate colored lace I could use to trim this dress.  It is based on an original, but the original was dark teal satin with black lace.  Oh-la-la!  This one is the same shape, with shorter sleeves and a color change.

Back View

Back View

Two drapes over the back of the skirt, and the bodice has a tail!

Side View

Side View

Now THAT is the kind of bustle I am talking about!  I think this bustle was so successful because the fabric was light and had body, I flatlined it with netting, ruffled lots of netting to poof underneath, there were a lot of layers, and also the lace stiffened the edges.  I started with eight yards of lace, and had about… 6 inches left?

After the Dance Hall Ladies, there were the Fancy Ladies.  Three of them, in fact, and I went all out on the sumptuous fabrics and trimmings.  Everything was high fashion with these ladies!

Fancy Lady #1, Front

Fancy Lady #1, Front

Fancy Lady #1.  Rich satin, lavender brocade for the trim and drape, and of course a big bow at the waist and two smaller bows at the elbows.  This is the plainest of the three fancy lady dresses.

Fancy Lady #1, Side

Fancy Lady #1, Side

Figuring out the drape for this one was difficult.  I had a sketch that I was supposed to follow, but… it only showed the front of the dress, not how the drape was finalized in the back.  So I played until I liked it.

Fancy Lady #2

Fancy Lady #2

Fancy Lady #2.  This is the only Polonaise-style dress in the whole batch.  They take just too much darn time.  And this one had a lot of ruffles too!  And my sewing machine broke midway through.  Boo!  Then on the next dress, my ruffler foot broke.  (I can’t remember which dress that was…

Fancy Lady #2, Side View

Fancy Lady #2, Side View

See?  There are ruffles on the back of the bodice too!

Fancy Lady #3

Fancy Lady #3

Fancy Lady #3.  This was getting close to the end of the sewing rush.  This dress was made of not fewer than three fashion fabrics.  The skirt was a deep gold tucked taffeta, the bodice was a light gold satin, and the apron drape was a very soft rose charmeuse (all polyester.)

Fancy Lady #3 Side View

Fancy Lady #3 Side View

Then there were a couple of non-numbered dresses.

Mother's Dress

Mother’s Dress

The Young Mother, which had a lovely gold bodice and a cream skirt, with a ginormous bow at the neck.

Mother's Dress Side View

Mother’s Dress Side View

I Adore this Big Bow

I Adore this Big Bow

This dress was nice, to have a simpler dress for a change, right in the middle of the fancy lady dresses.  Also it is the same gold material as Dance Hall Lady #2.

Pigeon Feeder Dress

Pigeon Feeder Dress

The Pigeon Feeder.  Yep, that was her actual character name.  I wanted to make this dress quite a bit more elaborate, but it was made on the last day.  You do what you can with the time given.

Pigeon Feeder Dress, Side

Pigeon Feeder Dress, Side

It did have a nice bustle, though!  (Again, thanks to lots of ruffled netting.  I went into Hancock’s and cleaned them out, about 20 yards.  The ladies asked if that was too much, I said, probably not enough.  I used that up and bought 30 yards online.  Used all of that.  Went back to Hancock’s, bought another 20 yards… I have maybe 5 yards left right now.)

After the assorted dresses, there were the Teenage Girls and the Little Girls.  Their dresses were so fun, because they got to be super young and flirty!

Teenage Girl #1

Teenage Girl #1

Teenage Girl #1.  I made all the teenage girl dresses slightly short with a flounce at the bottom edge, to reflect the fashion of the time which had teenage girls wearing dresses shorter than adults.  Then I filled in the rest of the distance to the ground with a flounce of lace, to look like petticoats and hide their modern shoes!

Collar with Another Bow

Collar with Another Bow

I just love how sweet this bodice turned out.  It’s just lovely.

Teenage Girl #2

Teenage Girl #2

Teenage Girl #2  This dress is all linen, except for the cotton eyelet lace.

Teenage Girl #2, Side

Teenage Girl #2, Side

Teenage Girl #3

Teenage Girl #3

Teenage Girl #3.  Based on an original dress, the original was red with white trim, but I thought pink would be cute.  Also I thought that the sleeveless look could be very cute on a young girl.

Teenage Girl #3 Side View

Teenage Girl #3 Side View

I didn’t give the teenage girls very large bustles.  I thought that would be a little too adult for them.

Another Large Bow. I love making bows!

Another Large Bow. I love making bows!

We have another sash with a bow.  Bows are just adorable.

Little Girl #1

Little Girl #1

Little Girl #1.  Here I was faced with an interesting challenge.  Adult women were playing the little girls.  I needed styles that would fit an adult, but definitely look “little-girly”.  Also, I needed to reduce the bust.  I made the bodices nice and loose, and gave them full poofy skirts, with fullness all around!  And lots of bows.  This dress had six bows around the skirt edge, and a false pinafore, with bands of trim going from the sash over the shoulders and into a bow in back.

Little Girl #1, Back

Little Girl #1, Back

Lots of lace and bows are a good thing on little girl dresses!

She was so tiny the dress wouldn't close on my dress form!)

Little Girl #2

Little Girl #2.  The actress was so tiny, at 5’1″ or shorter, that the dress wouldn’t quite fit on my dress form.  The yellow around the bottom of the skirt was just on the fabric on the bolt, and was too awesome not to use!

Little Girl #2, Back

Little Girl #2, Back

Of course I gave her a bow in back…

Little Girl #2, Sleeve Detail

Little Girl #2, Sleeve Detail

And two little bows on top of the sleeves!

Little Girl #3

Little Girl #3

Little Girl #3.  For the last little girl dress, I had another conundrum.  The “little girl” was 5′ 7″!  I didn’t think I could make her very believable as a very young child, and I didn’t want to make her feel ridiculous, so I decided to go with an adolescent style.  Slightly bustled, but still short-ish, and little girly and frilly and pink.  I think I succeeded.

Little Girl #3, Side

Little Girl #3, Side

Little Girl #3, Back

Little Girl #3, Back

I actually really like how the bustling turned out.  It was cute!

So there ends my tale of sewing for Six Flags.  It was a great experience, but it will take a lot of convincing to get me to sew that many dresses on such a short deadline again.  As it was, I had to call in a friend to help on the last day of sewing!  It was very stressful, and just too many weeks of overtime sewing to really be worth it.  But, I’m finally back on my normal schedule, and able to work on my own projects on weekends and evenings again, and I would call it a success!

Thanks for reading!

Published in: on July 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm  Comments (4)  
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Swedish Costume from Gästrikland

Since I moved to Minnesota, I have become a member of three different Scandinavian Dance groups; the Norwegians, the Swedes, and a third group called North Star.  We mostly dance over the winter, but we do have a few summer performances as well.  I have a costume that I made this past winter that includes a dark blue wool skirt and a red wool bodice, that I wear with the old blouse and särk I made when I was thirteen and made my first folk costume, but that whole costume is just a bit too hot for summer wear.  So, I decided to make a  costume out of cotton and linen instead.

Striped Cotton

Fabric for my Folk Costume

In the 1890′s, my great-grandma Anna Andersson immigrated to America from the town of Ockelbo, in Gästrikland, Sweden.  I decided for my new summer folk costume, I decided to make something similar to what was worn in Gästrikland.  I knew that I couldn’t get the exact fabric that was specific to Anna’s town of Ockelbo, or for any town in Gästrikland, for that matter.  For starters, they are all striped wool, with very specific stripes.  I have been searching for the proper material for the Ockelbo costume for a couple of years with no luck.  So, I went to the little local fabric store and got three yards of the red with tan stripes for my dress, and one yard of the white with red stripes for the apron.

The first piece I made was the apron.  I recently got a little rigid heddle for Swedish bandweaving from Glimåkra, so I wove a six-foot tie for the apron and pleated the red and white fabric into it.

Swedish Apron

Swedish Apron

The band was woven of 16/2 Swedish linen in red and white with a pattern from an old Swedish book on bandweaving I own.

The next thing I made was the livkjol, or as that translates from Swedish, “bodice-skirt”.  It’s an old style of dress in which a sleeveless bodice is attached to the skirt.  It actually predates the folk costumes that have a bodice separate from the skirt.  There are no darts in the bodice to fit it to the waist, rather, the back pieces are cut at a sharp angle to pull the bodice waist in all the way around.  It actually does make the bodice fit well.  

After I cut the pieces for the bodice and sewed them together, I tacked the linen lining in and sewed the edges down with a hem stitch.

Hemstitching the Lining In

Hemstitching the Lining In

Lining All Sewn In

Lining All Sewn In

This is very important to prevent the lining from turning to the outside and showing while you are wearing the livkjol.

Once the bodice was done, I sewed together the skirt sections and pleated them to fit into the waistline of the bodice.  I cartridge pleated together ninety inches of material for the back half of the skirt!

The back of the bodice has a point in the top center, which is usually hidden by the neckerchief.  As near as I can tell, that fashion element must be a leftover from the 1600′s.  Of course, I’m not sure, but it’s the best guess I have.

Gästrikland Dräkt

Back Without the Neckerchief

The next piece I made was the neckerchief.  I took a large square of unbleached linen, trimmed straight along the threads, and then unraveled the the edges to make a self fringe about 5/8″ deep.

The last piece was the särk, or underdress, which I made out of half-bleached linen.  It basically looks like a Victorian nightgown, with long sleeves and a high neck and collar.  I used four antique buttons from my great-grandma Anna’s button jar for the collar and cuffs of the särk.  It is very long, almost as long as the livkjol, as was traditional.

(It is very important to note that most of the folk costume tradition in Sweden originates from the fashions of the 1830′s and 1840′s, though there are a few elements both from earlier and later in fashion history.)

All of this got done just in time for a dance performance in Peterson, Minnesota!  It was a warm day, and the costume was still a little warm to wear, but it was most definitely cooler than wearing my wool costume!  (We were dancing on asphalt in the sun– that is never very pleasant!)

After the dance, my husband, Philip, was able to take some lovely photos of my completed costume in the beautiful backyard of the lady who invited us to perform in Peterson.

Gästrikland Dräkt

Gästrikland Dräkt

(That is a very lovely spring house in the background, which has a lovely burbling spring inside it.  It was the first time I saw such a thing in real life.)

Gästrikland Dräkt

Prim and Proper

Gästrikland Dräkt

Stop to Smell the Flowers

Gästrikland Dräkt

Lovely as a Flower

Gästrikland Dräkt

Back View

Gästrikland Dräkt

My Sound of Music Moment

Gästrikland Dräkt

Spinning

The last stop in town was to take a picture by the Peterson tity sign, since my great-grandma Anna married a Peterson, so my family is the Peterson clan.

Gästrikland Dräkt

Peterson Town Sign

Thanks for reading!

Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm  Comments (3)  
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I Knit a Sweater!

Well, I knit two sweaters this past year.  The first one was a nice little cotton-linen number.  It was my first sweater ever.  (Yes, I’ve been knitting for ten years, and just finally knit a sweater.)

DSCN5081

Then for Christmas, I decided I wanted to knit at least some of my gifts.  This means I knit exactly one.  But, it was another sweater!!!

DSCN5575

This is my darling sister in law, Lauren, with the Fleurette Sweater I knit her.  You can find the pattern for free on Ravelry!  I knit it with a merino-bamboo-silk blend yarn in a deep magenta.

Later I’ll show you my latest nålbinding project, a pair of mittens.  Until then, it’s back to sewing!  It’s always all about the dresses here!

Published in: on January 3, 2013 at 11:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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New Loom!

Bear with me here, for this short post.  I’m a little excited.

I HAVE A NEW LOOM!!!!

New Loom, 1952 Macomber 10-Shaft, 16 Treadle Floor Loom

New Loom, 1952 Macomber 10-Shaft, 16 Treadle Floor Loom

It’s a 1952 Macomber Loom, 10 Harness/Shaft, 16 Treadle.  It comes with innumerable heddles and four reeds in different sizes, and a free tapestry loom.  (I’m thinking it will be necessary to set up a sprang project on that later this week as well, or a little tapestry.  Not sure yet.)

I got it from a lady not too far from here, who had it for sale for a very reasonable price.  I got first dibs, and apparently about six more people called her after I did.  Hurrah for being fast at finding things on Craig’s List!

My first project is going to be a set of Swedish Cotton/Linen dishtowels, in red and white.  It’s the first 8-harness pattern I’ll ever do, and I’m simultaneously excited and nervous.

I’m sure I’ll be able to figure it out.  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Name suggestions for my new baby are welcome.

The Back Beam of my New Loom.

The Back Beam of my New Loom.

(I feel I should also mention that my mom and dad were kind enough to drive the Suburban to David City with the stock trailer to help me get this loom.  There is no way it would have gotten to its new home otherwise.  Thanks!)

Published in: on May 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm  Comments (1)  

Ravensborg Return of the Sun 2012!

The Edge of the Mead Hall

The Edge of the Mead Hall

This past Friday, I loaded up the car with my Viking chest and food and wool blankets and sewing stuff and Icelandic wool and my spinning basket and lots of weird shoes and a giant wooden bowl and apple cider and Dr. Pepper and a couple energy drinks and my friend Jessica and her bags and we went on a 6-hour drive to Knox City, Missouri and Ravensborg Viking Longphort.  (I thought it was a longfort, or a fortress, but nope, everyone is saying longphort this year.  It’s the cool thing to do.)  There were a lot of people there this year, but not as many as there have been other years.  I guess the high price of gas is getting to everyone.  I mean, really, only four people from all of Skjaldborg came.  Still, I can’t complain with 26-ish people.

Friday evening, we settled in and got our sleeping area set up, and met some new people and caught up with old friends.  Jessica was dead tired, having just gotten done working a temp job that also happened to be night shift, but I stayed up late, finishing a few sewing projects by candlelight.

Sleepy Jessica

Sleepy Jessica

Sewing Sewing Sewing

Sewing Sewing Sewing

This is my favorite shot of the weekend.

This is my favorite shot of the weekend. I'm sewing tablet weaving trim on the edge of my new apron dress.

The next morning, we got up fairly early to clean up the longhouse before the public started arriving to see the phort and the displays (us).  There was a Viking craft contest, and I entered several things– John’s caftan, a pair of hand-woven legbands, a piece of tablet-woven trim, my new apron dress, and the Viking belt pouch and belt I made a couple falls ago.  I also collaborated with John and Chris for the new Skjaldborg Boar Banner.  I made the windsock part, out of red silk.  The local art teacher judged all the entries, but we had no idea who won anything until the feast that night.  (More on that later.)

So Jessica and I sat and wove and spun for a while, then we heard the men were going to fight.  No sooner did we get over there and find a good spot to sit and watch, then they all clamored for us to join them.  So we changed into our fighting clothes, and joined the fray!

Valkyries!

Valkyries!

Yes, Jessica has a lavender tunic.  Also, yes, I haven’t yet put on my legbands in this picture. Shush. I realize that.

Jessica may possibly be the most amusing fighter I have yet seen.  She swings wildly, with a saex too heavy for her, hardly able to lift a shield, and shrieks and giggles and jumps away from her opponents the entire time she fights.  The crowd loves her!  I think a lot of the people watching sympathize with her in a way that they can’t with the expert warriors like John and Chris.  Jessica is an inexpert warrior, doing the best she can, and having a fun time with it.  They can put themselves in her shoes more easily than they can do so with John or Chris.  (Who are awesome.)

For the shield walls, we split up mostly into those wearing mail and those not.  Those of us without mail outnumbered those with, but we still lost a LOT.

Resting

Resting

The rest of the afternoon, I changed back into proper women’s clothes and worked alternately on my tablet weaving and spinning, since all my sewing was done.

This is Phil.  He took a lot of pictures this weekend.

This is Phil. He took a lot of pictures this weekend.

After a while, I asked Philip Patton, a phenomenal photographer with an awesome camera if I could get him to take some pictures of me in my Viking clothes, since, well, I don’t have any good recent pictures of my kit, due to a poor camera, poor camera people, and usually running my camera myself.  He was happy to oblige (or at least I hope he was) and I finally got some wonderful shots for my portfolio!

Swedish Work Dress

Swedish Work Dress

With Yrsa

With Yrsa

New Dress!

New Dress!

I made a new dress.  The underdress is white linen.  I plan to pleat it finely in the next few weeks.  The overdress is silk, and the apron dress is fine wool, edged with tablet weaving.  After all this time making good clothes for others, I finally have good clothing for myself!

Ready for the Feast!

Ready for the Feast!

Fight!  Fight!  Fight!

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Oh hej, I didn't see you there. . .

Oh hej, I didn't see you there. . .

Best Friends!

Best Friends!

She's the cutest!

She's the cutest!

Boar Banner Shot.  I am so in love with this series of photographs.

Boar Banner Shot. I am so in love with this series of photographs.

This is Where I Want to Be Right Now

This is Where I Want to Be Right Now

After photos, we had the feast!  We ate lots and lots of food, including the photogenic greens, and had an all-around good time which included folk dances and trophies. (!) Skjaldborg cleaned up the trophies, with Jessica, yes, Jessica, winning Best Warrior Showmanship, Chris winning Viking Craftsmanship for Category A (items completely from scratch), and I won Viking Craftsmanship for Category B, which was for items with some element not made by oneself.  My Viking Belt Pouch won.  Not surprised, actually.  It’s a good pouch.

I won a trophy!

This is Olaf.  He says I did a good job. He weighs 12 pounds.

This is Olaf. He says I did a good job. He weighs 12 pounds.

It was a wonderful weekend, but it was over far too quickly.  The next morning, I got up with a couple of the others far too early and just sat by the fire, warming my feet and wishing the weekend would go on forever.  But life is life, and time keeps moving, so all too soon I had to rouse Jessica from the bed and pack up our belongings and leave.  My bedroom smells like woodsmoke, and heaven only knows I do sleep better in my own bed, but there is such a sense of peace at Ravensborg, away from the modern world. . . Maybe heaven will be like that.  A good feast with friends, but without the sad morning afterwards, knowing you have to leave again now for a few months.

Group Shot!

Group Shot!

It was wonderful to see everyone, and I can’t wait til Tivoli!

Published in: on April 24, 2012 at 10:34 pm  Comments (1)  
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Just Jumping on the Meme Bandwagon, Thank-you Very Much. . .

I made a meme picture.  It pretty much sums up what I do at the shop.

What I Think I Do Yarn Shop

What I Think I Do Yarn Shop

I just thought I would share.  Have a nice day!

Published in: on February 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

My Shop!

Just a quick post.  I don’t usually do short posts like this, but I have to show you:

My Store Shelves

My Store Shelves

I’m unpacking and setting up my shop!  Yay!!!

If there is anything on those shelves that greatly confuses you, if you go here:  http://spindleshuttleandneedle.com/ , you’ll probably be able to figure out what is what.

Thanks for reading!

Published in: on November 30, 2011 at 7:24 pm  Comments (2)  
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