Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Little Stranger

This will just be a short post to announce that one week ago Tobias and I were blessed with a son. Baby and I stayed at the hospital for a couple of days, but our whole little family is happy to be together, and in our own quiet home rather than at the maternity ward (which was a nice enough place, but filled to capacity with parents and newborns, so quite noisy. Who knew December was such a popular month to be born in?). Now, we spend long hours holding him, learning to do things one handed, wondering at how perfect he is, working hard at making breastfeeding work, battling tiredness and trying to find a name that “is him”.

I suppose many of you would like to see a picture of him, but we have decided not to post private pictures of him on the internet; pictures taken in costume and/or at events an exception. This is to protect his privacy, and we consider costume and event pictures as being focused more on the costume or event than on him personally. So, my friends, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for pictures of him until he’s in costume….

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Silver Linings

Still no baby in sight. It has its upsides though, waiting. I managed to finish a new wool winter skirt a few days ago. I’ll mostly just show you teaser pictures and hardly any descriptions of the different projects right now, as I want proper pictures taken post baby.
After finishing the skirt, I found there’s no point in me starting any new projects right now, as I might not have time to finish them in a foreseeable future, so this past week I’ve been working on a couple of things from my “in progress-box”. I finally finished my corded petticoat, inspired by Sarah Jane making one recently. It took me long enough, though of course, I’ve had a lot of other projects in between. I’ll post about this separately and more in detail later.
I also finished an apron, for modern use, that’s been cut out ready to be sewn for a year or so. I have a regrettable tendency to spill or spatter when cooking, and rather an apron getting the worst of it than my clothes. The fabric was originally a couple of charity shop-bought cotton curtains, rather small but with deep hems and I made the most of them, so if you look closely, you can see the old stitch marks. Not that it matters in a working apron. As I wear skirts or dresses most of the time (when I’m not having a very lazy stay-at-home day and wear old sweat pants) I like my aprons slightly flared and long enough to cover them.
I cut the pocket and waistband/ties on the bias, for visual interest. To prevent the sewing thread in the ties breaking when the apron is being used, I had to keep them well stretched when sewing them, so the seams look a bit loose when not under stress. I was a bit unsure about having ties cut on the bias, but I’ll think it’ll work ok.
I made a decision recently to try and make peace with my sewing machine, and have since tried to sew more things on it rather than by hand than I did before. Thus, the apron is mostly machine sewn. I must say it is pleasant to be able to finish things so quickly, provided the machine behaves itself properly, and I think I’ll be able to learn not to mind the more clumsy hemming (on some things) that is one of the draw backs. I might even become good at sewing on the machine... I’ll try and reserve hand sewing to historical clothes that wouldn’t look right without it and other things that really does look better hand sewn. I believe my elderly self will thank me for it in future. Besides, depending on baby’s personality, I might not have very much time for sewing for a while, and must make as good a use of what time there is as possible. That being said, I’m spending the evening working on my regency stays – by hand.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Winter Coat

Last time I mentioned I’d finished my winter coat, and today, I finally got some pictures of it.

The coat was made using herringbone wool in grey and off white, which
I had in my stash. I didn’t have very much of it, just 150x180 cm (about 59x71”), which presented a problem. I like my coats to be long (usually longer than this), as I get cold easily, and prefer them to be wide at the hem as I wear skirts or dresses with a bit of width most of the time. The answer was to use a different fabric for the details (collar, placket, belt and sleeve ornaments). This fabric, gray wool, was also one I had in my stash, and as with the herringbone fabric, there was just enough to squeeze the pieces I wanted from it. In fact, I had so little of either fabric that I had to use a third woollen fabric for the facing on the front and the collar. It took quite some time to work out how to make a coat out of so little fabric, but I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I would have preferred a bit more width at the hem, but beggars cannot be choosers….
My poor fingers are so swollen that I can't wear my rings...
they have to be worn on a chain round my neck.
To make ultimate use of the main fabric, I cut it in as few pieces I could, which meant only two in front, two in back. From the little fabric left, I made a pleated gusset, inserted in the centre back from the waist down, to add a tiny bit of width. It’s very slim, which is my main regret with the coat, (so I won’t post a picture of it, though you can see a hint of it in the side shot below) but I really didn’t have any more fabric.
As I’m very pregnant right now, I didn’t make any darts at the waist, just from the shoulders. Instead I made a sort of belt, that can be adjusted to my hopefully soon slimmer figure, by moving the buttons in front. Hopefully it’ll work as planned, so I won’t have to look like a tent the whole winter.
The buttons in front are not functional, as I couldn’t think of a clever way to make them sit right on the contrasting placket while using buttonholes, and it would look silly if they were off centre. Instead I used rather big hooks and sewn bars, which so far have worked very well. The buttons just add visual interest. As you see, the lining is a vivid pink, just for fun.
More visual interest is found at the sleeves, where a band from the grey wool is decorated with a self fabric sewn bow and a button.
The other day a lady came up to me and asked where I’d bought my coat, which was flattering. She wanted one for her niece, who is also pregnant, and is having difficulty finding a coat that will close.
On Saturday the baby is due, but I doubt he or she will arrive in time, as I and all my siblings were more or less late. I’ll just have to practice patience a bit longer, and hope to scrape up enough energy to finish a skirt I’m working on, and looking forward to wearing when I have the resemblance of a waist again.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Amigurumi Bunny

Well, my dear readers, it’s been a whole month since I last posted – time does fly. I don’t have much excuse to give but the fact that I’m very “big with child”, is tired most of the time (I usually take a one or two hour nap each day), and don’t get as much sewing, knitting and crocheting done as I’d like, if any. At the moment I’m having short periods of intense energy, followed by periods of exhaustion and sleepiness. Sigh. However, a couple of days ago I did finish my number one priority project, my coat (at long last), and hopefully I’ll get pictures of it shortly.

I have also made a little something for the baby; I crocheted a bunny to be hung over the pram. I had planned to make three, but then thought it would take up too much room – I prefer to be able to see the baby, and for the baby to be able to see its parents. Only the one rabbit would look a bit lonely, though, so Tobias suggested I made a couple of carrots as well. I liked the idea, and a bunny with one carrot on each side is what I made.

The bunny is made from this pattern (in Swedish, sorry), using cotton yarn. The eyes are special safety eyes for amigurumi, so baby won’t be able to pull them out and choke on them. The bunny faces into the pram on purpose – it’s supposed to be there for the baby’s sake after all. Not that it’ll care much the first weeks... I improvised the carrots, and am pretty pleased with how they turned out. The material for them is bamboo silk, from a set of six small balls of yarn, a present from a friend. Orange is not usually “my” colour, but for this it was perfect.

I have noticed most of my yarns and fabrics are in pretty muted colours, which I like, but might not be very interesting for a small child. Luckily it will have grandmothers, aunts and friends of its parents that will provide more interesting colours in toys and such.

I now have just little over two weeks until due date, so in theory, the baby could arrive at any time from between tonight and Christmas. I would much prefer tonight over Christmas, but it’ll come when it’s ready. I try to keep a balance between keeping busy with amusing things and taking enough time to just rest. It’s an interesting time, and one I try to savour as much as possible.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Baby Blanket and Penguins

A long while ago (before Tobias and I started dating even) I began a baby blanket, as a sort of “when I don’t have the energy to do anything that requires much thinking” project. On Saturday I finally finished it, having worked on it more intently for a while. It is made from cotton yarn bought in a charity shop, in (what is directly translated from Swedish) double moss stitch – is that the right term in English as well, or can someone educate me?

Around this is moss stitch, and as a finishing touch is a crochet border. In the picture below the colour of the blanket is closest to what it is in real life.

The soft toy penguins are not made by me, but by a friend who will let you adopt one for 7$ (or more if anyone should feel particularly generous). This she does to raise enough money so that she and her husband will be able to afford to adopt a child. They have always wanted a big family, only to learn at age 24 and 29 that they couldn’t get biological children. Blessed as I am with no apparent problems in that department, my heart really goes out to those who have difficulties having biological children for any reason, and I’m very much impressed with how well my friends seem to cope with it. If you are at all interested in their project, go to their homepage (only in Swedish at the moment), or their Facebook page (in English as well). Future aunts, uncles and grandparents are also involved in the project "Lilla Längtan" (Little Longing), and are currently working on a CD with children’s songs, and the profits will go to the adoption of this much longed for child.

After a lot of rain, we’ve had a few sunny, but rather chilly days, though today was slightly more cloudy again. I love autumn when it is like this, the colours are amazing and the air clear and crisp. I’m so happy I live in a country with seasons!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Duchie Award

I got another award – there seems to be a lot of them going around at the moment. This time it’s the Duchie Award, for “excellence in historical costuming and bloggery”.

It was given to me by Edyth at The Completely Dressed Anachronist. Thank you for very kind words about my blog!

So, when receiving the award you must post:

- Five things you love about historical costuming

- At least three blogs to pass the Duchie Award onto

- A link back to the blogger who awarded you the Duchie

I did the last one already, so for the other two; first why I love historical costuming, in no particular order:

- I feel much more comfortable in clothes from almost any other era than the present one – mostly I believe, because clothes were usually made to fit the individual, and therefore looked better (and still do) than the clothes you buy of the rack. Women’s clothing was also more feminine and elegant than is usually the case today. I make a good many of my every day clothes myself for those very reasons, better fit and more feminine/elegant. Another reason I love historic costuming may be that in some ways I feel more related to the women of the past than to the women of this time, especially when it comes to moral guidelines.

- I love history and I love sewing – historical clothing becomes a natural way to get closer to the people and conditions of times past. I’m not completely romantic though, I know very well history has had quite as many horrid sides as good ones, and small parts of both the good and the bad can also be experienced through costume.

- It is very meditative to sew stitch after stitch by hand (as long as you’re not on a fast approaching deadline); it keeps your hands and eyes occupied, but leaves your mind free to wander freely, meditating on the things in your life. It is also a nice occupation while watching a movie.

- The construction itself is beautiful to look at, and to create. Weather it’s the sewn down seam allowances on a medieval kirtle, the lining of an 18th century shortgown, the finely pleated upper sleeve of a gown from the 1840’s or the deceptively simple elegant lines of a WWII dress.

- There is nothing like working with natural materials. Wool and linen are my favourite materials, but cotton and silk is nice to work with as well. And man made materials stand no chance compared to the natural ones, no matter if the weather is freezing cold or warm and humid – the natural materials will in my experience always be more comfortable.


And now the tricky part – I’ve seen this award go to many great bloggers and costumiers already, but so far not any Scandinavians. So today, two Swedes and one Finn.

- Neulakko – a Finnish woman, lost in the 14th century, with interesting posts on costumes and events. She writes in English as well as Finnish, so check out her blog.

- Historisk dräkt och Hantverk – this is the blog of my friend Mikael, who makes very nice costumes, based on a lot of research, all well documented. His posts are both in Swedish and English, so if you’re interested in medieval-, Swedish folk- or the occasional other era costume, check out his blog.

- Idas Hantverk – only in Swedish, but if you ever saw a person skilled in many areas, she’s one of them. Making mostly medieval outfits, she doesn’t limit herself to sewing or weaving, but does various kinds of metal work as well to complete her outfits.

Hope you enjoy getting to know these bloggers and their lovely work!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Socks and Mittens

Lately, I’ve been working on a pair of socks and mittens for the baby. I used free patterns on DROPS’ homepage as a base as I’m not very accomplished in knitting, but changed quite a few things. The design in purl stitches (the same on both socks and mittens), for example, is typical for spedetröjor, stockings and other things in Scanian folk costumes. A nice touch of local and ancestral history I think – and I like how it looks.
The yarn is soft, non-itchy, light grey merino wool. I made the socks knee high and the mittens elbow high, as they’re likely to fall off if I’d made them shorter. The mittens have no thumbs, as I think that is very impractical in newborns and tiny babies that will have their hands tightly closed most of the time anyway. Besides, it’s warmer not to separate the fingers and thumbs. I also made a safety cord (in lucet) so the mittens won’t get lost.
I’m afraid there might not be much historical content here for a while. Not that I don’t have a long list of projects my fingers itch to begin (or finish), but I need to make myself a winter coat, knit mittens and a cap as the frost is hiding just around the corner, and I still have a few things I want to make for the baby. Also, many of the historical things I’d like to sew require stays or corsets, and a non-pregnant figure, so it’ll have to wait. Sigh. Maybe I can make a cap or two…
The good thing is, from this week, I’m no longer working, so I can take a rest or a nap in between sewing/knitting/cooking/cleaning etc. Much needed, as I’m growing more tired again and have frequent (though harmless) contractions. The fact that I have time to rest also gives me the energy to actually do some sewing/knitting/cooking/cleaning, which have been down to a bare minimum before.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Baby Quilt

A couple of years ago I started on these log house blocks, with the intention to make a quilt to snuggle up in on the sofa in winter. Then some months ago I changed my mind, and decided to make a baby quilt instead. I worked on it intently for a week or so, assembling the log houses, adding strips of fabric to the edges, and quilting it. Then I lay it aside, not wanting to finish the edges until the pregnancy was more certain. Now I’m so far gone that baby would most likely make it even if it would decide to come early, and so I started working on it again a few days ago, and finished it yesterday.

The quilt is assembled from 36 different fabrics, all but the back small scraps from my stash. I prefer quilts made from scraps, especially if they are from old clothes worn by family members. In this quilt, beside a few brand new scraps, there’re pieces from an old skirt my mother wore when I was little, skirts and blouses worn by me and a sister as children, and skirts I made and wore in high school, as well as some things bought in charity shops because I liked the fabrics. I like how the different pieces of fabric are in different stages of wear, some having marks from being tucked or sewn. It adds life to the finished quilt.

The quilt is hand sewn and hand quilted. The colours are some of my favourites, wine reds, blues, browns, and greens, all in muted shades.

The quilt is not perfect (a conscious effort not to try and do everything sewing related perfect for a change – very liberating I must say), some of the blocks being crooked and the quilting not following the blocks slavishly, but somehow it gives character. I really, really like this little quilt.

I think it will look very nice in the pram this winter.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Blog Award

A few weeks back Brooke at Stitches of the Past gave me a blog award, but I’ve had so much to do and think about (not to mention how tired I am now) that I haven’t had time to thank her yet. Brooke – thank you, it’s nice to be appreciated!

The goal of the award is to spotlight up and coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers. The rules of the award are:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have fun!

So, the five bloggers I choose are (in alphabetical order):

dressingthe1840s.blogspot.com

haandkraft.blogspot.com

idashantverk.blogspot.com

myaustendreamworld.com

zipzipinkspot.blogspot.com

There are many more bloggers I like, but many of them have already been awarded, some have more than the maximum 200 followers, and some I’m just not sure would care very much about a virtual award :)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

First Try at Amigurumi

I have long been impressed with the lovely Japanese crocheted soft toys, called amigurumi. They are so cute, charming or fun, and admittedly, sometimes plain odd or weird. I have been thinking of trying it at some point, but I’m not very good at crocheting, so I never really dared. Then, last night, I was at a baby shower for a friend, and her mother had made the most darling little turtles in this technique, to be hung on a mobile for baby’s crib.

This afternoon I decided I would try. I don’t have the pattern for the turtles, so I browsed the internet to see if I could find something cute and simple as a first project. There are a lot of patterns for turtles, but I fell in love with the ones I saw at the baby shower, and will
hope to get the pattern for those. I found this duckling instead, and it wasn’t as hard to make as I’d thought.

It’s not perfect, it has a few flaws here and there, but for a first time project I’m happy with it. The colours, though I like them, are perhaps not the most interesting, especially not for a baby, for witch this is intended, but it was all I had (or was willing to sacrifice on this trial run) in my stash.

This was perfect occupation for me this afternoon, as I’m having a severe cold again, and tiresome contractions. I believe there will be more amigurumi in my future.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Baby Shoes

In the beginning of 2009 I made a couple of pairs of baby shoes, just for fun. I made the pattern myself, and the shoes were made from scrap pieces of wool, with a linen or cotton lining. Now, it seems I’ll finally be able to put them to use.

The green pair is made from wool felt, with a flowery cotton fabric as lining, sewn together with embroidery floss, and with ties braided from the same floss. Though lined with flowery fabric, they can work for both a boy and a girl – the flowers won’t show when the shoes are worn anyway, as Tobias said.

The purple pair are made from a thinner wool fabric, lined with lilac lightweight linen, and embroidered with embroidery floss, organza ribbon and glass beads. They, too are sewn together with embroidery floss, have braided ties from the same floss, but are decorated with a bead at each end. Not baby-proof, but the shoes are so tiny, that a baby is not likely to have found her feet yet when they are worn.

These would not work for a boy, at least not in our day and age.

Since we don’t know (and don’t want to find out until it’s born) if our baby will be a boy or a girl, last week I decided to make a pair that would suit a boy. This pair is made from medium weight greyish brown wool, lined with plaid cotton shirting; again, they are sewn together with, and have braided ties from embroidery floss. They also have simple embroidery from that same floss. They could work just fine on a girl as well.

I really like these little shoes, and will very likely make more, in different sizes. I think the next pairs I make will have every piece edged with a bias strip of the lining fabric, or a matching one, before being sewn together. That could look nice.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Medieval Festival at Borgeby Castle

So, as promised, here comes my account of the event the weekend before last. It went very well for the most part, but I was in various degrees of pain for much of the time, most of it in my lower back, caused by the pregnancy. Luckily it didn’t lessen my enjoyment in the weekend all that much, though it was a relief to come home again.

The location for the event was perfect, with beautiful buildings and big grassy grounds. As I said before, it had rained quite a bit during the week, so the grass was wet and the ground very soft when we pitched our tents in the dark late Friday night. We then had some pizza, stuffed our straw mattresses with, well, straw, and went to sleep.

I must say I really like our straw mattress; it is such a difference from just folding a blanket around a bunch of straw, which slides away as you sleep. It also has the additional advantage of not getting straw in all your things. My sleeping badly and waking up with pains in my back and hips had more to do with the fact that I’m pregnant and generally uncomfortable right now when trying to sleep, than with any deficiency in the sleeping arrangements.

As we woke up Saturday morning, we gradually changed into our 14th century clothes as we made and ate breakfast; porridge with apple sauce, milk, bread, butter, cheese and sausage. Some of us also had a second breakfast of leftover pizza.

Picture by Elin

As the event opened, we were all fully dressed for the Middle Ages, all our 20th century items hidden away in baskets, carry sacks or in the cars, and occupied with some period craft, cooking or fighting practice.

I, who could not help with some of the heavier chores due to contractions, spent my time hemming and marking a new towel for the company. They always seem to disappear, or getting worn out….

As I’ve said before, the aim of our group is to educate the public (as well as having a splendid time ourselves), and we had a couple of short lectures each day. One was on medieval wrestling and close contact fighting, with or without daggers or other things that could be used as weapons, like hoods and ladles. That one was a blast, even for me who don’t really care about that sort of thing.

The other lecture we had was on late 14th century clothing. I was one of the lecturers on Sunday, and we used most of the present group members outfits as examples of typical and varied details of dress. Fun, but didn’t draw quite as many people as the fight – no surprise there…. A few people were genuinely interested though, and came up to us and talked afterwards and got a closer look at materials, stitches, cut and colours.

Picture by Elin

There were two memorable events during the weekend, both involving hand guns. The first happened the first morning; the program stated quite clearly that we’d fire guns at 11 am. Somehow, the knights had missed this, and also missed the calls made of shots going to be fired. Let me just say, that those guns are loud. The result was a horse getting loose, and running wild over the field. Ooops… Luckily, neither the horse, nor any person or property was damaged. The second was at another shooting exhibition. The recoil on the guns are apparently very strong – one of the guys was shooting, next second he’s looking down into his empty hands, with a puff of smoke hanging in front of him, and the gun lying on the ground a couple of meters behind him. Someone managed to get pictures of this, but regrettably I don’t have them. I did see it happen, though, and it was hilarious. A good lesson to everyone not to stay too close to fire arms… Of course, hand guns in the 14th century looked and worked slightly differently than in later centuries, or this would not have been possible…

Picture by Elin

The rest of the festival was as you might expect a “medieval” festival to be, with nothing interesting for sale for the serious reenactor. However, if you were a five year old interested in polyester princess gowns and sequin maille, you were in the right place. We did, however, have a very good time, having set up our camp at a little distance from the rest, and having really nerdy discussions about the wages of hand gunners in the 14th century, period clothing, sewing techniques, food, armour and weapons. We made a lot of period food, which visitors were miffed not to be allowed to taste for insurance seasons.

Picture by Elin

My sister in law made herself useful, and liked, by helping with preparing the food, and looking after the four year old daughter of one of the group members. She had a good time, and she looked lovely in 14th century clothes. It was fun to have her with us.

Picture by Elin

Now we don't have any more events to attend this year - well, there will be a feast in December, but it'll be about the same time as baby is due, so we're not very likely to attend that.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Our Late 14th Century Outfits


I’m working on a post of our last event, and am hoping to borrow a picture or two from some of the other members of the group. In the meanwhile, here’s a description of mine and Tobias’ outfits, all of it hand sewn. Peter, one of the group members, said we looked the part of a lesser bugher couple, which I guess has some truth to it. Tobias is wearing his blue, front laced cotehardie, green hose and a grey bag hat. I’m wearing my yellow kirtle, and over that the reddish maroon, short sleeved dress I've been working on lately, also front laced. I’m wearing a wimple and a veil as well.

The lacing on Tobias’ wool cotehardie. There are 50 eyelets, and the cord is made from finger looped wool yarn.

Eight cloth buttons on each sleeve, and buttonholes. I had some help in making the buttons from Mikael, at the event in Varberg two months ago, as I was running out of time, and he had nothing to do at the moment. Let’s just say his buttons are much nicer than mine…

The lacing on my over kirtle. It has 42 eyelets on it. Since making the cord for Tobias’ cotehardie, I learned how to make lucet cords, and this is what I use to lace my kirtle, again made from wool yarn. Tobias thought it was fun to take the picture at this angle, as it showed of the baby bump...

I was thinking long and hard on what kind of sleeves I wanted on this dress. One part of me wanted full length sleeves, but wasn’t sure how that’d look worn over the buttons on my yellow kirtle. When I looked at pictures, shorter sleeves usually had some sort of tippets on them, and that’s just not very practical for a soldiers wife working around camp. I’d seen a lot of reenactors with short sleeved kirtles worn over full length sleeves of the kirtle beneath, but you can’t use other interpreters as source material. When asking for advice, Maria pointed out that there are examples of shorter sleeves without tippets in the Herjolfsnes finds. Yes of course... I knew that. Finally some proof – I went for that.

A while back I wrote about us ordering new shoes for both of us, and pins for me, and this was our first time using our new purchases. I used my pins to secure the wimple and veil – I don’t have any proof for this, but I secured the wimple to my dress as well, to keep it in place.

Wimples are far from mandatory on married women in the late 14th century, but you can still see them on some married and widowed women of all ages even in the 15th, so I consider it safe to use. I think it looks nice, and I also find it strangely comfortable (especially on a cold, windy day...). Not that I don’t think it a relief to take it all of after an event, but in this setting, I like it.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Pre Event Sewing

I’ve had/have quite a bit of sewing to finish this week before our event on Friday. Well, it’s not been that much, I know of a few people who could pull of a whole lot more, but I haven’t really been feeling my best lately, as you know, and don’t do too good under pressure at the moment, so it’s been quite enough as it is. I had to finish my over kirtle (I finished the sleeves a couple of days ago, and as I write I’m half way through hemming it – Tobias helped me cut the hem to length last night), and then I got a little late extra sewing.

Tobias’ little sister will be coming with us, and we have had to quickly improvise an outfit for her. She has the same size in shoes as I do, so she’ll be able to use my old ones, and luckily she’s tall enough that she can wear one of my old wool cottes without alteration; it’ll do very well when tucked up over a belt, and possibly with the sleeves folded back a bit. I’m sure that must have been a common enough practice for growing children back in the days. The linen smock she’ll be borrowing however (one that is presently too tight for me…) had to have quite a deep hem put in it to prevent it dragging and being completely black after the weekend. A quick, functional, easy to take out again hemming was done two days ago.

Since autumn is coming, it’s beginning to grow cold. Some days are still very warm, but in the evenings you want something warm to wear, not to mention if it rains, and considering how the weather’s been the past week, it might. I only have one pair of women’s hose, but am trying to finish another pair in time. I made the pattern (trying to reach my foot and place pins where I wanted them proved difficult, as the baby bump was in the way), and cut out the pieces yesterday, and have started making them up today. It looks like I might get them done in time, and worst case, I was told that “there’ll be ten of us down there” and that with a joined effort, they could be done quickly on site.

As for headwear, she’s just a girl and don’t need anything for proprieties sake, but she might want something to keep her hair in order or keep warm – or just because it’s fun. I’ll bring an extra kerchief and she might borrow mine or Tobias’ hoods.

The one area where I feel a bit worried is when it comes to outerwear. None of us have anything at the moment – I have fabric in my stash waiting to be made into a coat-kind-of-thing for Tobias, but there’s no chance of getting it done before this weekend. I guess we’ll have to be pretty much stuck in one of the tents if it rains. The best we can do is to hope and pray for it not to rain, or at least not rain very much.

So, a bit busy, but very exited for the weekend! Hopefully I'll remember to take pictures of us this time, so you'll get a good look at our outfits.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Weaknesses

An event is coming up on Friday eight days, and I’m really looking forward to it. Tobias’ cotehardie is done, and my over kirtle is slowly getting there as well. I have the sleeves and the hemming left, and the cord for the lacing, but the dress itself and all of the eyelets are done. I have even made a straw mattress for us – I cheated and used the sewing machine on the non-visible seams.

It might not seem like much, but I have been very tired, both physically and mentally, and I’m proud of myself for even getting this little done. For most of the past two weeks I’ve been home from work on sick leave, sleeping a lot, as it all became too much for me, and all I could do in the end was to sit by my desk at work and cry because I was so tired and didn’t know where to start that day’s work – and it wasn’t even that busy a day. Some of you may know I had a little sister who died six years ago after fighting cancer for seven years. I never really confronted the feelings and experiences I had during those years and final days, and my pregnancy related over sensitiveness combined with a demanding work (which includes situations reminiscent of my sisters treatments and hospital stays), just made it impossible for me to keep them away any longer. So I’ve been at home, and what a relief it has been! I have started to slowly look at and analyze my feelings concerning everything with regards to my sisters’ illness, and though painful at times, I’m sure I’ll feel much better in the end. I would really like to have most of this done by the time baby comes, so it can have a strong, healthy and happy mother.

"Sisters" by Morgan Westling

I am not really surprised at my reacting on this – it’s well known through lots of studies that siblings are usually the ones suffering most when a child has cancer, more so than both the ill child and its parents, but it still feels a bit embarrassing to feel so week and frail… Luckily I have a loving and supporting husband and family, who comforts me and encourage me to talk about it. So even though I’m going through a bit of a rough spot, I feel that I am blessed and still a lot better of than many others in the world.

I would eventually like to use my experiences for good. I have long wanted to work with siblings of children with cancer, but realized it was still a bit too close to home. But some day in the future, when my children are growing up, it’s something I’d like to do. I’ll be home next week as well, and after that I’ll go back to working, but just part time to start with.

So, you’ll have to excuse my lack of posts recently, and take my promise that I’ll post soon enough, and then there will be pictures and descriptions of my latest projects.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Illnesses

For the two weeks before this one I’ve been home from work, with a fever and a cough. Last Monday, feeling a bit better, I went back to work, and was there for two and a half days before I was sent home on Wednesday, this time with probable tonsillitis. No one at work was surprised at this, as most new employees at the paediatric ward get ill frequently the first year or so, catching everything the children have. After a time, the paediatric nurses hardly ever take ill, no matter how many children cough, sneeze, and are sick or otherwise on them. I went to see a doctor today, who confirmed tonsillitis, and told me to stay home from work until my symptoms are gone. As tests showed it's likely caused by virus, antibiotics wouldn't help.

Now, there’re so many things I’d have liked to have worked on when I was home for so long, but for most of the two weeks I felt too poorly to do anything but sleep and play solitaire on the laptop. This time round, I feel pretty well, with a moderately sore throat and tiredness being my only problems so far. Baby seems to be doing just fine though, kicking and doing summersaults when I’m still for too long.

I did design and begin a maternity dress a week ago, but unfortunately the needle on the sewing machine snapped, and it was the last one I had. I still haven’t gotten myself to a place where I can buy new ones, and with all the period hand sewing, I don’t feel like making this one by hand as well. It’s on hold for the time being. The dress will be made from the plaid fabric, and in the design to the right, if you can see it in the picture.

One happy thing though: when coming home from his night shift yesterday, Tobias had picked up a parcel with re-enacting things we’d ordered! New 14th century shoes for both of us, ten brass pins for my veils and wimples, as well as a few things we had offered to order for a couple of friends.

The first weekend of September will take us to our second and possibly last event this summer. Not that much, but when you don’t have the funds, or get time off of work, you have to be grateful for the events you can attend. We’d have loved to go to the Battle of Wisby that begins this weekend and goes on for the whole of next week, but I have to work. Sigh. Anyway, as I still haven’t finished the lacing and buttons/buttonholes of Tobias’ tunic, and my over kirtle is just half done, that’s what I’ll be focusing on as far as sewing goes in the near future – if my health allows.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Varberg 2011

Last weekend Tobias and I joined Albrecht’s Gunners at Varberg castle for an event. As I forgot to take any pictures, I’ve borrowed a few from others. Excuse the jumbled telling of the event, but I’ve been ill and tired most of the week, and unable to make it any better.

It was the same event I went to last year, and though I say it myself, our group was the most period correct thing there. Still, it was very, very nice, with pleasant people, and fun activities on our program. We had been asked to have lectures on medieval costumes, and as we do late 14th century, our main focus was on that. I held the lecture on Saturday, and asked six members of our group to be models. For my first time trying anything like this I think it went pretty well, though I can improve quite a bit with practice.

Albrecht’s also had a class in medieval dancing, and since most of us knew little or nothing of the matter, the girls who would host this class taught us first, which was great fun. I’ve always liked dancing, and dancing with your husband is especially pleasant. Now, dancing in the Middle Ages was a group business, with everyone holding hands in a line or circle. Not one boy dared try it when we held the class and not many girls either. I guess that kind of dancing is strange to them in this day and age when dancing mostly means you stand opposite someone else and jump around looking like a fool….

I had been in such a hurry to finish Tobias’s clothes, and when we finally went, the cotehardie still wasn’t done. It lacked some eyelets, and had no buttons or buttonholes at all, and the hem was not even half finished. I worked hard on it before everyone had arrived so we could put our camp up, and again the next morning. I got all the hemming done, but decided to leave out the buttoned sleeves for now, and sew them shut, as was done previously in the 14th century. I didn’t get all the eyelets I wanted done either, but enough to make the garment wearable. Tobias helped, in hemming his shirt, so I wouldn’t have to stress over that. I’m a bit biased, but I thought he looked so handsome. Sadly, as I didn’t take any pictures myself, I never got a good picture of him. We hadn’t had time to get him any shoes, but another member of the group brought a reserve pair that he could use, which was very kind.

The kitchen, always the heart of the home/camp. The tent of the jousters, our closest neighbours, in the background. Picture by Mikael.

I didn’t finish my over dress either, and had to make do with the sad excuse for shoes I wore last year. I did however wear a wimple for the first time in public, and I really liked it. My dress from last year still laced shut, but was tighter than when I made it. With the lacing open, I think it might work all season.

We were 13 people in our camp, and had five tents with us. The smallest was used to put all the food in, the two couples that were there each got one of the smaller tents, and the remaining men slept in one of the big tents, and the women in the other. I realized that I want to make a straw mattress for our next event – it looks more comfortable than just putting a blanket over the straw and hoping it will stay put, you won’t get straw on all your things, and it’s much tidier when you leave camp.

Food, of vital importance for a happy camp. Picture by Mikael.

I couldn’t help much in raising the tents, as it involves some heavy work, and in my present condition, it hurts when I over exert myself. So I was standing on the sidelines, feeling like I was avoiding work – at least I had a friend in feeling like a looser as one of the others is expecting as well. It was a tiny bit depressing though, I who love to work in camp. Ah well. Everyone was making jokes about ours being the fattest camp they’d ever seen (just wait until September – that will be a big camp, with us being two and three months from delivery), and making fun of us eating, sleeping and running to the bathroom all the time – in a kind way. I believe quite a few think it might be fun with a couple of babies in camp next summer.

The weather turned out better than we’d hoped. The night between Friday and Saturday it rained (but luckily not until we’d set up the tents), and the rain persisted a few hours into the morning. After that it was sunny and warm, except for a quick and heavy rain on Saturday evening, but due to the heat, it dried up quick enough. On Sunday it was very warm, and several of us women soaked our wimples and veils, to get some coo

lness. Most of the men rolled down their hose to knee level, and almost most of us rolled up our sleeves at some point. To tell the truth, we all looked pretty sloppy. A few had straw hats, and I borrowed one from one of the girls. I liked the shade it provided, but I’m not sure about the look…. It doesn’t give the feeling of a 14th century Swedish woman to me, though I might be wrong. There is mention of straw hats on women in Norwegian sources; I’ve just not seen any pictures of them from Scandinavia.

Warm and dressed down people of the camp, and a guest in red. Picture nicked from the homepage of the event organizer.

There being so many of us, we had enough people to play a few medieval games after dinner one night. Most of them included some risk of injury, but luckily, no one got seriously hurt. A few might have walked away with a couple of bruises though. I’m not very fond of playing games myself, but I like to watch others play. On this occasion, it was so funny that I literally cried with laughter, and got such a cramp in my stomach.

Our next event will be in September, as we’ll miss the Battle of Wisby in August due to not getting time of from work. I’ll try to finish our outfits until then, but I have so many other things I’d like to sew and knit, like maternity dresses, baby clothes and blankets, and clothes from other periods. I think I should wait with the period clothes for a while though, if I want them to fit my post baby figure.