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.