Thursday 28 January 2016

Medieval Winter

Last week we had cold and snow all over Sweden, even here in the south, where winter more often than not mean a damp and chilly wind that quickly seeps into your very bones in a way that dry, frozen cold don’t. It was perfect weather for taking pictures of your historical winter clothes, if you had them. I didn’t, but I never got good pictures of the green kyrtilI made for Tobias a few years ago. 

When he got dressed our four year old said he wanted clothes like that too when we went out. I hadn’t planned for that, not wanting to force my hobby on him more than necessary, but I’m not one to say no when he requests it himself. 

Wearing two wool kyrtils, a buttoned wool hood, woollen nalbound socks and mittens (really little brother’s socks) he was ready to face winter with his dad. 

 We don’t have all that much in the way of medieval looking nature where we live, so we had to make do with what little there is: a small copse and a corner of the playground.

Tobias commented that there were a lot of green in their clothes - and there is too much, really. The child’s kyrtil is made from the leftover fabric from his hose, and that his buttoned kyrtil is also green is just bad luck. He wore two kyrtils, a pair of hose with nalbound socks over them, a hood and a cap, all in wool. A belt, purse and shoes were the finishing touches.

It’s interesting how clothes you were very proud of when you made them looks a bit meh a few years later, when you’ve deepened your knowledge and raised your own standards. I’d really want to make Tobias a whole new wardrobe, but time and money is a factor as always, so it will have to happen little by little. None of it is bad; I just have higher demands on our stuff now, and likely will have again in a few years. It's the good and bad of this hobby.

 After a quick photoshoot and some sledding for the children, we went home. 

The snow is gone now, and today it almost feels like spring, even if that is still several weeks away. Hopefully we’ll be able to attend a weekend event or two this summer. We’d also love to go to the 25 year anniversary of Middelaldercentret, so fingers crossed that it works out!

Friday 15 January 2016

Wool Skirt Makeover

Way back in 2009 I made a wool skirt that have seen a lot of use during the winters:

Since I had children though, it hasn’t fitted very well. It was made to fit snugly round the hips, but pregnancy and childbirth can cause big changes to one’s figure. The skirt was now too narrow over the hips, and kept riding up, which also made it shorter than I appreciate. As I still like the skirt, and want it to look nice on my present figure, I gave it a makeover.

The original skirt had an 8 centimetre deep hem. I let this down, and faced it with some grey bias tape I’d had in my stash for ever.

I cut the top of the fitted portion, and piped it with the grey band I’d cut off. Instead of the old and broken zip, I put in three buttons, also from my stash.

A small makeover, and now I’m happy with the skirt again.

Saturday 2 January 2016

18th/19th Century Stockings

In the winter of 2008/09 I began knitting a pair of plain Ca 18th century wool stockings, using the tutorial on Mara Riley’s page. Progress was pretty good, until I ran out of yarn just after I had made the heels. I had got this yarn for free, and it wasn’t available in the shops. Now, I did have an in-progress nalbinding project where I had used this yarn, so I set out to unpick it. Those of you who ever unpicked nalbinding knows how much time that takes, so when I had enough to keep knitting, I was rather fed up with the whole thing. I put the almost finished stockings away, and though I looked at them once a year or so, I never quite felt like picking up the work again until a couple of weeks ago. I knitted a lot over a few days, and they were finally done.

The yarn is a two ply (lace weight) natural grey wool, knitted on 2 mm (UK 14/US 0) double ended needles. The gauge is ten stitches per inch. If it's any help, the pair weighed 136 grams when finished.

They are not the prettiest stockings seen – I wasn’t very good at knitting when I started out, so the tension between needles differed too much.  Still, a finished project is always nice, and not many will look at my legs up close – yay for long skirts! I took careful notes throughout the knitting process, and have become a better knitter, so hopefully the next pair (whenever I get round to them) will look better.

I feel mortified when looking at the stockings laid flat – my stocky legs and heavy ankles have been a sore spot with me since I was in my teens. At the same time I feel guilty for feeling like that – my legs serve their primary function well, which naturally is more important than how they look. Also, the uneven knitting is seen more clearly this way.

This will be my first challenge of the Historical Sew Monthly 2016.

The Challenge: #1 – Procrastination

Material: 2 ply (lace weight) wool yarn.

Pattern: Based on the tutorial on the Mara Riley page.

Year: According to the Mara Riley webpage, 17th/18th century. Mine will likely be worn mostly for early 19th, they seem to be close enough to Swedish lower class stockings of that period.

Notions: None.

How historically accurate is it? The techniques and material are all right, but execution is not too nice. I won’t rank it higher than tolerable because of that.

Hours to complete: No idea.

First worn: For the pictures.

Total cost: Nothing at this time, as I got the yarn for free.