Friday, September 19, 2014

Flashback Friday: Knitting Muffatees

Knitting has been called the friend of the blind, and is certainly the friend of the aged, as it affords the most easy and graceful employment in which they can be engaged. Then it is a really useful art both for the rich and poor. Knit garments are warmer and more durable than woven. Knitting can be done at times when no other work could be taken up, and during the long winter evenings what a host of useful things can be made by the industrious fingers!--caps, cuffs, comforters, shawls, spencers, stockings, tippets, gloves, mittens. And then what stores of ornamental articles does it afford! What beautiful purses, bags and beadwork will knitting produce! We are sure of the thanks of all ladies, yound as well as old, for calling their attention to this useful and elegant branch of female art, and also for the assistance our illustrations will prove. No other periodical attends to these things.
Ladies Work Department--Knitting
Godey's Magazine and Lady's Book Feb 1847; 34, p110.

Photo used by permission of Adrienne Martini, Martini Made
The article goes on to explain the terms used in knitting and gives general tips before providing several patterns for baby's and children's stockings, two muffs and a pair of muffatees. We know the latter today as fingerless mitts. But I demand my friends who knit fingerless mittens start calling them muffatees. Save the muffatees!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday: Thistle

It's still very much Wednesday here in Seattle (I'm at a conference for work). This is the thistle project that I had hoped to give to my MIL in August. As you can see, I'm still working on this one. There's always Christmas!

The last time I showed it to you (but not the last time I worked on it) was April.

This project is so 90s, at least it feels that way to me with all the careful rows of specialty stitches. Was this sort of sampler bigger back then, or is it just my imagination?

Long day of sitting in presentation after presentation. And jet lag. I think I'm in need of a lie down...

Want to link up to others posting their progress on Wednesdays? Check out Sharon B's Work in Progress Wednesdays at Pintangle.

Monday, September 15, 2014

I Made It: Same-Sex

A friend asked me to make a gift card holder for her friends' wedding. The boys are getting married. You can imagine that Stampin' Up! hasn't jumped on the bandwagon. (I think they should make the bride and groom stamps separate so you can use two grooms or two brides if the occasion warrants.) It's hard enough to make masculine cards, but a masculine wedding card? I thought and thought and came up with this:
The ampersand comes from a set of letters I bought at a specialty stamping store about ten years ago. But I'm sure such a thing is easy enough to find. The DSP is Stampin' Up! from about four years ago but I'll be damned if I can remember the name of it. 

Inside, the clinking glasses are from "Cheers to You" and the greeting comes from {a set I will have to check on when I get home} Sincere Salutations. The Starbucks gift card is in there just to show how this card works. When you open it, the gift pops up. Cute, right? You can find the video instructions here.

Thanks to Pamela of Hokkaido Kudasai for giving me the One Lovely Blog Award. Pamela stitches and quilts while learning Japanese and teaching English in Japan. If you thought our American winter was long, you should definitely go back and see how she spent the winter on Japan's northernmost island! (If you guessed ass-deep in snow, you'd have underestimated by a few feet.)

I need to tell you seven things about myself:
1. I seriously don't understand how people do not know dragged is a word. "I dragged my ass to work today." NOT "I drug myself to work." (Unless, of course, you are a stripper or a prostitute or some other worker who has to take drugs in order to do your job. Then, yes, you drug yourself to work.)
2. I majored in English, taught English, and am happily a pedant.
3. And yet, I can't spell to save my life.
4. I can taste recipes when I read them.
5. I have two different feet--one's had bunion surgery.
6. I love making lists.
7. I'm a Libra through and through, and I hate to choose. So you will have to forgive me for not passing this along. (Also a rule breaker!)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Flashback Friday: Portieres

In October 1907, The Ladies Home Journal featured the article "Artistic Designs for Portieres: Which May be Made by the Clever Woman with Needle, Thread and Brush."
A more conventional and usual idea is shown on the left, but it is one capable of very beautiful development if artistically treated. Almost any upholstery fabric could be used for the background, but, of course, it should be plain, and not figured. The dragon-motif may be cut and mounted in applique style, and would be most effective if cut from gold satin. The color of the background fabric must in that case be a dull or quiet one, to give the most artistic effect. (Volume XXIC, Number 11, p49) 

The only copyright free
picture of a portiere I could find.
Wrong period. We'll live.
Of course the first question I had is what the hell is a portiere? A portiere is a fabric hanging used in a doorway in place of a door, or indeed in addition to a door depending on whether the goal was to stop drafts or to act as a door. They were first used in Asia and made their way to Europe where they were in use by the fourth century. They were quite common in the Victorian period, so the colonies were a little behind here.

And the next is brush? I've read the whole damn article twice, and they don't once mention using a brush. My wild guess is that it would be something used to raise the nap on the project, but I cannot find any reference to nap raising. I guess you have to be a much more clever woman than I.

Other titles in this magazine include "The Chronicles of a Queer Girl," "A Stranger in the Church: The Experience of a Young Woman in One Hundred and Fifty Churches," and "How Children are Made Drunkards." You might think the later is one of those damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't articles that are so popular today whose primary purpose seems to be making all mothers feel bad about themselves in one way or another. No, this is a straight-up warning against using "harmless" "over-the-counter" medicines for children that contained opium and other things that require a prescription these days*. The arbitor of taste turns her attention to hall racks this month. Her advice seems to be the same: plainer is better.

*Except in Oregon or Colorado.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Smithsonian Yarnbomb

(or, "Best Pal Made It Tuesday")



I've had a special request from best pal. We both hope you will share this information widely.

She worked on the yarnbomb of the Smithsonian! How cool is that?

The project was in aid of Japanese performance and installation artist Chuharu Shiota's new installation at the Sackler Gallery. "Haunted by the traces that the human body leaves behind, the work amasses personal memories of lost individuals and past moments through an accumulation of discarded shoes and notes collected by the artist." If you look at the photos here, it will become clear why the yarnbomb is done all in red.

This exhibit will be on view through June 7, 2015. If you are in Washington, DC you should go. And if you can't get there, you can read about the shoes here. But you should go. When was the last time you went to D.C.?

Monday, September 08, 2014

I Made It: Jolly!

This weekend I made caramelized bourbon peach ice cream, baked potato soup, and Russian eggplant dip (for cookbook club). And I could have shared any of those. (The eggplant dip doesn't photograph well...) Happily, I made it up to the craft room and finished Jolly by Miss Crescent's Crowne (JCS Ornament Issue).

I stitched this ornament in September 2012. I'm actually kind of pleased that it only took me two years to finish. (Seriously, wait until we get to the bottom of that FUFY pile!)

I'm not going to lie, sewing with that pompom trim was a bitch. I wish I had a walking foot, but I did make do with a zipper foot. Still some of the pompoms got caught on the wrong side of the project. I did all the things I was supposed to do (like baste the trim) and well, sometimes done is good. Yes, the ornament is displayed on the backing fabric. Bright enough for you?

I'm really pleased with people showing their stash (show yours!) and more generally with the positive comments from the changes I've made to the blog thus far. I really feel energized for crafting, but maybe that's just the change in the weather?


Friday, September 05, 2014

Flashback Friday: Citrus Rinds

Franz Eugen Köhler,
Köhler's Medizinal-Pflanzen
Flashback Friday is another of the new features around these parts. Initially, I had hoped to share craft patterns from early women's magazines with you. Unfortunately, when I was doing my research, the pages were all labeled "reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission." And I thought, "the holy hell, someone took out new copyright on 100 year old magazines?" This may just be a standard thing the college or ProQuest puts on all the materials they bring to researchers, but rather than do further research on that front, I decided that I could work within fair use* and not have to worry about copyright. That means no patterns, but it does mean I will bring a bit of delightful text from women's magazines that relates to embroidery or current craft trends in some way.

"Don't Throw Away Your Orange and Lemon Rinds" from the column "A Liberal Table on Small Means" by Mrs. S. T. Rorer. This excerpt is from Ladies' Home Journal, November 1907, Vol XXIV, No 12, page 30.

Another economy is worth practicing and that is the saving of lemon and orange rinds. When you are using a lemon for lemonade it is better if the rind is taken off; you may take it off in strips or you may squeeze the juice and keep the rind in halves; clear out the inside and throw the rinds at once into cold water; bring to a boil, boil for five minutes and drain. Cover with boiling water and boil until tender. Then make a syrup from a pound of sugar and half a pint of water; bring to a boil and skim. Put in the lemon rinds and cook until transparent; then throw them on to a sieve to drain; stir the syrup until it begins to granulate and pour it over. let it harden and dry on the lemon rinds; these are better for fruitcake and mincemeat than the commercial candied lemon rind which you usually buy. 
Believe it or not, this is only a short excerpt from this article! You probably wondered how much there was to say about lemon rinds. I'm pretty sure Mrs. Rorer was paid by the word.

Photo: Johannes Pribyl 
Other articles in this issue include "Good Taste and Bad Taste in Clocks" (bad taste seems to run to over-ornamentation and small or partially obscured faces); "What Other Women Have Found Out" (your tip could earn you a crisp new dollar bill!); and "Three Things a Teacher Should Teach" (uprightness, thoroughness, and reverence).

*basically, part of the law says that you can use short excerpts of copyrighted material verbatim for purposes like criticism, reporting, teaching, and research without permission from or payment to the holder of the copyright. We are researching our collective past. One of you will write a book about it.