Wednesday, 25 December 2013

wow, it's been a while...

It is now Christmas day.

I got my beautiful winter coat made, it is in lightweight red melton with a red kasha lining.  I used from 1953, so lovely!  I ended up not doing the top stitching, as the melton proved to be fussy.  I also added more buttons and buttonholes because we're having a really cold winter here and it is only the beginning!  I made bound buttonholes, which normally are easy peasy for me, this time around though, because of numerous factors, each buttonhole took two or three attempts to make happen.  I was so pissed by the end of that day!

In the end, I figure it took a week to make, from start to finish.  I may also have to take the shoulders up just a bit, as my own shoulders are so narrow, the off the shoulder look is a bit too extreme.

Christmas Eve is actually where it's at for this family.  Our party is on that day, we have all of our friends and family over for a big casual afternoon.  This year's count was around 40 people.  Then once everyone went home, we had a simple supper of fried eggs on toast (I have to think ahead better next year and make a casserole I can pop in the oven or something) and gave our gifts to each other.  I can't even say we opened them, because none of us felt like wrapping them, so we each handed each other shopping bags and boxes.  I must say, it was funny, but also really relaxed because nobody felt like they didn't get enough presents for anyone.  We were all just keen on what we received.  I got a lovely merino sweater and two pashminas from Pierre, then Mum handed me the giant box of heavy and I knew it must be books!  She's been so excited for the time to arrive.  So yes, several large, heavy on the words books on Punk, written by really great authors.  She also indulged my love of colonial periods and bought me two books on early history, both in Europe and here in North America.  And!!!  A new bookbag, actually two, with the choice of which one I'd keep, and one for Pierre.  Luckily, we all agreed that the elongated messenger bag worked better for him, and I would keep the traditional style shoulder bag.  My mum, always buying gifts in the middle of the night and not remembering until they arrive what she's makes for a fun Christmas!
Pierre got a waxed watch coat for the 18thC to keep him dry.  The bag.  And the giant pile of long sleeved T shirts.  I think I got him 8 of them this year!  He's a happy guy.  Mum got the traditional nightgowns, a sweater and my brother got her an iPad.  Pierre also bought us all new leather slippers.
Our kids had a new family photo taken and framed for us, which is something that money just can't buy and is cherished.  The younger members of our 18thC family did the was a fabulous gift from both.

Today has been a whole lot of relaxing.  I cooked a turkey, we ate it, there is lots left over for my favourite part of Christmas...leftovers...tomorrow we go to my brother's for leftovers, then home for more relaxing.
This coming week I will be creating mood boards and design sketches for the collection that is accompanying my thesis.  I'll be doing a lot of pinning, so check me out on pinterest at

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

feeling like things are coming together.

I just printed off my paper for Dr David Howard on the philosophy of Punk.  I am feeling really good about my writing, it seems to be getting better with each kick at the can.  I think I have made a case for why Westwood was just as important to British Punk as McLaren was, maybe even more-so.

I learned this past week that there will be a new book out of her life, with some 'startling new details' now that McLaren is gone.  It will be interesting to read it.

I also feel that my personal style is following the concepts that Westwood laid the early groundwork for, I have always felt Punk, and have gone through many 'looks' of Punk and have been looking at the retro wearing grrls of today as being very much Punk.  This paper, I think, tidies that up nicely, talking about the things Westwood wore early on as being both Teddy-boy and very Punk.  My thoughts for my own fashion collection are coalescing as well.  I can't wait to get started on it!

but first, finishing up my dress for Thursday evening, and getting a winter coat made.  I bought the fabric for the latter project Sunday afternoon.  It will be red wool melton, with a kasha lining, interlined in both hair canvas and cotton flannel for warmth.  Red!  Dr Randi will be pleased ;-) she loves it when I wear colour.  I know Pierre is happy, he was as emphatic about the red wool as he was when we bought my red Fluevogs.

Right now though, don't look at me...I am looking very much like the Grad student I've become.  I really should go put some proper clothes on.
In the meantime, check out the World's End Blog by Westwood's son Ben

Friday, 29 November 2013

the proposal is done and handed in...

final revisions were made this past Monday and yesterday evening I handed the last copy to the Grad co-ordinator.  Now I wait.

In craft related things, I've been making a new dress to wear to the Christmas party this Thursday.  Silk chiffon, oh. my. goodness. but it is fluffy!  Big skirt to wear over a big crinoline.  It needs the lining stitched down to the waist and a zip put in and maybe a belt of some kind.
Next up is a winter coat.  I've been making do with a very nice raincoat with a polar fleece sweater underneath, but I'm getting tired of being cold all the time, and this winter is already a cold one.  Early for here in Nova Scotia.  So this weekend I'm heading to the fabric store to get the things I need to make that happen starting this week.

We are almost done Christmas shopping, I just need to pick up some gifts for Pierre.  He needs to pick up the kids gifts and something for me.  I also have one more gift for Mum to go out and get.  Christmas will explode Sunday evening here, once we get home from our living heritage AGM.  Christmas tunes will blare and lights will go up.  I need to find some Christmas spirit, I am feeling a little overwhelmed with life right now.

I am looking forward to some serious quiet time over the holidays.  The collection work will get started then, with a mood board, design sketches, flats and a look-book.  I have two outfits already in my head wanting out, my advisor on this part of the project, Gary Markle, thinks just one more after that and I should be fine.  I need to get forms filled out this week too, to bring both Gary and my second reader Dr Jayne Wark on board officially.

Lots to do this week, but first, cleaning the house, because we have company coming for the weekend!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

after much editing...

I went through this round of edits with a very fine tooth comb, then asked mum to red pen what I had done and went over it again, making the changes she suggested.  I think I now have a working document that I am proud of.
I sent it off this morning via email to Dr Randi.  Hopefully she will approve it and we can send it to committee.  I am excited!  This means that in the first weeks of December, I can defend and then next term it is writing thesis all the time!

My hair appointment for today has been rescheduled for Saturday.  Pierre is on duty for the next 24 hours, he gets home tomorrow evening.  Today I am going to read some of the book Lipstick Traces by Greil Marcus and knit.

Have a great day all.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Thesis proposal, final round

Dr Randi said that this round of edits are probably going to be the last ones before I submit it to Dr's Westhaver and Wark for committee.  Today, one of my classmates is defending her thesis proposal, so I am feeling pretty good about things.  Though it is giving me motivation to get it done and get on to the defense.

I am also starting my politics and philosophy paper for Dr Howard.  Soon, I will be reading and writing about nothing but punk.  I am so done with class work, it's not even funny!  At least the politics paper is also about punk, I only have three weeks of other philosophers to read.

In my own class, Fashion Construction, we had a bit of a meltdown last week, when only two students of 15 turned in their work by the due time.  Only half by the end of the day.  As of yesterday, two don't get a mark for the October sample binder and skirt project, that's a chunk of points...I told them how spectacularly disappointed I was, all of them.  Maybe I'm too nice, I don't know.  I wanted them all to do well, but I can't force them to turn stuff in to be marked, I can't hold their hand and tell them to do it over again, a week late, and I'll give them a better mark.  I just don't know how to handle this.......

In other news, I make my last student loan payment today, 20 years it took to pay that sucker off.  I also have enough saved to go and purchase my loom this weekend, if we want to make a little drive.  I really need a studio...

Monday, 4 November 2013

still here!

It has been a busy couple of weeks, and I have one more busy week before things quiet down for a bit and I can buckle down and work on my politics and philosophy section/paper.  I have been revising both the politics proposal and the thesis proposal.  I have also been chatting about textile stuff with a friend from the costume society, attending SCA events, weddings...been busy.

I have four weeks of school left in this term.  My politics paper is due the day before the Ship's Christmas party, and then I have another week or so of teaching my construction class.  Studio classes get a bit more time than regular academic classes.  My students will have another week or so to complete their final project, which is a garment of their choosing.  Sewing projects for me?  I have just one, creating a dress to wear to that Christmas party that will do double duty as the dress I wear to the kids wedding in the early spring.  It is going to be pale blue sheer silk with silver accents that I can change out for wearing in the spring.

Thesis project wise, I have completely thought out one entire outfit for the collection.  I really need to sketch it out and colourize it.  I have started on the thinking of the second outfit, got the skirt planned for that one, and am thinking on the jacket.  I am also thinking on the wool plaid outfit too.  My pinterest board is filling up with inspiration images, check it out...

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

reading, lots of reading

I wish for a lot of things come late October when I'm in school...

This year, it's why I didn't take a class from David Howard earlier in my degree, so I wouldn't have to be taking this class, right now.  Mostly because there is so much reading to do and I'm really tired.  It will all work out in the end though, because I will have most of the chapter on the politics of Punk written by the end of this term.

It may kill me though...

Well, off to do some more reading.  I have my chapter proposal to resubmit tomorrow, and I am directing the readings on Cixous in class tomorrow, so I have a bit of reading to finish and then some writing to do this afternoon.

This is a busy week, I am looking forward to sunday.

Friday, 25 October 2013

writing and thinking...

The wedding outfit is gone, Krista was very happy with it, that makes me happy.  This weekend, I will be spending at the computer, hopefully getting some writing done.  My ideal weekend would be sitting here, or in the easy chair beside me reading and writing, with food and coffee or drinks magically appearing when needed.

Yeah, right!

I still have family commitments to attend to, like the grandkids coming tonight for a sleep-over, meals to make, the wedding to go to tomorrow, and kitchen stuff to pick up from one friend and delivering to another friend on Sunday.  Yup, I am a little busy.

But it's a good busy.  And I will get reading and writing done, and thoughts of my collection hammered out.  I have the first outfit planned out in my head.  I may have to put it down on paper this weekend, so that I can get on with the second outfit.  I'd like to have 6 when I am completely finished.  I am also planning a new semi formal dress for the Christmas party and the kids wedding in the Spring, same dress, different accessories.

Fashion is so exciting to me, fashion of any era...I am hoping that I can continue in the Fashion department at NSCAD for a while yet, to keep this inspiration going...

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

sewing and reading...

I am finishing up the last of the wedding outfit, hand stitching the lining into the bodice.  This is happening in between feminist philosophy readings for this week.  I will be happy when this term is finished.  I am tired and need a week off.
One of my students said the same thing last week, that she wished there was a reading week in the Fall term too.  This weekend I will get back on track and get caught up again, I am sure. All that is left on the sewing plate is a couple of tunics for Nic, which I will rough out on Thursday.  I would also like to rough out Lugg's Norse coat and get that ready for decoration and competition for Herne at the end of November...we'll see if that happens.  And I need a new frock for the Christmas party December 5th.

Yes, even when I don't want to sew, I seem to have a lot of sewing to do.

And reading...must go do some of that...

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

sewing projects on the horizon

I have a few projects that need to be tidied up, first off a wedding ensemble that is steampunk inspired for the 26th and then a couple of early Celtic tunics for a blacksmith friend who made Pierre a boarding axe for the 18thC.
Then I am done sewing for people for a while as I really have to concentrate on my thesis project.  You see, along with the proper thesis project, the written document, I am also creating a fashion collection based on my research.  I began the first steps on Saturday morning, sourcing materials and talking to contractors.  My thoughts are shifting slightly but I still feel on track.  I will need to go to Montreal to source my fabrics as I can't get what I want here...possibly even Toronto, though I'd rather Montreal.

No, I will not be creating any pieces for anyone else.  Not this time around.  The collection is for me, by me, with only my own input...with guidance from my thesis advisor and Gary from the Fashion department at NSCAD.  I need to keep a tight reign on this one, with no outside input, even from models who may have the best intentions, but who may not like what I make.  It is Punk after all.

So, my Pinterest page is growing. Every time I go on there, I add more inspiration pics.  I will be developing the design sketches after HALcon and my other sewing projects are finished up.  Then I will be focusing totally on Punk.

I am hoping to Graduate in the Fall 2014, possibly sooner, so I have to buckle down.

Friday, 11 October 2013

again with the proposal...

Today I sat down at the computer determined to get a document together that I would be happy submitting to the department.  Success!  I began with the abstract I wrote for Dr Randi, with a side step to look at what Harvard wants in a thesis proposal document for Humanities.  That my friends is a helpful website

Down at the bottom of the page are sample proposal papers, but also a sort of fill in the blanks, blank document.  Super easy to follow.

So I filled out the original abstract with the addition of the politics and art I want to discuss, came up with a working title that I am happy with and filled in the rest of the blanks with things like my methodology, definition of some terms, table of contents, timeline and then the massive bibliography that I have been working with and adding to.  At 1.5 line spacing it's an eleven page document.  When I am ready to submit, I'll bump the line spacing to the full 2 pts.  I have sent it off to Dr Randi for editing.  Then when I've done those edits, I will send it off to Dr Jayne, my second reader (hopefully), and then off to the department for "the Meeting".

I am happy and excited again.

Monday, 7 October 2013

thesis proposal, round two

Found out late friday that my proposal isn't what the department is looking for, should be more social sciences based, not arts based...ugh, I am an arts student.

This morning I am sitting down with my advisor, Dr Warne and we are going to hash out a happy medium.  I have no test subjects, unless you think that clothing has somehow reached sentient status...I have printed off what History departments at leading universities want in their proposals, and hopefully we can find something to work with that might meet some of the requirements for the department...

It sucks being in a department that really should be something else...not enveloped into the Criminology department.

If I can pass on one word of advice to anyone looking at grad schools, ask lots of questions before you apply, is it the program they really preach it to be, or will it turn out to be an ugly stepsister you don't really want to be related to...

Friday, 4 October 2013


I finally have a title for my thesis.  This morning I plowed through the thesis statement for my Modernist Postmodernist debates paper that is due with a bib on wednesday morning.  Yesterday it came to me, why not Seditionaries, it explains a lot of what the whole project will be about.

I am happy to have finally gotten this little assignment done, and the thesis proposal finished and turned in.  Now I am waiting on Saint Mary's to get back to me with the next steps.  I am also thinking collection and will be ready to start the sketches for that soon too.  Something that David Howard said a couple of weeks ago in class got me thinking.  "How can we be Post-Colonial if we are still a Colony?"  So true, and will be the basis of one of my outfits in the collection.  In true Westwood style, I'll be off seeing what flags I can procure.

Anyway, I am feeling back on track again, and much better than my sorry ass felt last night.  It's amazing what a good night's sleep and a productive morning writing can do.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

small conference, my ass!

Wow, my mind was completely blown yesterday.  I sat enthralled, listening to speaker after speaker talk about the fashion industry, sustainability, growing fibres and producing them and the dyestuffs locally, and then how we as producers need to knock off the Wall St commodity brokers from the fashion food chain and set our own prices that reflect a living wage for everyone involved.  Only then will we get people to change their consumption behaviours.

So exciting!

There are people growing flax here in the maritimes, want more of us to grow it.  There are people growing woad and indego and want more of us to grow those plants too.

There were people from California, Michigan, Indiana, Toronto, Newfoundland, the Maritimes, England and Germany there yesterday...there could have been more in the audience, I don't know.  The general consensus was that we can bring back the clothing industry to North America if we want to.   The tide is rising against Walmart's Low, Low prices.  It may not happen in my career, but I can see it happening in my lifetime, and I will do my best to help it along.


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Conference on Linen tomorrow

Things have been busy at the Textile/Fashion department this week at NSCAD.  Tomorrow there will be a small conference on Linen Production in Nova Scotia called Sow to SEW.  Saturday there will be a working Group meeting to discuss how this idea can be pushed further.  I am so excited about this as it may lead to us being able to buy good quality textiles that are made here...which means that we may also be able to get good historical textiles into production again...

One can hope.

I plan on being there for the whole day tomorrow.  Yes, I am bringing my shirt.  It's not the beautiful textile that Robin Muller produced for the project, but I'm going to bring it anyway.  It was a learning project, and I think it has value as that.

In thesis world, I am working on my proposal at the moment.  I wrote a good intoduction this morning, just out in long hand.  It needs some editing, but it's a tight start to a nebulous and discursive year I've had.  I am finally feeling like I am on the path.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Feeling overwhelmed and excited

I am slowly getting into the swing of things, school wise.  I have to keep reminding myself that all this reading that I am doing will make sense, and try not to get hung up on the minutae.  Just keep plugging along according to schedule.

Not sure if I mentioned it here, but I will be designing and creating a fashion collection along with writing the thesis.  This makes me extremely happy, because my creative brain will have an outlet that will have a purpose long term.  This academic MA will have a Fine Art component.

My own teaching is going along well.  We are covering a lot of material, but I hope to be able to send my students off on a good footing so that Intermediate and Advanced Fashion will allow them to really shine creatively.  This week we'll also be doing a bit of review, so hopefully I will catch and straglers.

The 18thC reenacting season is over now and I have begun teaching the winter workshops, which reminds me, I have to book the October workshop.  We'd like to be going to SCA events, but with Pierre's work schedule, this may prove a little difficult.  Playing it by ear this Fall.  Oh well.

In thesis world, I need to get a grip on my proposal and get that taken care of before I can begin writing the paper.  That along with the proposal for Modernist/Postmodernist Debates are due next week.  Brain work!  UGH!

Anyway, that's it from me, and that's all from him, as the Two Ronnies used to sign off...have a great day.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Switching gears

I hope you'll all bear with me over the next few months as I work through my MA thesis.  I will be writing about Vivienne Westwood and Punk and have been given the go-ahead to also work on a collection as part of that thesis.

It seems that I am able to put an art spin on this degree after all, and not just writing about it, but making it too.

My pinterest page exploded this morning as I looked and pinned inspiration.  It's also inspired me to dress up for the class I am teaching.  Last week, I wore my brown linen 60's dress with brown and orange argyle tights.  Tomorrow it will be my jean skirt with the pink top stitching, pink T and sweater, red shoes, grey tights and pink jacket...I need to make a hat out of that hot pink felt hood I have...

I am getting my inspiration back.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Skool, it's where learning happens, but not the only place.

Well, I'm sorry that I haven't been posting, but school started last week, and I've had to hit the ground running.  Not much time to goof off and write blog posts ;-)

I am starting my thesis this term, met with Dr Randi monday and have homework to do this weekend.  I have been working on it already, but my butt needs to be in this chair and not knitting in the living room this weekend.  I have to compile a bibliography, write an abstract and make a map of the paper, including sub-topics that I want to discuss and number of pages and a timeline. 

Tomorrow I am also running a workshop for the 18thC group.

Wednesdays I teach fashion construction in the morning, which I have to get really geared up for, pulling handouts and such together.
Wednesday afternoons I am taking Modernist and Postmodernist Debates.  Some good shit to read there, and hopefully some good discussions in class.  I already have a pile of books beside me to read for my research paper that will hopefully be rolled into the thesis.  The situationist International, an art and philosophical movement that inspired McLaren and Westwood.  We watched  The Society of the Spectacle last night, yup, I am barking up the right tree!  A question that popped into my mind concerning today's fixation on gender, is are we now comodifying gender, looking for the perfect woman, perfect man to the exclusion of all the genders in between?

Yeah, my brain sometimes goes there...I have a notebook...last week I was thinking about how Freud has really screwed with our ideas of gender, and how women really need to be very young and child-like, lest they appear too matronly in Freud's eyes, because what man really wants to be labled as having a mother I said, my brain...sorry

Anyway, I am sitting here, so I best do some work.  Make it a good day all, even if it's pouring tropical depressions out there.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The day before my show opens

I finished the shirt last night at 830pm, went downstairs and put it and the apron I finished over the weekend into the wash on delicate.  And then came upstairs to wait...

After an hour, I went down again to see if I still had a shirt and apron, or just a pile of string in the bottom of the wash.  I kinda think I know how a potter feels now, when they put a pot in the kiln.  Will it come out in one piece, as planned, or will I end up with something different?

I am happy to say that both the shirt and apron came out beautifully.  They tightened up a bit, but not so much that they are too small.  They turned out perfectly.

Now, I have to go and refinish a chair, dig out a dish pan and my tea towels and cloths and this afternoon install my piece of the group show.  I am a nervous wreck.

The encampment last weekend went well, with very few hiccups.  Our standards officer gave us a 98% for the weekend, picking up on the very same things that I want to fix, so there's the challenge...getting those two items fixed.  The first is making a canvas cover for the big blue water jug and the second is better garbage collection.  Though the latter of was not an issue for the officer, just for me.
I am happy with our progress.

Well, back to work for me.  I will post pictures.

Friday, 30 August 2013

sewing and knitting, spinning, sewing and knitting

Well I got the shirt cut out, and have started sewing it together.  I have two sleeves made now.  I will wash it gently when it's completed and hope for the best.  I was worried about washing it before sewing because of how loosely woven the fabric is.  Try as I might, I just couldn't get the weave to tighten up.

So fingers crossed.

While I was weaving, and waiting for starch to dry, I was also knitting.  I got another pair of stockings made for Pierre and a pair of mitts made for me.  The mitts are not my best work, done in a bit of a hurry and with not enough yarn.  I ended up going up to the yarn shop yesterday and spending far too much on a bit of fleece to spin some more.  The spin was also in a bit of a rush and on a drop spindle, so my tension isn't the greatest, but I got enough spun up to finish the thumb.  Pierre couldn't tell the difference between the two mits...
The second is a bit shorter than the first, and I knit the thumb better in the second than on the first, so despite the badly spun bit, I am happier with the second mitt than the first.

But I'll have warm arms this weekend.

Today we head out to the 18thC for our last encampment of the season.  The summer seems to fly by so quickly.  And we didn't get out much this summer, with family plans and Pierre being under the weather.  Slowly though, we are getting our kit the way we want it and things are going a bit more smoothly.  Fine tuning now.

I'm not going to be taking on any more new people, sponsoring them into the hobby, right now.  Rave has left for school, but is good to go.  Laura and Garth are almost there,  Catherine is well on her way too, Artemis is the next to get geared up and ready.  Then I think I will take a break and just be for a while.  It's a lot of work to get people geared up to play authentically, and I am also teaching, writing a thesis and hosting workshops this fall/winter.  My brain is tired thinking about it!

Well, I should go pack the kitchen...

Monday, 26 August 2013

it's been a while...

I have been a weaving fiend!  And quite honestly, so exausted at the end of the day that I haven't thought to post anything here.  I have been weaving...and knitting while I wait for starch to dry.

There was 5m of warp in that batch and I managed to get 4.5m woven before the shed wouldn't open any more.  If I cut it well, I should have no problem getting a shirt made and maybe an apron.  My back is knackered though, and have I mentioned that I am tired?

Here's some pics that Pierre too last week...!/photo.php?fbid=10151843927804669&set=pcb.10151843928109669&type=1&theater

Next photos will be of a shirt!

My opening will be at the Mary Black Gallery on September 5th at 6pm.  If I have made you an historic costume, I'd love for you to wear it.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Waiting for starch to dry

Got in early enough this morning, bought starch on the way.  I gave the warp another good spray down, and then waited...

While I was waiting for starch to dry, I finished off the second sock of Pierre's second pair of buff coloured stockings.  Now he has two pair that colour.  Mitts for me goon the needles tonight.  I have two weeks until the Citadel, hopefully I can get them knitted up.

The weaving is going well enough.  I have woven a couple of repeats now, and just sprayed the warp again and am taking a break.  Found an ice cream sandwich in the freezer from a picnic Garth and Laura brought me one day last month.  It was just what I needed.
Now to finish my coffee and continue weaving.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

finally weaving...

Well, last week I wound the warp on to the front beam and then tied it to the back and wound it on the back beam.  Everyone who had heard what happened were heartbroken, especially those who have helped me all summer.  Garth wondered how we were going to get it on the back beam again.  He was surprized at how quickly it went.

Yesterday, once a migraine cleared, I set out to weave.  And weave I did!  It takes some work to get the shed open enough to throw the shuttle, but I am getting the hang of it.  Foot peddle, the by hand, seperate the shed, hold the harnesses down that need to be down to keep the shed open wide, throw the shuttle.  I am also carrying the threads I am not using up the sides of the selvage, so with the throwing of the shuttle, I have to remember twist the two shuttles before throwing again.  This keeps the two colours carrying up the sides neatly and without having to thread ends in all the time.

The check is working out almost two what I have imagined, I'm not sure how to get it tight enough to keep the pattern.  I might try some things at the end, once I get enough for a shirt woven.  I have some ideas, and if it was this time last month, like I'd planned, I might play a bit more, but right now I have a deadline.

But I'm weaving!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

sometimes fate has a way of making you see things differently...

shortly after my post this morning, before my tears dried, before I stopped crying even, a man walked into my studio and asked how I was doing.  I told him that he caught me on a bad day, that my warp had a critical failure.

"Oh, my wife's a weaver, that happens all the time, I usually go to the pub until the dust settles." he said "Let me go get her!"

And so I met the right person at the right time.  Laurie Gundersen and her husband talked me out of my temper tantrum and gave me hope for my warp.  Her work can be seen here

The warp has been cut where it started to tangle, I'll deal with that later, much later, when I have my own studio again...a non air conditioned studio, with a big table to lay it out on.  For now, it will live in a ziplock bag.

After supper, Pierre and I are going to go back down town and deal with getting that warp back on the back beam.  It will go on and there will be shirt!
I am not a hack, I can do this.  It's not rocket science.

Thank you Laurie safe drive back to Virginia.

I so want this shirt warp to happen,you really have no idea.

I sat with all the patience I could muster.  I opened the shed and very carefully eased the shuttle across.  I did this a total of three times, just working i thick cotton yet, so I can establish the straight.  I noticed my tension was slacking off, so I tightened the front beam a bit and started on the fifth row and poof...

well it was more like an ooze.  The sides of my warp slackened even more as the warp on the back beam slid off the edges.  I screamed NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

and started to cry.

I unwound the warp off the back beam, crocheting it up as I went.  It is now sitting on the back cross bar as I sit here and figure out what to do next.  I am heart broken.

I wanted this to work.  I wanted to say that yes, I hand made those shirts that Pierre wears, I wove the cloth even.  I wanted to do that for me, not for any recognition or awards, just to know that I had the ability to do it.  I am not thinking I have that ability any more.  I am feeling like a real hack right now.

Monday, 12 August 2013

ARGHHHH! I will not set fire to my loom. I will not set fire to my loom. I will not...

The warp is now fully threaded and tied on to the loom.  I had hoped to start weaving today, but that is not to be the case.  I opened the shed to throw my first shuttle across and the shed would not open.  I teased the shed open and gently eased the shuttle across.  I brought the reed forward and attempted to open the shed again.  Nope.  would not move.  So I teased it open again and gently pushed the shuttle through the second time.  Oh, this is going to be tedious, isn't it.

Then I attempted to bring the reed forward again, nope, not moving.

Bunches of threads loosened up and I retied a bunch, then attempted again.  Nope.

Argh.  F@#K!

I emptied a half a can of spray starch on the bitch and informed my family that I was on my way home.

I am home now and will spend the afternoon knitting.  Because I can handle one thread at a time right now.  Three hundred threads, nope.

Maybe tomorrow I will be able to start weaving.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Missing my Belle-girl

Well, for a woman who spent a lot of the morning thinking about all the times she screwed up over her career, and deeply missing her Belle-puppie, the day turned itself around really well!

This weekend, Garth and Pierre helped me get the last of the warp on the back beam...kermit flail!  Yesterday I started threading heddles, a job I truly love.  I should be weaving by the end of the week.  This morning we had mid summer crits, which went really well.  I am inspired by the other residents!  Holy Bovine!  You guys have to come out for our show, there are some impressive artists working with me.  This afternoon, I continued threading heddles, I am now at the half way point...!/photo.php?v=10151806608784669&set=vb.606679668&type=2&theater

a little film, by Pierre, of me threading.  Yes, they will be that tightly packed when I weave, the thread is that fine.  Tomorrow I will continue to thread.

Tomorrow I also meet with Dr Randi, getting started on the thesis, or at least back on track with it.  My brain has been wandering, so I need to get focused again before I lose momentum and wander off completely and do something else.  Though the work of one of the jewellery residents had me thinking Punk jewellery this morning, safety pins and such...

I got home about 330 to a phone call from Gary at NSCAD.  He was now allowed to call and offer me the job teaching Fashion Construction this Fall.  So exciting!  I need to be in that studio this winter, getting inspired and working on all the fashion ideas that I am going to have whilst studying Punk.  I already have ideas...a new collection of clothes in in the air, I can feel it!  I wonder if I can do that as part of the thesis paper???

So I am not a hack.  I have what it takes to get a job in my field, a good job!  Whoot!!!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

one foot in front of the other...

Laundry continues, but then doesn't it for everyone?  Our laundry room looks like a linen bomb went off in it, with shifts and shirts and such hanging on the lines insie because it threatened rain all day yesterday.  Today I will put the feather bedding out on the outside line to air out...and finish the laundry.  Yeah!

I didn't get the technician's job at NSCAD.  Gary called last night to let me know.  Adam got it, which is a much better choice for all concerned.  He gets more hours, the department gets a bit on continuity and I get time to work on my thesis.  I did apply for a teaching job there though, Fashion Construction.  That would work better for me both in short term and long term.  One class I can handle and still write.

The next event we are looking forward to is the Citadel on Labour day.  Just two events this summer, but with Pierre being under the weather and not knowing when his surgery date was, we couldn't comit to any more.  One foot in front of the other though, two is better than none!

The shirt warp continues to be starched and wrangled.  Got another 5m on the back beam this week, and may be able to get the last 5m on this weekend.  We'll see.  I'd really like to start weaving it this week!

anyway, just a quick update, back to laundry!

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Photos are starting to trickle in

Proof that we did have fun, depite the rain

 Blowing bubbles for Calliope

Contemplating setting up shop for the day, would the rain hold off???

 Pierre's favourite things to do at camp, "make fire" and people watch!
 Servant's day off. Sunday the younger members of our family went exploring.  It was a good interpretive story too, as the servants would often get an afternoon off.  Gave me an opportunity to try and buy into indenture some young tourists.
Photos by Kate Waller

Monday, 29 July 2013

into many events, a little rain must fall

We packed up and hit the road under grey skies and spitting rain.  But this is Louisbourg, an event that only happens every five years, and so we would go, rain or shine.

Well, let's just say it rained.  A. Lot.

Got to the site at 530pm and registered and went to the town itself to start unloading the truck.  We can only go on site with vehicles after closing, so there's a window of opportunity to get there and get set up.  On nice days this can take 2 hours at most.  But it was raining....

I was camp co-ordinator, so it was my job to get everyone's camp set where they needed to be, so that everyone had room for tents.  We had a few late comers who neglected to send me tent sizes and arrived with some big ones, so the Parks staff in charge of the event and I had some figuring to do.  Did I mention that it was raining?

Meanwhile I am also trying to help set up my own camp, which is shrinking by the minute due to being squeezed out from both directions.  Thank goodness that some of our gang were also registered with our neighbours from the Maritime Museum, who also didn't have enough space, because that meant we could maneuver some tents around to get the best use of space and leave nobody in a pothole or mud puddle.

I mentioned it was raining right...pouring actually.

By 9pm our camp was nowhere set up and I was well into some serious shivering.  Then Pierre started to shiver, which spooked me.  By 10pm I had called it and 6 of us went off in search of a hotel room for the night.
We managed to get warm and sleep a good enough sleep to be fit for active service again the next morning.  Arrived back on site at about 730 and hit the ground running again.

In the rain.

I wore my new riding habit, without stays, without shoes, since it was easier to keep my feet clean in my canvas tennies and I didn't want to completely ruin my new leather 18thC shoes before the weekend even started.  Thursday it rained on and off again, we got fire made and hot food and such and managed to stay in the tents the rest of the weekend...somewhat dry.

It rained again off and on Friday, where I wore my riding habit again, with stays.  I am told there were 1500 tickets through the gate that date, despite the rain.

It rained off and on Saturday, when I wore my new gown, with stays and shoes even.

Sunday dawned clear and breezy.
I set up my shop, sold some hats and pins, looked pretty and girlie, chatted with the tourists and had fun.
At five we started tear down.  Two hours later we are all in our vehicles and start off....

in the rain.

Louisbourg is thinking of running this as a yearly event now.  Yeah!!!!  I cannot stress to you all how important this site is for 18thC reenactors.  It is an 18thC town, right down to the gravel roads, and after dark, even with the rain, it was completely the 18thCentury.  If you have half a mind to, start working on some civilian kit and come play with us next year, even if the unit you play with is strictly military.  We all had so much fun, despite the rain, and left with bigger grins on our faces than when we arrived.

Today I have gotten about half the truck cleaned out, in the rain.  I have reached the spot of heavy stuff, not to be lifted by oneself at the best of it will have to wait, under the tarp until I get some help.
back to looking like a refugee camp.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

it's been a while

We leave for Louisbourg tomorrow, Pierre is running down to Bridgewater to pick up my brother's truck right now, and then we can start packing it.  My house looks like an 18thC refugee camp!

We've been busy getting things ready, and none of us have finished everything we'd first set out to have made by this time, but we made substantial progress on the kit.  Garth and Laura now have their own clothes, which is a major step.  Fully outfitted in clothing proper to their station.  Mum now has two outfits, I now have two as well...real clothes for me.  Not just the dregs after everyone else is dressed, but pretty clothes made for me and which are mine alone.  It's been a while...most of the kit I have lent out over the years never came home, so I've been squeaking by on a jacket I made from scraps from a suit I made for the museum, and a mis-mash of petticoats from the 17thC.

I even got a new suit for Pierre almost for four buttonholes, which I will do at camp.

The weaving progresses, I got one warp off the loom last week, and the second warp almost off, another metre to go on that one.  The next big push will be to get the shirt warp fully on the loom and start weaving that.  Starch seems to be the trick, but I need a lot of it, so starch, dry, fluff and wind will be my work week next week.

My dog Belle passed away on Saturday night, which completly destroyed me.  She was my girl and I will miss her for a very long time.  If you see me at camp this weekend, please don't offer condolences, just act normal.  Otherwise I will lose my shit and will not be a happy camper.

Tomorrow we are off, see you on the flip side!

Saturday, 13 July 2013

little steps, and it's all about the outcome!

Garth and Laura came over to the studio yesterday and we started putting the shirt warp on the loom.  Started.  I got about 1.5m in and broke the second thread by about 330...starting at around 11am.  Beer time!

Master Ken told me a trick about soaking the warp in starch first before putting it on the's too late to soak the whole warp, but this weekend I will be making up starch in a spray bottle and spraying down the warp before we try again.  This warp is seriously starting to stress me out.  So much money, so many threads, so long...I will be so happy to actually weave it.  I usually enjoy the set up process, the winding, the threading and stuff.  Not so much this go around.

I will do it again though, when I have my own studio and no deadlines to meet.  Right now, I just want it done so that I can start sewing the fabric!

So at almost 4pm, we trucked across the street to Garrison Brewery and had a few beer with Pierre and Rave and two tourists from the Carnival ship that was in town.  Karen and Brian from Connecticut, teachers, great fun!  We talked their ear off!

Looks like we will be bringing the nut brown ale and the hopyard pale to Louisbourg with us.  They were the most enjoyed by all of us.  Pierre is talking about making a wood oven on site wednesday evening when we get there...four days in the 18thC, can you tell we're a little excited!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

just how important can a weaving project be?

I realized yesterday just how important the shirt linen is as a project for my career path.  Yes, all of a sudden like and it stressed me out for a while.  I feel a paper coming on with this project.  How much flax would you have to grow to process enough to make shirts?  How long would it take an experienced spinner to spin enough thread to make this yardage?

I can buy the amounts needed today, warp it up and count the hours it takes from start to finish.  In the 18thC though, I would have been responsible for it all!  Already these are expensive shirts.

It's no wonder this was women's work, not counted by worth, but just something that happened through the course of our lives.  Making linens for the family...

Yeah, just a little mind boggling stress there.

So I spent the day, yes the entire day (730-430), winding the rest of the warp.  I now have 36.5" wide warp to put on the loom friday when the rest of the gang is coming by to help me.

I have started yet another Master's level art project.  Shoot me now.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Monday, monday...

I was at the studio bright and early this morning, 730.  I got the dish linen tied to the front beam of the loom and started weaving waffles.  I have now gotten four dish cloths woven and am thinking that I might make another two before I swtich to tea towels which is just a different tie up of the harnesses to the peddles, so no rethreading.  We can use the waffle woven cloths as pot holders as well as dish cloths.

Pierre arrived just at noon, so I asked if he didn't mind counting off some warp threads for me.  The shirt check is a lot of brain, so it helps having a second person there to help.  We got another 8 inches of warp wound before calling it a day.  I am now at the half way point of winding that warp.

Here is a vid Pierre shot of me weaving the waffles!/photo.php?v=10151743369439669&set=vb.606679668&type=2&theater

Back at it tomorrow

Sunday, 7 July 2013

didn't get as much done this weekend as I'd liked...

I have half the hem done on Pierre's new Frock coat, then it's just buttons and buttonholes.  I don't have a table to work on, and that thing is heavy, so I am wearing out just working buttonholes.  I can't wait for it to be done.

I think the shirt I am finishing might fit Rave, if not, maybe Eric, so I will finish the damned thing...

Can you tell I am not quite happy with the sewing projects?

After that, I have a dress to finish, and a waistcoat to make for my own family, then I have a sleeved waistcoat and a pair of slops to get whipped up for Garth.
Then it's on to tent floors.

I am a wee bit tired, but it will all get done.

Tomorrow the rest of my threads will get wound into warp, then to finish threading them on the loom.  The kitchen linens are almost ready to weave, then it's the table linen and then the shirts.

Tired Kelly is tired, but happy at the same time.  And very excited to see the shirt warp weave up.  I won't have that ready to bring with me to Louisbourg, but maybe I'll have some at the Citadel.

Friday, 5 July 2013

second thread order is in!

Neil called from the NSCAD store, my second order of thread is in, so Monday I can wind the last of my shirt warp and might even have enough to start weaving on that one.  300$ is a little tight right now, but the project is so cool that I will see what I can do.

This shirt warp is in a blue and white check from the MFA in Boston,1.0&wid=960&cvt=jpeg
Isn't it pretty?  It looks beautiful on the winding mill, I can't wait to see it weave up.

It's in 2/16 threads, so fairly fine thread.  I am going to be keeping track of how much it costs me to weave it for materials, how much it costs in hours of weaving, and then how much in hand stitching the shirt.  I am fairly quick in making up shirts at this point, so I think I would be comparable to an 18thC seamstress.  It will be interesting to see how these shirts compare to the costs of shirts in period.

It will also be interesting to see how long it takes Pierre to wear one out...

lots of tedious work this week

So it turns out I will have four weaving projects on the go...I need to buy more thread!
Because I have access to all of the looms if I like, I have wound up a lot of thread into warps.  Now I will have tea towels and dish cloths, strapping for reseating the chairs, table linen and the shirt fabric which I have bumped up to 15 metres from 5m.
This week I got the strapping on the loom myself and started weaving, I have about 2m of that done already.  Then yesterday I got two more warps on the looms, the dish and table linens.  I had been waiting for Pierre to get off work to come and help me wind them on the back beam, but he had to work late.  My friend Garth showed up to visit and I put him to work instead.  We got the two warps to threading stage, then when he had to leave for work himself, I started threading the dish linen warp.  I have that one to the point where I tie it on the front beam and can start weaving.

My plan is to have all four looms set up by the end of next week, so that I can then spend the summer weaving.

If you'd like to contribute to this project, gift certificates to the NSCAD store are most welcome.  I can offer my undying gratitude. ;-)

Monday, 1 July 2013

July 1st, Happy Canada Day!

So we ended up just going for Saturday of the event.  We being Pierre, me, and six other members of our group.  We set up an awning and got fire made, food and tea and coffee and fed around 20 people from the rest of the encampment throughout the day.  It was damp, but not raining like it had through the night friday, so we were comfortable, but all glad that we didn't camp overnight.
Saturday it rained again all night, and yesterday for most of the day.  Glad I am not drying canvas this week.

Today I went in to the studio with Pierre tagging along.  For 5 solid hours of work I am 1/3 of the way of winding my 15metre warp for shirts and aprons and I need to order more thread.
Yes, that is 5 hours of just winding the warp, we figure about 15 hours to wind, another three to get it on the loom, and then I can begin weaving.

Pierre filmed a bit of me winding!/photo.php?v=10151728034619669&set=vb.606679668&type=2&theater

I didn't realize he was filming, so you get me concentrating on my warp.

If I go in tomorrow (Pierre has the day off, so I may or may not), I will wind the warp for one of my other projects and maybe get that on a loom.  Then it will be one more warp to wind and get on the loom and all three of my projects will be on looms for me to weave.  I have pretty much the whole studio to myself, with many looms, so I might just get all the tedious work done up at the beginning.  The only other fibre artist in the studio is doing needle felting, so she is using just the work table.

Tired Kelly is tired now though, and I need to do some housework and supper before calling it quits for the night.  More pics will follow as I start to weave.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

night of the hump...yes, I realize that it's not wednesday, we get monday off too

Thursday night, the night before our first event of the season and it's supposed to rain all weekend.  I am just going to put it out there, that I hate being cold, and it's looking like it will be cold, wet and icky all weekend long.  I may go through my entire can of tea before sunday afternoon.

Yes we are going.

I didn't get as much sewing done this week as I had hoped.  Some buttonholes on Pierre's new frock coat, a bit more on his shirt done.  I will bring the shirt with me to work on this weekend.

Tomorrow we pack the car and the season begins for us.
Catch you on the flip side of this long weekend, please pray for just cloudy weather.  Weaving begins monday!

Monday, 24 June 2013

a week of 'vacation'

This morning I start my week off between classes and residency.  I have been slowly getting up to speed for the day, first thing I needed to do was find the den again...a whole grocery bag full of paper to go to the curb and I can now see the top of the desk and the table beside me where I rest books when I am writing.  Just like cleaning my studio, it's like clearing the brain, getting ready for the next project.

And speaking of projects...Last week while I was procrastinating writing, I looked at Nova Muse, the online collections database of Nova Scotia
Check out this lovely blanket circa 1800 in blue and white check made of wool

The first piece of cloth I am going to warp up will be for a work shirt for Pierre and an apron for me in blue and white checked linen.  In The Dress of the People by John Styles, page 265 there is a great little check from Foundling no. 13169, London Metropolitan Archives.  Unfortunately, I cannot link to the picture as the documents are unavailable until the exhibit is over.  Page 294 of that same book shows an etching by Thomas Rowlandson entitled The Maid of All-Work's Prayer c 1801, British Museum, London, BMSat 9792.  The maid wears a checked apron in blue and white.

I have also become quite the fan of coloured neckerchiefs or fichu, and now have three in varying colours along with a white one and a very light pink one.  I have cotton dyed a nice yellow colour waiting for blue decoration, as soon as I figure out how to do that without silkscreening it.  I am toying with the idea of carving my own blocks for printing.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Not a great week

Sunday I thought I'd use up the last of the box of mushrooms and start a small pot of mushroom ketchup for reenacting this season.  Got the mushrooms chopped up and salted and let them sit.

Had a great day on sunday, very relaxing, went to the kids for supper and father's day.

Sunday morning at 3am Belle had a grand mal seizure.  Then again at 415am, then again at 630am.  Vet at 9 where she spent the day and had yet another seizure at around noon.  We brought her hom at 7pm with a diagnose of epilepsy.  She had three more that evening.
She's been on phenobarb since monday night, completely spaced out from the cluster of seizures and is only today, thursday coming around.

I have an exam this afternoon I am ill prepared for, but what can I do...

The ketchup I had been stirring religiously all week turned rancid yesterday, so got turfed.  Might have had something to do with the change in tempreture this week, or the humidity...I don't know.  I might try it again putting it in the fridge this go around.

Tomorrow I will get up and make 3dozen tarts for a friends wedding tomorrow evening.  Saturday I am working the Military Family days barbeque as a fundraiser for our historical group.  Sunday I have been invited on a date with Dr Randi to a trunk sale of vintage fabrics...

Monday I might just sew something new for me to wear and chill out.

Well, I should go review for my exam.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Friday's are sewing days

Well, I've had my two cups of coffee and read the internets, so I should go get my chores done so I can sit and sew for the afternoon.  Maybe I'll stick a cake in the oven, I'm not sure.

My friend Laura reminded me this morning how little time we have left before the reenacting season really gets underway! Two fridays from now, we will be heading out to our first overnight event and I am getting excited.  She and Garth and Rave have been plowing through getting new clothes made for themselves.  Laura will be over in the morning for a draping over her stays so that she can start her jacket.  Rave has finished the main construction of his sleeved waistcoat and now should be ready for buttons and buttonholes.  Garth too has been fastly whipping up clothing, even making covered buttons for his breeches, which I have learned is the more appropriate button style for breeches.  If I have time, I'll change out the odd metal buttons on Pierre's black breeches for cloth covered ones.

Today I am going to pop that other sleeve in Pierre's frock coat and start on the hem.  I also have a shirt I am working on for him, but that's lower priority as he's already got a couple.  And it's a good project to have as an on the go's also chilly here today, so wrestling sheep (the wool coat) is a good idea.

Ok, Nitro is getting into mischeif, so I should get off this computer!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Shoe revamp

On Monday afternoon I revamped the shoes I picked up at the Sally Ann for a song.  Literally re-vamp.  As in I added D rings to the lower heel so that there was another place to lace the ties.  They are an espadrille style shoe and just had ties to wrap around your ankles.  This made the shoes very floppy to wear.  By adding the D rings lower down on the heel strap, I am able to tie them lower around my ankle, more around my actual foot.  This works to provide more stability to the shoe.

Pierre said that I had done such a great job revamping the shoes, that it looked like it was part of the original design.
Yeah me!

We had dinner with friends last night.  Wanda is plugging away on her Brunswick gown, has it almost finished.  I was sad to say that I hadn't made much progress on Mum's sacque, started the same day.  As with the end of every term, I am busy writing, and procrastinating about writing.  I still have that other sleeve to pop into Pierre's full bottomed frock coat, hemming and buttonholes.  I also have to get cracking on my stays, though it's not looking good that they will be finished for this summer...good thing I still have a perfectly good, servicable set of stays.  They just aren't pretty ones.  I have also started a new shirt for Pierre.

Mum has started new shifts for herself.  I got two cut for her on friday.

That week that I have off between the end of term and the beginning of my residency will be busy!  I hope to get a lot of sewing done!  Both 18thC and modern stuff.  I still have a sizable stash to work through, even though one bin is now completely empty.
My plan is to have my stash all made up before we have to move again.

Friday, 7 June 2013

fibre goodies

Stopped at the fabric store last night and picked up some new sewing needles and a couple of things I needed to revamp a pair of shoes, D rings and twill tape.  I also bought 3m of black cotton voile with big red poppies printed along one edge that will become a new skirt.  It's in the wash now.

My linen threads arrived, Pierre's picking them up today on his way home from work.  A book I ordered on early weaving arrived yesterday just as I was heading out to class.  I tossed it in my bag without looking and opened it once I got to school.  It's a reprint of a book first printed in 1817!  I was so excited!  It even has a draft for "apron check".  This along with my other books on weaving will help me create period textiles this summer that we can use at encampments.  My project is shaping up quite nicely.

I am figuring that I will go into the studio Monday to Thursdays, keeping fridays as my sewing day at home.  This way the ladies can keep sewing with me and I have a morning that I can keep as quiet time for me, not being downtown.  The city's farmer's market is next door to my studio space, and so is the cruise ship terminal, so it can get busy down there in the summer months.  Fridays are also the day when we pack and head out to events, so if I am home that day, the transition is easier.

Well, off to do some writing before the ladies get here this afternoon!  Make it a good one!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

I need a nap...

Seriously.  I am brain tired with school and now it's doing stupid things.  My brain that is.
The last couple of days my brain has been saying "hey girl, you know that thing you want to do this summer?  That weaving thing...yeah.  I'm not sure you can do it.  I think you've forgotten everything you ever learned about weaving.  You are screwed!"

Yup, need a nap.

I have a couple of new books on order, and I will be fighting brain.  When school is finished for the term, I am going to start reading my weaving books.  I will figure it out again.  I will conquer this nay-saying brain.  I will weave this summer!

Yesterday my mum had to drop off some pieces of jewellery to be juried at the Designer Craft's Council, which is across the street from my studio space for the summer.  So we took the opportunity to check out the new digs.  There are only 10 residents this summer, so there might be one other weaver in the studio.  It's a large room with all the things one would need for weaving.  No windows though, as it backs onto one of the museum galleries for Pier 21.  It is next to a general purpose studio with work tables and sinks too.  That'll be helpful.  The people there were excited to meet me and were really very nice.  It should be a fun summer.

For now though, three more reading responses, a paper to organize and an exam to write.  I am in the home stretch of this class.  Two more weeks!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013


I ordered the last of my linen threads for weaving this summer.  Now I have thread in 2/12 for a tablecloth in white, 2/12 in natural for kitchen linens and on order what I think will be close to a 2/16 for a shirt for Pierre and an apron for me.  I couldn't get coloured linen so ordered a cotton in 2/16 in pale blue for the cross striping.  I am using natural linen for the kitchen linens because they will be hard working and I don't want them to be too precious.

Once I have my paper written for Religion and Pop Culture, I need to focus on research of linen textiles from the 18thC so I know what I am weaving!  I am excited to get started on this...too excited.  I need to buckle down now and get some religion written!


Monday, 3 June 2013

one door is closed, but another opens

Got the news late friday evening that I was accepted for the summer residency at the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design.  No, it's not a paid residency, in fact I have to pay to work there.  But it means a studio for the summer, with a loom and sewing table and a space outside of teh house to dedicate to my own art practice.

I start June 28th.

My hope is to complete some weaving projects for 18thC reenacting.  First up is weaving narrow tape in linen so that I can reseat out chairs.  They are done with woven twine at the moment, and are in very bad shape.  I also hope to weave up some kitchen linens in the natural.  Then it's on to a tablecloth and finally a length of yardage for a check'd shirt for Pierre and a work apron for me.  In my copious amounts of spare time, I also have a gown to finish for mum and a late century suit to make for Pierre.  Then we will each have three complete outfits for 18thC reenacting.

In other projects, I also have my ongoing embroidery project which I am planning to wear to graduation next spring.  I'll work on that on the weekends and in the Fall.  In the Fall I also want to make an art coat for a friend of mine who has been far too patient with my timeline.  I will be at NSCAD University in the Fall for classes at the very least, possibly more, so I will work on that then.

Right now I am looking forward to the end of my spring classes and writing for a bit.  I am brain tired.  I am back with my advisor though and am working on thesis related stuff, so the writing is fun at least.  I am just tired and need a summer off to just make art.  Classes end June 21st.

So I am very happy now, knowing I didn't get hired on at the museum, because I would have tried to do both, I am sure.

One door closes, another opens.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

starting to enter the blind panic stage...

So Louisbourg is now less than two months away.  Re-enacting season is upon us now and our time is getting booked up.  I also have another month of school to get through.
We are going to our first event next friday and this weekend I will be trying to finish a new frock coat for Pierre and start a 20 page paper.  I also have another 8ish reading responses to do for school.


I can do this.

I didn't get the job at the Dartmouth Heritage Museum, their training started Monday.  Just as well, I guess.  It would have been an entry level job and I certainly have more than enough of those under my belt.  I need to take this summer and get my portfolio worked on, readings for my thesis to do, weaving I want to do.  Re-enactments I want to get to.  I have no reason to take an entry level job this summer, I will be busy enough.

Yes, this is me justifing not 'needing' the job.  I still feel bad though, I don't know why.

Well, I need to go read some stuff now.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

another workshop

All winter we've been having workshops as part of the activities of the Atlantic Living Heritage Association.  Yesterday was the last one for the winter season, sacque backed gowns.
Each workshop was meant to be a kickstarter for the month's project.  Breeches, frock coats, stays, bodice draping.  We would get a chunk of work done on a saturday and then off we'd go to finish the project on our own, sometimes bringing it back the next month for a final fitting.

They were great incentive for me too, getting things started, finished up before the next month so that I could then get started on the next project for the next workshop I was facilitating.

So yesterday I got the start on Mum's new sacque.  It is in blue linen and will be a good servicable dress.  Joy started on her caraco jacket in embroidered silk to go with the silk quilted petticoat she has been working on all spring.  Wanda worked on the jacket for her brunswick gown, toffee coloured wool suiting with teal silk reveres, ruchings and hood lining.  They are both going to be stunning.  We got as far as having the backs completed, the toughest part, if you ask me.  Elizabeth, Joan and Maria also showed up for some company, the first two ladies working on stays, Maria working on embroidery.  Pierre made tea and kept lunch offerings on the go.

This sounds like an entry in the 'What's Happening about Town' section of the newspaper.  "Pierre poured".  Hee, hee.

So now we are off for the summer re-enacting season.  Just too much happening now until the end of August, though I might try to book the return of the workshops in August, if we have a free weekend.  The next one will be accessories though, pockets, stomachers, mitts, caps.

I am still waiting on word about the summer residency...and school work.  Four more weeks of school, then summer!  Can't wait for the heat!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

again, another week goes by

I have been working on things though, along with school work.

Pierre's frock coat is coming along nicely, it should be finished this weekend.  My friend Dale is going to make buttons for me in pewter.  Hopefully he can make some styles for me to sell this year at events as well.  He seemed keen when we spoke.  After the coat is finished, I need to make a waistcoat for Pierre, and then he will be ready for Louisbourg.

Yesterday I overhauled a waistcoat for a friend.  It was bought for his town cryer outfit, but was getting a little tight.  I took the fashion fabric backs off and replaced them with linen, eyeletted up the back so that he has some flexability in size.  I also replaced the pockets.  I told him that I'd like to overcast the buttonholes during one event in the near future, then I'd be happy with the progress towards a better period garment.  I kept the backs and may make him a smoking cap out of them in the future.  He's the kind of guy that should own a banyan and smoking cap.
The overhaul took three hours.

Saturday I am teaching a sacque workshop, so friday I will need to cut the linings out for Mum's new gown.  I should also dig out and press up her fashion fabric, a nice linen in dark blue.

Speaking of linen gowns, I am slightly jealous of the ladies who are making silk gowns for themselves.  I am trying to keep within my persona though, and I just can't justify a silk gown for myself.  I just don't think a farmer's wife would own one for every day.  My friend Wanda is making one up though as part of a lady of the evening ensemble, and she's going to wear the hell out of it.  I can't wait to see how the heritage developes!  In fact, I am excited to see how my linen gown holds up for the season.  I am going to take photos of it's heritage progress.

And with that, I need to go and focus on the 21st C for a while, class this afternoon, and I am presenting!

Monday, 13 May 2013

a week has gone by, honestly I have been doing things

Yesterday I got all the renovations finished on the riding habit, I've been working on them all week.  It didn't seem so long at the time, but looking at the date of my last post this morning made me realize how busy I was.
I've also started back to school for the first summer session, and so spent tuesday, wednesday and thursday reading, writing response papers and going to class.  And that is what I will be up to today too.

Tonight I will get back to Pierre's frock coat construction.

Speaking of Pierre, we made the quip the other night while watching Wartime Farm on the BBC, that I'd love to give all Pierre's period clothes to these guys to wear for a year, especially Peter...he is hard on his duds!  So then yesterday, Pierre put his breeches on.  Figuring he'd just start wearing his clothes.  He wore them all day long, with his T shirt and running shoes, since that is all I have finished of that outfit.  When Garth came for supper, at first he though it funny that Pierre was wearing shorts, as he never does.  Then Garth thought "what an odd thing, on shorts to have a diaper butt".  It took him a good hour to realize what was going on, and we all had a good laugh.

I need to shorten the legs on those breeches about an inch.

Well, should go do some school work...

Sunday, 5 May 2013

fittings, wins and losses

Broke down and had a fitting with my riding habit yesterday.  I had originally made it before Christmas and wore it on New Years day, let's just say I was not happy with the fit.
So friday I took it apart as much as I could and yesterday after my shower, got dressed in my 18thC underwear.  Pierre remarked the waistline for both the waistcoat and jacket.  I will need to add a piece to the side back of the jacket, it's about 8" too small in the waist to button up fully with such a low centrefront point.  The waistcoat will be an easy fix, it just needs a waist seam and the skirts reshaped along the top edge.

While I was in my underwear, I tried on my new sacque.  Oh, My, God!  It fits like a dream, beautiful!  This was made after christmas, after a draping workshop that I ran back in January.  I talked the ladies through draping bodices on themselves, then they draped me.  What a fantastic job they did.  No alterations needed on that gown at all!  I am so happy.

We are all down with the dreaded 'man-cold', thanks to my brother bringing it home to us from Nigeria.  I don't fear weapons of mass distruction, what I fear most is the 'man-cold'.  UGH!  I need to plow through though.  I only have today and tomorrow before I start back to school for May and June and my paper writing workload rises.  I'd like to get the habit finished before I start back.  Then I can focus on getting Mum's last gown made for this summer, and a new suit for Pierre for Louisbourg.

Still no word back from the summer residency, I hope to hear soon.  I have also applied to the Dartmouth Heritage Museum for the summer.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Still plugging along

I taught a workshop on Frock coat contstruction on Saturday.  It was a bit of a dog's breakfast of sewing projects, only one other lady was creating 2 new frock coats for her husband as I was showing the techniques involved through a new coat for Pierre. 
Our two young gentlemen were working on sleeved waistcoats for themselves, which use similar techniques.  The two 'Gs' were listening in as they stitched on their own projects and the other ladies who came brought ladies sewing projects of their own to work on in between construction demos.  Everyone who attended thought they came away learning something new, which was good.
Next month, we'll be working on sacque backed gowns...just gown construction, no other projects, as we'll need all the available table space.

Because of the workshop, I had to start yet another project, the frock coat, in order to have something to demo on!  I have a few UFO's on the go now, so the rest of this month will be dedicated to finishing them up!

Right now, I have on that plate:
- My own sacque backed gown to pleat the skirt to bodice, decorate and hem. Done!
- Frock Coat, about half constructed.
- Breeches, needing buttons. Done!
- Riding Habit alterations, ugh.. Done!
- silk stays for me, about half way through the boning process.  I'd like to have them finished by the end of June.

That's enough for right now, I think!  Plus I have a stash of modern clothes for summer to make up!  Should get busy...maybe I can knock off a couple of things today!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

well, that didn't happen...

sewing yesterday, that is.  I was down with cruddy feelings of hatefulness.  Took the rest of the day off and played bejewelled on facebook all afternoon.  Then I begged out of dinner with friends, went and bought the interlinings I need for today's project, 400$ worth of groceries and came home, ate french fries and gravy for supper, watched an episode of This Old House and went to bed.

I woke up mid way through the night with a migraine...ahhh, that's why I was feeling so cruddy.

Today the sun is up, and as soon as Mum is awake and can keep an eye on the puppie, I am going downsairs to start sewing.  Today's project is to get a frock coat cut and steps sewn so that I can demo construction techniques this saturday at a workshop I am running.  I have factory cotton, hymocanvas and cotton wadding to make the canvas' out of, the fashion fabric is a lovely grey wool, brushed twill.  The lining will be one of the large chunks of drab coloured linen I bought last year.  I am getting low on lining materials though, been doing a lot of cutting and sewing of late!

Sunday afternoon, I cut sleeved waistcoats for Garth and Rave.  Rave's is going to be well pieced.  I tried to cut it from the off cuts from other projects.  Then he's going to start wearing it regularly so that it develops some heritage before we open the reenacting season this year.  I hate looking so new, but what can you do!  Most of my old gear has long grown legs and gone walk-about, and everyone else is new to the hobby...and Pierre and I really just need some new clothes.

Anyway, I need more coffee, and should pull together what I need for today so I am ready when Mum wakes up.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

in the basket beside my chair

I put a basket beside my chair, mostly because Pierre had been complaining about how the footstool was piling up with don't want me to get into how tiny this apartment is, and how we're all on top of each other.

The bonus to me putting that basket there, is filling it up with stuff I made.  In it yesterday, an apron for me, a fichu to match in a silk/cotton blend, mustard coloured.  Also, two caps for me, one for mum in the windowpane linen and a plain white handkerchief linen.  For baby clothes, a little jacket, a small gown, a white long gown and an apron.  Also completed yesterday but for binding off the cut edges is a wool ground blanket for Catherine to set her kids down on when we are at encampments.  I will bind it off today.

Today is baby day here, I'll have my grandson for the morning, and Catherine's daughter while everyone else is off to appointments.  This afternoon I hope to get back at it, sewing that is.  I have a lot to do this month!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

making something out of nothing...

or rather, making something out of cast-offs.  Yesterday, after putting the word out that I was looking for sraps of cloth not usable for other things, or that people were getting tired of, I was gifted with two wool skirts (modern) in various states of nasty, and a linen shirt (modern) in a pink, windowpane.  OOOHHHH!!!!

My friend Laura got to picking apart the wool skirts, she's going to make a wool apron out of the one that is more intact, using the other skirt to patch the bejesus out of the first.  Then, with the remaining second skirt, we are going to make a little boy a little jacket, 18thC of course.

From the linen, if I cut it well, I should be able to get three caps cut from it.

I am in cap production yesterday and today, so I may just continue on with cap making.  It is so relaxing to sit and roll hems all day.  No, really, it is!  The pink, for me, will become a pleated frilled cap.  For Laura, perhaps a jaunty little fly cap.  Not sure for mum, what we'll make.  When she's up and about, I'll ask her.

I love getting cast-offs, especially when they are so useful!  The possibilities!

Monday, 8 April 2013

little, wee clothes

I started making some little 18thC clothes this week.  It is my hope to have a small wardrobe finished up by the end of the week.  Saturday afternoon I got a little gown cut and put together, all that's left is hand finishing, hems and such.  I made it from 3/4yard of linen with a heavier yarn.  I lined the bodice in another linen to give the body a bit more support and warmth.  The hem is faed with a small scrap of twill linen, I only had enough for a strip about 2" wide!

Next up will be a couple of shifts and a small linen cap.  To round out the little wardrobe, I plan on picking up some white cotton diaper shirts.  Modern yes, but a quick, warm addition that might be needed.

Once the baby clothes are finished, I have some clothes to make for a 3 year old boy.  Another gown, some shifts, a couple of petticoats, apron, cap (possibly a pudding cap) and a little jacket.

Before the end of the month, I also have my riding habit to fix and my sacque to finish...I also have a workshop on the weekend of the 20th that I need to cut a couple of coats for and prepare to show steps of construction.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

A day at Dalhousie University

This year I have been teaching at Dalhousie University in the Costume Studies department.  Now that the year is almost over, our first year sewing students have studio days to complete their final projects.  I am excited for them, being able to use the skills they've learned over the year and now also using their creative brains to make their final projects uniquely their own.

While they were sewing yesterday, one of the other profs and I were also working on sewing projects.  H was stitching up matching hoodie sweatshirts for her husband and son on a Marvel comics theme.  Me, I was working on 18thC clothing.  I think it is good for the students to see what I am working on in my own practice, becasue they too will eventually be creating historical garments.  They get to see how I do things and maybe they will use those same techniques in their own work.

So yesterday I worked on a new sacque backed gown for myself.  I bought material with a round gown or a fitted backed style in mind.  So when I re-thought the material into a sacque, I wondered if I would have enough for the gown, let alone enough for the gown and matching petticoat.  I cut it quite close, but with what I have, there is just enough!  Exciting!  I got most of the gown put together yesterday and one other day back in February.  The petticoat is together, needs a hem facing and to be pleated into waist ties.  The gown bodice is complete, all the skirts stitched on, now it just needs to have the skirts pleated and stitched to the bodice fronts, over pannier.

I am pleating the gown over pannier, but may never wear the pannier with it.  My persona in the 18thC is one of a formerly wealthy woman who's now found herself a refugee from the war.  I have few cherished posessions and some clothing, but it's been through rough travel.  Yes, I will be distressing the hell out of the gown once I've finished stitching it.  When I wear the gown, I will be pulling the hemline through my pocket slits like many Chardin paintings depict.

One more week of school, for both my students and myself.  Over my short break before summer term I will be getting caught up on some sewing.  Don't fret, I'll be blogging!  Maybe even with photos!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

the waiting game

The Centre for Craft and Design may have my application by now, I sent it out in the Monday post and it's only going to the other side of the city.  I can hope.
Now I play the waiting game to see if it's accepted.  Meanwhile I finish the term, with a major paper to write, one to edit and my CV and Resume to work on.  Two more weeks of school and I am off for three.

During that three week period, I plan to take the skirts off my riding habit jacket and raise the waistline a bit.  Then replace the skirts, possibly adding a bit more to them to give a bit more fullness.  I also need to shorten the sleeves and take them in a bit.  I also need to rebuild the waistcoat entirely, not happy with it at all.  Right now the whole jacket just looks sloppy on me.  But then I made the whole outfit in two weeks over Christmas so I'd have something warm to wear at the New Year's day Levees.  Time to rebuild, so I am going to get it done!

When my head is not swimming so much with Fashion and Feminist Theories, I will start the research on the textile project for the summer.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Stopped into Fabricville this morning, the sale on the silk blends goes until the 8th of April.  I was feeling so bummed the other night, about not getting enough for a quilted petticoat when I bought the silk for fichu and aprons.  Now I can!

And I can wait until the third, and I've gotten paid again, because I also got a 15$ off cupon to be used between the 3rd and the 8th.  I will have a silk, quilted petticoat someday.  Now to find the time to quilt one up in my copious spare time...I am also embroidering an Elizabethan waistcoat, year three of that.  I get distracted easily.
But back to petticoats.  For an item of clothing that was so widely adopted, there are very few actually worn by re-enactors.  All of the local ladies are jealous of one of our newer ladies, as she is presently quilting one up and will have it ready for this summer season.  Maybe that's the boot so many of us need.  I probably won't get one made for this summer, but maybe next.

Tomorrow I will be putting together my portfolio for the summer residency, and maybe some embroidery.

Friday, 15 March 2013

a summer spent in the 18th century?

At the moment I am putting together an application to do a summer residency at the Nova Scotia Centre for Craft and Design.  If I am sucessful, I will be spending the summer creating 18th century household textiles.

On the waterfront.

I am just a little excited.  I will post regular updates of my progress.

We are also ramping up for a full re-enacting season.  All of our hard kit has been aquired or brought out of a long storage.  Just the fine tuning now, and of course, my textile production project.

See you at a Historic site in Nova Scotia this summer!