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 times...so 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 finished...save 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 warp...it'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

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
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

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.