Wednesday, 31 December 2014

More reading, more writing, but the end is in sight

I spent much of December reading and writing, turned in the thesis again on Monday and have been running around like a chicken ever since.  We bought a new printer, which caused the den to explode, it's still in a state, but I have a desk again.  Today, I spent the entire day applying for new IDs and waiting in lines...I am so spent.

Tomorrow, I will get back to sewing.  I am working on regency clothing right now, new gowns and coats for Mum and I, new gown for Laura.  We wondered yesterday if my spencer would fit her as her new bonnet is brown and her dress is going to be peach and ivory lace.  I'll throw it at her tomorrow, and if it doesn't, we're off to the fabric store again.  I am working on mum's gown right now, navy blue and her coat will be camel, possibly with fur trim.  Mine is going to be shades of gold, satin with a silk striped overlay, my coat is teal, possibly also with fur trim.  Pierre will wear his uniform, but I made a new stock for his neck, a new style I'm experimenting with...he'll need a new shirt with a higher collar.

I have been reading today, this blog about a full emersion event.  So jealous! What fun that would be...we can come close at Scott Manor in February.  I'm looking forward to it, and it has proven to be a raging success, sold out, so there's hope for more winter events to happen.

I made the grown up decision to put off the PhD for a year, we need to get ourselves up there, I need to meet some people.  I will also have to take some graduate level art histories, so I will do that.  I may also take a swing down to the for some coursework.  I am itching to get back in the studio, back into historical textiles.

well, happy new year all, I'll be asleep when it actually turns over, I'm shortly for bed now.  Be well

Thursday, 11 December 2014

New in the shoebox

I haven't written anything here this Autumn because every waking moment, all Fall I have been sitting at this computer trying to edit my thesis into submission.  I have only been updating facebook, and even that not very well.

The thesis went to my second reader Dr Jayne on the first of September, major edits occurred after that, and then mid November it went back to her again.  I got everything back again last week and just had a meeting yesterday with Dr Randi about how to proceed.  I will be reading more over the holidays and editing again while the major junior tournament is on and I have a computer to myself between Christmas and New Year's.  Then at the beginning of term I will send it back to Dr Randi and it will go to the external examiner.

Oh, and I also have a fashion collection to finish...two jackets, a skirt, a dress...

I am having a Skype interview with a professor at Concordia tomorrow, Friday, afternoon to see about taking me on as a PhD student.  I am nervous as all get out about that one.  Am I good enough, all that crap.  Right now, all I really want to do is weave some textiles and make some historical clothing...

And I am, not weaving, but making some historical clothing.  We have a Regency Ball coming up on February 14th, I am making three gowns, for Mum, Laura and myself, and two pelisse coats for Mum and myself.  I started Mum's on the weekend, I have the bodice completely stitched, now I have to decide on sleeve length and cut them and the skirts.  Then send the remaining bits of fabric off to Joy who is making her bonnet.  Her gown is navy peachskin cloth, her coat will be camel wool with either boucle or fur trim.  My gown is gold silk/cotton sheer over gold satin.  My coat will be teal wool with fur trim, possibly a dark, almost black fur.  We haven't nailed down Laura's gown materials yet, but are closing in with stuff from her stash.

I have also been plugging along on the great embroidery project, I have the body complete and have begun working on the sleeves.  The first undersleeve is finished.  I can see the light at the end of this tunnel and am hoping to have it finished for the Kingdom A&S event in March in Montreal/Quebec.

I hope to get back to posting here on a regular basis again, now that things have calmed down and I don't feel so guilty about being here in the blog instead of over in the thesis.  I will be sewing a lot more next term too, so I will have stuff to talk about again that's not "ugh, the thesis!"

Thursday, 7 August 2014

been a while...

So, it's been a while.  Since the major rewrite of the document, I have been continuing with writing, but also spent some time in the studio this summer.  I got another outfit completed and one almost finished.  I am waiting on embroidery to come back from whence I sent it to be done.  That will become another jacket and I will have finished two outfits this summer.

I spent two weeks in the 18thC doing living history.  While at Louisbourg, I spent two days learning how to do bobbin lace.  I think I have enough of a knack for it that with youtube and some time, I should have this new skill firmly under my belt.  Then I hope to teach it to others.  We are still in pursuit of paring down the excess kit that we take along to events.  Louisbourg was good.  I think we're almost free of extra cast iron, the dreaded fish box it was housed in and all the extra stuff that doesn't seem to have a home when we are encamped.  We are still dealing with food.

Last night I moved back out of the studio for the remainder of the summer.  I need to buckle down on getting the document written, but also can't afford to be wasting valuable tuition money waiting on fabrics, some of which also cost money.  The kids wedding maxed out the credit, so I am feeling the pinch.
Today I spent sitting at the computer.  I tidied the den. Printed off the stuff I need to work on.  Put books away for easy access, found a library book that is due today. But mostly spent the day playing bejewelled and thinking.  I expect tomorrow will be productive.  I think I need to read through the printed material a bit more, weed out some stuff that I hand copied, then I'll be ready for another major edit.  Once that is complete, I expect the final push will be easier.

Once I get back into the studio in the Fall, I will have three more outfits to finish. And an exhibit to plan for in the Spring.  I am so close...

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

studio time, thesis writing...

Did a MAJOR edit of the paper so far, reworked a bunch of stuff, took out a bunch more...sent it off to Randi and she's happier with the thing, now to get rid of this nasty bug so I can go and meet with her again.

I picked up the keys to my summer studio yesterday.  I have a window space overlooking the historic properties.  Almost in the same spot where I did my own Advanced Fashion class in undergrad.  My studio mates are good people.  There will be four of us for the summer.
I have been thinking good thinky thoughts about the collection, ordered new fabric swatches and rethought the fabrics for the outfit I was working on at the end of last term that I hated the fabrics for.  The new pieces are all 100% natural fibres, wool for the skirt, wool for the jacket.  I am going to be much happier with the collection from here on out.

This afternoon though, I am going to sit and embroider.  I have a bit more time now, I have pulled my request to graduate in the Fall, opting to instead go in the winter convocation.

That's it from me...

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

not the greatest timing...

so like the day after my last post I came down with some kind of nasty nasty that by the end of last week, I wasn't getting out of bed nasty.  This is not something that I do.  I'll stay home and work, but I tend not to go to bed when I'm sick.  I slept most of the end of last week away.  I started antibiotics on Thursday, finishing them on Monday and am just starting to come around today.  This morning I was awake shortly after 7am, and up and dressed by 9am.  Now I am sitting at the computer arguing with my bitch printer, trying to get some notes printed off so I might be able to work later today.

On the thesis front, I have researched guidelines.  I have been a bit worried about how this thing is supposed to go together.  How many pages it's supposed to be.  What am I supposed to actually write about.  McGill University wants a MA thesis to be no more than 100 pages.  Ok, I can do that.  I am at the 50 page range right now.  I think I need to write about how Westwood's design aesthetic has influenced mainstream fashion and creative trends.  I have written about how 1970s Punk fit into the subculture dynamic, I think I have to now contrast that dynamic with regards to how mainstream Punk has become.  Dr. Randi has been pulling me through this, but I am feeling like I am suffering from a huge case of the Dumb!  I have given myself a tight deadline for that very reason...I know that if I let this go, I would just continue to have the Dumb until someone put their foot down, or they gave up on me and I disappeared into the woodwork without an MA.

Well, I'm going to give it a shot today...having a brain that is...

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Reading, editing, reading some more

Work continues on the thesis paper.  A lot of editing, and when I cannot sit at the computer any longer, and find I am playing far too much bejewelled, I go and read.  I'm actually getting a lot of reading done.  The next step will be to tidy up the section on the Bromley Contingent and then talk about the fashion...thank God for that, I am so looking forward to talking about clothing and to stop reading about clandestine sexual encounters and drug use.  There has been far too much written about those aspects of Punk...most likely because it is sensational.

It was the 1970s folks, before the AIDs epidemic.  Everyone was having sex, with as many people as they could...yeah, yeah, I get the picture.  I don't care.  And the more I read on the topic, the lessening of my respect for people in general.

This afternoon, I will be sewing with the ladies.  Until then, more reading....

Thursday, 8 May 2014

18thC day at the shoe box

It has been decided that every second Thursday we will be stitching at the shoe box.  This is mostly for 18thC costume friends as our summers tend to get busy with eventing and we are in ramp up mode now for the upcoming season and have projects we want to get done.  It's good for Mum and I because we can dedicate a day to work on the projects we want for the hobby and away from school projects which can take over all our brain space.

Right now, we are both working on wool bedgowns.  They are also both almost done, so we may be able to cross things off the list by the end of day.  Exciting!  We are also both almost at the topping out phase of our wardrobes.  I have some tweaking to do on mine, mostly little things, like a working apron.  Mum's needs a bit more work, mostly in finishing a couple of gowns and reworking an old gown into a petticoat, also, I need to shorten a jacket for her.  I have some work to do.

In other news....
The first chunk of the thesis was turned in yesterday.  I have some reading and writing to do this week, mostly on theoretical stuff.  I have to organize the den a bit this weekend so I can find stuff again.  I think I need to send stuff to the storage locker too...gah, the thought of that...
My collection is on hold for a month or two.  Things at NSCAD are in flux at the moment and it's not working out for my schedule right at the moment.  I have made a list of what needs to be finished though, and will get back to it once things clear up a bit.  Perhaps in July, once we get back home from Louisbourg.

Well, I have housewifey things to do before the ladies arrive...make it a great day!

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

A fourth, fifth, sixth look at Norse trousers

A long while back, my first year at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, I began looking at Norse trousers.  We were bringing in an exhibit from Parks Canada on the Norse at L'Anse aux Meadows and they were going to provide costumes for our interpreters to wear.

Well let's just say I stuck my nose in a little where the costumes were concerned and changed some things up a little both at the Provincial and Federal levels.  The costumes they were going to send down looked to me to be early 1970s SCA Viking clothes, and I knew there had been more research done in that area.  I went to my boss and asked if I could make two outfits for the museum for the exhibit.  I would buy the fabrics, make them on site and the museum could wear them for the summer, after which I would get them back...first steps in becoming their head of wardrobe, at the time I was working front cash and interpreting the Robertson's store.

So I looked at the Hedeby  trousers recreated by the Viking museum in Haithabu.  I made a little paper pattern of the pants to figure out how they went together, and then I made a pair in a silk wool blend.  And I quickly realized they were a huge suck up of fabric and thought, self, if you were weaving this cloth, you wouldn't be wasting so much of it!  I am a huge fan of zero waste clothing methods, so this really grated on my last nerve.  So I wrote a paper about it and brought the trousers and paper to Great Northeastern War that summer.  I have no idea where that paper is now...somewhere out on the internet...

As our SCA family grew, with boys looking for comfy clothes to wear that they could make themselves, I thought more about these trousers.  Then Parks Canada contacted me about redesigning their interpretation clothing collection.  So I spent some time that winter making pants, researching the Norse and ended up sending them a four inch binder of stuff along with paper patterns for new clothes...and  recommendation to buy the book Woven Into the Earth.  My theory is that instead of short pants like those worn at the museum in Haithabu, the puffy Norse pants were adaptations of earlier thorsberg trousers, morphed with the style of pants still worn by nomadic tribes in the Middle East today.  Once my guys tried the short pants, they quickly realized that wicklebander, or the leg wraps will not stay on the leg with short pants.  So Parks got the longer version, that came to the ankle.  Further still, the long pants rode up, under the leg wraps, making the ankle cold and exposed.


So Rave comes into our lives through the SCA, and he too wants the cool clothes of the Norse, but wants to do his own research, not wanting to just take my bible and go off with just what I was telling him...good researcher that he is...
He kept coming to me, each week at our weekly fight practice and arts gathering, telling me that he'd found me once again on the internet and that my research was pretty cool.  He did take the bible of Norse things, and he did make some really cool clothes from the research, but he wanted to try out something.  Feet.

Rave was looking at the Thorsberg trousers and noticed they had feet in them, we both agreed that feet would make the trousers stay down around the ankles better, and also keep the leg wraps on better.  Whoot! Success! They did.
So Pierre is still wearing that first pair of Viking Museum trousers, only because I haven't had the energy to rip them apart and remake them, but I am so happy that my younger Norse guys are all experimenting with my first thoughts and are helping me to experiment with new ideas on how they were made and if only I could figure out a better way of cutting the damned things to make better use of cloth, then I would be a happy costumer.

Thanks to Garth for finding this article it's a great look at a broad range of the trouser styles.  I'm probably going to be doing some experimentation in the near future!

Norse: the people
Viking: a verb to describe the process of travelling the globe on trade and other missions
Haithbu:  the place in modern Germany where the museum is located
Hedeby: the period word for the above place.
Thorsberg:  a place where a fully fashioned pair of closer fitting trousers, with feet were found, these trousers date from roughly 600ad, about 400 years before the L'Anse aux Meadows site, but fashion changed pretty slowly then.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

It has been almost a month!

A month of end of term madness.  Getting my own sewing done had to take a back burner when I realized that the anxiety in the room was making me very anxious and so in order to not contribute to it, I stopped sewing on the collection.  I made two summer dresses instead, one of which I had to put the skirt on multiple times and when I looked at it yesterday to put on, realized I had sewn it on wrong yet again.  Monday it will go back to the studio for a final attempt.

My students did really well this term, nobody below a B.  Even the ladies that had a bit of issues managed to get through with pretty decent marks.  Just proved to me, once again, that you really have to work at failing my class.  There may be a lot of projects, but they are all useful in the end.

Today I will be dealing with the beginning to write the paper.  I have no clue how many pages I should be looking at writing, so I am just going to wing it and see what happens.  Today I want to write the formal introduction and methodology section of the paper, first draft.  Then I need to get my political paper from David Howard's class back from Randi and go over that with a fine tooth comb.  I am sure once I start this beast, that things will go better, I am just really anxious about starting for some reason.  Oh well, into the breech I go!

Monday, 31 March 2014

on our own schedule now!

I passed the proposal defense with flying colours!  I managed to get four outfits completed for showing, a powerpoint slide presentation and answered questions like I knew my shit.  Yeah!
Outfit number three had a sweater I'm really not happy with, so I am reknitting it.  The yarn I chose originally didn't hold up to softness once it was washed for blocking.  it feels like plastic now.  I went rooting in the textile bins at school though and found a fairly nice worsted wool and I am working on reknitting now.  I donated a bag of yarns to replace the cone I took, so I'm still working within budget.  The fourth outfit was a shirtwaist dress with full 1950s skirt in black cotton and a bought moto jacket in pleather that I am reworking with ruffles and such.  I had planned to have one made in leather, but then this season they became "fashionable" and I bout the pleather one for 70$ at Reitman's.  Last Thursday I spent the day inserting a grosgrain ribbon frill into the collar.  Red on black.  It's striking.

Today I am taking the day off, working on housework, like laundry and such.  I'll knit for a bit, then it's off to a Cultural Studies party this afternoon at the Mount.
Tomorrow I am back on schedule!  I have five outfits left to complete, and a major paper to write, the first deadline being mid May with my intro and historical background and political art movements that contributed to UK punk.  I want this project finished by end of August.

Friday, 21 March 2014

One week until Proposal Defense

I finished the second outfit yesterday, the tailored suit took a lot longer than planned.  The third outfit, I am not quite happy with, but I'll finish what I have and deal with it after next week.  Tuesday I start the fourth outfit, which I will wear on Friday.  It's a cotton day dress with a bought jacket that I hope to rework a bit with some trim.  I just couldn't pass up the deal, 75$ for a pleather version of the one I sketched out, and the pleather matches skirt fabric I bought for another outfit.
Today I did some last minute revisions to the thesis proposal, changing dates around really, to better reflect the current timeline.  Looks like I will be finished in September if I stick to the plan.  I think I can do it if I really apply myself and keep writing.  That would give time for edits and I could graduate in the winter...not too far behind.

I've been looking at schools for the PhD, I'm not sure where I really want to go, or what I want to study, other than fashion.  I don't want to be having to take courses completely unrelated to my chosen path again, it was hard enough for the MA.  I really want to work with a school that agrees that fashion is important...Now to find one that I can financially deal with.

Feeling like I should have gone down to the studio today and gotten some work done.

Monday, 24 February 2014

more on linen

This past weekend at a local living history farm museum, they ran a program called Just the Flax.  It was a one display, short program concerning the processing of flax fibres.  In just 45 minutes I learned so much!  I could not get over how quickly the flax can be processed into fibre, it was like magic.  I was able to spin a bit of it too...first time sitting at a wheel, I only have every spun from a drop spindle.  I was so easy, I cannot stress to you how easy it was!

So after some serious thinky thoughts since Saturday, I am wondering if I could have gotten a tighter weave structure on my shirt linen if I had gone with a finer weft thread.  This is something I am going to have to experiment with once I get my loom set up.

I am also left wondering why we as a province producing more flax and linen.  We have the perfect growing conditions, it really should be a crop that we produce...more thinky thoughts...

here is a link to the living history farm

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

back at the computer...

The thumb drive I uploaded my presentation to would not speak to the computers at school, so I had to fly by the seat of my pants and do my presentation old school.  Thank god I brought my sketch book.  I felt pretty shitty about the whole thing, but I know that it was a test run for my thesis presentation coming up.  I may bring the laptop for that one, and a mood board, and hopefully three of my outfits.  It'll happen mid March now, I suspect.

Why so late you ask?  Well, I have one last rewrite to do, stating the obvious in my opening paragraph what my thesis is.  I am sitting at the computer to do that today.  Then I will send it off in all directions and set up the meeting of the committee.  I will be ready for that!
I am well on my way of having two outfits finished by the end of reading week next week, and hope to have the third patterned out and cut in good cloth.  I will wear one of the outfits in the presentation, and have the other two on manikins.  I also will put together a mood board of the women of Punk that I'll be referencing in my thesis.

I am excited to finally be working on the project.  It's been a rough year but I made it through.  Dr Randi talks about the project to everyone she can.  I hope that with this thesis project, we can open up the space for a broader conversation, and we can, as a discipline, stop trying to put people into boxes they don't need or belong in.  In other good news, Dr Randi has not just been voted Best Professor in Halifax, but it's looking like she'll be Chair for the Cultural Studies department for the next couple of years.  This is exciting news!  I may be in a women's and gender studies program at another University, but my thesis advisor is the Chair of a department that I would have rather been in, if they had a Master's Program.  Here's hoping that my project can open that door as well.

Well, I should go write...I have someone sitting on my shoulder, piss nooshing me in the ear...

Monday, 3 February 2014

Oh look, there went January!

Well, things are progressing, even if at times it doesn't feel like it.  I started cutting my collection last week, made the first piece, did some refining of outfits, added a couple.  I really need to sit down and tidy things up and refine my design sketches.  I also have a presentation on Thursday to do, so I will try to sit here at the computer over the next couple of days, do that and create a proper blog entry for you all.

Maybe I'll upload my presentation...

I picked up my loom that weekend.  It is beautiful, but we moved it right into storage so I wouldn't be tempted with even more projects.  It will stay there until we move again and I have a studio.  I have more than enough projects on the go right now that need to be finished...apart from the thesis and collection.  Yeah, I'm feeling a little scattered.

Well, I'm off to bed, I promise I will do something up proper for you all this week!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Plugging away

I have been writing a bit, working through subculture theory.  Ill have to spend quite a bit of time writing this weekend to have something to hand in next week to Dr Randi.  I haven't heard back from Dr Jayne yet, I'm hoping that's a good sign that she likes my proposal.  I hate to nag.

In collection news, I've been working on refining design sketches.  Last night I went out and bought a lot of the fabrics I'll be using, today it will be organization, laundering the needed fabrics and possibly starting the knitting on the first outfit.  I'm going to do some swatch tests for sure, and maybe work out the neckline of the sweater.  I won't be following a pattern for the sweater, rather working it out on my own...we'll see how that goes.

In weaving news, I have a loom waiting for me to pick up.  It is a Colonial box loom.  I'm excited!  The lady selling it to me was one of my visitors this summer who sat and chatted with me for a while.  No, I have no idea where we'll put it...we'll cross that bridge when we get it home.  It may have to live in the lock-up for a while, but I'll have a loom.

Anyway, today I am knitting and laundry...