Victorian at Heart 2016 Costume Season is launched

The first costume event is both exciting and stressful.  It is exciting because we are putting on pretty dresses and doing fun things.  And we are frequently the center of attention. The extrovert side of me loves this.

Costume events are stressful too.  Will that dress/corset still fit?  Will there be a wardrobe malfunction? “People will look at me and think I am nuts!” That last bit comes from the anxious introvert in me.

I have to ignore the Introvert’s protests and get dressed and venture out.  And I’m always pleased that I did.  It is like parachuting.  You don’t want to jump out of the plane but once you do, it is a thrill.  Or so they tell me.  No freaking way I’d ever jump out of a perfectly functional plane.  That is just nuts.

This years first event was a play at a local church.  The play was called My Fair Brit and was about a British man who lands in the wild west and tries to fit in but his accent and frilly language makes it very difficult for him to communicate and make friends.  In true wild west fashion, Shirley and I donned bustle dresses and enjoyed the play!  After the play, we were allowed to use the stage as a back drop.SAM_3649

I brought a shawl because we have been having freakishly cold weather this spring.  I was glad I brought it.

This next photo is my favorite.  SAM_3651

I also really like this one.SAM_3652

The cast of the play was so friendly, they even allowed us to take some pictures with them.SAM_3654

There is that wardrobe malfunction!  My bodice seems to have ridden up under my arm pit!

In between acts, there was coffee, tea and dessert.  I was a real piggy and had two desserts!

SAM_3657

We are well and truly off to a good start.  The next event is in two weeks time!

Year in review: outing addition

My goal this year was to wear every dress I have made.  How can I justify making more dresses if I can’t manage to wear the ones I have already?  How did I do?

1838- 40 Green Queen V dress

I wore my Green Queen dress to the Dickens Festival.

I wore my Green Queen dress to the Dickens Festival.

1840’s Copper Penny dress.

Also worn at the Dickens Festival.

Also worn at the Dickens Festival.

1850’s Tea Dress

This is what Shirley and I wore the first night at the Dickens Festival.

This is what Shirley and I wore the first night at the Dickens Festival.  I also wore the 1870’s shawl so kinda two for one.

1860 Silky Skies dress

Dickens again. I got a lot of mileage out of this outing.

Dickens again. I got a lot of mileage out of this outing.  Two for one again as I wore the 1871 mantle with it.

1860 Sontag.  There is a miss there.  I wanted to wear it with the dress above but it was too big.  But strictly speaking it isn’t a dress so we wont count it against my goal.

1870-90 Pineapple Shawl.  I still don’t have anything to wear that with so another miss, but again, it isn’t a dress so that doesn’t count.

1872 Basque in blue.

I wore this to our Halloween event.

I wore this to our Halloween event.  I also wore my 1871 Mantle with this so it got used twice this year (after lounging in my closet for a couple of years!)

1872 Lilac Dream

All aboard! The Prairie Dog train ride.

All aboard! The Prairie Dog train ride.

1873 Polonaise

First outing with our tiny groups newest member Lottie

First outing with our tiny group’s newest member Lottie

1880’s Half Grand Surprise Dress-Doh!  This is a definite miss!  I did have plans to wear it but an event or two got cancelled because of weather and this is one of the dresses that didn’t make the cut.  It has gotten a lot of wear other years.

1880’s travel outfit-dang!  Another one that got missed.  Also due to weather.

1882 Tea Gown (aka Ugly Bag of Tea Gown).  First time ever.  That is a win right?

Me in my Tea Gown reading how to be a Victorian. It got worn but didn't see the light of day or other humans other than Shirley.

Me in my Tea Gown reading how to be a Victorian. It got worn but didn’t see the light of day or other humans other than Shirley.

1890’s swim suit

Halloween costume for work.

Halloween costume for work.

1895 dinner gown

Out for dinner.

Out for dinner.

1895 Summer Ensemble

To my favorite house museum

To my favorite house museum

1895 walking outfit

Again, at my favorite house museum.

Again, at my favorite house museum.

1900 Widows Weeds

At the old jail.

At the old jail.

So not too bad.  Two dresses that got a lot of wear in years past, didn’t get worn because of cancelled events.  I think I can justify making two more…

The plan is one like this black one.tv242colorfin

The black will be done in reds and the blue will be cream and black.  I want to use my vintage treadle machine for this one.  The challenge will be to use as many of the attachments as possible.

And the paisley material I bought at the Dickens Festival will become something like this…1840-49 dress day a Augusta AuctionsI hope to make more accessories as well and I hope they will get some use!  I also hope to wear the two dresses I didn’t get to wear this year…we have to keep it fair after all.

 

Finished my 1870s shawl

It is done!

I’m happy with how it came out.

I tried the smaller lace at the top edge, but of course the pattern didn’t come with the instructions for that so I had to make it up.  Here are my instructions:

I wanted a scalloped edge at the begining of the lace so that when I sewed it onto the flat edge of the wide lace, it would look like it belonged.  The top right corner of the first photo shows best what I mean.

Cast on 3 stitches

Row 1: Knit 3 (3)

Row 2: S1, knit 1 purl 1 in the next stitch, p1 (4)

Row 3: S1, YO, K3 (5)

Row 4: S1, knit 1 purl 1 in the next stitch, p3 (6)

Row 5: S1, YO, K5 (7)

Row 6: S1, knit 1 purl 1 in the next stitch, p5 (8)

Row 7: S1, YO, K7 (9)

Row 8: S1, knit 1 purl 1 in the next stitch, p7 (10)

Row 9: S1, YO, K9 (11)

Row 10: S1, knit 1 purl 1 in the next stitch, p9 (12)

Row 11: * S1, 2tog, (2tog, yo)x3, 2tog, K1 (10)

Row 12:S1, P3, knit 1 purl 1 in the next stitch, p5 (11)

Row 13: S1, YO, K2, (2tog, yo)x2, 2tog, K2 (11)

Row 14: S1, P2, knit 1 purl 1 in the next stitch, p7 (12)

Row 15: S1, YO, K4, 2tog, yo, 2tog, K3 (12)

Row 16: S1, P3, knit 1 purl 1 in the next stitch, p7 (13)

Row 17:S1, YO, K6, 2tog, K4 (13)

Row 18: P13 (13)

Row 19: S1, K5, 2tog, yo, 2tog, K3 (12)

Row 20: S1, P3, knit 1 purl 1 in the next stitch, p7 (13)

Row 21: S1, 2tog, K2 (2tog, yo)x2, 2tog, K2 (11)

Row 22: S1, P4, knit 1 purl 1 in the next stitch, p5 (12)*

Repeat from * to * until the lace is almost long enough and end after completing row 11.

Row 23: S1, 2tog, P9 (11)

Row 24: S1, K7, 2tog, K1 (10)

Row 25: S1, 2tog, P7 (9)

Row 26: S1, K5, 2tog, K1 (8)

Row 27: S1, 2tog, P5 (7)

Row 28: S1, K3, 2tog, K1 (6)

Row 29: S1, 2tog, P3 (5)

Row 30: S1, K1, 2tog, K1 (4)

Row 31: S1, 2tog, P1 (3)

Cast off and sew to top edge of shawl.

Now, I wanted to take time today to figure out how I did the angled turn on the bottom corner and write it out for you.  This would involve a close study of the stitches.  I’m afraid I can’t do a close study right now….

She is just to comfy for me to disturb!

The poor sweetie has a bad habit of chewing the fur off of her legs so the groomer had to shave her near naked to give her a balanced look.  Winter has set in and she is feeling the cold, poor dear!  On the up-side, this groomer is the first person to suggest a reason WHY she might be doing this…dry skin.  She is getting a teaspoon of salmon oil in her food everyday now.  Hopefully, by the time her fur grows back in, her skin will be normal and she wont be chewing any more.  If not, mommy may have to knit her a shawl of her own….

One of my creations went out on the town

It was comic con this past weekend and my boy wore the costume we worked on together.  His costume is a generic warrior priest.  Apparently, many video games have them, of one sort or another.

Just like his mom, he is attracted to St. Mary’s Cathedral

I’ve been working on my smaller trim for the top edge of my shawl.  And it looks pretty good.

With any luck I will have it done by next week and I can share the pattern for it.

Milestone day

My older kid was baptized in our church yesterday, which is a big deal in the Mennonite culture.  I was very proud of him!

My blog hit over 1,000 views for the month of October.  I haven’t had that many views in one month to date so I am pleased with this progress.

And speaking of progress….I’ve finished the main trim on my 1870s shawl and I’ve sewed it on.I’ve decided to make the trim on the top edge smaller, as the pattern suggests.  I decided to do that as the main trim is quite wide and finishing the two top corners would be a trick.  I’ve worked out a pattern and once I’ve knitted a strip long enough, I will attach it to the top edge. If it doesn’t look to bad, I will share the pattern with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1870s shawl moves along

I haven’t been in great shape today but I did get a bit more done on my 1900 mourning dress…a few more pleats pinned down in the skirt.

I’ve also been working on the 1870s shawl.  A commenter suggested that the wool I am using is thicker than originally intended and I believe she is right.  As I have been knitting the lace, which the instructions say are knit in a long strip like….well…lace.  When you sew straight lace on a corner you pleat it.  The lace I am knitting is going to be far too thick for a pleat so I had to adapt the pattern some.  I have no idea how to put into words what I did.  I should have written it down.  Basically, I worked in a wedge shape with the diamond pattern repeated.

Which created a corner.  It wont be so lumpy when I sew it down and block it.

It would be nice to be retired so I could put as much time into my costumes as I do my job…alas, without my job, I wont be able to afford to costume.  The double-edged sword.

Costuming progress: 1870s shawl

I have a pattern for a shawl that appeared in Beeton’s Book of Needlework (1870).  To see it in its original form  you need to scroll down to 323.–Knitted Neckerchief in Black Shetland Wool.

The instructions do not say how heavy a wool or thick a needle to use.  (This becomes a theme in this pattern…missing instructions.)  So I assumed they used a real wool at an average thickness and the most common needle size of our time.

I used a white wool of medium bulk (4) and size 5 1/2 metric (8 American) needles.  Then I had to try to figure out what the instructions meant. To get this….

The original instructions say: This three-cornered neckerchief is knitted in the following pattern (commencing at the corner).  So far so good.

Then it says: 1st row: slip 1, make 1, knit 2 together, inserting the needle into the back part of the stitch, slip 1, make 1, knit 2 together.  What the heck is make 1?  And so I began my quest to make sense of these instruction and rewrite them so they made sense to me.  Hope they make sense to you too.

Cast on 6 stitches.  (Note the original instructions don’t tell you that…I had to figure it out!)

Row 1 *slip the next stitch onto the next needle, yarn over, knit 2 together by inserting the needle into the back of the stitch*.  Repeat from * to * till the end of the row.

Row 2 Knit 1, purl to the end of the row.

Repeat rows 1 and 2, adding a stitch at the beginning and end of each row 1 until the shawl is at 300 stitches.  And cast off.

Now here is the tricky part…you want to create a pattern that looks like small cables weaving back and forth vertically.  Like this….

Because each row 1 started with adding a stitch at the beginning (or because I screwed up somewhere in the previous rows) I found that for some reason, I couldn’t always start off with the same stitch each time or it would mess up the pattern.  So at the beginning of each row 1 I would add the stitch for the increase and then I would look for the hole in the previous row.  The hole is where the knit 2 goes (to close the hole).  I would count forwards along the needle (knit 2, slip stitch, knit 2 slip stitch) to the beginning of the needle so that I could figure out what stitch I needed to start with.  Also, when I did the purl row I made sure that every third purl was on the yarn over stitch.  (I suspect that I dropped a few of those yarn overs and that created mistakes that messed up my row 1 pattern.)  Let me know if this works out for you.

I finished the main body of the shawl this weekend, and if you don’t look to closely it looks pretty good.  If you do look closely, there are some obvious mistakes.  If you click on the photo above, I’m sure you will see them fairly quickly.

Once the body was done, I started on the lace portion.  I almost gave up.  If I knit exactly what I read, I ended up with something that DID NOT LOOK LIKE LACE!  It looked like crap.  Many times the instructions for the row were done and I still had stitches left on my needle that hadn’t been worked.  I tried at least 10 times and ended up in frustration.  I packed her in and went to bed in a snit.

The next morning I looked at it and decided to approach it like one of those dumb math questions I used to get in school.  “If you are on a train and it is travelling 200 miles an hour up hill how much food do you need for a 4 day journey….”  You know the ones.  Every last one of them made no sense and had you asking “Why the H-E-double hockey sticks do I need to know this?”

I basically looked at each odd-numbered row and said “I have X number of stitches on my needle.  In order to work out the pattern written in the next odd-numbered row I need to add/subtract X number of stitches and I will do that here.”  You shall reap the benefit of my migraine and I shall give you the instructions in modern terms…minus all the typos, missing instructions and confusing wordings.  At the end of each row I will put in brackets how many stitches you should have on your needle when you are done so you can check to make sure you are not messing up.

Cast on 22 stitches.

Row 1: Slip 1, knit 11, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit 6 (21)

Row 2: Slip 1, purl 6, knit 1 AND purl 1 in the next stitch (you do that by not pulling the stitch off of the first needle after you do the knit stitch. You move the wool forward into the purl position, make the purl and then slide the stitch off.) Purl 13. (22)

Row 3: Slip 1, knit 2 together, knit 8, *knit 2 together, yarn over*, repeat *to* once more, knit 2 together knit 5 (20)

Row 4: Slip 1, purl 5, knit 1 AND purl 1 in the next stitch, purl 13 (21)

Row 5: Slip 1, knit 2 together, knit 6, *knit 2 together, yarn over*, repeat *to* 2  more times, knit 2 together knit 4 (19)

Row 6: Slip 1, purl 8, knit 1 AND purl 1 in the next stitch, purl 9 (20)

Row 7: Slip 1, knit 2 together, knit 4, *knit 2 together, yarn over*, repeat *to* 3  more times, knit 2 together knit 3 (18)

Row 8: Slip 1, purl 3, knit 1 AND purl 1 in the next stitch, purl 13 (19)

Row 9: Slip 1, knit 2 together, knit 2, *knit 2 together, yarn over*, repeat *to* 4  more times, knit 2 together knit 2 (17)

Row 10: Slip 1, purl 10, knit 1 AND purl 1 in the next stitch, purl 5 (18)

Row 11: Slip 1, knit 2 together,  *knit 2 together, yarn over*, repeat *to* 5  more times, knit 2 together knit 1 (16)

Row 12: Slip 1, purl 1, knit 1 AND purl 1 in the next stitch, purl 13 (17)

Row 13: Slip 1, yarn over, knit 2, *knit 2 together, yarn over*, repeat *to* 4 more times, knit 2 together knit 2 (17)

Row 14: Slip 1, purl 10, knit 1 AND purl 1 in the next stitch, purl 5 (18)

Row 15: Slip 1, yarn over, knit 4, *knit 2 together, yarn over*, repeat *to* 3 more times, knit 2 together knit 3 (18)

Row 16: Slip 1, purl 3, knit 1 AND purl 1 in the next stitch, purl 13 (19)

Row 17: Slip 1, yarn over, knit 6, *knit 2 together, yarn over*, repeat *to* 2 more times, knit 2 together knit 4 (19)

Row 18: Slip 1, purl 8, knit 1 AND purl 1 in the next stitch, purl 9 (20)

Row 19: Slip 1, yarn over, knit 8, *knit 2 together, yarn over*, repeat *to* 1 more time, knit 2 together knit 5 (21)

Row 20: Slip 1, purl 5, knit 1 AND purl 1 in the next stitch, purl 13 (21)

Row 21: Slip 1, yarn over, knit 10, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit 6 (21)

Row 22: Slip 1, purl 6, knit 1 AND purl 1 in the next stitch, purl 13 (22)

Row 23: Slip 1, yarn over, knit 12, knit 2 together, knit 7 (22)

Row 24: purl 22 (22)

Repeat the 24 rows until the lace is long enough to sew around the shawl.  If you try this, let me know how it worked out for you and let me know if I need to change something.  God knows I don’t someone else frustrated because my instructions don’t make sense!I think my piece looks like the drawing on the original.

The original instructions say you can make the bit that goes near the neck narrower if you like.  Of course they don’t tell you how to do that.  If I decide to do that and figure out how I will update this post.