Historical Sew Monthly 2016 – Pleats and Tucks Challenge

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Challenge is definitely the appropriate word here. I’m not the most confident stitcher but I couldn’t find a historical knitting or crochet pattern that involved pleats. So a simple sewing project was needed, ideally involving some crochet, hence my chouce of an early 20th C boudoir cap.
One of my grandmothers used to talk about the lace crochet she did before she married, in the 19-teens. I love the crochet trimmed ladies nightwear of the era for anyway, so this is a step towards making one. I sewed it by hand which I found really enjoyable.

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Inspiration
The inspiration for my hat came from various photos I found over on pinterest

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The originals were made of silk but my budget and that of a working class girl of the era, probably wouldn’t have run that far so I chose to use cotton from a pillowcase.

Method

I took 2 rectangles of fabric, joined them with a french seam into  a long strip and used a blind catch stitch to hem top and bottom.

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I then deeply pleated the fabric but this was very much trial and error and took a few attempts to get it right and get the hat to fit. Once pleated I stitched down the pleats with 2 rows of back stitch.
I also crocheted an insertion for the crown of the hat and a lace trim using a period pattern book, downloaded from The Antique Pattern Library.

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Learning
I learned a lot from the challenge and have identified a few areas I think I could do better:

1. Combining applying the lace and securing the pleats in place.

2. Using a metal or wooden ruler as opposed to a tape measure to make the pleats more even

3. Cutting a curved edge to the top of the hat to help with applying the crochet insertion.

The Challenge: Tucks and Pleating

Material:  An old cotton pillow case

Pattern: None for the sewing. Crochet : Lupton FM, People’s  Handbook Series: The Lady’s Fancy Work Manual http://www.antiquepatternlibrary.org/html/warm/catalog.htm#AUTH_L

Year: 1905

Notions: thread, crochet cotton no 10, ribbon trim, plastic bead

How historically accurate is it? 60-70%. I couldn’t find a pattern for making the fabric part of the hat so improvised as best I could. The ribbon is synthetic and the bead plastic. The crochet patterns are of the period. I used HA stitching techniques and hand sewed. I think the fabric is 100% cotton but might be a blend. The thread is polyester.

Hours to complete: 6 – my first attempt at historical sewing so lots of pinning and repinning involved before sewing, plus I crocheted the lace

First Worn: Not yet

Total cost: all materials were from stash, probably around  £3

Victorian and Edwardian Patterns

I’m currently working on 2 projects for historical sew monthly that require the use of knitting and crochet patterns written around the beginning of the 20th Century.

The crochet patterns aren’t too bad and I only needed to tweak them here and there to produce the lacy bits I need as embellishments. I will write up a modern version of them as a pdf download to go with the forthcomingpost… Once I finish the sewing part!

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However the knitting patterns are far more interesting to fathom out. I am currently swatching a lace border and am on my 4th cast on. The key problems are:

1. No needle sizes for the main section – take a large pair of wood or rubber needles and cast on… I tried to research the possible sizings and see if I could find anything about rubber knitting needles but drew a blank. My solution was to grab a size of the largest imperial wooden needles I own – size 0 or 7mm and try it out!

2. No tension / gauge stated – I decided to knit a few rows and then measure. The size of the mystery make was within the range I wanted so I went with it.

3. Obsolete yarns – I tried to Google but again drew a blank. I had some pre used pure wool in my stash so I  decided to use it. It’s somewhere between 4 ply and DK, which was very appropriate so I decided to try it and see how it knitted up. I’m happy enough with the outcome.

4. Inconsistent or Uncommon  Abbreviations and terminology – the book I am using, appears to contain patterns sent in by knitters who all have their own pattern writing style. The lady who wrote one of the 3 borders I am using even changes her thinking from one row to the next. The best approach I have come up with is to count my stitches a lot and write the pattern out in modern format on squared paper so I can see what I am knitting, plus keep checking to ensure the increases and decreases match up across the row.

I will write out a guide to using old knitting patterns in the next few weeks, explaining the abbreviations and how to approach the actual knitting.

Victorian and Edwardian Patterns

I’m currently working on 2 projects for historical sew monthly that require the use of knitting and crochet patterns written around the beginning of the 20th Century.

The crochet patterns aren’t too bad and I only needed to tweak them here and there to produce the lacy bits I need as embellishments. I will write up a modern version of them as a pdf download to go with the forthcomingpost… Once I finish the sewing part!

image

However the knitting patterns are far more interesting to fathom out. I am currently swatching a lace border and am on my 4th cast on. The key problems are:

1. No needle sizes for the main section – take a large pair of wood or rubber needles and cast on… I tried to research the possible sizings and see if I could find anything about rubber knitting needles but drew a blank. My solution was to grab a size of the largest imperial wooden needles I own – size 0 or 7mm and try it out!

2. No tension / gauge stated – I decided to knit a few rows and then measure. The size of the mystery make was within the range I wanted so I went with it.

3. Obsolete yarns – I tried to Google but again drew a blank. I had some pre used pure wool in my stash so I  decided to use it. It’s somewhere between 4 ply and DK, which was very appropriate so I decided to try it and see how it knitted up. I’m happy enough with the outcome.

4. Inconsistent or Uncommon  Abbreviations and terminology – the book I am using, appears to contain patterns sent in by knitters who all have their own pattern writing style. The lady who wrote one of the 3 borders I am using even changes her thinking from one row to the next. The best approach I have come up with is to count my stitches a lot and write the pattern out in modern format on squared paper so I can see what I am knitting, plus keep checking to ensure the increases and decreases match up across the row.

I will write out a guide to using old knitting patterns in the next few weeks, explaining the abbreviations and how to approach the actual knitting.

Historical Sew Monthly 1 – Procrastination Challenge

My procrastination challenge is tiny! I have wanted to attempt medieval / early modern knitting for a long while but didn’t fancy using the tiny needles required. This reluctance limited my choice of Victorian and Edwardian knitting patterns too. The daft thing is that I love minature and fine lace crochet.

Historical Sew Monthly Info

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What the item is: Relic Bag pre 1570
The Challenge: Procrastination
Material: Cotton
Pattern: Self-drafted from photo and research
Year: ?14th to 16th C
Notions: Cotton 1 ply thread, 1mm knitting needles
How historically accurate is it? I should have used linen or silk but was unable to get them in time. Otherwise it was as accurate as possible so 90%
Hours to complete: 6
Degree of Procrastination: About a year 🙂 fear of knitting on tiny needles!
First worn: Not wearable but have taken it to craft group and shown it off!
Total cost:£12 as I had to purchase all materials but now have the start of a stash 🙂

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http://knithistory.academicblogs.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2014/05/relic-knitted-bag.jpg

Towards the end of last year I found a perfect project to help me dip a toe in the water – a tiny relic bag that had been discovered inside a reused piece of ecclesiastical equipment from the 14th C, the thimble sized bag contained a little stone and is in surprisingly good condition for its age. It was reasonably confidently dated to pre Reformation and possibly to the medieval period. It is thought to have been made from a plant fibre possibly linen, or silk.

Research
I joined the very helpful Historic Knitting group on Facebook and also contacted the Glasgow University team who were caring for the bag via their blog. This helped me determine the fibre used – I chose 1 ply cotton as it was easily available and the needle size – 1mm / UK 19 / US 5×0. The historic knitting ladies suggested that the size of the bag was likely to indicate that they wouldhave used what was easily to hand. We also discussed cast on methods and following the advice of a lady who had researched the subject I decided to use a back loop cast on.
From the photo and the comments on the blog I worked out the stitch count – 28 approx and the number of rows 28 worked in a striped sequence of 4 dark yellow, 4 pale yellow, 4 green, 4 pale yellow, 4 dark yellow, 4 green 4 pale yellow – 28 rows.

Teething Troubles

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It took around 5 attempts to figure out the cast on and get to grips with knitting in the round on such tiny needles. Eventually I chose to knit a row then divide the sts and join the round to create an even edge. I also realised that I would need to add an eyelet row and shape the bottom of the bag a little.

Pattern

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Cast on 28 sts in dark yellow
K 1 row, dividing sts between 4 needles and join the round. We will stitch the gap closed at the end.
K1 row in the round
Eyelet row- *k2 yf k2tog from * to end.
K 1 row.
Change to pale yellow and k 4 rows
Change to green and k 4 rows
Change to pale yellow and k 4 rows
Change to dark yellow and k 4 rows
Change to pale yellow and k 4 rows
Change to green and k 4 rows
Change to pale yellow and k 4 rows
*k2tog, rep from * to end
Cast off and fasten off securely leaving a long end for gathering.

Please note it is easier if you catch the ends of yarn in as you join new colours.

Embellishments.

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The original bag had a fluffy stump at its base, a cord that contained green with tassels in dark yellow at the ends.
I used the top of a knitting Nancy to wrap the yarn around to create the tiny tassels – about 15 wraps across 2 pegs.
I cut 3 lengths of cotton, 1 in each colour, around 3 times the width of the bag and plaited them to make the cord. I then wove it through the top eyelets and stitched on the tassels. I also chose to add a tassel to the bottom as I thought it more likely, based on medieval pouches than a pompom.

I am late posting this due to a bereavement. It’s been quite helpful in giving me something to concentrate on.

Me and my new brain

Agatha, the lady who writes this blog was kind enough to message me via my blog and share her story. I think she’s pretty amazing and inspiring, so wanted to share her story and her blog with my readers 😊

headinjuryandcrochet

This is me Agatha me and my new brain. I am married to an amazing man and we have five children. On 26th March I had a car accident on a notorious cross road junction. I was on my way to school to pick up my youngest daughter with my youngest son age 4 in the car with me. I had right of way on the main road and a massive tractor was on a side road waiting to pull out. He had no hands on his steering wheel, perhaps on his phone I think but not allowed to say and he rolled onto oncoming traffic. Me. It ripped through the left hand side of my car cutting straight through with his bailer blades and missed cutting my sons legs off by 12 inches. I was knocked out. When I came round I remember three things , this is what…

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Historical Sew Monthly 2016 – Introduction

 

On my first post for this month, I mentioned I was taking part in this year’s Historical Sew Monthly. The idea is to take clothing or accessories from the past up to 1938 and remake them. You can use authentic materials or take items from your stash. Each challenge can take up to 2 months to make and must be completed and entered by the last day of the month it is due. Items can be as simple, a bag or fichu or complex as you wish, up to a full period ensemble, complete with underpinnings, but must be researched and use authentic materials and techniques where possible. The Dreamstress, who organises the challenge has written a useful blog post, exploring what  historical accuracy means.

The Challenges this Year are as follows:

  • January –  Procrastination  finish a garment you have been putting off finishing (a UFO or PHD) or make something you have been avoiding starting.
  • February – Tucks & Pleating – make a garment that features tucks and pleating for the shape or decoration
  • March – Protection – make something to protect yourself (from weather or injury) or your clothes (from soiling etc.)
  • April – Gender-Bender – make an item for the opposite gender, or make an item with elements inspired by the fashions of the opposite gender
  • May – Holes – sometimes the spaces between stuff are what makes a garment special.  Make a garment that is about holes, whether it is lace, slashing, eyelets, etc.
  • June – Travel – make a garment for travelling, or inspired by travel.
  • July – Monochrome – make a garment in black, white, or any shade of grey in between.
  • August – Pattern – make something in pattern, the bolder and wilder the better.
  • September – Historicism – Make a historical garment that was itself inspired by the fashions of another historical period.
  • October – Heroes – Make a garment inspired by your historical hero, or your historical costuming hero.
  • November – Red – Make something in any shade of red.
  • December – Special Occasion: make something for a special event or a specific occasion, or that would have been worn to special event of specific occasion historically.

My Plans To Date:

January: Medieval Relic Bag – I’ve been putting off starting as they knitted on very tiny needles – 1 – 1.5mm

February: I’m still researching but its likely to be a baby bonnet with tuck pleating around the crown in crochet

March: A Sontag – A Victorian knitted Shawl that wraps over the front of the body and ties at the back, ideal for wearing out on spring days without having trailing bits to catch in my wheels

April – This is puzzling me, so I need to research this. Am wondering if an early male knitted cap might have been remade and restyled in late 19th / early 20th C for a lady who was interested in sport?

May – I have a couple of lovely tops that are just a little too low cut so I plan to make a crochet fichu / neck piece to wear with them.

June – I want to make something linked to travel for the wool trade: going to market, sheep droving, using a crochet method called shepherds knitting, gloves, a pouch

July – Monochrome, am thinking towards socks are there medieval examples of knitted socks and cushions with interesting monochrome patterns

August – Pattern, I’ve seen some beautiful beaded knit purses and reticules, with fantastic colour patterns!

September – Historicism – this will need research, ideally I would like to do something warm for the approaching winter or practical like a simple bag

October – Heroes – I bet you thought I was going to avoid naalbinding as I’d not said anymore about it! But my heroes are in part those medieval women who spent much of their time spinning, weaving and naalbinding clothes. There is an interesting pair of socks I would like to try to replicate!

November – Something Red – thinking back over my accessories, I don’t have gloves and I really like the long evening gloves so I plan to crochet a pair in red silk or cotton

December – Something Special – this is my tatting challenge, and I’m thinking I might make myself a collar, which could double as a necklace or adding a tatted motif to a simple, silk drawstring bag or pouch, brooch or hat band.

This will give me a range of accessories I can make over a number of eras of history and the opportunity to hone skills and develop new ones. In future years it is my intention to choose a period of history and make myself a full costume with authentic accessories, meaning that I will need to tackle dressmaking.

I’m assembling a Pinterest board and hunting through the Antique Pattern Library for inspiration and ideas. I also plan to do some reading in the local library and online to discover the techniques, yarns etc in use at the time each item was made.

Knit and Relax

Myself and Frances Heather from Creative Options, a Southampton based social enterprise, providing support, social interaction and employment opportunities for adults with a mental health problem in Southampton are joining forces to launch Knit and Relax.

Who is it for?

Its for anyone who is living with a mental health problem or is feeling low, lonely and isolated. You don’t need to be seeing a mental health professional to join the group.

What Happens There?

We are a craft and chat group, so you are welcome to bring along any needle based crafts you like – knitting, crochet, embroidery, cross stitch etc. Bev is an experienced tutor and will be on hand to help you if you get stuck.

After a tea and cake break, Frances will lead a relaxation session, to help you .unwind before you go home.

Can I Learn To…

Yes, beginners are welcome, but please note, this is not a formal class, so Bev will not be running workshops or teaching exclusively one to one. Other group members will also be willing to help you if Bev is busy

Is There a Cost?

Yes there’s a small charge of £1 per person, towards room hire and refreshments

How Can Craft Help Me?

There have been many studies that demonstrate how crafting helps people with a wide range of illnesses. It takes your mind off things and stitching is also found to be as beneficial as meditation! It also helps you build your confidence as you learn new things and improves concentration. The group is also small and friendly so you have the opportunity to get out of the house, have a chat with people with similar interests and perhaps make some new friends! All things that can help you feel better.

Is There Anyone Who Can’t Come?

The group is open to anyone with lived experience of a mental health condition. All we ask is that you are willing to join in with the group activities of crafting, relaxation and help to keep the chat, light and uplifting.

If you are looking for a more structured support group, Creative Options run a range of these throughout the week, which might better meet your needs