Showing posts from 2016

Making Dad look Scandinavian

I wasn't even looking for knitting patterns when I recently stumbled across a picture of a knitted hat on the Internet ( It looked so interesting and beautiful that I just had to make one. My father is the perfect victim for projects like these--I knew he would look so dapper in this fair isle/stranded colorwork checkerboard and that he would wear it and love it even if he thought it looked dorky. He appreciates everything I make for him.

There was a pattern, but not a free one. With me being so cheap, I decided to try making the hat just by looking at the picture. I zoomed in on the image and counted the stitches, then I researched how to knit the false braid, and finally jotted some notes for a makeshift pattern. I loved the colors of the hat in the photo and I just happened to have the perfect yarn in my stash for it, only it was DK weight and not bulky. So, I created my own pattern for the thinner yarn…

18th Century Mittens

We had a living history event coming up at Fort Dobbs in North Carolina. Typically, it's not too cold there, but for a change there was some December cold weather the weekend of the event. I rushed to make some mittens in time for the event. I used the pattern from The Packet III by Mark Tully ( Tully writes that this pattern is based on a surviving original from an American Revolution campsite.

I really struggled with this pattern. I checked my gauge, and it was perfect, but then I couldn't believe how large the mittens were turning out to be. I started over a few times, testing different needle sizes and yarn weights. I got pretty far knitting a version out of sport weight yarn on size 2 needles, but they were really thin and seemed like they wouldn't be warm. Finally I bit the bullet and knitted with worsted weight, as the pattern dictates. I used size U.S. 2 needles, smaller than the pattern re…

18th century Garsault shirt

Last month, I wrote about researching an upcoming shirt project. Well, I made the shirt a few weeks ago, and I am so happy with it! I used Garsault's instructions from L'art du tailleur, which La Couturiere Parisienne graciously shared on I followed these instructions pretty closely since I am not yet familiar enough to sew on the fly, but I would really like to study several original shirts. La Couturiere Parisienne made the instructions very easy to follow, but there is a feature of Garsault's approach that I and my customer both disliked. The neck gusset is set into the shoulder strap instead of the shoulder strap. I'll illustrate with pictures below. It's fine for now, but next time I'll do it differently. 

The neckline is stroke gathered to the collar, while the neck gusset and shoulder strap are sewn flat to the collar--no gathers. Next time, I need to make the front of the neck gather more loosely…

Baby Slippers

Here are some derp-face baby slippers that I crocheted a while back and gave to one of my cousins.

A couple years ago, I made some animal slippers for new babies in my family. I was inspired by patterns that I found on the Internet, but I wanted to perfect my own pattern because I made some changes. I also created my own animal face designs for these. I've made several different slippers--bunnies, lions, bears, and sheep. I don't have pictures of all of them.

The final product was a simple oval shaped crocheted slipper made from DK weight yarn. I can make basic slippers in any color and then embellish them with embroidery and other crocheted pieces. The bunny ears are simple crocheted ovals sewn onto the slippers, and the sheep ears and hair are free form, crocheted directly onto the slippers. I made these two pairs mainly to experiment with my pattern, but I've already given them away. They're so cute and quick and easy that I'm sure I'll make more in the fu…

A Crocheted Wheel Cap

I made this cap sometime earlier this year, and finally have pictures to share! It's a copy of an original that is pictured in the Confederate Echoes of Glory. I designed the pattern myself, just by looking at the picture. I could see that the original was crocheted in back loop only, so I simply started crocheting in the round and increasing evenly to form a circle. I had to unravel a few times as I was experimenting. I'm really happy with this hat, though it looks a little big. Perhaps it could be crocheted with a smaller hook, or I could change the pattern so that I do one more decrease row before the hat band and thus the band would be tighter. I started doing that at first, but it looked too small. Here's the pattern that I wrote, which I am sharing openly with the caveat that anyone who shares the pattern or makes the hat acknowledges the original source. Personal use only, please; this hat may not be sold.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I just realized that all of these pictures, e…

Research and brainstorming for making a shirt

I've come a long way over the past several years in my sewing ability. One of my current projects is an 18th century man's shirt, so I'm looking back at other shirts that I've made and researching how to do a better job. This post is to review what I've done before for my own benefit as I prepare to make a new shirt and to organize the information that I want to consult while I sew, so it might be really boring unless you plan to make your own shirt.

For my first shirt endeavor, I helped work on shirts for Old Economy Village, a 19th century site in Western Pennsylvania, when I used to volunteer in their costuming department. Then, I made two shirts for my friend's and my St. Kateri costumes: and Those are really quite embarrassing, but we all have to start somewhere. I have since disassemb…

Tape Weaving

I actually have been quite busy sewing and otherwise being crafty, but I haven't been disciplined about documenting my projects. In June, I made my first project on my tape loom: some linen tape for apron strings for a friend. It was based on the tape on an apron in the Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center:;id=83534E81-6AF2-4CAE-ADE0-332276277360;type=101. The original is red, blue, and white, but I made my copy using only blue and white as my friend wanted those colors to go with her blue and white checked apron. It took me a while to cut the threads and set up the loom, but weaving goes super fast. Do you know how fast? Warp speed! :D Where's my dilithium crystals?I think it only took me an hour to weave this piece.

This month, I've been weaving again to practice and experiment. I have a lot of room for improvement, and I'm kind of embarrassed to show this project that I just finished as…