Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Sampling is the part of the design phase in which I learn the characteristics of the yarn I want to use.  This is Jaggerspun 2/20 Maine Line, in Bittersweet, Natural, and Williamsburg Blue, set at 32, 36 and 40 ends per inch.  Twill and tabby each behave differently, and the very slightly sticky shed is something I'll need to get used to.   The hand of the twill at 40 epi is really lovely.

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Primitive Smock

Recently I decided to make a smock, based (loosely) on the modern fisherman's smock, which seems to survive today primarily in Cornwall and Brittany; the Norfolk slop; and smocks that show up now and again in nineteenth century photographs.

I adapted the techniques I'd previously used for making an eighteenth century shirt.  The smock is cut entirely of squares and rectangles.  Some of the squares are folded in half and used as triangles.  I used some linen that had been in my stash for about 10 years.

The most interesting feature of these smocks is that there is no front opening.  This makes the smock faster to make up and is a better functional choice if the goal is to keep out sea spray, dust, chaff, and the like.

I guessed, mostly right, on the size for the neck opening.  Quite a bit of arithmetic was involved to account for the amount that the neck gusset added to the neck circumference.  The next time I make up the smock, I'll make the neck opening about an inch smaller.

I didn't make the side vents deep enough, which means that I have to hike up the smock a bit if I want to put my hands in my pockets.

Seams and hems were sewn by machine.  The sleeve and body seams were flat-felled by hand.
Neck gusset and collar band

Sleeve gusset
The hip gussets were sewn in by hand.
Hip gusset at the left
Marked so that everybody knows it's mine

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Summer weight blankets

This being summer, I decided to use up some mill end yarns I bought years ago to weave light-weight blankets.  These are woven of cotton and wool.  This type of blanket is typical of farmhouse production in the early to mid-nineteenth century.  Commercially spun cotton became available in the mid 1790s.

Home looms typically accommodated widths no greater than about 45 inches, so blankets and sheets were made up of multiple widths that were then seamed together.  The loom I'm using for the blankets will weave 36 inches wide.

Once taken off the loom and washed in plenty of soap suds and hot water, the blankets were cut and the edges of two widths were loosely whipped together, then opened out. and pressed.  This is the wrong side.

This is the right side after pressing.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Weaving again

A nice easy warp of kitchen towels. 10/2 perle cotton.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Still Not Writing, at Least Not Here

But  I did finish the (hand) quilting on this quilt.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


Strangely, I'm still very happy not writing here.  I think about writing.  But not here.  Not just yet.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My goodness!

Driftwood, Cape Blanco

What are you doing here?  You know, I had such a nice time not writing last year, that I think that I'm going to not write this year as well.  I feel certain that you won't mind.