Monday, March 30, 2009

A note about socks, and airplanes

I flew a trip on Friday that was a 13 hour duty day with 4 flights that were full to the rafters, as Fridays often are. I had the good fortune to get to fly with crewmembers that I truly enjoy so it made it a little easier to smile and enjoy the day. I worked on these socks, and then finished them on Saturday night. They're a color way called "downpour" and I wore them all day on Sunday as there was a serious "downpour" going on outdoors.

Now, you'll ask, how do socks pertain to airplanes. There is a flight attendant that blogs that had a lavatory post, and I was thinking about that while I took the picture of my socks. With Spring breaks beginning, and the summer travel season coming up, I thought it might be a good idea to mention something that really creeps us Flight Attendants out, seeing folks going to the airplane bathroom in their socks. And barefoot happens occasionally too.

Now, I realize that there might be some people out there that don't understand what the issue is with this. It's hard to believe, but when I sometimes send children (innocent souls that don't know they shouldn't be without their shoes in public) to get their shoes on back at their seats, the parents ask "why?" So I'm going to do my best to tell you why, from our perspective of working on the airplanes.

*1. Bathroom aside, you shouldn't be anywhere on an airplane without shoes. If you take them off at your seat, slip them on again before you move. It doesn't happen often, but sometimes a glass will break on the carpet and not all the shards will be cleaned up by the vacuum, when it eventually does get vacuumed. People puke on the carpet, people spill things, people drop things, it is seriously gross. They don't shampoo the carpets. Any liquid is kind of cleaned up, but you know it's going to absorb into the fibers. Airlines wait until the planes are on a scheduled heavy cleaning (not often) and replace carpets because they get so dirty. Dirt from feet. Dirt from people that live on farms and step in "stuff"...may I please stop there? EWWWW
*2. You wouldn't use the rest room at a football stadium without your shoes, why would you do it here? Just because there's carpet in the aisle? Please reread #1. There are, just for conversation, about 400 people on a 747 on each leg/flight. On a domestic schedule that airplane might be flown 4 or 5 legs in one day. So that's a whole lot of people, isn't it? It's public. It isn't disinfected. Go back and look at all the stuff that might be on the floor from the point above. The cleaners, depending on the station the airplane is sitting at, might have from 5-10 minutes to clean the entire airplane. They spray a couple of spritzes of cleaner (think watered down cleaner, the cleaners are outsourced to companies that hire for minimum wage and try to save every cent they can) on their rag and swab the floor in the lav when they have the time, and that's not every stop. Mostly it just spreads the stuff that's already there. And the cleaners, for the most part, don't care. We have to go behind them in many cities and ask them to re-do what they supposedly did. There are not a lot of English speaking cleaners, and the languages are varied, depending on the city, so there isn't a lot of conversation or understanding.
*3. Ok, how many of you folks have males of the species in your family? I have a couple, and I will share with you that they are great people, and sit at home to alleviate the mess here in our non-public restroom. I taught my son to stand in a public place and not to touch anything he didn't have to in public restrooms. Ok, so say that "most" of the guys stand in the public place called the airplane. You know that guys somehow get drops on the floor at home, and the floor isn't moving. Now factor in turbulence, vibration from the airplane, the small cramped size of the restroom on the plane, and not caring how their aim is because they aren't at home. Now add in boy children that aren't quite tall enough to aim effectively. There isn't a whole lot of room in the airplane bathroom. It's all going to end up on the floor. Mix in the splashes of water from those people that actually wash their hands (I'll elaborate later) and it becomes quite icky.
*4. I've had people say to me "but it doesn't look wet in there" and indeed, the lack of humidity on the plane tends to dry liquids rather quickly. But have you ever spilled a coke or other liquid and it dried only to leave a residue or stickiness of some kind? Well, the water will certainly evaporate, but that leaves germs and such. I'm not a doctor so I'm not going to begin to tell you that I know exactly what is left behind, I just know that I certainly am not going to take a chance on anything. You and I both know that certain germs can survive on surfaces, many for quite awhile. And you don't know if the person that left those germs has anything infectious. I'm not going to want to share their germs, not matter what they have.
*5. And while we're talking about germs, I seriously wonder how many people actually wash their hands after using the rest room. I know that's gross, but it bears discussion since we're talking about dirty public places, not just airplanes. We've all been in places where someone has walked out of a public toilet without stopping, but I think it's more prevelant on airplanes than you might think. I can't tell you how many times I'll use the forward lavatory (this one gets less use so it is supplied with less paper towels) and I'll find that it's out of towels. It probably was out of towels for awhile before I went in there, and nobody said anything to me about it. My jumpseat is right outside the bathroom and in First Class where I usually work, I have a lot of customer contact. Sometimes I'm sitting on my seat when folks go in. I'm fast, but even I couldn't do my business and wash my hands in the short amount of time that some guys go in and come out. And this is in First Class. We see some strange things mostly in coach, and there are about 7 times more people in coach than in first class or even business so it compounds the possibilities. Of course, there's the issue of the ones that are in there for-evah but that doesn't pertain to this discussion. I open the door with a towel, then throw it away so I don't touch the handle with my now clean hands. Flight attendants are germ phobics, we are exposed to so many germs brought on board, why make it any easier to get infected?

And, if you went into the lav in your socks you WERE noticed by the crew. We'll talk about you behind your back unless we're discussing something more interesting. We'll tell our flying partners that you mopped the floor in the lav (even if it didn't feel really wet, you did), and if you're trying to impress that 20something cute flight attendant on your flight, you did, though probably not in the way you had intended. Far less women than men go in there in their socks, I don't know why...just observing. And I'm just trying to help here...for your upcoming vacations.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Maryland!

Today is the anniversary of Maryland! On March 25, 1634 the Maryland Colony was founded officially.

Early Spanish mariners were probably the first white people to visit the Maryland area. The first European to record an entrance into Chesapeake Bay appears to have been Giovanni da Verrazzano in 1524.

It was not until the early years of the 17th century that English explorers arrived, Bartholomew Gilbert in 1603 and John Smith in 1608.
In 1631, the Virginian William Claiborne became the first European settler in Maryland when he opened a fur trading post on Kent Island in Chesapeake Bay.
In 1632, George Calvert, first Baron Baltimore and a recent convert to Roman Catholicism, obtained a charter from King Charles I that granted feudal rights in the land north of the Potomac River. The colony was to be named in honor of the king's consort, Henrietta Maria. Charles I was deeply concerned about the presence of the Dutch in North America and decided to establish Maryland as a buffer between Virginia and the New Netherland.
The exact boundaries were not accurately described, which led to a dispute with Virginia that would not be settled for 300 years. Before colonization began, the first Lord Baltimore died and left the grant to his son, Cecilius, the second Lord Baltimore. Since the charter did not expressly prohibit the establishment of non-Protestant churches, Cecilius Calvert encouraged fellow Catholics to settle there.

While establishing a refuge for Catholics who were facing increasing persecution in Anglican England, the Calverts also were interested in creating profitable estates. To this end, and to avoid trouble with the British government, they also encouraged Protestant immigration.
Maryland's first town, St. Mary's, was established by both Protestants and Catholics in 1634. Arriving in the Ark and the Dove, they carefully chose a location high on a bluff near the point where the Potomac River flows into Chesapeake Bay.

The royal charter granted to the Calvert family embodied a mixture of feudal and modern elements. They were given the power to create manorial estates, but were limited to making laws only with the consent of the freemen (property holders). To attract and hold settlers, and to make the venture profitable, the family offered a limited form of land ownership. The number of independent farms grew and the farmers demanded a voice in the affairs of the colony. Maryland's first legislature, the House of Delegates, met in 1635.

The colony never experienced protracted Indian warfare or a "starving time" like its neighbor Virginia. Indeed, proximity to an established settlement allowed Maryland to trade for needed items. The colony also benefited from the largess of the proprietor, who personally supported the settlers' early financial needs. Like Virginia, Maryland suffered from a labor shortage and in 1640 introduced a headright system intended to stimulate immigration.

Protestants quickly outnumbered Catholics, a development that led to the passage of the Toleration Act in 1649. This interesting statement of religious toleration provided freedom of worship to all who believed in the divinity of Jesus, but decreed the death penalty for those denying the Trinity. The growing number of Protestants, especially Puritans, led to friction culminating in a brief civil war in 1655. For a number of years, William Claiborne, the original settler and frequent thorn in the Calvert family's side, ran the colony in defiance of the proprietors.

Annapolis became the capital in 1694, supplanting St. Mary's. Baltimore was founded in 1730, Frederick in 1745, and Georgetown in 1751. The boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania was settled according to the survey done by Mason and Dixon in 1763-67.

The Maryland flag is made up of the Calvert (Lord Baltimore) and Crossland (his wife or mother's family-reports differ) Coats of Arms. During the Civil War, the Crossland Cross (or Botony cross) became a symbol of support for the Southern Cause since Maryland was occupied by Federal troops before and during the War. Maryland was the only state in the nation (including all Northern states) in which it was illegal to fly confederate colors, and civilians were jailed (including women) for any support of the Southern states, as well speaking out against the war, even if they were Union supporters and simply against the war. The Maryland flag was not adopted until 1904.
(Now, further Maryland history from another article's perspective) The Roman Catholics were among those who suffered persecution in England, and Maryland was founded as a place of refuge for them. Among the most prominent of the English Catholics was Sir George Calvert, known as Lord Baltimore. His first attempt to found a colony was in Newfoundland, but the rigorous climate compelled him to give it up. (I'm smiling at my husband's Newfie ancestors!) He decided that the most favorable place was that portion of Virginia lying east of the Potomac. Virginia had its eye already upon the section, and was preparing to settle it, when Charles I, without consulting her, granted the territory to Lord Baltimore. Before he could use the patent, he died, and the charter was made to his son, Cecil Calvert, in 1632. He named it Maryland in compliment to the queen, Henrietta Maria.
Leonard Calvert, a brother of Lord Baltimore, began the settlement of Maryland at St. Mary's, near the mouth of the Potomac. He took with him 200 immigrants and made friends with the Indians, whom he treated with justice and kindness. Annapolis was founded in 1683 and Baltimore in 1729.

Despite the wisdom and liberality of Calvert's rule, the colony met with much trouble, because of Virginia's claim to the territory occupied by the newcomers. William Clayborne of Virginia had established a trading post in Maryland and refused to leave, but he was driven out, whereupon he appealed to the king, insisting that the Catholics were intruders upon domain to which they had no right. The king decided in favor of Lord Baltimore. Clayborne however, would not assent, and, returning to Maryland in 1645, he incited a rebellion which was pressed so vigorously that Calvert was forced to flee. He gathered enough followers to drive Clayborne out in turn. The Catholics then established a liberal government and passed the famous "Toleration Act," which allowed everybody to worship God as he saw fit. Many persons in the other colonies, who were suffering persecution, made their homes in Maryland.

After a time, the Protestants gained a majority in the assembly and made laws which were very oppressive to the Catholics.. The strife degenerated into civil war, which lasted for a number of years. The proprietor in 1691 was a supporter of James II, because of which the new king, William, took away his colony and appointed the governors himself. The proprietor's rights were restored in 1716 to the fourth Lord Baltimore. The Calverts became extinct in 1771, and the people of Maryland assumed proprietorship five years later. Comparative tranquillity reigned until the breaking out of the Revolution.

An interesting occurrence during this tranquil period was the arrival from England of George Fox, the founder of the Society of Friends or Quakers. In the assemblage which gathered on the shores of the Chesapeake to listen to his preaching were members of the Legislature, the leading men of the province, Indian sachems and their families, with their great chief at their head.
The disputed boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania was fixed in 1767, by two surveyors named Mason and Dixon. This boundary became famous in after years as the dividing line between the free and slave States. (Though, at the start of the Civil War, the state of Maryland had the largest population of FREE Blacks, north or south!)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why does everything I do take me so long?

I really was trying not to get sidetracked, but you know how that goes in crafting and sewing rooms. I was cleaning up my sewing room which is also the dumping ground for many things including my Civil War stuff. I have bins of drawers that I was putting things away in when I opened this one up and to my suprise found nearly a whole drawer of sock yarn! There are a couple of other things besides sock weight in the bottom, but it's all yarn. I thought all my sock yarn was in the dresser in my office, so I had to go check in the office and see if I had room to consolodate and move. No on that. I really need to get the circular sock machine moving so I can work through some of this yarn quicker than I could do by hand.
I came back into the sewing room to see Rosie here pulling a pin out of my pin cushion on my table and trying to carry it away. I use the big headed quilting pins to sew with because they're easier to handle and see, but the cats also are fascinated by them. After I grabbed Rose up and checked her mouth to make sure she hadn't grabbed another one with intent to swallow it, she decided to go sleep in one of my boxes of quilting pieces up on the shelf by where I was trying to work. She's my acrobat.
Gracie on the other hand, was happy to lie in the sunbeam on the end of my sewing cabinet. The serger is at the repair shop right now, it usually sits down at that end of the cabinet, so Gracie was very happy to have a nice big spot to lie. She doesn't seem to share the fascination that the kittens have with pins and scissors and thread, being the mature older woman that she is.
This is mother's little helper. The moment Belle even sees fabric she starts purring because she so loves lying right in the middle of it all. Of course, cutting out a pattern is unbelievably difficult. I got the one side of my bodice cut out and then was matching the fabric to cut out the other, and she decided to lie right in the middle of the pattern and try to pull out my pins. Sigh. I do love them, but they make it a little more difficult to get things done. I have to keep lifting her off the fabric and moving her. I know I could close them out of the room, but they are so funny to watch that I deal with things. It's the cutting stage that's the most difficult, followed second by putting the pleats together for the skirt while they try to hide in the fabric. lol. Wish me luck, I have the back still to cut out as well as the sleeves (as soon as I decided what I'm going to do).

It's spring for reenactors

It was a huge busy weekend for us here. On Saturday our unit had their field trip to the New Visitor's Center at the Gettysburg National Military Park. We were accompanied by our "brother" unit from Hanover, PA and had a wonderful time. The newly restored Cyclorama is incredible. I just wish I'd had more time to look at it. This is the Paletot that I made in November, it's unlined and intended for warmer days or for wearing indoors, I just haven't ever had a picture taken of it. We're in the Gift shop here at the Park.
After we finished at the park, the unit went to Boyd's Bear's Barn for our monthly meeting and we had lunch. It was a quick meeting because we were all starving! Boyd's bear is a lot of fun, and if you ever get to Gettysburg, it's worth taking a couple of hours to go to, especially if you have little people with you. I'm wearing the Gutta Percha broach that was made by Second Mourning Reproduction Jewelry. I'm happy to recommend them, their prices are quite reasonable and their work is of quality, no bubbles or rough spots like other reproductions I've seen. They're at, and they have earings, pendants, and many other broaches to choose from. I can't wait to get earrings to match. And no, the yoke on my dress isn't crooked, I am just sitting funny, besides having scoliosis which makes my shoulders uneven anyway. This dress was my class project for the Genteel Arts Yoked bodice class in January.
We did some errands after the meeting, one of which was to stop in at Needle and Thread in Gettysburg. This fabric spoke to me the last time we were here, yes, it's Civil War period, and I can't wait to make it into a dress, I need a more somber fabric for our cemetary dedication we do every year. Thank you to Mark for gifting it to me, it was unexpected and very much appreciated. It's a black background and looks lighter in this photo than it does on the bolt. I am already thinking of rust colored trim but I'll wait to get the dress started and see how much fabric I have for sleeve design and such, which hopefully will be in the next couple of days.
I have gotten started collecting Victorian hair combs. In the past, I thought they'd never stay in my hair until I discovered that you put them in on top (with the tines behind) of your chignon, bun, or hair rat, and they do stay in very well. They also cover the modern barette or clips that I use to keep my hair coiled and were a very popular accessory for women of the Civil War era. This one is a reproduction that I got in Gettysburg by Beth Miller, it's kind of crudely done in terms of the carving compared to the period ones I've seen.This one I purchased on Ebay. Though I can't find a book that I can use for reference on the combs yet, I am guessing this is post war. It was very inexpensive, and was sold as "Victorian" but that time period goes until 1901. This one has tiny red rhinestones in it that I think probably rule out Civil War. I've been parusing ebay for other finds, reproductions are fine for me since they're inexspensive, I'm going to wear them and don't want to have to worry about breaking them or losing them.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm having a temper tantrum

Sniffle, sniffle. Sob sob. Throwing myself on the floor and having a tantrum. I wanted to go to SeaLife park with Aidan and his parents too. No fair.
That darn geographical challenge struck again. But is't good to see that they all had a good time.
Not that I'm a proud grandma or anything, but I do think that Aidan is pretty cute. And living in paradise sure does beat the weather we've been having in Maryland...not too bad, but not shorts weather, that's for sure.
Ok...I'm going back in July and in August, so I'll stop my temper tantrum and focus on all the good things to do here and in the neighboring states. I do hope to see the Hunley this spring or summer, and Ft. Sumpter, and everything else I can to get stamps for in my National Park Passport. So there.
But I will admit, I do miss these guys a lot.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Portrait from another era

This is a scan of the portrait that was taken for us at the Dinner during the 1860's Conference. If you're looking for a wonderful Photographer, I can recommend these folks: Victorian Photography Studio, 76 Steinwehr Avenue, Gettysburg, PA 17325 (717) 338-1515. They frequently set up for portraits at various balls and events. I believe they also do non-period events.

Sticking close to home

The last nearly 2 weeks since the Conference have been a bit on the challenging side. I came home from Pa. with the flu and ended up spending the better part of a week in bed or on the sofa with my "nurse cat" by my side. We've been calling Gracie a "puppy cat" because she follows me from room to room and rarely leaves my side, especially when I'm sick. I ended up sleeping most of each day away until the fever broke on day 4 or 5, with Gracie going with me wherever I chose to nap or sleep. Unfortunately she's still not getting along very well with the other girls, especially Belle. Rosie and Gracie have a kind of uneasy truce, they'll sniff each other and play a little, but Rosie isn't happy that she pounces sometimes and not others.
Belle and Rosie have taken a liking to the corner of the sofa where I have my high intensity light positioned for the knitting and hand work that I do in the evenings while watching TV. The lamp gives off a certain amount of heat and Rosie especially is a big fan of lying down right under the warmest part, kind of like luxuriating in a sunbeam. Of course, Belle has to come over and snuggle with her and they both ended up falling asleep like that..
... Here's Gracie in one of the rare times when she actually has sat in my lap. Neither of our girls really are lap sitters so this was quite unusual, though Gracie did sit in Meghann's lap while she was here, a very special occasion indeed. She'll sit on my lap a little more when I have the blanket covering me, maybe she doesn't realize that she's actually on top of me. I'm working on my pair of Green spring socks here.
...This picture was of the first Crocus in my garden to poke it's head above the surface of the earth last week. There are more out now but I especially enjoyed this first one after it had been so cold and windy and rainy. Immediately after getting a bit better with the flu, I had some other health challenges so I've been in the house a whole lot trying to rest and get better. This crocus greeted me on one of my forays out of the house, and it helped get me more enthusiastic for finishing the 2 pairs of socks that I was working on while I wasn't feeling good. As you can see, the socks were both "crocus colored".
...These are simple socks made from the colorway "Purple Rain" which my friend Loraine had gotten for me about a year and a half ago. They've been my "brainless" project to do in the car because I'm not doing any pattern that I have to pay attention to while I'm knitting. I love doing the lace patterns but there's something to be said for doing simple projects when traveling, it's less stressful and I have to take less stitches out! I had to sit and wait for a doc's appointment and then the next day for a test, so I managed to get quite a bit of time for knitting while "on the run". It definitely looks "crocus" colored to me and made me smile to finish them at this time of year.
...This is my Spring/March green pair which also go with the colors of that lone Crocus. I absolutely loved the colors in this yarn even before I cast on the first sock, but I especially have enjoyed watching the lace "leaf" pattern emerging. This green sock was the 2008 Socks that Rock Club March installment, but since I wasn't able to be a member last year, I'd purchased the yarn and pattern a year later to do the project. The pattern was relatively easy to knit once I got the hang of it, though I did have to keep the stitch diagram and the row counter handy while I worked on it. This is the only pair of green socks I've ever knit, green just wasn't my color or so I thought, but I am really rethinking that since I love these so much! I'm eagerly awaiting this year's March kit right now.
...This lone sock is waiting for it's mate, I just cast on for it last night. This so far lonely single is Socks That Rock yarn Blue Brick road in the Wheat pattern off the web. I'll never use this pattern again, it's too fiddly and incredibly time consuming, though it does break up the pattern in the yarn as you can see in the area done in pattern. It took me as long to get this one sock done as it normally does to finish a full pair. Last night I also cast on a couple of other socks to take with me for things we're going to this weekend that might give me time to knit. Otherwise, I'm enjoying my quiet time home with the girls and my wonderful guy while knitting, watching tv, and snuggling with the furry ones.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back from the land of green beer?

funny pictures of cats with captions I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe St. Patrick's day. We went out the night before and had corn beef and cabbage and a wonderful stout with some dear old friends, and were home for the holiday. Last night I worked on my green socks and was glad not to be on the road with folks that might have overindulged in green beer. However you celebrated St. Paddy's day, hope it was a good one. :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Looking up

Everything has a season, and boy am I ready for spring to be here! Last weekend's wonderful warm weather gave way to my Crocus friends poking their heads above the cold ground, but I was not fooled, I knew they were just teasing me. It isn't time yet for it to be spring, and by waiting we'll all be so much more appreciative when it get here. This is one of the Iris varieties that's waiting for spring out in my garden. I'm envisioning a few new friends for it from the Plant Faire in May.

I'm now knitting a pair of beautiful green socks with a leaf pattern right down the middle front of the sock. They were last year's March installment of the Socks that Rock club which I ordered just this year (and for about half the cost) and the pattern and yarn arrived prior to our going off to the 1860's conference. Of course, I came home sick from that, so they sat idly by while I got better. Now I'm feeling better, and I am over half way done with the first one, it's an easy and fast project. I hope to have the pair done in the vicinity of St. Patrick's Day to enjoy. This year's March package should be winging it's way to all of us impatient rockin sock knitters club members very soon. I did finish one sock this week, the blue "wheat" pattern, now I have to cast on the second. That will have to wait until the green leaves are finished.

I'm excited at the spring's season of growth and rebirth to let go of negatives in my life, to clear out the bad, bring in the good, and continue to cherish what is important. I was just thinking last weekend (prior to getting the flu again) how nice it is to have such wonderful friends, lots of opportunities in our lives, to have the perfect partner that enjoys so many of the same things as I do, and to have a wonderful family, both 2 legged and 4 legged. I have a job that many would love to have, and good people that I work with too. I'm thankful for all the good things.

I am hoping to get some clean up and home improvement projects started (and finished!) this spring. My place out of state has just been completely redone inside, and looks absolutely brand new, it's stunning and inspiring! We have some good people moving in very shortly, and they're wowed with the update as well. I'm imagining room by room here in my resident state being redone, it might take me awhile but it's making me smile to think about fresh paint, fresh ideas, and a fresh start. Now to tackle working through my various stashes of fibery and fabric finery. :) (My stash, roughly translated.) And I can't wait to get to start working in the garden again!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

BAAA, redeaux

I just couldn't resist sharing this very sweet scene with you that my daughter photographed and posted for me. I frequently send packages to her with various things inside, and since she knew what was going to be in this one (well, at least a few things) she let Aidan help with the unpacking. Remember that Aidan's Great Grandmother and Grandfather (Nanny and Poppa) brought him a soft stuffed sheep from Ireland when they went to visit, and he absolutely loves it and was carrying it around with him constantly. Since then he's been learning more animal sounds, but BAAAA seems to be one of his favorites. Here is the little guy starting to open the box.

Jenn shared that "Shawn the Sheep" the star of some 5 minute short videos come on there and Aidan really loves them. Shawn is part of the animal friends of Wallace and Grommit (google that if you're not familiar. lol) That triggered the memory that when I'd started my yarn and fiber business I'd collected a bunch of sheep related things. One of the Ebay finds I'd made was a "Shawn the Sheep" backpack that I'd gotten from a lady in the UK for relatively nothing before Wallace and Grommit's last movie came out. It had been hanging on the wall in my office pretty much forgotten, so I thought Aidan would enjoy it. I told my daughter I'd put it in the box with some other things I was sending. I'd put Shawn right on top in the box so that Aidan could find him quickly.

As you can see, he does find the Shawn the sheep quickly and pulls it out of the box, saying "BAAAA" the whole time! These pictures made my day! Thanks for the cute shots go to my daughter, as well as thanks for the cute grandson to her and her husband. :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back from the 1860's Conference

We spent the weekend in Camp Hill, PA at the Conference of Ladies and Gentlemen of the 1860's, and boy did we have a wonderful time! It was preceeded by before-conference workshops, one of which was a behind the scenes visit to the Gettysburg National Military Park archives and collection. It was incredible. These pictures are from the dinner we had Saturday night and most people dressed in their best period correct finery. Maggie and I made our dresses at the Genteel Arts Academy summer camp in 2008 so it was great to see that beautiful blue silk dress finished. I hadn't yet worn the dress I brought for the dinner and wasn't sure if it would fit since I used Maggie's cage crinoline for the initial fitting of the skirt panel length, but it worked out just fine! I made the collar and cuffs in our class in January, so it was all new to me. There were other friends that were at summer camp with us, but we didn't get to take pictures of everyone. I'm hoping that there will be a lot of post-conference digital picture sharing going on. :)
This next one is of me, Dee, and her friend from the 8th Georgia, Kerry. Dee made her dress of Vintage silk at summer camp, and she made Kerry's dress sometime in the last month or so since we saw them on their "choosing fabric" day in Gettysburg. We had a wonderful time together, it was almost as much fun seeing friends as it was partaking in the seminars and research talks of the the Conference. The conference is for serious reenactors, historians, researchers, and people with an interest in the civilian fashions and material culture of the 1860's. It was wonderful to see everyone dressed so appropriately and so beautifully on Saturday night. There were period parlor games set up in the lobby for after dinner, but next year we'll be having a Saturday night ball.
Who is that handsome man? That would be my dear Mark who was wearing his incredibly wonderful Civilian Outfit that he got for the balls that we love to go to. No, I didn't make his clothes, although I do want to learn to make Civilian clothes for him. His clothes were made by Cara at Corner Clothier's in Gettysburg, and honestly it's going to take me a lot of time, study, and practice to get to the level of quality that Cara put into her work.
Mark took over 400 pictures of the original garments, fabrics, and accessories while we were at the conference. The majority of them are posted on Facebook, so if you are a reenactor and you're not already one of my friends on Facebook, send me a friend request with a note if I don't know you, and I'm happy to let you see the pictures. I can't possibly upload them again, it's too time consuming.
This one of us was taken after dinner and the lighting isn't the best, but we did pose for our portrait with the professional photographer before dinner. It won't be a wet plate like in the 1860's but we wouldn't want Mark's blue eyes to show white in the photo, do we? After seeing everyone dressed so appropriately, I'm going to be sure not to ever go out to a reenactment missing a vital piece of the outfit. Even the cuffs look so nice and add so much to the outfit, not to mention the fact that they were essential to outfits of the time. I think it's important to respect the people whom we are reenacting, and for me, that means learning more and improving all the time.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Woohoo, a first!

This is a first for me. I just finished the "Socks that Rock" package for January (I only got it at the end of February), and it's not so unusual for me to have finished a pair of socks, I love to make them, but it's a first time for me to do an intricate pattern like this, and a first time that I've done an instep continuing pattern after the leg, the first time I've knit with beads in the pattern, and the first time I've done a provisional cast on with waste yarn. I love them, and though they haven't been blocked yet, I did try them on and since they were knit for me, they do fit perfectly! Now I can't wait to get started on some more, though I am going to work on the ones that are on the needles first before I cast on for anything else. I am reserving the easiest patterns to take to work to work on rather than to do at home. I'm thinking lacy ones for the home project next.