Fettiplace Pickled Mushrooms

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Based on “To pickle mushrooms” from Elinor Fettiplace’s receipt book. This welcome survivor holds extensive treasures of 17thC cooking.

400ml white wine
6 peppercorns (should be white, I used black being what I had)
half a nutmeg
a blade of mace
3cm ginger root, peeled and sliced

Simmer all above, covered, for 10min. Cool.

600g button mushrooms (one full standard mushroom bag)
heaped teaspoon salt

Heat gently in a wide pan, shaking or stirring frequently. They will release moisture. Continue heating slowly until the mushrooms are tender and the liquid has almost all gone. Cool.

When all is cool, load the mushrooms to a sterilised jar and pour the spiced wine over. The picture above shows the entire recipe in one pickle jar. Mushrooms sure shrink when cooked!

They came out really well and kept happily for the couple of weeks needed. The flavour is much milder than regular pickles. Slightly salty. They made an excellent lunch component. I’ll make a lot more next time. A fellow cook tells me these are amazing in a toasted cheese sandwich.

Out of paper error (or method in my madness)

Some of you are going to get really sick of this quilt, some probably already are. Others might enjoy the progress updates. I feel like sharing my excitement about this next stage. Look away if you are bored.

At 125 blocks, I ran out of papers. So I decided to be brave and start joining the blocks so I can liberate papers for the next blocks, rather than cutting yet more papers. This is exciting but a bit scary because I want to have a fairly even distribution of fabrics, and if I introduce any more before I finish making blocks, I might end up with a concentration in a section. So… I decided to make sections of 4×4 blocks so they can be switched about and there will be gaps and edges to add to later. Each of these sections will liberate enough papers for another 9 blocks.

The next decision was how to arrange the blocks. There is a system of fabric/colour arrangement within each block. I’ve learned over my years of patchwork, that to achieve a pleasing balance of colour, one needs there to be order. Random doesn’t deliver the look I want. So my initial set of fabrics were split into four sets. These are very roughly designated as Pales, Reds, Oranges and Blues. One of each has been used in the same order for every block. This spreads the colours out and makes it easier to avoid having the same fabrics adjacent.

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As block production progressed, I also decided to make four blocks of each fabric arrangement and split those into four sets of blocks, from which I build the sections. Just another contribution to achieving a good spread of fabrics.

After several trials, I decided to arrange the blocks with each one in the same orientation. It puts each “colour” furthest from it’s fellows and was the option deemed least likely to cause a stuff up. Here is the first section assembled. So good to see it all neat as well as madly colourful:

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and then with the tacking threads removed on all but the edge most pieces. It looks so crisp!

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and again after the papers have been removed. Softer and more like it will end up. Still gorgeous if I do say so myself. Tee hee, without meaning to, each of these pictures has the section a different way up.

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A pic from the back, with the stack of liberated papers ready for reuse.

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Collar Issues

Sometimes it is brought home to me that I’m not as good at this game as I’d like to be.

This poor shirt has been lying part made, crunkled into a ball, since early January. The fabric is vintage Liberty Tana, bought from a shirt making firm closing down their Melbourne city workshop. I had wanted to make a fully classic shirt, including two part collar. I didn’t have such a collar to match my current shirt pattern, so I used one from my previous shirt pattern. I thought I’d checked the seam lengths, but it still ended up a couple of centimetres short. Boo. Once I’d convinced myself I couldn’t make it work, I threw a minor hissy fit, unpinned the failed collar and put the shirt bits aside. For months as it turned out.

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Today, I decided that I would at least drape the constructed body/yoke on me to try to see what was going on. Aha. The neckhole is way too big. Why did I not see that before? It doesn’t look too bad in this pic, but that is the cut edge, not where the seam will end up lying.

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Given the neck edge was already clipped, I decided to revert to a narrow straight cut collar. Sad. Not what I wanted, but I’ve learned something.

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See, too big. Pretty colours though:

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I did at least make my first set of proper cuffs for ages, narrowed to better go with the narrow band collar. Also, my theory about making one of the wrist pleats a continuation of the sleeve crease seems to work. Hurrah. I thought that would make neat ironing easier.

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Here is the whole thing:

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and a sexier, more insouciant pose

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Still Patchworking

I’ve been neglecting the blog. Sorry about that. I’ve been sick for the last few weeks and spending an awful lot of time on the couch with the patchwork. We now have 121 blocks made!

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I’ve also done another round of thinking on the overall design. I thought just the lattice alone might be a bit dull, so I made a sunny centre:

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I mean to add more detail, sunrays etc when I eventually get as far as quilting it. The current plan is to have this in the middle with a lattice surround 5 blocks deep and one block worth of black border, in which more quilted detail can feature. 180 lattice blocks needed for this. 121 is therefore a tiny bit over two thirds. I did know this would take a while. The current lurgy means it’s advancing faster than I expected.

 

6mth Blogversary

My little blog is half a year old. Or it was 2 days ago. I had plans to post on the day but my time got filled with other things. An obsession with boxes (more later) and preparation for very welcome house guests.

I have mostly written here about finished projects. Today though I’m going to share a longer term labour intensive project that will take many more months to finish.

I have a fondness and admiration for Liberty Tana Lawn. I know I am so not alone in that.  I’ve made quite a few shirts over the years out of it, and saved the cabbage. I’ve also purchased a few remnants. I’ve been keen for years to eventually come up with a patchwork project to combine and use these. Then I had a 3wk trip to plan for, which of course includes deciding what handwork I would take with me to keep me happy and occupied. I often take sock knitting, but the other thing I like to do as a travel project is English pieced patchwork.

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Hmm, but what design to use? I felt that all the Liberty scraps did not divide well into sufficiently contrasting shades, so they all needed to be treated as one. I did however want some contrast to make things “pop”. I played with image searches and eventually decided that a lattice design with black as the contrast might work well. I drew up a trial version on engineer’s graph paper to test the thought and decide on proportions. It turned out to be remarkably difficult to reliably identify the correct intersections to draw to!

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I did like the plan though so I cut a bunch of fabric shapes and much more carefully cut the papers. By golly it’s hard to cut the papers accurately!

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After a couple of weeks of travel and amusing myself working on this, I laid what I had done out. Thankfully I like it a lot.

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Now, several more weeks on, I have 52 blocks made. Many more to go to!

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Ho Hum

Yet another chemise. Now I can do Festival in 14thC with a clean chemise each day.

It doesn’t look like much hanging. White on white.

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It’s linen. Of course. Or at least what we believe to be linen (some of the Job warehouse haul). Sewn mostly by machine in cotton thread. All seams are neatly flat felled, even if only by machine. My uber authenticity friends will think ill of me for that. I’d claim to not have enough arm to do it by hand. Actually I suppose I could, over quite a long period.  It seems I’d rather spend that capacity on my patchwork.  Some medievalist I am eh?

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Neckline is faced with straight grain double fold tape of the same fabric. Handsewn down, though I had a brain spasm and went with a less than wonderful stitch choice. I realised partway, but chose at that point to just continue.

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The wrists and hem are done by hand in a prettier stitch, which the camera really didn’t want to focus on.

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Here she is having a rest on the little sofa :-). Nope I’m not pressing it.

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Dress from a coat pattern

Two years ago, I made a coat for a friend who lives in another state. I was delighted and proud that the pattern I draped from scratch, worked so well even without any further fittings at all.

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I had thought at the time that I could possibly make some minor modifications to the pattern and make it up as a dress. Then the lady had a birthday approaching, so I decided to gird my whatsits and give the dress plan a go. Again, no physical access to the lady, and I wanted it to be a surprise, so I had to work completely from the 2yr old pattern.

So I dropped the shoulder seam and cut in the top of the armholes a bit so it would work without shoulder pads. I added a waist seam to both make it more alterable just in case. This has the bonus of making the cutting a lot more efficient. I cut the skirts a tiny bit fuller, just following the line from the waist, there was no issue trying to minimise weight from that heavy wool. I made it up in shirting weight indigo blue linen. Very simple and severe, which suits the lady’s taste. 3/4 sleeves ditto.

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Last night she told me that not only did it arrive safely, she loves it and it basically fits. The side seams need taking in a bit, but if that is the only change needed, that is fairly easily done. I’m delighted. Of course now I notice that the left sleeve is more creased than I would like in these pics. Oh well, I can’t take any more now!

FFF 2017 #2

Folk (music) Festival Fashion, second garment for this year.

I’m a fan of Indian block printed cotton, but it’s pretty hard to come by. Especially as yardage. Even in finished garments I don’t see it often locally these days. I’m also fond of circle skirts, as you might have noticed. So when I found some Indian printed cotton bedspreads with circular patterns on sale cheaply, I jumped in and bought one.

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It’s lighter weight fabric than I was hoping for, but the colours are lovely. I decided to make a loose dress that would also function as a pinafore/over dress. I started by cutting as large a circle as possible from the cloth. Then cut a bodice from the corners. Because of the limited fabric, it had to have seams front and back. Then I proceeded to make a series of changes and errors, all involving those centre seams! Silly me. I ended up with a bodice that fit, but which had only a tiny seam allowance centre front, which needed something applied to support it. I was struggling for a solution, until I remembered that I had yet to cut out the centre from the skirt circle. Aha! I could use that circle to both decorate and strengthen the bodice front. I had wanted a lower neckline, but given I’d had to cut the bodice short due to limited fabric, and couldn’t make the functionally decorative circle any smaller, the neckline depth was set.

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The bodice is the pattern from the tricksy striped teal dress, only with the vertical darts left out so no fastenings are needed. That way I didn’t have to cut into the circle of the skirt. It’s lined with dark blue linen.

Here it is with the skirt on, all finished.

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It’s not the world’s most flattering dress, but it’s comfy and fun and I like it. See the fullness of the skirt.

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I’ve put a drawstring in at the base of the bodice, but I may not use it much. I think it looks better loose. Makes me want to twirl and dance.

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FFF 2017 #1

That is, Folk (music) Festival Fashion. The first folk music festival I went to, I just wore regular jeans and tshirt type things. When I saw some of the interesting things other people turned up in, I felt like I had missed an opportunity big time. Guess who likes dressing up? So when there is a festival in the offing, I like to make an appropriate new thing or two. This one ticks both the wholemeal and vaguely-other-ethnicity boxes.

As usual, I’m having a “my goodness this fabric is great” moment. Really, I’d buy more of this in lots of colours if I could get it. However, I bought this as a bolt end, also as usual. Sigh. It’s mid weight cotton with a hand loomed sort of look and a relaxed crinkle. Launders and wears beautifully. I haven’t been wearing much brown of late, but this will take me back there a bit at least.

This is a half circle wrap skirt made up of 16 gores. Most are cut as balanced triangles, the end gores are cut with one vertical edge on the straight grain so the end facing/hems will be stable. It even has a pocket.

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I’ve broken my usual rule of not doing contrast top stitching in order to add restrained interest, and to lighten the overall dark impression. The implement that makes this achievable neatly? Using my blind hemming foot to guide the top stitching. It works wonderfully well, as long as one can restrain it from running off the guide seam.

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Garments with strings are a pain in the laundry. My solution is to make the tie strings detachable as so:

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Here is the skirt on, with bonus towel on head:

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And here, styled to head into town to an exhibition:

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Belt for a Foundling

Back in April last year, I agreed to contribute to a mad plan by donating an item for a quest that would also be a gift for a friend. It needed to be an item that might be useful to a gentleman living in Calais in 1376. I have made a bunch of tablet woven belts for myself and others which people have been kind enough to admire. I decided to make another for this project. Construction started in October, and the belt finally made it to the intended recipient in January. Now it doesn’t need to be a secret any longer I can write it up publicly.

I went back to look at weave types though. My previous belts had mostly been random chevron patterns under the mounts. Defensible, but I felt like doing something different. I had always liked this extant band, and it is listed as mid 14thC and 8.5mm wide.

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Museum of London “Textiles and Clothing” Fig 100B.

Then I found this image in a collection of extant medieval girdle images on , sigh, pinterest. The weave is rather similar.au.pinterest.com

This is the blog post it came from. The image itself seems to come from a Sotheby’s auction catalogue. A translated description in the post is:

“With a length of 128 cm and a width of 1,5 cm the original tablet woven band has been typical for a belt of 1340 to 1350. It is decorated with 51 metal mounts. Through the quality of the mounts it is supposed that the belt has been produced in France.”

Fibre:
The MoL band is silk. I’m thinking the Sotheby’s one is too (I don’t read German at all well but a few textile terms are familiar and the blogger has done her reproduction in silk). I did not have appropriate silk on hand. I had however recently found a worsted wool that weaves well (“Cool wool” from Dairing). Wool girdles are perfectly authentic though lower status I’m told. When doing my test weave with this wool, the weft behaved badly, twisting up on itself and forming tiny picots on the edge. So in this belt I used a cotton weft for ease of weaving.

Colour:
Both extant bands are done in a single colour, but the SCA has sumptuary traditions for plain belts in any single primary colour. I would have been happy to make a plain red one, but I did not want it to be confused for a squires belt. So I used a red border and an off-white centre. These were the two colours I had of this wool.

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However, after weaving it, I concluded that though I really liked the result, looked at with a medieval eye, it did not look rich enough. So I overdyed the whole thing with yellow. Though annoyingly, that meant that the weft then didn’t match the centre section of the weave. I will point out that the gentleman in question is known to wear very bright colours for the fun of it.

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Weave:
I’ve used 18 four holed tablets all threaded alternately S and Z. The edge three tablets on each side were turned 1/4 turn forwards each weft pass. The centre tablets were turned two 1/4 turns forward, then two 1/4 turns backward. I think the result looks pretty good except the border weave is a bit loose. That could be perhaps from the weft being a little heavy? or possibly that the double turn of the centre tablet takes up more length?  The resulting band was 16mm wide to match the buckle I wanted to use.

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The MoL weave description is very similar except they split the centre pack into two section of alternating tablets, one half turned twice forward and the other twice back, then reversed. I couldn’t see why that was necessary, though I might later experiment and see what difference that makes.

The blog reproduction linked above uses six hole tablets and two wefts, which I don’t fully understand and anyway, I only have four hole tablets and wasn’t up for making 6hole.

Then I attached the buckle (copy of an extant one from Gaukler) and end and blinged it up with mounts. More mounts would have been a better match for extant examples, but this was as many as I could get at the time to work on such a narrow band. Riveted mounts seem to be more authentic, but again, working with what I had. Oh, the buckle is brass and the mounts are gold plated pewter.

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Here it is as it would be worn, though only on my dress dummy.

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and a pretty coiled shot for good measure.

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