I’ve had a slow day today, time to take a few nice photos of things blooming in the garden:

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Crocuses…

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… the hellebore…

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… iris…

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…and, of course, the first heralds of spring – Snowdrops!

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And here’s the promised picture of the other finished thing – the Pirate Robert Hat. As with so many of these things, it’s incredibly hard to take good photos of it, which means that the pattern bit is less legible on the picture than in real life, where you can actually make out the crossed sabers. Ah well.

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I love that hat, and it fits perfectly. It’s almost a shame that it is getting nice and warm outside these days, too warm to wear a woolen hat!

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After so many finished things (I also completed a Pirate Roberts hat, and you’ll get a pic of that soon), it is obviously necessary to get some more new things under way. There’s actually two exciting projects coming up, and for one of them, I’m making an upgrade to my weaving equipment… a box loom.

Box looms are basically holders for a rigid heddle, formed like a box, and with a nice reel or winding thing for the warp. There’s an article with notes about the construction on this page here, which served as the basis for my interpretation of the thingamajig.

Mine is, however, differently dimensioned… with a lot more slits in the heddle. I’ve also not crafted it in the workshop, but in a FabLab, and not from ordinary wood, but from plywood and acrylic (because that’s the stuff that is nice to cut with a laser).

As usual with first iterations, it’s a bit… wonky, and there are quite a few things I’d do differently next time. So far, though, it looks like it will be functional (and that’s the main thing after all), and I’ll be testing it soon. Soooon.

Here it is in its half-finished half-glory:

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Some more assembly required. It should be up to a bit of weaving by tomorrow evening, though!

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Thank goodness it’s Friday! There’s a few more things to write and sort and do, and then it’s time for the weekend, which I’m really looking forward to. While I still have things to do, the cat is, ever helpfully, hanging out on my desk, draped across my right forearm. Which means she is wobbling up and down when I am typing (something she comments by purring even louder), which is quite amusing!

She is a very helpful cat anyways. Here’s picture proof of her helping me when I was neatening up the fabrics for Bremerhaven:

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And yes, these are my scissors under her left hind leg. She’s sleeping right on top of them. Or rather – not sleeping, but hanging out, waiting to have her belly rubbed…

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It’s the time of finished things at the moment, or so it seems – I finished the gold band weaving this morning, and now I have a bit more than a metre of band. It was really fun to weave, and I am thinking of doing some more of it and maybe even sticking it in the shop…

I also did get some nice buttons for my Vignette a few days ago, and I’ve since finished the cardigan. Finally! So here’s a quickly snapped photo of the thing in action:

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It’s not perfect, but it fits nicely, I like the sleeve length, and overall I’m quite happy with it. Also… there needs to be room for improvement after a first non-sock, non-hat garment, right?

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Well. I took a deep breath, and then I did the final calculations for the wonderful weaving project that ended up exploding… so now I have the numbers, and I can tell you: they are not pretty. Not pretty at all.

I’m normally not that far off with my work-time estimates, but there were a lot of unknowns in the project this time, and I did underestimate some of them. So it would have been a non-perfect estimate even without all the explodening – but well, that’s how you learn. Or, as a friend of me likes to say: “Lernen durch Schmerzen, Wissen bildet Narbengewebe” (more or less literally: Pain makes you learn, knowledge forms scar tissue).

Which means… the next time around, I’ll be smarter, and I’ll do calculate things a bit differently. Next time around, we’ll also have some more knowledge of how to approach a project like this, and know some more about the vagaries and ficklenesses of handspun yarn.

Anyway, I needed something to cheer me up after that, and what could be more cheerful than shiny gold and silk? So I sat down and did a bit of a test weave, and the result is this:

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Sorry that picture is not better – that gold stuff is really, really hard to photograph!

The band is about one centimetre wide, made from (chemically dyed) silk (the good old Gütermann two-ply) and gold thread. It looks fantastic, pictures don’t do those gold things justice… and it did make this day much, much nicer.

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Time for a post about interesting things, some of which you can participate in!

If you are in the Southampton area, there’s a project about dexterity in flintknapping:With motion capture. How cool is that!

If you’re more on the other side of the globe, there’s the meeting of the Society for the History of Technology October 26-29, where there’s a session about textiles and early industrialisation in planning. You can read more about the Society and their conference here.

There’s also a conference about “Embellished Fabrics: Conserving Surface Manipulation & Decoration.” It is the 11th North American Textile Conservation Conference, taking place in Mexico City, Mexico, November 6-11, 2017. The website is www.natcconference.com, and it will provide more information in case you’re interested.

And another conference, this time in Poland, in June: Dynamics and Organisation of Textile Production in past societies in Europe and the Mediterranean. International Conference, Łódź, 21-22 June, 2017. The preliminary programme looks really nice and interesting!

For those of you who understand German (or for the adventurous of you who don’t), there’s a TV show where one guy participates in a club for one day, looking at the stuff people do in their spare time… and one of the clubs is a Living History group. You can watch the half-hour show here.

Some more interesting things – Jim Hines has done a survey about novelist’s incomes. So if you’ve ever wondered whether writing a novel will make you rich, you might want to read his long, really interesting multi-part blogpost, starting with part 1 right here.

In 2011, a tunic was discovered in a Norwegian Glacier, and it has since been reconstructed. You can read a bit about the reconstruction and watch a video here. (I’m not totally happy with the spinning part of the video, as you might guess when watching it…)

And that’s it for today. Hope you find something you enjoy among these!

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