kareina: (Default)
Working backwards of wonderful things from today:

Nyckleharpa night! Always a highlight--who wouldn't want an evening making progress on a sewing project while listening to Swedish folk music played by a room full of talented musicians?

Dinner! I lined a pie plate with bread dough, filled it with a mix of canned artichoke, black beans, tomato, and spices, then covered with more bread dough, brushed it with butter, and baked it. Yum!

Acroyoga! While the pie was baking Ellinor and I went outside and spent a delightful half an hour discovering that while we haven't had a chance to practice together pretty much all summer, the strength training she has been doing means that pretty much everything we tried we could do. So much fun to balance, upside down, my shoulders on the bottoms of her upraised feet, and then have her spin me around like a ball on a seal's nose. And then we practiced handstands going into forward rolls, and several times I managed to pause and hold the handstand for a number of seconds before rolling out of it.

Riding home! After a number of rainy and cloudy days in a row, it was really refreshing to leave work this afternoon to a clear blue sky paired with cool, comfortable temperatures, and it made for a really pretty tike ride home.

Good news from work! One of my colleagues, who is just back from a major geology conference in Canada tells me that she met people from the states who have developed a good sulphide standard that they are willing to sell, which will make analyzing sulphides ever so much easier.

Fun in the lab! The guy who fixed my laser last week, while I was on vacation, also made some adjustments to the system which makes it possible to get much lower power from the laser than hitherto, so today I had fun shooting at sulphides with really low powers (less than 1 J/cm^2). Tomorrow I will look at the craters in backscatter electron images on the SEM and see if we have solved the problem with too much melting under the laser beam.

Dried berries! When I woke up this morning most of the black currants in the food dehydrator were ready (and the last of them were done when I got home from work), so the container is now half full, and it should be pretty easy to get enough more dried before the berries quit being ripe so that they will last me till next summer.
kareina: (Default)
Nearly five years ago David and I made me a grey wool herringbone twill folk dance skirt one evening. According to my phone log, we started it at 20:30 on Friday 3 August 2012, and finished it at 23:45. He did the machine sewing, and I hand-finished the waist and hem. Part of what made the project so quick was the fact that we opted to simply gather the waist, which takes very little time to accomplish, and I typed up a description of the project a few days later.

I don't wear this skirt for our dance performances, as I now own one in the special hand-woven fabric that is appropriate for the tiny local area my dance group is based in. However, we didn't have a performance today, the third day of Spelmansstämman, so I chose to wear it today, along with the apron and pocket I made for my folk costume to make it fancier to attend a friend's wedding in January. I so love having somewhere to carry my phone, keys, and even small sewing projects!

It was a fun day, with time to do a short workout before heading out. Pleasant conversation with one of the visiting Norwegians before marching in the parade from the Medieval stone church to the open-air museum in which the musical festival takes place. Then, after the allspeal I walked over to one of the tourist shops and bought some summer weight nabbskor of (more or less, it is hard to tell in their tiny photo) this sort. I have a larger, sturdier pair with very thick nålbindined liners that I wear in the winter, but they are much too warm for a summer day. I have been meaning to get a summer weight version of either the boot or the shoe for a while, but hadn't stumbled upon any in my size second hand, so I finally decided to just get some locally. Sure, I probably could have saved money ordering them on line, but these I could not only try on, but walk out of the store wearing them. After shopping I spent the rest of the afternoon listening to music, working on a sewing project, and visiting with people, returning home on time to eat my dinner curled up with a good book.

This evening, as I was putting away my folk costume, I decided that the grey skirt would look better with a pleated waist than the above mentioned gathered waist. Being one who likes to suit actions to words, I promptly lost three hours this evening to removing the old waist, ironing it smooth, then experimenting with how deep/how many pleats would be needed to fit my waist, and finally replacing the pleating pins with basting. Any guesses as to how much time will now elapse before I get a chance to press in those pleats and attach them to the waistband?

Tomorrow is a department work meeting in the afternoon, followed by a group dinner. We had talked about doing a bbq, but tonight's email says we will go to a restaurant in town. I may be the only person on earth who thinks that going to a restaurant sounds like a terrible idea. I had liked the idea of gathering at one of our homes (I even volunteered our yard) for a bbq, but I really don't want to go into town at all, nor to a restaurant. I guess I will see how I am doing and if C talks me into going anyway. She did last time we had one of these.

Tuesday we have yet another folk dance performance, and Wednesday my friend S. is coming over to do sewing projects and/or trade massage. So that could be a chance to return to this project, if I don't spent the time helping her with hers.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Once again life seems to have hit one of those phases wherein I am either super busy doing stuff away from a computer, or I am at a computer doing stuff that can't wait. This means that I haven't been posting lately (though likely only Mom really notices when I don't).

What do I remember from the past week and a half?

Nationaldag was fun--performed Swedish folk dance (of course), got called up on stage to be given a Swedish pin and flag to commemorate by becoming a Swedish Citizen last year, and while up there I also advertized the Medieval Days at Hägnan event that I am helping to run next month.

Wednesday of last week the Laser Lab had its first external client, so I spent all day in the lab with her shooting the laser in grid patterns over crystals of her choice in her rock samples so that we could make maps of the trace element distribution in the crystals.

Since I worked 10 hours on Wednesday, and I work only half-time, I took Thursday off. That evening, and all day on Friday F & O came over for sewing. F managed to cut out and machine sew his jester costume coat and legs, and he started hand-sewing the hood with decorative embroidered seams. O worked on several different projects, and I managed to work out the pattern for my jester costume, which will be an odd blend of Eura dress sleeves with a fitted greenland gown sort of body, so now I have both the linen under layer and wool over layer cut out, and have started sewing each. I am sewing them in tandem--right now all of the pieces are still pinned with the linen piece attached to the corresponding wool piece, and a label saying which is which. Every time I unpin two of them together I promptly sew the linen one to its mate and the wool one to its mate. That way they will both be done around the same time.

In between all of the above I made good progress on getting all of the old wallpaper off of the kitchen wall where we will be putting the pantry, and got it sanded and ready to paint. As soon as this posts I will go to the kitchen and start painting. When all three layers (one base coat, and two blue) are done and dried we can start building the pantry. I am so looking forward to having enough shelves for the food that some containers don't hide behind others.

This week I have been processing the data from last week's lab work, and have solved some problems with the data, so am quite pleased with how it is going.

This weekend is Spelmansstämman, one of my favourite weekends of the year, full of Swedish folk music and dance, and, of course, our dance group's performance.
kareina: (stitched)
Yesterday some of our friends from choir came over for home made pizza and movie night. They left right after the movie, which meant that I was able to go to bed around 21:30 and sleep for more than nine hours, which I needed after a busy week of not quite enough sleep each night.

This morning I woke up inspired to actually start working on the new gambeson I have been thinking of making. This one will be done much like a Viking or Rus kaftan, but made from a couple of layers of modern terrycloth towel, covered inside and out with linen (or, more probably, a linen-cotton blend--it has been years since that fabric was purchased, so I can't swear to which it is, but I have my suspicions based on the budget that would have applied then).

I am, of course, sewing it by hand, and have chosen to do it the slow, methodical way )

I managed to accomplish steps 1 & 2 in the 1 hr 40 minutes I worked on this before [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, who had stayed up late making a wall-mounted knife block for the little knife I want within reach of the stove, got up.

Once he was awake I took a break from sewing so that we could discuss our plans for changes to the pantry in the kitchen, and we looked at the 3D model he has made on the computer for what he has been thinking. This got us to debating exactly how big the pantry area needs to be, and how big the open area on that side of the kitchen should be, so, of course, we left the computer and walked into the kitchen to point, discuss, and re-measure.

The plan involves moving the cabinet with glass doors that came with the house from the corner to the middle of that wall, raising the upper part of that cabinet till the top touches the ceiling so that there is room for the microwave to stand on the cabinet base, then building a set of pantry shelves wrapping from the light switch to that cabinet. The question we were debating is exactly where the cabinet should sit when the work is done, and whether it is more important to have a larger pantry, or more open space on the right side of the cabinet.

Therefore I suggested that we give it a try--take down the wall-mounted shelves in the middle of the wall, move the cabinet to approximately where it will be after building the real pantry, take off the upper part and make it ready for the extension, and move the bookshelves that we have been using as a "temporary" pantry into the corner where we want the real pantry.

He was ok with this, so we did. The "nice" dishes that live in that cabinet are now in two banana boxes in the storage area downstairs, the wider bookshelf has been moved into the corner to the left of the cabinet base, the microwave, toaster, etc. now sits on the cabinet base, and the narrower bookshelf (which didn't fit on the other wall) has been brought downstairs, while the even narrower shelf that used to be downstairs has been brought upstairs to act as a temporary pantry shelf.

The verdict is that I really look forward to finishing the real pantry, as we currently have too many things standing behind of or stacked on top of other things, but that, overall, the idea looks like it will work.

Once we got that done he went out to the forge shed, where he is working on building a ventilation hood over the forge, and I returned to the gambeson in progress. I managed to get it far enough along that one sleeve is 90% done--the underarm square is totally attached to one side of the sleeve, and the sleeve has had its lining sewn shut and the tablet woven band has started to be attached. I might have finished it, but it was nearly 21:00 at that point, so I put the project down, satisfied now that my idea for doing the seams will work, and did my workout.

Then I turned in my Chatelaine's report and typed up this. Now it is nearly midnight, and time for me to do yoga and get some sleep before work tomorrow.
kareina: (stitched)
Now that summer break is over regular activities are starting to pop back onto the calendar. Tonight was the first Nyckleharpa session of the autumn (note: it really is autumn--not only does it now get dark at night, the birches are pretty much all yellow in their leaves). We meet every other Monday, though, come October, when our Finnish Language class starts on Monday nights, we will be missing some of the Nyckleharpa nights.

I brought my dulcimer and the Norrskensbard Cloak in progress. I still only know a couple of the tunes they play, which means that it is a perfect sewing night for me--I get to listen to them playing beautiful Swedish folk music and sew, with one randomly timed break to join them for a couple of tunes before sewing again. I invited the group to come to Norrskensfest and perform during the feast, and explained about the Norrskensbard competition, and how the winner will get the cloak for a year, till their successor is chosen. They are all keen to come and play. Too soon to say if any of them will be tempted to participate in the competition, but one can hope.

I have been doing the usually late summer harvesting--drying black currants and nettles (not on the same session!), and freezing berries. The strawberries and smultrons are done, as are the red currants. The raspberries are still going, but there aren't enough of them to bother freezing--I could easily eat more each day than are ripe. Today I put some black currants into the freezer instead of drying them. It is a tough call as to how much we should freeze--we still haven't finished last year's frozen currants, but we don't want to run out before next year.
kareina: (stitched)
Some weeks back I got a FB message from a lady in the Shire of Gyllangran (Sundsvall, Sweden) asking if I would like to teach an embroidery class at their Glöta event in October. They are only six hours drive south of us, yet, somehow I have never made it to an event in that shire, so, of course, I said yes. The event happens while my mother will be here, so it is also a good excuse to take her on a road trip to see the prettiest part of the Swedish coast, which is between Umeå and Sundsvall.

Today I got another message from her, asking if I would be interested in seeing the Högom find while I was in town--apparently it is at the museum there. YES! Of course I am. I first read the book about it back when I was still living in Fairbanks (late 1990's). At the time I was working on my Master's in Geology, and found it difficult to read the published geology papers I needed for my own research, as they always put me to sleep. This book, on the other hand, I read cover to cover when I took it out from the Uni library, because it was so fascinating.

That year the university offered a Medieval History class for the first time in ages, and I signed up for it, since I had already completed all of my required geology courses for my degree. The class, of course, required that we write a paper, so I did mine on clothing, and this book was one of my main sources. I was so fascinated by the really complicated seams (two rows each of tailor's stitch and blanket stitch) depicted in the book that I did a small example seam on some scrap fabric, and sewed it to one of the pages of my paper as a figure. My teacher liked the paper so much, she asked if she could keep it (I said yes).

So, today she writes to me and says that she knows one of the archaeologists at the museum, and she can ask if we can get a behind the scenes tour and actually look at the find. I so hope that the archaeologist says yes! Of course, even if they don't have time/energy to deal with textile geeks who want a closer look, even seeing the "for the public" display sounds really really cool. Now I need only convince [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar that he wants to take that Friday off of work, so we can drive south on Thursday, so that we have Friday available for museum stuff without any stress or worry...

In other cool news--I have made a good start on the Norrskensbard Cloak, and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar cut some grass from our field with a scythe to make an archery target, because he thought we needed one.
kareina: (stitched)
I finally saw a link to a photo of me in my new dress--a tad blurry, since we were dancing at the time, but it gives the general impression...
kareina: (me)
I think I mentioned that our friend C came up for a visit just before Easter. It was lovely to have her here--much progress was made on sewing projects, plenty of time spent relaxing and cuddling, and lots of yummy cooking happened. [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I had a four day weekend over Easter itself, of course, but even the following week felt like a week off, even thought I went to work on the other days, since our normal weekly activities didn't happen because of the holiday, so we were free to stay home and work on projects.

She now has a new dress nearly done, and has worked out a hood pattern that fits her very narrow shoulders comfortably. I finished my bliaut! I also accidentally started a new hood of my own.

Many years ago, when [livejournal.com profile] khevron and I traveled to Ireland together I bought a lovely wool shawl in a large scale blue/black herringbone twill that is deliciously soft and really stunningly beautiful. However, in the (17?) years since I have only rarely worn the shawl, because I am just not in the habit of wearing them. Usually if I am cold enough to want one more layer, what I want is sleeves, or a hat, not just my shoulders covered. Last time I noticed the shawl, some months ago, I thought that it would make a lovely hood and mantel, but had several other sewing projects in progress, and set the thought aside. But then C was working on modifying the pattern from a friend's hood, and it inspired me to look at the shawl again.

Yup, it still looks like it would be a lovely hood, especially if lined with the wonderfully soft white linen herringbone twill I have left after making my Viking undertunic. So while they played with pattern modifying I took scissors to the pattern fabric and made a rectangle the same size as the shawl, and started experimenting to determine the best way to cut it apart and re-assemble it to make a hood. After four different approaches I finally decided on dividing the length into five equal sized pieces, sewing three of them together along their selvage edges to make the main hood rectangle, and then cutting four squares out of the remaining two/fifths of the fabric for gores (which leaves a rectangle appropriately sized to make a matching pouch later).

Of course, doing this with the twill was time consuming, as I first did a blanket stitch along the lines where I intended to cut, to be certain it wouldn't fray at all, because the fabric is really too pretty to be willing to lose any of it. Then I basted it to the lining fabric and assembled it. I decided to edge the hood with some pretty tablet woven trim that we bought from the same lady who did the trim for my bliaut, which, coincidentally, is the same colours as the bliaut trim. All that is left to do to finish the hood is the final 3/4ths of the trim around the bottom hem, I should be able to finish it at Nyckleharpa tonight. I love small projects--they are so quick and satisfying.
kareina: (stitched)
Since I am still a good 15 or more hours out from finishing my bliaut (81 hours of sewing time so far), but I was feeling restless and not wanting to focus on stitching yesterday, we decided to turn on a film to keep me distracted whilst stitching. I know that this works for many people, but it turns out that for me this isn't a good idea if the goal is to actually make progress on the stitching.

On Friday I sat down and stitched for 10 to 40 minutes at a time, many times over the course of the day, during which I only stitched. 1 hour and 46 minutes of that time was needed to do one of the seams of a long skirt gore and finish it (flat-felled seams). On Saturday I stitched in only two sessions, each just under an hour and a half, and in that combined not-quite three hours I managed *one* seam of a long skirt gore. In other words, it takes nearly twice as long to do a seam if I am also watching a film.

Part of the problem must be my need for subtitles to tell what is going on--all too often the actors mumble or the volume isn't quite loud enough, but with the subtitles I normally catch everything and don't have to ask "what did he say" every couple of minutes. However, at the time it didn't feel like the watching was interfering with the sewing progress, it was only later comparing the numbers that it really stood out.

Part of me would like to not try to have this dress done before heading to Australia--I don't care to work on projects to a deadline--the feeling of "must" work on it doesn't make it more fun, and, in fact, makes it less fun. But it is summer in Australia, and the lightweight summer costumes I have left are all old and worn out and I don't really want to wear them to an event, unless it were to work in the kitchen or play in the mud or something like that. So I keep stitching, and not knowing if it will be possible to finish it.

So far I have the sleeves completely done and attached to the body, and one set of side gores is done and attached to the body. The second set of side gores is part way through attaching the third, of seven, triangles to one another. I know from the above that I can do one of those seams in 1.75 hours, if I am focusing on it, which means that in around ten more hours I will have that set of side gores attached to the dress and can, finally, do the fitting of the waist, hem the side openings, and attach the laces. Then I need to finish the last of the smaller inset skirt gores (I think there is about 1.5 seams left of those, and I would guess they are enough shorter than the side gores that 1.5 hours a seam will do it), and then inset all four of them into the body panels of the dress, which will probably take another 12 hours. Then I can finally start attaching the trim to the ~10 meters of hem.

I am confidant that if I manage to do all of the rest of the sewing before the flight that the 20 hour trip to Australia should see the hem done, and I can wear the dress at the event (which is the first Saturday I am there, and I land on a Friday). Some time could be saved if I didn't try to inset all (or any?) of the gores before the event. Since I haven't cut the slits for them yet it would work to just have the side gores. However, the skirt wouldn't be nearly as full and as wonderful, and it would mean cutting the trim on the bottom when I finally added the skirt gores later, and putting new chunks of trim over the hem of the gores, which would translate to at least nine lumpy seams in the trim of the hem, instead of the two I think I can get away with now (since no one piece of the trim is long enough to do the full hem at one go), which isn't a terribly attractive consequence of rushing the project in that manner (or I could take off the trim from the hem and re-do it after the gores are inset, but given how this fabric loves to fray, that isn't appealing, either).

In other news, yesterday's morning dance exchange was much fun. I got some good ideas from how she did the intro to polska (which is not to be confused with polka, which is a different dance) that I will be able to use when I do the session on Swedish Folk dance for folk dance group in Hobart, and everyone seemed to enjoy the Renaissance dance session [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and I did. However, he wasn't feeling very well--woke up with a cough and kind of achy, so we went home at noon, rather than staying for lunch and dancing in the afternoon session. We took a nap, which helped some, but by the time evening rolled around neither of us felt up to heading back out for the evening folk dance session, which was a shame to miss, since they don't happen all that often, but neither of us have time to actually be sick, and dancing when one's body is first fighting off the early attempts of virus invasion is a good way to let the virus get enough of a grip to cause some serious discomfort, while taking it easy at that stage is a good way to vanquish the invaders and resume normal life quickly. I feel much better this morning, so perhaps it worked. We will see how energy levels are doing when it comes time for our normal Sunday evening folk dance session.
kareina: (stitched)
I have been making slow but steady progress on my new blue silk bliaut, and today I finally remembered to take a photo of the two sleeves, which are mostly done, and a close up photo of the pretty trim my friend A wove for me.

This is what the project looks like at 35.4 hours of sewing (not pictured is two more seams assembling the first of the sets of skirt gores). The sleeves are ten pieces each, so far--there are still under arm gores to add.

Amusingly, it has been 35 days since the project has started, so I am averaging just over an hour a day. However, since there have been a number of days I didn't work on it, in actuality, I am usually sewing for more than one hour at a time.
kareina: (stitched)
The other day [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar stopped by a second hand store, and while there spotted a good sized sturdy wooden box/chest that he thought looked useful, so it followed him home. Friday evening, before the band came over to practice, he took the wheels from an old piece of office furniture and mounted them on the underside of the box. This morning we added rails to the inside of the box to support a sliding drawer thing and built a drawer with a divider in it that just fits inside the box. (This project was made MUCH easier because this week's other purchases were a drill press and a table saw.)

Then we emptied the old, slightly broken little wooden box in which we have been storing scrap metal and organized it all into the new chest on wheels, which is plenty large enough to take all of that plus the various yoghurt buckets that had been sitting outside of the box to hold yet more small bits of scrap metal. Then we cut down the old box so that it fits on top of the cabinet and sorted the various odd bits of scrap plastic and foam into that. Once that was done and the floor under where the scrap metal box had been was cleaned we could move the older circle saw on a drop down arm (I wonder what the actual name for that tool is?) into the space we just freed up, and the new scrap metal box was wheeled under the workbench. The shop looks much better with all of that stuff cleaned up and out of the way.

After that we made a small frame mock-up for the new tourney chests we want to make, so that we could check and see if they would fit into the trunk of the car. It was good that we did, because it turns out that if we did the chests about half a cm shorter then it would be possible to get them in without lifting out the lid to the trunk. Since we were on a roll we then started cutting the boards for the chests, until we realized that we really needed to make a pushing platform for the new table saw in order to get cuts that are actually perpendicular to the line of pushing. So we did that, then resumed cutting boards for the chest (with much nicer results). Eventually we realized that we should take a break and go do the grocery shopping, but I am really happy with the day's progress.

Thursday's progress was really good too--I managed to cut all 47 pieces of my new silk bliaut (not counting any of the embroidered and tablet woven bits that will be added later). I did the first bit of cutting at the Frostheim craft night. We meet in a school, so there were tables there wide enough to spread out the fabric upon. When I first went to draw the cutting lines on the silk I was, not surprisingly, having issues getting the fabric to hold still and behave.

Then I got hit with some inspiration and tried something I had never done before (nor have I seen or heard of anyone doing it). I wet the fabric down and then spread it out on the table, and it stuck to the table. So once I got it nicely spread out it was easy to draw the chalk lines for cutting. However, the two hours of the social night was only enough time to draw and cut the first 13 pieces, the rest I cut out at home. Luckily, I had started with the largest pieces first, so the remaining bit of fabric was small enough to stick to our kitchen table.

So far I have managed to sew two and a half of the short seams for the sleeve gores. The first one I did in 45 minutes (flat felled seam, so sewing the seam twice in that time), and it was 40 cm long. This means that I am sewing at a rate of ~0.89 cm/min.

I just calculated, and, not counting the (more than 10 meters of) hems, there are 4,092 cm of seams to hold those 47 pieces of fabric together. Assuming the same sewing rate that means the dress can be assembled in 76.7 hours. Plus how ever long it takes to do the hemming, which will involve sewing on some tablet weaving purchased from another shire member to give the hem a bit of weight. It will be interesting to see how this prediction compares with the actual time elapsed for the project. Somehow, I don't think this dress will be done before Norskensfest later this month.

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