Monday, September 26, 2011

What? Proud, me?

Yeah, just a little....

Normal life is slowly resuming, post Bar Mitzvah. Getting everyone ready was a challenge, butmget ready we did, and Harry did great. He completely nailed his portion, the blessings, and Haltarah. His D'var Torah was terrific, too. The rabbi had never heard of a kid doing a D'var Torah quite like this, before! As my friend Sharon said, it may be the first, ever, D'var Torah that everyone listened to, not just the family!

The Bar Mitzvah boy, in his lovely tallit (I hesitate to say that, but everyone else'm still not satisfied with it, but it is reasonably pretty! I love the way guys will wear pretty tallitot!)
photoHere is the D'var Torah.
Va-Yelekh D’var Torah
by Harry
September 24, 2011
(Deuteronomy 32:28-30)

Good morning

I wrote my d’var torah in verse
But please don’t get upset and curse
I have trouble writing
So don’t start up fighting
It took me a long time to rehearse

There once was a prophet named Moses
He dreamed he had piglets for toeses
He was like a parent
The Jews were still errant
So they just ended up without roses

God said to Moses “you’ll die
Tell the people I’ve chosen, Don’t Lie!
Would you please just behave
And try to be brave”
So the Jews crossed the river to cry

When they were ready to have a new home
They wrote it all down in a tome
We call it the Torah
They all danced the Hora
And then entered the land plated chrome

When they were ready to start their new life
They were not riddled with strife
Just like graduation
It’s a new situation
Like normal people in modern-life

The Jews were like kids leaving school
Convinced that they’re really quite cool
They must be proficient
To be self-sufficient
And sometime their own land they might rule

Right now I would just like to thank
Mom and Dad for filling my tank
Beth, Wendy, and Teddy
Grandma but no Eddy
And then of course there is Frank

Thanking someone is not easy
Quite often it gets rather cheesy
Thank you all for coming
Rosalie for her strumming
Hey Michael and Joan are you queasy?

(Rosalie is the guitar playing cantor, Michael the Rabbi, and Joan, his teacher)

Friday, September 16, 2011


There is a new 18th C reenacting list, 18CLife!

You can subscribe at

It's all about 18th Century Life....Mostly civilian, of course, as most life was civilian, but military stuff isn't forbidden, it's not really the focus, but it was part of life for some.

This is where I expect to be doing most of my colonial stuff posting, from now on.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Garter tab cast on for lace

People keep arguing about garter tab cast on..."Why?" "What is it for?" "Why bother?" "Is it hard?"

Here are my two samples. I messed up the lace, the same way, after the cast on, there are eyelets on the right, but not the left, but both pieces have exactly the same lace pattern.

This first one is after a plain, knitted on cast on, of 5 sts, two rows knit, increased by two, to 7 sts, and then the lace pattern.

See? It has a horizontal garter ridge, above a knitted on cast on, with garter ridges to either side. The cast on interupts the pattern of the garter ridge border. I had to pin down the cast on edge, in the middle, quite firmly, as it wants to curve inwards, quite dramatically. I don't expect that blocking will maintain the straight edge for long.

This second one has garter ridges going straight across. You can only tell where the cast on was by where the tail is.
It has a 2 st, prov cast on, 6 rows of knit, pick up 3 then 2 sts, giving 7 sts, then the same lace pattern. This edge is nice and straight, even not pinned out. It's absolutely flat, and since I used a provisional cast on, there are no lumps or ridges, expect for the actual garter stitches.

Here is what I expect them to look like after blocking.

Regular cast on....see the inward curve? That probably won't stay blocked out.

Garter tab....nice and straight!

These spots I showed are the center neck, the center of the long side of the triangle. The garter tab does a bit of magic, and allows the edge to be one, continuous strip of garter stitch, while the regular cast on has a small break in the center of that side. It's a minor detail, but as it takes about 3 minutes to work, as the regular cast on takes about 3 minutes to work, I think the (not extra) effort is worth it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Concord town meeting

It's 11:18, pm. Concord Town Meeting I dragging on and on. We are all very tired, there are 2 more articles. At least all the articles I cared about tonight have passed....everything else I cared about, other than tonight and the school homophobic crazy article that got fixed, have failed. At least tonight is good! But I'm tired, and oops...I had to go and speak, pointing out that the proposed zoning change to allow a hotel on Baker Ave extension means more tourist traffic going the dangerous way through the most dangerous intersection in town. I won't mind a hotel in there, once Route 2 is rebuilt, once they fix the intersection, and once they fix the sewer limitations. But, as usual, the planning board isn't actually addressing the issues we've brought up.

So, I'm knitting lace! Psyche and Cupid, by Holiday Yarns.


I think we will have to count this vote!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

To the reenactors!

If you are an 18th C reenactor, please listen!

The very basics of 18th C knitting:
1) No Shawls.
2) No flat hand knitting. No straight needles with bobbles on one end. Knitting in the round presages flat by hundreds of years.
3) No Shawls.
4) No ribbing. None. Zilch. If you are wearing purchased machine knit gloves/stockings, if you can hide the ribs do so. If you can't, replace ASAP! There is No Excuse for any hand knit ribbing....that shows a lack of care and research (unless you have found an extant ribbed item, with a good provenance, in which case, TELL US!!!!!).
5) No shawls
6) frame knits are VERY fine, upwards of 20 sts/in, knitted flat and seamed. Should you choose to mimic this by hand, you have my admiration, but it's not demonstration appropriate! These are the only knits that should have sewn seams.
7) No shawls
8) DO NOT cuff a cap high like they do on Colonial House, unless you WANT to perpetuate farby reality TV (AKA crown or Jughead style, like the idiot in the old Archies cartoon). Caps should sit near the hair line (that you had as a child, should it be receding), and really should have a bit of space at the crown, for a simple one, or a lot, for stocking caps. I cannot find a period drawing with this style of cap....just can't find any! See these guys in their caps (Hogarth)? They are messy, caps ajar and falling off..but not tiny beanies, still. Soft, squashy caps....heavily fulled caps with brims sticking Jughead beanies!
9) (repeat with me.....) No shawls
10) no cables, almost no lace

So, what *can* an 18th C reenactor wear for hand knits?
Fingerless mittens/gloves (often called mitts or half mitts)
all conforming to the numbered descriptions, above.

Caps typically have decreases all around, not two lines. (a common one is k2tog, k3 around, knit 3 rounds plain, then k2tog, k2 around, knit 2 rounds plain, etc) The Dutch Museum (Rijksmuseum) has many caps....use one of the following patterns for the shape, and get a stripe pattern idea from here! You can make any of these larger, to be felted, and stretch the bottom into a brim. The hat in George Neumann's Collector's Encyclopedia of the American Revolution is, basically, the same as a Monmouth cap, with the brim stretched out during the felting can see the edging shape, which is quite clearly a 3 needle bind off, as I used in my Monmouth cap pattern.

Sally Pointer, Mara Riley, and I all have researched patterns available.....I haven't come across any others I'd recommend, so far. If the pattern doesn't have a bibliography and reasons for the choices made, be skeptical!

Sally's Voyageur Cap, a felted doubled cap, can be made to flop or to fit closely.
My Monmouth Cap, as close to stitch for stitch as I could get to the original, which is 1600s. (none of the original caps I can find have a purled turning row!) If you must make a Monnouth, this one has all the details....but a stocking style or doubled cap is likely more common for 18th C.
My 18th C plain old striped cap, a generic cap pattern, can be made long or shorter, of course. If enlarged, it can be felted. Its color pattern is copied from Zoffany, where the man's cap is falling off, but you can see the basic looks odd, I think that the artist was making it look like it was falling off, but didn't bother with getting it realistic, which it clearly is *not*.
Mara's fingerless mitts (I'd add a couple rows of garter to the finger edge of the hand).
For plain old mittens or gloves I'd suggest using this vintage (1950s) pattern, replacing the cuffs with a few rounds of garter, then plain knitting, and keeping the whole thing in plain knit (The period mittens I've seen have all had round tops, I expect to find more, with different shaping, but have not, yet...these are super easy and, without the ribbing, completely accurate).

The General Carleton of Whitby cap pattern is coming...several people are working on one. The only pattern currently available (in the book from the ship wreck), has been deemed to be not worth the book, by all I've discussed it with. But the color pattern is straightforward and standard shaping applies. It's the only cap I've seen, to date, with a rolled edge (with neither felting nor hemming)....but it has fringe/thrums.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

18th C Striped Cap

Here is another to follow. But it's a copy of the striped cap in Zoffany's painting, with shaping copied, loosely, from the caps in the Dutch Museum.

It's an easy cap, worsted weight wool, knitted snugly, at 23-24 sts/4 inches, no felting required. It'll flop over, if made following the pattern, or you can start the decreases earlier and wear it with the point sticking up.

Photos to follow.
Ravelry link to the project sample cap I made, in progress.

download now

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Testing, 1, 2, 3

I'm trying to get my Monmouth Cap up and running on Ravelry. The pattern is there, and is a free down load, you can get it here, Monmouth Cap, The Details Matter, if you are a Ravelry member. That is easy. But it's trickier for those who *aren't* Rav members! There are buttons I can put in, to link to the download, but I haven't quite figured that out, yet....

Download for non-Members (but, really, if you knit, why not join Rav???).

Now, we shall see if the links all work!

Monmouth Cap, The Details Matter (you can see the specs on the Rav page here)
download the pattern now

Yes, the above link does work! Clicking it grabs my download, over on Ravelry, and will download the pdf right now. Not exactly elegant, but effective. I've signed up for the beta-test feature that lets non-Ravelry members see your designs, but haven't gotten it, yet, so in the meantime, this is it.