Creating the 18th Century (with directions!)

Rachel Hunter’s Quaker Mittens

Rachel Hunter’s Quaker Mittens

Mittens for a Friend, inspired by the Quaker, Rachel Hunter (created by Diana Gabaldon in her series Outlander)  are being released to coincide with World Quaker Day, October 2nd, 2016. These mittens feature the Quaker proverb You lift me, and I’ll lift thee, and we will rise together, which speaks to this year’s theme: Connecting Friends, Crossing Cultures and Changing
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The Skye Boat Poetry Mittens

The Skye Boat Poetry Mittens

A dream ends on Outlander.. Mittens for a tragedy.. Since Bear McCreary used the Skye Boat Song melody as the basis for his Outlander theme youtube.com is awash in versions of this old song, but this one strikes me as particularly authentic.. if the song can be called authentic at all.  The Skye Boat Song
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In Which I Catch a Cold: 18th century cold remedies

In Which I Catch a Cold: 18th century cold remedies

The 18th century physician attributed the common cold to the “sucking in” of, essentially “noxious and moist” air, and “nitrous salts” which were inclined to “thicken the blood” and obstructing the “finer secretions.”  18th century cold remedies were designed to soothe the sufferer and cure the cold.. before it developed into something more serious. In some
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The Weekend Time Traveler

The Weekend Time Traveler

When I was growing up there were two camps and three second homes on our road.  One of the camps belonged to my grandmother who was, likely, one of the few people who could walk from their first home to their second when it came time to air it out in the spring.  My grandmother’s camp was occupied summer and
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Bree’s Blue: To Dye With Indigo

Bree’s Blue: To Dye With Indigo

If you can only have one Outlander Adventure… make it dying with indigo. Bree made herself a blue wool dress, using indigo to dye the wool.  Which made me wonder.. what color was Bree’s dress? That’s simple, indigo blue, right?  Well.. not necessarily. I’ve kept a flock of sheep for decades… and have never dyed with indigo.
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18th Century Spices: Ginger

18th Century Spices: Ginger

While I haven’t fallen through any stones lately I have 18th century days. And this was definitely one of those days.  Fresh ginger root is, along with lemons, one of those basics we just expect to find in the grocery.  In fact, it is one of those items you’d have expected to find in a marginally stocked store
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Papillote Curls : Authentic and Easy 18th Century Hairstyle

Papillote Curls : Authentic and Easy 18th Century Hairstyle

Claire and her hair… From the castle at Leoch to the French court.. to colonial America, if it isn’t inciting envy it’s in her way, being pinned into submission, or scandalizing, since she refuses to cover it properly with a mop cap. Claire’s hair seems to naturally hold an 18th century hairstyle other women had to
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Other Outlander Knitting Patterns

Other Outlander Knitting Patterns

I’ve been asked to put up Outlander knitting patterns for specific knits seen on in the Starz film adaptation of Outlander. I have rather strong opinions regarding those knits, which the costume designer started out justifying as authentic to the 18th century, then revised to being not necessarily authentic but authentic to  her vision of the 18th century, regardless
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18th Century Ginger Beer.. the improvement on Lizzie’s Hellbrew

18th Century Ginger Beer.. the improvement on Lizzie’s Hellbrew

The 18th century householder was on a first name basis with two things rarely found in a modern kitchen: patience, and active yeast fermentation. Since this is New England, and New England is not a warm and cozy place a good 8 months out of the year, chances are your average householder was quite friendly with
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18th Century Solutions:  Waterproofing Boots

18th Century Solutions: Waterproofing Boots

These are my winter boots. They were new last year, pardon the grubby appearance, I wear them as barn boots. This is not something the manufacturer likely would approve of.  My little boots are from a Swedish company and are called Icebug  Their claim to fame, and why I love them, is they have carbon steel studs
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18th Century Pocket Soup and other portable comestibles

18th Century Pocket Soup and other portable comestibles

The whole world is counting down the days to the release of Diana’s latest in the Outlander series: Written in My Own Heart’s Blood and I’m among the lucky ones who have a ticket to the book’s launch in Seattle.  Which means I’ll be journeying from Vermont clear across the country to Seattle. A perfectly mind-boggling distance,
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Keeping it Together: Ribbons and Tapes in the 18th Century

Keeping it Together: Ribbons and Tapes in the 18th Century

From a wedding scene to the court of Paris, to Jamaica to the Colonies… Outlander, and the 18th century, is bound together with ribbons and tapes.  Whether part of a marriage ceremony, a necklace (for a jet fish) or a bit of finery purchased as a token of love, ribbons and tapes hold the 18th century
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Seeing Clearly: The 18th Century Window

Seeing Clearly: The 18th Century Window

At 0°F snow squeaks, fingers sting, and we give up trying to heat the farmhouse.  If we can keep the pipes from freezing and popping, it’s a good day.  Once it dips into single digits sitting in my office becomes an exercise in endurance which requires a coat, hat, and fingerless mitts. Getting oneself off
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A Lady Wears Lace: Bree’s Mittens for her Lord John Grey’s

A Lady Wears Lace: Bree’s Mittens for her Lord John Grey’s

The historic record is pretty firm on two points: women in the 18th century did not drape themselves in knit shawls, and light, angora, lace, mittens.. weren’t part of the wardrobe either.   There’s a school of thought which argues that they did exist, they just didn’t make it into the inventories, paintings, or records
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The Cup Half Full: 18th Century Chocolate

The Cup Half Full: 18th Century Chocolate

There’s so much you can blame on Outlander. For example, my new obsession with hot chocolate.  Had I never found Outlander I would never have found Outlander Kitchen and her interpretation of Hot Chocolate. You’d think, as a denizen of northern New England, I’d have grown up on hot chocolate, and you’d be right.  A day
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Staying True to Outlander: A Lace Shawl for Amanda Claire MacKenzie

Staying True to Outlander: A Lace Shawl for Amanda Claire MacKenzie

 For decades, including when I was visiting museums on school trips, 18th century costuming included the ubiquitous plain brown knit shawl.  In those days costumes also included zippers, machine sewn seams, and occasionally, sneakers. Today reinactors are encouraged to create their character with as much historically accurate detail as possible, making sure any visible seams
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A Bonnie Scottish Bonnet

A Bonnie Scottish Bonnet

Knitting was just made for audio books, but Outlander, or rather the 18th century, is woefully short of knitted garment inspiration. It isn’t that they didn’t know how to knit a garment, small shirts were knit for infants and children, but knitwear was not fashionable.  Furthermore, home knitters during this period can barely keep their
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Even More Indigo: River Run Blue

Even More Indigo: River Run Blue

Thanks to Outlander this summer I grew Japanese indigo in my garden.  To be truthful, I didn’t have a whole lot of faith in the roughly one square yard of indigo plants yielding very much color, or any color at all if I’m being honest, so I ordered a neat little kit which makes a
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Poetry Mittens: Useful Beauty (and patterns)

Poetry Mittens: Useful Beauty (and patterns)

“They will habitually prefer the useful to the beautiful and insist the beautiful be useful.”   Alexis de Tocqueville’s observation on New Englanders. Poetry mittens, designed to show a young woman’s skill in needlework, her piety, and her ability to read, appear at the end of the 18th and early 19th century.  I like to
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Yan Tan Tethera: Counting Sheep in Poetry Mittens

Yan Tan Tethera: Counting Sheep in Poetry Mittens

Yan Tan Tethera is a rhyming counting system used by shepherds in the north and highlands and immortalized in the folk song the The Lincolnshire Shepherd (which is available on iTunes, much to my surprise) or  you can hear it on youtube. I like to think Mac would have heard this rhyming count as he exercised the
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