Monthly Archives: May 2015

Village life…looking out my windows

I have been in a few different buildings in the last couple of weeks.  A couple of weeks ago we had the Queen’s birthday celebrations.  This picture was taken out of an upstairs window at Cooks Tavern where our village sedentary militia was assembled behind some visiting members of the Brockville Infantry and the Brockville Rifles.

Queen's Birthday

Queen’s Birthday

One thing that is GREAT for me this year is that my daughter, Heather got a summer student’s job at the village.  It is an hour drive in each direction and it is wonderful to have company and someone to drive half the time. She is regularly on the miniature train, but about once a week she is being put in my old building, the woollen mill.  She is obviously comfortable in there as she has known the guys for many years.  My best friend at the village, Lynda has also just replaced me for the summer in the mill. Here is Heather dressed for a day in the mill.  Her dad took these pictures as it would have been much too public for me to.

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Last fall I did a temporary placement in the McDiarmid House, which is hand spinning and weaving.  I am now going to be doing a day in there now and then when the regular artisan is on her days off.  I was in there last week and I couldn’t resist going into the bedroom to take a picture of the young Brownies and Girl Guides as they trooped past.  No pun intended.  Really.

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I made my first (totally passable) rhubarb pie in the bake kettle with no one else around to help me.  I have used bake kettles before, but never without supervision.  I was surprised how well it went and how straightforward it seems to be.  Hopefully it wasn’t just beginners luck.

My first rhubarb pie

My first rhubarb pie…yeah!!!

The bake kettle

The bake kettle after use

Barbara Walker catch up…dolls bed

A while ago I made the coverings for my doll’s bed.  I made them very early on in the project.  I actually stopped because I realized that I wasn’t really making anything but tension squares.

Here is the doll’s bed with all its bits and pieces:

Dolls bed and cradle

Dolls bed and cradle

I have already talked about the blankets in a previous post.  The two bed pillows and the blanket for the cradle were all done using dmc pearl cotton and 1mm needles.  The cradle blanket is Dewdrop Pattern, pg 149.

doll's pillows

doll’s pillows

The white pillow was made of Roman Rib Stitch, and the red one Roman Stitch, from pg 13.

The cradle pillow was made using Ripple Stitch, pg 13, Mettler Quilting thread and 0.75mm needles.

Knitting with sewing thread and 0.75 mm knitting needles

Knitting with sewing thread and 0.75 mm knitting needles

A week in the life of the village-in drag

In drag for a day in the Grist mill

In drag for a day in the Grist mill

I have been moving around the village a bit, things are unsettled in the first couple of weeks as staff shifts around and new people get incorporated.  I had a visit to costuming so I could go into the flour mill in drag.  They had me outfitted in less than five minutes.  There is no real way to interpret around some positions as a woman, so we have to dress in men’s clothes once in a while and I spent that particular day in the grist mill.

costuming department

costuming department

Costuming is always busy in the mornings just before work.  They are standing by for mending, supplying hairpins, last minute re assignments that require special outfits, etc.  Later in the day they often have to outfit large groups of visitors that will be spending time on site in costume as part of their programs-overnight groups of school children and their teachers or girl guide troupes.  Later in the season they have to outfit the kids from the overnight camps.  Thirty kids a week with two complete outfits per child.  They also have a lot of work to do on special event weekends where regular staff need clothes representing people of a higher social class than they usually portray, and visiting extras need to be clothed in period costumes.

I enjoyed my day in the grist mill where they grind a hard, red Ontario spring wheat that is high in gluten and protein.  They produce flour for our on-site bakery and our gift shop as well as a few local bakeries who like the authentic stone ground flour our grist mill produces.  It makes REALLY good bread that usually sells out at our gift shop, sometimes within minutes.

Grist mill interior

Grist mill interior

I spent 4 days in my old job in the woollen mill, then moved into my new position in the cooking unit.  I am at the completely opposite end of the village this summer in the kitchens down on the farms.  I baked my first cake in the wood cook stove and thankfully, it turned out fine..nice and moist and not burned, which had been my fear.  This picture is before I added a brown sugar icing.

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A week in the life of the village–opening week

A few weeks ago, we set up the houses at work for the season.  Every year all the antiques are taken out of the buildings and stored for the winter.  The houses are cleaned top to bottom, the carpets rolled up and the furniture draped in protective tyvek.  We come back in the spring, clean again, return the antiques to their places and set everything up for the season.  I took a before and after shot of one room, sorry the after shot is a little overexposed.  This is the sitting room at the Loucks farmhouse.





On that same day a few weeks ago, I snapped a shot of the back street of the village just as everyone was leaving work.  It does NOT look like your typical 1860’s street scene!



Today, I left my building a few minutes early so I could get a shot from pretty much the same place of a few of the same people leaving work.  It looks a little different (as well it should!)



For this shot, I was standing just beside the rock in the picture above.  I remember once a few years ago when Alan drove me to work and I had stuff to move between buildings.  He was horrified when I made him drive through the village in a car.  I must admit, I like to walk round the village before work sometimes and the bucket lifts and pickup trucks do nothing to enhance the experience, let me tell you.  Luckily for the visitors, we do everything we can to help them have an authentic 1860’s experience during opening hours.

Barbara Walker…week 10

Wow, it is a big book…but I am not going to cave…yet.  I am learning a lot while I do this project.  I thought, after 50 years of knitting, 40 of which I would call myself a fairly active knitter, that I would have pretty much covered knitting.  I was wrong.  I guess sometimes before, I would just reject stitches willy nilly.  Now, with this project, I am not allowed to.  For those of you that don’t know, I am trying to design (ooo.. did I just call myself a designer?) knitted items using the stitches as they present themselves in a book that was published a couple of years after I started knitting, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker, 1968.  It has 500+ stitches in it.  My ‘rule’ is that I can use one or more stitches from any chapter or combination of chapters, but it must be the next stitch after the previous one I used in that chapter. I can, of course, throw in stockinette stitch and/or garter stitch whenever I feel the design requires it, otherwise things may get a little busy.  Not that I am usually averse to busy.  I am sure no one is keeping track, but there are some UFO’s (say it ain’t so, gill) and a couple of things I put in my knitting guild’s annual challenge, which I will show you next week when I get them back that represent some in between stitches.

first attempt

first attempt

back of first slouch

back of first attempt

This week was not a very productive week, partly because I have another baby sweater almost finished and the two hats I did finish have patterns that eat stitches for breakfast.  I hope it is obvious I was going for rasta-style hats here.  Last time, I did the colours, this time the shape.  I can’t say Barbara didn’t warn me that these stitches (Waffle stitch or Rose Fabric, pg 129 – purl version on the first hat and seed stitch version on the second hat) spread laterally, making a wider piece than you would expect.  She wasn’t kidding.  The first one is large and you would need a major set of dreds to fill it out.  I reduced the number of stitches by 10% (from 110 to 100) on the second one and it doesn’t seem to be that much smaller.  It took me a LONG time to get used to this stitch and, like lace, you have to go back stitch by stitch for a couple of rows before you recover your place if you have to rip back.  Which I did.  Several times.  The decreasing is weird because you keep knitting into the row below and collapsing the fabric, so the decreases become compressed.

second attempt

second attempt

back of second attempt

back of second attempt

I also used Mock Wave Cable, pg 115 on the first hat and Figure Eight Twisted Ribbing, pg 43 on the second hat.  Back to work today.  I am in the mills this week but next week I am joining the cooking unit, a change is a good as a rest as they say.  I will miss the guys, but I love new challenges.