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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Crewel Stitches

In my last post about crewel I mentioned that I was going to do some crewel work on a bag I am going to make. I thought I would try to find some resources for you to show you how some of the crewel stitches can be done. In my last post it was mentioned that some of the most common stitches used at this time were long and short stitch, stem stitch, French knots, satin stitch, and couching. These are all relatively simple stitches, most of which I have done on other projects. Once you have these mastered, I should think that there would be no pattern too hard to master as long as you have the time and patience!

It was actually rather difficult to find a good resource on the web that explained how these stitches are done. There are a lot of books out there that explain how to do crewelwork, so if you are interested in this, it should be relatively simple to find a book that will show you how to do the stitches. You may even want to pick up a sampler from Michael’s or AC Moore. The design you will make won’t be period correct by any means, but it will teach you how to do a lot of the basic stitches. You probably will learn more stitches that weren’t really used at this time though, so be careful about what you use when you actually do your 18th century project.

I was able to find one great website that had a whole host of stitches on it. The website is called if you click on that link you will be brought to her pretty comprehensive listing of different types of stitching. Here are the explanations of each of the types of stitches we are interested in direct from the website. If you click on the name of the stitch, you will be brought to her page where you can also see a picture of the stitch in action:

Stem Stitch:
Stem stitch is also known as crewel stitch, stalk stitch and South Kensington stitch. Stem stitch is often worked to outline a shape.

Work from left to right taking small regular stitches with a forwards and backwards motion along the line of the design. The thread is kept to the right of the needle after picking up a small piece of material. This means that it always emerges from the left side of the previous stitch.

If the thread is worked to the left of the needle, the stitch produced is slightly different, and is known as outline stitch.

French Knot:
A French knot is a little tricky but with some practice it can be mastered. Some people find it better to work the knot with the fabric stretched in an embroidery hoop using a chenille or straw needle.

French Knot is also known as French dot, knotted stitch, twisted knot stitch and wound stitch.

The weight of the thread will determine the size of the finished stitch

Step 1
Bring the needle out through the fabric and holding the thread taut and flat to the fabric with your left thumb. With your right hand twist the needle round the thread twice.

Step 2
Still holding the thread firmly take the needle back into the fabric one thread away from where the stitching thread emerges from the fabric and insert the needle.

Step 3
The completed french knot

At this point it is sometimes helpful to brush the knot down the shaft of the needle with the nail of your left thumb so that it is sitting firmly on the fabric. Pull the thread through to the back of the fabric. You have completed the knot!

Satin Stitch:
Satin stitch is also known as damask stitch.

As one of the oldest embroidery stitches to be found satin stitch is worked on traditional embroideries in practically every country. The traditional embroiderers of China and Japan excelled in the use of this stitch. It is formed by working straight stitches close together.

To use satin stitch to advantage stitches should lie evenly and closely together and some practice is needed to gain this effect. Stretch the fabric in an embroidery hoop or frame to prevent puckering. This stitch is only suitable for small areas as long satin stitches can become loose and untidy. If you need to cover a larger area divide the shape into more workable areas. The other alternative is to use long and short stitch or encroaching satin stitch.

To work the stitch bring the thread up through the fabric and make a single straight stitch. Bring the needle out very close to the stitch just made and continue to fill the shape. Stitches related to single satin or straight stitch in this dictionary are Satin stitch and Padded satin stitch.

Medieval embroiderers made full use of couching to be economical with expensive threads, such as gold thread, on the surface of the work. It is used, to this day, to attach threads which are too thick, or textured to pass through the foundation fabric. The term is from the French word 'coucher', which means to lay down.

Couching is extremely simple to work. Work with the fabric stretched in an embroidery hoop or frame.

To commence bring the heavy thread up from the back of the fabric with a large eyed needle. The surface thread is laid on the fabric, and then anchored by a second finer thread.

Small, straight stitches are taken over the thick thread and back through the fabric. Work along the thick thread until you have completed the line.

Take the heavy thread to the back of the fabric with a large needle and secure both ends of the heavy thread by using a few small stitches. Do not clip the heavy thread too close, otherwise it will pop up to the surface of the embroidery.

The second thread can be arranged in patterns - as in laid work. Other types of couching involve using embroidery stitches such as herringbone, fly stitch, arrowhead stitch, satin stitch, detached chain stitch, buttonhole and numerous other embroidery stitches over the thread to be couched. Metallic thread, ribbons, fine cord or groups of threads twisted together can all be couched.

And though the Chain stitch wasn’t mentioned before, it looks like it was definitely a widely used stitch at the time. Here is an example from that shows the chain stitch used on a 1790 skirt:

And here is an explanation of what the chain stitch is:
Chain stitch is also known as tambour stitch and point de chainette. Chain stitch is one of the oldest of the decorative stitches and is the basis of a large group of stitches.

Its use has a long history and is widespread, throughout the world. It is believed to have originated in Persia and India, where it is worked with the aid of a fine hook known as an 'ari'. In the west this tool which looks like a crochet hook, is known as a 'tambour' hook. The needlework produced using this method is known as tambour embroidery. To distinguish between chain stitch sewn by hand from that worked with a hook you need to examine the back of the embroidery. Needlework that is done with a hook has a continuous thread without any joins where as, chain stitch done with a needle, will display separate stitches.

Chain stitch is simple to work. Bring the needle up through the fabric and hold the thread with the left thumb. Insert the needle back into where it first came out. Take the needle through the fabric bringing the point of the needle out a short space along the line to be stitched. With the thread wrapped under the needle point pull the needle through the fabric.

A large variety of threads can be used from the finest silk to ribbon, the size of the stitch will depend on the weight of the thread used. it is an ideal beginners stitch and suitable to teach children as it is easy to sew.

Hopefully I can check out a few good books on 18th Century crewel from the library and I will see what other stitches were used at this time. And of course I will post pictures of my project as I have them.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hubbardton, VT 2008 - REVENGE OF THE BRITISH

Hello again to all! Sorry it has taken a while for me to get back to writing this. Thanks so much to my wife, Rachel, for covering for me in my absence, but I figured I should probably write this now since Sturbridge is next week and Hubbardton will be lost in our memories until next year. So anywho … with out further ado let me give you “Revenge of the British.”

Well we were all sitting around eating a wonderful breakfast …

feeling pretty good about our stellar victory over the red coats the day prior …

When suddenly the British appeared from over the hill.

It was once again back to business as usual.

So we rallied for the cause …

We charged forward on the advancing redcoats …

Exchanging musket fire as we went.

Just when we thought that we had driven them back …

They came at us with a vengeance, pushing us back down the hill.

Sadly Bruce was the first of many casualties.

The next causality was Art.

We fought hard …

and well …

But in the end our leadership stood alone.

Yes I even took a fall in this one.

But I don’t feel bad because the one that got me, took out Glen and I with one shot, which is a pretty amazing feat in and of itself.

Yes, at the end of the day the British had their revenge, and while our loved ones mourned our loss …

I choose to remember the better times when we stood for God, Country, and Freedom.

Remember, while we may have lost the battle, we did not lose the war.


Keep the faith my son, keep the faith.

Very respectful,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

George Washington - Part 5 of 5

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4

Before I get to the last part of my George Washington paper, I wanted to remind everyone that we will be at Sturbridge Village this weekend. It should be a lot of fun, and a great family activity. If you come out, be sure to come visit the First New Hampshire, we would love to see you! If you want more information click on my topic "Upcoming Events" and you will see a previous post I made regarding the event. Hope to see you there!

Ability to Lead Change
George Washington, as a disturbance handler, did what he could to keep peace among his people. There was an instance in 1794, which they called the Whisky Rebellion. The farmers on the west side of the Appalachian Mountains found it difficult to transport their wheat to the east. So they distilled their wheat into whiskey, and they found it much more profitable and easier to transport. The New Government proposed a tax on the whiskey, once the farmers heard about the tax, they revolted in protest. Washington gathered militia from a few different states, raising an army of 12,000 volunteers. He then brought his troops into the rebellious areas and calmed them with no actual fighting.

The Whiskey Rebellion was just one incident that showed how far Washington had taken the country. They had created a culture where when someone felt that they were being wronged, they spoke up and acted out. But Washington had also garnered the respect of the people and by doing so, they would follow him anywhere. When he called upon them to help him with this issue, they came by the thousands. They were able to quiet the situation without further fighting. Eventually the taxes were lifted and the government was able to get by on the taxes they levied on imports. But the American culture was proven that day. If you don’t like something change it with your actions, but don’t expect to get it by force. By being such a powerful leader, Washington was able to keep his newly formed country in line without compromising the ideals it was founded on.

The leadership skills of George Washington can be seen reflected in our own government today. Without his ability to rally his troops to make sure that his soldiers kept pressing on, if he didn’t have the charisma to get people to go past their breaking points, would we be who we are today? Washington was an effective leader who would not be walked all over. He had a shared vision for the country and he took pride in getting us there. He was humble; he did not even want to get paid for being president, since he was already independently wealthy. He did eventually accept payment for the position at the urging of congress since they did not want a precedent to be set of only the wealthy bring in charge. Washington also preferred to be called “Mr. President” to any other name, because he wanted the country to get as far away from the royal courts in Europe. Washington brought results; he helped to create a whole new nation, one that still exists in the same format 225 years later.

I hope you enjoyed my paper. I really enjoyed writing it. I believe I got an A on the paper, and I am glad of that. It was a lot of work trying to find information on the Leadership of George Washington. Here are some of the sources I used for this paper:

Works Cited
“George Washington.” The White House. February 1, 2008 [].

Pheonix Masonry. February 1, 2008 [].

Stazesky, Richard. The Papers of George Washington. February 1, 2008 [].

“General George Washington and his staff.” Netopia. February 1, 2008 [].

“The French and Indian War” Infoplease. February 1, 2008. [].

“George Washington Speeches” February 1, 2008 [].

“The American Presidency” Encyclopedia Americana. February 1, 2008 [].

“George Washington: The Soldier through the French and Indian War.” Historic Valley Forge. February 1, 2008 [].

“The Whiskey Rebellion” US Department of the Treasury. February 1, 2008 [].

Additional Reading:

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Monday, July 28, 2008

George Washington - Part 4 of 5

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3

Washington tried his best to lead an ethical life. After copying the “Rules of Civility” as a young child, Washington vowed to live his life by the rules. Many of these rules helped Washington live an ethical and upstanding life. Some examples of the rules he followed as taken from the National Center website are:

· Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.

· Sleep not when others speak; sit not when others stand; speak not when you should hold your peace; walk not on when others stop.

· The gestures of the body must be suited to the discourse you are upon.

· If any one come to speak to you while you are sitting, stand up, though he be your inferior, and when you present seats, let it be to everyone according to his degree.

· It is good manners to prefer them to whom we speak before ourselves, especially if they are above us, with whom in no sort we ought to begin.

· Inspeaking to men of quality do not lean nor look them full in the face, nor approach too near them at left. Keep a full pace from them.

· In writing or speaking, give away person his due title to his degree and the custom of the place.

· Speak not in an unknown tongue in company but in your own language and that as those of quality do and not as the vulgar; sublime matters treat seriously.

· When another speaks, be attentive yourself; and disturb not the audience. If any hesitate in his words, help him not nor prompt him without desired; interrupt him not, nor answer him till his speech ended.

· In company of those higher quality than yourself, speak not ‘til you are asked a question, then stand upright, put off your hat and answer in few words.

These rules are basic rules that give every man their due respect. The list consisted of over 100 rules that outlined the necessity of giving each and every person their own rights. He made sure that even though he was a leader, he did not step on the rights of any other man. Having respect and understanding of basic human rights shows that he tried his best to be an ethical and moral man.

Washington was a slave owner. At the time of his death he had acquired 317 slaves. On his plantation, Mount Vernon went from tobacco, to wheat production, to a distillery of whiskey. Like all slave owners he worked the slaves long and hard. He would break up the slave’s families and he would discipline the slaves harshly, and recalcitrant slaves were sold to the West Indies (death sentence). When Washington became president, he began to think of slavery as an inefficient and immoral system. It is unknown what or who changed his views on this subject. He had first opposed black soldiers in the Continental Army, but during the war he had come to admire the performance of the blacks in the northern regiments. Of the all of our slave owning presidents, Washington was the only president to leave a provision in his will that after Martha’s death, the slaves would be freed. Event though being a slave owner was a normal, and unquestioned practice at the time, Washington began to question the ethical standing of the system as he got older. This showed great leadership and a real understanding of the human experience.

Culture He Helped Create
Washington was a leader during some of the biggest changes in our country. During the French and Indian War, he started to show some of the skills that it takes to be a good leader. When our country decided to throw off the injustices placed on it by the British government, Washington was able to lead us through with dignity, grace, civility, intelligence, and ferociousness. Washington did not fear the new world that they were creating; instead he embraced and welcomed it. He wanted to make sure he set up the country properly so that future generations could see it run smoothly. He even foresaw some of the divides between the North and the South and tried his best to show his face in all places to prevent a divide in the country. George Washington had a vision for how the country should be run, how the people should be treated and he made sure to follow that vision as closely as he knew how. Through Washington’s vision he was able to create a culture of independence and freedom within the country.

Continue to Part 5.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

George Washington - Part 3 of 5

Part 1   Part 2

To deal with all these conflicts, and to become a good leader, George Washington had to implement good communication. Communication is one of the most important concepts of leadership, and is an essential component to any success. Often when we communicate, at least some of the meaning is lost in the transmission of a message from the sender to the receiver. This commonly occurs in cross culture situations where languages are an issue. Effective communication is an integral part of leadership; effective leaders are also effective communicators. To become an effective communicator, Washington used excellent communication styles in his speeches and writing. He informed his people what his goals and strategies were, and he communicated with them at their level. His speeches were short and to the point, he didn’t feel there was need for any extra fluff in a speech.

In 1782, when the Congress failed to fulfill a promise concerning the officer’s pay, some of the officers from the army threatened to go to Philadelphia and use force to obtain satisfaction. Washington “persuaded the officers to respect Congress and pledged to seek a peaceful settlement” by communicating with them peacefully. He listened to their problems, he analyzed the situation and promised them that he would settle this and they would get their pay. Congress responded to Washington’s appeal and granted the officers five years of full pay. Because of his outstanding communication style, George Washington is known as one of the best presidents in America. He showed a way of making our country magnificent by giving others friendship and bringing peace throughout the land.

Charisma is a Greek word that means “divine favor” or “gift.” It has been called “a fire that ignites follower’s energy and commitment producing results above and beyond the call of duty.” A Charismatic person can single handedly visualize a mission or a course of action that is not only appealing to potential followers, but compels them to act because of the faith and trust they have in the leader. A Charismatic person is often seen as having almost “supernatural” abilities in the way that people are drawn to them.

Washington certainly had a charismatic charm to him. Ever since the days of convincing Dinwiddie that he could be trusted on important missions despite his age, Washington had the innate ability to get people to follow, listen, and respect him. Washington was always improving himself and his presence. He knew he could not allow the authority he had to tempt him into becoming a ruler or a king. He had values and knew others would help him accomplish his goals. An example of his charisma happened during a battle in New Jersey. His men were all about to leave to go back to their homes and farms, but when they saw him and felt his presence, they stopped and listened. They were willing to fight for him, even though they may have felt that all was lost and they would be better off protecting their own homes. They stayed in New Jersey and they were able to take Monmouth, New Jersey from the English.

Leadership Traits
George Washington possessed many, if not all of the character traits that a good leader should have. He was a very influential man, setting the standard for the Presidential office. From a young man working as a surveyor in Virginia, to serving 14 years in the House of Burgess, to becoming Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, and eventually becoming the First President of the New Government, Washington never stopped working hard for himself or for the people he was in charge of.

In addition to being a great leader, George Washington was also an entrepreneur and a visionary. After working as a surveyor for a few years he saved enough money to buy up 1,500 acres, it is unknown if this land was part of Mount Vernon. He also started his own surveying business. This established his reputation for thoroughness and honesty. When Washington inherited Mount Vernon in 1752 from his brother who died of tuberculosis, it was a wheat producing plantation, but Washington transformed it into a whiskey distillery. It was the largest whiskey distiller at the time.

As a leader and figurehead, he had a sense of dignity, and honesty. As a young boy he copied the “Rules of Civility” by Hawkins, and he lived his life by those rules. As a leader he expected honesty at the command level in the army, in the Federal Government, and in all persons. He believed that if a person was to be dishonest, or tell even the smallest lie, he could not be trusted. He was also very sensitive of what the people thought of him. Washington thought that the ultimate power rested with the people and he understood that if the nation was to be accepted in the world; it would depend on creating a positive and honorable image. Washington, during his Presidency, made a point to visit every state to “show the face of the New Government”. He would travel by coach to all the towns, but once outside the limits of the town he would mount his horse and ride the rest of the way in, because that is the image the people saw of him.

Continue to Part 4.

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

George Washington - Part 2 of 5

Part 1

People that Follow this Leader
Washington left the army in 1758, but was encouraged to enter politics. From 1759 to 1774, Washington served in the House of Burgess. Washington wanted to keep ties with Britain, but with the ever growing restrictions on western expansion, and higher taxes that directly affected him as a land owner, Washington found it difficult to stay true to his home country. In June of 1775, Washington showed up in a military uniform at the newly assembled Second Continental Congress, signaling that he was prepared for the war. He was then appointed Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.

On July 3, 1775, he took command of 14,000 undisciplined men. He had to train men that were “civilians,” that had never had military training before. He only took a few months to train them, while at the same time he was trying to acquire supplies, gun powder and equipment. Despite the lack of food, supplies, equipment and all the political bickering, he was able to transform them into a disciplined and determined military force. This showed great intelligence on Washington’s part, he had to find a way to solve the problem of training these men. It also showed the kind of confidence that he could instill in other people, that these men were not only able to be trained by Washington, but that they were willing to listen to him and do as he said. The Revolutionary War brought many conflicts to Washington. In order to deal with these conflicts, he analyzed the problems, identified common goals, values, assumptions and he then took action. Washington’s military leadership allowed him to adapt to the irregular situations that the military was placed in. His leadership kept the men in the army. People followed him because he gained their trust and then their cooperation. He set high standards and he lived by them. He believed in personal discipline, integrity, and considered it his duty to be of impeccable character. People knew he would not change just to fit the situation, like a chameleon changes its colors. People knew they could trust him, and that he respected them, and that they would be treated courteously. Because of his ways of dealing with his personnel, as well as his overall strategies during the conflicts, the war was successful and they were able to find victory.

Washington did not win many battles during his military career, but he served with honor and courage and he was determined. He had the trust and loyalty from his troops despite the many hardships they faced. It was for these reasons that once the Constitution was ratified by all colonies, Washington was unanimously voted in as the first president in 1789.

Manage Conflict
Washington used many different conflict styles such as negotiating with the Indians, using force during the French and Indian war, collaborating, and finding the best solution for all parties. When he took office as President, he changed his ways and started telling people to be kind, try to settle conflicts peacefully, and to have a nonviolent mind. One big obstacle Washington faced at this time was building an executive structure for all future Presidents to follow. He had to keep the nation from dividing. He also wanted to establish a commercial tie with Britain and for peace to be complete with them. This enraged some people, but he was able to accomplish this with a treaty called the Jay Treaty in 1794.

Continue to Part 3.

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Friday, July 25, 2008

George Washington - Part 1 of 5

Recently I put up an article about how they found George Washington's boyhood home. I am currently in school full time going for my Bachelor's in business, and I had to write a paper on a great leader for my Leadership class. It was a group project and we chose George Washington. I thought I would share the paper here for you to read. I didn't know a whole lot about Washington before I started, and I found him to be very fascinating. This paper doesn't go so much into his history as it talks about his leadership qualities, but it's still very educational I believe. This paper was written by Alka, Sue, Rochelle, and me. I will post it in 5 parts since it is long. I hope you enjoy it!

Leadership of George Washington

We all know George Washington became the first President of the United States after his victory in the Revolutionary War, that he crossed the Delaware River standing at the bow of the row boat, and that his home was called Mount Vernon. But what made George Washington a great leader?

George Washington was born February 22, 1732, on a sizable plantation near Alexandria, VA. His early education included mathematics, surveying, the classics, and civility. He was always interested in educating himself. When Washington was 11 years old, his father died. He then went to live with his half brother, Lawrence, at his plantation called Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon was located in Alexandria, VA. When he was 20 years old, he was made a Major of the Virginia Militia by Governor Dinwiddie. The Virginia Militia fought for the British. George Washington was becoming a man and a leader during one of the most conflicted times in our history. During this time the Ohio territory was possessed by the English, but the French were starting to encroach on this area, wanting it for themselves. Governor Dinwiddie felt that action needed to be taken and he selected Washington for the job. Washington was very young at the time, so being selected for this very important job showed that even though he was just a follower right now, he easily showed the men around him that he had high dependability, courage, and efficiency.

In 1754, Washington led the expedition to Fort Duquesne, carrying a message from Governor Robert Dinwiddie to the French, warning them to leave the territory. One messenger had already attempted this journey, and had returned completely unsuccessful. Dinwiddie was now putting all of his faith in the young Washington, this was the kind of confidence that he exuded, that he was able to convince others that he would do the job and do it right. On the journey, Washington, his troops, and his American Indian allies ambushed a French scouting party that included about 30 men. During this ambush, Washington learned that the French were planning to further advance and that they had started to build a series of forts in the Ohio country. When Washington brought the message from Dinwiddie to the French commander, the French declined to leave.

Washington returned to Dinwiddie with the news, and he was sent back out. Washington spoke with the local Indians on his way out, and learned of a French detachment of about 40 men camping nearby. He then decided to surprise the French at their camp site, some were sleeping, and others were preparing breakfast. Without any warning Washington ordered his troops to fire. Many were killed, one was wounded, and the rest were taken as prisoners. This was the beginning of the French and Indian war. He tried to solve this dysfunctional conflict by communicating but since the French did not listen, he then decided to solve it his own way.

This early conflict showed us some of Washington’s leadership traits. We saw that he had self-confidence, so much so that other people believed in him even though he was very young. He showed us that he had High Energy; he was willing to work hard and had a real drive for success. He also showed his flexibility, when the situation with the French was not going the way he wanted, or the way he felt it should go, he went in a completely different direction to try and gain control back. These three traits were clear even before Washington was in a leadership role.

Continue on to Part 2.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hubbardton, VT 2008 - Sunday Videos

Kris' post about the Sunday battles will be posted soon, but I wanted to post the videos from Sunday here for you to see!

These are the videos from the morning battle, which was a recreation of the actual battle that took place here:

And here is the video from the afternoon battle:

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Apple Fritters - Historic Foodways

Not too long ago, I appealed to one of the lists I am a part of to please help me make my food section of this blog a little more robust. My recipe for teacakes has been very lonely in there for some time now. Luckily Kimberly Costa of Historic Foodways took pity on me and offered that I could feature some of her recipes here for all of you to enjoy. I wandered over to her site, never having been there before, and was pleased to find that the recipes were period recipes with modern adaptations by Kimberly and Mercy Ingraham. Can’t get much better then that can you? I decided that the first recipe I would share with you was the recipe of the month for the month of May, Apple Fritters. Oh and I guess should say here that in the 18th century the word for recipe was receipt. I just prefer to use recipe on my blog.

Apple Fritters by Hannah Glasse in
The Art of Cookery Plain and Easy 1747

Beat the Yokes of eight Eggs, the Whites of four well together, and strain them into a Pan; then take a Quart of Cream, make it as hot as you can bear your Finger in it, then put to it a quarter of a Pint of Sack, three quarters of a Pint of Ale, and make a Posset of it. When it is cool put it to your Eggs, beating it well together, then put a Nutmeg, Ginger, Slat and Flour to your liking. Your Batter should be pretty thick, then put in Pippins sliced or scraped, and fry them in a good deal of Butter, quick.

Modern Adaptation Apple Fritters by Kimberly Costa

2 large or three medium apples; peeled and then scraped with a box grater or chopped fine OR 1 1/2 Cups of dried apple slices cut into small pieces

3 eggs separated, whites beaten until stiff

1 Cup flour

1/4 Cup sugar or to taste

nutmeg , ginger and cinnamon to taste

1/4 tsp rosewater

3/4 to 1 Cup milk or light cream*

Butter for frying (can use lard if desired)

Mix flour with sugar and spices together in a bowl. In another bowl add rosewater to the milk then beat in the three egg yolks until combined. Pour the liquid into the flour/spices and then add the grated apple, stirring together but be gentle! Fold in egg whites. To a hot frying pan (or spider if cooking on the hearth) add 2 TBS butter or lard. Let melt, then using a large spoon drop batter onto hot spider and cook on both sides until done. Spread hot cakes with butter and sprinkle with sugar.

*the batter should be the consistency of modern pancake batter so adjust your milk accordingly. You may also add water if milk is not available.

Thanks Kimberly for letting me share this recipe here. I look forward to trying this one out myself. Stay tuned for more recipes from Kimberly’s site!

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Upcoming Event! Old Sturbridge Village MA - August 2, 2008

Our next event will be at Old Sturbridge Village. They usually do a timeline event each year where reenactors from all different time periods get together for a weekend, but this year they will be just focusing on Revolutionary War, which should prove to be a lot of fun. Here is the information directly from the website:

The Village is transformed into a military camp focusing this year on what life was like during the War for Independence, as the Revolutionary War was known in early New England. Activities include fife and drum corps, camp cooking, instruction in marching formations for kids, a military "fashion show," cannon demonstrations, and more. Authentically costumed re-enactors will camp out, re-creating early American military life in the fields and pastures of OSV. Take in the sights, sounds, and smells of camp life by weaving through the tents and chatting with the civilians that accompany the soldiers including doctors, wives, and children as they too live the life of a soldier.

On Saturday (8/2) from 5 to 9 pm, the Village is transformed yet again as the sun goes down and the camp fires are lit for a Twilight Encampment. Guests may take advantage of the cooler evening to visit later or linger in the camps, providing a unique insight into camp life separate from military events of the day. Late day admission available after 5pm.

Some of the units participating this year include, on the side of the Colonies:

85eme Regiment de Saintonge
Artillery Company of Newport (Craine's Artillery)
Billerica Colonial Minutemen
Danvers Alarm List Company
Eleventh Pennsylvania Regiment
Fifth Connecticut Regiment
First New Hampshire Regiment
Great Quinnehtukqut Company of Artificers and Traders
Lebanon Towne Militia
Lexington Training Band
Regiment Bourbonnais
Second Massachusetts Regiment (Col. Bailey's)
Second Rhode Island Regiment of the Continental Line
Smith Castle Museum
Sixth Connecticut Regiment
Stowe Minutemen
Tenth Massachusetts Regiment
Third New York Regiment
Thirteenth Continental Regiment
Twenty-Fifth Continental Regiment
Twenty-Fourth Connecticut Regiment
United Train of Artillery
Whitcomb's Rangers
Yarmouth Minutemen

...and with the British Empire:

Eighth (King's) Regiment of Foot
First Foot Guards
Fourth Regiment of Foot (The King's Own Regulars); The Sign of the Roaring Lion
HMS Somerset
King's Rangers
Ninth Regiment of Foot
Regiment von Donop
Royal Irish Artillery
Seventy-Fourth Regiment of Foot
Sixteenth Queen's Light Dragoons
Sixty-Fourth Regiment of Foot - Light Company
Tenth Regiment of Foot
Twenty-Ninth Regiment of Foot
Twenty-Third Regiment of Foot (The Royal Welch Fusiliers)
Von Pruesschenck’s Jaegers

It looks like the regular fee for Sturbridge itself (Adults $20.00; Seniors (65 and over) $18.00; Youths (3-17) $6.00; Children Under age 3 Admitted Free) applies for this weekend.

This should be a really fun weekend. If you get the chance, you should stop by and see us. It is relatively local, unlike some of our events, and in addition to the reenactment itself, you also get to visit Sturbridge Village and all the cool museums and buildings they have there. If you come by, be sure to seek out the First New Hampshire dining fly!

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

18th Century Crewel Work

So while I was at Hubbardton recently, I decided that I needed to make (or buy) a little bag to carry my camera around in. My new camera is quite heavy and really weighs down my pockets, so I figure if I make a nice looking bag, I can carry it with me still pretty easily. So I asked one of my friends who was a Sutler at Hubbardton if she had any bags for sale. She didn't, but she did have a simple one I could borrow. She also showed me her bag, which had a nice drawstring and some embroidery on it. I decided that I could make one. So she explained to me how to do the drawstring, and I started the planning process.

I knew I wanted to have embroidery on my bag like my friend’s had, but I wasn’t sure where to start. So recently on one of the lists I subscribe to, someone was talking about a wallet they were making their husband where they would be using something called a “flame stitch” to decorate it. Having never heard of it, I asked a few more questions, got a few more answers, and decided it wouldn’t work properly for my bag (but don’t worry I will have a post about the wallet project later).

So eventually on the thread I got the topic around to crewel. This is a type of embroidery that was done in the 18th century. I explained that I had some linen left from making a shirt for my husband, and wondered if they thought it would work for this project I am trying to do. Judith responded with this …

The lightweight linen would be fine for crewel work (then line for strength if your camera is hefty) … on the fine linen you could use real silk or wool crewel embroidery to make a beautiful pocket/bag,

Common crewel stitches used in period are long and short stitch, stem stitch, french knots, satin stitch, couching

There is a dover book of 18th century embroidery designs

Of course this sent me on an Internet search for more information on crewel. I did find a great book on Amazon, which unfortunately my local library doesn’t have. But now it’s on my list of “to get” books. It’s called English Crewel Designs and Norman Bradburn and Frances Bradbury put it together.

English Crewel Designs

It looks like this book provides some period correct patterns that would be easy to trace to fabric.

Some other members also suggested four more books that look very interesting, which of course, my library doesn't have either:

18th Century Embroidery Technique

A Practical Guide to Canvas Work

Plain & Fancy

The Bargello Book (Which, I guess, only has a few patterns that would work, but teaches the methods really well.)

I also stumbled on a great website that had some awesome information and pictures of crewel through the years.

American women in the 18th century took crewel to their hearts producing their simplified but original style of bed hangings, pockets, pocketbooks, petticoat borders, chair seats etc. The amount of crewel remaining in collections today attests to the devotion and industry of American women. Design became regionalized with mounds and prancing animals remaining popular near the seacoast, while blue and white scattered patterns were favored in the Connecticut Valley region. The stitches also changed as they moved from England; long and short to the faster self couching stitch also called New England laid or Roumanian. By the third quarter of the 18th Century, crewel faded as women became overwhelmed with the American Revolution.

So even if crewel was out of fashion by the time I am portraying, it doesn’t sound like it was completely gone, and I may still have a purse from before it went out, so I don’t think it would be wrong for me to carry a little purse with some crewel. Here is a picture from the same site:

I really love this example, the color and design are exactly what I want to do, but I don’t know that I can find a pattern like this particular example. Plus I am sure it was done by someone with much more time, patience, and skill then I have right now, so I will probably need to stick to something more simple for now.

As far as the bag itself goes, I think I will line it with felt, although that’s not period by any means, it’s soft and will give just enough cushion for my camera. The hardest part I was having with making a bag was imagining how the drawstring would go, but now that I have that part thought out, I think this will be a relatively simple project to put together. I haven’t started yet, but I will post pictures and any more research I find on crewel when I do start!

Some Books Featured on This Page:

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Hubbardton, VT 2008 - Sunday

Sunday opened with some super yummy muffins made by Lori and Debbie. The men would have an early battle, so we started them off with some muffins before they went, and we would have a full breakfast when they returned.

Before the battle, there was some early morning conversation …

Then it was time to go to the first battle.

I will once again defer to Kris to describe the battle for you, but the morning battle was a recreation of the actual battle that took place here. We were so close to it, that I really felt like I was there. It was probably one of my favorite battles to date. Here are just a few shots for you.

The kids really enjoyed having a front row seat …

By the end of the battle nearly every single guy in our unit was dead.

But what followed is probably one of my favorite parts of any battle … “The dead shall rise!”

After the first battle a breakfast of eggs and sausage was made. The second battle was going to happen at 1:00. During the little break we had, Bruce, Kris and myself headed over to the museum. They had a light up map that showed how the battle occurred here, which I really enjoyed seeing. After the museum, we headed up the hill to go for a little walk, and we ran into Debbie.

It was so peaceful to just sit up there and enjoy the view. We eventually walked back down to have lunch, which Kitty made. It was chicken pieces and potato salad, which of course tasted very good.

Shortly after lunch it was time for the second battle of the day. Once again I will let Kris explain that one to you, but of course it went well (well at least from my perspective it did).

After the battle it was time to pack up. Once Kris changed, we matched without even meaning to! (Bright color alert! If you are prone to seizures, please skip over this photo)

Janie was holding try-outs for the First New Hampshire Chorus Line …

I also grabbed a quick shot of a couple of Marines who had no trouble whatsoever pulling a little metal rod out of a wooden pole, even though I may have pulled it out for them, but it can’t be proven and the forensics aren’t back yet, so we’ll just pretend like it never happened. Don’t worry guys your secret is safe with me!

After we were all finally packed, it was time for the long drive home.

Thanks Hubbardton for another great weekend! I think I may have to agree with Kris and say that this is becoming one of my favorite places to play. If you want to see all the pictures from Sunday, be sure to check out my gallery here.

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