Apr 30, 2012

Domestic Archeology and other Homely Arts.

Hobbit hole drying.
Another glimpse of my hobbit hole, here it is drying, stuffed full with towels and bags of wool, to shape it. Didn't the colours blend beautifully?!
 But it looks a bit like a cushion at this stage.
I will keep you updated!
Swallows paper-cutting
 Another idea for a paper snowflake, this time Summery with swallows flying over a little town-scape. The swallows in the middle are sitting on a wire, like they do. Their tails form a star.
Vintage linen signatures.
 Last time we came back from Wellington, we stopped at an antique/ collectables shop in the wildly exciting ( hahaha) town of Shannon. I found rolled up with a rubber band a bundle of fabric, labelled "drop sheet $3". Meaning that it could be used as a cloth on the floor to catch paint splatters for when you are painting a wall.
I touched it, and knew immediately that this was pure linen, of the same kind of close weave I had at home in the form of several bed sheets.
Those sheets are absolute heaven to sleep under in hot summer weather. They wick away moisture and still feel soft and comfortable to the touch.
 The ones I have, have a name written in old-fashioned ink in the corner.

So did this sheet. Several as a matter of fact.
"P.Brown", and "G.Brown 72", and in the oldest style of writing I think I can make out "I.Thompson R:2 1827" or "1927"
This would have been information (I guess) for the washing woman, many households used to use the services of a local laundry woman.
Obviously this sheet passed into 3 different hands, family probably. From daughter to daughter perhaps.

The numbers however puzzle me;  "72" might have been an account number , or a house number.
 The "R:2", was that a regiment perhaps? Was I.Thompson a soldier?
And the number 1827 or 1927 was that his army number?
 Surely not the year, why would sheets have a year date on it.
 I don't think that a well-used sheet would have survived for 90, let alone 190 years....

Not really a hole.
"Yeah", said the lady shop keeper. "It is a nice cotton, but it's got rips and holes in it and a few stains."
 I think she needs glasses. 
Sure there are a few little stains in it, looks like rust, I can't shift it. But she pointed straight at the signatures.
And the rips are actually right in the middle of the (single) sheet. This sheet consists of 2 halves, each a narrow self-edged strip of woven linen. It would have been woven on quite a narrow loom, not wide enough for a single sheet, and someone has carefully sewn the edges together by hand with the tiniest of stitches, in such a way that there is only a slight ridge on 1 side in the middle of the sheet.
 And some of these stitches have come undone.
You can see what a close weave linen it is on the photo, that's my thumb.
 It is quite heavy too.
 I love this kind of fabric history.
Perfect apple-strudel...
 A small moment of Domestic Goddess-ness . A new recipe that worked, apple-strudel, using organic apples. Cox-orange and Monty's Surprise apples as a matter of fact.
The recipe asked for 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, but that sounded very bland, so I added Chinese 5-spice, ginger and a good pinch of ground cloves.
Still warm with ice-cream!
Oh it was superb!!
And the second time I baked it, too.
And the third time...

No comments: