Monday, October 26, 2009

A Realization

Anyone who knows me knows that I love botany, environmental sciences, and even a bit of math now and then.

I'm convinced that I didn't learn anything (or at least retain anything) in those Western Civ. classes forced on me in high school and college. Did I hate social studies? Hate might be too strong of a word, but I rarely found anything to hold my attention. Seriously, Western Civ. was just an expensive form of Benedryl for me - it really did nothing but put me to sleep. And it never helped with sinus-related headaches.

But I have found something to help me overcome my apathy towards history: vintage textiles. No, I'm not talking about poodle skirts and saddle shoes. My interest lies in the handmade lace and garments from the 1700s and 1800s. I think I'm just seeing the tip of the proverbial iceberg on this topic; it's lead me to so many related topics: womens' issues, science of the day, international relations, class and social hierarchies, etc. etc.

Of course, for me, this involves actually making the lace too. I just received the latest copy of Interweave's Piecework magazine. I've now started on a piece of broomstick lace. Not the oldest of techniques, but intriguing and something I've never tried.

I blame it on Jane Austen. I hated literature classes too. But I could never put her books down. The stories and characters were just too good.


ETA: If you're googling "Broomstick Lace", ignore the modern versions made with worsted weight yarn. They seem like something tacky from the 1970's. (Sorry, just my opinion.) Look at Piecework for the traditional techniques and materials that interest me. The bag on the cover is my inspiration.

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