Yesterday was St. George’s Day. It may not be of much significance to most people. One exception are English patriots and churchgoers as St. George is England’s patron saint.
Another exception is scouts. As steady readers of this blog know I’m a scout, and though I belong to a non-denominational scout corps we still celebrate St. George’s day. We hear or re-enact the story of George before he was a saint and just was a soldier. He slayed a dragon and so saved not just a village but also a fair princess about to be sacrificed to the dragon. And then he turned down her father’s offer of half the relam and her hand in marriage because a good man does not help for personal gain. He helps because it is his duty to help his fellow man (and princess!)
So we tell the scouts that story and remind them that helping others should always be second nature to a true scout.
Then there’s the part they all look forward to: The handing out of stars.
When I was a girl scout in the YWCA they were real, metal stars. Nowadays they’re just embroidered material that you stitch on to your left uniform pocket. On the star the number shows how many years you’ve been a scout.
My new star says 8. And in my group there’s a custom that once you get that you get no more stars. Instead you just tilt it to show the sign of eternity.
So: Should my star stand up or bend over?
Think I’ll leave it standing. And next year break group consensus and swap it for my old “6”. Upside down, of course.
Yes, it’s usually for apples. I tried that once and got sopping wet on my chest. Not breasts as it was when I was only 10.
Last week I did a short round to a couple of bridal wear shops that had responded positively to an email suggesting I become a free-lance partner for them. I brought examples of embroidery, beading, stitched lace, fine crochet, and bobbin lace with me as examples. One ordered a stole. And this is the finished order:
This is what bobbin lace can look like when enlarged and made with a cashmere- / mink blend. It weighs next to nothing and should add grace to any bride in my opinion.
And the cash? Since it takes me a full day to measure out the thread, wind it up, sketch up the pattern and actually make it, I said the price is 1200 DKr. Which is a decent day’s wage and nothing extraordinairy.
This weekend was spent with “my” cub scouts and co-leaders. It was the yearly long weekend with two nights away, a walk in the dark Friday evening and a long walk – some 7 kilometres – Saturday. As a recognition I print a wolf paw on their uniforms. They are after alle only 7-9 years old and find the weekend to be a challenge in different ways.
The problem is it’s a challenge for me too: I get far too little sleep. And Saturday afternoon I had a screeching pain in my sinuses from fatigue, had to lie down for just half an hour before I could face the stack of 26 uniforms.
But now it’s done. With wear and sun-bleaching those paws will become more and more visible. Just like mine in the snap above.
My red sweater is finally done! This includes the silken neckband that I had to go to a specialised shop to get. It was worth it just like it was worth the work. It turned out exactly the way I hoped it would.
So why did I caption this post with the words “goodnight, hot night”? Because this is a night sweater. Yes, I’m serious: Women used to sleep in sweaters like this. It was what you wore to bed some 150 years ago and before. In fact you would go to bed dressed in a linen slip and a sweater like this (more or less), sleep in something akin to a cupboard, cover yourself with a woolen sack stuffed with feathers and down and lined with a linen sheet. And you would half sit instead of lying down.
This was how every peasant woman slept for easily 200 years. Whenever I go to the open-air museum or think about it I wonder how they ever made all the children they had.
Hay must have something to do with it. Somehow. Because nice and warm as a sweater like this one is in those drafty, unheated-at-night houses, sex is the furthest away on my mind when I imagine the sleeping arrangement.
Of course, I’ll just wear this to keep warm. (And look … nice)
Yes I know I did not post for a long time. The main reason is that my work life has been in chaos for just as long. It’s finally settling into some sort of order and I can muster the oomph to do things other than work.
The one thing I was able to do was take up a sweater that’s been on hold for several months. Most likely to give myself something mindless to do and an idea that something was moving towards a definable target. And look now how close to finished it is:
The first two snaps are details of pattern and of the – if I may say so myself – rather brilliant way I went about not having to sew on the sleeves by picking up cast-off-stitches and knitting them together with the edge stitches at the sides.
The pattern is my take on a theme of regional variations of the so-called night sweater worn by women in Denmark in the 16-17-18-hundreds. The sweaters were more or less hidden away for festive occasions but visible when they worked. The crossed double bars and the eight-point stars were more or less standard, but some had only patterned sleeves, some had a patterne likes angles or V’s in rows on the trunk et c. I could find a partial pattern for the sleeves alone, and the stars had to grow with the sleeve to keep the same number pattern row by pattern row. I ended up with 6 pieces of A4-sized checkered paper taped together to make sure I got it right.
Those women did without pattern. Just skill. This sweater has given me enormous respect for them. Nowadays you really only see sweaters like these with folk-dancers performing in costumes. I call taht a pity: Let’s give this pattern a revival. Show our skills.
I know. Scouts are crazy. I should know as this is my 7th year as a scout mistress or leader. After a very long break and six years as a girl scout.
Yet somehow the whole craziness thing seems to have escalated from my girl scout days. Back when Mummy was a boy (which is the Danish expression for a long time ago), nobody dressed up fancy for tournaments and gatherings. Uniform was standard supplemented by whatever would keep you dry, warm, and comfy for the day.
And look at us now:
A tournament with a games theme had my scout friends look like that. And while I can’t take the credit for all the costumes I do claim the honours for Browser’s shield and horns. With a painter’s suit, textile paints, rubber foam, dexterity and patience an ordinary woman was a monster for a day. I feel some measure of pride.