Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Rich History of Gloves

This history of gloves came in my Knitting Daily newsletter and I thought you might enjoy the history of those essential cold weather items.  It was written by Kathleen Cubley, editor of Knitting Daily

The Rich History of Gloves by Kathleen Cubley

I gave one of my knitting friends a copy of Knitting Traditions for Christmas this year, and before I wrapped it up I couldn't help but look through it again. I have a pair of gloves on the needles, so naturally, all of the glove and mitten patterns caught my eye.
Knitting Traditions also contains a fascinating Nancy Bush-authored article about the history of gloves and like everything Nancy does, it's wonderful.
I'm sure you'll enjoy it, too, so I'm excerpting some of it for you here.

The Symbolism of Gloves

The history of gloves is a long and rich tale of romance and intrigue, honor and chivalry, daring and deceit—but long before it acquired these associations, someone had devised gloves to provide warmth and protection to the hands from cold, heat, dirt, and other environmental insults.

Well-formed gloves, made of linen and decorated with a drawstring closure at the wrist, were found in the tomb of Egyptian ruler Tutankhamen (circa 1370-1353 B.C.). Wall paintings from Thebes, a city in ancient Egypt, depict ambassadors bearing presents of gloves, suggesting that even then they had symbolic value beyond their utility.

The sixteenth-century Sture glove from Uppsala, Sweden, knitted at 24 stitches per inch. Photograph copyright Antikvarisk-Topografiska Arkivet, Stockholm, Sweden. Photograph by Gabriel Hildebrand.

The Greek historian Xenophon (circa 431-352 B.C.) reported that "not only did [the Persians] have umbrellas borne over them in summer . . . but in winter it is not sufficient for them to clothe their heads and their bodies and their feet, but they have coverings made of hair for their hands and fingers."

In the days of chivalry (the twelfth and most of the thirteenth centuries), a knight would often wear a glove or other token given by his lady on his helmet or shield as a sign of his devotion and purity of heart as well as of his worship of and affection for his beloved.

Richard Rutt, in The History of Handknitting, tells of Captain Sten Svantesson Sture, a twenty-one-year-old Swede who died in 1565 in a sea battle against the Danes and their allies. Sture left a black felt hat to which was fastened a small glove (shown above left) of gold thread and colored silks knitted to a gauge of about 24 stitches per inch.

The words Frevchen Sofia are worked in knitting across the palm. Textile historians had thought that Sture was engaged to a German girl, that the glove very likely was hers, worn as her favor in battle, and that the word frevchen meant "miss" in Middle Low German.

Recent research by Danish textile historian Lise Warburg has shown that frevchen was sixteenth-century Swedish for "princess." Princess Sofia (born in 1547) was the daughter of King Gustav Vasa of Sweden (ruled from 1523-1560), and it is now believed that she was engaged to Sture. She most likely knitted the glove herself, because it is not the work of a professional, and made it for Sten to carry with him into battle.
Gloves throughout the ages have been made from the skin of deer, kid goats, or sheep, or from linen, silk, cotton, or wool. They have been cut and sewn, thread-woven, knotted, and knitted. In addition to their primary function as hand protectors, gloves became symbols of loyalty, honor, and integrity, as well as bonds of security. Perhaps some of these old ways are worth preserving in our own cyber-whelmed lives.

—Nancy Bush, as published in Knitting Traditions, Winter 2010

Isn't this a super piece of writing? I find it so satisfying that the gloves I'm knitting today are one pair in a long history of glove-making.  Kathleen
If you weren't able to get a printed copy of Knitting Traditions (it sold out fast!), we're now offering a digital download. Knitting Traditions is a really important part of any knitter's collection, yours isn't complete without it!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Handmade Lace

Here is a wonderful website (Thanks to Anna Bauersmith's blog) on handmade lace.  It has descriptions and pictures.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Machine Lace

Thanks to Bev for this interesting article.


We are often told that period lace was all handmade and that machine made lace is not appropriate for use on period clothing and accessories. However research shows us that by 1841 lace was widely available. True many of the modern day fibers used in lace are not appropriate but it is not the fact that the lace is machine made that makes it inappropriate.

In fact, the first machine to make lace was developed in the late 1770’s from a machine that made stockings. This machine only made the netting or on which workers embroidered the lace pattern using a needle.
(Picture from
John Heathcoat, who worked with as an apprentice making fancy stockings, improved these machines and by 1808 he applied for a patent for a machine that produced a twisted netting that closely resembled Lille bobbin lace. This netting was still embellished with embroidery or tambour hook chain stitching. Some lace from Ireland had fine muslin appliquéd on the net. These machines were so successful that his factory was destroyed by those who opposed the use of this method. In 1812 an Act was passed which set the penalty for such destruction as execution. One man was executed for this crime.

The continued improvement of machines allowed for the pattern to be worked by a machine called a Pusher. The raised outline called gimp was still applied by hand. Some of this lace was difficult to distinguish from the handrun gimp such as Chantilly.

Other types of lace were made using only slightly different methods and machines. Tape lace was a popular lace making method using tapes embellished with needlework. Battenburg is a tape lace. Another type of lace was produced by using a sacrificial fabric of netting. Patterns were embroidered on this base and chemicals were used to remove the base fabric, leaving only the lace pattern. Schiffli lace is an example of chemical lace.

Improvements by Leaver and Jacquard led to a led to a machine that would also apply the gimp. By 1841 lace produced was difficult to distinguish from hand made lace. After this development, the use of lace machines developed so quickly that the market was soon flooded with this new inexpensive lace.

Heathcoat’s factory is still in operation and uses the Heathcoat machines.



LACE AND LACEMAKING by Alice-May Bullock


Frontier Army of the Dakotas Winter Conference Schedule

Take this opportunity to learn about Living History Groups activities in other parts of the West.  The Frontier Armny of the Dakotas is in the "7th Cavalry" country of Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota.  I was fortunate to meet them two summers ago at Ft. Abraham Lincoln.  This is information on their Winter Conference that will have you wishing that the wagon roads from Texas to South Dakota weren't so bad in the winter.  If you are close to this conference, be sure to share the information with others that are interested. It looks marvelous!

Conference Information

Frontier Army of the Dakotas

Mid Winter Conference Schedule
Dakota Event Center
720 Lamont St, Aberdeen, SD 57401
February 18 – 20, 2011

Friday – Pre Conference Workshop

12:00 – 6:00 Having a Fit part 1, 2 & 3, Elizabeth Stewart Clark, Idaho Falls, ID
Pre-Registration Required at

Are you traveling a bit further back in time? Join Elizabeth Stewart Clark on Friday, 18 February 2011, for
independent workshops focusing on the late 1830s, 1840s, and 1860s. We'll explore bodice fitting three ways:
fitting from published patterns, learning to directly-drape a pattern on the body, and adapting any basic bodice to get the styles you've been loving, but haven't found patterns to help you make. Each two-hour workshop is $15, ($45 for all) and includes take-home resources as well as in-session work. Pre-registration is required;
contact Elizabeth directly at her email; or her on-line registration at will be available for these independent workshops beginning in mid-
December. Please let Elizabeth know if you'd like to be a model for Having a Fit 1 or 2 (imperfect figures
welcome, corsets or stays very helpful), or if you'd like to schedule a private, personal fitting or bodice draping with her.

7:00 pm Meet & Greet – renew your acquaintances & friendships, meet the presenters at
Mavericks Steak & Grill (next to the Dakota Event Center, Hampton Inn, & Holiday Express)


All Day:
Many raffles & door prizes will be available throughout the day.

Fall In! Soldiering in Dakota Exhibit – SD Historical Society
As settlers moved in to Dakota, the military protected them, surveyed and mapped the terrain, and built roads. Too much territory and too few men made soldiering in Dakota a tough go.

8:00 – 9:00 Check-in

9:00 – 10:00 Women’s Clothing Overview by Elizabeth Stewart Clark

This workshop covers not just the layers and styles you'll need for a functional historic wardrobe, but covers the "why?" of it, too. We'll also discuss making individual impression choices based on research--women in the19th century were not cookie cutter people! There are so many choices that all fall within the range of "period appropriate": there's something for every personality, every budget, and every impression.

9:15 – 10:00 Ordnance Magazines by Thomas Buecker, Ft Robinson NE
Almost every Army post had an ordnance magazine, but we really don’t know much about these important fortstructures. We’ll talk about construction, where magazines were located, and the ten 19th Century magazine structures that survived through the years on the Northern Plains.

10:15 – 11:00 Katheryne Reynolds 1849 – 1947 presented by Joyce Jefferson, Rapid City, SD

Freed from slavery, Kate and her mother left the plantation life seeking a new and better life. They traveled
through the Cheyenne Gateway to arrive in Dakota Territory. Kate practiced the lessons of her mother very
well. She used the land, helped people and followed the Golden Rule. After working in Deadwood as a cook, midwife, nurse, boarding house manager and laundry worker, “Aunt Kate” homesteaded on land along
Spearfish Canyon. She earned the money to “prove up” her land by selling cord wood to the forest service. Joyce will share how she and others researched documentation and Kate’s homestead to develop Kate’s story. Learn how you can use archeological finds and documentation to prepare a first-person narrative.

10:15 – 12:00 Clothing Handwork Techniques by Elizabeth Stewart Clark:

PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED see registration form.
To dress ourselves in high-quality clothing for the mid-century, we need to use historically-correct shapes,
historically-correct materials, and historically-correct techniques. The handwork techniques aren't found in your local sewing shop, however! Fortunately, you'll need a concise set of skills, and they can be learned by anyone.
In this workshop, participants will get hands-on experience replicating a sampler of historic techniques,
including seams and seam finishes (seaming, stitching, run-and-fell seams, whipped finishes), construction
details (piping, bias finishes, setting hooks & eyes, handmade buttonholes if time allows), simple hems, and
handling fullness (gauging, pleating, gathering, and stroked gathering.) No machine is needed, and a full
materials kit plus a take-home stitching guide is provided. The techniques learned can be used on men's,
women's, infant's, children's, and teen's clothing. Class size limited to 25 participants. Pre-registration required.
See registration form.

11:00 –12:00 Andersonville: A Tragedy of Errors by Warren Schlecht, Ellendale ND

During the early part of the Civil War, prisoners were exchanged one for one, oftentimes immediately
after a battle. But this system quickly collapsed, resulting in over 150 prisoner-of-war camps. A great influx of prisoners led to appalling conditions in most of the detention camps—both North and South; however one prison has captured and held the attention of the public more than any other: the stockade at Andersonville. A compounding of errors at Andersonville created one of the greatest tragedies in America’s history.

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch Break – on your own

1:00 – 1:45 Northern Plains Forts by Thomas Buecker

There were 68 forts, how did they evolve, why & when were they abandoned, what happened to them after
the Army left, why we have forts preserved and why some are fields.

1:00 – 1:45 Sarah Campbell 1824? – 1888 presented by Joyce Jefferson
One of the Black Hills' most interesting figures, Sarah Campbell, is buried in the little community of Galena near Deadwood, South Dakota. Sarah Campbell, who traveled with the George Armstrong Custer expedition of 1874, shares her experiences living during the gold rush. Probably born into slavery in Kentucky, Sarah tells of having traveled the Missouri River on steam boats for years. She was in Bismarck, Dakota Territory, when Custer was commissioned to survey the Black Hills of Dakota Territory. She signed on as a cook with the expedition. She was known as "Aunt Sally" to both soldiers and miners and all who loved her. She is reportedly the first woman to file a mining claim at Custer Gulch, Aug 5, 1874. After the presentation, you will have the opportunity to“talk” to Aunt Sally about her life. Then Joyce Jefferson will acquaint you with ways to develop a “minor” character when little is known about the individual.

2:00 – 4:00 Keynote Speaker: Sharing the Frontier World - Elizabeth Stewart Clark:

In order to share the complex mid-century world, first we need to educate ourselves, and then learn to
communicate what we know effectively. This workshop explores the how-to of research and documentation, and then expands into the specifics of how to draw on our own personal interests and passions to develop interpretive scenarios and strategies to communicate with site patrons and our fellow living history enthusiasts.

Every person now is an interesting mix of likes, dislikes, and interests; so were our counterparts from the mid-century! Tapping into our passions in a productive, research-grounded way gives great depth to our living history. We'll get into interpretive voices beyond first person, and how to effectively slide into various methods seamlessly, to best meet the needs of our visitors. We'll look at how to clarify interpretive goals, and how to mesh domestic interpretation with military interpretation. We'll also look at how to use local and regional research specifics, as well as wider societal context, to help our visitors make vital connections, and aid us in presenting our information clearly, and in an engaging manner. These concepts apply equally to citizen and military interpreters--after all, any military man was once a citizen, and he brings his citizen life experiences with him.

6:00 – Dinner followed by the Military Ball with a live band, 1860 – 1880 Period Dress Required.


9:00 - Possible Church Service to be announced -

10:00 - FAD meeting

Conference Presenters

Keynote Speaker

Elizabeth Stewart Clark – Idaho Falls, ID
has been involved in researching and interpreting the lives of everyday people from the mid-19th century for 18 years. She specializes in translating the details, and helping others learn the sometimes-specialized techniques that make creating a wardrobe or an impression so much easier. She is the author of The Dressmaker's Guide, 1840-1865, and numerous articles for Civil War Historian Magazine and The Citizen's Companion Magazine. She is the designer of The Sewing Academy/Historic Moments line of historic clothing patterns. Her workshops and presentations have been enjoyed by living history enthusiasts and historic site staff around the country for the past nine years.

Joyce Jefferson – Rapid City SD

Enthralled with the historic African American women who conquered the wild west, Joyce Jefferson has
researched and developed historical portrayals of women she calls sheroes. These women crossed dangerous and undeveloped lands, entering the wild west with all odds stacked against them. With backgrounds of slavery, little or no education, and being of minority gender, these women overcame the most challenging of circumstances to accomplish the extraordinary. Joyce Jefferson is a seasoned performer with hundreds of presentations to her credit. She shared billing with Yolonda King and Sally Roesch Wagner. She is also a frequent guest presenter at Gregory, South Dakota's Oscar Micheaux Film and Book Festival. Her portrayals of phenomenal women, who throughout history overcame the most challenging circumstances to accomplish the extraordinary. These heroes are examples of how each of us has the courage to reach our goals and dreams.
Joyce, attired in period costume, takes you back in time - as if you were in Old Custer, Deadwood or the plains.

Thomas Buecker – Ft Robinson NE

Tom is a native Nebraskan who spent part of his childhood growing up in Faulk County SD. He has earned a BAfrom the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and a MA from Chadron State College. He has been a museum curator for the Nebraska State Historical Society since 1977. Tom has also served as curator of the Ft Robinson museum since 1985. He has authored several books and numerous articles on the Army in the west.

Warren Schlecht - Ellendale, ND

Born and raised in North Dakota, Warren spent over thirty years farming before turning full-time to academia. After serving in the Army, he graduated with his BA from Jamestown College, earned an MA from North Dakota State University, and is currently working on completing his PhD in English Literature from the University of South Dakota. Warren has taught at NDSU, Jamestown College, and is currently an English and science professor at Trinity Bible College in Ellendale, ND. Having been intrigued by Stephen Crane’s novel The Red Badge of Courage at a young age, he has pursued a life-long interest in the American Civil War.

*Directions to the Dakota Event Center (DEC): The DEC is just west of Target on SE 6th Ave. or south of the Mall, next to the Hampton Inn, Holiday Express and Maverick’s Steak & Grill. Coming from the East or West, Hwy 12 turns into 6th Ave. Coming from the North, take Hwy 281 to 6th Ave and turn East (left). Coming from the South, take I29 to Hwy 12, turn East (left), which turns into 6th Ave. See Target
on your left. Coming from South Hwy 281, take a right on 6th Ave and go East until you see Target on your right.
For a registration form or other questions, please call Brigette at 605-225-3392, email or Mardell Weisenburger at 605-226-1567, email .

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Victorian Ball at Twiggs Surrender in San Antonio

Saturday February 12, 2011 will be the 150th anniversary of General David Twiggs surrender of Federal forces to the Texans just prior to the Civil War.  It happened near the Alamo which was the headquarters of the Department of Texas.  This is a wonderful event which takes place on the Alamo grounds and draw very large crowds of people from everywhere in the world.

Later that day, a ball will be held in the Saint Anthony hotel.  The ball is coordinated by Becky Noone.  Reservations are required and can be made at 281-528-9788.  This is one of the highlight events of the season.
---Ann Dixon

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Victorian Beadwork Display in Odessa, TX

The Ellen Noel Art Museum in Odessa, TX is featuring another Victorian art display.  The display runs from Nov. 16 through Jan. 16.  It is another of the fabulous exhibits assisted by Stephen Porterfield, an internationally known collector of vintage clothing and Victorian Era specialist.

"The Ellen Noël Art Museum announces an exhibition featuring over 50 objects from the 19th Century Victorian Beadwork collection of Sandra Bassett of Dallas, Texas. For over 20 years, Ms. Bassett has amassed a collection of fine English beaded items, including tea stands, fire screens, purses, benches, pictures, trays, and other items created during the Victorian Era. "
Visit the musuems website at for more information.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Submitted by Cathy Roach

Friday, November 19, 2010

Extending your dress budget

Living historians create their dresses as authentic as possible but after a while the dress seems to become rather blah from wear.  I wonder if women from that time had the same issues especially given their limited clothing supply.  What would they do to revive an old style or change the look?  Just like ladies today they added accessories.  One accessory that was popular was the pelerine or a woman's short narrow cape with long pointed ends that met at the front.  It could be worn for extra warmth on a cool evening or embellished to add decoration to a gown.  From my research, most pelerines of high fashion were worn from 1830-1850's.  In the 1860s and 1870s, some women continued to wear capes and pelerines but these seem to be mostly older women who, just like women of today, had developed a style they liked and they were sticking to it.
I did not think that the pelerine went much past the 1860's until I saw this original black velvet pelerine from the 1890s.  The dating comes from the lace with which it is decorated indicating the 1890's.  This was a piece from the Brooklyn Museum of Art. 

So if you need to update your dress, consider adding a cape, fishu or shawl.
Other versions of perelines and fishus for changing the look of a dress. 

Victorian Craft Sites

Two new Victorian craft and embroidery sites have been added to the Living History Links.

According to the site's intro this site is  "Where today's Victorian minded embroiderers and crafters meet!
If you love the Victorian age and all the beautiful embroidery and crafts produced during that era, this is the site for YOU! Here you will find how to produce beautiful household items just like they did in Victorian times.

The second site is a ribbon and silk supply with some free Victorian projects.
Check our these sites  for some great ideas.
---Ann Dixon

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Mexico History Museum

The New Mexico History Museum is a brand new museum in Santa Fe near the Governor's Palace. I had the opportunity to see the fashion display that are featured in these videos.

The garments were lovely and spanned from early settlers to the 1950.

The museum website is  It's media page has a podcast on the Women of the Camino Real which is very interesting.

New Mexico Civil War Ladies League

Pour a cup of tea and take a minute to visit the website of the New Mexico Civil War Ladies League.
For me, it is like a visit with friends. A treasure found at this website is their page of Victorian Etiquette for both ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Beautiful Fall Day at Ft. Stockton

October 16th turned out to be a beautiful day for a Living History event at Ft. Stockton in West Texas.  Another in the chain of forts that guarded the Lower Government road which ran from San Antonio to El Paso.  The road was heavily used by gold seekers rushing to California in the 1850s.  Soldiers from Ft. Clark, Ft. Lancaster, Ft. Stockton and Ft. Davis provided escort for travelers along the road until they were abandoned by Federal troops withdrawing east for the Civil War in 1861 .   In 1867 the army rebuilt the fort on a larger and more permanent basis to protect travelers and settlers from Indians. Until abandoned in 1886, the fort provided employment for freighters and laborers and a market for farmers, stockmen, and merchants.
The current residents of  Ft. Stockton sponsor a Living History Day in October each year.  The hospitality offered was very gracious and all those who attended this year had a wonderful time.  View the movie below to see highlights of the event.  If you haven't ever attended the Ft. Stockton event, you'll want to put it on your calendar for next year.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Free picture slideshow personalized with Smilebox

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Photo From Fort Griffin

Hello Ladies!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Vintage Fashion Plates

Vintage fashion plates that are found in the fashion books of the 1800's are great research aid for that next dress or just to dream over.  Check out this link to a page full of fashion plates dated by decades.

 Another site that has a wealth of vintage images is this site which has a free e-book to download with 13 pages of links to period/vintage clipart.

Do you have some great sites to share?  Please do and they will be added to the Links page for all to us. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Add to Your "Back in Time" Library -- Great Resource

What would we do without the great new-fangled telegraph system called the Internet?  Now there is wonderful easy access to books from the 19th century on Google Books.  I've been recently looking for crochet documentation and patterns from that time period and found a treasure trove at Google Books. Books from the 19th century are mostly public domain now and have been scanned.  You can peruse the book or download it.  There are links to related books.  I was looking for information and patterns for crochet lace collars and found this book which I downloaded in PDF form.  The Crochet Book was published in 1847 and contains directions and pictures.  There are other related books referered to on that page.

To simply the process of finding 19th century books on Google Books, go to the webpage by clicking the blue link above.  Type in the subject you wish to find in the search bar.  When the page displays, there is a sidebar on the left which allows you to choose the time period of the books available.  I have found home craft books, fashion books and others. Once you pull up the book, you can view it or you can download it in a pdf file which you can save on your computer.  Happy hunting!

--Ann Dixon

Monday, August 23, 2010

Alamogordo Workshop, August 20, 2010

On August 10, I attended a pattern making workshop in Alamogordo, NM.  The workshop instruction enabled us to learn to drape and make a customized Civil War era bodice pattern.  The instructor for the workshop was Anna Worden Bauersmith who has recently moved west from New York.  Her credentials are extraordinary. Anna is from the Genesee Valley in Western New York. She began volunteering for the Genesee Country Village and Museum, the Nation's third largest living history museum, when she was 11. During college, she began working at the Museum's Gallery and Historic Village later transferring to the PR and Education departments.  Her research focuses include nineteenth century social movements, straw millinery, ribbons, patent furniture and shawls. She is a contributing Author for the Citizen's Companion and has authored: From Field to Fashion: The Straw Bonnet, Early Victorian Shawls (re-release soon)
,Frivolous Functionality: 19th Century Sewing Cases (publication 2011)
  Her blog at is full of wonderful information and resources.  I highly recommend a few hours purusing it -- if you can get by with just a few hours.

I came away with customized Civil War bodice pattern I can't wait to use, a hairnet and wonderful resources.  Victoria Davis, our New Mexico friend, sponsored it giving me an opportunity to meet some other wonderful ladies, including Ellen Haage, a Fort Griffin member in Colorado.

For those ladies who were unable to travel that far, I hope we will perhaps be able to talk Anna into traveling to our March Frontier Women's conference to do a presentation.  So be on the lookout for the FWLHA conference information coming soon.

Ann Dixon

This picture of Anna and her husband were taking at the recent Ft. Stanton event.

Ft. Richardson Civil War Event September 10- 12, 2010

Fort Richardson in Jacksboro, Tx will have a Civil War event on September 10-12 which is sponsored by Hosted by Key's Battery and 13th Texas Calvary.  More information is available at

New Event -- Murder Mystery Period Masked Ball-- October 30, 2010

On October 30, 2010 at Beaumont Ranch in Grandview, TX the Civil War Center of Texas is having a Murder Mystery Dinner and Ball at which our favorite band, the Sweet Song String Band is playing.  Below is a flyer for the dance which sounds like it will be great fun. Click on the picture to enlarge the information or go to for more information.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ft. Concho’s National Cavalry Competition event -- help needed

The Frontier Women’s Living History Assn. will be helping at Ft. Concho’s National Cavalry Competition event, Sept. 30 - Oct. 3, 2010 with activities for women and civilians who accompany the competitors and perhaps the public. We need ideas and volunteers. Please send me any ideas you might have and let me know if you will be at Ft. Concho for the event. It sounds like there will be about 50 people who might be interested in our activities. Below I have listed some ideas that have already been suggested as a jumping off place for your great additions. Your help is greatly appreciated. Check the blog for updates
Ann Dixon

Possible activities:

1. Afternoon tea
a. Suggestions for music or activities

2. Period craft workshop
a. Easy period crafts suggestions
b. Volunteers to teach crafts
c. Materials

3. Trolley trip to Concho Street Antique District

4. History type presentation
a. Suggestions for topic
b. Volunteers

5. Living History volunteers for staffing Officer’s quarters open to the public

6. Ladies bazaar similar to the March conference – open only a couple hours with invitations to incoming participants if they wish to bring things to sale or trade.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Workshop in Alamagordo

I received this notice of a workshop that I thought many of you would be interested in. 
Dear Ladies:
I have attached a flyer with a description of two workshops we are offering in Alamogordo on Sat., and Sunday, August 21 and 22. We have scheduled it so that anyone coming from out-of-town can drive down Sat. a.m., and leave after lunch on Sunday. Saturday's workshop begins at 12:30, with a break at 2:30 for tea, and then resumes until 5:30. Sunday's workshop is from 9:00 to 1:00.
I hope I will see some of you here that weekend. I think this is a great opportunity for us to expand our knowledge and skills as re-enactors and interpreters of the past.
Please email me as soon as possible if you plan to come, so we will be able to accomodate everyone. Space is very limited! Check out anna's blog for information about her, and put this workshop on your calendar.
Victoria Davis
Workshops in Alamogordo!!!
Bodice Draping Workshop  Saturday, Aug. 24 at 12:00

Learn to drape your own bodice toile and make your own pattern.
Learn about seam placement for the mid-19th century.
Find ways to get the best fit for your body shape.
Please bring: Chemise, Corset or Stays, and Sewing kit including scissors, pen/pencil, measuring tape, string, pins
Favorite pattern making paper (I love wrapping paper)
Cost: $20.00
Includes: Muslin for draping and workshop handouts

Hairnet Workshop Sunday, Aug. 25 morning

Learn about hairnets appropriate to the mid-19th century.
Embellish a net with ribbon.
Please bring:
Silk ribbons if you have them (3/4"-1 1/2" wide, not bias cut or hand-dyed), sewing kit including pins, needles and coordinating threads.
Cost: $7.00 ($12.00 if you need ribbon)
Includes: Net to embellish and workshop handouts.
Special - Combine both workshops for $25.00
($30 if you need ribbon)

Unique Crochet thimble holder

From Bev:
Here is an interesting crochet thimble holder using a chicken wishbone.

Here is one on Etsy:
And another one:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

History of Crochet

This information was gleaned from  and forwarded by Bev for our information.

The modern needlework technique, crochet, stems from an embroidery technique
called Tambour Work or Tambour Embroidery. Tambour Embroidery was widely
used to create a single, continuous chain stitch on either a piece of fabric
or a net ground, depending on the time period. Early samples of Tambour Work
are dated to the fourteenth century in liturgical textiles almost
exclusively. This work was executed by nuns and was also referred to as
Nun's Work.
One of the many symbols of freedom that came out of the French Revolution
was Crocheted Lace. Since the people were free from the foundation and
restraints of the old government, lace making became a statement of being
freed from the old ways of manufacture. The word "frivolitaire" was used to
describe crochet and this new technique was categorized under "Punto en
Aria", literally "stitch made in the air".
Crochet is worked without a foundation pattern. Soon ladies of quality and
leisure were crocheting everywhere as a sign of their freedom from tyranny.
The novelty of crocheted lace did wear off and the market was restored for
bobbin and needle made laces. Thus crochet fell out of favor until the Great
Potato Famine struck Ireland in the mid nineteenth century. In an effort to
bolster the Irish economy as well as help feed the thousands of starving
Irish, crocheted lace was introduced to the Irish poorer classes by nuns and
charitable English women. Queen Victoria did her part by making Irish
Crocheted Lace popular in english society as well as throughout the
With the onset of the twentieth century, lady's magazines published patterns
for many types of homemade crafts and crocheted lace continued.
It should be noted that up to this point in history, all crochet was done
with fine cotton or linen thread, not yarn. Knitting was still the method of
choice for working with wool, so socks, sweaters, comforters were still
knitted. The bulky yarns and super sized hooks which are much used today
came along during the post World War Two era and reached a heyday in the
1960's with the various back-to-nature movements. Because heavy yarns and
large hooks worked up much faster than the fine steel hooks manipulating
fine thread, the Jiffy Crochet gained favor. A person could quickly turn out
a handmade article without putting too much time into the work.
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.


Tambour embroidery, introduced to the Western world by France, is a
continuous worked chain stitch formed with a tambour hook, which forms a
loop similar to a crochet chain. The stitch is formed on the fabric with the
thread held underneath in one hand while the other hand inserts the hook
down through the fabric to catch the thread. The needle is brought back
through the same hole, forming a loop. The following stitches are formed a
short distance from the previous stitch, catching the loop of the last
stitch at the beginning of the next.
The Chinese introduced this embroidery technique to the French during the
later part of the 18th century. The French term "tambour: (meaning) a drum"
best described the technique that required the ground fabric to be first
stretched taught in a frame before the stitching was begun. The embroidery
yarns used for a tambour stitch could be: a single strands of floss, twisted
silk, metal or fine silk chenille threads. Even though the stitch itself was
simple, the elegant yarns coupled with the intricate shading and elaborate
designs tended to create extraordinary thread painted works of art.


Cute Period Boy's Cap

It is always so much fun to see young reenactors being themselves and doing what children have done for centuries -- playing and learning. Outfitting youngsters especially boys can sometimes be a challenge. Here is a tutorial for a wool or canvas cap that is perfect for a young boy of that time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Millinery in America: The History of Hats

The Petroleum Museum in Midland, TX is having a free Lunch and Lecture session on Thursday, May 20th at 11:30 am - 12:30 pm. The topic is "Millinery in America: The History of Hats". Whitney Livingston is the speaker who will talk about the past 200 years of men's and women's hat styles, and how they were affected by historical events. It sounds like it would be very interesting so please share this information with anyone who might be interested.

Bring a "Brown Bag " Lunch
Dessert and Drink Provided

Monday, May 3, 2010

Fort Chadbourne Event 2010

Friday, April 30, dawned with a large bank of clouds that teased us with the possibility of rain. But true to West Texas tradition, it was only teasing and the sun soon shone on school buses carring about 1300 kids who were excited to learn history. Saturday was a beautiful sunny day that brought lots of visitors to see the many living history scenarios -- Texas Camel Corps, Cavalry, Infantry, Artillery, frontier women and other civilian impressions. It was a very successful event that was fun for all.

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Hail to the Sewing Machine

For women of the frontier and the 19th century, the sewing machine was a most important and liberating invention.  Many of us in the 21st century now gaze through antique shop windows wishing to own that piece of sewing past.  I have embeded a video from a sewing machine museum in Holland that I think everyone will enjoy -- even if sewing is not your "thing".  It is a real window into the past.

Back in 1950, Jan de Vlieger, founder of IMCA, started collecting antique machines and he has built up, together with the whole "De Vlieger" family one of the nicest collections of antique sewing machines.
In 1990 the family decided to custom build a 2000 sq. feet museum for this unique collection, which gives this collection the right place to be shown.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Rainy" Report from Ft. Richardson's Event, April 16 -17, 2010"

Fort Richardson is a nice fort located in Jacksboro, Texas, a small town north of Ft. Worth.
I was the only woman who showed up, so I registered as the lone "Lady of the Garrison" -- there was a local quilters group and a woman who had a display on the far side of the parade grounds. One local couple set up a small display on the porch of the Officer's Quarters, but they only do this one fort event since their daughter works there. I was alone in the house with my sewing machine.The house is furnished with lots of furniture, china, and small things that the kids were welcome to touch anything since nothing was expensive.
Friday's Education Day was a success, with over 850 well-behaved kids coming through. The many groups passed through the house rather quickly, so I was just the house docent. I gave each group a quick overview, invited them to check out the items that interested them and then put it back for the next person to see, to not go through the barrier upstairs and to please not play the piano unless they knew how to since I had to listen to it. I got a few chuckles on this last remark.
Frazier Bros. sutlers arrived late afternoon and set up shop in half the house. The meals served to participants were good and substantial. Really nice people running the event. However, about 9:30 Friday night the rain began and didn't stop. At breakfast the next morning, it was still raining, puddles were ankle deep and no vehicles were allowed on the grounds. One man checked the Internet on his phone and saw that a heavy storm front was stalled with Jacksboro right in the middle. Several of us decided to leave, but the rain made collecting our gear very slow and difficult.
I would have liked to stay if the day had been dry. The event was very enjoyable except for the rain.
---Stella G
Pictures from John Cobb

Monday, April 19, 2010

Contribute Your Event Calendar

If you would like to contribute your event calendar, list your events with dates, place and contact information in your contact and it will be placed on the calendar. The entire calendar can be found at Frontier Women LHA Calendar.

Website with period clothing pictures

The website above is in Italian but the pictures are of historical clothing originals from the 1800s and categorized by decade. What is even better is the fashion magazine drawing of the clothing which is beside the picture. The site was shared with me by Madeline Quillen of the New Mexico Civil War Ladies conference.

Do you know of any website of interest to "frontier women"? Please share them with us. This blog can't continue if there are not contributors -- so please leave your comments. If you would like to contribute as an author, email Ann Dixon.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ft. McKavett, March 28-29, 2010

Ft. McKavett was a grand event attended by many "frontier women". Enjoy the video below.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Keep up with the news -- follow this blog

Now that you have found our blog, you can keep up with it by following the blog. If you do not have a Google account, you might want to sign up for one.
How do I become a Follower of a blog?
There are several ways to become a follower of a blog. One of the easiest ways is to visit this blog is to click on the "Follow" button under the "Followers" widget:
1. You'll then see a popup window with the options to either follow publicly or privately:
2. Select how you'd like to follow the blog, then click the "Follow this blog" button. It is that simple, you are now a follower of the blog! If you elected to follow the blog publicly, your profile picture will be displayed on the blog with a link to your Blogger profile
3. Then bookmark this link to return to it or download the Google Readers so you can keep up with what you have read.

What will you get through this blog?
This blog should be a place where you can access after action event reports and pictures, upcoming event news and discussions on 1850-1890 period dress and life and home items of interest to living historians in Texas.

So...Won't you join us?

Meet Us at Fort Concho In October


Get your room reservations ASAP! Fort Concho NHS is hosting the National Cavalry Sept. 29 - Oct. 3, 2010! Ann and I are planning ladies activities for the weekend. We already have Officer's Quaters #3 reserved. Our focus will be on the Civil War Era. Please mark your calenders and reserve a room quickly. San Angelo rooms will fill up quick since the event is a National one.

Please visit Old Bulbs Gazette at this link:

This is where you may find many of the oldest, antique bulbs still available!


Saturday, March 20, 2010

After Action Report of Frontier Women's Living History Conference 2010

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: FWLHA Conference 2010
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Saturday morning arrived with superior weather. There were ladies from Kansas, New Mexico, Louisiana and our beloved Texas. All ladies were in great spirits and gathered together to learn about frontier gardens, how 19th century machines were invented by women to make their lives somewhat easier, Victorian knitting (crazy squares) presented by Arnie, a great overview of needlepoint as well as a hands-on project graciously presented by Joan Garrett.

Our honored guests, Marla Matin and Rusty Gardner, from Kansas were both a special treat. Marla presented a session whereby we learned the intricate ins and outs of interpretation. Indeed, we learned about first, second, and third wall interpretation. Marla does a first person interpretation of Libbie Custer, the widow of the famous Calvary Officer, General George Custer! Marla has been invited all over the country to perform her interpretation of Libbie. In fact, she did have the honor to perform before West Point graduates! Plans are underway to bring Libbie back to Texas for our Fort Griffin event in October.

Mrs Ann Dixon, as Mrs. Dr. Notson, organized a style show whereby some of the historical ladies of Fort Concho and San Angelo were introduced in a skit about a imaginary tea held at Ft. Concho. Sara Reeves played a recent Irish immigrant servant, Mrs. Notson’s maid. The tea’s hostess, Mrs. Notson, the wife of Ft. Concho’s physician, was played by Ann Dixon, Sandy Morgan entered playing Many Horses, a wife of an Indian Scout working for the Army, nearly scaring the unsuspecting servant to death! Next to arrive was Helen Baird as a post laundress delivering table clothes and napkins. Carolina Angela de la Garza DeWitte was the next to knock bearing supplies for the tea from the store across the river. (San Angelo was named for Angela DeWitte, the wife of a store keeper across the river from Ft. Concho. She arrived with her friend Emma Del Frate and a Mexican servant played by a young lady named Paige. The next visitors were the invited ladies of the tea. First was Mrs. Edith Grierson (Kathleen P.) and her daughter, Edith (Carolyn). Mrs. Grierson was the wife of post commander, Col. Benjamin Grierson and Edith was the young lady who died of typhoid in Officer’s Quarter’s #1 when she was only 13. Then came honored guests of the tea were Libbie Custer and her traveling companion, Rusty visiting from Fort Larned, Kansas. Finally arriving were two ladies, Kellie Knight and Ann Johnson, in a flurry of fancy dress. These ladies came to remind the others that the post “hop” or dance was soon to start. No one wanted to be late for the dance. After all left for the post hop, the hostess breathed a sigh of relief. Some things never change.

Breakfast was of fresh strawberries, apples, donuts, hard-boiled eggs, orange juice, and grapefruit juice. Snickerdoodle coffee and cinnamon hot tea graced our breakfast tables. Lunch was homemade Tomato Bisque soup and cold-cut meat and cheese sandwiches. An informal tea was served late afternoon, which consisted of brownie bites, orange cream mini-cup cakes, almond-raspberry butter cookies, cucumber sandwiches, pimento cheese on toast points and tea.

Many fine wares were purchased by the ladies from Chez Crochet and Frontier Lady Fashions. All the ladies left with bundles and packages of finery and excellent reading material. Another special treat was the opportunity to see a wonderful display of Ft. Concho artifacts which highlight children's clothes and toys.

On Sunday afternoon we ate one more luncheon together before the ladies loaded up on various wagons and coaches heading to all points north, south, east and west. Promises were made of a return visit to Fort Concho on the second weekend in March of 2011.
...Submitted by Sharon Baird

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pictures from Previous Ladies Schools

Conference Agenda

School of the Victorian Lady
March 13, 2010
Fort Concho, Officer’s Quarters No. 8

7:30-8:30: Register for Conference & Continental Breakfast

8:45-9:45: Heritage Gardening

10:00-10:45: Victorian Machines & Suffragettes

11:00-11:45: Jewelry With Jeri


1:00-2:45: Crazy Blocks & Crochet

3:00-3:45: Libby Custer-First Person Intretation

4:00-4:45: Style Show-Ladies of Fort Concho

5:00-5:30-Late afternoon tea

5:30-6:30- Needlepoint Overview

School of the Victorian Lady
March 14
Fort Concho, Officer’s Quarters No. 8

8:00-8:30-Continental Breakfast

8:45-9:45- House & Home-Cooking & Cleaning in the 19th Century
Strawberry Jam

10:00-10:45-Needlepoint Sampler

11:00-12:00-Roundtable discussion of Living History
Victorian Collections
Individual work with our presenters
Next year’s events & conference

Upcoming Conference

Ft. Concho National Historic Landmark

The Frontier Women's Living History Association will be holding its Fifth annual conference at Ft. Concho National Historic Landmark in San Angelo, Texas. The association is a group of living historian through the Southwest dedicated to preserving the history of women on the Southwestern frontier in the 1800's. The members are generally living historians who volunteer at historic sites throughout the states of Texas, New Mexico, Lousianna, and Colorado. Their work provides visitors a glimpse into the lives of the people who settled the West.

Please join us on this blog to learn more about history and the events and people that shaped them.