history

Cotton in the Civil War

Many of us, particularly in the North, like to think that when America gets involved in a conflict, especially on it's own terf, that it's a just war, a righteous conflict. But the truth is, most of the conflict we've fought in the past 243 years have been for economic reasons: tariffs and taxes, access… Continue reading Cotton in the Civil War

history

Would This Kill Me in the 1800s: Yellow Fever

Yellow fever is one of those "old timey" diseases I've been aware of since I was a kid--not just because I read a lot of historical fiction as a kid, but also because I grew up in mosquito country. But knowing it exists isn't the same as knowing what it does. So what is yellow… Continue reading Would This Kill Me in the 1800s: Yellow Fever

history

A Brief History of Elastic

We've all been living in our PJs for so long at this point, it's hard to imagine putting on normal jeans to go to the grocery store. How does anyone function without elastic waistbands, strech denim, elasticated socks, or the hundreds of other strechy, adjustable products we use on a daily basis? It starts with… Continue reading A Brief History of Elastic

books

A Review: Renoir Boots from American Duchess

One thing I've been doing since I started working from home is slowly compiling the pieces I need to finish off my Victorian costumes for reenactment, since that's something I'd like to get back to once we can go places again. The first item on my list is one I've been lusting after for years,… Continue reading A Review: Renoir Boots from American Duchess

knitting

Knitter Seeks Burial Stockings

You've probably figured out by now, even if you're new here, that I like history. And textiles. And in particular, textile history. Several years ago, back near the start of this blog, I lived in Italy for a brief period while studying textile conservation. While there, I developed a keen interest in the burial stockings… Continue reading Knitter Seeks Burial Stockings

history

The First Female (Acting) President of the U.S.

If you've been over to my reading blog, then you probably know I am not a big fan of Woodrow Wilson. In fact, I would go so far as to rank him in my top five worst presidents we've ever had, and that is a pretty competitive list. But I'm not here to talk politics,… Continue reading The First Female (Acting) President of the U.S.

history

Would this Kill me in the 1800s: Leprosy

Princess Mononoke, 1997. My first introduction to leprosy was through a Miyazaki film, Princess Mononoke, which I got on VHS in middle school and wore out through successive watchings. In the film, a town on the edge of the forest is a sanctuary for those otherwise ostracized by society. Among them, a group of lepers… Continue reading Would this Kill me in the 1800s: Leprosy

history

A Brief History of Haunted Mirrors and Photos

It's an old trope that gets trotted out this time of year. Walk through any Halloween decor section at your favorite shop, and you'll probably find a creepy plastic frame on a mirror that makes noises when you walk by, or flashes a ghostly image at the push of a button. There are even decals… Continue reading A Brief History of Haunted Mirrors and Photos

patterns

By The Grace Pattern Dive

Next week my book By the Grace comes out, and I thought it might be good to introduce some of the characters through the knitwear. A note: All of these links go back to Ravelry, as I don't know of any other comprehensive pattern repository. Slimline Undies by Susan Crawford Julia Grace is our main… Continue reading By The Grace Pattern Dive

history

Spiritualism During WWI

Ghost stories have been part of our popular consciousness from ancient times. The Greeks, the Romans, the Egyptians, the Celts, and the Mesopotamians all believed the spirits of the dead could return to earth. In China and Mesoamerica major festivals evolved around honoring and pleasing the dead. From the Vikings to ancient India, Africa to… Continue reading Spiritualism During WWI