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Friday, August 10, 2007

Nothing in the heat, heat of summer, is more enjoyable than a cool shady room.

Add to that the ability to stroll and you have a oasis!

Stroll indoors? Yes, via the cool jetstream of the internet, one can virtually go anywhere for a visit.

I’ve been going to 1810 England, Jane Austen’s England. Or I should say, I’ve been shopping in 1810 England. WHO doesn’t love a Mall in the Heat (or the cold, eh Minnesotans?).

I was Astounded to see the loveliness of their covered lane shopping — my favorite was here at the Burlington Arcade where one could find, in the early 1800’s: “eight milliners, eight hosiers or glovers, five linen shops, four shoemakers, three hairdressers, three jewellers or watchmakers, two shops apiece of lacemen, hatters, umbrella or stick sellers, case-makers, tobacconists and florists, as well as a shawl seller, ivory turner, goldsmith, glass manufacturer, optician, wine merchant, pastrycook, bookseller, stationer, music seller and engraver.”

Hmm. No yarn shops, but people started wearing shawls aplenty in these times — those shoulders were cold, m’ladies. Women, had gone from too much to too little covered and were needing some extra warmth:

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cartoon by Isaac Cruikshank after a drawing by George M. Woodward

Here’s a great site about Paisley Shawls.

This was a time, at the dawn of the Industrial Age, when women, although still stylized beyond our modern comprehension, threw off the fetters of the Corset, if for just a little while. The simple muslim dresses were worn over, well, their Bodies, instead of layers and layers of pinnings, bonings, petticoats and more. (Apparently, according to Cruikshank, some ladies managed this better than others.)

I love the writings of Jane Austen and I adore the costuming in the movie “Sense & Sensibility” and found this site which features some of the period dresses created for this (and other) productions: The Costumer’s Guide to Movie Costumes.

Currently (to September 20, at the Paine, Oshkosh, WI) is a touring exhibit called “Fashion in Film.” You can visit and admire many of the luscious dresses worn in favorite movie productions, including (scroll down above page), Bright and Beaven’s Bridal Gown for Marianne Dashwood, which features something called “Straw work” where gold thread is embroidered over tiny bits of straw to make ruffles and motifs appear similar to basketry weaves and curves. (Close-up)

Exquisite! See you in Wisconsin (or at the movies?) — I have to go have a look-see in person!

But first, back to the knitting:

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Perhaps joining me for a cool wrap-fest this weekend, Colonel Brandon, from Sense & Sensibilty?

WINNER by random drawing, LISA of Knitting by the Sea

Thanks to everyone for the fun time talking about The Colonel (yum). Here’s a fun read for you to enjoy in the coolness of your room…


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