Yarn Along – New Yarn for Garter Squish, and Victorian Secrets

Every Wednesday I participate in “Yarn Along”, a link-up run by Ginny over at Small Things where we share what we are knitting and reading this week. You can click the Yarn Along image at the end of this post to see the whole link-up. You can also find Yarn Along photos on Instagram (#yarnalong) and Flickr.

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Once I frogged the purple and blue variegated yarn I had knit into my Garter Squish pillow cover, I had to choose a yarn to replace it. I finally settled on this beautiful, slightly mottled Shilasdair Luxury DK that I picked up in Glasgow on my backpacking trip. It fits into the “travel memories” theme of the pillow and the colour complements the yarns I’ve already used. Unfortunately, the yarn is over-dyed with indigo and I don’t think the colour set quite right, because it had an odd texture and the colour came off in my hands when I tried to wind it into a ball. I googled around a bit and decided to try washing the skein with wool-wash and then letting it soak in vinegar. My hope was that the extra dye would either wash out or “set” the rest of the way. So far the results have been promising. The yarn felted slightly with all that swooshing around in hot water, but it still wound up into a ball with minimal issues and no colour bleeding. Hopefully I’ll be able to join it to the pillow cover in the next couple of days. My goal is to knit up two stash lots by the end of the month and finishing the pillow cover would just about do it!

I received Victorian Secrets, by Sarah A. Chrisman, as a Christmas present in 2015. I started the book back then, but got detoured into background reading on corsets and then never came back to it. I made reasonable progress on my “books to read” backlog last year and I’m determined to make a significant dent this year. Victorian Secrets was the most appealing book on that shelf, so last week I picked it up and started over from the beginning. Chrisman is an aficionado of all things Victorian and her husband gave her a corset for her birthday so she could properly wear the antique and reproduction dresses she loved. The book is a fascinating account of how Chrisman’s body, especially her posture, and her life changed when she started wearing a corset. Reading her account made me very conscious of my own poor posture! It is sometimes startling how much historical knowledge can be gained simply by experiencing the items and clothing of another period as its people did, and Chrisman’s experience is a wonderful example of that truth. The one flaw in the book is Chrisman’s occasional harsh, even judgmental tone when describing some of the less polite people she has run into while wearing her corset. It can be a bit off-putting, and it’s the reason I put down the book on my first attempt. Still, the book is interesting enough that it’s worth powering through to the end, and I’m glad I did.

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