Friday, July 17, 2015

Sundress and NY fabric.

On another trip to the sunday markets, a few weeks ago, this time at the small town of Espiche, I found these lovely fabrics. The first came with a paper taped to it with very specific instructions as what it should be used for, pattern number and everything, VOGUE 8947 to be specific, sundress + jacket etc. I thought this was really quite cool and got straight on the job of finding the pattern, which was really quite easy. So the next step, and what really made sense, was to buy the pattern, which arrived a few days ago, and make the dress, to finally give this bit of fabric the end for which it was purchased and planned for back in 1974. The pattern size is just a little too small for me so I´ll have to make some alterations for which I´ll require the assistance of my aunty Catarina, who is an expert in these matters. I can´t wait to make this dress. The jacket I´ll manage quite well without.

Cute puppy alert!
Mr. Louro looking very handsome.

On the same pile of fabrics was also a length of cotton satin purchased from McCutcheon´s of Fifth Avenue, New York. Wow. I imagine this is as close as I´ll get to New York for now. This Department store opened at this location in 1925. I found a McCutcheon´s postcard for sale. On the back of the postcard it reads "McCutcheon´s founded in 1855, is known for its adherence to quality and for exceptional values in its fine Linens, its wonderful Fabrics, Home Furnishings, Ready-to-Wear, Accessories, Handkerchiefs, and Gifts. You are cordially invited to visit our store when you come to the New York World´s Fair. The Answer Shop will solve your gift problems with ease and originality." There were 2 World Fairs in NY, one in 1939 and another in 1964. I am not sure which one the postcard refers to, but if I had to guess by looking all those gangster cars it is most likely from 1939. Nor am I sure when this fabric is from, but I like this story anyway.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Rasta Scarf and Deco Prints.

Thirty something degree heat is not exactly the ideal environment to weave 100% wool scarves. The knowledge this bespoke scarf will be going to the snowy slopes of New Zealand, however, does help to cool things down a little. Or maybe a cool bevvie would do the trick! But the scarf is finished and ready to post and the loom is ready to be set up again.

Mr. Louro, the new puppy is looking good these days. Today he was invited to a Puppy Party! I bet he is very excited about that.

This last weekend the second hand markets in Lagos were quite interesting and fruitful. I bought 2 original Jennie Harbour illustrations, hand printed by Raphael Tuck and Sons, ltd. from London. Jennie Harbour was an art deco illustrator that lived between 1893 and 1959 and these prints are likely from somewhere between 1917 and 1929. There is little known about Jennie and most about her can be found on this site. One print is called "A Rosy Ruse" and the other "Miselle Demure". They are both just beautiful as are all her illustrations. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Cane mats to sun-dry figs.

Down south, Algarve, in my cousin´s farm near Bensafrim, and we are getting ready to sun-dry figs. I was given the task of weaving a cane mat for the purpose. The mats were usually made from canes or from wild fennel, and instead of the ropes we used, woven with braided esparto grass. It was fun figuring out how to make the mats. The stones that my cousin´s dad used to make his mats were still lying around, one still had the braided esparto grass tied around it. The fact that so many mats still survived made the task of studying the details and measurements a lot easier. That said, the mat still turned out a little shorter than the 3 meters that had been planned. 

The canes were cut back in October, or thereabouts, and left to dry. Last week I started cutting them, and today in 2 x 3hour sessions the mat was finished. Now we need the figs. The photo of the figs drying was taken last year. The mats are layed out during the day on the threshing-floor and rolled at night to protect the figs from the night´s moisture. A group of mats sun-drying figs like this is called an "Almeixar" and could be anywhere flat an sunny: a terrace; a threshing-floor; out in a field; etc. This last photo shows what an Almeixar looked like.