Thursday, December 1, 2011


Okaaay . . . so I got distracted by my new covers. And getting the galley copies ready and sent out to reviewers. And cramming in as much time as possible to work on Crucible of War. So before I get sidetracked again, here are the last photos from the Gathering at Five Medals.

The first photo is of something I’d never seen before and it really fascinated me. It’s a knitting board. It was quite interesting to watch this reenactor use it. This tool turns out pieces that are finished on both sides and thus reversible. The photo on the right shows a small knitting board in the background behind a couple of samples of her work. Her husband makes them, and they’re available for sale. They look really nifty, but she did admit that she can work faster using knitting needles. Still, it looks like fun once you learn how to use it, and you end up with a double-sided piece.

The next photo is of a spinster—yes, that’s what women who spin yarn are called. As the reenactor demonstrated how to spin yarn on the spinning wheel, she explained that women whose profession was to spin were called spinsters. Often the oldest daughter in a family, they began their craft as young girls and when older could earn a good living at the trade. Many remained unmarried because they enjoyed the independence their work provided, while others married later in life. In any case, the term spinster was originally a very respectable one, indicating independence, intelligence, and skill. As this reenactor pointed out, it’s interesting to see how the meanings of words change over time.

Another interesting item I found was a type of chair the reenactor said was used as a birthing chair. I'd never seen anything like them before. The two boys appeared to be permanently parked on them, so I couldn’t get a clear shot, but I think you can get the idea.

The last two photos are of a wigewa, exterior and interior. They gave me a good idea of what it might be like to live in one. I’m looking forward to next year’s reenacting season . . . and to adding a few cool new items to my wardrobe . . .


  1. Great photos Joan. I've including a birthing chair in at least one of my novels. They make sense! I've also gone and bought myself an 18th century style gown. Not a workaday type gown, but a fancy one. It's not reenactment-precise. It has a zipper up the back--gasp! But it's close enough to suit me since I don't plan to do reenacting. Now to start collecting all the accessories, starting with shoes so I can get the petticoats hemmed. What HAVE I gotten myself into? :)

  2. Lori,

    Birthing chairs sure do make sense, and I wish one had been available when I had my 3 daughters. I suspect it would have been easier than lying on your back!

    Oh, I'm so glad to hear you're getting all tricked out in 18th century wear!! I want a gown so badly, but they're expensive to buy and I don't have time to make one. I did something crazy though--I found a Vera Bradly sundress in a consignment shop up in Bristol, and the design printed on the fabric looked close enough for the period. So I bought it and cut off the skirt to use as a petticoat! The petticoats common to the time were a lot more voluminous, but I figure I can do an over-petticoat open down the front with a full petticoat underneath in a matching color. Now to find the time to put it all together...! What fun!

    If we wear authentic garb while writing, it'll help us to get deeper into our characters' psyches, won't it? lol!

  3. You ladies are making me long for a gown of my own!

    I always enjoy your posts, Joan. The pictures are wonderful and the info so interesting.

  4. Thank you so much, Carla! I just need to get real disciplined about posting, and also get back to regular duty on CQ! I'm making a New Year's resolution.... :-)