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M Broussard

pollinator
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since Dec 21, 2020
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chicken food preservation fiber arts woodworking homestead
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North Island, New Zealand
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Recent posts by M Broussard

Could anyone tell me if this is also available as a pdf/e-book? I'd love a copy, but shipping to New Zealand has always been prohibitive, and is even more so at the moment!
3 weeks ago
It was a lovely set of talks!

In case you missed them, the Archives have now posted a recording of all three talks on their YouTube channel here.
1 month ago

Zoe Ward wrote:
Any chance you could share the pattern and mods, I'd be interested in trying to make a pair of these!



The pattern was "Bloomers for Cycling" by Black Snail Patterns, which is still available for free here.

As for modifications -- I just cut the legs short enough so they wouldn't poke down out of my shorts (no buttoned cuffs or messing with plackets, just a rolled hem), and added 6 pleats to the top prior to attaching the waistband for a more form fitting look. The pleats I used were 2cm wide by 8cm long: two in the front (one on each panel) and four in the back (two on each panel). The number and shape of pleats you'd want will vary based on your size, shape, and the base pattern size you use. I only put in 4 pleats using the same pattern for my husband and it works great.

I changed the closure to be a single button in the centre front rather than a series along the side -- no cuts or anything, just fold the fabric over and insert button (you can see this in the photos above). The great thing is that with a button and button hole at the waistband like this, you can just move the button if you need an increase or decrease in waist size -- a very easy modification.
2 months ago

Ellen Schwindt wrote:I recently heard that there is a perennial version of flax. Has anybody heard of it or knows where to find it.



Yes! There are a few different species of Linum that are perennials. A perennial linen native to Europe is Linum perenne. One native to North America is Linum lewisii. We have a native perennial linen here in New Zealand as well, which is Linum monogynum. Common flax Linum usitatissimum, which is used to make linen commercially, is an annual. All members of the genus Linum have strong bast fibres which can be used in textiles, although the length and quality vary. Many perennial species have extensive branching, which is not ideal from a fibre extraction perspective. Some have higher quality fibre than L. usitatissimum -- L. monogynum apparently has excellent quality, fine fibre (difficult to find seeds, though!).

I would look for seeds of perennial Linum species in your local wildflower seed catalogues. Linum perenne, L. lewisii, and L. grandiflorum (an annual) are all popular garden flowers and seed for at least one of these should be available in your country.
2 months ago
In NZ, our local "onion weed" seems to be different to the common one in the US. If you can find Nothoscordum × borbonicum, it's got lovely oniony/garlicy leaves and small tubers you can use as pickling onions. I've seen it take over whole verges with its oniony goodness. A great plant for some foraging, for sure. Requires zero care and survives moderate drought. Other names for this plant include honeybells and fragrant false garlic. It's actually quite pretty in my opinion with lovely bell-shaped white flowers.
3 months ago
This badge bit is for completely replacing the sleeves on a woolen shirt.

My favorite woolen shirt was in the mending box for some time with a 'too hard basket' repair needed. I had previously added elbow patches and replaced the cuffs, but the fabric of the main sleeve was disintegrating. After 9 years of wear, this is to be expected, but it was still sad, and I wasn't sure exactly what to do.

In the end I decided that major surgery was required. I carefully unpicked the existing sleeves, removed the added elbow patches and cuff, and used this as a pattern for cutting a new pair of sleeves. I then put in new plackets, sewed on the old elbow patches and cuffs, and re-inserted the sleeves. It fits just as well as before, and is a bit less breezy around the cuff/elbow. The new material is black 100% wool I purchased new from a local fabric shop and checked with a burn test (burning hair smell, fine ash--no beads).

This repair is a step beyond what was commonly done historically (more usually, replacing cuffs and collars is about it), and no longer considered cost/time effective. However, as the main body of the shirt is still in good condition, and I fancy the pattern, I decided to go forward with fixing it. It took me about 4 hours to do the sewing part, and an additional hour to unpick everything. About 1 hour of the sewing time was taken up with me fiddling around with the placket because I couldn't remember how I'd done it before, and the geometry is a bit confusing.
3 months ago
Nikki Roche - I'm still doing badge bits! Going a bit slower than once/week. I've been enjoying your PEX posts--good effort.

Good going, Lew, and thanks for the reminder.

Here's what I've been up to since my last post here (3 July -- now 27 Aug):

It's been wet! We got 150% of our usual monthly rainfall in July, so there was little to do out in the garden. I've focused on doing indoor crafts. First, I mended a hole in a pair of shorts. Actually three pairs (why do they all fail at once?). There is still a pair in the mending box, but I now have enough pairs so I'm not walking around indecent! I posted a BB of the rose hips I foraged and dried in the autumn. I then started a long-term weaving project--to do this made up some tablet cards for tablet weaving (so I could start a strap on the warp-weighted loom). Then I went back to my mending and darned a sock. As before, there were many additional socks that I darned (4?), but the badge bit only counts once, unfortunately! Then I sewed up some more underwear, as a pair I had wore out. I've a bunch more sewing and mending projects to do--it never is done!

My current strategy for doing Badge Bits is to only do them as they come up, which works alright, though it's a bit slow.


Mending a hole


Foraged rose hips


Make a small loom while wearing the repaired shorts, haha


Mending a sock


Making underwear
Natural fibre undergarments are hard to find, particularly if you also want cotton thread (most natural fibre garments still use polyester threads). I make my own -- the pattern is modified off of Edwardian cycling bloomers, but cutting it shorter and removing the lacy bits. They work great under shorts, pants, skirts, etc.
3 months ago
I haven't purchased underwear for myself since 2013. When it started wearing out, I spent some time searching for a 100% natural fibre alternative, which proved to be very difficult! I tried several versions of underwear in the above bikini-style made of old cotton t-shirts, but I found that, without elastic, it wasn't too long before they sagged and started trying to fall off my hips while in use. I went through versions of the same with a drawstring, but ran into trouble with the drawstring snapping while out and about, and the crotch eventually sagging out as well. At this point, I determined that perhaps knit fabrics were not the best option for this job, and researched historical undergarments made with wovens.

I ran across a pattern for Edwardian cycling bloomers and thought--aha! This is what I was looking for! I cut out all the lacy frilly bits, and cut the length substantially, and they work great. I made my first pair back in 2017 out of the edges of an old, threadbare bedsheet, and it only just wore out. This pair of underwear was made to replace it. The fabric is 100% cotton muslin, and the thread is cotton. The buttons are re-used vintage buttons I've collected over the years. They work great under pants, shorts, etc, and by modifying the number and placement of darts, the same pattern works for my partner also.
3 months ago
Eggs have gone up in price significantly. We buy ours (free-range) from a local farmer for NZ$5/doz--because they know us, they have not increased the price we pay since 2020. We also are willing to take their older, dodgy eggs because we're not afraid of doing float tests, and compost bad eggs in the garden. We share unusual plants with them in return -- galangal, yacon, etc, and bring them jars for their home preserves.

The shops are now selling free-range eggs at NZ$7-9/doz--they used to be $6-7. A flat of eggs is now $8 for 20 cage eggs--a few years ago it was $7 for 30. The gap between cage eggs and free-range eggs is closing, but everything's headed higher.
3 months ago