Valhalla's Things


Welcome to my blog, where I post sporadically about the things I do and the ones I make.

Recent posts

Late Victorian Combinations

Posted on May 26, 2023

A woman wearing a white linen combination suite, with a very
fitted top, small sleevelets that cover the armpits (to protect
the next layers from sweat) and split drawers. The suite buttons
up along the front (where it is a bit tight around the bust) and
has a line of lace at the neckline and two tucks plus some lace at
the legs.

Some time ago, on an early Friday afternoon our internet connection died. After a reasonable time had passed we called the customer service, they told us that they would look into it and then call us back.

On Friday evening we had not heard from them, and I was starting to get worried. At the time in the evening when I would have been relaxing online I grabbed the first Victorian sewing-related book I found on my hard disk and started to read it.

For the record, it wasn’t actually Victorian, it was Margaret J. Blair. System of Sewing and Garment Drafting. from 1904, but I also had available for comparison the earlier and smaller Margaret Blair. System of Garment Drafting. from 1897.

A page from the book showing the top part of a pattern with all
construction lines

Anyway, this book had a system to draft a pair of combinations (chemise top + drawers); and months ago I had already tried to draft a pair from another system, but they didn’t really fit and they were dropped low on the priority list, so on a whim I decided to try and draft them again with this new-to-me system.

Around 23:00 in the night the pattern was ready, and I realized that my SO had gone to sleep without waiting for me, as I looked too busy to be interrupted.

The next few days were quite stressful (we didn’t get our internet back until Wednesday) and while I couldn’t work at my day job I didn’t sew as much as I could have done, but by the end of the week I had an almost complete mockup from an old sheet, and could see that it wasn’t great, but it was a good start.

One reason why the mockup took a whole week is that of course I started to sew by machine, but then I wanted flat-felled seams, and felling them by hand is so much neater, isn’t it?

And let me just say, I’m grateful for the fact that I don’t depend on streaming services for media, but I have a healthy mix of DVDs and stuff I had already temporary downloaded to watch later, because handsewing and being stressed out without watching something is not really great.

Anyway, the mockup was a bit short on the crotch, but by the time I could try it on and be sure I was invested enough in it that I decided to work around the issue by inserting a strip of lace around the waist.

And then I went back to the pattern to fix it properly, and found out that I had drafted the back of the drawers completely wrong, making a seam shorter rather than longer as it should have been. ooops.

I fixed the pattern, and then decided that YOLO and cut the new version directly on some lightweight linen fabric I had originally planned to use in this project.

The result is still not perfect, but good enough, and I finished it with a very restrained amount of lace at the neckline and hems, wore it one day when the weather was warm (loved the linen on the skin) and it’s ready to be worn again when the weather will be back to being warm (hopefully not too soon).

The last problem was taking pictures of this underwear in a way that preserves the decency (and it even had to be outdoors, for the light!).

This was solved by wearing leggings and a matched long sleeved shirt under the combinations, and then promptly forgetting everything about decency and, well, you can see what happened.

A woman mooning by keeping the back of split drawers open with her
hands, but at least there are black leggings under them.

The pattern is, as usual, published on my pattern website as #FreeSoftWear.

And then, I started thinking about knits.

In the late Victorian and Edwardian eras knit underwear was a thing, also thanks to the influence of various aspects of the rational dress movement; reformers such as Gustav Jäger advocated for wool underwear, but mail order catalogues from the era such as (starting from page 67) have listings for both cotton and wool ones.

From what I could find, back then they would have been either handknit at home or made to shape on industrial knitting machines; patterns for the former are available online, but the latter would probably require a knitting machine that I don’t currently1 have.

However, this is underwear that is not going to be seen by anybody2, and I believe that by using flat knit fabric one can get a decent functional approximation.

In The Stash I have a few meters of a worked cotton jersey with a pretty comfy feel, and to make a long story short: this happened.

a woman wearing a black cotton jersey combination suite; the
front is sewn shut, but the neck is wide and finished with
elastic.  The top part is pretty fitted, but becomes baggier
around the crotch area and the legs are a comfortable width.

I suspect that the linen one will get worn a lot this summer (linen on the skin. nothing else need to be said), while the cotton one will be stored away for winter. And then maybe I may make a couple more, if I find out that I’m using it enough.

  1. cue ominous music. But first I would need space to actually keep and use it :)↩︎

  2. other than me, my SO, any costuming friend I may happen to change in the presence of, and everybody on the internet in these pictures.↩︎

Correspondence Book

Posted on May 26, 2023

A Coptic bound book open to the first page with the title “Book
of <space> Correspondence / Volume <space> Years <space>”

I write letters. The kind that are written on paper with a dip pen 1 and ink, stamped and sent through the post, spend a few days or weeks maturing like good wine in a depot somewhere2, and then get delivered to the recipient.

Some of them (mostly cards) are to people who will receive them and thank me via xmpp (that sounds odd, but actually works out nicely), but others are proper letters with long texts that I exchange with penpals.

Most of those are fountain pen frea^Wenthusiasts, so I usually use a different ink each time, and try to vary the paper, and I need to keep track of what I’ve used.

Some time ago, I’ve read a Victorian book3 which recommended keeping a correspondence book to register all mail received and sent, the topics and whether it had been replied or otherwise acted upon. I don’t have the mail traffic of a Victorian lady (or even middle class woman), but this looked like something fun to do, and if I added fields for the inks and paper used it would also have useful side effect.

A page with writing lines with the title of the field below it:
it has a number and then date, sender / recipient (at the ends of
the same line, in reply to / replied, ink, paper, pen, topics /

So I headed over to the obvious program anybody would use for these things (XeLaTeX, of course) and quickly designed a page with fields for the basic thinks I want to record; it was a bit hurried, and I may improve on it the next time I make one, but I expect this one to last me two or three years, and it is good enough.

I’ve decided to make it A6 sized, so that it doesn’t require a lot of space on my busy desktop, and it could be carried inside a portable desktop, if I ever decide to finish the one for which I’ve made a mockup years ago :)

Picture of book open to the correspondent pages: the fields are
name, letters sent, letters received, address and notes.

I’ve also added a few pages for the addresses of my correspondents (and an index of the letters I’ve exchanged with them), and a few empty pages for other notes.

Then I’ve used my script to rearrange the A6 pages into signatures and impress them on A4; to reduce later effort I’ve added an option to order the pages in such a way that if I then cut four A4 sheet in half at a time (the limit of my rotary cutter) the signatures are ready to be folded. It’s not the default because it requires that the pages are a multiple of 32 rather than just 16 (and they are padded up with empty pages if they aren’t).

If you’re also interested in making one, here are the files:

the book open to the page of letter two, which is repeated

After printing (an older version where some of the pages are repeated. whoops, but it only happened 4 times, and it’s not a big deal), it was time for binding this into a book.

I’ve opted for Coptic stitch, so that the book will open completely flat and writing on it will be easier and the covers are 2 mm cardboard covered in linen-look bookbinding paper (sadly I no longer have a source for bookbinding cloth made from actual cloth).

The grey cover of the book with the word correspondence, a
stylised envelope and a border in blue.

I tried to screenprint a simple design on the cover: the first attempt was unusable (the paper was smaller than the screen, so I couldn’t keep it in the right place and moved as I was screenprinting); on the second attempt I used some masking tape to keep the paper in place, and they were a bit better, but I need more practice with the technique.

Finally, I decided that for such a Victorian thing I will use an Iron-gall ink, but it’s Rohrer & Knlingner Scabiosa, with a purple undertone, because life’s too short to use blue-black ink :D

And now, I’m off to write an actual letter, rather than writing online about things that are related to letter writing.

  1. not a quill! I’m a modern person who uses steel nibs!↩︎

  2. Milano Roserio, I’m looking at you. a month to deliver a postcard from Lombardy to Ticino? not even a letter, which could have hidden contraband, a postcard.↩︎

  3. I think. I’ve looked at some plausible candidates and couldn’t find the source.↩︎

I hate proprietary software

Posted on May 12, 2023

Even when it’s \m/.

Years ago I watched my SO play Brütal Legend and of course loved it, but I’ve been only using used computers for a long time, and none of them was really able to run modern games.

Admittedly, he told me that I could use his computer to play the game while he wasn’t home (and I do have an account on that computer, that I’ve sporadically used to do computationally intensive stuff, but always remotely), but it was a hassle, and I never did.

This year, however, he gifted me a shiny new CPU and motherboard, and among other things that meant games from this century!

The first thing I’ve spent time on was 0ad (which admittedly already worked on one of the old computers, as long as the map wasn’t too big), but now it was time to play basically the one recent proprietary game I had been wanting to play.

So, this afternoon I started by trying to copy the installer (it was bought from an humble bundle, I don’t have steam) from the home server to my PC, and the home server froze. Ok, I could copy it through something else than git annex (or from the offline hard disk backup, as I did).

Then I tried to run the installer, which resulted in the really helpful error message:

bash: ./BrutalLegend-Linux-2013-05-07-setup.bin: cannot execute: required file not found

ok, then surely ldd can help:

not a dynamic executable

maybe it doesn’t like being a symlink (remember, git annex), but no, that wasn’t the problem. ah! maybe file can help, and indeed:

BrutalLegend-Linux-2013-05-07-setup.bin: ELF 32-bit LSB executable

argh. Why does proprietary software hate us?

Oh, well, , dpkg --add-architecture i386 followed by apt update and apt install libc6-i386 and the installer started.

Of course this didn’t mean that the game could run, but at least it was spitting out the right error messages, and I could quickly see what the other missing packages were:

apt install lib32z1 libbz2-1.0:i386 libgl1:i386 libglu1-mesa:i386

and the game started!


no. audio.

I often play games with no audio, because I can’t wear headphones, but here the soundtrack is basically 50% of the reason one would play this game.

Back when my SO had played the game audio was still through pulseaudio, while now I’m using pipewire (and I wasn’t sure that the game wasn’t old enough to be wanting to use alsa), so I started to worry a bit.

And this time, there was no error message to help, but some googling (on searx) and trial and error gave me this list of packages:

apt install pipewire-audio libpipewire-0.3-0:i386 libpulse0:i386 pipewire-alsa:i386

and that was it! the game started AND I could hear music!

And then it was time for dinner, and I couldn’t play.

(You may notice that this post has been posted quite some time after dinner. Most of this time wasn’t spent writing the post.)

Anyway, as soon as I’ve defeated and crushed Doviculus I’m going back to 0ad. or maybe wesnoth. or some other Free Software and frustration-free game.

Hiking Slippers

Posted on May 5, 2023


When I travel for a few days I don’t usually1 bring any other shoe than the ones I’m wearing, plus some kind of slippers for use inside hotel / B&B rooms.

It’s good for not carrying useless weight, but it always leave me with a vague feeling of “what if my only shoes break”, followed by “on a Sunday, when the shops are closed”.

So I started to think in the general direction of hiking sandals, shoes that are designed to be worn when resting, and lightweight to carry, but are a passable substitute for regular shoes in case of an accident to the main ones, maybe with the help of an extra pair of socks2 (or when crossing fords, but that’s not really a usecase I have).

My requirements are easier than the ones for real hiking sandals, since I’m only going to be walking on paved streets (or at most easy unpaved ones), and the weight considerations are a thing, but not as strict as if I had to carry these on my back while hiking many hours in a day.

My first attempt was a pair of hiking sandals from things I already had in my stash, with vibram soles, neoprene padding and polyester webbing. After a couple fixes they sort of worked, but they had a few big issues.

  • While comfortable when worn, the neoprene made the sandals hard to make, as it tended to deform while being assembled.
  • Polyester webbing is slippery. Some strips of hot glue in strategical places helped, but they weren’t perfect and in time they are peeling off.
  • Most importantly, to make the sandals stable enough to wear while walking I had to add a strap around the ankle that needs closing: this makes it a bit of a hassle to use the sandals, say, when waking up in the middle of the night for metabolic reasons.

And then, one day I made my linen slippers, and that lead me to think again about the problem: what if I made a pair of slippers with a rubber sole, technical materials and maybe uppers made of net, so that they would be lightweight, breathable and possibly even still suitable in case I ever need to cross a ford.

This was also readily attainable from the stash: some polycotton for the sole lining, elastic mesh for the uppers, EVA foam for padding and vibram soles.

I decided to assemble most of them by machine, and it was quick and painless (possibly also thanks to the elasticity of the mesh)


For the soles I may have gone a bit overboard with the vibram claw, but:

  • I already had it in the stash;
  • if I need to wear them on an unpaved road, they are going to be suitable;
  • why not?

The soles were glued to the slippers rather than being sewn, as I don’t think there is a reasonable way to sew these soles; I hope it won’t cause durability issues later on (if it does, there will be an update)

the slippers on a kitchen scale

As for the finished weight, at 235 g for the pair I thought I could do better, but apparently shoes are considered ultralight if they are around 500 g? Using just one layer of mesh rather than two would probably help, but it would have required a few changes to the pattern, and anyway I don’t really to carry them around all day.


I’ve also added a loop of fabric (polycotton) to the centre back to be able to hang the slippers to the backpack when wet or dirty; a bit of narrow webbing may have been better, but I didn’t have any in my stash.

The pattern is the same as that used for the linen slippers, and of course it’s released as #FreeSoftWear.

I’ve worn these for a few days around the home and they worked just fine, except for the fact that I had to re-glue the sole in a few places (but I suspect it was glued badly in the first place, since the other sole had no issues).

Right now I have no plans to travel, so I don’t know how much I will be able to test these in the next few months, but sooner or later I will (or I’ll keep wearing them at home after I’ve thoroughly tested the linen ones), and if there are issues I will post them here on the blog (and add a link to this post).

  1. the exception would be when I’m also bringing some kind of costume, and even there it’s not always true.↩︎

  2. and one should always carry an extra pair of clean socks, as they are useful for so many things, as Pratchett reminds us.↩︎

Linen Slippers

Posted on May 4, 2023

A pair of espadrille-like slippers in white fabric.

I hate going out to buy shoes. Even more so I hate buying home shoes, which is what I spend most of my life in, also because no matter what I buy they seem to disintegrate after a season or so. So, obviously, I’ve been on a quest to make my own.

As a side note, going barefoot (with socks) would only move the wear issue to the socks, so it’s not really a solution, and going bare barefoot on ceramic floors is not going to happen, kaythanksbye.

For the winter I’m trying to make knit and felted slippers; I’ve had partial success, and they should be pretty easy to mend (I’ve just had to do the first mend, with darning and needle felting, and it seems to have worked nicely).

For the summer, I’ve been thinking of something sewn, and with the warm season approaching (and the winter slippers needing urgent repairs) I decided it was time to work on them.

I already had a shaped (left/right) pattern for a sole from my hiking sandals attempts (a topic for another post), so I started by drafting a front upper, and then I started to have espadrille feeling and decided that a heel guard was needed.

As for fabric, looking around in the most easily accessible part of the Stash I’ve found the nice heavyweight linen I’m using for my Augusta Stays, of which I still have a lot and which looked almost perfect except for one small detail: it’s very white.

I briefly thought about dyeing, but I wanted to start sewing NOW to test the pattern, so, yeah, maybe it will happen one day, or maybe I’ll have patchy dust-grey slippers. If I’ll ever have a place where I can do woad dyeing a blue pair will happen, however.

Contrary to the typical espadrillas I decided to have a full lining, and some padding between the lining and the sole, using cotton padding leftovers from my ironing board.

To add some structure I also decided to add a few rows of cording (and thus make the uppers in two layers of fabric), to help prevent everything from collapsing flat.

As for the sole, that’s something that is still causing me woes: I do have some rubber sole sheets (see “hiking sandals” above), but I suspect that they require glueing, which I’m not sure would work well with the natural fabric uppers and will probably make repairs harder to do.

In the past I tried to make some crocheted rope soles and they were a big failure: they felt really nice on the foot, but they also self-destroyed in a matter of weeks, which is not really the kind of sole I’m looking for.

the slippers with the braided soles on top.

Now I have some ~ 3 mm twine that feels much harsher on the hands while working it (and would probably feel harsher on the feet, but that’s what the lining and padding are for), so I hope it may be a bit more resistant, and I tried to make a braided rope sole.

Of course, I have published the pattern and instructions for the slippers as well as those for the braided rope sole as #FreeSoftWear.

Now what is left is trying everything under daily use, and I hope I will have updates on this at the end of the season, rather than soon :D

Programming the ESP32-C3-DevKit-Lipo with Arduino

Posted on April 30, 2023

A few months ago we may have bought a few ESP32-C3-DevKit-Lipo boards from Olimex.

Since every time I go back to working with them I’ve forgotten how to do so, and my old notes on the fediverse are hard to find, this is the full procedure.


I start by sort-of-following

  • Install arduino from the distribution packages (version 1.8 is ok).
  • Under File → Preferences, add the development URL to the Additional Boards Manager URLs field. (on 2023-04-30 that’s
  • Under Tools → Board → Boards Manager make sure that you install a version of esp32 by Espressif Systems that is above 2.0 (on 2023-04-30 there is a 2.0.8 that works).


  • Under Tools → Board → ESP32 Arduino select ESP32C3 Dev Module.
  • Under Tools → USB CDC On Boot select Enabled.

You can now compile and upload your sketches.

If something goes wrong, to force the board to bootloader mode bring GPIO9 to GND.

Note that the serial port device /dev/ttyACM0 only appears when in bootloader mode, but uploading sketches and the serial monitor will still work even if the port is not set in the arduino IDE.

Fitting Top and Camisole

Posted on April 5, 2023

A woman wearing a simple, long sleeved, fitted white top; the
fabric is somewhat transparent and the outline of a camisole
can be seen.

For this summer, I’ve just made a nice sleeveless dress, but that doesn’t mean that I’m planning to go around with bare arms like, I don’t know, a peasant or even somebody with no health issues, perish the thought!

Instead, at the end of last season I’ve bought a remnant of white ramie / viscose jersey that is a bit too transparent to be decent when worn on its own, but should still give some protection from the sun without being unconfortable in the heat, with the intent to make myself a new top.

Because of the transparency I wasn’t sure whether to actually use it for a top, or just to make camisoles, but with the decency preserved by the dress the choice was made: I had enough fabric for a top, a camisole and maybe something small.

I already have a trusted pattern for the top and camisole, but they still had to be published, so I took care to write down instructions and take step-by-step pictures; maybe the white fabric isn’t the best, but it’s better than nothing, and I can still take better pictures the next time I’ll do another make. They are of course on my pattern webiste: top and camisole.

some fabric (the top pictured above) crunched up in a loose
ball, less than 15 cm in diameter (there is a ruler for scale).

Since the fabric was bought online as a remnant, I didn’t exactly know what to expect, and was pleasantly surprised by how soft it is: it feels like touching a cloud.

This however means that it felt like working with a cloud, and, well, let’s just say I’m happy that both patterns were quite simple and I didn’t have to deal with fiddly bits.

I was also not so pleasantly surprised by the fact that part of the fabric had a few small holes as if the end of the roll had been caught on something; I was able to cut everything around the holes, other than a small bit that I hadn’t noticed and had to be mended. It’s not a big deal, but I suspect it’s a sign that this fabric may not be as sturdy as it could have been, and that there will be more mending in the future as I wear it.

And then, when I had finished the set I was faced with another problem: taking pictures. For one thing, worn on their own they aren’t exactly decent, and then there was the fact that after a week of late spring weather in March, as I was working on summer clothing the temperature dropped and there was even a hint of rain.


I solved this by wearing the new set on top of another set of fitting top and camisole, with matching leggings. Not exactly something I would wear on the regular streets, but good enough for a picture of underwear.

A woman wearing a white camisole on top of black top and

Still, the pictures were taken in quite a hurry, because I wasn’t completely freezing, but still pretty cold.

Anyway, I’m off to find some other piece of summer wear to make, hoping that it will bring proper rain. :)

Swiss Embroidery Princess Petticoat

Posted on March 16, 2023

a person wearing a blue sleeveless fitted dress with
calf-length skirt; there are small ruffles on the armscyes and
the hem, and white lace on the collar and just above the hem
ruffle, and small white buttons on a partial placket down the
center front.

A few years ago a friend told me that her usual fabric shop was closing down and had a sale on all remaining stock.

While being sad for yet another brick and mortar shop that was going to be missed (at least it was because the owners were retiring, not because it wasn’t sustainable anymore), of course I couldn’t miss the opportunity.

So we drove a few hundred km, had some nice time with a friend that (because of said few hundred km) we rarely see, and spent a few hours looting the corps… er… helping the shop owner getting rid of stock before their retirement.

A surprisingly small pile of fabric; everything is blue or

Among other things there was a cut of lightweight swiss embroidery cotton in blue which may or may not have been enthusiastically grabbed with plans of victorian underwear.

It was too nice to be buried under layers and layers of fabric (and I suspect that the embroidery wouldn’t feel great directly on the skin under a corset), so the natural fit was something at the corset cover layer, and the fabric was enough for a combination garment of the kind often worn in the later Victorian age to prevent the accumulation of bulk at the waist.

It also has the nice advantage that in this time of corrupted morals it is perfectly suitable as outerwear as a nice summer dress.

Then life happened, the fabric remained in my stash for a long while, but finally this year I have a good late victorian block that I can adapt, and with spring coming it was a good time to start working on the summer wardrobe.

scan from a vintage book with the pattern for a tight fitting

The block I’ve used comes from The Cutters’ Practical Guide to the Cutting of Ladies Garments and is for a jacket, rather than a bodice, but the bodice block from the same book had a 4 part back, which was too much for this garment. I reduced the ease around the bust a bit, which I believe worked just fine.

The main pattern was easy enough to prepare, I just had to add skirt panels with a straight side towards the front and flaring out towards the back, and I did a quick mockup from an old sheet to check the fit (good) and the swish and volume of the skirt (just right at the first attempt!).

The mockup was also used to get an idea of a few possible necklines, and I opted for a relatively deep V, and a front opening with a partial placket down to halfway between the waist and the hips. I also opted for a self-fabric ruffle at the hem and armscyes.

same dress, same person, from the side, with one hand in the
pocket slit.

The only design choice left was the pocket situation: I wanted to wear this garment both as underwear (where pockets aren’t needed, and add unwanted bulk) and outerwear (where no pockets is not an option), and the fabric felt too thin to support the weight of the contents of a full pocket. So I decided to add slits into the seams, with just a modesty placket, and wear pockets under the dress as needed.

I decided to put the slits between the side and side back panels for two reasons: one is that this way the pockets can sit towards the back, where the fullness of the skirt is supposed to be, rather than under the flat front, and the other one is to keep the seams around the front panel clean, since they are the first ones to be changed when altering a garment for fit.

For the same reason, I didn’t trim the excess allowance from that seam: it means that it is a bit more bulky, but the fabric is thin enought that it’s not really noticeable, and it gives an additional cm for future alterations.

Then, as the garment was getting close to being finished I was measuring and storing some old cotton lace I had received as a gift, and there was a length of relatively small lace, and the finish on the neckline was pretty simple and called for embellishment, and who am I to deny embellishment to victorian inspired clothing?

A ruffle pleated into a receiving tuck, each pleat is fixed
with a pin, and there are a lot of pins.

First I had to finish attaching the ruffles, however, and this is when I cursed myself for not using the ruffler foot I have (it would have meant not having selvedges on all seams of the ruffle), and for pleating the ruffle rather than gathering it (I prefer the look of handsewn gathers, but here I’m sewing everything by machine, and that’s faster, right? (it probably wasn’t)).

A metal box full of straight pins.

Also, this is where I started to get low on pins, and I had to use the ones from the vintage1 box I’ve been keeping as decoration in the sewing room.

A few long sessions of pinning later, the ruffle was sewn and I could add the lace; I used white thread so that it would be hidden on the right side, but easily visible inside the garment in case I’ll decide to remove or change it later.

A few buttons and buttonholes later, the garment was ready, and the only thing left was to edit the step-by-step pictures and publish the pattern: it’s now available as #FreeSoftWear on my patterns website.

And Of course, I had to do a proper swish test of the finished dress with the ruffle, and I’m happy to announce that it was fully passed.

a person spinning on herself, the skirt and the ruffle are
swishing out. Something in the pocket worn under the dress is
causing a bit of bulge on one side.

Except, maybe I shouldn’t carry heavy items in my pockets when doing it? Oh, well.

I have other plans for the same pattern, but they involve making some crochet lace, so I expect I can aim at making them wearable in summer 2024.

Now I just have to wait for the weather to be a bit warmer, and then I can start enjoing this one.

  1. ok, even more vintage, since my usual pins come from a plastic box that has been probably bought in the 1980s.↩︎

Forgotten Yeast Bread

Posted on March 7, 2023

Yesterday around 13:00 I started my usual ”I’m being lazy” bread recipe:

  • 400 g flour
  • 250 g water
  • 6 g salt

worked for 8 minutes (by machine), left to rise until about 18:00.

For the record, it was a strong flour (310 W), type 1, so white, but somewhat coarsely ground.

And then, when it was time to cook bread for dinner I realized that something was missing. Something critical. See if you can spot it in the list above.

The yeast.

Some bread was taken out of the freezer and defrosted in the oven, but I didn’t want to throw away the flour, so I mixed 2-3 g dried yeast, 10 g flour and 10 g water, and left it to rise until after dinner.

Then I added it to the dought, added some more water (I know. I should have measured it. I didn’t expect having to repeat the thing. It was probably about 20 g), mixed for 5 minutes, covered it to rise.

This afternoon, around 15:30, I took the dought, folded it 5-6 times, formed a round loaf on the lined baking tray and left it in the cold oven until 17:45. Then I removed it from the oven, turned it on at 240°C, scored the top of the loaf and sprinkled it with water.

When the oven was hot I baked the loaf for 10 minutes at 240°C, then turned it down to 160°C for 20 additional minutes.

And then I realized I need to repeat this.

No, there are no pictures (there is some left, but it’s too dark to take pictures).

Bookbinding: photo album

Posted on March 6, 2023

an open book with a watercolour of a costume pasted from two
corners on one page; near the spine there is a sliver of paper
as a spacer.

When I paint postcards I tend to start with a draft (usually on lightweight (250 g/m²) watercolour paper, then trace1 the drawing on blank postcards and paint it again.

I keep the drafts for a number of reasons; for the views / architectural ones I’m using a landscape photo album that I bought many years ago, but lately I’ve also sent a few cards with my historical outfits to people who like to be kept updated on that, and I wanted a different book for those, both for better organization and to be able to keep them in the portrait direction.

If you know me, you can easily guess that buying one wasn’t considered as an option.

A closed hardcover book in uniform dark grey.

Since I’m not going to be writing on the pages, I decided to use a relatively cheap 200 g / m² linoprint paper with a nice feel, and I’ve settled on a B6 size (before trimming) to hold A6 postcard drafts.

For the binding I’ve decided to use a technique I’ve learned from a craft book ages ago that doesn’t use tapes, and added a full hard cover in dark grey linen-feel2 paper. For the end-papers I’ve used some random sheets of light blue paper (probably around 100-something g / m²), and that’s the thing where I could have done better, but they work.

Up to now there isn’t anything I hadn’t done before, what was new was the fact that this book was meant to hold things between the pages, and I needed to provide space for them.

a book seen from the top: near the spine all signatures are
made of 4 sheets, but two of them for each signature are just
stubs, and leave open spaces between the pages.

After looking on the internet for solutions, I settled on adding spacers by making a signature composed of paper - spacer - paper - spacer, with the spacers being 2 cm wide, folded in half.

And then, between finishing binding the book and making the cover I utterly forgot to add the head bands. Argh. It’s not the first time I make this error.

The same book, open on an empty page.

I’m happy enough with the result. There are things that are easy to improve on in the next iteration (endpapers and head bands), and something in me is not 100% happy with the fact that the spacers aren’t placed between every sheet, but there are places with no spacer and places with two of them, but I can’t think of (and couldn’t find) a way to make them otherwise with a sewn book, unless I sew each individual sheet, which sounds way too bulky (the album I’m using for the landscapes was glued, but I didn’t really want to go that way).

The size is smaller than the other one I was using and doesn’t leave a lot of room around the paintings, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it also means less wasted space.

I believe that one of my next project will be another similar book in a landscape format, for those postcard drafts that aren’t landscapes nor clothing related.

And then maybe another? or two? or…

Traceback (most recent call last):

TooManyProjectsError: project queue is full

  1. yes, trace. I can’t draw. I have too many hobbies to spend the required amount of time every day to practice it. I’m going to fake it. 85% of the time I’m tracing from a photo I took myself, so I’m not even going to consider it cheating.↩︎

  2. the description of which, on the online shop, made it look like fabric, even if the price was suspiciously low, so I bought a sheet to see what it was. It wasn’t fabric. It feels and looks nice, but I’m not sure how sturdy it’s going to be.↩︎

…this is probably not the beginning, you can find more in the archives.