Friday, May 25, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

This isn't about anything 19th century but.....last week my son mentioned making a chocolate zucchini bread and my garden is very productive this spring. I picked a nice zucchini and thought I would give it a try. This is the recipe I used:

Chocolate Zucchini Bread...more like cake :)

3 C. flour
1/4 C cocoa powder
1 C sugar
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon (optional)

2 C zucchini - coarsely grated, drained & squeezed (lightly)
2 eggs
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (I used a 1/2 cup plain yogurt cheese, its what I had on hand)
1 t vanilla

1/2 C chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1/2 C chocolate chips and OR Raisins (next time I'll use raisins too!)

Preheat oven 350. Greased and lightly flour (can use cocoa to coat pan instead of white flour) or non-stick cooking spray (which is what I used) either two loaf pans or one tube or bundt cake pan, either will work. I used a large metal tube pan.

Mix wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Stir with wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed.  
Then add your nuts, chips and/or raisins until just incorporated. (Hint - first coat the nuts/chips/raisins with a little flour, keeps them from sinking to the bottom of cake/bread) Pour/spoon mixture (quite thick) into prepared pan/s. 
Bake about 60 min. give or take 5-10 min. Check cake/bread with long pick, till it comes out clean/dry. Let cool 15 min in pan on rack, the turn out to cool on cake rack.

PS...I'm always telling my son...(who lives in another state) to cut cakes/breads in half or sections and FREEZE. It is always a treat when you crave some and it is already for you.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Shirt Making, July 1, 1861

Ohio  Cultivator, July 1, 1861
The Housekeeper.
For the Ohio Cultivator.
Shirt Making.

            Perhaps some poor little wife who has before her the awful task of making her first pair of shirts for her “liege lord,” is anxiously waiting to hear the advice I promised.
            Take an old shirt, rip it to pieces and cut out the new one by it, baste it together and try it on. Don’t laugh at the idea, I know it is an odd one, for I once heard a young man say he “did not know there was any fit to a shirt,” but trying it on is the only way a shirt can be made to fit, unless you have a scientific pattern, cut by a practical tailor, to go by.
            After you have got it to fit nicely, unbaste it and cut out a pattern, allowing for the seams, and marking all the hems, gathers etc., by notches, so it will be just right to cut your cloth by. So far your trouble is ended. But few ladies are compelled, now, to make bosoms, as they can be bought ready made for a trifle more than the linen would cost, and by the way, young wives, buy cheap bosoms, nice high priced bosoms will not wear outs the shirts and two cheap ones that cost about the same will, and when starched and ironed nicely a twenty cent bosom looks nearly as well as one costing forty or fifty cents. I know this by experience, and I find two cheap bosoms last as long as the shirt, while one nice one is gone, leaving the shirt good. As a general rule I do not approve of cheap goods, but this is an exception.
            Putting the bosom into the shirt is the first thing to be done, after it is cut. Double the front of the shirt in the middle, also double the bosom, and lay it upon the shirt exactly square and even all around, then cut out a piece one inch wider than the bosom, and half an inch shorter. Unfold shirt and bosom commence at the top of each side and sew the bosom in, in place of the piece you cut out. Then lay a plait at the bottom, and upon each side, both plaits of a size, and large enough to make the bosom set smooth; stitch the bottom across, turn the bosom under and hem it down, it being half an inch too long, having been left so for that special purpose, and saves sewing a tape across as some do.
            The object of making a plait in the shirt, at the bottom of the bosom, is, to make the front of the shirt narrow. The back you will at once see needs to be wider than the front, to give freedom to the arms and shoulders; if both side are of a width the bosom will shrug together and set out beyond the vest, in a manner you may have seen bau could not explain.
            Line the front of the shirt the whole length and width from the bosom back to the arm size. Some only face a narrow strip just round the arm size, but the best way by far is to line the whole back from the neck down to the bottom of the arm size and the front as I before said.
            The quickest and easiest way to sew up seams in shirts, and all other under garments, is in this wise: Sew up you garment or sleeve, upon the right or outside, trim the seam very small, turn and sew up again on the wrong side and your seam is quickly and neatly finished, without felling, which is a branch of sewing most ladies dislike very much to do. The first time sewing the seam, the stitches may be long if the cotton is strong, but the second time it must be done tight and well, and you will find the seam strong and soft. Try it, ladies.  
            When the shirt is together, but on the back binding, which be sure is just the right size, and buttoning it, double it in the middle, and taking a piece of linen two inches wide, double, cut it one inch shorter than the neck binding then unfold the linen, put a stip of cotton cloth inside to make the collar stiffer and firmer when starched, sew up the ends which should be cut a little slanting, that is, longer on the top than where it is sewed on to the shirt binding, fold again, stitch neatly all round, sew tightly on the binding by two edges, turn the other under and fell over the seam and your collar is made and fastened to the shirt. No need of pins, buttons, or strings, no losing in washing or trouble in ironing. Perhaps your “liege lord” will growl a little at first, as the shirt so made must be taken off every night, and a night shirt substituted instead, which is by far more healthy than sleeping in the soiled sweaty shirt that has been worn three or four days.
            But your husband will soon learn to like shirts so made as they are much less trouble for him, when he gets used to not sleeping in them. I have heard my husband say he would almost as willingly set up all night, as to attempt to sleep in his day shirt and flannel.
            Make sleeves large, as they wear much longer and also look better. Sew the linen cuff on, without a binding as it is less work, and looks neater, by that I mean gather the sleeve at the wrist, and sew the linen cuff directly on.
            I now flatter myself that some puzzled young wife with no mother to aid her, will know better how to go to work to make a pair of shirts, than she would had I remained silent. If so, I am content.

West Amesbury, Mass. June 1861
            NOTE—Now Sarah dear, let me tell you something we have found out about shirt bosoms: Last winter wife Mollie made us a lot of shirts and did not cut out the body cloth at all form the bosom, but put the linen bosom right over the cotton. The effect is to make the bosoms “fit” better than they can do where the body is cut out, and also so to strengthen this most exposed part of the shirt, that even light linen will wear as long as the rest of the garment. We think this is a great improvement.
--ED. Field Notes.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

October 1, 1861

The Library Of Congress (LOC) updated the Historic Newspaper section recently (it pays to keep checking back). I found another article for knitting socks. This is the earliest I've found so far...and I keep on looking for directions both Union and Confederate.

The Philadelphia Inquirer [PA] October 1, 1861
            WOOLEN SOCKS FOR THE ARMY.—the following directions, which have been furnished by a lady of much experience, may prove useful to those who will engage in knitting woolen socks for the army. The yarn should be bluish gray, No. 22, and the needles, No. 14 or No. 15.
            Set up twenty-seven stitches on each needle; knit two plain and two seam rows alternately, until the ribbing is three inches long; then knit plain seven inches for the leg, remembering to seam one stitch at the end of one needle. To form the heel, put twenty stitches on two of the needles, and forty-one on the other—the seam stitch being in the middle. Knit the first row plain, the next row seam, and so alternately until the heel is three inches long; then narrow on the plain row each side of the seam stitch for five plain rows, which will leave thirty-one stitches. To close the heel, knit the last seam row to the middle of the needle, knit the seam stitch plain, then fold the two needles together, and with another needle take off the seam stitch. Then knit a stitch from both needles at once, and bind the seam stitch over it. Continue knitting in this manner until but one is left and the heel closed. Take up as many stitches as there are rows around the heel; knit one round plain; then widen every fifth stitch on the heel needles. Narrow once on every round at each side of the foot until there are twenty-seven stitches on each needle; knit plain six inches, narrow at the beginning and end of each needle on every third round, till you have seventeen stitches on each; then narrow every second round till you have seven—then every round until the foot is closed. One pound of yarn, costing from seventy-five cents to one dollar, will furnish four pairs of socks.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Historic knitting - Knitted Braces

I’m working on a pair of 1861 knitted braces (suspenders worn by men). The directions are in a Godey’s Lady’s Book. The braces consist of two stitches, garter and brioche. Brioche is ribbed. 

            Upon knitting a sample using four ply cotton twine, a pair of 00 knitting needles and the number of stitches in the directions I found the braces would be way too large. They did not look correct based on the measurements of other types of braces/suspenders.
The directions stated to cast on 20 stitches and for the second section to increase 10 more stitches for a total of 30 stitches. The result was 2” wide in the garter stitch and 2 1/2” wide in Brioche stitch. At first I thought it was the cotton I was using as to why my piece was so wide. The brioche sample had 10 ribs.

            I looked closely at the illustration and saw only 8 ribs. This suggested to me the original cast on stitches was incorrect. The illustration was detailed. The illustrator had the actual piece of knitting in front of them when creating the illustration. Period knitting directions are a challenge to our 21st century knitters! So I believe the illustrations are a valid source in supplementing or correcting period directions…or the lack there of.

My next try…using the same twine, needles and only casting on 16 stitches and adding an additional 8 gave me the result I expected the garter stitch is 1 1/2 “ wide and the brioche is 2 1/8” wide. 

I also printed off the illustration, (Thank you Google Books and University of Michigan)  and compared my knitting with the illustration. I was surprised and pleased to see how closely they match….woo hoo!
[IMO....illustrations show details that may or may not contradict written directions. This particular illustration appeared as if to scale for the actual knitted piece. Most illustrations are not to scale.]

 I also compared the printed page with one of my own books so the pages are of the same size and not distorted.
Got a whole lot more knitting to do to complete this pair of braces.

BTW…the twine I’m using is unmercerized butchers twine purchase at Rowes IGA (grocery store), comparable to fingering weight yarn.


UPDATE 5/15/2012
 Here is one completed brace, it measures 29 3/4" long. I need to get the buckle and leather to complete the piece.

UPDATE May 22, 2012
Finished the pair and ordered the end pieces. Now waiting...waiting...waiting...waiting for them to arrive by mail...sometime next week...maybe.

Update 8/27/2012
Braces with ends.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bonnets, "red white red"

Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper [NY, NY] Saturday, May 18, 1861
War News from the South
From the Richmond Whig.

            A HINT FOR OUR LADIES—As intercourse with the North has been cut off, and the milliners of Richmond are prevented from making their usual trip to the American Babylon in Quest of new styles, the ladies of our city will have to look elsewhere for the “Spring fashions” The Southern Confederacy of Atlanta, Ga., speaks of a novelty in ladies’ apparel, recently introduced in that city. It says:
            “We were pleased to observe yesterday, promenading on Whitehall street, four beautiful young ladies from our neighboring suburban village, wearing Quakers beautifully trimmed with the Confederate flag, thus—the crown was covered with solid blue, studded with eight bright stars, and the skirt was alternately white and red. The whole was a complete counterpart of our country’s flag. From the modest [m?] grace and beauty of the wearers, we predict ‘four’ more stars will be captured, ere long, by some of our brave soldier boys. Mrs. Boring Mrs. Durand must look sharp for their laurels, or Decatur will secure the paten right of the new style of Quaker. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer [PA] September 18, 1862
Rather Downcast.
            The sympathizers with Secesh, who have been jubilant of late, and some of whom have uttered threats of what they intended to do with Union neighbors, are to-day rather downcast. One can walk the Avenue, from the Capitol to Georgetown, without hearing any one whistle “Maryland, my Maryland,” and the ladies who have sported “red, white and red” rosettes in their bonnets have taken them out or they remain at home.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Political bias.

Boston Daily Advertiser [MA] Thursday, July 25, 1861
New Hampshire Statesman, Saturday August 3, 1861

            It is quite amusing to see the different ways in which the ladies of Baltimore show their political bias. There are many who espouse the causes of Jeff. Davis, and show it by wearing aprons, collars, &c., with red, white and red stripes, and when passing a lady wearing articles of dress of red, white and blue, a mutual turn up of noses takes place.