New Blog, New Goals, and New Plans for 2018

‘I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey…’
— The Criminologist, Rocky Horror Picture Show

An Introduction

Hiya! I’m glad to find you here.

You may find this little corner of the internet to be a strange place but I hope you’ll enjoy a look around.  This blog exists at the point of convergence between horses, history, and haberdashery.  I’m a three-day eventer, an historian, and a sewist who can’t keep my hobbies from bleeding into one another. Content here may range widely but you can be assured it will connect to at least one of these passions.

I revere horses for all that they are and I am grateful for all that they have helped me become. They shape all aspects of my living and thinking. If horses are boring, this blog is not for you.

I reject fast fashion and our culture of disposable convenience, which has manifested as a general reluctance to buy things I can make for myself.  I don’t buy clothes, except for socks.  At all.  I also don’t buy riding gear, like saddle pads, fly bonnets, and ice boots. This year, I have plans to tackle bespoke breeches and I’ll overshare all I can about that learning curve. Care to join me in the journey?  I’m also refurbishing an old two-horse trailer, creating my dream of a self-contained horse camping setup that can go anywhere, anytime. If you stick around, you’ll learn along with me about decidedly non-textile-y things like paint stripping, suspension replacement, and trailer axles.

I recently finished a Ph.D. in the environmental history of early modern England.  Specifically, I study how interactions with horses influenced men’s character and political influence under the Stuart kings of England, between 1603-1685.  Beyond the fact that we have more to understand about the social and cultural impact of horsemanship in seventeenth-century England, I believe similar conceptions of the relationship between horsemanship, character, and leadership periodically rear their heads in American political culture today. These cultural descendants and their modern meanings are fascinating to explore.

Plans for 2018

There’s one more odd thing you should know about me: I don’t believe in resolutions.  New Year’s Resolutions are particularly offensive.  However, I love setting goals and planning how to achieve them.  Here’s a quick overview of some goals for the year that will shape not only how I spend my time but also the content I cover on this blog.  Over the next few weeks, I’ve planned more detailed posts about my goals in each section below.  I hope you’ll join me as I go bushwhacking into the weeds!

  • Haberdashery
    • 2018 Ready-toWear- Fast (RTW Fast) hosted by Goodbye Valentino.
      • I haven’t bought clothes in years.  I don’t remember when I stopped, exactly, but I do know I made an exception for my wedding dress. We got married 3.5 years ago.
      • SO!  Of course I signed on for the RTW Fast — I would be doing it anyway and I’m having fun getting to know a bigger group of like-minded sewists.
      • Finally, I’m not making this a formal goal but I think 2018 might be the year I stop wearing any RTW. I still have a number of pieces hanging on, filling key roles in my wardrobe.  With another year of sewing, though, they may finally get to retire!
    • Sewing With A Plan (SWAP)
      • Every year, the Stitcher’s Guild runs a contest called SWAP, or Sewing With A Plan.
      • I’ve never participated formally but for a couple of years I’ve used the idea for inspiration. This year’s contest rules suit me, so I’ll be participating formally!
    • Pretty Basic(s)
      • I have a very few, very raggedy pieces of ‘loungewear’ that I’ve already kept limping along far past their deserved retirement dates.
      • Therefore, I’ve planned two sets of pyjamas, a warm, winter robe, and some other bits and bobs to keep me toasty at home through this particularly bitter midwest winter.
    • Pony Sewing
      • The ponies will be getting a bunch of new duds this year. Some, like fly masks and saddle pads, I’ve designed and made before. Others,
        I’ll be designing and developing this year.
      • I’ll making shipping boots and designing a head bumper for hauling.
      • I’ll also be publishing my pattern for a hand-knit fly bonnet sometime this year.
      • My biggest undertaking, though, will be designing bespoke breeches. I’ll be blogging every part of the research, trial, and error phases, so please join me! It’s sure to be a bumpy road!
  • Horses
    • I only have one real equestrian goal for the year right now: my poor Houyhnhnm is too sore to work, so I’ll be putting all my energy into getting him sound and happy. Keep your fingers crossed that he’ll be able to go back to work — he loves his second career as an eventer.
    • I also periodically nerd out about (veterinary medicine from a very lay-person’s perspective!)  Stay tuned for new ways we’ll devise to collect more data than one could ever need or want about my horses.
  • History
    • Write Again
      • This section is the scariest for me. I’ve needed a break from the academic world but I’m starting to feel ready to read and write again. In part, this blog is a way to ease back into writing, so this is a start.
      • There’s one last major academic milestone I haven’t checked off yet: peer-reviewed publication.

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