Archive | November, 2013

Book Review – Victorian Secrets by Sarah A. Chrisman

Victorian Secrets – What a Corset Taught Me about the Past, the Present, and Myself


This book arrived yesterday morning and I read the entire book in one day. It really was that captivating. If it says anything, my husband started it last night.  This is not a book about sex and illicit romance.  It is about understanding another era.

It is the documentation of one woman’s journey to living history in the truest sense of the words, going to the modern interpreted “lengths” of wearing a corset 24/7. And she shares every aspect including her extensive research. And this was so beneficial! As a massage therapist, (in addition to having degrees in International Studies and French) she actually knows anatomy and can share the actual physical changes that are or are not affected. She takes corset wearing from the domain of myths and scare tactics into real biological conversation.

One reviewer on Amazon nearly put me off buying the book and I am so glad I did not heed her rant. The author suffered real verbal abuse from people and I am glad that she did not cover these events with rose colored glasses. I think it reflects a great deal on society today, where interfering, judgmental people think it is within their rights to tell other people how to live. These feminazis she encountered don’t even see that their vitriolic comments are right in line with the very people they seek to condemn. They preach tolerance, but only if it agrees with their agenda.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen this first-hand. I wear skirts most of the time and it is unbelievable how often I am questioned about this very harmless thing! Other rude observations have been regarding my or my friends’ families, with statements like “there’s a pill for that,” and Don’t you have a television?” Never mind that my kids with be paying their social security. Can you imagine how much it hurts the children who hear these statements showing that they are unwelcome to that person! Another example was on a long hair forum, where another member was told it was selfish of her to keep her own long hair! People have no idea how much they hurt others with their judgements, and I wish someone would come up with a corset for their mouths since there already seems to be one around their minds.

This is a very real problem in society and I am glad the author chose to document that part of her journey. Society turned away from manners and etiquette, making a deliberate decision to become “informal.” Instead of informality, society got rudeness. Instead of people voluntarily minding their manners, we now have to have hate crime legislation to control the deplorable things people now say and do to one another. Maybe more people should have heeded Miss Manners.

Chrisman has a delightfully descriptive writing style, and I envy her poetic use of language. When discussing diaphanous real silk tulle she ordered for some hats she describes its luxurious texture, saying “If Arachne had met Iris, the rainbow goddess, after Athena turned the presumptuous weaver into a spider, the resultant web might have been something like this material. Soft as a kitten’s breath, it lay upon my hands with the weight of a butterfly come to rest…” Ah, the bliss of reading an educated author!

Her husband gets a fair share of the story and he seems delightfully supportive. The two of them are united in marriage, interests, curious minds, and the pursuit of improvement. They take their role in historical recreation seriously, shunning imitations and petroleum derived fabrics. They should be imitated instead of criticized for this, as one other reviewed did.

She evidently has a strained relationship with her mother (something I can relate to) and still comes to understand her. Bravo.

I recommend this book even if you have no intention of wearing a corset. The author lived and traveled abroad and her acceptance of other opinions and cultures may have been enhanced by this foreign travel. The book may be about corsets, but its underlying theme is that of “live and let live.”

I am placing it in my Amazon store here. 





Spinner Alert! New Rovings!

Meduseld is still suffering from internet problems from AT&T, so keep your fingers crossed that everything uploads.  While AT&T was generous with a credit for the inconvenience for the problems caused by their tower, the situation has still not been solved.  Please accept our apologies!  Very frustrating, to say the least!

I have been admiring these lovely rovings and hoping to get them listed.  I am profiling some of the ones that are being added to our store and wish there were some way you could feel these through your screens!  They are so lovely!  They would make excellent Christmas presents, too, especially since they don’t break in shipping :)

Some of these rovings did not come from the sheep on our farm.  I have explored other sheep’s fleeces in the past in order to help decide what types to add to our flocks, and these are the results of that research. 

The first is a delightful and unusual naturally colored Shetland.  The color is called “moorit” (not by me, by the Shetland people) due to the reddish fawn tints that it has.  The animals that can produce this shade have to have specific genes for this.  Evidently, they are docile, hardy sheep.  A limited amount of this roving is available in our store here.



Shetland Roving ‘Moorit”

The next is another lovely light grey Shetland roving .  I hope the photo will do justice to the lovely subtle shading.  It is also very soft and would make a lovely worsted or bulky yarn.


Grey Shetland Wool

Grey Shetland Wool

We have four ounces of Gotland wool roving.  It is a pewter grey and has a silkier feel then you’d expect for a natural colored wool.  This has against-your-skin softness.  You can learn more about Gotland sheep at the American Gotland Sheep Society.  You can see the subtle sheen in this fibre, and even hints of warm brown.  

Gotland Wool Roving

Gotland Wool Roving


I only have the patience to load one more roving today!  This is worse than being on dial-up! 

The final one is five ounces of a sumptuous  Wensleydale.   I WANT ONE.  I mean a Wensleydale sheep.  You have to google this sheep and look at pictures of it with locks cascading over their eyeballs.  Too cute.  Well, that gorgeous high-sheen fiber is what you get in this five ounce bag of braided roving.  Toss-up if you want to spin it or just admire it :)

Wensleydale Wool Roving

Wensleydale Wool Roving

 Thanks to everyone for hanging there until these internet complications are over.