Sunday, February 3, 2013

What the Art Teacher Wore #53

Oh, Monday: A coupla weekends ago, I dug some dresses out of my closet that I had never worn. Some were holey, too summery or just a pinch too tight. I forced myself to try them all on and see if they should be sold, kept or donated. I always thought this one was too tight but a lil Spanx came to the rescue. dress: vintage, thrifted; brown tights: Target; sparkle fishnets: TJMaxx; booties and belt: Anthropologie
 Well, kids, I finally got my wish: I scored a Snow Day this past Friday! How many weeks have I spent whining about getting gypped outta a day of freedom? Apparently the Snow Day Gods were just so sick and tired of the endless bellyaching, they threw a day my way. And, lemme tell you, I totally spent my time wisely by enjoying a bubble bath, catching up on Project Runway and sewing (read seam ripping) up a storm. What a gift.

But now it's back to reality. Wah-wah-waaahhh. So I'm doing a little multitasking with this here blog post: I'm sharing what I wore as well as a brief history of wool and weaving. My second and fourth grade students are ready to leave our study of Germany and travel to the United Kingdom where we will enter the Wild World of Weaving. We're trying some new things this year so wish me luck. 

Until next time, enjoy your week!
The story of man-wearing-wool began way back before recorded history with the primitive man. Not wanting to waste any parts of the animals that were hunted for food, man discovered that this fur could keep him cool in the day and warm at night. And because no other fabric has been able to match it, wool is still just as popular today.
Mary Poppins Tuesday:  Several students commented that I looked Mary-Poppins-esque on this day. Which I totally took as a compliment. However, that afternoon when I was walking to a coffee shop, a group of teenagers stopped their convo when I walked by. When one started belting out,"Just a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down!", it just wasn't as cute. dress: vintage, picked up at an arts festival in Memphis; sparkly tights: TJMaxx; shoes: Softt; belt: Pin Up Girl
Wool is a part of Britain's history and heritage more than anything else produced in the islands. They began weaving it into cloth during the Bronze Age (which is in between the Glitter and the Bedazzled Ages) around 1900 BC.
Wood Panel Skirt Wednesday: This funny skirt spent time in my donate pile before I returned it to my closet. Which, according to The Secret Lives of Hoarders means I have a problem. One of many, I'm sure. sweater: felted by me, DIY here; wood panel skirt: Target, super old; boots: Frye
How is wool made? Why, you looking for a new hobby? Well, okay then, first get yourself a super furry sheep. Or goat, camel, alpaca, llama -- many animals have fur that can produce wool. Then shear them. I'm guessing with a shearing tool like that above, not your Bic razor.
Once the wool is sheared, it must be cleaned and carded. In the painting above, you'll notice the woman is holding two large wooden carding combs. The wool fiber is raked through these combs to alight the fibers of the wool. This makes it easier for spinning the wool into yarn.
I mean, look, doesn't that look so super easy? Can you imagine how precious your possessions would be to you if these were the lengths you had to go to create them? From shearing to carding and spinning and still nothin' to wear. I could have never survived back in the day. It's no wonder their lives were short-lived.
Midway Thursday: On this day our school was hosting a carnival in the evening. I'd never heard a carnival called a "midway" before. I'm curious about the history of that name. I decided my Fulla Hot Air Frock would be appropriate. dress: DIY here; sweater: thrifted; tights: Target: scarf: Urban Outfitters; belt: Anthropologie; shoes: Opposites Attract
Somehow I ended up in the Throw-a-Pie-at-Your-Teacher booth! I was supposed to sit behind that banner and put my head through the hole but that just felt like a cop-out. However, after ending up with stinky whipped cream everywhere, I realized that would have been a pretty good idea.
Weaving Cloth for Battle, 1940. Sadly, the artist is not listed on the website. This would have been every wool fiber factory in the United Kingdom during the war. All normal production ceased to create military uniforms. Clothing and fabric were among the many things rationed during World War II.
Art Museum Saturday: That's right, I skipped Snow Day Friday. Because I was in my pajamas all day! So here's what I wore to the Frist Center for Visual Arts. Only ten of my amazing little artists had their works of art featured there along with the other chosen artists in my school district. It was an exciting day for such hard working artists. suit: vintage, thrifted; tights: Target: shoes: Anthropologie
 Of course, I just can't introduce the United Kingdom and weaving without a nod to the woolen woven kilt. Men have been wearing kilts since the 16th century. The first worn was something called the great kilt which is more of a full length affair. Those featured above are called small kilts or walking kilts. The word kilt means to "tuck up the clothes around the body." I'm thinking this is just what the hubs needs to complete his wardrobe.


  1. you look smokin' (yet classy!) in that top dress. really, it's the only way to be.

    1. Aw, thanks! I don't often achieve either of those so thanks for the compliment :)

  2. What a week! You are such a good sport for doing the pie booth! How fun! I want to send you a package with some uk crafting/sewing goodies for the UK fun you will have in the classroom!! Email me at:!

    1. Debi! Thank you, you are so sweet! I'll message you my addy shortly :)

  3. I'm loving the Mary Poppins theme! :) Let me know if you want any good old English stuff and I will send it your way? Ohhh I could send your little crew some British chocolates if you like? They taste quite different to USA ones. Or postcards of British stuff? I'm getting carried away now but the offer is real, just let me know :)

    I'm glad to see you sat there and got covered in cream the proper way, none of this behind a screen milarkie, straight in the thick of it! :)

    Jerra xx

    1. Jerra -- it was all fun and games until the whipped cream curdled and I started smelling like sour milk --yuck! But I wouldn't have had it any other way!

      You are so sweet! You are right, British chocolates are the best (although I've never been to England so what am I talking about?!). My kids have weird allergies...but a postcard or two would be lovely if you are up for it. If so, I'll message you my address. Thank you, you are too sweet!

  4. Cassie, I wish we were closer together on the globe - I would love to teach you to spin. I use a high wheel (called Muckel wheel in Scotland) and spin a lot of wool. In my earlier life I actually had a flock of sheep. Rosebud was my favorite along with her twins Tulip & Blossom. She would lay her head in my lap for a chin scratching. I have a really easy spinning technique I use with my kiddos - if I ever get brave enough to blog I will post it for you.

  5. Oops make that Muckle wheel!


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