Hear the drum roll: Maxi's Hosenträger are finished! Or as they say 'Ich habe fertig' :). After 123 hours of stitching and pretty sore fingers, all flowers are in the right place. And what a beauty she is:
Each strap is 85 cm long and 4,5 cm wide. Stitched on 18 count canvas it means that each strap has 19.200 (!) individual tent stitches. It also means that I am able to put in 350 stitches an hour on average. That's a little mad and a little scary. And it should probably come with the obligatory warning: 'Don't try this at home'.
Above is a close up of the pattern repeat. There are five repeats for each strap. As the braces are intended for a child, I did not 'turn' the pattern on that part of the strap that will run on the back. In a child, due to different anatomical proportions and the fact that they still grow (the braces will be assembled in such a way, that they can be opened up twice to allow for 10-15cm growth in the next few years), it is rather difficult to guess where the turning point will be. Instead, my husband drew the pattern in such a way that it is pleasing to the eye going up as well as going down. His inspiration came from a wonderful little book called: 'Schöne alte Stickvorlagen' by Ravensburger. It is out of print, but still widely available used online. As the braces are intended for a child, I picked rather bright colours. Maxi is a great fan of the bright greens and has a matching white shirt with green monograms to go with it.
The breast piece or Steg features the coat of arms of Bad Bayersoien. The crosier of an abbot above a bridge over a river. This refers to the monastries of Ettal and Rottenbuch that owned buildings and land in the village before the dissolution of 1803. The bridge refers to the crossing over the river Ammer at Echelsbach. 'Ammertaler' (Ammer valley) is the name of the Trachtenverein (folklore club) Maxi belongs to.
I hope you liked my babble about this very much alive-and-kicking piece of Bavarian folklore. For my part, I love to stitch these Hosenträger. Although not as technically challinging as a piece of surface embroidery, the fact that the finished piece is part of a living and cherished tradition, makes me really proud to be a part of that too.
Next time we will have a look at some more stunning pieces in the collection of the Bavarian National Museum. Beware of the golden dragon...
Jessica M. Grimm
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