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Month: January 2016

In Progress: Cecilie’s Bliaut

In Progress: Cecilie’s Bliaut

Not exactly SCA related, but sort of tangentially appropriate. My friend Cecilie works at Sherwood Forest Faire here in Austin, and she commissioned me to make her a 12th century bliaut with pendant sleeves, like this one that Racaire made. She bought a lovely blue linen in herringbone twill, and instead of taking time away from her body schedule to embroider the collar and armbands, opted to go with a beautiful blue and gold synthetic brocade.
It's that time of year again.

Although polyester brocade is famously difficult to work with, it was in fact easier than this ridiculously slithery linen. SO MUCH BIAS STRETCH. I was lucky to have vertical lines where the herringbone meets to be able to cut accurately one way. (Bran thinks the whole thing is much better served as a cat bed anyway).
Cecilie's Bliaut The look of this fabric is so gorgeous though. It’s worth it. Almost. I finally learnt the trick of cutting it, which was to make all the vertical cuts and swish the linen kind of up in the air, letting the cut edge settle on its own parallel to the straight edge of my table, and then cut the horizontal lines after that. I am SO GLAD for rectangular construction in bliauts. Cecilie's Bliaut

The neckline is a slit faced in brocade and then topstitched (well-behaved it might be, but this brocade still doesn’t want to iron flat) down. I’d thought about couching some faux gold thread over the top stitching, but it disappears against that lux fabric.

Cecilie's Bliaut Current progress: Sleeves and gussets attached, neckline faced, side gores added. I still have to add the armbands at the elbow seam, but I want to make sure I don’t have to shorten the sleeves first. Then the center front and back gores will be inserted and the sides of the torso will be taken in while the dress is on Cecilie, to ensure the best fit. I’m excited to see it on her!

Cecilie's Bliaut

Steps Backward: Viking Acanthus Collar

Steps Backward: Viking Acanthus Collar

So remember that pretty embroidered collar I had all planned out yesterday? Well…. It’s had some setbacks.

Master Alden and I had decided on blue lines for this lovely design. And seeing how much fun I’d had with pearl cotton on the Cantigas pouches, I thought I’d use it again. I had some beautiful robin’s egg Pearl Cotton 5 (I’d thought about using silk, but these are knock-about tunics that need to be super washable) that I wanted to use. I thought that chain stitch would yield a line too wide even for this large graphic a design so I started in on split stitch.

Acanthus Collar

It looks great! The color pops on the brown! Everything is dandy! So I kept going.Got about a quarter of the way done… Aaaaand start to not like the way it looks.


Acanthus Collar

The pearl cotton is round and, for lack of a better term, bouncy. It wants to stand up from the linen as I stitch it. Until it collapses on its side around the curves. See how it’s sort of falling over up there on the top curve of the vine? And again in the curves of the leaf shapes at the bottom and left? It looks terrible.
Acanthus Collar

I cut all the top of the embroidery off. Luckily the tall, bouncy nature of the embroidery makes this very easy.
Acanthus Collar

Taken off the fabric, this is what’s left of the yesterday’s embroidery. It’s important to document the screw ups as well as the successes, right?!
Acanthus Collar

I started again with four strands of DMC cotton floss in a slightly bluer color (which I and Master Alden both agree looks better, and will look better against the green tunic fabric). It lays much more nicely, and is still linear and graphic in the way we were hoping for.
Acanthus Collar

 

New Project: Viking Collar

New Project: Viking Collar

I started another project today, a quick viking collar for a tunic with a damaged neckline. The inside of the tunic will be patched, and the outside will be hidden by this collar. It will be embroidered in blue DMC cotton for washability, and the tunic is forest green linen. I’ll add some matching blue embroidery on the cuffs of the tunic to make it coordinate.

Viking Collar

The design is based on one of the Mammen embroideries, an acanthus vine that’s small and solidly embroidered in various colors. However, I found this tunic on pinterest, and loved the spare, graphic outline of the same design.

Looking Forward

Looking Forward

In my last post, I talked about what I had done during 2015. In this one, I want to take a moment and detail some of the things I’m working on for 2016. Both in an effort to be accountable for them, and also to psyche myself up to be super excited about them.

  1. For our Kingdom-wide Arts competition in February, I will be making a version of one of the Sion Reliquary bags. I’m dyeing my own silk, and knitting it on very smaaaalllll needles.
  2. I will be working on another Achievement of Arms scroll for a dear friend, Andreas, in the style of a German roll of arms.
  3. I will be adding a commission page to the blog. I have been using my Trello board (and still plan to, as a way to keep a dialogue open between myself and my clients), but I would like something a little more static and intuitive to be the forward-facing page for my commissions.
  4. I plan to blog twice a week. Expect some shorter update posts instead of just a bunch of longer, more intensive completed project posts. Those will still be here, but they’ll be interspersed with update posts and philosophy of reenactment posts, and more tutorials. So if there are things that I do that you would like to know, dear readers, please let me know.

I have some other things in the pipeline as well: a grey wool dress inspired by Isis’ beige one, another pink Roman dress, a supportive Elizabethan kirtle, and a few other things for myself, as well as more commission items and scrolls. But I want to leave those fairly nebulous so they feel less like obligations and more like fun plans. What are you guys planning on making in 2016?

2015 Wrap Up

2015 Wrap Up

It’s a new year! While I am usually overwhelmed by possibility and eager to start the new year’s projects, this past year has ended on a difficult note for me, personally. I am having a hard time being excited about 2016 and what it will bring. I want to take a minute or two to look back at my finished projects for 2015.

Head CLoth

Embroidered Head Cloth for Dena:  A quick and sweet little embroidery/handsewing project for a friend, with elements of her heraldry on the back.

Sabina's Court Barony Scroll

Court Barony Scroll for Sabina: A tongue in cheek, fun scroll for a friend’s Court Barony. My first real scribal commission. The first time I’ve ever deliberately defaced my scribal work.

Prick and pounce tutorial, for Opuselenae.com

Prick and Pounce Tutorial: I’m counting this as a project because I feel strongly about the roll of tutorials and sharing knowledge in educating people. Still my favorite way to transfer patterns.

Rabbit's Lion Scroll

Rabbit’s Lion Scroll: First time really experimenting with pigments treated in a period manner, first (semi-successful) gilding on a scroll.

Red Crow Cup Cover

Badge Cup Cover: My heraldry passed, and now I want to put my badge on ALL THE THINGS. Starting with this cup cover, that attaches to my goblet stem so I don’t lose it.

Dragon Pouch

Dragon Pouch Collaboration: A fun little thing I did with my friend Lia to sponsor a fighter in a tournament where the buy-in was an item made by an artisan (or two!).

invites

Queen’s Champion Invitations: Last minute call to make pretty invites for an event.

The embroidered pouches are all finished!

Cantigas de Santa Maria Pouches (and part two): An artisan trade with a friend, based on two pouches from a medieval manuscript.

C&T

Cut and Thrust Championship Scroll: A kingdom-level award scroll based on a renaissance fencing manual plate.

These aren’t all the projects I’ve don’t this year, but they are all the ones I’ve blogged about.

Sewing Red Hose

I blogged about these red hose in progress, but I need to do a completed project post for them and the ginger version.

roman

I made myself a beautiful Roman outfit.

achievement The write up for this ridiculous scroll is coming. I promise. It may be two or three entries long. It was a monster.

My maiolica plate, finally fired. Only a year after I painted it! Fingers crossed that this one won't break; third times the charm, right?

Finally managed to fire this plate (third time’s the charm, right?) It lives on a shelf high up and away from danger.

poem

Calligraphed a poem for a very dear friend.

heraldry

Worked hard on learning to be a proper heraldic artist.

??

Wrote out the calligraphy for the invitations to our Baronial fall event.


collar

Finished this monstrous endeavor. It ended up being shorter than I thought it needed to be initially, which made me cry, but it turned out okay in the end. Write up coming.

veil

Made a 14th century frilled veil. That I kind of hate and want to remake.

kintsugi

Practiced the Japanese art of Kintsugi.

garter

Made a pair of garters for my friend Cecilie.

callig

Calligraphed this award, which is not for the SCA (but still looks amaze!)

All in all, it’s been a productive year. I think I’ve missed a couple things, actually. Next up will be discussion of some projects I’m hoping to accomplish this coming year, and some changes I’ll be making to the site. Happy New Year, everyone!