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Category: Fiber Arts

Embroidered Head Cloth

Embroidered Head Cloth

A friend of mine, Dena, approached me a while ago, asking if I would make her a forehead cloth. I think she was thinking about it just being a triangular linen cloth, but of course I couldn’t let it go just at that.

I hand-hemmed all the edges with a plain running stitch, and added a herringbone stitch to the front edge. I kept all of the embellishment stitches in white, to keep things subtle, and not visible should she choose to wear a veil over it.


I also added an heraldic element from her coat of arms: A St James cross at the lower point in split stitch. I fingerlooped some ties and voila! All finished. All the embroidery thread was DMC Perle Cotton, in size 8.




As you may have noticed, I have kind of fallen of the NaBloPoMo wagon. Usually it’s not too bad, but this year I have two blogs, an active two-year-old, and several more commitments than I have had in the past. So I’m giving myself permission to stop. I’ll still be posting multiple times weekly, but I need blogging to be something I’m not stressing out about.

And in the interest of full disclosure, let me share another way I messed up recently. I was working on the giveaway cup cover at a recent event, and got distracted by a bard singing near me, and started embroidering the wrong part of one of the spirals. Out it came. I’ve started that one again, from the base this time.


Spiral Cup Cover

Spiral Cup Cover

The give-away cup cover is coming along nicely. One arm of the spiral is finished; I don’t think it will take more than another week or so to finish. Then I get to give it to someone!


Giveaway cup cover

Giveaway cup cover

Remember how I said that we were on Facebook now? Well, it’s getting so close to the 50-like giveaway deadline that I started the cup cover I’ll be giving away. Here’s a sneak peek of the design. If you’re interested in winning a hand-made cup cover, head over to the page and ‘like’ it. In fact, you might want to do it anyway; there’s content there that doesn’t always make the blog.


German Brickwork Reliquary Box

German Brickwork Reliquary Box

Part the second! To start with, I used a paper mache box, like these ones, and cut off the top and bottom circles. I chose some silk I had in my stash; the colors don’t match, but since the original inspiration seemed to be cut from leftover scraps and pieces of re-used tapestry, I thought it was still in keeping with the overall aesthetic.

Reliquary Box  I used the tutorial from Åsa and Martin’s medieval blog as a guide. I stitched scraps of silk to the tops and bottoms of the box, and to thinner card stock circles. Then I stitched them together, right sides out, with a tiny whip-stitch. Reliquary Box Then I stitched the embroidered piece around the walls of the box, making sure it laid as smoothly as I could get it to, inside and out. Reliquary Box Yeah, the stitching? Not that pretty. But it’ll all be hidden!
Reliquary Box

For the lining, I took a strip of the peach silk and sewed it to one edge of the box. I tried to keep a clean line, but wasn’t every fussy about it, because I planned on covering the join with a braided ending.
Sewing down the lining

Then I pinned the fabric taut to the other edge and sewed it down with a whipstitch, again being neat, but not overly fussy.

Pinning in the Lining

When both edged were sewn down, I turned the raw edge of the strip under and stitched it down. I was fussy about this seam, since it would be visible at the end. Sewing down the lining I forgot to get pictures of how I sewed the bottom to the sides, sorry! It was kind of a pain in the butt, actually, but the process was simple enough; I just whip stitched them together.

I finished the edges of the top, the edge of the box, and around the bottom edge with Racaire’s braided sewn edging, which, it turns out, is really Matcheld’s.

Reliquary Box

I sewed the top to the sides of the box in two places, so that it would open easily but be stable and not floppy, as it was with just one connection point.

Reliquary Box The bead closure is a purple lamp work bead I got as largesse from someone (I can’t remember their name; I’m sorry!), and the loop closure is a simple four-strand braid. I’m actually pretty proud of the structure of it. I sewed one end of the braid down into a loop, which I then pulled a longer loop of the loose braid through. So, to tighten the closure over the bead, you pull on the tassel.

Reliquary Box The original box had a turk-head knot on the head of the tassel, but I confess it was beyond me. I have some silk gimp to practice with, so I may add one later, but I left it off for now.  Reliquary Box And as an epilogue? This box and my documentation (which will be up soon on the documentation page) helped me tie for first place at the Bjornsborg Trials of St Anthony, a saint-themed event in San Antonio.


German Brickwork Embroidery

German Brickwork Embroidery

Ever since I dyed some of my silk tram, I’ve been thinking that I should do some brickwork embroidery. The long parallel stitches really show how beautiful the shine of the silk can be. I didn’t want to do a pouch, though. Everyone does pouches, and while I’m okay with that, I wanted to do something different. Enter Helene, who reminded me of a saint-themed event that was coming up, and suggested I make a reliquary box like this one from  Medieval Arts & Crafts. She was also kind enough to suggest one of the patterns she charted, that was suitable for something horizontal, like the sides of a box.

Gold silk finished

I chose to use the cochineal (incidentally, my dyeing source says that the reason the cochineal turned out so dark-purple was that it must have leeched out some of the iron from the jar lid), onion-skin, and undyed silk for the colors. I ran out of the purple and decided to finish it off with some teal-ish silk I made by over dyeing indigo with onion-skin.
Just ran out of purple silk

The finished embroidery. Next time, putting the box together.
Reliquary Box Reliquary Box Reliquary Box

Shields: Finished!

Shields: Finished!

They’re done! And just in time, too. My lovely Baron and Baroness have decided to step down at Candlemas, in February, so I wanted to make sure that they cloaks were finished and wearable for our Yule celebration in December.
Well, that's the blue sorted.

I kind of forgot to take more incremental pictures of Avery’s shield. Oops. The blue is long and short stitch, the yellow is chain stitch, and the black background is a diamond shaped laid and couched stitch similar to (but more widely spaced than) Phelims’s shield. The ermine spots were stitched over the black to help hold the laid stitches in place.

Avery's device is finished! Woo hoo!

And all four shields, finished. I just got custody of the old cloaks, and am looking forward to making the new ones. They will be linen, so as not to be too hot in the Ansteorran weather.

All four finished baronial devices.

Tablut Game

Tablut Game

Last year, I participated in the Sable Swap, a kingdom-wide secret gift exchange. You may remember that I made an embroiderer’s kit for my assigned giftee. It was easy to decide what to do because, as an embroiderer, I know what I would love to receive.

This time, though, I got a gentleman with an Icelandic persona, who is into medieval artillery and archery. Uh…
Super secret project.

So I decided to make him an embroidered game bag that folds up into a pouch for easy carrying. I did some research on variations of a game called Tafl, which was played ll over the Scandinavian world.

Super secret project: all the green is finished!

Despite it being a Laplandic variant, I chose to go with a version of the game called Tablut, since it was the best documented. Lapland and Iceland aren’t that far apart, in the grand scheme of the Viking reach.
Tablut Board

The board consists of a 9×9 grid, with the central cross being one color, and the Ts at the end of the arms in a different color. The squares are embroidered in chain stitch, and the lines are stem stitch. Everything is stitched in DMC cotton, because you never know when you’re going to have to wash out a spill. (As an aside, I’m not sure what prompted me to choose baby food or 70s appliance colors, but he did say he liked earth colors.)

Tablut Board The defending army starts off in the center blocks, with the king on the middle square. The attacking arms starts on the T shaped areas on the ends. The goal is to either get the king to a corner, or to capture him, depending on which side you’re playing. All pieces can only move orthogonally, or in straight lines.

Tafl Game

Traditionally, the king is a taller piece, but I only had these glass pebbles and no time to make a different marker for the king, so I just included a different color instead. I love the way they look all lined up and ready to go. Tafl Game And when you’re done, the strings pull tight…
Tafl Game …and make a neat little pouch for carrying. Tafl Game I made the strings long enough to stay in the eyelets when the game is laid out flat, and that means that they wrap around the pouch neck a few times to insure that none of the pebbles fall out. It would tie onto a belt quite nicely, too. I am always glad of diversions during the longest bit of an event, which seems to be between the end of fighting and the beginning of feast or court. I hope Karl likes playing his Tablut game as much as I enjoyed making it! Tafl Game

Pelican Gift

Pelican Gift

A friend of mine, Alden Drake, received his (very well deserved) Pelican at Laurel’s Prize Tourney. I had been planning on making him a gift of a cup cover with his badge on it, but since his badge is a half-white, half-black dragon (with teeth and claws and spines and wings) on a half-black, half-white background… Yeah, that didn’t end well.

Laurel's Prize 2013

I decided instead to make a cup cover with a pelican in her piety (ie: feeding her chicks with blood from her pierced breast), and a dedication around the outside.

Laurel's Prize 2013

The cover is a linen-rayon blend, embroidered with silk. The pelican and the outside of the nest are stitched in stem stitch, and the chicks and nest details are stitched in Holbein stitch. The blood is satin stitch, and the letters are a combination of straight and lazy-daisy stitches.

Here he is in his vigil tent, when I gave it to him. I think he liked it. These pictures were taken by my friend Liz.

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