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Veil In Progress

Veil In Progress

I haven’t been posting a lot here lately. Things have been very busy, what with the elevation and all. And not just mine, Master Alden had his not too long ago too, which involved a little bit of effort on my part to make his scroll. /silly 

I have a post I want to make soon about the linen dress that I making for my vigil, not to be confused with the silk dress that I making for the elevation ceremony itself. But for now, I thought I took a little bit about it silk veil that I am making to go along with the elevation dress.

I knew I wanted an oval veil in the same basic shape as the linen one that I wear most often. I have some silk Habotai that has been in my stash for a long time. I bought it from Dharma Trading Co. a very long time ago. I don’t even remember what weight it is, other then very light. I cut it out and finished it in the same way that I finished all of my veils, with the magic veil hemstitch.

Once that was all done, which took forever by the way, I realized that the material was too floaty to make a veil with a good drape, so I decided to bead the edge. I tried a couple of different patterns: Single bead, small loops and a loop-and-single bead pattern. 

I ended up going with a variation on the last, with the center bead of the loop being bigger than the surrounding beads. It adds a little visual interest, and helps each loop drape better, in addition to adding more weight to the edge of the veil which is what I really needed.

You can see here one side of the veil is beaded, and the other side isn’t. The weighted and makes a big difference to how the veil drapes. I’m really excited about wearing it. 

To War!

To War!

It’s been a bit quiet around here, hasn’t it? It’s because I went to war! The week of March 15-22 was Gulf Wars, one of the big inter-kingdom wars that takes place in the US every year. It’s been about 14 years since I went to a war (my very first SCA event was Pennsic 30, MANY years ago), and it was an experience. It was the first time I’d been away from Poppet for more than a weekend, and the first time in a long time that I’d been away from Edmund for that long. Add to that a couple instances of overheating (it was the warmest war in years, according to my friends) and you have a recipe for a very intense experience. Not necessarily bad, I do want to go again, but I have some things I plan on changing next year.

I took my camera, but didn’t get as many pictures as I had thought I would. But here are some highlights! I also had the delightful opportunity to get professional portraits taken by my friend Madalena in some of my garb. As soon as those are finished, I’ll share them (I got a preview recently, which you can see here, and they’re gonna be BEAUTIFUL).

Gulf War 2015 Gulf War 2015 Gulf War 2015 Gulf War 2015 Gulf War 2015 Gulf War 2015 Having fun at war!

Lilium Aureum (part one): Creating a new charter

Lilium Aureum (part one): Creating a new charter

Not too long ago, at our local Larurel’s Prize Tourney (I have picture of that coming soon), I was approached and asked to design a charter for a new children’s A&S award. For those of you unfamiliar, a charter is a scroll that has spaces left blank for the recipient’s name, the date, royal signatures, etc. They also usually have linework designs on them, so each can be painted individually. I’ve never made a charter design before, and I was thrilled to be asked. It turns out that charter-designing is pretty different from one-off scroll-design.

First, I needed some inspiration. It was a tough decision, actually. I needed a design (a later period design, at the request of Their Majesties) that was complex enough to stand on its own if a very beginning painter just used flat colors, and something that would give more advanced painters the chance to go to town with shading if they wanted to. In the end I went with Francesco Marmitta’s Rangoni Bentivoglio Book of Hours, an Italian work from around 1500. It’s currently housed at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

LA: sketch

Not shown: taking ideas from several leaves of the Book and sketching them out on graph paper to get the proportions right within my space limitation. I then brought the images into photoshop to get everything the way I wanted and mirrored without a whole ton of problems. Then I traced the image onto tracing paper so I could easily transfer it to the final working paper.


I knew I wanted to make sure the hand was consistent with the illumination style, so I went through all the pages I had and pulled out several letters that appeared on them. To fill in the gaps, I looked through Stan Knight’s amazing book Historical Scripts from Classical Times to the Renaissnce for similar times and places.


I did a couple of calligraphy drafts…


And then a couple more. The problem with creating a charter is that you have to leave space enough for a hugely long name (because someone might have picked Tangwystyl Fairehayvenn of Llanleystocke as a name, rather than John York), a hugely long area of expertise (again, calligraphy and illumination, as opposed to gaming) and placename. Trying to make sure that each of those had enough space, as well as the date, years, and signatures was difficult. I went through six different drafts, instead of my normal two or three. At least it gave me the time to practice my hand?


I use a small lightbox (9×13 or so) to stransfer small scrolls like this one. For larger scrolls, I tape the paper to my french doors. Thank goodness for th Texas sun. A friend of mine is actually going to make me a bigger light table, large enough to do peerage-sized scrolls. He made his wife one, and I’m intensely jealous. I trace out all my linework with 5mm mechanical pencil, in 2H hardness. I like the darkness of the line; I can see it well enough to ink, but it’s still easy to erase after, and the 5mm makes a consistently fine line on the paper.


Incidentally, I’m using Fabriano hot press watercolor paper here. It’s smooth and delicious to write and draw on, the ink I’m using (Scribal Arts Iron Gall ink for calligraphy, Platinum carbon blank ink in a LAMY fountain pen with extra-fine nib for the artwork) doesn’t bleed or feather, and it holds up to abuse (lots of wet paint, and scraping and burnishing for corrections) well.

Here you can see the pencils are all finished, and I’ve calligraphed the charter text. I’ll go back in later and fill in the premiere recipient’s information later.


Nearly finished inking. I’ve tried to reduce the lovely design into linework that evokes the delicate nature of the original without being too intimidating to paint.



And the charter is finished. At this point, I’ll wait for the ink to dry overnight to avoid any smearing of lines when I go back and erase the pencil guides. Then I’ll scan it into photoshop and correct any little tiny errors before printing out a nice bold master copy for our Star Signet (the scribe in charge of kingdom charters).

In the next installment, we’ll see how this goes from charter to finished award.

Parchment and Quill

Parchment and Quill

One of my continuing goals is to be as authentic in my craft as I feel I can reasonably be. Sometimes that means that I machine sew my clothes except for visible stitches. Sometimes that means I order three ounces of white silk tram to dye with natural dyes for embroidery.

This time, it means that I got to play around with real parchment, with iron gall ink, using a goose-feather quill I cut myself. First test on a parchment scrap with a goose quill pen.


Maiolica Day

Maiolica Day

Remember that maiolica tile I painted? Yeah, I still haven’t taken it to get fired, but I painted a plate, too!


A bunch of us got together and bought a few little pieces to work on together. Some of us had practice tiles.



Becca's tile

Some of us had plates. Amata threw that plate herself. On a wheel, not, like, against the wall or anything.


Amata's border design

It was fun to see the progression from pricked design…

Caelinn's pricked design casting cool shadows

…to sketched outline…

Caelinn's tile

…to finished tile.

Caelinn's tile, finished

I was particularly happy with my plate. I tried to incorporate elements from my coat of arms along with two Tudor roses, one each for my husband and my champion, both of whom have Elizabethan personas.

My plate

My plate, one coat of black

My plate, finished

So, one of the cooler things I got to play with was Amata’s banding wheel, a tool that lets you make perfect circles by spinning your plate and holding the brush stationary. I… may have gone overboard with it on the back. I also added a maker’s mark: “Per Manum Elen,” which means “By the hand of Elen.” My Latin-major friend suggested that I should possibly have changed the name to the genitive case, making it “Per Manum Elenae,” but I didn’t think about that until he pointed it out. I’m just going to use the fact that Elen was suitably removed from classical Rome in both time (1380) and place (Monmouth, Wales) to explain the lapse.

The back of my plate (I hope the Latin traslated correctly. it should say "By the hand of Elen")

Natural Dying, uh, Dyeing Symposium

Natural Dying, uh, Dyeing Symposium

I finally processed all the pictures from the Natural Dying symposium I went to in September. Somehow, I thought I’d done it already. Better late than never, I suppose.

Dying Extravaganza

Mordanted fabric strips and threads. We used strips of cotton and linen fabric, and wool and silk embroidery threads, so see how each material took the dyes. A bajilliopn pictures after the jump.

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