An Infallible Spell

Quick preview for a project I’ve been working on. Firstly, I’ve gotten a bunch of period, or period-like (no lead-white, please!) pigments. I’ve been putting them all in their own little seashells, mixed up with gum arabic and glair (an egg-white binder) and making a reference sheet for later.

Today is about mixing pigments and making a reference sheet. And remember how I said that the white-work versal I made got me a commission? Here’s a sneak-peek. It’s an interpretation of the Infallible Spell for Beauty from CS Lewis’ Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Wee calligraphy commission for Mel. Nearly finished!

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

Wedding Calligraphy

Two of my friends got married last weekend, at the Fall Event for my Barony. The gentleman who performed the marriage contacted me to ask if I would be willing to calligraph the ceremony, and of course I said yes. I wanted something simple, where the words themselves would be the decoration.

Wedding vows

I settled on a decorative cadel capital and a batarde script with pretty ascenders on the first line. The words that are spoken by the couple are in red, and the rest in black. I’m really quite pleased with how it came out.  Wedding vows


It’s time for another Welsh lesson. Today’s word is “dychwelyd,” and it means return. As in: I’m back! I didn’t mean to take such a long break, and it hasn’t been because I haven’t been making things or going places. Rather it’s been because I’ve been too busy making and going to actually take the time out to blog!

I want to let everyone know that you can now find Opus Elenae on Facebook. I’ve gotten a lot of positive traffic there, and finally feel like i’m connecting to some kind of audience. I want to encourage any blog readers who may not yet have “liked” Opus Elenae on Facebook to do so. There is content there that doesn’t make it to the blog: quick updates and progress pictures.

When Opus Elenae gets 50 “likes” (at 29, we’re more than halfway there!), I’m going to hold a cup-cover giveaway through the Facebook page. The sooner it hits 50, the sooner you have a chance to own a hand-crafted cup cover, just like these, made by me!

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

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