The project started before Double Wars two years ago, in 2012, when I was asked to be on the team of Countess Cecilia for a special tourney/fund raiser thing at Double Wars.
I was her artisan, tasked with making something, anything using the design of a rose with a dragon on top. I decided to make a quick little item, a square linen napkin. I hemstitched it all around prettily and then transferred the design to the fabric and started embroidering. The only problem was I chose to do the rose rather big - about 6 inches in diameter.
The thread is a 30/2 silk bought at the Handweavers Studio and Gallery in London and all outlines are chain stitch, while the rest of the bulk of the stitching is split stitch. I had my colours, but the rose was designed with a fade from red to yellow, which I thought I might do in long and short stitch. I tried it first on one petal but it was awful so I unpicked it and decided on just doing semi-circles with progressively less yellow and more red until I had made the transition from all yellow to all red.
My pattern-seeing brain needs to know where the stitches go and when, so the pattern is
7 yellow stitches, then 1 red, repeated to the end of the semicircle.
Then 6 yellow, 1 red,
then 5 and 1, then 4 and 1, then 3 and 1, then 2 and 1
then either 2 and 2, or 1 and 1
then 1 yellow and 2 red
then 1 and 3, then 1 and 4, then 1 and 5, then 1 and 6, then 1 and 7 and finally all red.
It worked very well where I had an uninterrupted field to stitch on, the problems began with the three petals which were not clear of Dragon limbs. One petal has a little too little red in it, but in all, I'm fairly pleased, and when I revealed it on facebook the winner of this item seemed pleased as well.
Yeah, the napkin was won in a raffle at Double Wars 2012, and it was there to be displayed, but I took it back with me to finish. It's been one of those little niggling projects that I really should have finished long ago, but when I didn't manage to do it by the deadline (on account of choosing such a large size!) it sort of got left behind.
Anyway, here are the pics:
Slanted front, shows the silk shading better:
The back of the work looking a little messy:
A close-up of one of the nicer petals with shading:
Still, shows the progress: https://picasaweb.google.com/
Are you up to a challenge? Pick something you want to improve and do that for 30 days, preferably consecutively. When you start, write your challenge here. If you can take a photo of your first day effort and post it too. When you are finished with the 30 days, write a post detailing how many days it actually took, how have you improved and post a picture of the last day results if you can.
Your challenge can be anything you want: calligraphy, brocade tablet weaving, conditioning for that bear pit tourney, drawing a new but still too stiff bow... Whatever you want. But just do it.
I chose to stay with the scribal theme, as that's what Kerttu and Katheryn were going to do, and I definitely could use some regular practice. First I thought I might learn an entirely new hand, but changed my mind and decided to learn Gothic Capitals. I found a nice looking one in David Harris "Art of Illumination" on page 60 and went for that. Starting with the letter I because all straight-line letters are based on that. I always recommend starting with I.
So far I've done four consecutive days, sitting down for one hour at a time. So I've got a specified amount of time and not just endless practice. I'm updating on facebook daily, but thought I'd do it weekly here.
Good quality paper helps. The little notebook with orange cover is the book of Pergamenata I got from Duchess Alessandra Melusine. It's a little tricky to write on, and works better when I put it on the slope as opposed to flat on the table.
I sketched in my notebook what I wanted to aim for, and included cuttings from the silk fabrics I had to choose from:
I found the wool at Ohlssons Tyger & Stuvar and bought the first bit off the bolt. It was a new type of wool in their stock, and I think we went to the Stockholm store the first day they had it on their shelves. The same day the Uppsala store did not stock it, but one week after it was on display here as well.
The wool was a joy to sew, and I stitched and topstitched all seams in the skirts using white silk thread.
I didn't want to have to wear a corset, so the bodice had to have a little stiffening in itself, so I used a very fine unbleached linen in my stash to create an interlining layer with stiffening on the front panels:
I still used another linen as interlining in the entire bodice, before installing this extra layer. Below, testing the colour of silk on the bodice, showing interlining and clipping to fold in seam allowances smooth:
I was making a separate pair of sleeves, with a modest version of the baragoni I did for my green Venetian gown, but I also wanted something decorating the shoulders of the kirtle, so I cut out little rectangles of wool and linen, stitched around the edges to close the raw edges without folding in any seam allowances, and folded them double. One row I stitched closed into solid double layered squares, the other row I only closed at the edges and left the middle open to form little loops.
In the photo above I am trying on the tabs at the shoulder, seeing if I needed more or were satisfied. I ended up adding two more tabs to the back and one more to the front so the tabs would go further around the armscye.
The sleeves were done to the same pattern as the Layton sleeves, a simple lightly curved sleeve, fairly close fitting. I cut out one pair first and stitched them up very carefully, only to find that they were a little too narrow for me, so had to cut out another pair. The baragoni consists of six strips of wool, edged on either side with dark green silk. Before attaching the baragoni to the sleeves I also inserted a picadil edge of purple and green shot silk between them and the sleeves proper. The strips were lined with the same linen I used for the rest of the dress, and with the silk edges I left it to the stiffness of the fabric to create the shape. Since I stitched the lower edge about two centimeters shorter than their actual length, there is a little bit of curve and separation between the strips and the sleeves.
You can see that the two lines of green silk at the bottom of the sleeves is echoed at the bottom of the skirt, where the lower stripe is dark green doubel velvet, and the upper one the same dark green silk as on the bodice. The skirt guards both had picadil edges on both sides, which I cut with a very sharp knife after having stitched them on.
The sleeve-guards I also cut into with the same sharp knife to make some nice cuttes:
Wearing the kirtle, from the side (photo by Kit), and from the front (photo by Edricus)
It was always meant to be finished off with a suite of ruffs, as shown by my source image
Making a suite of ruffs was going to be tedious, I knew, so I started with that before anything else. I cut two strips of loom width linen and appropriate width (I don't remember anymore, but about 15 cm) and stitched them together to form one 3 metre long strip. Then I hemmed all sides.
I then cut two strips of loom width linen to about 8 cm wide and hemmed all sides to make two separate wrist cuffs. I was always going to make double layer ruffs, but I disregarded any issue of up or downside and just hemmed everything to the same side.
Then I went about attaching 3 + 3 + 1.5 + 1.5 metres of cotton lace to the long edges of these three strips of linen. I worked on that for two months. Tedious, is the word.
After that was done I cut out more linen to a collar length and proceeded to use foul language in an attempt to gather the much too long ruffs into much too short collars and cuffs. Before attempting to do the gathering I folded the strips double of course. I did not measure, more than to find the half-way points, on the cuffs I did run a gathering thread. I actually first did that very carefully with the running stitches about 2 mm long. I had to re-do that because there was much too much thickness of fabric to be physically possible. I re-stitched the cuff taking stitches about 4 mm long. Equally impossible, and in the end I stitched it a third time with stitches about 15 mm long. This was at least possible and the other cuff I started with the right length of stitches.
On the collar ruff I did not bother with a gathering thread, instead went for the divide and conquer method. Pins, pins and more pins. This was my task the weekend before Kingdom University, and I am very glad for the moral support of Aros sewing circle thay day, because I kept being so frustrated with the entire concept of ruffs I threw my work across the room several times.
In the end I triumphed, and got both edges of the collar and wrist-bands attached to the ruff, and closed them up. I did it as shown in Arnold, PoF 4, stitching each pleat to one edge of the band, and the other edge of the pleat to the other edge of the band so that the pleated ruff takes up the pleat-depth between the two sides of the band. It ended up being about 1cm on the collar.
After finishing the collar and wrist-band attachment I only had to starch the ruffs. But before doing that I ran a thread through the lace edges to create the perfect figure eight pleating. On an Elizabethan Costuming group I'd picked up the tip to use the very regular lace to help me determine depth of pleats, so I simply did a large running stitch through the peaks of my lace (5 peaks per stitch for the wrist ruffs and 10 peaks per stitch for the collar). I tied this off and finger-formed the two layers of ruff into rough figure eights. Then I could proceed with the starch.
I managed to miss Baroness Margaret Walsingham's class on starch at Double Wars this year, but I persuaded her to send me her handout and had purchased barley starch (Ohrakas-fi, Kornstärkelse-sve) at Midsummer coronation in Finland, because in Finland they still use that stuff for baking. Her recipy called for one part starch and four parts water to be heated while stirring. It formed a lovely wall-paper paste type gloop, into which I mixed another eight parts water. Into this starchy bath I dumped my collar and wrists, wrung them out, and then hung them up to dry, after again finger-forming the figure eights of the ruffs.
They dried over night, hung by clothespins upside down. By morning they were satisfactorily papery in feel.
I found a small bowl with the right circumference for the collar ruff and a wine bottle for the wrist ruffs and then lightly sprayed smaller sections of the ruffs to finger-form them into the right shape. I first had to moisten the bands to be able to pin them around the bowl and bottle respectively. Then I could start on the double layer ruffs. I went around once, carefully spraying and pulling out the lace as well. When I first stitched the lace on it was very narrow, after starching and pulling it out it ended up about twice the width it was when purchased. I went around twice on all three ruffs to get the figure eights to look somewhat decent and then I let it dry again for most of the day. In the evening I again carefully sprayed and finger-pressed the figure eights. I would have liked to have a heat source to help in this, to get the linen very flat and orderly, but I think I succeeded fairly well even with just my fingers. At this point you can see I left the lace guiding thread in, to help me keep the figure eights orderly.
So, on Friday evening, Their Majesties held court, with only a couple of things on the agenda, one was to send me off to vigil, and my vision there was to come dressed in my new white kirtle, but the Green English fitted gown would be the overall impression. I had to pin the ruffs into the gown on site, they had been transported in a large paper bag to keep from smooshing in transit. I could pin through the picadil edges of my gown around the collar band to attach the ruff there. On the wrist I similarly pinned through the picadil edges to fasten the ruffs to the gown. The right way would probably have been to pin the ruffs to the shirt - but I wanted to shed the outer layer, including ruffs, once in the vigil room, so I opted to make them easy to remove as once.
I had to have help to close up the collar ruff in front. One straight pin right in front to close the band up (before next wearing I have to make either lacing holes, or stitch a hook and eye pair there), and two straight pins to make the two layers of ruff into a circle of figure eights around my throat. Once that was done I felt like I was being hugged by my gown and I was very pleased.
Of course, the ruffs were not all, the headwear had to be right too - and after looking carefully at a bunch of portraits of 1560s and 70s ladies I discovered that they not only had ruffs, but also wore a typical French hood. I had wanted to try out the new theory of French hoods (pdf from Sarah Lorraine) which works from the layers of headwear already in use from early in the century and constructed of many parts, rather than the slightly older theory of building a solid single-layer millinery hat. So I put my hair up in two braids, tied around my head, put on the forehead cloth, and coif (pattern #48 in PoF4) and then tied on a bandana of the same purple and green silk I'd used as picadil edging on my vigil gown on top. I carefully folded an edge in as it was a completely raw piece of fabric (no time) so that the front of this piece of silk showing behind the line of the coif would be neat. Over the top of this, and covering the fact that it was just a piece of fabric roughly tied around my head, was a black velvet veil with billiments attached at the front edge. This veil I had from my first Tudor gown and attempt at a French hood.
In the end, I this my attempt was wholly successful, and my Lord Edricus took a number of photos of me before court where I look pretty much like a portrait or effigy of the time.
On Flickr, better image On Flickr, better image On Flickr, better image
The first thing I did after removing it from the frame was to take it to the sink to rince it out, because the linen at the start of the embroidery had gone an unhealthy yellowish colour which did not appeal. Unfortunately, as soon as I put it under the tap the red dye in the silk decided to go walkabout. It bled quite a lot! I ran as much water through it as I could and washed out the discolouration from the white linen and then called it quits. You can still see some of the red dye discolouring the white linen, but at least that is clearly from the red silk, and not from some other undefined source of unhealthy filth.
Now I have to make it up into a little bag, make a lining out of some leftover silk fabric, and make cords for closing and suspension out of matching silk thread. I plan on using the pouch during my vigil for (-cencored until after the vigil-).
I'll take some pretty pictures of the embroidery tomorrow in the daylight.
In any case, I had made the pattern and cut out the fields way back, and made a pattern for the seeblätter but not cut those out. My original plan was to use intarsia embroidery to fit the seeblätter into the fields, but when I picked up the project yesterday I abandoned that and decided to applique them instead. I used blanket stitch in white to attach the white seeblätter, and blanket stitch in black for the black one. I used a simple backstitch with about 5 mm seam allowance to attach the field pieces together, felled those seams to either side and topstitched them from the outside to keep it all flat and streamlined.
The only thing left now is to line it and manufacture suspension options. Pictures will come tomorrow.
While finishing the applique I changed it up a little and finished the sewing table that arrived at my door yesterday. I needed some finishing touches on the centre bolt that attaches the tabletop to the leg. It was left unfinished by my father by my request so I could make it into a pincushion like my inspiration-images showed. So first I glued down a piece of foam mat my father sent with the table, then I cut out ten or so layers of wool circles in full size, a couple about half size and a couple even smaller circles, plus a large circle to put on top. The bolt was prepared for a thickness of fabric to be folded over to the underside, so I applied glue here and pulled the large circle down over all the layers of mat and wool, just like upholstering a chair seat. I pleated down the excess, and stitched the pleats down with silk, cut off some of the excess and then covered the side with a cotton ribbon and a satin ribbon to make it neat and decorative. All in white. I can now keep my sewing needles pinned in the centre of my table, threads, off-cuts, scissors and lots of other stuff fits in the tabletop, and the quite massive leg keeps it all even-keeled without the risk of falling over.
Tomorrow, when my camera batteries have recharged I will be posting photos of this new wonder as well.
Tonight, to change the topic entirely, I attended the monthly Shire meeting. There were five of us, and we decided on a new Yearly Meeting on October 1. Hopefully we'll have new statutes to club through then, and afterwards we'll go out for a pint.
Tomorrow, I'm hosting scribal night here at home, hopefully I'll finish a couple of nagging items then. We'll see who else shows up. My littlest apprentice sister Isabetta said she might show up :) Again, if I finish anything, I'll post pictures tomorrow.
The inspiration for the table is from a couple of 16th woodcuts of tailors at their work. One shows a Nuremberg Tailor, the other from Jost Amman.
My photos, as usual, can be found on flickr. If you want the original of any photo talk to me, if you want me to pull a photo of you down, talk to me. If you want to leave comments PLEASE DO! :)
Also, while at the event I finished a little bag I made from fabric samples from Medeltidsmode, lined with more of her wool and gave it to Kerstin who owns and operates Medeltidsmode. She is my go-to-gal for all of my SCA fabric needs.
I finished a mi-parti overlapping gown for the Crown Princess' daughter. Isabetta had the idea to give said daughter some ear-mufflers, but cover them in something nice. It ended up as an entire outfit with two hats, gloves, tunic and overtunic which me, Isabetta and Viscountess Anna made and gave to Her Royal Highness at the war.
Additionally I did calligraphy on two scrolls on site. One backlog from Eira and Torbjörn (for Ld Hroald Pai), and one last-minute PCS for Titus Flavius.
I've been gathering the photo-albums. So far most of them are on facebook, which can suck. But that is one reason to join fb for sure - people tend to post their photos there.
Double wars XXV (Valai Almgren)
Double Wars 2012 (Racaire)
Double Wars 2012, flickr (Racaire)
Knäcke 25 (Arthur McGowan)
Photos from the SCA event "Double Wars XXV" (Aleydis van Vilwoorde)
Double Wars (Emelyne of Twynham)
Double Wars XXV (Katheryn Hebenstreitz)
Katheryn's Photos on Picasa
Double Wars 2012 (Whilja af Gothia)
Double Wars 2012 (Delphina Bearcat)
Knäcket 2012 (Silwa av Svaneholm)
Doubel Wars 2012 (Carola de Flintebeke)
Double Wars 2012 (Röd Grön)
Double Wars 2012 (Isabetta del Verde)
Double Wars XXIV 2012 (Izabella del Cacco)
Double Wars XXV 2012 (Wilda Frejasdotter)
Double Wars XXV (Danel Udalshou)
Double Wars 2012 (Duarte Goncalvez)
Double Wars in Drachenwald (Yara)
Yes, mine will come eventually.
I also knew when I started that I wanted to finish the edges with trim, or braid or similar string-decoration. Either braided or fingerlooped. Probably fingerlooped. I have just started and made the first lace to go on there, but it's not very wide, because the silk thread is fairly thin, so I will have to apply several rows of the lace. I think it's going to look good in the end. At least I hope so :) I have photos of all the finished sides, except the Drachenwald populace badge.
( Pics... )
At the first sewing circle of the year I cut it out, at home I cut the bodice to the same pattern as my red wool petticoat, a little larger though. And then I made two half-front panels with boning channels in. I stitched them to the shell and interlining in one parallel line and one oblique, which will be covered with a nice trim eventually. After I stitched them in I could finally lace the bodice on, and Helwig helped me in deciding the waistline. I had to take up the back a full inch, and in the sides I took it up 1/8th of an inch.
The state of the project now is that I actually have to decide what to use to line the skirt - the options are plain linen, shiny brocade and thin wool which I have in the stash already, or acetate which I would need to buy. I'm leaning towards the brocade for the skirt and wool for the bodice. Will make a decision before Saturday's sewing circle.
Now for the second new project of the year, which is an embroidery piece. Last summer I planned out a 5x5x5cm pincushion cube with embroidery on all six faces, and I even prepared the ground fabric for it. It's been collecting dust on my shelf for a good long while now. So on Sunday I took it down, and mounted it in the table-mounted round frame and started in! The first side I made is the Nordmark populace badge, which I executed in brick stitch in the 30/2 silk threads I got in London.
The second side I stitched in the same silk,outlining the two letters L T in stem stitch in green, and filling in the background in an all-over brick stitch (pattern by Kathy Storm) using black, white and green. The letters themselves are currently empty, but I'm considering how to fill them in, and if I even ought to fill them in.
The third side which I just started last night after scribal night is going to be my own arms, I'm doing that by outlining the colour areas with stem stitch, and filling in the colours in solid brick stitch taken over 4 threads, offset 2 threads per row. I started with the two white seeblätter, and stopped at the beginning of the black seeblatt.
- January 1 - Item, one German brick stitch embroidered pincushion stuffed with wool and edged with square fingerloop braid of white silk.
- January 2 - Item, one grey wool Layton-style jacket. Closed with pewter buttons inlaid with a green stone and fingerloop braided button-loops.( With pictures... )
- January 7 - Item, sixteen separate and different fingerloop braids to decorate the A&S competition gifts. All in silk, all in the Drachenwald colours of red, yellow and black.
- February 4 - Item, half dozen fingerloop braids in Calontir's colours for Estrella Giftbasket. ( With pictures... )
- February 9 - Item, one writ of introduction for Antonio di Rienzo, ODS, so his Scholar can enter into competitions at Pennsic. ( With pictures... )
- March 30 - Item, one embroidered napkin, device in centre, brick stitch. Giftbasket project for Mistress Katheryn Hebenstreitz, OL.
( With pictures... )
- April 5 - Item, one whitework embroidered towel. Giftbasket project for Mistress Katheryn Hebenstreitz, OL.( With pictures... )
- April 30 - Item, one green wool houpellande for THL Odo de Home finished.
- May 15 - Item, one tablecloth, blackworked border and in the centre a laurel wreath containing a pelican in her piety - all long-armed cross stitch. Giftbasket project for Mistress Katheryn Hebenstreitz, OL.( With pictures... )
- May 22 - Item, set of forehead cloth and coif wrought with blackwork and silver thread embroidery for Viscountess Filippa Birgersdotter.( With pictures... )
- June 16 - Item, one cotton/linen high-necked 16th Century shirt for Helwig Ulfsdotter. Neck and cuff set with small frills, the front embroidered with initial H and finished with silk ties. Delivered at Hägnan and Nordmark Coronet Tourney.
- Aug 5 - Item, one Viking shirt/undertunic for Prince SvartulvR. Made from fine hemp, round neckline with a slit set to one side and two eyelet holes for fastening with an annular brooch. Delivered at Visby Medieval Week.
- Sep 11 - Item, one natural-colour keyhole neckline linen shirt for Lord Edricus.
- Sep 11 - Item, one red knitted flat cap. ( With pictures... )
- Sep 12 - Item, one cotton/linen high-necked 16th Century shirt for myself. ( With pictures... )
- Oct 20 - Item, one viking tunic, still to get embroidery, for SvartulvR's Laurel elevation. ( With pictures... )
- Oct 20 - Item, one carrying bag, embroidered in the mammen style, as a vigil gift for SvartulvR. ( With pictures... )
I've also been uploading older albums to flickr. I suggest checking that out if you want to find my older archives. I'll keep adding old event photos there in the coming months. Easiest is to check the sets - everything will be organized into a set http://www.flickr.com/photos/liabucket/
ETA: A few more old albums uploaded. 2007 University and Crown Tourney. Same place :)