Sunday, February 24, 2013

Translation, anyone?

A friend who knows about my dog-barding project shared this with me and it cracked me up.  Seriously, barding on a cow?!  Wow.  Sadly I do not read German at all so I have no idea why on earth this manuscript is showing such a thing, but it's pretty entertaining.  If anyone out there can translate the inscription I would really appreciate it!

At least I now know putting barding on my chihuahua is not that ridiculous an idea after all!

Friday, February 22, 2013

New project ideas!

I gave a presentation last night on the Morgan Bible, sometimes better known as the Maciejowski Bible, for my local SCA group.  The Morgan is the theme for our next big event, which is also out kingdom's spring coronation, so I'm hoping that at least one or two people were able to get inspired to make something based on the manuscript.  I certainty did, but sadly as I am running the competition I can't enter.  Boo!  At least it takes the pressure off needing to get a project finished by a deadline, though that can be a really good thing sometimes (witness, the never ending book cushion).

Anyway, I've been wanting to do an almoners bag or something similar in opus anglicanum for awhile.  It's not the easiest technique ever but I enjoy it and getting to work with metal threads for the background will be fun.  I found a miniature in Morgan of David of Bathsheba getting married that I really like, I think if I take out most of the background/side people, including the crazy uncle giving Bathsheba bunny ears, and just use the central couple, who have lots of nice graceful folds in their cloths perfect for silk shading, it would make a nice piece.

Since just a pair of people standing there would make a boring piece, I want to incorporate a frame made out of some of the funny gumdrop/Lorax looking trees that show up all over the place in the manuscript.  I'm not sure how best to stitch them but I will figure it out.  They have a lot of fine detail in the bud sections, maybe some form of couching?

The fun part is planning out what to stitch.  The less fun part is the silks.  There is a wonderful post over at opusanglicanum on just this very subject, suggesting (quite brilliantly) silk tram as an affordably embroidery thread.  Sadly I can't find anywhere in the States yet to get this from, and mail ordering from the UK makes it about as expensive as getting the soi de algiers.  Unless of course I order a truck load of the stuff.  I'm also not in love the soi de algiers color cards, or lack thereof, so picking out colors is tricky.  Locally all I can get is spun silk which lacks luster and except for being silk might as well be cotton.  It has a nicer hand when finished but lacks any real difference in visual impact making the huge difference in cost totally pointless.

What I would not give for a good, local needle working store!  I don't mind paying tax, but paying shipping over and over again just because I didn't get a color right or need one more spool or something is really irritating.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

More books

This book things is totally addictive.  I finished the rounded spine journal, and posted start-to-finish photos on facebook, which you can see here.  I'm very happy with how the whole thing came out and it was a lot of fun to do.  While I was waiting for the glue to dry I did some poking around on the web to see what I could find out about proper medieval bindings and I'm looking forward to trying some of those out.  They appear to be a bit more complicated, and the boards are made from actual wood, but this all makes sense given that the books inside were so precious.  The limp bindings are also really interesting and though they seem simple there is a lot of interesting and rather beautiful stitching going on on many of them.

I think the biggest problem is going to be figuring out what to do with all of these journals.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More coptic stitch books

Again with the modern covers, but as these are just for practice that's ok!  I'm having a lot of fun with the sewing and the gluing.  The cherry blossom paper is left over from my wedding favors and the sheep are from my scrapbooking paper fabric.  And hello, sheep!  I do love the sheep (but not in a creepy or gross way).  I think these came out very well, I like the hard covers.  I'm even more pleased with the end papers on these books, which of course I didn't take pictures of.  Hopefully I will get around to it with the next batch of books.  The sheep have a stripped black paper and I used a green textured Japanese bamboo leaf paper for the cherry blossoms.  Both turned out quite nice and have a wonderful tactile quality that I wasn't really trying to accomplish but am very happy with.  I do need to find some better paper for the signatures  I used resume paper for these two books since I had that in the house and it's ok to write on, but I really need to figure out something nicer that I can hopefully find locally.

Next up is the round spine journal, which I understand is a proper, period technique, even if the kit I have is not using period materials, and the limp binding kit I got at KASF which is actually totally period.  One of them will end up being my new comment book for A&S competitions and displays, depending on how they turn out.  Right now I am leaning towards the round spine journal, it's less period but smaller and will take up less space on the table which can be a serious issue in some cases.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Something completely different

The DH and I went to LA this weekend, partly to visit with my family and partly to work on Top Secret Project Number 1 (more on that later).  It was a nice trip, even if I did bring the cold weather with me and of course no coat.  Who bring a coat to Southern California?  Seriously?

Anyway, my cousin's girlfriend was teaching a class on Coptic bookbinding at this amazing little place called The Makery (if you are in the LA/Orange County area, check it out!  very cool space) on Saturday and since I was there I signed up.  Yay for bookbinding!  How did I not get to do this sooner?  Sewing AND glue?  Seriously?  It's my two most favorite things ever, all in one place!  I'm now super bummer I never took any book arts classes as an undergrad, there was apparently amazing book arts programs at my undergrad college.  Oh well.

Anyway, here is my first ever attempt at book binding.  It's not a period book, obviously  but the techniques used to make it are all period.   I'm pretty pleased with myself.  I've already got two more (modern) books started with hard, paper-covered covers.  I also picked up a long-arm kit from Mistress Aneira at KASF that is totally period so I will get started on that in the next day or two.  I also ordered another kit for a rounded back journal from Hollanders that should be fun.  I don't know what I am going to do with all of these hand-bound journals, I'm sure I'll think of something.  Making them is sort of addictive.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Needle case

 I've been wanting to make a Viking-style needle case that would suspend from one of my apron brooches for a very long time.  A number of these things have been found, most of which are just little tubs of metal with bits of wool shoved inside.  To hold needles, all you need to do is poke the needle into the wool.  Sometimes the needle case has nothing more than a small hole with a wire loop to suspend it from something, others have elaborate wire wrappings to make suspension loops.  There is a great write-up on needle cases here - and another even better and longer one that I now cannot find but will link to when I track it down again.

Anyway, what I've come up with isn't quite right but it will get the job done and is a reasonable approximation of what it should be.  I used a bit of metal tubing from the local hardware store and some jewelry wire to make thing, plus a bit of solder to keep the wire from sliding off the tube.  My wrapping is just not that great.  Instead of using a plain chain to suspend the case, I made a beaded chain with some beautiful lamp worked beads made by a local lamp-worker who was selling them at KASF this weekend.

What I find most entertaining about this particular needle case is that when suspended from my brooch, it ends up in exactly the place where I usually stick needles in my shirt.  I did not plan this but it's terribly convenient.  Also, you don't have the un-thread the needle when you put it away, you can just sort of wrap the thread around the end of the case, which actually makes it easier to get the needle out should you somehow shove it too far into the wool.  Some of the extant cases have a little cuff of wire around the end of the tube, which is pretty and decorative but also make doing this little bit of thread wrapping much easier.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Toiling Away

This book cushion project is starting to feel like one of the Labors of Hercules.  Or possibly the torment of Sisyphus.  I've finally got all of the gold colored sections stitched in correctly, which is good as that has established the much smaller areas I need to deal with for the blue twisted cross sections, but for some reason I have yet to do a blue medallion without having to pick out at least one of the arms.  Each one of those buggers is taking about 2 1/2 hours, sometimes 3.  Very annoying.  What you see here is 67 hours of work.

Anyway, I took what I had done to Kingdom Arts and Sciences this weekend for my display and got some nice feedback.  The lady whose book the cushion is destined to support saw the thing and was excited about it, so that was nice.  She also gave me permission to display the book with the cushion when it's all finished, so I feel better about doing that.  I have an issue with displaying other people's work along with my own without permission, even if the two things are meant to go together.  We also had a nice chat about bookbinding, so I'm going to give that a try.  It sounds like fun and I've always liked gluing things together.