Thursday, August 29, 2013

Stitching away

I should never ever bemoan not having enough to do!  I'm now back to hiding from the calendar.  In addition to a fiber show at the end of September (how is that only 2 days away?!) and co-teaching a class on tailoring and fitting for an SCA university on the 7th I'm also working on a Laurel elevation coat which needs to be done by the 14th.  I will post pictures after the elevation, as it's a surprise, but wow time is not my friend this week.  I'm really hoping that my doctors can figure out what is causing me to need a nap after a couple of hours of not very strenuous work because this is getting ridiculous.

The coat itself is a lot of fun and pretty straight forward.  The sewing isn't a big deal, it's getting the embroidery done that's a bit of a challenge.  I'm trying to keep it simple, just doing outlines for the design and a little bit of fill all in pretty filament silk on the nice wool I was given to use on the sleeve cuffs and at the neck.  So far it's looking really nice and I'm quite pleased.  As long as I don't get crazy with putting more elements on the coat, I should be fine.

I love working with the silk, the filament is so very much nicer than the spun stuff I had been working with.  It's a little trickier to work with but the end result is much nicer and actually looks different than regular DMC cotton, so it's the worth the little extra effort (mostly in making sure my nails and cuticles are snag-free).  Having to mail order sucks, but I did finally find a good color card for Soie de Paris on-line (it's part of the Soie D'Alger card, the number in bold are the Soie de paris) which makes mail-ordering a lot less stressful.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Some good resources

Here are a couple of great links that some of you may be interested in -

For the late-period enthusiast, Drea Leed has made her out of print book on 16th century Flemish working-class costume the Well Dress'd Peasant available in PDF format at

If you are interested in Vikings, the best research summation I have seen thus far on apron dresses and under-gowns can be found here -  She's got a lot of other great links and resources as well, all grounded in good archaeology.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pennsic Project ADD

Second attempt at a sprang bag
I got back from Pennsic with so many project ideas and plans and thoughts that I almost don't know what to pick up first.  I learned to do sprang, bake bread over a fire pit, do underside couching, and got inspiration for a bunch of new sewing, embroidery and weaving projects.  I also picked up what I needed to do a blackwork coif I've been wanting to make for awhile and while I was at it decided I might as well weave the ties on my loom because I can and hey, why not make the needle lace for the trim as well?  Not that I know how to make needle lace but I can learn, right?  So I built a stool for my husband (not that he goes to many SCA events, but whatever), am trying to decided how I want to built a sprang frame, want to sprang all the yarn, am picking a place to dig a fire pit in the yard, and am darting back and forth between all of the other projects so often I need a nap.

My ghetto light-box - a desk lap under
my glass top desk.  Ugly, but fictional!
In a way this is wonderful, I've been in a bit of a creative slump for quite awhile now and I think I managed to push through it at Pennsic some how.  Having two whole weeks to do nothing but take classes and explore my crafts was a wonderful release that I desperately needed.  I need to make time for that kind of unfettered creativity; no worries about the dogs, feeding the DH, or helping other people with their projects. Of course, I also need to focus all that energy onto a manageable list of things instead of running around like an insane squirrel so that I can get something done, but for now I will enjoy this phase of creative madness for what it is, take lots of notes on all the ideas, and worry about the rest later.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Naked Underwater Linen Weaving

In one of my books, which I can't seem to put my hands on at the moment, there is a very silly picture of a guy sitting at loom in his drawers and nothing else weaving linen in a pool of water.  I now understand exactly why he is doing this.  I finally sat down this morning to work on the long-languishing Perugia towel and holy cow does weaving that blasted linen ever work better if it's damp!  Hurray for naked under water linen weaving!

It's also helping that I took a friends recommendation to use paperclips and small weights to keep the floating warp in place.  It was tending to get lost in the first few warp threads, making my selvages messy and ugly.  With the clips on I am getting a much neater edge.   I've decided to abandon the idea of doing a proper Perugia towel with the pick-up brocaded sections though, that's just not working well on this particular loom and I have other things I want to weave sometime in the next year, so I'm doing a faux-rugia instead.  I'll just be weaving in some stripes of the indigo dyed cotton at either end.  Given that my edges are still kind of funky looking, I am happy with this compromise.  Just getting this linen woven off will be a huge accomplishment.  It's still slow going but now that I have my handy spray bottle (and some flax seed sizing, that's a big help too) it's a whole lot easier to make progress.

Edited to add that I found the picture of the naked underwater linen weaver!  It's in the Textile Production at Coppergate book, plate 821, which you used to be able download here but seems to be currently unavailable.