My creative SCA journey on stuff I make and research I do…mostly in fibers (wool prep, spinning, weaving, tablet weaving) and glass beads, but could also include costumes, camping, cooking, and any other creative things that strike my fancy.
After I finished the last couple of feet of sewing on the coat, I decided the next item to make is an apron dress. I normally wouldn’t build a wardrobe from the outside in, but nothing is as it should be this year.
I “interviewed” three fabric candidates. Two were too small and one was *just* about big enough (if I reduced the length of the dress by 3″), but it’s got a very subtle stripe to it and has a right and wrong side…but only noticeable if you’re looking very closely.
I laid out and marked the fabric using the “no waste” apron dress pattern. Mistress Disa i Birkalundi has a YouTube class on how to measure and mark your fabric for this pattern.
I ended up assembling mine a little differently because I was being difficult and dumb, but also because the fabric has a right side and a wrong side; if you sew the two half side panels together, one will be reversed.
Anyway, it looks fine from the front, and that’s what’s important.
I plan on adding the Oseberg tablet weaving to it (the purpley-red in the weave matches the purpley-red in the fabric almost perfectly).
Because I had to make it a bit shorter, I will be adding some dark grey wool at the bottom and trimming the top with it as well. I also need to make shoulder straps, so those will be in grey as well–here’s hoping I have enough! (PS – I do!)
Meanwhile, the garden is expanding, we moved the compost bins, and hubby has invested in a rain barrel. I’m looking into the possibility of growing potatoes in buckets, but it looks like 5 gallon buckets have rather small yields–maybe 2 lbs. per bucket. A 20 gallon bucket yields about 8 lbs…so about the same yield per gallon.
Many of us around the world are on a shelter-in-place order from their local bureaucrats. Those of us in the Seattle area have been on some kind of social distancing program since about mid-February, and we have been working from home and online learning for the last 3 weeks. This is going to get old really fast…
But it’s giving me an opportunity to catch up on some projects and branch out into some new territory…for me.
I’m getting the finishing touches put on a Norse coat, and plan to make a few tunics and apron dresses to wear this summer…if we ever get out of this…
I’ve also been working on a costume project for Their Majesties of An Tir with a group of talented costumers. I’m so honored to be part of the team! I only hope that May Crown will not be cancelled and we can see our Royals in Their new clothes!
Coming soon: I’ll be doing an online tutorial for tablet weaving. Introducing the tools & materials, warping my loom and showing viewers how to read and follow a pattern. We’ve done most of the filming and it is now in the hands of my very capable producer/director.
Last weekend, I taught at Collegium for the second time, with my co-teacher HL Aenor de Pessac. It was a great time! Sadly, I didn’t get any photos from the weekend–and we were only there on Sunday.
I had originally planned on going to the event for the full weekend, taking classes on Friday and/or Saturday, but after reviewing the schedule of classes, there were a few that were really intriguing. One was the woodworking bentwood boxes class, from the guy who made my Monster Loom (which I named Mike Wazowski). I’m not a big woodworker, though I’ve done a little (middle school shop class) and I’ve been interested in learning more.
Then there were a couple that were being taught by people who are literally five miles or less from my house. I thought, ‘Ya know, I bet I could just *walk* to Lori’s house and ask her how to make the partlet.’
Then I considered taking the lampworking class, but I thought they might be more geared towards beginners–which I am not anymore. Solid intermediate here. I belong to the Lampworkers Guild (as you know) and I needed to make beads that are due before Thanksgiving, and they said Collegium would be a perfect place to hand them over so they wouldn’t have to be mailed. I had completely forgotten about that deadline until just a day or two before, so I thought maybe I could work on making them AT Collegium…but that seemed like a lot of hassle dragging all my stuff down there, and if the class space is really limited, they’d likely want to save it for students, not just someone wanting to play. And then they’d need to be cleaned and I might not have time enough to finish them all…maybe this isn’t a good idea after all. Then I found out the classes were all full anyway. Ah, well.
In the end, I felt time might be better spent making the beads I need to finish for the guild at home on Saturday and bringing them with me on Sunday. I volunteered to make two strings at a dozen or so beads each, so I needed to make 25-30 beads done. I was able to get 18 or so finished before I started making some mistakes and clearly showing signs of flame fatigue. It was getting late and I also needed to finish packing the truck for the event, so I turned off the gas and let the beads cool down. I didn’t have time to clean them after all, so I’ll have to finish them up and mail them anyway.
This year was Collegium IV. I taught Survey of Tablet Woven Bands at Collegium II, which was a slide show of period pieces and patterns. It was a packed room–AMAZING! Apparently, my Laurel sent in a secret expert to sit in and review my information and she said that I did a good job! YEY!! I did my research! Then I skipped teaching for a year; I went to the event and took several classes, which was a lot of fun. This year, I was asked to teach something again and after discussing it with others, including my dear friend (and co-teacher), Aenor, we came up with an idea: Beginning Tablet Weaving: The Astonishingly Easy-to-Recreate 9th Century Oseberg Band!
The class included a very quick Power Point presentation that covered some basics of history, overview of materials and terms, some tips and tricks to keep in mind, and then some hands-on. To save a lot of time and stress, I pre-warped the looms with the yarn and cards, so all they had to do was start turning cards and throwing shuttles. A few of the looms even had a bit of weaving started.
I somehow screwed up one of the looms and warped up something wrong…the threads were making squares instead of zig-zags. Not sure what happened there. Now I think about it, the weaver may have had the cards in the wrong starting point…but it was a pattern and it looked cool, so….win!
Aenor was wonderful at helping get half the students started, and then I went around and checked on their work. In the last half-hour or so, she continued the slide presentation with a lot of great pictures of the archaeological dig and information about what they found. She’s a trained archaeologist and was completely in her wheelhouse there.
The students seemed to have a great time and they all walked away with a tablet woven bookmark they made….and hopefully an interest to learn more later.
It turned out to be (in my opinion) barely enough time. I wish I had been able to have a 4 hour block instead of just 2 so the students would have a lot of time to play, and have materials enough to take home with them, including a set of cards. Or include an hour of warping the loom (which is almost a class in itself because of all the time it takes to learn how to do just that), an hour of history and two hours of weaving. But all the materials needed would drive the price up to about $20 a student (minimum) and require some kind of loom.
New projects, now that Athenaeum is over: lampworking and Royal clothing.
As part of the Lampworker’s Guild, I volunteered to make two strands of beads for gifts from the Kingdom, not realizing how close the deadlines for Athenaeum and July Coronation would be. Honestly, I should have started it sooner, but I kept thinking I had plenty of time. HA HA HA! Whoops.
So, I pulled out the lampworking stuff and noticed that my bead release was, of course, bone dry. I added a bit of water to it and let it sit for a couple days, shaking it once or twice a day. On the second day, it was clear that the stuff was still solid sludge, so I stirred it with a mandril and added a bit more water. I shook it again and realized (too late) that I added too much water. It was too thin. I left the cap off it for a couple days to dry out and it’s STILL too thin. UGH. I was able to make a few beads using the mandrils that I had dipped last time, but I’m down to the last 5 or 6 and then I’ll have to dip some more. I have made arrangements to borrow some from HL Aenor to tide me over, and I may go ahead and order another bottle from Frantz.
The challenge is to make the beads using the Historical Bead Challenge samples that many of us made several months ago. I got most of the way through the challenge before I lost momentum (ran out of gas, needed to focus on other things, etc.). Of the 21 lessons, I think I only missed the last 2 of them, which I plan on finishing once I get the supplies I need.
The other thing I’m doing is helping make costumes for their Royal Highnesses of An Tir, the project headed up by Baroness Lorenzia & HL Margo, who live just a couple miles from me. Duke Morgan and Duchess Livia were King and Queen a couple of times before in another Kingdom (Adenveldt? Arizona area) but this is their first time for An Tir. They are terrific people and fun to hang out with. They have two lovely children (I’ve only met one so far, but I hear the other is equally delightful) and we are clothing not only TRHs, but the kiddos and His father, who is also a Duke. This is a lot of work, but we are up to the task (and volunteered, of course, and are more than delighted to do so). Yesterday and today I spent many hours at Lorenzia & Margo’s finishing seams, cutting out garments, and brainstorming with the team, coming up with genius ideas (not all of them are mine, mind you…but I feel that I have contributed).
One of our genius ideas was to make checky tippets for TRHs. I said, “Gosh, that’s just like making a quilt,” so we’re cutting strips and I’m sewing my quarter-inch seams, cross-cutting flipping and sewing… Continue reading “Side-Stepping the Weaving”
Another brilliant event put on by Master Charles and Mistress Kerij-e! There were over 50 artisans displaying their works, talking with Laurels and other artisans, sharing their passions, their research, their creations, and their positive energy. The place was just alive with joy! It was really palpable.
This event was new last year, but it had a lot of similarities to an event that had gone on for 3 or 4 years prior that was hosted by a Laurel in the Kent/Renton area called Arts Unframed. It had a similar structure to have artisans display their works and have Laurels attend and give them the opportunity to view the stuff. It was a little less structured in that the Laurels were not required to sign up to visit with artisans and have conversations with them about their chosen passions, and the artisans were not guaranteed to have anyone stop by to talk. I did Arts Unframed twice and had only spoken with a couple of Laurels who were curious about what I was doing. I had a lot of stuff on my assigned table, so there were lots of different kinds of art to interest a wide variety of Laurels. I had weaving, spinning, costume bits, sock knitting, the warp-weighted loom, dye stuff, blackwork, lampwork, and part of a Roman doll that I was making.
Last year at Athenaeum, like at Arts Unframed, I had my breadth of knowledge with All The Things on display…
…this year was depth of knowledge display on historic tablet weaving. Because I was only showing one thing, I requested a teeny tiny table. It was just barely enough room, but it worked.
I had so many visitors and each one of them was a joy to talk to. I was able to share where I started with this rather rough-looking skip hole weave, which was made in the THIRD class I took on tablet weaving…I was determined to learn this craft. This was my “ah ha!” moment.
Then I began learning from others through published patterns. I created quite a number of pieces from books and GTT patterns on Pinterest–there are a lot of patterns available there!
Then I felt I really advanced with this piece where I was able to look at the extant piece (photo) and the archaeological drawing and figure out how it was made…
…and then re-create it.
And finally, taking a very detailed pattern and use very fine silk threads to create a breathtaking woven piece…if I may say so myself.
A question I was asked by a Laurel who stopped by was how big was the original and how close is mine to that measurement? I didn’t know the answer to at the time–the extant image didn’t have a ruler next to it, sadly–but have since (in the last 24 hours) discovered the answers and found out even more about this piece and the companion piece found in the tomb. The original measured 18 mm wide and was made of silk (not wool, as was originally published in another source that I found). Mine, also made of silk, is 15 mm wide. The original motifs are much more square than mine and other reproductions I’ve seen, which makes me curious to find out why…
“So what’s up next?” was a question I heard several times. There are three things I want to do. First, work in wool. I have only worked in cotton and a little in silk, but I have a project in the queue for a gent in Denmark who got in touch with me a few days ago. The item that he’s requesting is a 6 yard piece in wool using an Icelandic pattern. I just ordered some materials and am looking forward to receiving them soon…maybe this week. The specific pattern he wants is a brocade tablet weaving piece, although brocaded weaving is something I have done very little of. The last time I tried, several years ago, the process frustrated me, likely due to the materials I was using, and the difficulty of the piece that I chose. However, now that I have much more experience and confidence, I am ready to try it again–so that’s #2.
The third thing I am looking forward to trying is weaving with metal. Many of the brocade pieces used gold and silver in its creation, and the Danish gent that I’ve been communicating with has some to trade for the woven piece he is asking for.
At 12:30, we had a break for lunch. I lunched in the courtyard with my bestie, Aenor, who was also displaying, as well as their Excellencies of Wyewood and a couple other gentlemen. Although the Madrone Culinary Guild provided a lovely spread of food, allergens prevented me from imbibing, so we packed a lunch of chicken salad, croissants, cheese, fruit, and Millionaire’s Shortbread.
It was a long day, exhausting, but in a good way. I had to leave right after the displaying was over at 4 pm to meet up with hubby and friends at the Pride Day Sounders game. Sadly, this meant missing court and the elevation of Mistress Helewisa, and the awarding of the Lion’s Strength to my Mistress, Isolde.
At the end of the day, I had over 14,000 steps logged on my Fitbit. I forgot to change into my comfy tennies, but kept wearing my new, not-yet-broken-in SCA loafers…by the time I got home, my feet were very sore! I need to find a way to stretch the leather over the instep.
I’m looking forward to doing this again next year. But maybe with more comfortable shoes.
I’m starting to get a little panicky about Saturday…at least about getting everything packed and not forgetting anything. Once I get there and get set up, I’m fine–I can talk all day to people about tablet weaving, so that’s no problem. It’s making sure I have everything I need that is stressing me out.
I’ve got my weaving all ready in the display…
I’ve got my loom warped with lovely fine silk threads…just need to ensure that I can transport it to the event without snagging any of it…I think I have an old Amazon gift bag lying around somewhere.
I’ve put together my little herbal thank yous (I made 15…I hope I have enough)…
I also have my business cards (with updated blog address), binders of patterns and research materials, and a couple of pieces to give as gifts–one to Master Charles for his apprentice who is getting elevated, and one to Her Royal Highness as a gift to someone in Caid. I still need to find my table cloth–I’m thinking about going with a plain color since I’ve got so many bright colors in the basket already.
The only thing I’m lacking is good labeling of the pieces themselves. I put business-card size pieces of paper on them–I created them on Publisher with my arms and a brief description–but they’re too big and I don’t know how to attach them to the weaving other than stapling or pinning, which I don’t like. What I should have done earlier is put mini tags on them; small tags but with enough room to write the era and region the pattern is from–or rather, type it up, print it on a sticker and paste it on. It’s something I should have ordered days ago, but I didn’t…and now I’m wondering where I could go pick them up. A craft store? A paper store? A party store? None of those seem quite right. The paper I have here is not heavy enough, and I’m not sure what I’ve got for heavier weight paper. I mean, I could buy some paper, use a template to cut them out by hand…but that seems rather time consuming.
The last thing I need to do is make Millionaire’s Shortbread….it’s kind of a throwback to last year when a Laurel I really admire gave me the gift of a jar of Lyle’s Golden Syrup and challenged me to make some. A year has passed and I have made it a couple times before…but I need to make it either tomorrow or Friday and bring it to the event.
Needless to say, you can see why I’m a little panicky. I have a lot of stuff to do and not a lot of time to do it.
I’ve been searching for my copy of the Applesies and Fox Noses for a year…or more. I don’t recall how long it’s been. I was tearing the house apart and found it tucked in a bookcase, in a giant ziplock, behind a quilting pattern. So happy! I’m still looking for a set of keys that I lost almost a year ago…so that would also be nice to find.
I know…I’ve been away for some time! Lost the password, struggled with other projects, yadda yadda yadda. But I’m back. I’ll be working my way back through my projects to document what I’ve done as well as publishing new stuff.
Athenaeum is a brilliant idea from the mind of Master Charles (et al) to have an artisans’ display. Last year, they held it in a great room and artisans got a table to display all the cool stuff they make. It was a huge success! I got to display a breadth of skills (lampwork, tablet weaving, knitting, spinning, natural dyes, and Frigga the Loom). I got to chat with dozens of other artisans, share ideas, and make business arrangements (I make socks for you and you make flags for me, etc.). It was great fun and exhausting and amazing!
I signed up again this year, but asked for a small table where I will display my depth of knowledge in tablet weaving. I have been weaving up a storm, trying to recreate as many different patterns as I can find from 500 BCE to the 14th century (the art rather died out around that time due to dramatic changes in fashion).
I have learned so much in these last couple of months that I’ve been focused on this endeavor. My proudest so far is figuring out how to turn this drawing of an extant piece into a woven band.
My biggest setback at this time is a method of display. I have a few ideas, but no idea which is going to work best. I think what I might need is a series of horizontal rods to tie or roll them onto, although I’m leaning more and more towards partially rolling and then pinning to avoid it completely unraveling.
Then labeling all the pieces…I’d love to have something small to pin on them that has my name, the date of the original, location (country), and maybe some other details, like if it was originally brocade or woven with silk or metal.
I was also asked to do a piece of tablet weaving for Her Royal Highness as a gift to someone in Caid. We discussed it with a few others (my apprentice sisters and Mistress) and decided on an Egyptian Diagonals pattern. I’m about halfway through the pattern now.
I’m also putting together some gifts for the Laurels, Pelicans and other dignitaries. I picked a bunch of rosemary from my garden a few days back, so I’m drying it and will bag it up. I’m also planning on making something edible to share: Millionaire’s Shortbread, from a challenge from last year’s event.
The last few weeks have been a flurry of research for teaching a class at An Tir Collegium on A Brief Survey of Tablet Woven Bands, being an overview of extant tablet weaving pieces and patterns to reproduce them. It was a few weeks of preparation prior to the class, but I was able to put together a 50+ slide PowerPoint presentation. It had pieces from 500 BC Austria to 14th century Germany, and from countries all over Europe from Scandinavia to France. I arrived in the classroom a few minutes early, but spent several more struggling to get the computer to work properly. Once we made the magic of technology cooperate with me, I looked up and realized that the classroom was not just well-attended, but standing-room-only! I thought I’d have a small handful of students and it was more than 25. No worries. I’ll just panic a little. AAAAAHHHHHHH!
After we finally got the computer working, it went well! Most of the students were either novice or beginning weavers; only a couple were intermediate or advanced. The feedback I got was mostly excellent, which was very encouraging. I even was pulled aside by a couple of students later and told that they really enjoyed the class and that a few things that I mentioned were particularly helpful. 😀
A few days later, I sent a copy of the slide show to a prominent tablet weaver in Germany who gave me some really good feedback–just a couple of minor corrections and marking some images that I had missed–but she said, “It is one of the best summaries I’ve read.” That is high praise from such an esteemed source! (Giddiness ensued!)
My goal for teaching the class was to have as many pieces done in my own hand as possible. The more slides I added, the fewer examples I had…so I needed to get some work done. In preparation for this class, I made a few woven pieces to pass around. They are:
14th Century German piece. Original was brocade (of course), but this is a very close facsimile in a threaded-in version. This one was still on the loom, which was great for students to see all set up with all the cards needed for it…all 28 cards.
Dublin Dragons. Original was also brocaded. I think this is even prettier than the original. It’s great fun to weave, too!
Hallstat 3, Austria, 500 BCE. This was found in a salt mine with several other woven pieces. The colors were remarkably well preserved due to the salt. This one was fast and lovely to work, and I find it so remarkable how complex the pattern is, and this in 500 BCE…the technique was already very advanced at this time. In Mistress Madrun’s class, she mentioned how much our weaving skills have declined in the last few centuries compared to what it was back then.
Right now I’m working on a piece that has a repeating motif from the Merovingian Queen Bathilde in Chelles, France (above). I’m not as impressed with this selection of colors (below), but I wanted to choose something from my badge/arms. I think the blue and green are too similar in tone, or maybe there is too much contrast with the green and white. I’m not entirely sure, but I have a taker for it when I finish the other 3 yards of it. It’s kind of slow going and the twist is building up on it rather quickly. This would work much better in a warp-weighted version, if I had something set up to work on.
I have a list of about 20 other pieces in a binder, ready to go, that I’m looking forward to making, and a few patterns that I plan to make more than one length of, in various colors.
While I was getting ready to teach, I also had a commitment to make beads for the Lampworkers Guild. These are for Aethelmarc, Northshield and Avacal. Each grouping has one bead for An Tir’s sitting Queen and the others are gifts to the Queens of other Kingdoms, which I believe are sent to them at events in February and August.
I found out that I had 84 comments pending! And 100% of them were spam. Disappointing, but that’s the way it goes. Trashed them all.
I was working on some weaving this past few weeks. I made a 3 1/2 yard piece for a commission from a lovely lady in Thornwald. It’s a simple piece using the Snartemo II pattern but added extra cards to make it wider.
I found another pattern I wanted to try (above) an 11th century Latvian piece. It didn’t have any directions on how to thread or weave it other than it’s a skip hole design, so I guessed. Unfortunately I am doing it wrong.
It’s still lovely and I’ll keep weaving, and post the directions for it below, but I hope that I can find the directions to making the band that I wanted. Apparently it’s a “pebble” weave and while I can find lots of examples of what it’s supposed to look like, I can’t seem to find any directions on how to actually DO it. So I ordered a book that should arrive in a couple days.