Hide and seek second place winner. Keys are still holding the top spot.

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.

Preparing for Athenaeum II

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.

Yes, I took this off of Pinterest. Screenshot. I’ll update it later
My reproduction!

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.

Egyptian Diagonals pattern for a distant cousin of HRH.

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.

Teaching and Weaving

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.

Now that all that is done….I need a long sleep.

More Weaving

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.

18 cards.  R = red; Y = yellow; O = empty hole

Start with AB on the top.

Turn 7 quarter-turns forward, then 7 quarter-turns away (or vice versa…)

Sorry it’s blurry.  I don’t know how to fix this and I’m too grouchy and tired to figure it out.

July 2017

I haven’t done much this month. I finished doing the beads for Lampworker’s Guild largesse. But I have about 12 other things going on with home repairs, kids, other hobbies and family gatherings, so it’s been a bit hectic. Also I’ve been fighting allergies, so that’s no fun.

Beads, for your viewing pleasure:

June Update

What have I done in the last 6 weeks or so? Well, I finished two more weaving projects, made a cute Flemish hat for myself, and finally, ran and judged a Hat Contest at May Crown (with the help of my Mistress and apprentice sisters)!

The two weaving projects were both from Applesies and Fox Noses. I am working my way through the book, as I may have mentioned earlier, so I’m progressing from easier to more challenging as I go through the book. These two were in the “more challenging” section.

First is weaving #12:

Then I skipped #13 (because it looked almost identical to #12) and did weaving #14 in An Tir colors:

The next one in the book (#15) is a period Norse reproduction, so I’m really looking forward to making that one!

Then I found a pattern to make a late-period Flemish hat using just a square of fabric (which actually creates TWO hats!). Here’s me with my Mistress (in the flamboyant hat) and my dearest apprentice sister/sister of my heart. The pattern was something I found on Pinterest…I’ll have to look it up again. Ya see, my hard drive took a nose dive and all my cookies went ka-poof.  However, the pattern (which I just found again) is here:  https://sevenstarwheel.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/late-15th-century-white-hood.pdf

The hat should look like this, and–for the most part–it does!

Love the net detail on the curtain too!:

And of course, there was the May Crown hat contest. We advertised it a bunch for several months and were delighted when we had 6 entrants! I was hoping for more than 2, so…yey! We honored each of them with a prize for various categories in “Most Ornate”, “Most Whimsical”, “Combat Ready” and others. I don’t recall the list of all the categories that were decided on. Again, hard drive…ka-poof.

My next goal for the summer, besides doing more weaving from the Applesies and Fox Noses book, and finishing up a couple of modern quilting projects, is to make some kirtles that fit well and if I can find the right weight of wool, to make some gowns. I also picked up Mathew Gnagy’s book on Men’s Doublets–I’d like to have a warm jacket to wear with my garb. In fact, I’d like to have a wardrobe of at least 4 kirtles, 4 gowns and the jacket for mix-and-match options.

April Update

I’ve been doing a bit more weaving lately. Risking repeating myself (although, duh, I can edit it later), here’s what I’ve done recently.

Back in February, I finished the green “bees feet” weave that I did in really fine thread. It took me about two years to finish all of it.  What was I thinking? I dunno, but it turned out really great!

Then I warped up a couple pieces in blue and yellow in the Snartemo II pattern.  This is the period skip-hole weave that goes together really fast and is beginner-level EASY!  I really like this one.

After that, I did a woven piece for Baron Evrard in the Birka 22 pattern. I still need to get that to him.  This one is a more advanced level piece that requires following a particular order of turning cards in opposite directions.  It’s easy to get yourself turned around (get it…turned around?)

And I did another piece in WSU Cougar colorway…

Then I warped up a new piece (after I found my Applesies book again!), pattern #11.  This is listed as “challenging”.  This one has 50 steps to the repeat.

Fifty steps.


I’m not memorizing this ever.

The one thing I really need to do is make new kirtles for the camping season.  I need someone to measure me because doing it yourself is difficult/nigh impossible.


Kingdom A&S & Bardic 2017

Well, I didn’t take any pictures of the event–or not really any worth sharing–so I will just discuss a few thoughts.

The artisans blew me away again this year. There were five who did the full three entries for A&S Championship, and several more who did single entries. There were varieties of marzipan, metalwork, costuming, painting, glasswork, and so much more! I wasn’t able to see any of the presentations (until the finals) because I was working in the tally room with the Bardic scores. Sadly, there were only two contestants in Bardic this year–I hope that the word spreads and we have several more next year!

It brings up the topic between apprentices and Laurels… “So, dear apprentice, what are YOU going to enter?” Well, let me tell ya…I’m overwhelmed with intimidation. One entrant did a very specific topic…something about the use of squirrel pelts as currency in Novgorod and the use of birch bark as easy, disposable paper. Uh…. I will have to read up a lot more on Flanders to be able to narrow anything down like that.

**HOWEVER… when I picked up my kids after the event, I remembered that they have a paper birch in their front yard.  I walked over, ripped off a piece of bark, grabbed a pen and wrote a note to my son.  You could write on it very easily with pencil or pen.  I don’t know how it would work with ink and quill.  Maybe I’ll try that sometime.**

Ideas…just brainstorming here:
– Food in late period Flanders
– Partlet Styles of the Flemish women
– Baskets from the Dutch Painters

Of course all of these pale in comparison to something cool like “Women in Medieval Guilds in the 14th Century” or “Carved 15th Century Chair” or “Knitted Silk Prayer Pillow” (spinning the silk, dyeing the silk, knitting on 0000 needles at 40 stitches to the inch or whatever). More often than not, these people are single or childless…and have an ample amount of time (and money) to spend on their chosen craft, not to mention come across some obscure reference and fall into the perfect rabbit hole.

So while it’s *inspiring*, it’s also *depressing*.

I still have my short list of things to do this year:
* Making a jacket
* Making a couple partlets–white in lightweight linen, and black in gauze wool
* Making sleeves
* Building a basic mix-and-match wardrobe,
* Making repairs and embellishing existing clothing pieces

I did make a few repairs and replaced the lacing and the lacing rings–they worked GREAT! I found some long, white shoelaces (about 63″ each), sewed them together to make a long 125″ lace and finished the ends (cutting off the plastic aglets).

The shoes…sadly, those didn’t work out. They looked awesome, but the arches in the Birkenstocks were just wrong. The arch was in the middle of the ball of my foot. I even tried a smaller size with the same result…I had to return them. I’m going to see if I can find someone to build me a pair of late period shoes that I can add my orthotics in.

I also spoke with a couple of the lampworkers in the guild and we have come up with a plan to make a few extra sets of beads to have on hand in case one or more of our volunteers misses the deadline.  The sets we are making now are smaller, so it’s about half as much work for each set and I’m happy to make a few more for the guild.  They are also having issues with members not using cardstock to mark their bead sets, and the more fragile paper is tearing away; essentially, they need to order some business cards (VistaPrint) and mark them with modern name, SCA name and contact info.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue to work on building my wardrobe and doing the very best work to make it look fabulous.  I’m going to do some more weaving–maybe make a variety of woven bands from period patterns.  And do some more bead work for the guild.  I’ll be busy enough.


Apprentice Report

I have been asked by my Mistress to submit occasional reports as to what I’m doing, progress, future plans, etc. I thought perhaps I’d post them here, for future reference.

Stuff I’ve done:

* Turned in the beads for the Lampworkers Guild. Was given a hug from Master Phalen and told I was “one of the good ones” for turning in the beads on time. Yey for meeting deadlines!

* Updated my AnTirWiki page (Elewys_Cuylter_of_Finchingefeld)

* Started a Pinterest board for goals for 2017: https://www.pinterest.com/elewys/2017-costume-goals/ (essentially making a jacket, sleeves and building a basic mix-and-match wardrobe, as well as making repairs and embellishing existing clothing pieces)

* Organized and ran (with relative success) the 12th Night Court Garb contest. Hopefully the word will get out and we will have more entrants and judges next time. I still need a go-to list of reliable and capable judges that I can reach out to ahead of time–broadcast requests for judges is never as effective as individual requests.  I can also ping them at a moment’s notice should we have issues with judge shortages at an event, etc.  Also, with the help of Mistress Raffaella, all prizes for the contest were distributed, so no chasing down people afterwards. I really like the idea of making charter scrolls to give with the prize (or in lieu of a prize) so entrants know exactly what they won. I think we could have a number of blanks for each level that we can fill in with names & dates, and have a “Judges’ Choice” award for the fill-in-the-blank reason (Best Use of An Tir Colors, in this case, but it could be any reason we choose). I will post this on the Costumer’s Guild FB page for discussion.

Birkenstock London* Because my brown Keens are not terribly period, I just ordered some London Birkenstocks to go with my outfit…they look very similar to the shoes that were available during the Tudor and Elizabethan eras. I hope I guessed right on the size…silly Euro sizes!  39 sounds enormous.

Shoe found on the Mary Rose, which sank in 1513.

Stuff I’m gonna do:

  • Gearing up for the Ursulmas event where I will be the point person for Ursulwyck Village. Only adding a few things to the village this year, unlike last year’s epic upgrade. We will have more standards and are looking for more white, navy blue, and dark green sheets.
  • Have reached out to a 14th-15th century costumer about building kirtles and hope that I can attend one of her workshops–she’s planning on having it in April, possibly. Even though I’ve settled on doing the Flemish thing, which is 16th century, they still wore kirtles.  I missed the last one due to illness. 🙁
  • Repairs and upgrades on a number of garments in my wardrobe:  re-hemming, sewing lacing holes (or adding rings), replace lacing
  • Make a few more garments to add to my wardrobe (a Pinterest image shows 5 kirtles and 5 overgowns can make a huge number of mix-and-match options), plus make a jacket for cold weather, lightweight partlet, aprons, and head coverings for daily wear.

Rigid Heddle Project 2

I warped up another piece.  I measured out 5 yards of warp and started setting it up on the loom.  I intended for it to be 17″ wide, but it might be a smidge narrower, and once I full it, it will likely shrink about 10%.  We’ll see if it actually does.


I started weaving and I was having some trouble with tension.  I also had a thread that was twisted around another, so it kept snagging as I was trying to advance.  I realized that I didn’t need to tie on every thread individually, so I backed it up and started again.

I knotted the threads in bundles, which can make for a lumpy take up bar, which I have to figure out, but at least it looks smoother and is advancing well.