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.



One of the things I’ve always thought is that for the SCA participant, no matter how good your costume kit looks, it always looks MUCH better with some kind of head covering.  Whether it’s a complex cap and veil or a simple coif or flat cap, there’s nothing that can add to the Dream like a medieval headdress.

In that vein, I’m working on my veil kit.  I now have all the pieces complete except one; I just have to finish rolling the hem on one piece.  I’ve been looking at a few different web sites for 14th century (or thereabouts) head coverings.  As you saw, I already had a fillet “pie” hat, a pleated fillet hat, and the barbette and coif (in the form of a St. Birgitta cap).  These were pieces I made about a year ago, and they have stood up pretty well (although storage and transport has made them a bit wrinkley).

end-of-nov-2015-5647  hat-2

These are really quick and easy to put on when in a hurry to get out to court or a meeting.  However, I decided I really needed to improve the set a bit and augment to the hat collection.  Additionally, I wanted to add some variety and some extra sunscreen protection for my extra-fair skin.

I was looking at Katafalk’s site and decided to follow her instructions to make a more formal veil kit.  First, I made some improvements to the St. Birgitta cap.  I deconstructed it, re-shaped it, and sewed it back together.  https://katafalk.wordpress.com/2014/01/16/st-birgittas-cap/


The old cap was cut square, gathered, and the slit up the back had pulled out some, so it was too long.


The fabric was cut at an angle and the entire bottom length was gathered, the slit shortened in the back, and the straps were re-attached.  They’re still a bit long, but I will make more adjustments as I wear it.


This is what it looks like on.  It’s still a bit poofy in the back, but it may improve with better straps or additional fitting.

Then I went to her Wearing-My-Veil tutorial and made the pieces she outlined in her blog post.  https://katafalk.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/wearing-my-veil/

It includes an 8 cm x 44 cm forehead cloth, a piece that measures *approximately* 100 cm by 50 cm (hers was a little bigger, but I ran out of fabric), and a giant circle that’s about 90 cm in diameter.  Note to those thinking about doing this project–get 1.5 yards of 55″ wide lightweight linen.

When finished it will look something like this.


I can also make a frilled veil to attach to it later, if I decide I want to try to make one.  At this time, there are dozens of frilled veils around the Kingdom and I don’t want to look like a Bandwagoneer.  In the meantime, I’m going to have more layers to protect my skin during the summer when I inevitably forget my sunscreen at home.

Rigid Heddle Weaving


I saw a lady in the SCA selling her mother’s rigid heddle loom, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I started building one but got held up on the tensioning system, so I was happy to find this for such an amazing price! It’s a bit wider than the one I built, lightweight and portable.  After having worked on it, I can see myself weaving up a few yards of fabric on this to make a sheep-to-shawl project on it.

It took me a couple weeks, but I finally found some time to warp up a small project. I had four skeins wool yarn from a lady who was allergic. The yarn I pulled out was called “Olive medley” with a bit of peach and green and grey.  It was comprised of about 50% wool, 50% acrylic and a bit fuzzy.  I warped up two skeins of the yarn, thinking that I would need half for warp, half for weft (logically).  It proved to be a bit tricky to weave with at first, but it got easier as I went along.






It took about five or six days of weaving, including at Arts Unlimited last weekend, and finished it off yesterday, tying off the ends. It’s a lovely little table runner that I will give to Mom for Christmas.


Whatcha doin?

I know I haven’t posted a bunch of pictures of stuff I’ve made recently, but here’s a couple.  I’m making beads for the Kingdom of Caid for the An Tir Lampworkers Guild.


I’ve made a lotta beads for this group last time around…8 or 9 strands…

The only other thing I’ve got going on (besides end-of-school frenzy and graduations and two weddings coming up in a month and…) is I’ve worked a bit on planning my wardrobe improvements.  I have linen to make gowns, but no wool to make overgowns.  I’m really picky about it, so I need to do some shopping and fabric fondling.

Recapping Weaving

OK…now we are at a current post.  For the moment, I’m going to stop going back and adding posts that are 2-3 (or more) years old.  So many of the photos are missing now that I don’t know what it was I was doing at the time when it says “Saxon weave” since I did a half dozen of them.  So what I’m going to do is post pictures of stuff I’ve done without all the blah-blah-blah that went with it them, but just grouping them together into styles with a brief description.  Now that I look at it, I did a lot of weaving in the last five years.

Skip hole weave


I really like this one.  I believe that it’s period (I’ll have to find the documentation again).  Super easy and looks great.  It was a test piece so it’s only a couple yards.

Threaded in Weaves



This one I did as a commission in 2012.  Unfortunately, she never picked it up and never paid me for it.


BUNNIES!  I made this for the Shire of Shittimwoode to put in their prize box.  This was from the Robin & Russ Handweavers’ book.


This pattern I think I found on the Loomy Bin.

tablet-8b  Variation of the Loomy Bin pattern

tablet-12a  From EQoS on Deviant Art

I love this pattern.  tablet-15a

I’m not kidding.  tablet-5b

Seriously.  tablet-4a

I really love this pattern.  tablet-12b

Really…really….  tablet-14a

tablet-11b Gorgeous in RED!

I love it even more with really fine thread.


Simplified version


And another one…


And another…


Yet another version…


tablet-13a  I think I made this one up.  Meh.


Anchors Aweigh!  This was for a high school buddy to be made into suspenders.


I drafted this “Tyr” pattern for Tyrssen of the Midrealm.  He was a middle school friend who I discovered was also in the SCA. 😀


Super wide band for Molly McGurn!  This was also my design, although to be honest, I kind of strung this up at random.


I think this one got donated to the Barony…An Tir and Aquaterra colors.

tablet-aq-2  A better pattern of An Tir and AQ colors.

an-tir-weave-1  Another with An Tir colors only


Prototype of a surfboard loom for teaching a class.  Mostly worked.


So I made a whole stack of surfboards for the class!


Got some six-hole cards.  Mostly didn’t work on the inkle loom.  I bet they’d work fine on a backstrap or Osburg type loom with a much longer working space.  I’ll have to try that sometime.

Egyptian Diagonals


This was assigned to me as a challenge by Master Fiacha.  This is super ugly, but I learned how the colors moved with the cards.


This piece was what I worked on after a failed attempt at a Dragon Head weave.  I gave up on the dragon heads and made more Egyptian Diagonals instead.  I love the dark blue and silver-grey together.

Ram’s Horn Pattern

tablet-10b 20141206_844

Not a period design, but very cool-looking and popular among the Historic Tablet Weaving folks!

20141206_773  Small test piece….just a bookmark.

Brocade Card Weaving


Didn’t like doing it.  That’s as far as I got before I decided it wasn’t for me.

Saxon Weaves

This next group has a few documentable pieces and are all double-sided patterns.  I want to get back to making more of these now that I have translated the GTT patterns onto a more easily-accessible Excel spreadsheet.

Saxon weave, 5-6th century, Cambridge.


Anglo-Saxon #8


Anglo Saxon 6a:  anglo-saxon-2

weaving-anglo-saxon-6b  Anglo-Saxon 6d


Tried using fishing spinners….with little success.

Snartemo weave


6th century Norwegian and really easy to make.  25 turns forward, 25 turns back.

Birka weaves






Birka 6 end-of-nov-2015-353

Applesies & Fox Noses








Still working on this one.  It’s also made of really fine thread and I’ve been working on it for about a year.

January Beads, Weaving & Other Stuff

(Originally posted 28 Jan 2014)

The end of January is nigh upon us and I have several things to show…at least in beads and a bit of weaving.

First, there’s me…I set up a table at Ursulmas where I made beads for the weekend.  While there was a demo display booth contest, there were significant limitations as to what I could do given that I was going to be actively demonstrating beadmaking.  Where the booth was located (unknown prior to set-up)?  What I can display that isn’t flammable?  Is there a banner and how do I hang it?  I can’t bring a tent or pop-up with a roof, so what can I bring for ambiance?  So many questions.  I brought the color copies of Callmer’s beads and brought all the old beads I could find that I store in a small treasure box.  Unfortunately, there’s a lot of old & ugly beads from my first months of bead making; I had strung them on dental floss and hung them over the treasure chest on the table.  I need to pull those aside and keep them somewhere else…like decorating the garden or something.  Some of my later beads were loose in the box, and the newest ones were strung on mandrels on the table.


File:An Tir Lampworkers Guild.jpg

I was told there was a banner for the Kingdom Lampworkers Guild, and it would be delivered Saturday morning.  I found the current banner design posted on the Lampworker’s web site; the banner was made for a previous event, but the design was not fully vetted by the Heralds, so it is currently an unofficial banner (not passable, apparently).  Since the Lampworker’s Guild does not have a device registered with the College of Heralds, I had some discussions with a couple of them at the event to come up with a new passable design.

In any case, the banner might not be understood by the public, so just to make it clear to passers-by, I made a lettered banner that simply reads:  “Lampworkers Guild” in a font called King Harold, matching the lettering from the Bayeux Tapestry.  I hung it using the packaging tape I had with me on the exposed pipes in the frigid hall.  It ended up being the only banner, as the Lampworker’s banner ended up not arriving after all.

Although I didn’t mean to be the exclusive lampworker working the booth, I was the only one there for more than half of the weekend; Aenor joined me for a while on Sunday, making a few beads in the frigid hall.  It was so cold on Sunday that the bead release was not drying and we walked around with our plastic buckets of vermiculite looking for a heat source.  The portable heaters outside were turned off to save fuel; they said they were only heating the building at night (which didn’t make any sense–no one was in the building at night).  I dipped the mandrils and more than 90 minutes later, the bead release was still wet.  If you heat them using the flame, the stuff dries too quickly and either cracks or explodes off the mandril.

Because I had more than 16 hours of uninterrupted time to make beads, I was able to finish almost 40 beads over the weekend, using just under two tanks of propane–I was able to make several more after returning home.  I finished all the beads I needed for the Kingdom gifts to Caid and Glen Abhann–they’re not due until July Coronation, so I got the Gold Star from the Guild head. 🙂  There are more than I need here, so I will send on the best 20 of each colorway.

Here are a few that I made over the weekend, in addition to the Caid and Glen Abhann beads…I also made a few as part of a commission for Jadwiga.  She chose six others that I failed to photograph before she came to pick them up.

I am also doing a little card weaving. I finished the weaving for Tyrssen of Middle Kingdom and warped up a new one on the loom.

I brought the loom with me to the event, but didn’t do any during the weekend.  The booth next to mine was occupied by Demo Winners, Emma and Nigel, who covered their table with weaving and leatherworking items.  I placed my loom on the edge of the table, next to hers, to add to her display.  This one is strung up with Perle cotton, using just over four balls of strings–one yellow, one black, and two red–in #8 floss.  I had quite a time finding extra red floss, and ended up having to replace it with a readily-available color.  Red 666 was available during the holidays, apparently, but not later, but everyone was carrying Red 321.  I had to un-warp six cards, and I’ll use those threads in a later project, I suppose.  While this is more expensive than using the cotton warp, the cost of materials is still under $20, it comes out lovely and shiny, and the cards turn smoothly.  I have a couple other projects in mind that I might try, using these threads as a substitute for silk.

A&S and Plans Set in Motion

I’ve made quite a few beads!  Some are really nice!



And some are pretty ugly…they are rather experimental, so don’t abuse the artist too much.  I was trying to make some Islamic Folded Beads, but found that they are tediously long to build and don’t always turn out right. In other words, my skill level is not yet up to that standard.

I started another technique that involves using a pointy tool, much like a dental scraper, but thicker and stronger.  I made the core of the bead then added stripes and dragged the tool over the surface of the glass, deforming the stripes, which looked very much like the folded beads, and took a fraction of the time.  Many of these turned out pretty cool, but others didn’t do as well…a bit lumpy and coarse.  One had a fatal flaw that caused…well…

…sudden bead death.  I didn’t get this one into the vermiculite fast enough, so it cooled down too quickly, causing stress fractures.  I could glue it back together, but there’s no telling if other fractures might appear later.


The perle cotton tablet weaving is coming along.  I have about a yard done so far on this particular piece.  The threads are pretty fine (#8 DMC perle cotton, found at any fabric or craft store) and slick, which makes the cards turn so smoothly…like buttah!  The cost of materials is a bit higher, but not astronomically high.  We’re talking about $12-15 spent for this project so far…maybe more if I need to use another $3 skein of thread for weft…instead of $5 for an entire project.  Yeah, it’s about triple or quadruple, but still cheap for what it is.

My plans in the not-too-distant-future (say, summer) is to build something like this:
warp-weighted loom
It goes with my sheep-to-shawl plan.  You know…take the fleece from the sheep and turn it into a wearable garment.
1.  Make loom.
2.  Spin fibers.
3.  Weave into cloth.
4.  Full cloth.
5.  Make something from cloth, like a 10th century Danish apron dress.
If I can finish all that by next January, I can enter things into Kingdom Arts & Sciences.  I was told (by a supportive Laurel friend) to enter three things:  loom, woven stuff and beads.  I think I can do it…but I’m going to have to do some serious work over the summer.

This goes well with the advise I received from *another* Laurel friend, who said to stay within a particular scope of time/culture when you enter Kingdom-level contests.  In her experience, being “all over the map” doesn’t show as well as being a bit more focused.

I’m thinking I should build a prototype of the loom first; try to build it out of really cheap materials, like 2″ x 4″ and 1″ x 2″, then make a more ‘natural’ product out of cut trees.  I can’t even imagine what I’d need to do to cull trees from the neighborhood or out in the wilderness somewhere.  Maybe someone in the SCA has a piece of property they’re willing to let me cut a tree from.  First things first…build the prototype.