abendgules: (womaninmotion)
Continuing to chug along at parkruns. New PB, though my legs ached ferociously on Sunday.

I may change my 'home' base to the run I've done the most, as it's a much nicer park to run around than the first one I attended.

North London is hilly; there's nowhere in a park that's going to offer 5k flat running. I might as well choose the one that's most attractive.

Yesterday and today a heron visited the pond in my workplace's courtyard.

You have to look closely, for the one on the left; the one on the right is a plastic decoy...but to attract or deter more herons isn't clear.

And yes, we have a cheesy gnome with a fishing line. So sue us.

A guest in the courtyard


On my lunchtime run I saw a heron in the stream in the park, and since it's just a short flap for a heron from courtyard to stream I'm guessing it's the same one.

Is is avian-ist to say that all herons look alike to me?

In the 'Drachenwald first-world problems' category:

I'm finally making myself new veils, to replace the ones I felt terribly under-dressed in at Double Wars. I've wanted both new flat veils and ruffled ones for ages, plus a Birgitta cap (minus the fiddly-but-functional midline needlework).

My barrier to improving my veils wasn't materials, it was instructions.

Only in Drachenwald can all the instructions on making ruffled veils I can find be in languages I don't speak...til I asked Mistress Lia for her top source, and she pointed me at this lady's excellent photos (sorry they're in FB).

So I have new flat veils for the weekend, plus several miles of ruffle for sewing in the vehicle...plus knitting.
abendgules: (clothing)
While my 1940s dress was finished in time for the wedding, I'm not happy with it.

The bodice is too long, and overall I think I chose the wrong size to cut, based on the measurements listed. I was worried about cutting it too small, because I had a limited amount of fabric, and wouldn't be able to get more of the same. I even did a muslin of the bodice because I was worried about getting it wrong.

But in this style, the bodice line is straight to the waist, not puffed out, and I had a clear 'bagging' of extra fabric at the waistline. Looking in the mirror I think the shoulders are too wide too - the sleeve should start closer to my shoulder point.

I did see the bagging in the muslin, but thought it wouldn't be as bad in the soft silky crepe de chine. Wrong.

So if I'm going to wear it again, I have to take apart the waistline and unpick the bottom of the zip, and move the waistline up about 3/4". It means redoing the gathers at the waist too. but I won't wear it again as-is.

Other than this fix, I hope never to have to use this fabric ever again. Nightmare.

The shoes worked; the one area I'm pleased with is the 2 pair of vintage-style shoes from the swing dance shop I found. Hoping they'll look good with trousers this autumn.

My hard-won new skills at pincurling, unfortunately, didn't survive contact with wet October weather in Bristol.

Pincurls don't survive damp, at least not without a great deal more setting lotion than I used. I had a very good set walking out the door on Saturday morning, that had nothing to show for itself by midday - or even by 11am.

Robert, ever helpful, suggested a shopping bag over my head like a little old lady preserving her set with a clear plastic cap.

So I had to make do with brushing out and blowdrying towards modern 'big hair', not nearly as interesting.

I was surprised at the number of guests wearing black at the wedding. I know it's neutral and 'safe' but can't help thinking it's a weird choice for a wedding, and I'd avoided it myself when picking my fabric. Guess I'm out of step, again, w/ fashion.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
Robert is away this week on work travel, and I thought I'd be pining.

Instead I've been (you guessed it) flat out at work, and while I'm eating fewer hot cooked meals, I'm more than halfway through my spinsterhood almost before realising it.

I'm not as restless on my own (well, as the only human in the house) as I'd feared, though probably mostly from near exhaustion from the office.

Filled last weekend and will fill this coming one with sewing (for fun, new 1940s outfit for [livejournal.com profile] goncalves and J's wedding), knitting, painting a glass for a friend, and a scroll. Starting the scroll, sometime Real Soon Now.

Would love to get back to the spinning I started at Raglan but it will have to keep til the current projects are finished.

Also got my twice annual haircut. I opted for a 'middy' cut, which is a 'vintage' cut that takes well to pincurls and 1940s styling, to match the wedding outfit, but is perfectly passable simply combed and blown dry.

My first pincurl set (amazing what people put on YouTube! this lady's tutorial was excellent) worked beautifully; this is easy, why would anyone buy rollers or a curling iron?? geez this is a snap. Don't know what the fuss is about.

My second pincurl set: not so much. :-/

My third: pretty good, but doesn't cope well with damp. Good thing it's not very damp in London, right?...hmmm.

So I'm pleased I have new girly skills to add to my personal roster of eclectic bumf I know how to do, but unlikely to start sleeping in bobby-pinned curls nightly anytime soon.

All of a sudden now I know why wash 'n go hairstyles seemed so amazing when they became popular; women no longer had to plan their evenings and mornings, social lives, their activities, around their hair.

A lunchtime run or gym session, and high-maintenance hair, are pretty much mutually exclusive AFAICS.

'Staying home to wash my hair' doesn't sound as dumb, when you realise that was the convention, pre Vidal Sassoon.

One nifty aspect of London life: all the London hairdressers I can remember have been to Vidal Sassoon's school, and I haven't had a dud yet. They all have done lovely work, and each one has taught me something about how to style my hair myself, so I could keep the look up. It's a step up from most of the stylists I knew in my first homeland.

Haggis is making the most of the tail end of long mild days, that are rapidly drawing down. I open the patio door most evenings, so she can come and go more freely than through the cat flap.

If it's open for an hour or so it insprires the scatties, where Haggis goes racing OUT into the garden, and then racing IN again, only to race OUT once more, chasing, or chased by, unseen threats to feline life. She can wear herself out doing this.

Last weekend I went for the first long slow run in awhile, taking in the park behind our place. It's huge, a wild meadow space where, aside from road noise, you could think yourself in the country. I've mapped out 4k routes and plan longer ones for fall and winter weekends, when daylight is short and long runs only happen on Sat or Sun.

I came back to the building to an astonishing amount of magpie swearing, cursing, nagging and threatening. And sure enough, Haggis was most of the way up one of the trees in the front yard, playing it cool, as if there were not half a dozen magpies blowing her cover, and giving her serious s**t for encroaching on their airspace.

Oddly, when I called her most of them shut up, and she chatted to me; 'who, me? I'm just hangin' type remarks, not entirely accurate considering she was a) up quite a height and b) well into the neighbourhood tom's preferred space as well as the magpies'.

She's still being bullied by the local tom (former tom), but I thought her wander up the tree showed he's not in complete control of all the space on the site.
abendgules: (Haggis)
England has 2 long weekends in May - one of the best innovations in bank holidays ever. It means that English spring and early summer is full of breaks, because Easter rolls back and forth between late March and April, as well as these two long weekends.

(Unfortunately the English have no break from Labour Day to Christmas - they desperately need a Thanksgiving. OTOH, they don't have a glorious fall to enjoy, whereas English springs are very charming.)

This year, the second bank holiday followed the 'tradition' of 3 days of rain.

Robert was away slaying orcs in a field Somewhere in Northamptonshire. He came back muddy to the knees, and very glad of a shower.

On my own, I entertained myself with a weekend of shopping. My shopping goes in fits and starts; I spend weeks without buying anything more exciting than lunch, and then lash out one weekend and replace great chunks of wardrobe or entertainment supplies. This weekend, it was mostly about Stuff to make More Stuff.

  • Saturday: Cornelissens' for the next pack of pergamenata, plus my shop-visit treat of a new bottle of ink and new nibs.

  • Sunday: eBay for yarn suitable for baby projects, for the round of sprogs due between now and August. After a couple of weeks of scouring the intawebs for ethical yarns that are local, well-made and affordable, it's sort of fun to search for the 'junk food' of knitting, cotton-acrylic blends in baby colours. Feels sort of like eating the whole bag of taco chips by myself...

  • Monday: the fabric shop with the scariest, or silliest, looking website on the planet: Fabricland.co.uk

Canadians: this is not your kind of Fabricland. This is a special southern England Fabricland all of its own.

This is the kind of website that makes web professionals like [livejournal.com profile] ingaborg cringe; it breaks all the rules of accessibility, usability, readability. It uses frames, it uses garish colours, it uses crying baby gifs for pete's sake. It shouldn't work.

And yet...I find it compelling, and I'm delighted by how low-tech and totally homemade looking it is. It totally conveys the tone and style of the business. It looks just like the shops feel when you walk in - like a outdoor market stall on the internet, which is appropriate, because that's how the business started (in Reading, not London).

I think it's awesome, and it makes me laugh. It was totally worth the trip to Kingston-upon -Thames.

It's not much help on the medieval fabrics front - the linens are mixed in with all the other suitings; there are no wools to speak of; only a handful of silks. Berwick Street it is not.

But it was a great source of printed cottons, totally wrinkle-proof mystery suiting for another shot at making work clothes, plus some lovely crepe de chine for a dress, for a wedding later this year.

Again, it felt a bit naughty to be buying cotton and synthetics even, after decades of hunting for medieval-compatible fabric. That's me, naughtily buying viscose!... No, I don't go out much, why?

Late in the weekend [livejournal.com profile] m_nivalis dropped by for a visit to test nibs and ask opinions on sweaters and on fitting Birgitta caps.

I'm a confirmed veil wearer so I'm always glad to see and hear of new veil arrangements, though I think by itself, without the covering veil, it wouldn't be that flattering.

Some links about St Birgitta caps she recommended:

Catrijn's dressmaker diaries
Same Catrijn's photos of progress (clearly keen on embroidery!)

Splendidly clear tutorial on making a cap without the embroidery down the seam - this one I have a hope of doing.

Wow this Katafalk lady does beautiful work! Every time I think I'm getting a handle on this sewing thing, I find another Swedish or Finnish medieval dress blog, and realise I'm just a duffer.
abendgules: (Mountjoy)
When it wasn't pouring down over Easter weekend, it was lovely.

And happily I spent one whole day, when it was beautiful out, in Wokingham with Earl Paul and Lady Anne. They'd made time for me in their weekend when I told them I was on my own at Easter while Robert was away slaying orcs.

I love visiting with them; we can putter together, browse through books, and they eat like kings (or like a lady and earl) all the time - it's not a special occasion, it's just how they choose to shop, cook and eat. I always feel spoiled when I'm at their house.

Their days are full of plans right now; they've found the perfect house, but in order to buy it they have to wait for the seller to find somewhere to move to - this is part of the Great English Tradition of House Buying: The Chain, whereby everyone is waiting for someone else's house buy to go through.

Their buyer is of course waiting on them in turn...

Oddly I never remember this happening in my first homeland. If you end up stuck with 2 houses because someone's deal falls through, tough - make an appointment with your bank. Sheesh.

So right now, the plans are still talk and paper ideas, for changes to the new place. But my goodness, if it goes through, it'll be glorious, glorious indeed.

At any rate - we breezed through Waitrose, their local library (a *really* nice one - a reflection of the neighbourhood I think) and then a cuppa before going for an Easter walk in what Anne called the bluebell wood.

I could see why: it was gloriously full of bluebells, just before their peak but still wonderfully blue-bell-ish, that not-quite-purple, not-quite-blue shade that defies paint chips.

We walked about for a couple of hours, chatting and taking the air. Other walkers and cyclists were out for the same reason.

Back to the house for a late lunch, and for Paul to put on a roast dinner while Anne and I sewed.

She's working full tilt on a new doublet for Paul - full Elizabethan with all the twiddles, with quilted lining and crazy trim plans. She was complaining she didn't have enough embroidery floss for the buttons because wood-core thread buttons just eat floss for breakfast.

I used the afternoon for UFOs.

I finished a couple of knitted 16th c hats - they're now fulled and their brims are as firm as they'll get.

Anne has asked me to make her one! so I'm pricing Shetland yarn towards making some 16th c flat caps and hats. I'll have to pay attention to the shrinkage and fulling, not just take my chances. You take pains for others you wouldn't bother with for yourself!

I also, rashly, offered to knit Paul a jumper; he complains he just can't find big colourful jumpers (aka sweaters) anymore. On the strength of this I've ordered a couple of (used) Kaffe Fassett books, for, ah, research purposes.

Ah, the 80s...

I don't expect to make one exactly as shown, but will bring them along and ask him if he has any preference, and exactly what his yarn budget is(!).

In the evening I also took apart one fabric hat that goes with my 16th c German gown, in the hopes of redoing it so it fits properly, with a brim that is firm but not rigid. I didn't have the heart to take it apart right after making it, even though it didn't fit, because I'd put so much work into it in the first place, and it's just sat there.

Frankly, knitting hats is waaaaaay easier - but I have to find the ideal Goldilocks brim solution for them. My cardboard seems either too soft or too hard.

Anne whipped up the gravy for the roast chicken, using some real verjuice we'd found in the market near our old place; real actual verjuice, from sour grapes, not crabapples. It made the most amazing gravy ever.

I slept like a rock. It was lovely.

The trip home was long - missed the right train, had to change, was delayed, people were jerks on the Tube. Fortunately I had a very attentive kitteh at the other end of the trip, or else I might not have left Wokingham.
abendgules: (Romanesque_Initial)
Working against the clock, I didn't have time to take pictures - but [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy did a lovely job. It looks even better in her pictures than I remembered it when I made it.

This writ was to mark HE [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy's winning the kingdom arts and sciences competition. She is thus the kingdom artisan for the coming year. It's not really an award from the Crown because they didn't choose her - the judges did. So it's more a acknowledgement of her accomplishment.

To find a medieval example text, I used two texts from Henry V's chancery, one where he is similarly giving his royal assent to a decision made by others (the church making someone a bishop) 1417C81/1364/41Signet of Henry V , and another where he delegates an appointee's commission to his recipient 1417C81/1364/36Signet of Henry V, leaving the fine details for a trusted clerk to figure out.

12th night is also called Epiphany, so I used that description as a date, rather than the exact calendar date - there's only one 12th night per anno societatus.

The calligraphy is a bit wobbly, but the overall effect is what I was after - something fine and businesslike, little fuss and muss. I fell back on a fine metal nib, not a quill, for this piece - I'd spent a lot of time trimming my existing nibs to get them finer, but could not get any finer than just under 1 mm - it's ok, but not as fine as I wanted.

I hold one of the copies of the kingdom seal, and have used it regularly over several years; the other seal is my own, made by my lord Robert for me last year. It's made of silver, and has my arms and a motto from the opening of the gospel of John ('In the beginning was the word'), and Ary's pictures show them both beautifully.

Robert spent well over an hour fiddling with hot and cold beeswax to get a really good impression of these two seals - he deserves the credit for the way they turned out.

One of the things I make for regalia is small purses, modelled on (surprise!) surviving seal bags and reliquary bags. They use up scraps of velvet and silk, and are finished with embroidery floss fingerbraid and beads.

So for the first time, I had a seal bag handy...to really go over a seal. Unfortunately I couldn't fit a second bag over my own seal and fit it all in the package for mailing! so I wrapped it in card and crossed my fingers for transit.

The seal cord is silk fingerbraid, by HG Alessandre Melusine, a narrow wares mavin, who keeps me stocked on request.

Text reads:

By þe kyng and quene Worshipful fader in god.   Fforasmuche as we haue vnderstande that our Welbeloued roial sister Aryanhwy merch Catmaael is chosen kingdom artisan,   Wherof we hald vs wel agreed and therto we yeue our assent Roial and we wol wel þat ye do make vnder our greet seel a Commission to þe same Aryanhwy suche as ye þenke resonable and necessarie for þe goode and care of owre gildes and craftsmen to be not longre than one hoole yeare.
Yeuen in oure chastel Attemarke at holie Epiphanie AS XLVIIJ vnder our signet

Ary writ

Lovely closeup of the kingdom seal - you can even see the custom addition of cat fur in the velvet behind the seal...

kingdom seal

View of my own seal, threaded on a scrap of scribbled-on vellum.
Genevieve seal

Nice view of the text. Proofreading it afterwards, I had to squeeze in the year - whoops.
text and signature
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
This weekend I discovered that you can leave your hardening soap too long before cutting it into bars. 1-2 days is ideal. 7 days is too long.

So folks getting my 'squire' soap will have charming and rustic soap chunks, rather than bars.

However, the honey soap that didn't harden very well because the trapped moisture enclosed in the molds kept it 'damp' emerged on Sat, and firmed up enough overnight that I could cut it up fairly neatly for further curing in the cupboard.

SO: from this we learn that plastic drink bottles don't make good moulds and trap moisture.

I shall have to ask my friends to eat more Pringles, or other junk food that comes in convenient waxy cardboard tubes, and keep the tubes for me. Any volunteers?

Once Robert is finished patterning armour with Cate, we're away to grocery shop, where I'm hoping to buy lard towards trying lard-based soaps. They're likely accurate for northern European medieval period - Castile soap, made w/ olive oil, was apparently an imported luxury.

Everything I've tried so far has been veg-based, and I'd like to try something animal based.

Lard is cheap, and comes from the grocery store already refined so no rendering required. I want to try it in smaller batches, to experiment with additives I have - pumice for one (can use up at least a couple of spoonsful of my lifetime's supply!), oatmeal for another.

On the successes front: I sorted making 'Galen's cold cream', mostly as described in S Pointer's book about historic beauty. I swapped almond oil for olive, and this time I warmed the oils more, to bring them closer to the temp of the wax, and then poured the oil into the wax, rather than other way round, and mixed them while quite warm, still in the double-boiler (or for me, the mixing container sitting in a pan of hot water).

Previous efforts were hit-and-miss: I got one perfect result, and one lumpy one, and one I had to throw out last year. This year, I got one lumpy-but-useable (not as heated) and two very good ones, with the extra warming of the oil. So now I know: keep oil and wax closer in temp while mixing, and pour into containers before it sets firm. AND: I have the quantities written down.

I now have over a dozen small bottles of medieval-plausible cold cream as gifties.

Today I also made up the paste for 2nd part of making Spanish leather - scented squares of leather that you put in sachets. You soak squares of leather in a paste of oils til dry, then stick them together with the second scented paste. I've folded them up, and squished them between some books. (Instructions say 'press flat til dry': if only we had some heavy books in the house...)

They smell delightful to me, but I'm biased.

Yesterday evening, I pressed and sewed loads of teeny bags in linen for scented sachets, and sewed up some lined bags for decorative purses. I like sewing them entirely by hand, but life is a bit too short, when I also fingerbraid the edges, and make the braided purse strings, and the beaded tassles. Hopefully recipients can overlook the machine-sewn internal seams.
abendgules: (clothing)
This weekend featured weather that felt like summer, to me. 30 deg C and sunny.

With a weekend to myself, I spent it making the living space in the house hotter still, sewing and pressing to make some tops based on a freebie pattern called Sorbetto.

Shortly after it was published, someone drafted a sleeve pattern to accompany it, and it was sleeved tops I was working on, though one ended up sleeveless because of a cutting error.

Result: one sleeved top, no front pleat; one sleeved top with pleat (though sleeves are tight, pattern needs work); one sleeveless top.

They ended up quite serviceable, and I'm minded to make more.

My medieval sewing has strongly influenced my modern sewing. I now find it hard to take a modern cutting layout at face value; they focus on getting straight of grain correct, without piecing, when all I can see is the swathes of fabric you could save if you squeezed this piece out of these two bits. Don't have enough width? who cares? you've loads of length you can fit together...

As a result, I spend an inordinate amount of time laying out fabric and considering cutting options, when I should Just Do It. It's printed cotton for pete's sake, not handreeled silk; there's more where it came from. But my frugal-fabric-user fights back. So even a simple three-piece pattern takes awhile.

OTOH, this insistence on piecing fits well with the make-your-own-bias-tape part of the project. I finally got to use my bias-tape widget in anger, making several metres for the three tops.

I bought it a few weeks ago and, hopping up and down to use it, tried to follow continuous loop bias tape instructions, which sounded terribly clever. A couple of seams, and you'd be able to cut a single strip of tape as long as you like!

But: by hurrying along and joining the wrong sides of the two triangles, I succeeded in creating a lovely piece of on-grain tape: almost exactly the opposite of what I intended.

Sigh. I used it anyway.

So to date I've stuck to the piecing method of assembling bias tape.

I also mended one me-made top which was fraying (silk noile needs seam finishing, every time), and modifying side seams for a shirt I bought last week: great patterned fabric, gapes terribly in front, barely fits around hips. I'm trying side slits (ripping the side seams quite a ways up) in the hopes of allowing more ease, and added extra hidden snaps for the gap-osis.
abendgules: (rearview_runner)
My osteo asked me if I was a 'listmaker' - one of 'those people who makes lists'.

I realised in answering him that I make lists for myself, for personal and medieval stuff, but don't really bother at work. Shows where my priorities lie - or else where I feel my time is most precious!

So it's Friday. and sure enough I'm listing what I want to do on the weekend.

There's an event ooop north, and Robert is attending so I have a bachelorette spinster weekend with the house to myself.

For some reason, calling it a 'spinster weekend' isn't nearly as attractive as a 'bachelor weekend'...

My hopes are to do some sewing that is not medieval (it's allowed, I checked the rules to make sure); some running; and some loafing.

My books are in, so I'm headed home today via the library. Loafing may start early.

AND: after yesterday's osteo appt, I felt like I'd been run over, for most of the day. But sometime towards the end of the day on my way home, I realised: I don't hurt.

My nagging back pain...is actually gone. Good lord.

The absence persisted through til today; it's beginning to niggle a bit but is nothing to what I consider normal.

Don't know how long it will last. 
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
Haggis the helpful

Demonstrating her sterling qualities as a sewing distraction.

I had one leg entirely free suitable for perching on, but noooooo, don't want that leg, want the leg, arm and shoulder that's closest to your face. That would be the one holding the sewing.

So what if you have 4 dozen lacing holes to do by 20 year? Not my problem. Scritch me there.....
abendgules: (brocade)
Years ago I made a lovely Cranach gown (materials donated by [livejournal.com profile] thorngrove)  with an underdress, all assembled with Lady Anne of Wokyngham's patient help. (just ignore my expression - didn't know I looked so sour!) It was my first effort at mounting fabric on a backing and then sewing it, cartridge pleating, adding a lining to the skirt hem only (to add weight for a better drape, and to resist fraying)...whole sets of skills I'd never known of.

After several years service, the canvas support of the bodice has shrunk inside the fabric (not prewashed to same extent as gown fabric). It had pulled away from the seams, so it's not giving the same shape as before.

I've held off making it new, because it has two side seams, that need dozens of lacing holes. My favourite....not. I considered replacing only the lining, but it didn't really seem feasible with the wear on the outer fabric.

But I want it to wear at 20 year, so...

So over the long weekend I took it apart to remind myself the assembly, unpicked it from the skirt, and checked the size compared to the pattern from 5 years ago. Remarkably the outer fabric had hardly changed shape at all.

I now have some linen canvas so I used that to mount a new linen outer fabric, and a lightweight linen lining. It's coming together beautifully.

It's odd because my memory of making this gown was that it took ages and ages to make; combination of not knowing the process at all, and fitting, which takes awhile when you are working from scratch.

But making from a pattern - it's taken one afternoon and evening to cut and mount most of the pieces, put three pieces together and start adding the lining.

Old gown - supervised by Haggis

P5050002


Old bodice: I can't seem to keep my gowns from wrinkling round the upper tum, but otherwise they fit very well.
P5050003

Pieces cut from a cream linen and mounted on canvas. I couldn't find the same lovely twill linen as for  but this is quite a nice weight. Middle piece looks a bit uneven - I left the selvedge in place.

P5060004

Linen lining pinned in. There's no fabric lining the lacing placket so I only have 3 layers of fabric to put holes through...

P5060005

Back piece, mounted and lining pinned in.

P5060006

Note stray heraldic projects lying about - this is the latest round of our shire bunting in progress.

It's quite hard to take pictures in the house without some cat butt appearing.

Also evidence of gaming: noone tell the College of Heralds please.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
At Coronation in January HE Eleanora gave me a box of Pelican tokens made by Lord Vrank in Frankmark.

I finally finished a hood (actually this was me refurbishing a hood that was given to me - new silk lining, new shoulder and back gores to widen it, new front opening instead of pullover, new cloth buttons and - cheating - I attached a length of fingerloop braid on the edge of the opening for 'buttonhole' openings) and stitched them on.

It proved warmer at Crown than I expected, so most of the day I wore the green gown and undergown without the plum surcoat, and the hood over the veil. For the procession I wore my heraldic cloak.

P4060055

I hadn't realised just how much the gold silk glows in certain lights.
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
Haggis put her paws at risk while helping me cut out hose... she was batting at the scissors as I cut.

March2013_2


Here she's helping Robert play Civ - she'd raced to his lap and leapt into place to plonk herself over his arm.

March2013_9


March2013_10


Here the mighty ham hunter tracks the movement of ham from the fridge to the chopping board.

Ham appears to be the path to Haggis' heart. She's interested in all our food, but ham gains the keenest appreciation and attention.

Robert had bought a 3kg section of cured ham, and we've been knawing it down over a couple of weeks, taking some of it to the Oxford scriptorium. Ever since, Haggis has been checking out the fridge at every opening.

Here she's keeping an eye on the cook as he chops up the last of it for stir fry.

March2013_11
abendgules: (clothing)
So in the end, I dropped about £100 on patterns. Partly to get hold of the patterns, partly to support the reenactor-gone-pro industry.

I'm now the proud owner of:
Observations - note that I have not yet unfolded and cut these out, this is just from fondling the packages and reading the notes.

Margo Anderson's patterns are on conventional modern pattern paper, the thin stuff that tears easily. However she suggests ironing it to some cheap fusible interfacing for the pieces you'll use a lot, which is smart.

It's a huge package - several different variations on tabs, sleeves, collars on the doublet, and two types of venetians, as well as paned hose and canions.

The package includes a printed 3-hole punched book - kid you not, it's about the size of the Known World Handbook. It's huge, and has some excellent technique instructions. I may write to her to suggest moving it to a CD for printing - it's fortunate I have a N.American 3-hole binder that fits 8.5x11 paper.


The RH pattern is on heavy paper, with a handout on styles, and a handout with instructions. I can now see how a novice stitcher could really struggle with the instructions. Aside from the outlines, there are no markings - no dots, notches or reference points anywhere on the outlines.

In this case, it's a pattern for the bodice only - you're given instructions for skirts but no outline. I can see the logic though - most skirts are just rectangles, so you need directions, rather than an outline.

The Tudor Tailor pattern package is very heavy, because the patterns are on a coated paper, with a waxy side and a non-waxy side. These come with a handout based on the instructions in the Tudor Tailor book.

As it turns out - I won't have a new outfit for my sweetie ready for Crown - life has conspired against me, and it's just not ready. The hose are a mess - I'm really unhappy with the way the back seams spiral around his legs - I suspect the fabric being off-grain when I cut it, but I couldn't see the grain on black fabric, cutting in evenings, in our under-lit living room. Argh.

I'm going to try again probably with new fabric, this time with 20 year as a deadline, and hopefully spring, longer days, and better health will support me in the completion.
abendgules: (abbey_cats)
...has figured out how to open the catflap from the outside, without it being propped open, just by pushing firmly at it. So half her training is complete - just have to work out the inside-heading-out step, without hooking the propped flap open.

This means we no longer have a wicked evil draft coming into the flat.

And next step is to fix the danged thing so only she gets let in, rather than her guests and suitors too.

(I'd note I never encountered catflaps before I moved to England - Canadians don't cut holes in their doors. Canadian cats ask to be let in and out...sometimes over and over again.)

On cheerier news - my patterns have arrived, all of them. I'm now awash in paper!

Can't wait til the weekend - I'm sick of work. this week, this whole month really.
abendgules: (clothing)
It's always charming to have answers to questions, but I'm certain this is the most e-mail I've received in reply to a simple question about sewing.

But it's great - I had no idea so many people used paper patterns.

I tend to think SCA sempstresses and tailors are self-taught, like me, from the T-tunic onward, a la Greyfells. I should remember we've all come from all corners...and Europeans (if not Britons) are far better at teaching their kids crafts and handwork skills in school than in Canada, so lots of people would graduate with 'real' sewing skills.

When I started sewing for SCA, the 'costume' end of the commerical paper pattern collection was for Hallowe'en only. But honestly, these are a long way from the Snow White and Cinderella outfits I remember - the bonnet's a bit odd, but otherwise fine.

Burda 7468 Middle Ages dress and bonnet and Burda 7977 Kirtle

A Simplicity Italian Renaissance gown - not my style, but recogniseable for the era.

Browsing the Burda site, there's a lot more costume options for adults, for every era - lots of 19th c style clothing, gothy steampunky clothing, Gibson Girl stuff. You can still find a wench bodice outfit if you want, but the selection is far better than it once was. There's even 16th c and 19th c corset patterns.

One source I hadn't known before is Margo's patterns, and I may be lashing out on at least one package (found a reseller in the UK who also carries RH).

One correspondent told me her favourite source is the German translation of Medieval Tailor's Assistant. Hopefully I'll get to tell Sarah Thurfeld of her success at the next MEDATS conference.

In the meantime - tomorrow I have another day off (using up leave at odd times, even during the crunch time, otherwise it expires). And I'm going to Weiss Gallery for the Tudor Child launch promotion. I've never been to the gallery, and I've got my copy in hand, so I can quiz the authors about the fabric sources. :-)
abendgules: (brocade)
I'm a longtime self-taught sempstress and have learned using measurements, and gradually moved on to fitted garments with cloth and paper blocks, with pretty good results.

I've used modern patterns a bit, for modern clothes and can follow pattern instructions.

I'm now tackling (or hoping to tackle, eventually) a couple of projects where I don't have much experienced - full hose, mens' doublets, Italian ladies' clothes - so I'm considering lashing out on patterns for guidance.

Does anyone have experience with these patterns? Are there any assumptions I should know about?
abendgules: (ohnoes_omg)
Having a brain again means I'm actually paying attention at work and doing work, not surfin'.
So fewer posts.

Annoying trip into deepest East End London to pick up a package from FedEx; it's amazing how a company dedicated to convenience is so crap at being convenient.

Excellent scribing on the weekend, looking forward to doing more callig, and some gilding, for delivery this week.

Also spent an afternoon with the splendid Teddy, working with his smocking device.

He and his beloved have a wonderful house in W'don, tailored to them, stuffed to the gills with their treasures of reenactment, Far Isles, and cons of every flavour, reflecting their love of fine clothes in every setting.

They also share the house with a mature gentleman cat named Edward. Sigh.

On the smocking we had mixed success, broke a lot of needles, but the end result (sometime next month) will make my sweetie the belle of the ball...eventually! Hopefully in time for Crown.
abendgules: (Default)
...for a given value of 'summer'. 

After a flying visit to my favourite fabric shop in Shepherd's Bush, I spent the weekend scribing (not enough), laundering said fabrics, and houseworking (too much for my taste). 

While puttering, I caught The Lavender Hill Mob  on TV, a classic Alec Guinness film that I'd never seen before. It was charming as much for its postwar London street scenes, with antique cars careening down streets almost free of traffic, as for the plot.

For pre-war views, I watched The King's Speech, something I missed in the theatres when it came out. Very worthwhile.

Aside from scribing, my accomplishment of the weekend was sewing spandex on my Pfaff for the first time.

My shiny-new running shorts bought this week are, in fact, Very Short - too short for my taste and, uuuh, comfort. Apparently the cut of 'tight' running shorts for women has changed since I last shopped for such items - shorter legs, and icky low waist to boot.

Rather than taking them back and hunting up alternate (more expensive) ones, I cut up a pair that are expiring, unpicked the hems, and sewed 3" more leg onto the new shorts, using an assortment of stitches that I never need for sewing medieval clothing.

My machine makes some rather alarming grinding noises when forced into the stretch-stitch range. I'm guessing that by using only straight stitch for the first 12 years, it's now set in its ways and objects vociferously at having to learn new tricks. 

Robert distinguished himself working on shields, both new and make-do-and-mend varieties. 
abendgules: (brocade)
HLady [livejournal.com profile] liadethorneggecame through with pictures, and only one of them is slightly tipsy-looking.

Pics are huge, so you an enjoy them in all their splendour! Also, it was a lovely day.

Aside from being happy that it came out the way I pictured it, I was really pleased with the silly hat. It has a wire form inside to provide the shape - there's precedent for wire forms for the pointy gabled hoods, so I suspect the use has been plausibly extended to this earlier pointy bonnet shape. The silk ended up draping very well - better than I expected - and it's all pinned to a headband.

The rosary beads were a gift from Lord Logan, who made occasional trips to the holy land; the sash is a silk pashmina from Lord John, chequey's squire, who came back from Af'stan with a bag full of beautiful textiles for Robert and me. I'm hoping to trim it to make a more manageable sash, and still have a lovely scarf to wear.

When really finished, it'll be hooks and eyes all up the front - as is, there's H&E to the waist, then I stitched up the rest of the bodice.

I still have wrinkles round my middle, but at least these ones are documentable - they look just like the ones in a painting shown in the Queen's Servants.

Gown of great shinyness )

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