First up, I have to point out that I have no documentation on rose petal beads being used in period for rosaries. The idea that rosaries were made of roses any time before the 19th or 20th century is one of those lovely myths that is, in all likelihood, totally untrue. If you want to read up on what little mention there is of the composition of beads in historical rosaries, I suggest you check out this site.
I, however, fell in love with a rosary made by Katherine Kerr of the Hermitage using rose petal beads and pearls as gauds (the big beads between decades of a rosary.) She also has a mention of an orange peel rosary made in prison in 1597 which I thought was really intriguing. There are some specific reasons why I wanted to do this type of rosary. First up is the reason I wanted to make a rosary in the first place. I recently received a really beautiful cross when I took a class on Cycles of Life in the Medieval World from Sister Scholastica (HE Leah de Spencer KSCA, OP) at Collegium. She is teaching it again at Arn Hold's Baronial collegium this month. If you live in Artemisia and have the opportunity, I can't recommend it enough. The way in which she explains how the view of time in the church defined the secular cycles of time in the community is both fascinating and illuminating. Anyway, I had this cross and no idea what to do with it. Praksedys is Russian Orthodox, and while she would wear a body cross, it would be an 8 ended cross which is the Greek style in contrast to the Roman style.
I also happened to be standing nearby when Dame Theodora Trebizond was restringing pearls recently. She had a bunch that were too large for her preferred uses in needlework and was making them into short lengths to give away for largesse and as tokens. As my persona is Russian she handed me some, because Russian always need more pearls. Its sort of like breathing. Having these two beautiful tokens from two amazing women, I wanted to make something lovely with them.
I had picked and frozen rose petals last summer as part of experiments in rose petal jelly and they were getting freezer burned so it was time to use or toss them. So, rose petal beads. One more accessory for my gown. The accessories are totally taking on a life of their own.
As far as updates on the other in progress bits go, its a mixed bag. The zibellino needs chain and I was unable to find what I wanted locally, so its on order. The leather for the needlecase is drying. The underskirt is back to being padded with felt in the pleats and I keep promising myself I'll just finish it any day now. The chopines are vexing me since I'm not certain my wood is wide enough. I'm hoping for sudden inspiration and a solution to strike me across the back of the head. Lacemaking has pretty much stopped and I'm trying to decide if I want to just purchase lace since, while I'm pretty much done with the lace on the sleeves, it will require a lot of hand embroidery to attach it and do the scalloped sort of shapes similar to the extant piece. I also still have to make the lace for between the gores, for the hem, and for the neckline. If I do that I don't think I'll have the time I need to do the hand work on the partlet, which is visible, as opposed to the camicia. Maybe putting the lace aside for a different project is a better idea. Still trying to decide on that. I'm hoping I'll feel better about it all once I finish the underskirt and at least have one wearable garment to go with my pile of accessories. I may cut the dress out next, just so I don't feel quite so panicked about having no clothes when this is over.