Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Some days I just need to have someone apply the brakes

I do not have delicate hands. That fact was once again made clear to me as I drafted a pattern for mittens. Dainty fingers are not among my graces. I am excited about the mittens, however, which is good since that was the point of making them.

I started the day with progress. The shoulder bag body is coming along nicely. I'm not so sure about the strap however. The applique stiffened the suede I was using enough that it may not need the lining i was planning, but it isn't heavy enough to make a good strap. I'm trying to decide if I should line it all in wool felt anyway and use 2 layers of suede for the strap with an interlining of the felt or try something else. Maybe do the strap out of a heavier leather, but that would introduce a 3rd color and type of leather to it and I'm not sure I want that. The whole thing gets further and further away from my extant inspiration. So, I put that aside and started working on a simple leather drawstring bag. It's a kalita or moneybag and should have been a nobrainer. There's one in Novgorod and its just a plain drawstring bag with a leather drawstring. But, I had the leather out for the applique and I started thinking how cool it would be to make it match the shoulder bag and I drew a nifty krin motif and cut a couple out. While I was at it I thought how these colors just so happen to be perfectly matched to the silk bodice laces I braided for the Italian dress that don't fit into the eyelets. And it snowballed and my plain pouch now had an applique and silk drawstrings and in no way resembled my nicely documented kalita.

So then I thought, "I should use the applique from the bag to do a comb case, because that would be something I could document and it would still be nifty and be another cool thing to put in my bag." Did I mention this decision was made at 4 AM? That information might be important. . . So, then I spent the better part of the day looking at combs. I found everything but what I wanted, which was a nice single sided wooden comb. I wanted that because I already HAVE on of those. No go. I can find single sided combs into the Viking age, but they're really not what mine is. I also found a GORGEOUS Lombard one decorated with sapphires and it would have been cool to attach some beads and baubles to my comb, but its 7th century. So, no go. There is also a beautiful 16th-17th century Turkish comb in ivory, gold, precious stones and rock crystal that is pretty identical to one in the Hermitage that has an embroidered goldwork case. There are Chinese and India examples as well and I might be able to make a case, especially as the Chinese is from a Mongol connected area. But honestly, a few bits of bling attached to a wood comb don't come anywhere near truly evoking any of these pieces. So, I figured I'd just carve a double sided comb. Then I found this ivory one with painting and gilding and fell for it. Unfortunately, the material to carve it isn't an easy thing. Ivory substitutes are basically plastic and I don't want to put all that work in to making a plastic comb. Especially when I could basically buy a plastic lice comb for $2 and have something similar. It just seems lame to go out of my way to do an historical item but have it be plastic. I had similar issues with the zibi, but it was the very best option and its not in contact with things like my hair. So, natural materials. I can't find bone blanks large enough (the width is the issue) and I'm not familiar with working with horn. So wood. I can make a wood comb. The issue with that is that, while wood combs are very, very common, wood combs are common. If you could afford the painting and gilding you wouldn't have had a wood comb.

That was my day. Fussing over the silly idea that was supposed to be easy yet let me use silly appliques and fit into my bag. The bag that seems to be getting further and further away from documentation. I'm still worrying it but am trying to move to a different project. I figured the appliques would look cute on mittens. I have pictures of a set of children's leather mittens and adults wore similar ones. I'm doing what are called "cold mittens." They are not fur lined. That goes back to the fact that I do not have dainty hands and mittens for me would use up a lot more fur than I want to invest in this. They'll be red leather lined in wool felt so they should still be toasty. Yes, my pattern mock up is Batman fabric. I'm working on placemats for my 4 year old son and its what I had out and in scraps. I started with this how to on leather "chopper mittens" and adapted it to have a period style thumb Seems like its going to work, we'll have to see tomorrow when I will hopefully have a clearer head.
My project just keeps getting sillier and sillier and more all over the place. Sigh. I guess at least mittens might be functional for other uses.

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