Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Torchiaio for handkerchiefs

15th century handkerchief press in the Museo Correr
Someone asked a question that got me chasing handkerchiefs again.  They're just such a sweet little bit. Great for largesse and tiny so a little embroidery or lace goes a really long way. I know I've linked to it before, but Margaret Roe's article on early handkerchiefs is wonderful and makes me want to read loads more on the subject.  I used the terms she provided for Italian hankies and plugged them into the search engine of all of Venice's museums and turned up this amazing thing.
It is a 15h century handkerchief press. Made of cypress wood and featuring carvings of a knight and his lady. The carver in me had a serious squee moment.  Not because I'm up to that sort of carving yet, but because the size makes it something much more approachable than the big chests I've been eyeing (and laughing at myself for even considering.)

I also turned up another reticella hankie I hadn't seen before.
17th century Italian lace handkerchief in the Met

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What have I gotten myself into this time?

I can only blame IRCC withdrawal. Some part of me needs to be sewing along with people and creating arbitrary deadlines. I just volunteered to organize a sewing challenge in my SCA kingdom.  After seeing pictures of the Kingdom of Atlantia's Disney challenge, we've decided to do our own.

Using a character concept from a Disney movie, participants are going to make themselves an historically accurate outfit. I've decided to do Ursula from the Little Mermaid using this 1530's portrait by Guilio Romano as my inspiration.  It has been on my "I want to make that!" list for quite some time. The strapwork looks amazingly interesting, it is an underbust dress, and it has giant sleeves.  What isn't to love? Not to mention the strapwork is rather tentacle like and the balzo looks like she's wearing a sea urchin on her head.

There's a free article on strapwork over at History Unstitched.  by Alyxx Ianetta. I'm going to go re-read it and see what sort of crazy I have gotten myself into.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Varia and Antonia

Photo by Kitty Weller

Still working on a real blog post, but I wanted to post this.  This is a picture of some amazing people I got to spend the weekend with.  Dame Varia Goffe, OL, OP (who recently took me on as a student) and her wife Mistress Antonia d'Alessandria OL, OP. They are the first Artemisian couple with a same sex consort to fight in a crown list.  That is not, however, what makes them amazing.  What makes them amazing is their graciousness and their inner lights.  I got to stay at their home for the evening and came away with the feeling of vacation.  They remind me what it is to be a peer and what I want to be in the Society, but also what excites me and what I want to implement in my life. Antonia made sourdough pancakes for breakfast and was pickling asparagus that day. Varia took us on a tour of their little farm, showing us the bunnies, chickens, goats, turkeys, geese and such. It both reminded me of my childhood visits to my grandparents and of the plans my husband and I put on paper early in our marriage. I used to have a copy of The Backyard Homestead that I flipped through every couple of months for fun.  We're about to buy a house, so the reminder of what is possible what very timely.

 In costume related news, I made the yellow cloak Antonia is wearing when I heard they would be fighting and presented it to her just before.  She wore it all day, which made me thrilled every time I saw it.  I, of course, forgot to take pictures of it.  It is completely handsewn with a whipped buttonhole edging and appliqued lizards (her heraldic charge) at the hem. Hopefully I'll find some pictures someone took during the day.