Friday, November 30, 2012

I kept swearing I'd finish something

Sorry for the huge gap in posting.  I really have been working on things.  Drawnwork in progress is just not that exciting.  I've been working on Gio's scarf as well as a matching one for his mother Kynewynn.  I'm vaguely modeling them on the white scarf in William Segar's Portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh (held in The National Gallery of Ireland, the image is from Wikimedia Commons.) 

Mine are much more robust linen since getting some this sheer wasn't possible.  Not to mention these might be used to fight in and I don't want them ripping.  It's hard to see much of what is going on in the portrait other than the fabulous fringe.  What I'm interpreting as drawnthread work might be an insertion stitch.  It does look sort of herringbone like.  I think the scale is off for insertion stitches.  That could just be me justifying my choice.  Primarily, I just wanted to do drawn thread work rather than an insertion and so that's what I'm doing.

I have all of the drawn thread done on Gio's scarf and almost done on Kynewynn's.  Then the scarves will get a soaking in some Oxiclean to remove the signs of the Thanksgiving weekend travel they went through in my purse.  I'll block them and get some pictures after that before I go on to the embroidery on the ends and the fringe.

I've got a really tight deadline since I have to finish these and the doublet I'm working on for another friend by Solstice on December 8th.  I'll try to get a few updates between then and now.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lots of planning, nothing done

Paola Priuli Querini
It's been one of those weeks with loads of planning (and family obligations) so nothing much to show.  I had hoped to show you the adorable pink linen apron I smocked for a friend's Award of Arms as part of my 50 favors and tokens challenge, but she still hasn't gotten pictures to me.

I'm continuing to work with the GIMP tutorials to do some embroidery designing and have prepped y linen for the white scarves in the meantime. My plan is to do some drawnthread work down the long sides and the blackwork on the ends.  In part I think it'll look best that way, but the biggest reason for not doing the blackwork all the way around is time constraints.  Solstice and the White Scarf ceremony is a couple of weeks away (December 8) so I'm in a rush.  I may just end up doing a drawn on pattern and doing real charts later for use on another project.  We'll see.

In other planning, I bought some new fabric at a ridiculous deal.  I've seen this faux silk with flocked velvet pattern at several places over the last year that is a dead ringer for Palma Vecchio's painted fabric in the unfinished wedding portrait of Paola Priuli Querini.  The scale is a bit different, but the color and pattern is a great match.  I've resisted buying it because, well, its polyester.  I'm trying to up my game and do less theatrical sewing and improve my accuracy.  Then I found it again at $4 a yards with an additional 40% off.  I'm weak willed my friends.  I bought the rest of the bolt.  I got almost 11 yards for $27 even with the tax.  Even if it just becomes pillows or drapes it was worth it.  It might be a 12th Night dress if I get a serious wiggle on it.  It'll be fun and I'll do reenactor's penance and make something handsewn from linen after that.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Of rapiers and blackwork

Design for a hilt in blackwork. Dated 1619.  British Museum

I just realized last night that I don't have a current project.  I'm waiting for pictures of things I just finished to dribble in so I can babble about them, but there is nothing pressing on my plate.  Something is seriously wrong.

Conveniently, I got inspired. I've decided to make a white scarf for a gentleman in our Province who was just asked to join the Order of the White Scarf, Giovanni Il Ratto.  I don't know that he's the youngest, but he's certainly up there, being all of 20.  He's a second generation player, with his mama being one of the nicest human beings ever.  She's also a Dona-- (member of the order) herself.  Watching them duel with wooden spoons or pencils at the drop of a hat is always a source of a smile.

Giovanni also has a late period Italian persona.  He obviously needs something embroidered.  I'm sure he'll get several white scarves at his elevation, but you can never have enough accessories, right?  I want to do something custom.  Conveniently, I just took a class on blackwork design offered by Master Braden von Sobernheim at Kingdom Collegium.

Master Braden uses Visio for designing and charting.  I considered purchasing a copy, but then I remembered Kim Salazar had posted a series of tutorials on using Gimp for charting while she was doing the patterns for Ensamplario Atlantico, her collection of free blackwork fillings.  I'm rereading them now and am going to give it a shot.  Wish me luck!

Friday, November 9, 2012

How to do it

  The University of Chicago Press does a free e-book a month and this month's is How to Do it: Guides to Good Living for Renaissance Italians by Rudolph M. Bell.  It is a really fun book full of information on How-To manuals published in the 15h and 16th century.  I bought it a couple of months back and have really enjoyed it.  The footnotes are exceptional and have already sent me on a variety of tangents from which I've learned a great deal.  The book itself is pretty entertaining, as it looks at all sorts of manuals, starting with important issues like how to conceive a son.  The info on that is rather illuminating, as Bell discusses how Classical sources were used, shared, and also abandoned and modified. The look at Italian publishing in general and publishing directed at women in particular was really useful to me and I now have a new stack of books on that.  Bell is wonderful at setting up context and the writing is very, very readable. 

Anyway, if you are interested in daily life in the 16th century, women's issues, cooking, child raising, popular views of science and medicine, publishing, middle class mores, and 30 or 40 other topics, this is a good read.  And it is free, which makes it even better.  Go get a copy.  If you don't think you want it now, you may find some reason for it later.

Also, while you're having a look at the University of Chicago Press, have a poke through the 60 or so titles of their "The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe" series.  They just finished it's run this year.  The books are translations of a huge variety of writings that were not previously available in English.  I've been working my way through the Italian women poets and writers and most of the books in my bibliography for the classes I just taught on poets and on the Querelle des Femmes (the question of women) is books from this amazing series.  It's astounding to realize what has become available for the everyday, non-academic, researcher in the last couple of decades. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Making stick horses and poppets

Anton Moller, Portrait of a Boy via
I'm currently assembly line sewing a bunch of fabric horse heads and dolls for children's activities at my Province's annual Toys for Tots event. Since we're short a youth officer right now, I decided to make the arts and science activities appropriate for all ages. So, we're decorating and stuffing hobby horse heads, customizing little dolls, making pinwheels, and stick horse jousting.

I really love making toys.  I used to have a business doing needlefelted and wet felted toys as well as soft sewn animals from wool felt, so this feels really familiar.

It always makes me smile to realize children of today, while they do have all the electronic choices and hunks of plastic, still enjoy playing with the very same toys our ancestors did.  Larsdatter has a collection of links to dolls and hobby horses and pinwheels and loads more that is a fun browse.

And just to show what I used to do, here's a few of my (rather old) creations.  A needlefelted Ent of Grandfather tree with cardinal and squirrel to play on his branches.  A selection of fall pincushions, and a hedgehog and his house under the leaves.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Didn't finish the jacket, but I sure had fun teaching

Photo by Jeri Foster
I swear my hair looked loads better at 5:30 AM when I styled it (this was 12 hours later.)  I followed that up by driving an hour and a half in a corset in a small car that I had to angle in and out of and it got pretty messy.  I had serious fun though.  My classes on 16th century subjects weren't all that well attended, but we had some great conversations as a result.  There were just too darn many great classes on the schedule all at the same time (not to mention Laurel and Pelican circles during 2 of them.)  That's certainly nothing to complain about.  The class list for this Collegium was varied and exceptional.  I got to take some classes on scroll layout, A Walking tour 16th Century London, and designing blackwork patterns.  There were several others that I didn't get to take that I'm sad about.  Wool shoes, olive curing, medieval history of slight of hand. . . the list continues.  Many of my friends took classes in the youth track because those classes were so good looking.  There was bobbin lace for kids, sweets and treats, board games and quite a few others that I wouldn't have minded sitting in on.  I really hope my stick pony and pinwheel class I'm planning for our Province's Toys for Tots event this Saturday is as well received by all ages.

I also go to take home two helmets to play with.  I need to get off my butt and finish my armor.  Collegiums and other academic gatherings are more my comfort zone, but I promised myself I'd give fighting a try and I'm excited by the prospect.

I'm doing another super busy week, prepping activities for the event this weekend so I'm afraid I'll be doing very little sewing on the jacket.  I also need to fix the issues found in the brown dress after wearing it for Collegium (and do eyelets rather than the temporary lacing rings I put on,) but I'll have some other things to show off after the event happens and they go to their new homes.  Not to mention some links and notes for the classes I taught this week.