Sunday, January 12, 2020

Mostly Museum of London Mittens, Maybe

Problem: I got tired of my hands being cold while I wait for the train in the morning, and I'll be g-ddamned if I can find my gloves.

Solution: Use my Post-apocalyptic Life Skills for good, and knit myself some g-ddammed mittens.

Parameters: Can't just kit regular ol' mittens. Oh no, my friend. They must be Interesting! And Historical!

Result: I achieved most of those things.

This is one of two lovely green/green mittens I knit (what with them being more useful in pairs) from a pattern book called Knitted Garb - Inspired by Originals: Designs for Plimoth Plantation - and Beyond.

I remember being excited to get this pattern book. I seem to have forgotten how disappointed I was that the patterns aren't historic replicas, just...historic-ish. But my hands were cold, and this was the shortest distance to solving that issue while still meeting my desire for something Tudor, so I gritted my teeth and went for peri-oid.

For those following along at home, the difference between these mittens and the ones in the MoL are that the originals are shorter, less gauntlet-y, and were knit top-down. The unexpected benefit of this pattern, though, is that because they're longer and gauntlet-y, the elements don't blow up your sleeves, and people say "woah - those look like gauntlets!"

So, kind of a win?

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Oh yeah...I did another thing for Crown, too.

Food, this time.

I was part of the kitchen squad, and given the Very Special Assignment of creating a Pie That Was Not Pie for the banquetty course to be presented to Their Majesties at the head table.

So I did.

I did a bunch of research into period sugar paste, and then just bought some modern stuff because I didn't have time to faff. I'll come back to this, though, and do it properly at some point.

(Now) Dame Edith was feast steward, and had themed her feast around pies. She'd taken a course several months earlier, and had thoughtfully posted a bunch of photos from it which I used as a reference. The design elements included a dragon for Drachenwald, and maple leaves for the visiting Avacal royalty. And dots. Because I was basically making it up on the fly, so didn't have the vast array of pie decoration devices that Edith has. The "pie" was also filled with spiced sugared almonds.

I got the base dough look by working some food colouring into the sugarpaste, and the baked look by mixing more food colouring with vodka and painting it on. There is also some edible gold, in there, because Royalty and Head Table and obviously.

Takeaways from this are, as I mentioned, doing the sugar paste from scratch. I'll also look into period food colourings. I also regret painting the dragon black. The presentation of it to the Head Table was awkward and left me feeling not very good, which is a bummer because this was a fun project and I was excited to do it.

Challenge accepted

The second scroll was a different kind of great fun. I was asked if I could find a way to include the Flying Spaghetti Monster in a scroll, which...yes. Yes, I could.

This was another Orden des Lindquistringes, for someone who is known for teaching rapier, and cooking breakfast. He's also a science-fiction writer in his Real Lifetm, which is why he was deemed the right person for the FSM Challenge.

The original request mentioned knotwork as the design element, but I thought Italian White Vine would lend itself much better. And I like the humanist hand. And my persona is Italian. So there we are.

To Pinterest! I'd literally just pinned a white vine manuscript that would work perfectly for the basic layout, so used that as my starting point.

De sphaera mundi
Italy, Naples, last quarter of 15th century
MS M.426 fol. 6r

I figured that the easiest place to put the FSM was in the initial, so that's where he landed. I also included a boar and a chicken (bacon and eggs, you see) and converted the handy round area on the right into a buckler. Maybe too subtle, but it worked. Inspiration art, for your reference:

The rest of the process went like this:

And we ended up here:

Orden des Lindquistringes
Ink and gouache on pergamenata
Awarded at Drachenwald's Crown Tournament, October 2019

Takeaways from this experience were 1) find my better pencils for the initial drawings, and 2) find a better way of outlining that's not so heavy. The original ink, while brown now, was probably black when first done, but I still prefer the lighter look that brown gives, with this style, since it doesn't overpower the artwork as much as true black does.

Overall, I'm pleased with this one, as well. It was a fun challenge, and my first time with this style. Will definitely do it again!

But first, we had to move house

So, 2019 had a lot in it, for me, including two new jobs and a new place to live. We levelled up to a larger flat in a nicer neighbourhood, which meant that I could finally set up an office/craft room. I was desperate to get back to scribing, so I took on two scroll assignments for October Crown hosted by the Shire of Thamesreach - both Orden des Lindquistringes, and each done in distinctly different styles.

The first was for someone who was being recognised for her contributions to the equestrian community, so naturally I had to put a pony on it.

Here are the inspiration pieces from whence the final mashup came:

Ostensibly, they're both from different editions of Konrad Kyeser's 15th c. treatise on the military arts, Bellefortis. I chose it because PONIES! but also because I wanted to push my illumination skills a bit - I'd met the recipient once before, so I wanted the rider to look as much like her as I could make it, and for the horse to look like hers, as well.

I started, as is my wont, with the calligraphy. It was a new-to-me hand - a variant of Lateinische-Deutsche Cursiv - so naturally I didn't spend any time practicing but dove right in, using a combination of an exemplar that I found, and the original manuscript. I'm pleased to say that it didn't suck, and I really like how it looks, so will use it again.

Next came the sassy red bit.

Heartened by my success, at this point, I started with the painting.

There was much painting, and repainting, and poor choices, and tea, and painting. The crappy photo quality doesn't really show the subtleties, and - if I'm completely honest - I would make different choices were I to do this again. The starting colours were too solid and flat, and the more I tried to fuss with it, the less better it got. I finally had to just come to terms with it, and call it done.

Orden des Lindquistringes
Ink and gouache on pergamenata
Awarded at Drachenwald's Crown Tournament, October 2019

The recipient was pleased, and has since made it her userpic on Facebook, which is incredibly gratifying. I am, by and large, happy with how it turned out - I'd not done "large-scale" illumination, like that, before. I would certainly do it again. And, for a first scroll in my new kingdom, not a bad beginning.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Oh, dear god...neglected blog has been woefully neglected!

...but fear not, intrepid reader! Where 2019 was The Year of Getting my Real Life S*&t Together, 2020 will be The Year of Historic Projects.

To be fair, I knocked out a couple of scrolls a few months ago, so I'll do a proper write up of them soon. Meanwhile, I'm doing what many re-enactors do...couldn't find my gloves, and my hands were cold, so I've started to knit a pair of Museum of London-style mittens for myself! A write-up of that will come, too, although these are more "solve an immediate modern problem in a stylish way" than "make them as period as possible."

I was also gifted some extraordinary embroidery silks, and am researching some potential uses.

Also, also, I'm having a look at the Drachenwald A&S Competition requirements, and considering throwing my hat in the ring.

We'll see how all this shakes out. But I do intend to post more here, this year, as things progress.

Thanks for sticking with me!

16th C child's mitten in the Museum of London

Monday, March 11, 2019


Since I don't currently have real space to do big projects, I've been relegated to knitting and handsewing, with an emphasis on the former. But, when my stuff arrived in December, I cleverly pulled out all of the handsewing work I had accumulated, and put it someplace where I'd have to look at it every damn day.

Yesterday, I finally did something about it, and now I'm motivated to keep going.

Behold...the continuing story of the Lacy AF Apron of Laciness:

It doesn't look like much, right there, but what happened was me finally finishing the stitching down the flappy bits on the back that were created when I cut the linen behind the lace. It looks great, and was the hardest part, so now I'm all fired up to add the lace at the bottom, more lace at the sides to finish things off nicely, put a waist tie on it and get on with my life.

I feel like I'm going to have an SCA wardrobe very similar to my modern one where it's the same damn jeans/t-shirt or sweater, but change the scarf for a new look, but instead it's the same damn dress, but I'll change aprons to create a new look. There are worse things.

Thursday, January 03, 2019 oleo of statements, if you will...

As we were unpacking all of my stuff, last month, I pulled out the sizeable collection of Things I Need To Fix And/Or Finish. Since I can't really scribe, at the moment, and I don't have a place or a machine for sewing, that leaves knitting and hand-sewing to keep from stabbing people. Starting, of course, with a new project that I hope to have off my plate for the short-term (I'm making some linen napkins for the gift basket from Their Drachenwald Majesties, which started out being a way to learn needle lace but will end up being merely hand-stitched and maybe edged with lace that I just now remembered that I have. Go me!)

And, naturally, as I sit here contemplating that stack of things, my fancy lightly turns to thoughts of...Kingdom A&S Competitions.

Now, if you know me, you know that I hate eschew them, generally, because I don't like art as a competition. However, as a means to a) encourage me to actually make some shit, and b) sort of show my new friends what my jam/jams is/are, it's a useful tool. I'm sure several of you could debate the finer points of difference between An Tir and Drachenwald's respective competitions, but let's just say that the one here is more encouraging to participation, if beset with its own logistical issues.

Here's the drill: unless things change - which they might, and I actually think they will after this year, so all of this is in pencil - I need to enter at least one item in at least three of the six categories, and must send entries to at least two of the five (four?) competition events (spread out over a year, which is brilliant). And I don't even have to be there, if I warn the right people ahead of time (unless I perform something, I imagine, which I might actually do ((don't fall over from shock)) ). This immediately makes the entire endeavour significantly more accessible and manageable. So I'm giving it thought.

It won't happen this year. My poop isn't anywhere near being in a group, and I'd need more planning time to get ahead of things. (Stop laughing.) But I've got lightly sketched-out ideas about what I could do, all fairly sensible, manageable, and doable knowing what I know about myself. Much will depend on how the organisation shakes out after this year. But I'm thinking about it.

If I'm really good, I'll tie it in to the Apprentice Challenge of my previous post, somehow, because I like crossing things off of lists.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Apprentice Challenge: A modified approach

A lovely woman in An Tir (Portzia di Corbino Rosso from Tir Righ, I believe) started a thing, last Spring, called the Apprentice Challenge. Ostensibly, folks were to make teams, attach themselves to a Laurel, and do a bunch of things within a proscribed period of time, and then there will be winners and prizes.

So, if you know me, you know that I don't particularly care for turning art into a competition. However, if you know me, you also know that my ADD brain likes having parameters and checklists. The challenges that are outlined in this thing are good and valid, so I'm-a just work my way through a bunch of them, as a way of getting on a track and staying there, as well as maybe getting some traction in my new Kingdom. For the record, I intentionally kept the performance arts in scope. You never know.

To wit:

*Completed a project that's been in the UFO pile for years.
*Completed a project that's been on the "ooh, one day I'll make/perform THAT" list for years.
*Completed a project that is your most historically accurate thing to date.
*Made/performed something new, that you've never tackled before.
*Made/performed something using largely period techniques and materials.
*Finished something COMPLETELY - no corners cut, no slap-dash substitutions. Something you're PROUD of.
*Defeated a Monster - conquered a thing you've been terrified to tackle: a new discipline, a new medium, a new style. Something you've been terrified to do, but you DID it.

*Performed in court
*Performed at a feast
*Performed at an event
*Displayed art for ambiance at an event
*Displayed a project as a showcase of skill/talent

*Entered a branch competition
*Entered a Baronial competition
*Entered a Principality championship level competition
*Entered a Kingdom championship level competition
*Presented a display or performed for feedback

*Attended Kingdom University - DONE!
*Took a class/workshop outside of an event to further your learning
*Learned a new skill
*Became proficient at a new skill set/discipline
*Attended a Principality/Kingdom Arts & Sciences competition

*Entered a Super Six or Dirty Dozen Largesse competition
*Donated an item, or a collection of items for Largesse
*Worked as part of a team on Royal clothing
*Worked as part of a team on Regalia
*Donated garb or accessories for Royals
*Made garb or accessories for other SCA folk
*Donated prizes for a tournament or competition

*Taught a class
*Created a new class, and taught it
*Hosted/facilitated a workshop
*Facilitated a regular, public A&S or Bardic night
*Arranged a largesse competition or donation
*Arranged a display, with a feedback or populace choice component
*Organised a competition and coordinated judges
*Helped coordinate classes for an event
*Helped arrange A&S and/or Bardic for a demo

*Held an A&S- or Bardic-related office
*Held an A&S- or Bardic-related retinue position
*Volunteered as a judge or student judge for an A&S/Bardic competition

I mean...this list is pretty comprehensive, although I'm a bit dismayed that there isn't a research component to it, so I may add something just because I think it makes sense. There are also things on here that I am highly unlikely to ever do (competitions), or that I'm not integrated enough in my new Kingdom to pull off effectively, right now, but it's a start!

To begin, as I unpacked, I pulled out a few UFOs so I don't have to go digging for them, and hope to start tackling some of this stuff soon.

We'll see how it goes...

Monday, December 10, 2018

We will shortly return to our regular programming.

Another Drachnewald event on the books! Met more people. Chatted with previously met people. Did time in the kitchen. I could go on about how great it is to have events at places like a 15th century former Bishop's palace, but this is my project blog, so I should talk about making things.

My big takeaways from the weekend, on the makey-doey front, were:

1. I need to make a bag to pack/carry my feast gear in. A box doesn't make sense, at this point, since I'm largely having to use public transport for at least part of each journey, so a bag will have to do. I've been noodling on how to engineer one that will work for me, and also I need to get a bowl, and maybe I don't need five drinking vessels but maybe I do.

2. I need to finish the blue wool dress. That should probably be first up on my list of Things To Do, followed by the sleeves floating around in various states of completion. I realise that my Renaissance Counterparttm would very likely not have had a billion sets of clothing, but she damn well would have had more than one.

3. I need to put the frogs on the coat, and re-iron/tack down some bits of the trim. Otherwise, that thing is fucking amazing and I'm so glad I made it and maybe the collar needs fur.

4. I need to finish the stripey chemise.

5. I should probably consider another "day-wear" partlet.

6. It's going to be a while before I'm able to scribe, again, and that makes me sad, but the work I saw this weekend was inspiring.

7. It's time to fire up the knit Huelgas cushion again (and I've pulled it out of the unpacking chaos in preparation).

8. It's time for the table top banner, folks.

9. If I'm only going to have a few dresses, I really need to finish up all of the aprons I have on the go. Maybe I'll pull the lace one out (if I can find it).

10. I'm still noodling on ideas for Tournaments Illuminated/Compleat Anachronist. I may never get around to doing anything about it, but at least I'm giving it some thought. I'm still looking for the notes from the feasts I did, in order to turn the Italian one into something useful, but I'm afraid I purged them in The Great Exodus. I hope I'm wrong. Which leads to...

11. Cooking is a thing I can do, so maybe I'll focus on that for a bit.

12. After I finish the linen napkins for largesse/gift baskets, now that I have my fabric scissors.

I'm feeling the pinch of how small our flat is. I had grown very accustomed to having loads of space and ease of access to my craft supplies. This is a thing that I no longer have, and I suffer greatly from Out Of Sight Out Of Mind disorder. Hopefully this list (and others I suspect I'll end up making) will keep me somewhat honest.

I should dig out the Apprentice Challenge list thinger, too. That might give me some structure.

Bah! So many words for a project blog, but it's all I've got, at the moment. Hopefully soon I'll have more interesting things happening.

Watch this space...