Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday round up

Last night was A&S night -- and we even had company.  A new-to-SCA, new-to-embroidery (but not to artistic endeavor) teen came over and started her own sampler of stitches. With an excellent artist's eye, her first stitches of some (un-counted) double running, herringbone and cross stitches were neat and close to even. Her herringbone was more even than some of that I have running all up and down tunic seams.

And, of course, she left before I even *thought* to take pictures...

I also got some embroidery done on the third of three motifs I'm working for a Labor Day elevation.

Because of having company/a student, I did not immerse myself in my studio looking for materials to answer a question, but I will work on that -- and maybe even develop a post from it.

All in all, a pretty good A&S night.

Current project list/status:
  • Medallion for a coronation mantle -- very close to done, though a more formal post will have to wait until after the coronation in October.  I've been keeping notes, and I think it will be a fun post, if you like a running almost daily report :) This will be my project as soon as the next one is done.
  • Motifs for a Laurel cloak -- two of three motifs are done. Deadline of August 29 may not quite be hit -- but they will be in the next person's hands by early next week. Formal post will be after labor day.
  • Motifs for coronation cloaks (different coronation) -- this has been assigned and planning has happened.  Currently waiting for materials and specific size information requested.  This is an applique project, and the pieces will be a bit larger than the other items. Again, formal post will be after the coronation, but I plan to draft the post as I work.
  • Marshall Hanging -- the very large Bayeux inspired piece that I've been working on (on and off) for just about forever.  Deadline, June 2016. I expect there will be an update post shortly. No additional work this week.
  • Hem stitched square -- about half way through the third side.  Currently my travel piece. A few more stitches have been done this week, but I've been concentrating on the ones due soonest. 
  • Additional couching & laid work pieces. The June 2016 deadline is for a very special presentation to the East Kingdom embroidery guild, Keepers of Athena's Thimble.  In addition to the master work of the Marshall Hanging, I need supporting pieces in other forms of laid and couched work.  There will be posts as these are done. Some research and Pinteresting have been done.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

More Old Sturbridge Village Textiles

At Old Sturbridge Village they have a lovely textile exhibit, tucked away in the back of the building with the firearms exhibit.

The exhibit includes weaving, knitting, embroidery, netting, crochet and tambour work.

The embroidery includes several embroidered purses and pockets.  Here, two of the earlier purses and a crewl work pocket sit below a crewl work petticoat.

 Except for that pocket (of which, for some reason, I only got this shot -- however, unlike the other purses I've shown below, this one is on their collections on line, here), the purses and pouches are variants of canvas work.

Three are different flame stitch or Bargello patterns:

Embroidered Purse, late 18th century. Probably New England. OSV 64.7.2

Embroidered Drawstring Purse, circa 1820.  Probably New England OSV 26.29.127


Embroidered Drawstring Purse, early 19th century. Probably New England OSV 64.7.33

One, however, the Fanny Bliss embroidered purse, is something different:

Embroidered Purse, 1786. Fanny Bliss (1772-1833) Springfield, Massachusetts. OSV 64.7.15

Fanny's purse uses a more complex, compounded stitch.  Looking at the close up, and zooming in tight, it might even be Queen Stitch, a fun, if sometimes frustrating stitch to work. Sadly, with the bag behind glass, this is the closest I could get.  OSV does have some of their collections on line, but I wasn't able to find any of these bags there.  




Monday, August 24, 2015

Lacis -- Embroidery on Net

Recently I was doing some research browsing on the Metropolitan Museum of Art website for background for some projects.  As often happens, I came across a lot of pieces I wasn't looking for (I was lucky enough to come across pieces I *was* looking for as well).  Having recently had a conversation with someone about the Athena's Thimble category "Lacis," pieces that fall in that category caught my eye.

One of the issues I sometimes have with doing historically based embroidery is that in many of the forms there is little to nothing by way of extant pieces that are not religious.  Embroidery on net is not one of those forms.  A lot of the work is secular in nature. (Photos for this post are found in the links, which will open in new windows, they are from the Met and the V&A.)

This fellow particularly took my fancy.

Many of the pieces are like this guy, random fragments of embroidered net, leaving us wondering what they are or were used for.

There are a few complete pieces.  This chalice veil, for instance is not only complete, it is in color (scroll down and select the other photos).

This Altar frontal from the V&A  is also complete -- and while it is classed an altar frontal, it has mostly secular motifs. I'm thinking my lovely new dining room table needs a Lacis bordered table cloth.  Perhaps alternating squares of squirrels and acorns.... After some of the current projects have been addressed.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A&S Status report

Well, yesterday was Wednesday, which in our home means order in and concentrate on A&S.  Except that it was also doctor appointment evening, so A&S was limited to some work on a hem stitched square I've been fiddling around with. Perhaps this evening will be A&S makeup night :)

Here are some progress shots of the hem stitch
The "wrong" side, of the stitch, which is actually the right side of the square

Next one I use a finer thread for the mitered corner, even if not for the working.
The fabric is a piece of linen I had left from making a shift, so it does not have the "even weave" that a piece from a needlework store might have.  It has been a learning experience to count the very fine threads to bundle -- and to learn to adjust the bundle if the threads warrant it.

Current project list/status:
  • Medallion for a coronation mantle -- very close to done, though a more formal post will have to wait until after the coronation in October.  I've been keeping notes, and I think it will be a fun post, if you like a running almost daily report :)
  • Motifs for a Laurel cloak -- design has been transferred, threads obtained. Deadline, August 29. Formal post will be after labor day.
  • Motifs for coronation cloaks (different coronation) -- this has been assigned and planning has happened.  Again, formal post will be after the coronation, but I plan to draft the post as I work.
  • Marshall Hanging -- the very large Bayeux inspired piece that I've been working on (on and off) for just about forever.  Deadline, June 2016. I expect there will be an update post shortly.
  • Hem stitched square -- about half way through the third side.  Currently my travel piece. 
  • Additional couching & laid work pieces. The June 2016 deadline is for a very special presentation to the East Kingdom embroidery guild, Keepers of Athena's Thimble.  In addition to the master work of the Marshall Hanging, I need supporting pieces in other forms of laid and couched work.  There will be posts as these are done. 
That's just the SCA A&S projects.  Some modern stuff (to be discussed on Tuesday posts) will occur as well, including clothing for work, knitting, and maybe even curtains for my husband's re-worked kitchen.  That new studio is going to get a work out. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Announcing the Tuesday posts.

Because my brain is simply overflowing with thoughts and Ideas (yes, capital "I") that I want to share, I'm adding another day -- partly in an effort to organize.

So, Mondays:  SCA and historic stuff -- my work and research, all with an eye to Medieval and Renaissance.

Tuesdays: Reviews, teaching, and modern things  This will be the place I post teaching materials, reviews of books and products, and share cool things I find on the Internet.  These will be both Medieval and Modern.  For now, this will also be the place to share modern world work -- modern knitting and sewing, progress on my studio revamp (which does continue since this post).  This section may split even further down the road, if I get more than a few posts "in the can."

Thursdays: A&S round up.  This is the "Keep Kandy Honest" post.  Usually it will focus on the A&S efforts of the previous day, though "what I've been up to since last Thursday" may also be a topic.

Thus, this being Tuesday, I'll start with a review.  There is one book that always goes with me when I'm going to be teaching, and which rarely makes its way back to its place on the needlework shelves, Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches -- the edition by Jan Eaton.  It is a complete reworking of the Mary Thomas Dictionary of Embroidery stitches from the 1930s (I have a copy of that too, though I think mine was a later reprint).  This new edition, originally printed in 1983, has lots of color, with examples of stitches, and includes alternative names for stitches and simple, clear illustrations.

The extensive introduction covers threads, fabrics, hoops and frames, needles and other useful information.  Then, the various stitches are grouped by type: Outline Stitches, Border Stitches, Composite Band Stitches, Isolated Stitches, Open Filling Stitches, Detached Filling Stitches, Straight and Slanted Canvas Stitches, Crossed Canvas Stitches, Composite Canvas Stitches, Insertion Stitches, Edging Stitches, Cut and Drawn Stitches, and Pulled Fabric Stitches.  The index is very complete, again including alternative names.

Here is an example of just one page of stitches (photo from "look inside" feature on Amazon).
Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches: Mary Thomas, Jan Eaton: 9781570761188: Amazon.com: Books

Yes, there are other stitch dictionaries -- this is one that I have that I turn to most often.  A stitch dictionary is an important tool in any needleworker's "toolbox" -- I give this one a high recommendation.


Monday, August 17, 2015

It's a community thing...

Early in the week the call went out -- a friend needing help getting together the garb for her upcoming elevation to the Order of the Laurel (yeah, SCA stuff....).  After significant email planning, several of us descended on another friend's house on Saturday with fabric, threads, trims, pins, needles, food and love. We worked steadily through the day, with a break for supper.  Most were staying there, though I left and returned on Sunday, when more work was done. By the time we all left on Sunday the gown was well in hand, the decorative bands were receiving beads and we had talked ourselves out.

As we worked and chatted and shared, I wondered how much like this was the work of hands of our ancestors.  The gown we were working to assemble is based on the 1532 inventory of the Queen of France -- much later period than the 12th Century clothing I usually work on, and there was a lot of work involved, from endless-seeming lines of eyelets (my task), to assembly of trim to the basic steps of assembling bodice and skirt pieces of several layers.  Did the workshops that turned out the clothes of the court of Francis I of France that we see in portraits and inventories also ring with laughter sometimes, and at others fall into companionable silence as they worked?  I have to think so.  Despite the modern conveniences of sewing machines, electric lights, music from the other room and air conditioning, in many ways, it was a "medieval moment."

And, I even learned to do a decent eyelet for clothing (which, it turns out, is very different from an eyelet for embroidery)


Just some of the 60 eyelets I managed over the weekend.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

New Post day -- Thursday's A&S Report

Some time ago my husband and I decided that Wednesday evenings would be A&S night at our house.  We bring or order in dinner and devote the evening to some form of Arts & Sciences (usually something for SCA, but sometimes it is something more modern).  To "keep me honest" I'm going to try to post on Thursdays a report of my A&S night activity.

And the first week, I get to post semi A&S fail.  My current smaller project is on hold waiting for the last thread to arrive, a second smaller project hasn't arrived yet, and I did not pull out all the apparatus to work on my big piece.  Instead I pulled out the hemstitch piece I was working on before I started the current smaller project.

And promptly realized I had forgotten how to do the stitch, and the book is neatly tucked away behind a pile of items to go to yard sale.

I did spend some time on line doing research (i.e. looking at museum websites) for a number of future projects, so it wasn't a total non-A&S night, but it was not the most productive.

That, however, is what the Thursday posts will be about -- keeping me honest.

Meanwhile, here is a gratuitous shot of some old embroidery I have done. This is the cover of a book that I made.  The book is a sampler of finger loop braids (that's the source of the "fringe" in the one corner).  It is now in the possession of my laurel.