Sunday, December 20, 2015

Off for the holidays....

A Study in Textiles is "on vacation" this week.

Between a massive project at work and the approach of Christmas, I won't be blog posting this week.

Have a great week everyone.

Meantime, here is a lovely photo of one of our cats, being decorative.


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thursday status.

Another good crafty week since last Thursday.  The shirt and silk tunic for my husband were finished (enough) by the event on Saturday and holiday projects are nearing their ends.

So here's this week's status of projects in progress and "on deck."  

Current project list/status (SCA/Historic):
  • Project X for C&L -- the "Convent Stitch" piece.  Threads have been determined and purchased and I'm down to two possibilities for the ground fabric.  Need to do a few test stitches to decide.   Happily, this project can get attention again soon. 
  • Couched cord piece for C&L -- Complete change in plan.  This will now be covered by some work I'll be doing for the current King and Queen of the East for an event in January. Good productive meeting with a friend for design and material discussion. A design change request on Saturday has this one a bit in the air, but I think it can be brought back in line time-wise.
  • Applique piece for C&L -- Did a little preliminary research, but have otherwise put this aside for other things -- as permitted by its place in my current project timeline.
  • Shirt for my husband - - Hemmed and worn.  I will be going back and finishing the seams I hadn't finished before, but it fits and he's happy with it.  
  • Silk tunic for my husband -- ditto.  Will probably add some more embroidery too. 
  • Class for March.  I've just been asked to do a class at an embroidery event in March which will be a "more in-depth" than the usual SCA class.  Topic will be German Brick Stitch. Deadline is early January to have concept piece done and photos and write up to the coordinator.  My plan is to write most of the class while I make the concept piece so I can do my usual photos in progress method (without having to do the piece twice!).  Designs have been chosen and materials purchased. This weekend will see this firmly on its way.
  • Motifs for coronation cloaks (different coronation) -- The embroidery on the two remaining tygers is on hold pending decisions by other people..
  • Marshall Hanging -- the very large Bayeux inspired piece that I've been working on (on and  off) for just about forever.  Deadline, June some time summer 2016.  
  • Hem stitched square -- Now 3 sides are done and the fourth one started.  I think this one has officially gone to "in stasis," though I did do some on Saturday at the event.  There's about 1/2 of the last side to do. 
  • Other garb waiting in the wings... Also in planning are a couple more coifs -- and shifts and shirts.  

Current project list/status (Modern)
  • Bay of Fundy Scarf.  The slightly over half done scarf is patiently waiting for its time to return, after the gift knitting....   
  • Gift knitting.  I don't take on a lot of knitting for gifts, especially with my usual policy of only having one knitting project in progress at a time, but I found some lovely yarn at Rhinebeck for a scarf for a friend for an EOYHOYC* gift so that will enter rotation.  This is moving quickly.  I'm pretty happy with it so far. At this point I think it's about 2/3 done.
  • Annual cross stitch.  A few years ago I started a project for the adopted daughter of friends -- I bought a lovely cross stitch chart that is made up of a number of motifs (similar to Quaker samplers).  There are just enough motifs for me to do a different one for an ornament each year for her until she reaches 21.  Motif was chosen and started.  The main motif is done and I'll be finishing this up in time for shipping on Monday.  Yeah, I'm always a bit behind on shipping things out.  
  • Skirts for work.  One skirt that had been languishing in my studio has had some work done, and now just needs a hem (that's the one I pinned up). This hem is on my list for this weekend.  I also have some lovely blue and white fabric waiting to be the next skirt. Yes, you're right, no change here. (Really, what is so hard about getting around to sewing up the hem, which is the *last thing* on the black and white one). 
  • Studio project. A number of things have migrated back to the studio (where, admittedly, they belong), and a few things in the studio need to come out.  I need to determine a day each month for specifically concentrating on getting everything back to where it belongs, which should help keep this room organized. 
Blog notes:
  • Still working on a three day a week pattern -- Monday for SCA/Medieval/Renaissance related; Tuesday for post 1600 to modern related and Thursdays for status updates.
  • I've begun building the "DONE" pages, and moved links around a bit.  The "main categories" are to the right now -- that's the main labels.  Click on one and see all the posts with that label.  Down below are *all* the labels I've used.  
  • I'm also considering a couple other pages -- one for links to museums and other excellent web resources, and one for a bibliography (with appropriate links).  
So, that's it for my plans for the coming weeks.  


*EOYHOYC - End of Year Holiday of Your Choice; a once tongue-in-cheek, but now heart felt wish for everyone to enjoy whatever celebration November to mid January brings to them. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

That time that knitting "took"

I've been playing with string for a very long time.  I'm not sure if embroidery or my first go at knitting was first, but it was certainly as long ago as elementary school age (and that was quite a number of years ago now).  In any case, knitting was certainly one of the early tries.  My mother's cousin was an avid knitter.  My mother used to tell the story of "Cuz" knitting argyle socks during movies.  At some point, very early on, Cuz taught me to knit -- with the usual results of a rectangle with uneven sides as stitches were added and dropped willy nilly as I went.  It was quickly put aside for other activities

A few years later (Middle School age) I discovered crochet -- teaching myself from instructions in a magazine (I still have the pages of that article somewhere....).  One session of help from a very patient yarn shop lady and I was off and running.  The first poncho I made was still in my mother's closet 7 years ago.  It was not long after that that I discovered thread crochet, which was much more in evidence then than it is now (at one point I think there were at least three magazines devoted to thread or lace crochet).  By the time I left for college I was crocheting with very fine thread, using steel hooks inherited from my great grandmother.  During all that time, I kept trying to go back to knitting.  I got better at it, but it never really "took" as something I enjoyed.  Compared to crochet it always seemed to take too long.  (There were embroidery and sewing also to take my time, but this is a post about knitting....)

I continued to crochet and embroider (the sewing machine took a long nap) through college, still occasionally picking up knitting without success.

Then, a few years ago, I went to Plymouth with friends to work on the Plymouth Jacket.  For some reason I will never really understand, I picked up knitting again just before that trip, working on a scarf (that was never finished) on the drive up.  While we were at Plymouth the costume department was working on a project they had launched for knitters to volunteer to make stockings for the Plantation.  I enjoyed the time there so much that I found myself coming home with yarn with which to make a pair.

They took a while, but I kept plugging at it, and finished the stockings.  Somewhere along the way, knitting "took" and I got *really excited* about it.

I looked for and found information about historical knitting.  I made modern socks, hats, and scarves.

Then, less than a year after I had finished those first stockings, I decided to make a silk bag.  Because once I dive in, I dive in.


I've often wondered why it finally "took" some 35-40 years after those days of Cuz sitting with me on the loveseat in our family room.  I think it's the history.  It was when I connected knitting to history that it blossomed for me.  Not everything I knit is historically based (in fact, most of my knitting is modern), but that connection seems to have been the spark that made it sing to me.

The moral of the story?  Never give up?  Find the spark?  Maybe it's just "create."

Monday, December 14, 2015

Silk tunic

I finished the silk tunic for my husband -- at least to a wearable stage.  I do want to go back and add some more embroidery and some more of the seams need hand finishing.

Overall, however, I think I'm happy with it.  Things I plan to work on: the neckline is still a little large, and next time I'll have him put on the belt before marking up the hem.


The black silk we purchased in Philadelphia a couple of years ago, and I finally had the nerve to cut it.  First, I did the shirt, to make sure the current measurements and my pattern work well.  The shirt is of white linen from my stash -- I think it was some of the Fabrics-Store.com linen.
The sleeves on the shirt were initially a little large, so I did adjust them. Then, I used the same pattern (which I talked about here) for the silk.  I measured and marked very carefully, and then took a deep breath and cut with confidence.
The seams are machine sewn, but either are or will be (some done, some not yet for time constraint) hand finished.  I used my very old fashioned pin hem marker to mark the hems on both the shirt and the tunic.  Next time, he puts the belt on when I mark the hems.... or we start learning to "blouse" more.
 There is a little bit of embroidery already done.. both along the neckline of the shirt and the tunic.
Around the shirt neckline a blanket stitch in a very fine blue silk, and around the tunic neckline herringbone stitch again with silk. The tunic seams that have been finished and the hems were also stitched with silk; the shirt with linen.

Now, back to embroidery for teaching in March and pieces for my big presentation in June.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Another Thursday, another status check.

This was a good week for the crafty in me.  The shirt and the silk tunic for my husband are at the hem stage, holiday gift knitting is coming along well, and a complete left turn on one of the C&L pieces was taken.

So here's this week's status of projects in progress and "on deck."  

Current project list/status (SCA/Historic):
  • Project X for C&L -- the "Convent Stitch" piece.  Threads have been determined and purchased and I'm down to two possibilities for the ground fabric.  Need to do a few test stitches to decide.   
  • Couched cord piece for C&L -- Complete change in plan.  This will now be covered by some work I'll be doing for the current King and Queen of the East for an event in January. Good productive meeting with a friend for design and material discussion.   
  • Applique piece for C&L -- Did a little preliminary research, but have otherwise put this aside for other things -- as permitted by its place in my current project timeline.
  • Shirt for my husband:  Neck embroidery is done, and the hem has been marked.  Tonight the hem gets pressed (now that I bought more glass head pins -- thus assuring I'll find my box of glass head pins), turned up and started.
  • Class for March.  I've just been asked to do a class at an embroidery event in March which will be a "more in-depth" than the usual SCA class.  Topic will be German Brick Stitch. Deadline is early January to have concept piece done and photos and write up to the coordinator.  My plan is to write most of the class while I make the concept piece so I can do my usual photos in progress method (without having to do the piece twice!).  Designs have been chosen and materials purchased. Got an email today on details from the coordinator -- good thing I haven't started yet since she wants a "kit photo."  I'll get that photo this weekend and start on the sample.
  • Motifs for coronation cloaks (different coronation) -- The embroidery on the two remaining tygers is on hold pending decisions by other people..
  • Marshall Hanging -- the very large Bayeux inspired piece that I've been working on (on and  off) for just about forever.  Deadline, June some time summer 2016.  
  • Hem stitched square -- Now 3 sides are done and the fourth one started.  I think this one has officially gone to "in stasis." 
  • Other garb waiting in the wings... Also in planning are a couple more coifs -- and shifts and shirts.  

Current project list/status (Modern)
  • Bay of Fundy Scarf.  The slightly over half done scarf is patiently waiting for its time to return, after the gift knitting....   
  • Gift knitting.  I don't take on a lot of knitting for gifts, especially with my usual policy of only having one knitting project in progress at a time, but I found some lovely yarn at Rhinebeck for a scarf for a friend for an EOYHOYC* gift so that will enter rotation.  This is moving quickly.  I'm pretty happy with it so far. At this point I think it's about 1/2 done.
  • Annual cross stitch.  A few years ago I started a project for the adopted daughter of friends -- I bought a lovely cross stitch chart that is made up of a number of motifs (similar to Quaker samplers).  There are just enough motifs for me to do a different one for an ornament each year for her until she reaches 21.  I even know where the chart and materials are, so that needs to get started soon. Hmm, maybe I'll pull this together and have it be my hand work at the event on Saturday, even if it isn't "period"... Maybe.
  • Skirts for work.  One skirt that had been languishing in my studio has had some work done, and now just needs a hem (that's the one I pinned up). This hem is on my list for this weekend.  I also have some lovely blue and white fabric waiting to be the next skirt. Yes, you're right, no change here. (Really, what is so hard about getting around to sewing up the hem, which is the *last thing* on the black and white one). 
  • Studio project. Yes, the studio is in good shape, but I do still have that wall of desk and closets to finish organizing.  I did get the desk cleaned up and the new computer set up. The WiFi booster has also been set up, so I'm ready to work in there.  I've had a couple good sessions, and I expect more going forward.  Every time I do go in, I try to organize one more thing. 
Blog notes:
  • Still working on a three day a week pattern -- Monday for SCA/Medieval/Renaissance related; Tuesday for post 1600 to modern related and Thursdays for status updates.
  • I've begun building the "DONE" pages, and moved links around a bit.  The "main categories" are to the right now -- that's the main labels.  Click on one and see all the posts with that label.  Down below are *all* the labels I've used.  
  • I'm also considering a couple other pages -- one for links to museums and other excellent web resources, and one for a bibliography (with appropriate links).  
So, that's it for my plans for the coming weeks.  


*EOYHOYC - End of Year Holiday of Your Choice; a once tongue-in-cheek, but now heart felt wish for everyone to enjoy whatever celebration November to mid January brings to them. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A new toy

I bought a new toy last week.  It's Dritz' Tailor board with clapper.


It sells for around $50 at JoAnn's (where I bought it) and other outlets, but I had a 60% off coupon.  It is used for a number of ironing functions while sewing.

The large platform is about the size of an iron plate, and allows for nice precise ironing.

But, that's not the coolest part.  There are several edges over which ironing can be done.  A gentle curve, and a sharper curve, both excellent for pressing curved seams into place. A long narrow edge for pressing seams. And several points for getting those corners nice and crisp.
Looks a bit otherworldly, doesn't it.

The clapper comes out and is used for "setting" seams and folds.  I learned about this during a class at Steve's Sew & Vac.  Steam the seam, or the fold and then firmly press the clapper down on it -- or even hit the seam or fold. Particularly good when you're using a fabric you don't actually want to touch with the iron.

It comes in pieces, and there were some comments that I had seen indicating that it was hard to assemble, but I had no issues doing it. The two screws for that little "handle" bit that holds the clapper in place cannot be done at the same time, and that was the only hold up for me. 



Dritz has a PDF of info about how to use their Tailor's board.  I've already used it a bit, and I can see that as I learn more, I will find it more and more useful. 






Monday, December 7, 2015

Happy busy Monday

Coming up for air to do a very quick post and let my fingers rest a little from seam finishing on my husband's silk tunic for Saturday.  I had today off from work and have spent most of it in my studio working on this.  Suddenly, I'm not able to make myself "cut corners" -- so even though I originally said "I'll finish the seams after Saturday" here I sit, finishing seams.

I did spend some time over the weekend working with a friend on designs for some embroidery  -- one of which will ultimately be part of my Couching & Laid embroidery presentation.

The requested embroidery is for clothing, and there is only a little bit of specific evidence of what clothing embroidery of the period looks like, none of which is actually what we want to use.  We turned, instead, to designs in other mediums.  A search on the Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Search the Collections" helped again, and we found a design on a piece of jewelry which will translate to couched cord admirably.

Good sources of general embroidery motifs can be found in architecture, jewelry and paintings of the period you are looking for.  Here is a lovely architectural piece that has a design I have seen echoed in embroidery of many periods, and which could be translated in many forms.  Perhaps next summer, when I am looking for new challenges I will do something with it.

Arch Fragment, ca. 1130-40, MMA Accession 25.120.607
The Cloisters Collection 1925
Well, back to seams.  Hopefully next week I'll be able to show off his new tunic and shirt.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Running out of titles...

Really, how many ways can I say it's Thursday and time for my weekly "keep me honest" report?  Last night was supposed to be the start of the black silk tunic, but I was quite beat by the time I got home and already having scissor fear -- a sure recipe for doing something wrong.  Instead I did some research for a design help request, planned a trip to the Met and got some more knitting done.

So here's this week's status of projects in progress and "on deck" -- yeah, not a lot of progress.  This coming weekend is a 3 day weekend (Monday off to burn off vacation time) and at least one of those days will be studio time -- two if I can swing it.  

Current project list/status (SCA/Historic):
  • Project X for C&L -- the "Convent Stitch" piece.  Threads have been determined and purchased and I'm down to two possibilities for the ground fabric.  Need to do a few test stitches to decide.   
  • Couched cord piece for C&L -- research has been started, and has led to this possibly becoming two pieces. It is now past its research deadline, so I will be giving it more concentrated time to get this stage done. 
  • Applique piece for C&L -- Did a little preliminary research, but have otherwise put this aside for other things -- as permitted by its place in my current project timeline.
  • Shirt for my husband:  Just need to do the hems and finish the little bit of embroidery at the neck.  Eventually I will do the finishing on the side seams, but I need to move on to the tunic if he's to have it for the event it is planned for.
  • Class for March.  I've just been asked to do a class at an embroidery event in March which will be a "more in-depth" than the usual SCA class.  Topic will be German Brick Stitch. Deadline is early January to have concept piece done and photos and write up to the coordinator.  My plan is to write most of the class while I make the concept piece so I can do my usual photos in progress method (without having to do the piece twice!).  Designs have been chosen and materials purchased.  This was the topic of Monday's "Process Post."  Stitch testing is next and then it will be framed up and worked. 
  • Motifs for coronation cloaks (different coronation) -- The embroidery on the two remaining tygers is on hold pending decisions by other people..
  • Marshall Hanging -- the very large Bayeux inspired piece that I've been working on (on and  off) for just about forever.  Deadline, June some time summer 2016.  
  • Hem stitched square -- Now 3 sides are done and the fourth one started.  I think this one has officially gone to "in stasis." 
  • Other garb waiting in the wings... Also in planning are a couple more coifs -- and shifts and shirts.  

Current project list/status (Modern)
  • Bay of Fundy Scarf.  Proceeding well.  This is excellent travel work -- it fits nicely in a project bag and is easy to pull out during lunch.  The first ball of yarn just keeps going, but I think it will soon actually be finished. I'm pretty sure a second ball will be all this one needs -- meaning lots of the yarn left for something(s) else.  One hank of yarn is done and is definitely 1/2 of the scarf.    
  • Gift knitting.  I don't take on a lot of knitting for gifts, especially with my usual policy of only having one knitting project in progress at a time, but I found some lovely yarn at Rhinebeck for a scarf for a friend for an EOYHOYC* gift so that will enter rotation.  This is moving quickly.  I'm pretty happy with it so far.
  • Annual cross stitch.  A few years ago I started a project for the adopted daughter of friends -- I bought a lovely cross stitch chart that is made up of a number of motifs (similar to Quaker samplers).  There are just enough motifs for me to do a different one for an ornament each year for her until she reaches 21.  I even know where the chart and materials are, so that needs to get started soon. 
  • Skirts for work.  One skirt that had been languishing in my studio has had some work done, and now just needs a hem (that's the one I pinned up). This hem is on my list for this weekend.  I also have some lovely blue and white fabric waiting to be the next skirt. Yes, you're right, no change here. (Really, what is so hard about getting around to sewing up the hem, which is the *last thing* on the black and white one). 
  • Studio project. Yes, the studio is in good shape, but I do still have that wall of desk and closets to finish organizing.  I did get the desk cleaned up and the new computer set up. The WiFi booster has also been set up, so I'm ready to work in there.  I've had a couple good sessions, and I expect more going forward.  Every time I do go in, I try to organize one more thing. 
Blog notes:
  • Still working on a three day a week pattern -- Monday for SCA/Medieval/Renaissance related; Tuesday for post 1600 to modern related and Thursdays for status updates.
  • I've begun building the "DONE" pages, and moved links around a bit.  The "main categories" are to the right now -- that's the main labels.  Click on one and see all the posts with that label.  Down below are *all* the labels I've used.  
  • I'm also considering a couple other pages -- one for links to museums and other excellent web resources, and one for a bibliography (with appropriate links).  
So, that's it for my plans for the coming weeks.  


*EOYHOYC - End of Year Holiday of Your Choice; a once tongue-in-cheek, but now heart felt wish for everyone to enjoy whatever celebration November to mid January brings to them. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Cool museum displays

Hello Tuesday.  Regular readers know that this is the day I talk about "post 1600" textiles.  I don't really have anything of my own work to share -- I'm busy with several projects, but nothing is ready to boast of.  So, I thought I'd take an electronic stroll through some photos to find something to talk about.  I found these photos from our trip in 2010 which included a visit to the Indianapolis Museum of Art.  In their textiles department, they have these mock up dresses from different eras.  They are all white with minimal decoration, showing only the lines and general construction of each gown/dress.

I was fascinated by this exhibit, and spent a long time looking at it.  I do hope they still have it up.  The fashions range from 1775 through 1968.  You can see the level of detail on the closer photo of 1905 at the bottom.  I think it's one of my favorites.  Pretty partial to 1955 too with that full skirt.  

When we were there, there were not a lot of textiles on display, but what was on display was pretty fantastic. They have a "search the collections" function on the website, too: http://collection.imamuseum.org/





Monday, November 30, 2015

A little research

One of the pieces I want to do for my Couching and Laid work presentation is of threads or cords couched as part of an embroidery, but *not* metal thread.  There isn't a lot that is not metal thread, however, the Met does have a lovely series of 14th Century Italian pieces.  Below is an example (found here).  Others are referenced in this post, the titles are the links.
The Pentacost
If you follow that link and examine the piece carefully, those architectural arches are couched down cords.

Now, if it was just one piece, I might think that those cords are places that the metal thread has fallen  away, or been removed. However, there are a number of pieces.  Certainly metal thread that has fallen away would not fall away that completely on all of the pieces.

It does still remain possible that the metal thread was all deliberately removed, and then it would be all gone.  There are other reasons I think not, however.  Note the halos .. there is nothing there, but there are some of the couching threads still around the circle.  This is particularly easy to see in the piece titled The Ascension.  Another factor is that the cords that are present are in very good shape. If these were cores of metal threads, removing the metal would have left some damage to the cords.

Another think I love about these pieces is that they appear to be in various stages of completed.  The designs have been printed or drawn on the ground fabric.  Some, like Christ Carrying the Cross and The Baptism of Christ are missing a lot of the embroidery.  From the "crumbs" left, it looks like much of it has fallen away.  Some are more complete, such as Presentation in the Temple, where many of the colors are still bright and clear.

Overall, a wonderful set of embroideries to spur lots of thought, speculation and inspiration.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posting early, since I'll be at friends' house later.  Yeah, I could schedule it to post at 7, but this way I can put out the links I usually put out:

Time for my weekly "keep me honest" report. More plugging away, so here's this week's status of projects in progress and "on deck"

Current project list/status (SCA/Historic):
  • Project X for C&L -- the "Convent Stitch" piece.  Threads have been determined and purchased and I'm down to two possibilities for the ground fabric.  Need to do a few test stitches to decide.   
  • Couched cord piece for C&L -- research has been started.  New deadline on the research and design phase is this coming Saturday.  That *may* wind up being extended yet again.  Good thing I "padded" my time line.
  • Applique piece for C&L -- research has been started (actually early for the timeline, but as long as it doesn't take away from other projects, I won't begrudge anything an early start).
  • Shirt for my husband:  Not only needed, but will also confirm my pattern for him *before* I cut into the black silk.  I have only the last seams and hem to do.  Goal is for this to be completed this weekend.
  • Class for March.  I've just been asked to do a class at an embroidery event in March which will be a "more in-depth" than the usual SCA class.  Topic will be German Brick Stitch. Deadline is early January to have concept piece done and photos and write up to the coordinator.  My plan is to write most of the class while I make the concept piece so I can do my usual photos in progress method (without having to do the piece twice!).  Designs have been chosen and materials purchased.  This was the topic of Monday's "Process Post."  Stitch testing is next and then it will be framed up and worked. 
  • Motifs for coronation cloaks (different coronation) -- The embroidery on the two remaining tygers is on hold pending decisions by other people..
  • Marshall Hanging -- the very large Bayeux inspired piece that I've been working on (on and  off) for just about forever.  Deadline, June some time summer 2016.  
  • Hem stitched square -- Now 3 sides are done and the fourth one started.  I think this one has officially gone to "in stasis." 
  • Other garb waiting in the wings... I have this lovely black silk for a tunic for my husband -- one which will have plenty of stitching on it.  Also in planning are a couple more coifs -- and shifts and shirts. Hope to have something ready for us both for an event in December. 

Current project list/status (Modern)
  • Bay of Fundy Scarf.  Proceeding well.  This is excellent travel work -- it fits nicely in a project bag and is easy to pull out during lunch.  The first ball of yarn just keeps going, but I think it will soon actually be finished. I'm pretty sure a second ball will be all this one needs -- meaning lots of the yarn left for something(s) else.  One hank of yarn is done and is definitely 1/2 of the scarf.  This was part of Tuesday's post.  
  • Gift knitting.  I don't take on a lot of knitting for gifts, especially with my usual policy of only having one knitting project in progress at a time, but I found some lovely yarn at Rhinebeck for a scarf for a friend for an EOYHOYC* gift so that will enter rotation.  This is on the needles (also part of Tuesday's post), and is moving quickly.  I'm pretty happy with it so far.
  • Annual cross stitch.  A few years ago I started a project for the adopted daughter of friends -- I bought a lovely cross stitch chart that is made up of a number of motifs (similar to Quaker samplers).  There are just enough motifs for me to do a different one for an ornament each year for her until she reaches 21.  I even know where the chart and materials are, so that needs to get started soon. 
  • Skirts for work.  One skirt that had been languishing in my studio has had some work done, and now just needs a hem (that's the one I pinned up). This hem is on my list for this weekend.  I also have some lovely blue and white fabric waiting to be the next skirt. Yes, you're right, no change here. (Really, what is so hard about getting around to sewing up the hem, which is the *last thing* on the black and white one). 
  • Studio project. Yes, the studio is in good shape, but I do still have that wall of desk and closets to finish organizing.  I did get the desk cleaned up and the new computer set up. The WiFi booster has also been set up, so I'm ready to work in there.  I've had a couple good sessions, and I expect more going forward.  Every time I do go in, I try to organize one more thing. 
Blog notes:
  • Still working on a three day a week pattern -- Monday for SCA/Medieval/Renaissance related; Tuesday for post 1600 to modern related and Thursdays for status updates.
  • I've begun building the "DONE" pages, and moved links around a bit.  The "main categories" are to the right now -- that's the main labels.  Click on one and see all the posts with that label.  Down below are *all* the labels I've used.  
  • I'm also considering a couple other pages -- one for links to museums and other excellent web resources, and one for a bibliography (with appropriate links).  
So, that's it for my plans for the coming weeks.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Breaking a rule....

I’ve broken one of my rules, but it’s all in the name of the holidays.

My yellow Bay of Fundy scarf is about half done.  How do I know?  I’ve just about finished one hank of the yarn and it is about 33 inches long.  I have three more hanks, but I don't think it will take more than one more.  Here’s an in progress shot.  Can’t wait to see what it looks like all done and blocked.  I’m considering blocking this half a) to see how it looks and b) to make the final blocking a little easier.  Thoughts?

 That's the whole thing (so far) to the left, pinned to the box for a Billy bookcase.  Love the cable pattern.  That little ball is all that is left of the first hank - just a few more rows, I'm sure.


However, the End of Year Holidays are approaching.  Whatever you call it, December is a time of celebration, family, friends and gifting. Well, ok, for us the gifting usually goes well into January … and sometimes beyond, but late November and December is the season of considering gifts, and making them.  So, here’s the rule breaking – my usual rule is “one knitting project at a time.”  Considering the number of other projects I have going at any given time, *some* area of my crafty world needs to be reigned in.  However, I really want to do a knitted gift for my new boss, so that has gone on the needles.  It will be fast, and I’ll move back to the yellow scarf/wrap soon.

Not only that, but I’m learning something while I do it.  The project I’m doing is all about short rows.  Why was I afraid of them?  Apparently I have come far in my knitting since I did socks.  When I did the short row heels on the socks, I slavishly followed the directions, but didn’t really “get” what I was doing, I just followed the pattern.  This time, however, as I do segment after segment on this lovely ruffle scarf, I’m “getting” it.  I see where they’re going and what they’re doing. 

I call that worth a small rule break, how about you?

Sorry, no value added photos until after the gift has been given…. Not sure if she reads this blog, but I like surprises to be surprises.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Process Post...

At one point I asked for ideas of posts, and one of the requests was for one (or maybe a series) on "process."

So, here's a process post.  I was recently asked to teach a class in March with the proviso that I need to have write up *and sample photos* ready by the beginning of January. Since I'll be needing to take photos at each step for illustration of the hand out, I thought it would be a good topic for a series of process posts.  I will probably time some of them to be after the info is sent to the coordinator, but here's the beginning.

The class will be on German Brick Stitch.  There is, of course the materials webbed by Master Richard Wymarc (http://www.wymarc.com/asoot/asoot.php) (Timothy J. Mitchell), originally an issue of The Compleat Anachronist in July 1996.

Stage 1: Design selection  I started from Master Wymarc's website, being an excellent source of designs and information regarding existing pieces.  I decided that I want to offer a small pouch for the project, and that it should have both an easy-to-execute design and one with slightly more complex counting.  For the simpler design, I decided on elements from the piece "Part of a Stole or Maniple."  This one qualifies as a simpler design because the stitches are all the same length, and are fairly repetative (and if I use only the flowers, they will be completely repetative).  For something with a bit more counting involved I chose one of the patterns titled "An Embroidered Bag." Ultimately, I will prepare a design based on these two charts which will use one on one side and the other for the other side of the final bag.

Stage 2: Color and Material selection.  Having decided on the inspiration designs, I proceeded to color choice.  First, I determined in what ways I'll change the colors.  I want the two sides of the bag to coordinate, and I want to keep the number of colors down as much as possible. I decided that the final color set will be blue, red, yellow, "old gold" and white.  I will use red where the simpler design calls for red and the more complex calls for purple.  The old gold will replace the green.  Blue, yellow and white will remain the same (although I may swap yellow and white on the simpler design to avoid too much yellow on gold... or not, that will be determined in the testing phase).  A trip to the needlework store was next in order.  I pulled one each of the blue, red, gold and yellow DMC referenced by Master Wymarc as reference colors, then looked at the threads available.  From prior projects, I knew I want to use silk approximately the size of Perle 5.  I looked at both Grandeur by Rainbow Threads and Trebizond.  I finally chose the Trebizond - look at that sheen!  I will admit that I played a little with the colors to achieve a palate that I found pleasing. I was luck y enough to find a piece of Congress Cloth (my preferred ground for Brick Stitch) in eggshell in the remainders bin that should be *just about* the right size (class pieces will be cut with more precision).  Finally, a set of stretcher bars (a pair of 6" and a pair of 11" and a box of tack were added to my purchase.

Next up will be finalizing the specific pattern and testing the colors together.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Well, lookie there... Thursday.

Time for my weekly "keep me honest" report.

A little less on target this week, but still things got done.

Anyway, here's this week's status of projects in progress and "on deck" (why, yes, I have changed up the order a little bit)

Current project list/status (SCA/Historic):
  • Project X for C&L -- the "Convent Stitch" piece.  Can't say much about it, but 'client'  approval has been received (on deadline) and materials selection should be done (on deadline) by the end of the weekend.  
  • Couched cord piece for C&L -- research has been started.  I may have to reassess deadline on this (i.e. give myself another week).
  • Applique piece for C&L -- research has been started (actually early for the timeline, but as long as it doesn't take away from other projects, I won't begrudge anything an early start. 
  • Shirt for my husband:  Not only needed, but will also confirm my pattern for him *before* I cut into the black silk.  Discussed last Monday.  Significant work has been done.  I was going to have it be the subject of last night's "A&S night" but did not.  I expect there to be some studio time this weekend.
  • Class for March.  I've just been asked to do a class at an embroidery event in March which will be a "more in-depth" than the usual SCA class.  Topic will be German Brick Stitch. Deadline is early January to have concept piece done and photos and write up to the coordinator.  My plan is to write most of the class while I make the concept piece so I can do my usual photos in progress method (without having to do the piece twice!)
  • Motifs for coronation cloaks (different coronation) -- The embroidery on the two remaining tygers is on hold pending decisions by other people..
  • Marshall Hanging -- the very large Bayeux inspired piece that I've been working on (on and  off) for just about forever.  Deadline, June some time summer 2016.  
  • Hem stitched square -- Now 3 sides are done and the fourth one started.  I think this one has officially gone to "in stasis." 
  • Other garb waiting in the wings... I have this lovely black silk for a tunic for my husband -- one which will have plenty of stitching on it.  Also in planning are a couple more coifs -- and shifts and shirts. Hope to have something ready for us both for an event in December. 

Current project list/status (Modern)
  • Skirts for work.  One skirt that had been languishing in my studio has had some work done, and now just needs a hem (that's the one I pinned up). This hem is on my list for this weekend.  I also have some lovely blue and white fabric waiting to be the next skirt. Yes, you're right, no change here. 
  • Bay of Fundy Scarf.  Proceeding well.  This is excellent travel work -- it fits nicely in a project bag and is easy to pull out during lunch.  The first ball of yarn just keeps going, but I think it will soon actually be finished. I'm pretty sure a second ball will be all this one needs -- meaning lots of the yarn left for something(s) else.  Progress pictures will be on a Tuesday coming soon.
  • Gift knitting.  I don't take on a lot of knitting for gifts, especially with my usual policy of only having one knitting project in progress at a time, but I found some lovely yarn at Rhinebeck for a scarf for a friend for an EOYHOYC* gift so that will enter rotation.  Yarn has been wound (and a nice spot found in my studio for the swift and ball winder to live -- where they're instantly accessible, but not in the way of anything!).  I have changed my mind three or four times, and now I'm pretty sure I know exactly what project I'm going to do for this, so it should hit needles soon.
  • Annual cross stitch.  A few years ago I started a project for the adopted daughter of friends -- I bought a lovely cross stitch chart that is made up of a number of motifs (similar to Quaker samplers).  There are just enough motifs for me to do a different one for an ornament each year for her until she reaches 21.  I even know where the chart and materials are, so that needs to get started soon. 
  • Knitted Salto fingerless gloves from Craftsy kit using Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend.  This was also finished and worn at Rhinebeck. I've been loving them.  These were Tuesday's blog post, and on the DONE- Modern page.  They will be off this list next week.
  • Studio project. Yes, the studio is in good shape, but I do still have that wall of desk and closets to finish organizing.  I did get the desk cleaned up and the new computer set up. The WiFi booster has also been set up, so I'm ready to work in there.  I've had a couple good sessions, and I expect more going forward.  Every time I do go in, I try to organize one more thing. 
Blog notes:
  • Still working on a three day a week pattern -- Monday for SCA/Medieval/Renaissance related; Tuesday for post 1600 to modern related and Thursdays for status updates.
  • I've begun building the "DONE" pages, and moved links around a bit.  The "main categories" are to the right now -- that's the main labels.  Click on one and see all the posts with that label.  Down below are *all* the labels I've used.  
  • I'm also considering a couple other pages -- one for links to museums and other excellent web resources, and one for a bibliography (with appropriate links).  
So, that's it for my plans for the coming weeks.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Tools -- teaching and organization

Remember the Certs commercials?  "Two, two, two mints in one?"  Well today's tool is two tools in one.

It's a teaching tool, and an organizational tool.

Well, ok, maybe I'm stretching the analogy, but this really is one of the most important-to-me tools for teaching, and for organizing in my studio.

Ready to go up to the studio and be
freshened up/restocked.
It's these boxes (no, not the bag on top, the clear boxes with the green lids).

They are the 13x13 ornament boxes in the Snap 'N Stack line by Snapware.  They're available on Amazon and we're coming into the time of year that they're available at lots of local stores -- Home Depot, Lowes, JoAnns'.

There are other sizes and styles available as well.  They are not inexpensive, but as the year winds down, you can probably find them on pretty deep discount.  I expect I'll be picking up another pair or two.

Each one has the kit materials for a class.  I try to keep them stocked (though I do need to go through them and clean them up) -- so when someone contacts me and says "hey can you teach at X event" I can easily say 'yes' if I'm free that weekend -- if I've been good about keeping them stocked, I usually just need to print documentation.  If I collect fees or donations for a given class, I keep that money in the box until I need to purchase materials for that class.

The boxes stack up, and snap together so if teaching more than one class, I can take the boxes for all in one stack.

Here you can see the locking mechanism.  Kind of hard to see in this photo, but on the bottom of each box there are clips just like the ones on the lid, that's how they stack together.

One of my plans is to set up a box of the tools that I always take when teaching -- scissors, needles, needle threaders, pens and pencils, among other items.

That's how they're a teaching tool.  They're also an organizational tool not just because they keep the teaching materials organized, but becuae they help me keep the studio organized -- they have their own spot (big enough for a couple more), so when they are returned to the studio, they go right in their place.

Two, two, two tools in one.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Joy also in the simple

While I work on the early stages of a couple of projects (research, design, material selection), I am also working on some clothing to be worn to SCA events -- known as garb.

My husband, for instance, is in desperate need of a new shirt and a tunic that is not "kitchen grub wear."

Wednesday and this weekend I started on the shirt.  Since I use pretty much the same pattern for both the shirt and the tunic (with the tunic just a little larger to allow for being over the shirt), this allows me to confirm my latest measurements and iteration of the pattern.

My basic tunic pattern, based on one found on the 'net a number of years ago.
And the cutting layout for 60" fabric.
A = shoulder to shoulder (use the larger, front or back)
B = 1/2 arm hole opening circumference
C = 1/2 underarm measurement
D = length of sleeve
E = circumference of fist
Gore length is A-B, not A-D as in the picture
Remember to add ease and seam allowances
I was lucky enough to find that some of that white linen (you remember the pile of white linen, right), was actually *washed* white linen, so I was able to press that and get right to work.  I cut out the nine pieces a shirt/tunic takes -- four sleeve pieces, four gore pieces and the main body piece.  That took longer than maybe it should, because I cut the big pieces by pulling a thread and cutting in the channel caused.  It's time consuming, but it does mean that the straight edges are straight.

I then cut out the four sleeve pieces using a pattern piece I drafted from the measurements I had.  The gores were last.  I cut a piece the right length for two gore lengths, then measured the top measurement required on each end, drew a diagonal and cut. I also rounded off the extra corner on that gore triangle.

Having ironed the pieces again (it's linen, it gets ironed often during construction), I sewed the sleeves to the gores and the top seam on the sleeves.  Those seams I did on my machine.  After pressing open the seams, and folding them in, however, I did the finishing by hand with linen thread.

I also prepared the neck opening.  This is MUCH easier when the main body piece is all one long piece.  I folded it in half at the eventual shoulder line, then in half long way.  I ironed those folds very well (though only a few inches down on the long fold), thus marking the center.  I took a circle of paper the correct size, folded it quarters to find the center, then also in thirds.  I placed the circle, lining the folds up with the folds on the linen, using one of the thirds fold lines so that the circle sat 1/3 to the back and 2/3 to the front.  Drew around my pattern and carefully cut out the circle.  That opening I finished by roll hemming. The tunic neckline will be treated a little differently.
Shirt or shift neckline cutting.
The green would be the fashion fabric and the white circle is the cutting guide piece.
A slit could be added down the front, but I usually keep the shirts and shifts round. 
The final step I've taken so far is to pin the sleeve/gore pieces to the main body piece, lining up the sleeve seams with the center shoulder seam on each side.

That's where it stands now.  I'll report again when the shirt is done.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Thursday seems to come every week...

It's another Thursday.  It was actually a pretty good week, hand-work-wise.  There must be something to the whole "time line" and "check list" theory.  I set myself individual items to do, such as "finalize X design and send it for approval," "get linen prepared," "draft shirt pattern."  More specific than "work on X project" and "do a shirt." I also set up a fairly detailed timeline for all the projects for the Couching and Laid Work presentation.  One week in and I'm on target! :)

Anyway, here's this week's status of projects in progress and "on deck":

Current project list/status (SCA/Historic):
  • Motifs for coronation cloaks (different coronation) -- The embroidery on the two remaining tygers is on hold pending decisions by other people..
  • Marshall Hanging -- the very large Bayeux inspired piece that I've been working on (on and  off) for just about forever.  Deadline, June some time summer 2016.  
  • Hem stitched square -- Now 3 sides are done and the fourth one started.  I think this one has officially gone to "in stasis." 
  • Project X for C&L -- the "Convent Stitch" piece.  Can't say much about it, but I finished the design (on deadline) and sent it to the 'client' for approval.  
  • Couched cord piece for C&L -- research has been started, also on deadline.
  • Applique piece for C&L -- research has been started (actually early for the timeline, but as long as it doesn't take away from other projects, I won't begrudge anything an early start. 
  • Shirt for my husband:  Not only needed, but will also confirm my pattern for him *before* I cut into the black silk.  Pieces have been cut, neckline size has been determined, gore/sleeve pieces have been pinned together.  Next up: cut and finish the neck hole (always easier when the body piece is still one piece. 
  • Other garb waiting in the wings... I have this lovely black silk for a tunic for my husband -- one which will have plenty of stitching on it.  Also in planning are a couple more coifs -- and shifts and shirts. Hope to have something ready for us both for an event in December. 

Current project list/status (Modern)
  • Skirts for work.  One skirt that had been languishing in my studio has had some work done, and now just needs a hem (that's the one I pinned up). This hem is on my list for this weekend.  I also have some lovely blue and white fabric waiting to be the next skirt. Yes, you're right, no change here. 
  • Bay of Fundy Scarf.  Proceeding well.  This is excellent travel work -- it fits nicely in a project bag and is easy to pull out during lunch.  The first ball of yarn is about almost done and I'm happy with how it's going.  Progress pictures will be on a Tuesday coming soon.
  • Gift knitting.  I don't take on a lot of knitting for gifts, especially with my usual policy of only having one knitting project in progress at a time, but I found some lovely yarn at Rhinebeck for a scarf for a friend for an EOYHOYC* gift so that will enter rotation.  I've spent some time on Ravelry and I think I know which pattern I'm going to use.  Yarn has been wound (and a nice spot found in my studio for the swift and ball winder to live -- where they're instantly accessible, but not in the way of anything!). 
  • Knitted Salto fingerless gloves from Craftsy kit using Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend.  This was also finished and worn at Rhinebeck. I've been loving them.  These were Tuesday's blog post, and on the DONE- Modern page.  They will be off this list next week.
  • Studio project. Yes, the studio is in good shape, but I do still have that wall of desk and closets to finish organizing.  I did get the desk cleaned up and the new computer set up. The WiFi booster has also been set up, so I'm ready to work in there.  I've had a couple good sessions, and I expect more going forward.  Every time I do go in, I try to organize one more thing. 
Blog notes:
  • Still working on a three day a week pattern -- Monday for SCA/Medieval/Renaissance related; Tuesday for post 1600 to modern related and Thursdays for status updates.
  • I've begun building the "DONE" pages, and moved links around a bit.  The "main categories" are to the right now -- that's the main labels.  Click on one and see all the posts with that label.  Down below are *all* the labels I've used.  
  • I'm also considering a couple other pages -- one for links to museums and other excellent web resources, and one for a bibliography (with appropriate links).  
So, that's it for my plans for the coming weeks. 


*EOYHOYC - End of Year Holiday of Your Choice -- a designation that started out kind of tongue in cheek but has come, for me, to express that I don't care what you call it, the end of the modern calendar year is an excellent time to spend time with family -- both blood and chosen -- and that's what the end of the year holidays are all about.