Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ooooo. Ooooo! OOOOO!!!

The final post re the ACC are starting to come out and boy howdy can you folks sew!

And craft!

And smith!


What amazingly beautiful work, my compliments to you all!

(ps: Happy New Year!)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

More repairs

It seems I sadly underestimated the time it would take to reinforce the edges of my lacis pieces, mainly because I hadn't realized the extent of the damage. I've found that many of the pieces are completely missing the final row of net on one or more sides. I've worked out a way to replace that edging by making loops for every other square and then connecting them together but it is slow going.

Step one - make the loops

Monday, December 26, 2011

Back to work on the partlet

Oh how I love long weekends! Not only did I finish Boen's shirt, and loads of cookies, and have a scrumptious and relaxing holiday but it's not over and I've figured out how I am going to approach the partlet. At last. (Woo hoo!)

Boen likes the lacis pieces set on point best. I agree, and since it seems to be the more period appropriate approach I'm running with it. I played with the layout of my squares and decided that I am going to make the two squares on the top of the shoulders the foundation of the layout/structure for my partlet. They will be connected with a full square at the center back...and then we'll see.

I think the single square set on point will be enough depth for the back of the partlet. If so, I will probably fill in the edges with 1/2 squares of lacis to square up the back and back shoulders. I think it may take 3 full squares on each breast to provide sufficient coverage to compensate for the complete lack of upper bodice which is the hallmark of this style. I want to be able to play with it so I'm not making any final decisions about the front until the back is completed.

I'm planning to start the collar by using the inner points of the three squares which form the back and shoulders. I think if I only join the squares to about the 1/2 way point they will form an appropriate opening for my neck and the remaing points will form a nice little standing collar if I connect them with some little triangles of lacis. I'll probably have to make these pieces but at least they'll be small! I'm not sure about making a ruff as of yet. I'd like to have at least a small one to serve as under proper for a larger ruff but since I can't wear the dress at all until I have some kind of partlet it may have to be a later addition.

At any rate, the first step is to finish/reinforce the edges of my purchased lacis pieces. They have a lot of missing joins at the very edge which need mending plus I am going to be putting the finished partlet through a lot of strain so I'm running three parallel rows of reinforcement thread along/around the outer three rows of netting. I plant to stich the sections together using these three rows to anchor the work. (Fingers crossed) We'll see how it goes!

Reinforcement stiching in progress:

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Naughty, naughty!

My Boen just suggested that for today's entertainment we could just go out to a store, stand in a corner and watch!

Men who have gotten all their presents can be so mean... ;)

I'm still working on the collar of his Christmas shirt so I rather feel for the poor shoppers, myself.

Happy holidays!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Apparently, cookies don't make themselves.

I have been working on the last of my holiday sewing projects and am...oh about 1/2-way done with a new not puffy shirt for Boen. (At his request. Making a simple, close fitting white linen shirt with no ornamentation doesn't come naturally to me!) It's going pretty well and nicely fast considering I only discovered where the white linen I bought for it weeks ago was hiding when I was heading out the door for work on Thursday morning.

I've been stitching away all day...feeling pretty virtuous...bbbbbbuuuuuutttttttttt

We have no cookies. Not a one. Not a single cookie in the house!

I can't take it anymore.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sewing kit is finished!

And not a moment too soon, too.

(I've suddenly realized that I had better get a move on with Christmas present projects!)

Since my last posting on this project I have finished the needle lace edging and crystal bead buttons for the needle case, replaced the bottom three tassels on the original bag with larger ones, and created a scissors case and restraining cord for the clippers. Like the pin pillow and needle case, the scissors case is attached to the bag by a length of finger loop braid, but this one was anchored at the center of the bags handle so it can dangle freely and also can be looped around a belt and through the bag's handle above the bead to anchor the chatelaine securely when the bead is raised. I have no idea if similar arrangements were done in period, but it works!

And now, for your viewing pleasure:

The closed chatelaine

And open to show off the contents

I can't believe I'm finally going to have all the gear I need to sew or make repairs at events easily to hand. I can hardly wait to give it try!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

ooooh! gotta have it!

it's possible I'm obsessed....

I think I'm gonna have to try making one. :)

(BTW, I discovered the above image courtesy of the wonderful research posted at: Thank you Alys!)

Better Living Through Shopping

I admit that I am feeling the teensyiest bit guilty about this (it's too easy!) but I think I've found a way to test-run a lacis partlet.

That is, to try it out and make some observations about the shape, support and coverage I will need prior to making my own lacis partlet 100% by my own hands.

You guessed it, I found some lacis pieces on e-bay. Ten of them, in fact, and each about 8 3/4" square.

They came in the mail yesterday and while they make my own poor attempts at lacis look like great hulking lumpish things in comparison (I'm going to have to look into getting a smaller gauge and some finer thread) I'm excited to skip past the 'making the lacis' stage and get right down to making a partlet so I can experiment with the 'how in the world does this work!?!' part.

Now I just have to figure out how I want to assemble them....

and then get up enough courage to wear it!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Well, my scissors (and stuff) came yesterday...

and with them came something I had forgotten about, a pewter pilgrims badge representing St. Peter of Rome (Vatican City). I bought my scissors from Fettered Cock Pewters and I got to pick a pilgrim's badge as a free gift (and you will too if you order while the special is still on.) Quite a nice holiday surprise!

Naturally I immediately started on a scissors case for the chatelaine, but my big news for today is:

The Pater Noster I made with my new badge!

Talk about projects you never expected to undertake. I went to the bead store [Danger, Will Robinson!] to get three little beads to use as buttons on the needle book and walked out with just a teensy bit of additional stuff...clear and white quartz crystal beads...and lapis beads... and some red silk beading thread...

I made the red silk tassel with a spool of silk thread I've had sitting around for ages. It's not quite the right color (aka, matching thread) but I just had to get as done as I could with the stuff I had on hand!

Ain't she pretty?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Progress on the insides

While I wait for my clipper scissors to arrive (so I can get started on the scissors case) I've been working on the pin pillow and needle book for my chatelaine.

I made a little bitty piece of lacis for the pin pillow and learned several very important things:

1) Yes, stretching it on a frame is important!

I decided to just stretch the netting in my fingers as I worked the pattern. Bad idea. The finished piece is...kinda lumpy. It's not as easy to control the tension as you work the pattern into the net and it's also much harder to get all the stitches in the correct place.

The second reason it's a bad idea? Dirt. I handled the piece a lot more and it's beautiful creaminess is decidedly grey in spots.

Live and learn (and wash itty bitty pillows!)

2) Cotton batting doesn't like having you squish it into a tiny space and then stick pins into it.

Next time I will try looser filling, but I suspect cotton is not the material of choice when it comes to filling pin pillows, mainly because the glass-headed pins I bought keep bending when I try to stick them into it!

3) It would have been a much better idea to graph out the pattern I wanted.

If I had I might have realized that my original idea for a pattern wasn't going to work before I stiched it up. This tiny little piece of lace is positively riddled with joined sections from figuring out what I was doing on the fly.

Still, all in all it looks pretty good.

The needle case is much more of a work in progress. It's got a little pocket for a needle threader and two leaves of felt with a selection of tapestry and general sewing needles. I'm thinking I'll work the edges with needle lace and add a button to close it. And/or I might add some white work embroidery...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Oooo...look what I found!

It appears to me that some of the extant sweet bags/chatelaines may have a band or bead to adjust the cords they hang by. I've had them on pouches or bags in the past and found that they keep the strings under control and add an extra level of security in keeping things closed so I took the dangerous step of going to the local bead store to look for a suitable bead. (Cue danger music track.)

I should, perhaps, mention that said store is only a block away from my new place of work and knowing the temptations such places offer I have, up to now, been very good and kept far far away...

But that's all over now!

(Cue joyful crescendo of bliss.)

Let's just say that it's a nice shop, but the important bit for now is that I not only found a yellow jade bead that works nicely for controlling my strings, I also found Mother of Pearl oblong beads which I think may become the most beautiful thread winders.

It sounds like I should be able to grind a curve in the long edges (maybe with sandpaper?) and then polish them back to shiny goodness. I guess we'll see, but they sure are pretty!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday yummies!

Tonight is the annual Yule party for our local barony and Boen and I have been up for hours working on our contribution to the potluck feast. We are making an absolutely enormous meat pie with beef, almonds, raisins, apricots, apples, bread crumbs, eggs, milk, coriander, cumin, tumerick, onions, garlic, lemon zest and juice, bay leaves, salt and pepper...all baked up in pastry with a topping of egg custard.

It smells as yummy as it sounds!

For those of you who don't recognize this dish from the list of ingredients (which I wouldn't have until earlier this week) this filling is one of the many variations of a South African classic: Bobotie. We used this recipe for the ingredients but changed the technique a bit. Basically we precooked the meat (as did several other recipes) and added a crust.

I love that it is completely possible/plausible/believable in the context of a medieval kitchen, yet I've had Bobotie pie at a restaurant and found the recipe in a gazillion places on-line.

I hope it tastes as good as it looks(and smells)...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Is it a butterfly yet?

You remember my lacis piece that wanted to be a bag? Well, my project has changed form several times, but it's coming along well!

I started out thinking it just wanted to be a sweet bag...but then it got more detailed...and wanted accessories...and now I seem to be working on a sewing kit/chatelaine much inspired by this example.

I've worked and attached finger loop braid for the edging and tassel/strap loops, made tassels and am currently working on binding the thread loops and making more finger loop braids for the various straps which will be necessary to attach all the pieces together as a chatelaine.

Since I lined the original bag with silk organza and it is going to be possible to see any objects it contains, I want to stick with my current off-white color scheme. I'm thinking I need a needle case, pin cushion (with pins), scissors with case and maybe some thread winders or lace-making supplies (bobbins or gauges?) or something.

I'm going to have to do some research on how period chatelaines were made and worn but I really excited to add such a useful item to my kit!

Progress thus far...