Yes, I am working on it. Yes, it is going really slow. We're not talking treacle slow, more like cold tar. (sigh)
I'm pulling thread to prep the fringe for knotting. Over and over again.
I won't bore you with pictures.
The only bit of interesting news is that the actual thread of my linen cloth seems to be about 1/4 of the thickness of my test piece. If I stick with single threads this lace is going to be teeny tiny itty bitty wee!
I noticed while I was working on my test sample that the pattern for the points in the extant piece is clearly a few threads larger than the blocks-and-knots section, and the original blocks are proportionally larger (wider) than mine. Maybe 12 or 16 threads wide instead of the 8 threads I use.
Still the sample is finished and I'm pretty happy with the result.
I'll probably try crossing the threads at the top and bottom of the knot sections to help the illusion that they are loops of cord and I might make the crossover in the center of the point shorter by 1 square knot. I'm generally not interested in making exact copies of anything so I think I am content with my symetrical pattern. It will certainly be easier for me to work!
It looks like I will need to fringe about 18" of my fabric to get enough free thread to work the macramé and tassle. I'll end up cutting off about 5" of thread in the end but I think I'll need that much (plus the 4" from the tassle) to be able to manipulate the threads.
Providing that I can lay my hands on a 4 yard piece of sheer-ish linen fabric I think I've found my Over and Above Mini-Challenge project.
The Realm of Venus "Over and Above" mini-challenge is officially going forward so I guess I'd better decide what I'm going to be making.
I've been working on a test version of a macrame pattern using the thin crochet cotton I'm using for my partlet project. It's a bit thicker than the threads of my linen fabric would probably be, so I think it will be a pretty good gauge for figuring out how much of the fabric I would have to fringe to be able to work the macrame, as well as if my looking and pondering and counting and planning enabled me to come up with a reasonable version of the pattern.
Image #377 from Ricci's Old Italian Lace, Volume 1, 1913
As you can see the pattern is basically a series of tasseled knotted points depending from a band of alternating blocks and knots.
I've gotten the band portion finished in my sample but I'm not quite happy with it. I think it needs more of a gap between the blocks of Diagonal Hitch and the knot. Maybe if I crossed the sets of starting threads on the knot? Hmmn. Something to ponder while I work up the point and tassel section.
The focus of the challenge is on outerwear, mainly coats of various sorts, but since I already have a stunning loose gown which I rarely get to wear I'm going to be working on a Venetian-style veil.
Poking about for inspirational pictures on the web has shown me that while Venetian veils share a common theme as to size (huge!) there is a great deal of variety in shape, color, texture, opacity, decoration and manner of wearing.
Shape: I see evidence of rectangles, triangles and half-circles being common veil shapes. Additionally I find several illustrations that suggest the veil may be a rectangle which has been folded across the breadth and stitched together along one of the long edges. (Thus making a 1/2 open pouch shape rather like a coif) Admittedly, the pouchy bagginess of the drape of these veils could have been achieved in other ways--such as the judicious use of pins--but I find the possibility of a structured veil intriguing.
Color: Along with black, white, and the legendary yellow, I find evidence beige, blue, gold, red, pink and green. Notably, one example appears to be a two-color shot silk organza whose overall effect is a coral-pink.
Texture: I see evidence of veils in a variety of textures, fine to coarse, plus both smooth and textured weaves. In addition, the veils appear to have a variety of 'hands' from a liquid drape to a rather crunchy stiffness.
Opacity: While I had believed that the veil would be slightly-translucent-to-opaque in most cases, it appears that the reverse may be true. In the majority of illustrations I have seen the veil material is in the translucent-to-sheer end of the range and it is frequently very nearly transparent. It should be noted, however, that once removed from the head an opaque veil simply looks like a shawl, tablecloth, or random piece of fabric drapery so it is likely that I have misinterpreted some objects that a period viewer would have recognized as opaque veils.
Decoration-Overall: In addition to the many examples of various types of woven stripes, I find hints of more elaborate patterns. Whether these patterns were confined to bands at the edges of the veil and whether woven or applied is unclear.
Decoration-Edge: Plain hems, fringe, plain lace, tassels and ornamented lace are all seen.
While there may well have been meaning ascribed to veils of different colors, etc. (the language of the veil :) ), it seems likely that, in some cases at least, the color, shape and materials of one's veil were a personal aesthetic decision.
So, I have been mulling over options for a new veil. I am on a personal mission to bring more pattern into SCA events so I rather like the idea of of a striped veil. I also really like handwork and trying new things so I've been thinking a lot about edge treatments. Hmm. What to do?
Which brings me to the afore-mentioned concurrences...
Veil Option 1:
Sheer with woven textured stripes
Mores Italiae, 1575
Mores Italiae, 1575
Agnolo Bronzino, 1550
Corded silk Organza (available on e-bay)
Veil Option 2:
Sheer with woven gold stripes
Cesare Vecellio 1589-90
Bartolomeo Veneto 1520's
Silk organza with gold stripes (available on ebay)
Veil Option 3:
Translucent with an amazing edging
I'm thinking a sheer linen with lace edging...maybe in knotwork?