Who Am I? And Why Am I Here?

Elewys of Finchingefeld, GdS, JdL
Barony of Aquaterra, Kingdom of An Tir

This is a place to which I may post my research, my experiments, my successes...and yes, my failures...for medieval re-creation and research on my never-ending quest to learn and revel in knowledge and experiences.

I am a lady of many times and many places. Currently using a 15th century English name, dressing in a 10th century Danish dress, and camping in a Mongolian round house. "Lost" doesn't even begin to describe my persona.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More Weaving

I've become the weaving machine.  This one is called the Ram's Horn pattern.  It falls under the intermediate skills weaving.  I'm not ready for the advanced stuff yet...although I might be able to muddle through it.

This is a piece that I started a couple weeks ago, and although it took a bit longer than other pieces due to the shifting of cards in opposite directions, I still finished it up fairly quickly.  It also measures a bit over 4 yards.  I considered selling these and tried to figure out what I would price these at.  Without any idea what to base it on, I figured I'd check out Etsy and see if anyone else is making these.  I found a couple pieces of this pattern priced between $80 and $125.  Flooring!  Absolutely flooring!

Here's my latest weaving project--a Saxon Threaded in reproduction pattern, which can be found at Carolyn's site.  Since this is a period pattern, documentable, and in the Baronial colors, I would like to enter this one into the contest they hold at the big event in January.  I'd love to find more period patterns, but I think it will involve buying a moderately priced book...or several. Peter Collingwood (starting at $47), John Mullarkey ($37), and Nancy Spies ($30) are on my short list of books I'd like to get.  I have a gift card I'd like to use at Amazon for this.... :)
Back to the loom...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rest in Peace

When I joined the SCA back in 1990, I was in college, living in the university apartments.  Our first event was at the Rock Rings, where people from all over the area came to fight in the tournament.  It was here that I first met Amanda Kendal.  She and Gerhard were Baron & Baroness of Lions Gate (two words, no punctuation) and she was also the Chancellor of the University of Ithra.

Less than a year later, I was taking classes at Ithra, starting me on the path of learning and loving history in a hands-on manner, and eventually becoming the Chancellor of my own campus.

When I was in the SCA for about four years, I received my Award of Arms.  The first person I got a hug from was Amanda Kendal.  She *ran* over (well, a sort of jog) to be the first one to congratulate me.

My early SCA experience involved Gerhard and Amanda.  They were the nearest Royals to our shire, so we saw them frequently.  They provided the pomp & circumstance that is elemental to SCA culture.  They ruled with grace and dignity and were beloved as rulers of Lions Gate for over 25 years.  They were the first baronial pair for the area, so the change to a new pair was both exciting and heart-wrenching at the same time.

They taught me to dance.  To letter calligraphy.  The social mores of banquets and courts.  Heraldry.  Castles & Fortifications. Lechery. Tavern Games.  Medieval Life & Customs. Fighting & Marshal Appreciation.  Medieval Homes.  Medieval Architecture.  Tourney Kitchens.  And so much more.  Including how to run an Ithra and how to be a chancellor, a skill that I will be able to pass on to others when the time grows near.

But most of all, she taught me how to be a lady; gentle, courteous, patient, and graceful.

I will miss you terribly, as will hundreds...or thousands...of others.

(Photo by...E. Selwode)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

New weavings

I received an award last weekend from the Barony--the Blue Stag, which is a second-level arts award.  Huzzah me!  It reads, "Yet another of the numerous and talented artists and craftspeople has overly decorated, demonstrated, or contributed to our Barony, forcing us, Hauk & Rosamund, Baron and Baroness of Aquaterra, to take action and enter Elewys Cuylter of Finchingefeld into the Order of the Blue Stag, by our hand and seal this 3rd day of December, AS XLVI."  I thought that was great... "overly decorated..."  Sounds gaudy! 

I last showed the An Tir/Aquaterra piece made from 25 cards based on a pattern called Andred on the EQOS web site.

A few new pieces I've been working on...

This one I call "Waverly" due to its wavy pattern.  This is an experimental pattern that went different than planned, but it's still nice.
This one I call "Aquaterra" after the Barony's colors. The pattern is called "Acret" although I changed the arrangement of the colors out of necessity (not enough white available...I ordered some more which should be here by the middle of next week).

And this is my newest one using the same pattern as "Aquaterra" but re-arranging the light/dark colorway.  It's from the same pattern on EQOS's site, but a different colorway.  I love the reversible pattern that it creates.


Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Or is it Obsessive Compulsive behavior?

I warped up a small piece--about two yards--in black and white and red all over.  I was trying to re-create a woven piece I found online, but it appears that you need six hole cards to make it.  I don't have six hole cards.  :o(  Yet.  :o)  But I got out a spreadsheet and marked the colors in it and when I was satisfied, I strung it up and started weaving.  This is what I ended up with.  Not what I was aiming for, but it's still pretty.  I may donate it to some largesse or prize tourney.

When I pulled that off, I warped up a longer piece--all four yards--in red, purple and yellow of something that looks like Korba, but I put a dot in the center of the piece instead of the edges.  Maybe I'll call it "Zorba".  It's weaving up nicely and distracts me from some gloomy thoughts; a life-long friend of my sister's is very ill.  I've known her since I was about 3 years old, and she is the funniest, weirdest person I've ever met.  And I'm good with weird...I love weird!

Looking forward to doing more, but I think I need to order more Maysville carpet warp.  If anyone has ideas of other supplies I could use (other than crochet cotton, which is OK, but it's not light fast), please let me know!

Also, I need more patterns.  In particular, I want to see *period* patterns for four-hole cards without having to lay down huge piles of cash for out-of-print books.  I have the Crockett beginning cardweaving that everyone has, and put a few on my Amazon wish list, like Sara Lamb, Egon Hansen, Peter Collingwood, John Mullarkey (awesome name!), and Nancy Spies.  I have another of Nancy's books on the Modelbuch, and she *signed* it.  How awesome is that?  I didn't know that I was buying it from the author when I got it online!  Score!

I'm about 3/4 done with the Zorba piece.  I may donate this to Ursulmas largesse as well.


Monday, November 28, 2011

More stuff!

Just a few more things I was working on...

A 25 card piece using An Tir and Aquaterra colors!  I hoped that it might represent the barony within the Kingdom, sort of surrounded by it, but yet woven firmly into it.  Since I'm not an experienced weaver, it was sort of an experiment that I thought wasn't working until I realized that I had the cards flipped the wrong way, so I was looking at the reverse side of the weaving on the top.  Then I decided that it was a success, although I hadn't thought about it at the time.

Here is the finished piece, which measures roughly 4 yards (based on my body measurement of fingertip to far shoulder, not some mundane tool lying around the house).  For this piece, I finished it by twisting the ends and knotting them to create a sort of fringe.  I like the effect and will have to do that for future pieces.

I used this pattern that I found on a web site owned by Camilla Whitney, aka the Evil Queen of Spades (EQOS).  I found this sheet on a Google image search for Card Weaving patterns.  The Baronial/Kingdom weave is the Andred pattern in the lower left.  There are a few other patterns on this page I'd like to try as well.  My next project may be Korba or Pilka, or maybe Vytine.  I love that these are mapped out, but there are several more that she has made that I would like to try, but not all her patterns are available.  I tried emailing her, but it seems the only way to comment is to sign up for the web site and I do not need any more subscriptions to anything.  I did sign up for SCA Card Weavers Yahoo group, however the email I sent does not appear to have gone through yet--and it was a couple days ago.

I'd love to try some period weaving, but I am having difficulty finding something that is easy enough for a beginner--most of the extant pieces and patterns are quite advanced, or at least have cards moving in opposite directions, which I don't know if I can master at this point.  I haven't seen all of it yet, of course, but I'm looking.  Luckily, I have my Emergency Back Up Laurel I can consult with.  I should probably do that.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Slow Season

Greetings, fair friends!  It has been a slow season, indeed.  A great deal of attention has been paid to the stocking of the pantries for the winter and tending to the children, and not nearly so much in my creative outlets, save for some necessary work to keep food on the table and pocket money to purchase supplies for my crafts.

Lately, I met with my young friend, Aenor, who taught me a new pattern for my loom using four-hole cards.  I haven't been able to finish any project using cards, mostly due to my frustration with making it look right, but she taught me a simple enough pattern to allow my simple mind to grasp it.  I warped up 18 cards' worth and wove this piece that is just a bit longer than I am tall.  It will make a nice belt, I think!

 The only clothing I have made of late is a pair of outfits for two young girls.  This young lady was celebrating All Saints Day by dressing as Margaret Ward, a brave woman who rescued a priest from prison and was killed for it. She had smuggled a rope into the prison but the priest was injured during his escape and left the rope behind.  A similar outfit was made for my own daughter to wear.

Little else to report at this time, although this completes three more items for my A & S 50 challenge!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I finished the yurt!  I set it up at September Crown on Saturday night, after a day of finishing the build, putting in rivets in the walls and the roof covering, and making a flap out of some leftover canvas (I need a larger piece, but it worked fine for the night).  Friday night we all shared the 16' Regency tent, which was a bit of a tight fit for the five of us.  The doorway on my yurt is covered up by overlapping pieces of canvas, which can be opened up and tied back for airflow and an "open house" to welcome visitors.

Avelyn also finished hers--we worked on them at the same time--and her family was able to sleep in it on Saturday night.  Friday night they spent a very uncomfortable evening sleeping in the van (they wouldn't recommend it) because the rafters were too long and caused all kinds of issues with the roof.  In the end, the roof covering was somehow still too small for the yurt--we'll have to figure out how *that* went wrong...they have a little bit of a peek-a-boo roofline for anyone over 5 feet tall...not a problem for me, but it is for just about everyone else I know.  We're going to have to sew a 10" flap around the entire edge, which will keep the wind, rain, and eyes out of the tent.  Avelyn's door is a hinged piece of plywood with a clever locking mechanism, which helps keep the little ones in the structure--their littlest one is not quite two years old and prone to adventure-seeking (he's a wanderer). 

I'm starting back to work on the Turkish socks--I had to rip the first one back to the toenails and add a few more stitches to make it a more comfortable fit.  I'll get to try it on soon to see if the extra four stitches will be enough.

Now that the tourney season has drawn to a close, it's time to begin repairs to favorite garments and replacing outgrown clothing.  Ben needs a new wardrobe of tunics--light, medium and heavy as well as lightweight and warm pants; Cammie needs a couple medium and heavy tunics; and Emma needs a complete wardrobe.  She chose the type of dress she wants, and I didn't get very far in creating it--ran into several stumbling blocks.  However, she changed her mind and decided she wanted kimonos instead.  Now I just need to make a few coordinating garments--warm kimonos, pants, cloth hose, etc.  Kelly would like a couple of lightweight tunics and a couple of heavy tunics, and a couple more pairs of pants (and I have to repair the brown pants I made for him last year where the seam tore out).  Not to mention the tunic I still have to make for Tyrssen...one more for that guy. 

I also have to finish doing some stitching on the 12th century Anglo-Saxon tunics for presentation at 12th night (if we end up going)...it's going to be held in Coeur d'Alene, which would be best without children in tow...we'll have to see if we can have the kids go visiting relatives for a couple days.  This is as much as I've gotten done--I still need to do some embroidery around the bottom, around the wrists, and refinish the hems.  I may also do some very light embroidery around the yellow undertunic, but something much simpler than this.

In the meantime, I have to get a sampler done for Girl Scouts.  Since I still don't have any books for leaders or girls (they're replacing everything), I don't have any lesson plans or ideas of how to achieve goals or badges.  I decided to go a little retro and teach them things from the old badge books.  From what I can tell, there are *no* needlework or fiber arts badges for Juniors...and that's my specialty.  But I'm going to teach them how to do blackwork anyway.  I've got Lesley Wilkins's "Beginner's Guide to Blackwork" and will pull a few designs out of the book to do in a sampler and show the girls how to do one or four of those.  Maybe I'll talk about how there are many samples in the Victoria and Albert Museum and how during Victoria's reign, they opened the museum and schools and how she was such a pioneer and leader.  Something like that.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Finish lines

I have good news!  I finished the Thistle Socks!  That makes 32 finished pieces, and completes the Heraldic Rainbow!  Oh, wait...I still need white and black, but I've got Argent, Or, Vert, Azure, and Purpure.  I may have more projects that I'm missing in the list...I'm still finding projects that I was working on or finished, but forgot.

Also, I'm coming to a finish on the yurt.  I guess that could be considered and A&S project, so we'll call it 33.  The khana is done, the tono and uni are finished, and we were able to erect the bulk of the structure the other day.  The canvas is still being worked on, but there's an end in sight for that as well.  It needs to have one more seam finished on the roof and the walls need the rivets, and I have to make a smoke hole flap and door flap.  THEN it'll be done!

I have a few papers/documentation that I'm working on that *could* be considered an A&S entry, and thus, an A&S project, so I may add those to the list as well, bringing it to 37 or so.  I'll have to figure that out.

I'm also working on another pair of Turkish socks for myself out of alpaca.  I started them before but they turned out to be much too small to fit my wide feet.  I'm part duck, you see...or SEAL...not sure.  Anyway, some water-drelling creature that requires wider footwear.  I tore it all back to the toenails and am starting again.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Back to the Yurt...

Although my computer is down, I can still get online and do some posting.  My research has come to a screeching halt, temporarily, but I can get a little bit of work done on the yurt. 

We ordered 15 boards of 1" x 4" x 10' from a local millworks, which turned out to be cheaper and of higher quality than buying it from any of the chain home improvement stores.  It only took about three days for it to arrive, and the 10 footers fit easily inside my grand caravan. 

On Monday, Avelyn came by and we ripped all the boards into 3/4" x 3/4" strips for her rafters.  Only a couple of them "reacted" and twisted into a funny shape.  We finished this by lunchtime, so we took a break, got some sandwiches, and then made plans to drill the tono. 

We made a jig using a block of wood cut into a 30-60-90 triangle, and started drilling the tono.  Shortly afterward, we discovered that our block was growing just a little bit with each hole drilled, and the angle was changing.  Rather than continue to drill bad angles, we announced an all-stop to the project and called it a day. 

After thinking about it for a few hours and talking with Kelly, we decided that we needed a bushing to prevent the hole from growing with every cut, and I thought a metal tube of some kind might work.  The next day, Kelly suggested that instead of finding a tube, why not just stack a bunch of washers and glue them into the hole?  Well, heck yeah!

Rummaging through our collection of washers, I found some that would fit the bill!  5/8" washer with a 1/4" hole.  There were quite a number of them, so I knew that it would be plenty for what I was doing.  The only thing I was worried about was whether or not I'd have a long enough drill bit to go through the jig and the tono.

I took a new 30-60-90 block and drilled a 7/32" hole with the drill press (slightly bigger than the 3/16" pencil rod).  This the same size hole that would go into the tono.  To make sure it was the right height, I took a piece of pencil rod and ran it through one of the previously-drilled "good" holes and the block.  The 30-60-90 block was taller than I needed (intentionally so), which allowed me to trim the jig block to length.  Off to the chop saw, one quick cut (OK, two...) and the block was the right size.

Back to the drill press, I then replaced the 7/32" bit with a big, fat 5/8" bit, the same size as the washers.  I drilled the 5/8" hole about 3/4 the way through the block--NOT all the way through.

I stacked about 6 or 7 washers into the hole, until the top washer was level with the shallow end of the hole.  I then took some Gorilla Glue and put a drop onto the hollow on the deeper end of the hole.  Gorilla Glue swells as it cures, so I put a small 1" x 1" block of wood into the hole and clamped it down for a couple hours while we took a dinner-and-karate break.

Fast forward a couple hours, the glue is dry, and I pull the block out of the clamp and carefully run the drill through it to make sure there was no glue in the channel.  I then lined it up with a previously-drilled hole to make sure it lined up the way I wanted--measure twice, cut once!  Looks good, and it still lines up with my pencil marks the way I want. 

Time to go for it.  Lined up the next hole, gripped the jig firmly, placing my fingers carefully so they weren't in the way of the emerging bit on the hand drill (sliced a finger a few weeks ago with that kind of carelessness), and drilled.  The bit didn't emerge, but after a quick adjustment, lengthening the bit, I gave it another go, and...success!  I made quick work of the rest of holes and they look good and consistent.  I'm very pleased with this result! 

I still have to cut the rafters to length, then I have all the parts ready to set it up!  Due to some poorly drilled holes, a few of them may have to be filled and re-drilled, but I will have to consult with my woodworking guru to see if it's necessary, especially after the test-run of the set up. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Digging Up Dirt on an Old Mystery

I finally found the documentation I was looking for on the elusive "bog coat".  I was told that it was a leather shirt worn by a man in the Iron Age.  Turns out it was a wool shirt worn by a woman from the bronze age.  About 2000 years before the SCA period.  Interesting stuff and I putting together an article on it, but I don't know if it'll be accepted by the Costumer's Guild since it'll be a de-bunking the Bog Coat article.  

But how should I write the article?  Should I approach it with the "Here's where the SCA research went wrong..." and then show how to make it anyway because it's easy and give approximately the right silhouette?  Or should I do the "Here's where the research went wrong..." and then show them how to do an easy coat the RIGHT way?  I wrote to the FTSO editor and two other major players in the guild to see what they think.  Or do they want something completely different?  For now, I'm editing two different articles, just in case.

The other thing I'm wondering is, can I borrow someone else's drawings of exploded tunics and things, or do I need to re-draw what someone else has already done?

As always, standing on the shoulders of giants,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Deviation from Plan A

So I got the yellow tunic done and was going to pop it into a box and send it off with the red one across the country to Tyrssen...but looking at the red tunic some more, I'm not totally happy with the hem.  I may have to fix that.  The yellow one is awesome, though.  My best of the three so far, for sure.

However, I didn't jump onto the salmon colored linen quite yet.  While I'm anxious to have all four tunics done and sent off, I just had to take a day to do something else...just so my brain doesn't go completely buggy...and I needed something to do at the Baronial business meeting that didn't involve crawling on the floor or taking up an entire table for cutting, so I took my green Anglo Saxon tunic and penciled out the embroidery design on it. I had a few people look over my shoulder and ask what I was doing, and little ooo's and aaaah's (although it was just pencil; they hadn't seen my attempt at embroidery yet).  To further complicate things, I had a quilting customer call me up with an urgent project to finish before the baby shower this Saturday.  I had to squeeze that in along with a meeting with another client today.

Later that night, I pulled out the pearl cotton I had purchased earlier that day with Avelyn while we were out yurt shopping and started a few stitches.  After adding some more today, this is what I have.  It's a little more than 1/3 done on the neckline, but there will still be embroidery on the sleeves and the bottom hem, so I still have a lot of work to do on it.  I am hoping that it'll be done by September Crown so I can log it for my Journeyman Challenge.  I still have to finish my documentation for the challenge as well--that's going to take a bit of work.

I received my judging forms from the Tourney Garb contest in the mail today. While overall, I'm satisfied, I think that they judged a little harshly in a couple areas.  There were some good points made on how I can improve (like providing more documentation, doing a better bibliography, consulting new & better sources, etc.), and now that I have a copy of the judging form, I can base my next entries on that to make sure I hit all the points they're looking for.  One item that I think I was judged too harshly on was something about providing too few items--I had a linen tunic, a wool tunic, a hood and pants (granted, I didn't make the pants, but it was a hand-me-down, which was also period).  Four pieces.  How many more should I have added?  A coif?  Belt?  Shoes?  Sorry, I'm not making itty-bitty shoes for my son who will grow out of them before I finish.  "Uggs would suffice," it said, but I let him wear his sandals because it was hot.  They were dark blue/black, at least, not day-glow orange.  Maybe I'll see if I can make him some leather open-topped sandals, although they would not have been Swedish--they were found in German and Danish digs.  I'll have to see of Hroswytha still has copies of the patterns that she used to sell in her bookshop.

Off to bed.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Costume Updates

Finished the second of four tunics for Tyrssen!  This one will be mailed shortly--I'm working on the yellow one and I'm nearly half-way done with it.  I may try to mail it with the red to save in postage on Monday.  Since he's going to Pennsic War and will be there for several days, he'll need more than a couple tunics for the duration.  I've never been to Pennsic, but I have been to a 10 day camping adventure for 30 Year in An Tir (since it was a mere 4 hour drive away), and earlier at Clinton War, and four outfits is a minimum.  So is bathing every couple of days. Ewww...

I entered a few things for Costumer's Guild last weekend and still haven't heard the results of that contest.  I'm hoping that they'll get back to us very soon.  I got an email that said that the scores were very close, so they wanted to consult with a couple of Laurels about it--maybe they wanted to move some "intermediate" folks into "advanced" categories.  I'm not sure which I would enter into--I think I'm intermediate, but the definition almost puts me into advanced due to the number of garments I've made.  Funny enough, I made so many of them *wrong* that it's difficult to say where I'd actually be.

My next phase of my Journeyman Challenge is to make a garment from another era that isn't Scandinavia or the Middle East, and not in the 14th century or late 16th century.  I have a pair of dresses that go together that look very much like those found in the 12th and 13th century Anglo Saxon garments--a long underdress and a shorter overdress.  Since I already have them made, I decided that I would do some embroidery on the overdress that was typical in that era of clothing. (Left:  Queen Ealhswith from 1220 AD).  I found someone else's documentation (like always, I'm standing on the shoulders of giants) that included several examples of Anglo-Saxon designs that she made into embroidery designs.  I penciled the design onto the yellow dress, then thought...wait a second...that's the underdress.  Damn.  Oh well, it's just penciled on.  I can wash it off.  BUT, now I have to do the green overdress.

There are a few other small things--I think I'm going to make another hood or maybe submit my 11th century Egyptian socks (although I already submitted a socks paper...so if I submit another paper...oi.)  I also have to put together the documentation for all the things I entered, which is going to take me a couple weeks to put together.

Actually, my to-do list is getting rather long...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

More tunics

This weekend, we went camping at July Coronation.  I wanted to finish a tunic for Ben and have him model it for the Costumer's Guild, and at the last minute, an opening became available in the competition schedule, so I decided that I would enter the Tourney Garb contest.  This meant I needed a full outfit, so I got him to put on a pair of pants that were a little too big for him (hand me downs were very medieval), the new linen tunic I finished at the 11th hour, a wool tunic from two years ago (that barely fits him) and a liripipe hood.  While he modeled happily for a minute or two, after that, I had to hold him, display him (by laying him on the table like a surgery patient), and allow him to curl up on a chair.  Not the most cooperative of models...

I hand finished the seams on his tunic, making a hand-sewn, invisible, flat-felled seam--which means I didn't top-stitch it down through all the layers, but whip stitched it down.  Because it's linen, this will tend to unravel horribly if the seams are not finished, and I wanted it to survive washing.

Here's the finished tunic on Ben--it's a little long, but it should fit him for a couple years.  I'm still waiting to find out the results of the competition.  It had rained almost all weekend, was humid and muddy, and we were surrounded by mice and/or rats in the field.  It was dry for the morning, so I thought we should get the tent down early, but then it started to rain again and I wanted to get the tent down quickly...once it was down and packed, it was after lunch, everyone was hungry and I just wanted to go.

I've been working on Tyrssen's tunic commission.  I have been finishing the seams on the red tunic while we were camping at July Coronation.  We were camping in a large, mostly-flat hay field which was home to a number of field mice...or possibly rats.  Not the nicest thing to think about--living amongst rats--but it added to the medieval ambiance.  I carried the tunic around with me and worked on it as time permitted.

I should be finishing up the red tunic by tonight, and the deadline for these tunics is coming up quickly.  Last night I laid out the yellow linen for Tyrssen and cut out the pieces for the next tunic.  This morning, I pieced it together, and will begin finishing those seams after I finish the red one--possibly by tonight. I can work on it while sitting in the car during soccer camp.

I have also been working on my Journeyman level in the costumer's guild.  It requires 10 items to be entered--two garments, two accessories, two items in teaching or writing (class taught or article written), take two classes or enter two contests, and two more in any of the previous categories.  The entries so far have been:

  1. Linen Bocksten tunic (Ben's, pictured above), Sweden, 1330-1360.
  2. Liripipe hood, 14th century (Ben's--shown at the same time as the Tourney Garb contest).
  3. Persian underdress, called a Pirihan, 13th century 
  4. Turkish Chirka, a second layer that goes over the pirihan but under the entari, 16th century (I think).
  5. "Shirts and Smocks" class taught by Laurellen de Brandevin, Oct 11, 2003, Dragon's Mist.
  6. "Picture Parsing" class taught by Elizabeth de Rossignol, Oct 11, 2003, Dragon's Mist.
  7. "Medieval Socks & Knitting." From the Skin Out newsletter, Costumer's Guild, Sept Crown issue, AS XLV (2010).
As for the two items in teaching/writing, they conflict with what I've already done--Scandinavian and Middle Eastern--so I will need to write a couple more papers to publish in the guild newsletter to satisfy #8, then make a couple more pieces from another region and time period...maybe something German, Flemish or Elizabethan.  

But I also need to rebuild some handouts for classes I've taught and get some documentation together to fully satisfy the challenges.

Feel free to leave comments or notes of encouragement!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tunics and Tonos

Tyrssen received his tunic in the mail and posed for a photo for me.  There are a couple of issues that I need to fix for tunic #2, 3 and 4, including making the sleeves shorter...  I have the next piece of linen laying out on the floor, waiting to be cut and turned into a new tunic!  I hope the adjustments I make for this next one will make the fit even better!

This is the tono that Kelly built!  I had little to do with this build, but it's the centerpiece for the roof on the yurt.  Now I have to figure out how to drill 30 degree angle holes into it without wrecking it.  No pressure, right?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Yurt Tono

Avelyn came by today and we made progress on her yurt.  She was fortunate to find a babysitter for the youngsters so we could work uninterrupted for as long as we needed to.  While her kids are delightful, they're just young enough to need a lot of attention.  She and her hubby, Michael fitz Geoffrey, finished all the ties for the tono at home, so today we assembled the door frame.  We did all the cutting a couple weeks ago but ran out of time to do the assembly.  Glued and screwed...and then of course, we got it all assembled, then realized that we forgot to put the hinges on.  Doh!  So we took off the last slat (the glue was still wet), put on the hinges, and put the slat back on.  Here she is, happily posing with her door frame!

Next we created a template for the eight quarter-circle sections for the tono.  We laid out our pattern, traced it onto the 1 x 6 boards, and started cutting them apart with the jig saw.

After carefully cutting out all eight pieces, we got side tracked with all the extra wood!  We cut four pieces 11" long and two much smaller ones, and built a little box!  The lid, to the left, is made of two pieces glued together to make it wide enough to cover the box.  It's crudely built and has some rough edges, but it'll be a nice little thing box for those little mundane things you need at events--contacts & glasses (a place to store them at night), keys (a place to keep them so they don't get lost), flashlight (for those late-night trips to the biffy), etc.  It'll be out of mundane vision and you'll know exactly where it is when you need it.

Then, getting back to business, we laid the quarter-circles out and discovered that we made the pattern about 1 1/2" too long.  Bummer....but not irreparable.  Checked the drawings again, we made the correction, trimmed the extra, and laid them out again.  Much better!  We stacked them brick-work style and it looks good!  Like the thing box, the work is a little rough, so we decided to call it a day until we could sand down the edges and make it look really nice before we glue and screw them together.

In all, it was a very productive day. Unfortunately, my back is bent (darn sciatica), my right wrist took a beating with the jig saw and I got two little cuts on my left index finger from the drill that looks like I got bit by a very tiny vampire.  It'll be a couple days of resting it before I get back to work.  Maybe I'm too old and out of shape for that kind of hard labor.

:) Elewys

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tyrssen's Tunics

I've been making tunics on commission.  Since the recipient is in Middle Kingdom and I'm in An Tir, it's an interesting arrangement.  We knew each other as pre-teens, but I moved away when I was 15 to a very small town 100 miles away.  I didn't hear from him again until a couple years ago, after the advent of social networking.  So here we are some 25 years later, both in the SCA, and I'm making tunics for him.  

He asked for detailed documentation, so I took pictures along the way.  Of course, you have to start with washing and drying the material.  This is especially true for linen since it has the tendency to shrink.  Next rule:  measure twice, cut once.  Luckily I did that...looking on the inside, you can see the pencil marks where I nearly cut it five inches too narrow.  Yeah.  Good catch.

Next laying out the pieces--first to make sure it looks right, and to make sure I have enough pieces cut out.  Two sleeves, two armpit gussets, four gores, front and back panels.  Check.

Sewed the pieces together and cut out the basic neckline.  I had a template for that left over from the previous "test" tunic (of which, I sadly have no pictures).  It was sent to the Midrealm to try on and ensure the fit.  A few adjustments were made and are reflected in this finished product.

Next up, finishing the seams.  This will extend the life of the garment through washing and wearing, prevent unraveling, and it just makes it look finished!  (PS - I love this camera.  I may have to steal it from my daughter....)

The finished garment!  I hope he likes it, and I hope it fits!  On its way to you soon, milord Tyrssen!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Yurt Progress Today

The day started out a bit after 9:00 when Jen & Darby arrived with their kids.  Emma was hired to babysit the little guys for the day while we worked outside--great experience as a babysitter for other people's kids to have the parents on hand for the unexpected.
The door was framed out in a probably rather unconventional way, but it should be plenty strong.  Glued and screwed, Mike Holmes approved.  The 2 x 4 is the threshold and the 1 x 3 is the jamb of the door.  I have already attached hinges to install a door later.  The tied ends of the khana will slide into the two uprights and attach there...somehow.  We'll figure out the details when we get there.

More tomorrow, I'm sure!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mid-June report

This is a commission for a Middle School friend who recently joined the SCA.  Tyrssen lives in the Middle Kingdom, which is many weeks' travel from here by foot or horse, but  we have been in communication in recent weeks.  He sent me his measurements and I made a tunic in some inexpensive fabric for him to try on.  He ordered four cuts of medium weight linen, which arrived the other day.  I made a few adjustments and will be finishing the seams on this tunic and sending it to him.  Hopefully the adjustments make this a perfect fit!  If it is, I'll make the other three using those final measurements.  Hopefully it DOES fit!

I began a pair of Turkish socks using the Fancy Feet book.  The instep has the pattern on page 21 ("Mirrors") and has a chevron sole.  The yarn is 100% alpaca from Norway that I picked up in Portland, OR about a year ago.  It's just silky soft and wonderful to work with, but I don't know if I'll be brave enough to wear them;  I'm afraid that I'll tear them apart on the first wearing! But they're very pretty!  And it's ITHRA colors!  

I've finished the khana phase of the yurt.  It took  about 58 yards of leather lacing and more than 12 hours of knotting, but it came together nicely.  Next will be the door frame, which we will be working on tomorrow.  This will measure 5' high and 3' wide.  I'll have to check with my resident woodworking expert to see if we have the best tools for the job.  The part that we're really stumped on right now is the tono (roof ring).  There are several different ways to construct it, but you have to make sure that it is both strong and lightweight.  

One of the things I wanted to do this year was present some items at Costumer's Guild for the challenges.  I passed the first two levels--Junior and Senior student--but I have to start doing more for my Journeyman level.  I have two items in the teaching/writing category that I can present (one on socks, and I wrote a bunch of articles for a newsletter a couple years ago), and I'm sure that I can pull together two garments, and possibly two accessories, although they'll be pretty plain.  That's six of ten.  I also have to find items from various regions and time periods...luckily I've changed personas often enough that I can pull from previous experience to make new items in period styles.  

Off to research Japanese costume for my big kid!