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.

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?