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.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Apron Dresses

I pulled out the red fabric to cut a Danish 9-10th century apron dress.  I have discovered that I bought too much fabric (as if that's possible!) to make a single garment, so I'm wondering what to do with the leftovers.  Matching garments for my family?  I suppose...Lottie does need a new dress...  

I used this link (and many others) to get some ideas and settled on Vigdis's pattern, as I did with the green apron dress.  

So you lay out the fabric, with the fold on the right (in this case, anyway), and you mark the fabric with a colored pencil.  Yellow or white works well on these dark colors.  Double check your work before you cut...I almost didn't...measure twice, cut once.  Or you'll do as one guy I know who said, "Measure thrice, cut twice."

Once you get it all drawn correctly, you cut on the yellow lines and you'll have pieces that look like this.  The larger pieces (there are three--remember the fold) are the main body pieces--the narrow bit goes around your torso.  The triangles are sewn between the body pieces to create a fuller skirt.  The is the ultimate in fabric economy since the only thing wasted is the narrow bit along the selvage edge.  That could be used for shoulder straps or patching the dress later, or for applique work on another garment.  Maybe I'll cut out red boars and sew them onto the green dress and embroider around them?

Next, sew all the bits together, turn under the raw edges, and ta-da!  A dress!  (photo forthcoming)  Ornamentation, seam finishes, and brooches will have to come later.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Preparing for Crown

Finishing up Anglo-Saxon weave.  It's about 3 yards long now, and another yard or so left to weave...but if I want to use it in my new project, I'm going to need 6 yards.  I might weave up something faster...simpler...for this garment.

Pulling out fabric - The top and bottom fabrics are wool.  The two lighter colors are linen.  The darkest blue is some kind of cotton twill.  I chose the bottom two fabrics and decided I needed to make a coat for my Norse gear.  After looking at several pictures, I chose this one.

They call this a Birka-style caftan, dating to the 9-10th centuries.  It's a little big--I think it was meant to be a bit more snug around the chest, but it'll be fine.

Apron dresses and more will be made up in the next couple of weeks as well as embellishment for the garb I've got.  I want to make a red wool apron dress and a couple of hoods--a cotton/linen white hood for warm weather and a wool hood for cold weather.  I also want to make a set of flannel pajama pants to go with the tunic I made last year.  Maybe a sleeping hood as well.

I've also got my packing list started...lots of stuff to pack for just one person, and setting up the kit myself will be interesting...not impossible...but interesting.

Oh, and I still need to build a door for the yurt.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

More Weaving!

I know...starting to get a little boring with just weaving and more weaving.  To be honest, I've been neck deep in mundane stuff, so the weaving is the easiest thing to grab and work on in those precious few minutes of down time.

I finally got the Guntram's Tablet Weaving Thingy to work on my machine--it couldn't identify what program to use, so I got nothin.  After tinkering with it for a bit, I made it worse by trying to open them with PDF reader software.  Then I had to untangle that mess and finally figured out what I needed to do with the GTT program to make it work.  Essentially, I should not be allowed to work with computers like that.  Hubby gets all upset when I ask him to fix this stuff, and I have to remind him who sews the buttons back on his shirts and hems his pants for him.  He's broken my sewing machine at least twice, so I don't let him near it anymore.  I do the same with computers.  It's a lose-lose situation, I guess.

Anywho...here's what I got done with using the GTT software...first, the Anglo Saxon weave.  And actually, I think I had Emma Compton email me the directions because I wasn't getting it to work yet.  Shortly after this, the computer was given an attitude adjustment.

I tried the spinners...setting it up required a little liquid patience.  In the end, I was dubious of its success and had to try it again with another project.

The spinners were packed in a little tight which prevented them from spinning freely, plus the strings tangled around them.  It was a bit of a mess.

So then I get an email from Emma Compton again who is trying to work on a new pattern and is having trouble with it.  The motifs are looking funny; not anything like the pictures that were provided in the GTT pattern.  At this time, I hadn't gotten the program to work yet, so this is when I monkeyed with it for an hour or so and got it to finally work.  I found the pattern, I warped up a couple yards and gave it a go.  I, too, ended up with a weird pattern, unlike the picture provided.  I unwove, re-wove, reversed, tried different combinations...and then realized that the pattern wasn't written clearly.  It appeared, according to the directions, that you needed to turn the odd numbered cards first (1,3,5, etc.) then the even numbered cards.  I tried it in reverse--even first, then odd--and it worked.  I also took card #1 and added it to the even numbered deck to get it woven into the piece without extra twisting.  Worked a treat!  I sent her my results and she was able to finish hers up.  She had also woven a length of trim the "wrong" way, which is still an interesting pattern.  I used the spinners on this again, but was really unsatisfied with the inconsistency of spinning.  Again, the strings got in the way and you had to have less tension on it to get it to spin.

I then decided to weave up a new pattern from the Anglo-Saxon collection on GTT #8.  I ran low on the bright spring green so I substituted the darker evergreen color.  I don't like it as much, but someone else might.  I decided not to use the spinners on this one.  I figure I can get a couple yards woven without them before having to untie and untwist the strings.  Or rather, I can weave half the length, untwist; half again, and untwist; half again...PITA.

I still have the Costumer's Guild Scholar stuff in the planning stages.  Hopefully I'll get some of those started soon.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Me, Myself and I

The many faces of me.

Flemish me.

 Viking me
Wearing many layers--such a cold building!

Quittin' me.
Same day, stepping down from A&S office in Aquaterra

 Silly me.
A few moments of silliness posing for the cameras...

Turkish me.
Had to work out the fasteners on that jacket--they kept popping open.

Snugglin' me.
Little Eddie just needed someone to cuddle him while at court.  

Bead-demo me.
At Ursulmas making things hot and melty.

Knittin' me.
Making some wool socks for Adeliza.

Fancy me.
In my finery.

Weavin' me.

Ithra me.
In the middle...

The old me.
That baby is now in high school.

East Indian me.
My East Indian friend dressed me up like this.

More Viking me.

Cheers, me!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Warp Speed

So I made short business of the Snartemo II weave.  I only warped up enough to make 1 3/4 yards, just as a test run, but I could have easily done 4 yards of the stuff.  It went really fast and was kinda brainless.  25 turns forward, 25 turns back.  Repeat to end.  The delightful thing is that it's 6th century Norwegian, so it's in the SCA period (or just about:  500 AD is just slightly pre-period, but would be easily accepted into the pre-17th century standard...at least any judges I've come across would shrug it off as being a pre-existing pattern that would more than likely have survived into the 600s.).

Zipping around the internet, I came across this band by Stell Michelsen on Weaveolution and thought I'd give it a shot. The warping pattern was simple enough, and it was labeled "Anglo-Saxon", although I didn't see anything that indicated whether it was in the style of Anglo Saxon weaves, or if it was documented somewhere.  It took a bit of time warping up 25 cards in two colors (white and peacock blue).  I loaded up my ruler/shuttle and tried running some string through it, and it looked awful.  I thought I'd try pulling the tension tighter.  Looser.  Beating harder.  Beating less.  Unweaving.  Re-weaving. It just looked like a dog's breakfast, no matter what I did.

Then I scrolled down and read the directions. I guess I had forgotten what my 6th grade science teacher had always said..."When all else fails, read the directions."  Thanks, Mr. Gasser, for always being in my head...he also said if you didn't, you'll "make a mell of a hess."

It said to split the cards into two packs:  first turn the odd cards, then turn the even cards.  Now it looks awesome.  BONUS:  It's double-sided!  Looks the same on the back as it does on the front.

They did, however, say that you should turn the first and 25th card on every pass to make the ends look right.  As an experiment, I didn't, and it turned out that it didn't want to grab the thread from the 25th card, but the 1st card was OK.  You can see in the picture to the left that the far right threads are twisted up, but pulled away from the weave--they're just laying there next to it.  I decided to snip the 25th card out rather than have to turn the first & last cards twice as often.  They're going to be twisted enough as it is without having to do double-duty on two of them. The alternative would have been to add a 26th card to the pack, but I had already gotten this far into the weave, so it was far easier to just remove the last one.  It'll have a slightly narrower trim edge on one side...that's OK with me.  I remembered as I was doing this that the same thing happened with the Saxon weave I did last year--the green one with the blue diamonds--it needed an even number of cards to accommodate the alternating card turning, and it has a wider border on one side.

I should have gone out to look for fishing spinners...I'm going to have to untwist the weave at some point, unless I try going backwards at some point.  Hmmmm...more experiments...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Weaving Snartemo

The An Tir weave was about half-finished earlier this week and I was determined to get it finished.  I didn't work on it at all over the weekend, so I spent a couple evenings this week finishing it up. I posted it on my FB page and got a request for the price.  I am willing to barter, of course, so price is negotiable. I don't know what John can offer in terms of trade--I know he has mad skillz with automobiles, but I have no need for these skills at the moment.  Perhaps he has other virtues that he has not yet revealed...

Here is the weave all finished up, ends twisted and tied, and wrapped neatly in a spool.  Like the others, it measures about four yards and is 15 mm wide.

Not to be without a weaving project for long, I laid up in bed overnight thinking of what I could do next.  WELL!  I came upon an idea.

For the next Costumer's Guild challenge, I would like to focus on something Norse.  Whether or not I focus on the Greenland finds or just general Norse--Scandinavian, for example--I haven't decided.  There are several patterns in the Greenland finds book I picked up that has lots of pieces in it, a variation of men's, women's and children's. I need three garments and three accessories, and I'm not entirely sure if there are pieces enough to outfit one guy--I know there are patterns for tunics, coats, hose, and hoods, but that still leaves me a couple garments short of a wardrobe.

However, I thought it would be great to create some documentable Norse trim.  I combed the internet and came across this site for Shelagh's weaving. In it, there are references to a few extant examples and the patterns for how to re-create them.  I chose the Snartemo II weave, which is unusual as it has skip-hole weaving techniques.  The skipped holes does not show up in this weave, but with the way it is threaded, the cards tend to turn in whatever way they want, so I employed a pencil drawn through the holes to keep them from shifting.  This pattern comes from two grave burials in the southern part of Norway in Hægebostad.  I guess there are several tablet weavings found there, so I'll have to look to see if I can find more.  This site has a few patterns and fun things to try next time.  There are also a number of patterns found in Birka that can be researched, but if I'm going to try to make 14th century Greenland, then 8th to 11th century trim won't work, will it?  I'll have to think on it some more.  I only set it up to weave about two yards rather than the whole four yards, just to see what it looks like.  I think I'll make an Apron dress and put this around the top or use it for the shoulder straps.  Or both.  I don't know how far those two yards will go...

When I finish this one, I may go ahead and find something to work on from the Birka finds.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

More Weaving!

New piece finished:

And another one started!  I will be working on this at Ursulmas in the Ursulwyk A&S area during the weekend.  I may bring some other things to work on, too, but only if I think I'll get bored with weaving.

Gotta round up all the pieces that I will be putting out for sale at Gypsy Caravan, label them with prices on my little SCA calling cards, and tie them on.

Then I have to pack up all the stuff for the weekend.  I'm planning, again, to bring all the Costumer's Guild stuff, although I didn't make any headway to finding judges for it.  If I happen to find a couple, I will see what I can do, but I'm not really planning on having anything happen.  Like I said before, if I don't bring it, people will ask and I will regret not having it with me.  If I do bring the stuff, and they don't ask, then I will have at least been prepared.  No regrets.

See you!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Back to Weaving

After getting back from 12th Night, I realized that it was 12 short days to Ursulmas, and if I wanted to get a piece of weaving or two done before the event, I better get on it!  I still have a few pieces from last year and a couple pieces that I've made during the year, as well as a piece that I was commissioned from me...but after 10 months of no payment, I'm going to check with her to see if I can go ahead and sell it.  I can make another one when she has the money again.  It's a fairly simple pattern and it looks really awesome...and I think the colors I had at the time were not quite the colors she wanted anyway.

It's been nice to get my fingers back into the threads, and I finally finished the Ithra weave that I started many months ago.  I estimated how long it took me to weave one repeat, how long each repeat was, and the finished length, and I concluded that it takes about 20 hours to weave 4 yards of card weaving.  I don't weave this nearly as tightly as others do--I don't beat as hard as someone like Master Fiacha--but I like the look and the suppleness of a slightly looser weave.

And having finished (mostly) the Journeyman level rank for Costumer's Guild, I started making plans for the Scholar level.  Looks like I need to make 3 garments, 3 accessories, do some teaching, writing, judging, and 3 more "entrant's choice".  I thought I'd make Kelly look amazing and do a couple of different tunic styles, a surcoat, pants, hood and hat.  The rest I'll have to figure out as I go along.  If I work really hard, I think I could get all the garments done by July Coronation...but that's going to be a lot of hand sewing seams and things.  The decorations will probably be the hardest part, like the decorative seam finishes.  Luckily, I can present a few pieces at a time; I don't have to do one "big reveal" like I was going to do with the Journeyman stuff.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Costumer's Guild Online Challenge

Well, it appears that there isn't going to be a rank challenge this weekend.  The guild has lost a lot of officers, one of them being Challenges Coordinator.  I am really quite crushed that all the hard work I put in to meet the deadline is for naught.  How do I feel about this?  (Warning:  language ahead)

And since some of my records had been lost, I figured I'd just start from the beginning to make sure that all the elements for each rank has been covered and that there is no duplication.  So now, out of interest for a few people who wanted to see what I had done, I present to you Elewys's Online Costumer's Guild Journeyman Rank Challenge.

I gathered some of my favorite references and went to the Costumer's Guild Rank Challenges page online to find out what needed to be done.  I am also the self-appointed Google Queen, so I was able to find a number of fantastic online references and research that other people are doing, which helped springboard me to the right sources.

To keep things organized, I got a binder and put plastic page protectors in it to hold all the documentation.  In it, I had an introductory page, outlines of each challenge, and cover pages for each entry.  I also included a list of sources for each entry, but since I've always been bad at doing the bibliography *perfectly* according to whoever decides the proper form of listing sources is (which seems to change bi-monthly), I just listed them however I wanted.  Mostly alphabetical, some by type, but I tried to always include author, publisher, and date with web addresses if applicable.

For my Junior rank, I had to only prove that I had taken a class in costuming.  The University of Ithra has all the records available online, so you just have to click "students" and search by student name. I printed out my entire Ithra records and highlighted all the costume-relevant classes, which was just shy of 20 (it would include more if you count spinning, nalbinding, survey of tailoring books, smocking, etc.).  For my credits, I chose to apply Basic Rectangular Construction, which I took in 1996 from Master Eduardo.  I put those in page protectors and put them in the binder...all of it.  275 credits of every class I have taken since 1991.

The next rank is Senior.  For this rank, you must do five things.  You must show one garment, one accessory, and two of any of the following:  Take a class, enter a contest, provide service to the Costumer's Guild, teach a class, or write an article for the costumer's guild newsletter.  For the fifth element, it's Challenger's Choice: you may choose any of the categories listed above.

One garment:  a 14th century Viking tunic, based on Bocksten bog find, child size.  Wool, dyed in onion skins.  Edges finished with wool yarn, blanket stitched.

The original tunic (above); my tunic (below).

One accessory: 14th century liripipe hood, wool lined with linen.  Admittedly, not my best entry since the fabric pattern choice may not be period and the construction was done in two pieces rather than having inserted gores over the shoulders or in the back, but it has the proper silhouette and materials choice.  It looks very much like a Greenland find, Herjolfsnes #66.

Write an article for the Costumer's Guild Newsletter.  I wrote an article for the Murmurs, the Aquaterra Newsletter, which was later re-published in the Costumer's Guild Newsletter at 12th Night 2010.  It was entitled, "Turkish Women's Clothing," and included all the details of the layers of clothing that women wore in Turkey, as well as other parts of the Ottoman empire.  Different cultures called them different things in the local languages, but it covered the cakshir, gomlek, chirka, and entari.

I also listed two classes:  one, "Costume History" was taken 1993.  One class taught, "Making a Bocksten Bog Style Tunic" which I taught in 2008.

Then, the Journeyman challenge.  This is a Magnum Opus...to me, it seems even more difficult than the Scholar rank, which keeps everything in one culture and time period.  The Journeyman rank is meant to show breadth of knowledge.  Using this chart, one must choose 10 items that fit into these various categories, noting that no more than two items can be in any one column or row.  

Location and Culture

British Isles
France and the Low Countries
Germanic Cultures
Iberian Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
Middle Eastern/North Africa/ Greece
Slavic Cultures/Eastern Europe/ Russia
Eastern Asia/Nomad
Other/None of the above
Further, the items chosen must be:
*  Two garments
*  Two accessories
*  Two items in the Teaching/Writing category
*  Two items in the class/contest/service/judging category
*  Two items, Challenger's Choice

After much thought and planning, I chose

1st Garment:  14th century Middle Eastern Pirihan, based on extant garment from Persia.  I used cotton, just as the original was, although the fabric I chose was muslin and a bit denser.  I did not embroider on it--I don't really do embroidery--and I made the sleeves shorter for convenience and work friendliness.  I'm not sure if this is meant to fit loosely or snug, but I chose to keep it loose for comfort...it's going to have at least two more layers on top of it anyway.  I also finished the neckline, unlike the original, which was not even cut--never worn.  I created an opening to the waist, as is mentioned in some 16th century first-hand accounts of Western visitors.

full kamiz

2nd garment:  16th century Flemish gown (1560s)

It's rather difficult to see what the gown looks like when I'm not actually wearing it, but suffice it to say, it's a fairly simple garment.  The period piece is covered by a white partlet on the top, but in general, it's an open-front bodice with wide lacing, and a gathered skirt that may (or may not) be sewn in the front up to the thigh.  It is often covered by an apron, so it's difficult to tell.  Mine is made with fulled wool, lined bodice but unlined skirt.

1st Accessory:  16th century Elizabethan Ruff (1575-ish).  This is another item I was unsure about because of the construction technique.  The more I did the research for the documentation, the more I found no support for the method of construction that I was taught by my Mistress.  While it looks right and it fits well, it isn't made entirely period (that I can document).  I may take the white muslin and make a new ruff using period construction techniques.  It also needs washing.  I meant to do that prior to the weekend...like today...

It was made with cotton muslin and had factory-made lace added to the edge.  Inside is a length of horsehair to add stiffening to the edge.

Wired caps gallery (Trystan)
No idea who this lady is, but this is essentially the look the ruff has, except that mine has lace on the edge.

2nd Accessory:  15th century Pilgrim bag.  I made this bag from two types of linen--a fine linen for the interior and a coarser linen for the exterior.  The reasoning being that if something small spilled inside, like seed beads, they wouldn't fall into the lining and get caught forever.  Antler button and string acts as a closure.


Two items in teaching & writing:
Pre-600:  The "Bog Coat" Examined:  Denmark's Bronze Age Shirt from the Borum Eshoj Dig (ready for publication)
Taught:  Pattern Drafting, 2012.

Two classes taken:
Medieval Underwear, 2003
Shirts & Smocks, 2003

Two items, challenger's choice:
1st:  11th-13th century Egyptian Knit Socks

These were modified a bit to fit me, and I didn't do the cast-off correctly at the top.  The pattern was drawn up by me, and then compared to another researcher, Dar Anahita, whose pattern differed very slightly, but hers looked better, so I altered mine to match hers.  Muslim knit cotton stocking

2nd:  Class taken:  Picture Parsing, 2003.

So there it is, Ladies and Gentlemen.  My brief presentation of my Costumer's Guild Junior, Senior and Journeyman ranks.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to challenge it for real this year.  In the meantime, I can make a couple of modifications to ensure that I get more positive remarks on the judging sheets.