Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cuffs Finished!

...Though they are still not quite usable.  I still have to plan out and execute the smock, including some further blackwork (in white!) for the neckline.  But the cuffs themselves are all finished and only need to be gathered, trimmed, and sewn to their final resting place.

The first step after the embroidery proper was finished was putting the smallest possible rolled hem around the edges. For this I used 100/3 Londonderry linen thread waxed with some beeswax.

Then came the needle lace -- though it's a pretty generous term for what is basically a variant on a blanket stitch.  This has the double benefit of giving a nice finished edge to the cuffs (and the neckline, when that gets finished) as well as giving some strength to the linen edge, since it's basically tied in double knots every eight threads.

And here's the finished cuffs after a quick hot water wash and some pressing.  From here they'll be mounted on a mat board for competition and display until they are ready to actually become clothing.

Part of me is still just glad and sort of amazed that I actually managed to finish them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jane Seymore Cuffs: Embroidery Done!

In less than a year, too!  My speed seems to be improving!

That's 36 total inches, accomplished during the few bits of motivated spare time I've had since mid-January.  Next on the docket is to trim off all the extra linen, give it the tiniest possible rolled hem I can muster, and do some simple needlelace on the ends.

My previous screwup with the design ended up being perfect for learning and practicing a stitch that would work for the edges. I got the basic needlelace stitch (itself a variation of a blanket stitch) from this tutorial but added my own extra step to give it the bumpiness that exists in Holbein's painting.  It's maybe not quite exactly the same, but it seems really close and plausible.

The neckline embroidery may very well end up going much faster since the design is pretty basic, but it's something I'll have to chart out myself and execute in maybe sixes after all is said and done.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Proof that I Can Finish Something: Blue Wool 15th century Dress, and Red Hood

Both items have been finished for quite a while, but my husband's photography assignments have given me the excuse to put everything on and get some decent documentary pictures.

The blue wool dress has been a regular part of the wardrobe rotation for well over a year.  I need to track down my documentation for it, but it's an entirely handsewn waisted kirtle based mostly on museum of london finds.  It's blue wool with a flat fell lining of white linen

I'm wearing it with my white linen smock and linen birgitta cap (which are largely machine sewn), and in the photo I'm fiddling with my hand spinning

I don't quite remember when I finished the last buttonhole on my red wool hood, but it was a very good day.  It's red wool lined in plaid wool, completely handsewn and largely based on the Museum of London hood (though I took a few liberties with the pattern).

And the whole thing!  I fell silly after the fact for not throwing on some sleeves, but we were fighting against time for the light.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Screwups, Explosions, and Other Matters Relating to Embroidery

The embroidery is coming along, though a bit slower than I was hoping for.  First of all, I did several inches of the second line completely wrong.

...and this was how much I did before I realized it, because that's how I roll, apparently.  Even though it's quite a bit, it's less than a quarter of the motif's total appearance on both cuffs, so it was more worth it to start over than do the remainder of the design knowing it was wrong.

Pulling it out was remarkably painless.

And the actual design turned out to be much easier to execute in double running stitch, so I may have saved myself time in the long run.

It was the third row that nearly killed me.

The poor fabric just couldn't keep up with my repeated attempts to unpick stitches, and combusted spontaneously.  At least it was close enough to the edge that I could fix it fairly easily.

The third photo is the back, which is slightly ugly due to having to tack down the tiny little threads leftover after clipping.  From here I can start over as if it never happened.

The design worked up much better after I got that screw-up out of the way. I suppose my offering to the embroidery gods was pleasing.

I have a lot more of this in my immediate future.  Upward and onward!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

2013 at a glance, and looking ahead.

2013 was a bit of a wash, it seems, blog-wise. Making things did in fact happen in 2013 -- I did a Japanese feast back in March:
In the middle of planning this feast I ended up working two jobs and hardly ever sleeping, so it's probably the most seat-of-my-pants meal I've ever done. People seemed to like it all the same, though.I wasn't able to realize my dream of having the whole hall sit on pillows at low tables, we had a nod to that with our central show table (they paid a little extra and got their own feast gear in the deal).

I also finished a completely hand-sewn 14th century hood with a completely rediculous amount of hand-sewn buttons and button holes. It's red wool lined in plaid wool, sewn with silk thread. I really like how it turned out, though I don't think I was looking closely enough at the Museum of London patterns when I made it -- the gores are a little too shallow, they should be going right to the chin line. By the time I figured it out I'd already sewn all four of them so I just plowed ahead. I also learned some basic bookbinding at our kingdom's big summer event, which inspired me to make a velvet-bound sketch book for a swap back in December.


I used reclaimed book boards and some very polyester thrift-store velvet that turned out to be completely perfect for the application -- the poly backing let it stick to the glue without soaking it up, and the pile was nice enough that you couldn't tell once it was finished.

2013 doesn't seem quite so unproductive now that I think about it.

As for 2014, I'm finding myself with a little more hands-free time, so I've decided I need to do some blackwork again. I decided to go with the Jane Seymour cuffs, a pattern that I'd actually started on aida cloth way back in my earliest days of the SCA but never actually completed or used. Amanda Marksdottir has done a really great job creating an updated chart for the design.  I also have the benefit of some of the lighter-weight linen that Dharma Trading Company started carrying thanks to a dropoff from Santa (thanks Mom!).  I'm doing the embroidery in Guterman silk sewing thread -- it gives a good line for this kind of work and it's literally across the street from my apartment at the local Joann.

I'm more-or-less doing both cuffs at once, and after a week I've finished Row 1 and am now well into tackling Row 2.
It always amuses me how the half-done stuff looks just a little bit pixilated.

And the finished motifs all close-like.

Still a long ways off from this, I'll admit.

In other news, I've gotten word that our area's Arts and Sciences championship is moving from May to July this year. With that slightly extended deadline and all of the things that I've been working on over the last few years, I think I might actually be able to bring five objects worth competing with, but we'll see what happens.