Sunday, December 20, 2009

Finished Scissor Case

I finally have finished the gold word scissor case that I started a while back. I recently picked it up out of my UFO stash and set about finishing it. I've been sick so it took a while. The case is stitched on white linen and lined with black linene. I made a little button for the catch by wrapping silk threads around a wooden bead. Then I made a tassle with the gold and silk for the bottom. I finished it off with some braids for the handle and latch.

I was a bit nervous with the finishing work, since I just haven't done much of it before, but once I got going I just forged ahead. I'm was pleasantly surprised at how nice it turned out. I think that I like the back side with the button catch far more than the front!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Handsewing to finish

I put my recent embroidery in a pile the other day and realized that I am woefully in need of finishing some of the pieces. I like the embroidery part and then when I get to the hand-sewing part things end up in a box somewhere. So, I've made myself a queue and am going to finish the pieces in my UFO (UnFinished Object) box.

First step was the little notebook that I've been working on. Instructions for a tidy rolled hem came across one of the lists the other day, so I pulled out the printout for "Eithni's Magic Veil Stitch" (at and gave it a try.

I was pleasantly surprised :) The stitch was easy to do and the results are a tidy, tight rolled hem. I've needed such a stitch for the small objects that I'm working on, so this is an exciting discovery. I believe that I will forge on ahead with the hand sewing and see what kind of other skills I can acquire.

Here's a (bad) picture of the hem (front on left, back on right) for two inside panels of a tiny notebook cover. There's an American penny in the middle for scale. I looked for Euro coins for scale, but all I could find was Nederlandish guilders, which are probably less than helpful at this point in history. I think with a little practice, I could easily get the hem even smaller.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Scroll case

I went to a scroll painting class a while back and have finally finished painting a scroll for the Barony. There's been talk on several of my mailing lists about scroll cases, as well as out and about, so I decided to whip one up for transport to and from meetings for the scrolls that I do. I read a bunch of "how-to" articles and then kind of went about it haphazardly. I had to bust out with my quilting foot to do some bizarre angle sewing due to not really thinking things through, but I got it done. It was a quick (probably 30 minutes) project that resulted in something useful, so I'll call it a win. It worked out ok and now I have a functional scroll case for transport (and a much better idea about how to get it done next time).

For transport I would put the paint towards the inside (instead of facing out for the photo op). The bottom panels are just little flaps sewn into the spine. They flip open at the corner so that they kind of act like pockets but aren't tight enough to cause any trouble with paper. The case itself is cardboard (from a diaper box) covered in some blue flannel scraps I had laying around with a little purple tie string.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bordermarch Autumn Melees

This weekend, I went to BAM and had a great time! It was my first event to fight in battles and I had a blast.

I have posted pictures on Flickr

Thursday, November 5, 2009

BAM Tunic

I need another tunic, since I'll be camping at my next event (Bordermarch Autumn Melees), so I've started a brown and blue tunic. Its very much been worked on in 10 minute increments, but its finally hit a point where its starting to look like a tunic. Once I get things to a point where they are "lap" work, I usually make more progress, since I can pick them up and put them down easily depending on what's going on.

I've cut out the tunic parts and sewn on the borders and am now doing the decorative embroidery on the trim. Once I finish that, I'll piece it together. I joined SCA in part to learn more about embroidery - and its worked. I've really enjoyed the German brick stitch work and I took a gold work class a while back, but now I feel that I must try more things. So, this is my first attempt at some basic tunic embellishment with various embroidery stitches that I've been reading about online (and watching a few tutorial videos). I'm not going for anything fancy (just some buttonhole borders), since its a first attempt and I have a deadline. I'm happy with the progress and pleased with how much a little simple hand embroidery really jazzes things up.

The tunic is a soft linen/cotton blend and I'm embroidering with DMC linen thread. I folded things up so you could see the trim that I'm working on:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fighting tonight

Life has been complicated, but I finally made it to another fighter practice. I've managed to cobble together most of an armor kit, so I don't have to borrow as much. I had a good time and learned a lot. I need to do more cardio workout so that I won't get winded so easily, but I knew that already. Also, I am now an Authorized Fighter! Woohoo! I will get to fight at BAM!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pattern #16

This little swatch got lost along the way somewhere, so I picked it up this weekend and finished it up. Behold, pattern #16! I'm going to have to do another round of charting, since this was my last un-stitched chart. I've got some other stitching to do while I'm in charting mode, so I'll get to keep stitching. I've got a tunic that I need to finish before the next event, so I have enough garb to make it through the weekend.

Pattern #15

Here's pattern #15! I really like this one. I think that you could use it fairly neatly as a border as well.

The interlocking red is stitched correctly, but the edges have several problems. On each point, some are clean points and some have little "V" notches to connect to a diamond. The points along the edges are haphazard in which have notches. I did manage to do them correctly on the middle row, so the pattern clicks. I'm considering re-stitching the sample, but I figured I'd post it anyway. I was just chatting away while I was stitching and did not pay enough attention. It was a lovely evening though.

The pattern is correct :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Brickwork notebook cover

I just finished the stitching on a small notebook cover that I've been working on. I wanted to do another piece that was bigger than my little pattern swatches. I bought some tiny composition notebooks and am going to make some notebook covers. This is the first. Next step, sewing it together.

Today, you get a pretty picture :)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Event: Bryn Gwlad 30th Year

I actually got to go out to SCA! Hooray! Rachel and I day tripped the Bryn Gwlad 30th year event and it was lots of fun :) Life is finally settling down a little, and this is the first SCA anything I've made it out to in a long while. It was my first camping event since I've moved to Ansteorra and I'm glad I got to go. The site was wonderful, the people friendly, and the event smoothly run.

I'm at a strange point on projects where I have several in the pipes, but none finished recently. On the bright side, I'm making progress on several fronts and will have some stuff done soon. Some random things I'm working on

  • Coat of plates: Front and back finished, side plates cut. I need to rivet the side plates and finish the buckles.
  • Helm: My $10 helm is starting to look like a $20 helm ;) I've ground off the worst of the crud and need to work on the finishing.


  • Finished pattern for next critters and need to transfer it to fabric.
  • Nearly finished with brickwork for a small notebook cover.
  • Nearly finished with stitching up the next pattern.
  • Need to finish sewing up gold work scissors case.

All of which only leaves you with the promises of pretty pictures in the future, but no pretty pictures today.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gryphon complete!

I've finished my little guy :)

Also, I forgot to post earlier, but here is the original inspiration for this particular critter. Its plate 272 in the Kroos book. Plate 271 has a gryphon almost exactly like this one. They are both part of a larger repeating border. I picked the colors from what few color pictures I've seen of similar pieces (none available of this particular critter). It seems that the void work patterns are usually done in white, while the rest is usually done in brightly mixed colors. Also, the stitching direction (horizontal or vertical) varies by piece as well. I haven't really seen any rhyme or reason to which way it goes. I started this one vertical before I realized that the piece that I was working from was horizontal. Oh well, it still works :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fill stitches completed!

I've finished the fill stitches for the little guy! I've had lots of little time increments lately, so it has moved quickly. Next is the outlining, which should give it some more definition. I don't have my next critter set up yet, though I have a couple of them outlined. I haven't had any good blocks of time to actually setup the next one, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do.

As an aside, I have to once again marvel at what beautiful backs this style of stitching makes! Here's the back of the critter:

Saturday, September 5, 2009

More Critter Progress

Its been a crazy summer, both for family and work, so I haven't had any free time to do much of anything. Things finally slowed down a little this week, so I am happy to post progress on my critter. I'm hoping that the slow down will mean that I can actually get out to my local group as well.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Critter progress

I've decided to start work on some bigger stuff, so I've began work on one of the border critters a few weeks ago. In the tapestries it seems fairly arbitrary whether the fill stitches are vertical or horizontal, so I went with vertical because I like it better (and maybe its more common). I don't have any color photos of this specific little guy, but I have some very similar ones that I'm using as a reference. Things have been busy, so its slow going, but here is the beginnings:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

C Belt Prototype

My son is slowing down on the teething, so I'm finally getting a little sleep again. This has given me just enough energy to get back to armoring myself. This afternoon I sat down and made a prototype c-belt for my leg harness. Eventually I want to make myself a nice leather one, but this one is a rough draft in duck cloth left over from my coat of plates. It feels nice and stable, and seems comfortable. I'm looking forward to hanging some legs on it this week and see how it wears. Anything is better than the loaner belt that I've been wearing, since it doesn't really fit!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Goldwork Progress

Life intervened and I did not make the event this weekend, but I did get some stitching done in the little breaks. I have finished the stitching on one of the scissor cases and prepared the design work for the other one. It occurs to me that I didn't mount the little squares for the little scissor fobs when I dressed the frame. I shall have to do those seperately. For now I will revel in the progress so far - shiny!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Nuns at Wienhausen

This website is on women's monastic communities and it has some great embroidery from the Convent at Wienhausen (some in color!). There is information for embroidery pieces and a bibliography. If you're hunting down info on a piece, this may be a good start. The convent embroidered pieces in the brick stitch that I have been focusing on and the Klosterstitch works that Racaire has been working on.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pretty pictures

Thanks to my sister for sending me links to some more pictures on the web :)

Two Flickr pools of interest:
* detail pictures from the Cloisters piece at the NY Met:
* some scans from the Kroos book, along with some pretty stitching:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Goldwork Scissor Cases

I've had a pile of Kreinik metallics, including some Japan #7, that has been itching to be used. I've been looking for a good project to play with them with. So, this weekend I started work on some scissor cases using the pattern from the West Kingdom Needleworkers Guild. The project info can be found here and the pattern can be found on their yahoo group. I love their projects and kits - they are an easy start for small projects and their members pictures are such great inspiration. The scissor case seemed like a nice, small project to try out some new stuff for fun. First I dressed my frame with some linen scraps I had in my stash.

After that I just sat down and started to play. I found a nice border that I like and its got a nice stitching rhythm. This is the first goldwork I've done in since I took a class at RUM (Royal University of Meridies) a few years back, but I'm definately liking it. Here's a couple of days of progress.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pouch from Cologne

I found this while doing some research and thought that the pouch folks might like it. Its looks like an example of the brick stitch pouches complete with fancy tassels. It seems that the pouch patterns are a mixture of stitches and emtpy canvas. The book "Der Kunst- und Reliquienschatz des Kölner Domes (1870)" can be found here. The figure is on pdf page 267 or if you're browsing the "flip book" its page 159 of the last section.

I'm using Google translate for the information since the book is in German, so my understanding of the passage is vague. The piece is listed as a relics embroidery bag in silk embroidery on canvas. The colors are listed as red, white, and blue silks. The pouch is from the first half of the 14th century and seems to be considered a representative piece of a larger collection.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Coat of Plates

This weekend there was an armor open house! Our gracious host helped my friend and I get started on our armor. We are making a coat of plates using plastic barrels. We made significant progress (with lots of help from the expert): plates cut, fabric cut, some fabric sewn, and one beautiful riveted plate.

Its been a very long time since I was in a shop and I was a bit of a klutz *sigh*. I think I was a little nervous and I'm still a little physically unsure after my troubles this summer. I'm starting to get the hang of it though. We have a plan, so hopefully my friend and I will be able to finish the coat of plates relatively soon. It hard to be patient, because putting together an armor kit is slow going. The current kit goal is to get on the field, but then there are so many long term decisions on armor - I have a lot of reading to do.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pattern #14

Here is the chart and stitched sample for pattern #14. I really, really like this one and can't help but think it would make a very nice trim.

It stitched up so nicely and the pattern lends itself to a very tidy back. A little more effort on my part and the back could have been even tidier.

When I finished the trellis, I realized that this pattern would work really well as an Opus Tutonicum / German white work piece. Both techniques share designs and charts, so its legit to use as such. I took a picture of the back to show that it could be a very tidy back for something like napkins or a tablecloth. The stray cross-over threads on the back could very easily have been avoided and then the back would look remarkably like the front. It would prevent any "see through" on a loose weave linen as well.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gambeson Goodness

My latest project has been trying to get together gear for heavy fighting. I am trying to get stuff together as cheaply and quickly as possible, and then I will upgrade gear to nicer stuff as I am able. Towards that, I have finally finished the gambeson that I started a couple of weeks ago. Its made entirely of stuff from my stash! I had some cotton sheeting left over from another project and a roll of cotton batting in my quilting stash. I even had thread that mostly matched.

I am really happy with how it turned out. Its reversible and I managed to keep the seams from getting too bulky. I used two layers of batting, as recommended by several gambeson how-to's I read online. It was a pain to put together. In trying to minimize seam bulk and make it reversible, I did a crazy series of piecing then quilting then piecing then quilting... it was more like a wrestling match than sewing session. I think it was worth it though - it looks decent and feels very sturdy and padded. I'm really happy that its done in time for fighter practice this week.

Friday, March 13, 2009


This has been mentioned on another blog that I follow, but I thought that I'd second the notion. Please enjoy the charts and make pretty stuff with them. I'm putting them out there for people to use and I enjoy the thought that somebody else might enjoy them.

Also, there's probably going to be a little overlap between me and other folks charting the same genre of stitching. That's just fine with me :) Some of it is a delay between charting, stitching, and posting. Some of it is loosing track of who has done what. I'm not going to get my feathers ruffled over it and I hope that others feel the same. I will compile the patterns in a pdf for easy download at some point in the near future, maybe when I hit the 15 mark.

I debate whether patterns are too similar to chart again and have really followed my whimsy on it. Part of it is whether or not I want to use the pattern. I've got some color pictures now and was thinking of stitching some samples from those, so I'm probably going to chart some stuff that is similar just so that it matches what I'm going to put together. The little w's from pattern 13 are very similar to other little w's I've done, but the interlock differently and that piqued my interest. Whimsy...

Pattern #13

Another pattern finished! This one is from a smaller critter of the borders of one of the tapestries in shown in plate 272. I've seen several examples of this pattern, both up and down "w", and in a few of them the direction of the little "w"s vary kind of randomly. So have fun with it, up, down, or mixed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pattern #12

I finished out stitching my pile of patterns a while back, so I've been charting more in my free time. Now that I have another pile to do I have switched back into stitching mode, so here's the first of the new batch. I seem to have misplaced my note that tells me which plate this is from, so as soon as I find it in my pile of source images, I will let you know. Sorry about that.

Stitched example:


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Finished knotwork

I finished my knotwork last week and am finally posting a picture :) I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it, but its just the right size to be sleeve trim, so maybe I'll make it a companion. I've decided that I really do like the sleekness of silk split stitch. Its just so shiny and pretty.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

As requested, here are some variations on opacity of stitches, for comparison. Also I threw in a few gradients just for fun. My goal is to make pretty, readable charts :)

Swatch with 50% opacity:

Swatch with 60% opacity:

Swatch with70% opacity:

Swatch with 80% opacity:

Swatch with 90% opacity:

Swatch with side gradient at 90% opacity:

Swatch with radial gradient at 80% opacity:

Swatch with radial gradient at 90% opacity

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New pattern template

Kathy has inspired me to make a nice pattern template for publishing the charts. I spent some time fiddling with Inkscape (a free software package similar to Illustrator) and came up with this. Here is a reprint of of the new, improved, pretty Pattern #1. I'm still tweaking it a little, so feedback is welcome.


Look what I did last night :) I had some complications delivering my son in July, so I am just now recovered enough getting back into armor. I am still a newbie, but I had a lot of fun last night. It did make me miss the folks in South Downs, but I am making friends in the new group. I'm in the crazy loaner gear on the left side of the picture.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Organizing the blog

I took the plunge and added labels to the posts so that it would be easier to find things. Now you can click on the label "charts" to get all of the charts, without having to thumb through things. It occurred to me that I was accumulating posts and needed to organize them a little for both myself and my readers. I was impressed with how easy Blogspot's software made it. Way to go on user functionality :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I have found another source (in English!) from Digital Archive of Documents Related to Embroideryfor further information on brick work:
Mediaeval Embroidery from the Collection of Mrs. Murray Crane The Bulletin of the Needle and Bobbin Club, Vol. 16, No. 2 (1932)

My bibliography grows stronger!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Knotwork distractions

I've found a stitching distraction while I'm planning my next brickwork project. I saw some split stitch Celtic knotwork on one of my embroidery lists and it was so pretty that it really inspired me. It was the perfect excuse to use this weird Indian silk I got on a late night ebay bid. I got the design from "Early Medieval Designs From Britain" by Eva Wilson which is a nice little Dover book. The design is from #36-37 "Interlaced dogs and birds from the Lindisfarne Gospels, British Library". I think its turning out really nice. Here's my progress so far:

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Finished sampler

I finished piecing together my sampler and here it is:

I went to Candlemas this weekend and had a great time! I entered the piece into the A&S competition. The chat that I had with the judges was really great and very enlightening. In general I got very positive, constructive feedback and feel that I am armed with the information I need to take the next step. It was good to finally meet more people from my local group too. I made a point to introduce myself to lots of people and, in general, it paid off.

The hard part will be putting all the advice together and prioritizing the next step. I had some Or Nue work cued up, but my research on it has come up fairly light. In order to do a larger pictoral piece with the brickwork I'll need to buy some linen and I've been trying to do projects from the stash. I've put a good dent in my stash though, so maybe that justifies buying some more linen.

Also, I was introduced to "largess" - what a neat concept! Folks wander by A&S displays and if they like them, they leave a little present. I received all sorts of neat little do-dads and I've started a little treasure chest. I'm mulling over what I can put together to bring to the next event.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Piecing it together

I'm going to piece together the samples for Candlemas, so here's my workboard to put it all together. Now all I have to do is trim the edges and sew them together. I'm considering leaving the edges unfinished so that I can add more patterns as I go. It may make the stitching that pieces it all together a bit less uniform that is optimal, but it will let me finish out charting stuff from this tapestry.

Pattern #11

Pattern #11 is finally finished! Its another pattern charted from plate 333.

Stitched example:


Friday, January 30, 2009


Candlemas approaches and I need to get cracking! I told the fiber arts guild that I would enter the A&S show. Fortunately I've done several good chunks of work on my documentation already, so life isn't too bad. I am finishing up another stitching pattern sample and then I think that I'm going to piece the samples together for display. I will have nine from the same tapestry so that's perfect for a 3x3 layout. The good news is that I have lots of examples of this style of stitching pieced together like a quilt top and used as a hanging or alter cover, so I can use some quilting skills for the next round of construction. And yes, I even have examples that we know were pieced together in period ;) .

I have been so behind on everything for a couple of months now my stitching (and correspondances) have suffered greatly. My fabulous sister got me an OTT light for xmas, so the stitching is much easier on my eyes and I tend to have less color confusion.

Soon... another pattern will be posted :)