Monday, November 22, 2010

Progress on Rachel's lily tunic

I've made some good progress on Rachel's lily tunic. I'm hoping to finish it by Yule so that she can wear it to the event. All I have left is the border stitching, so I think I'll make the deadline :)

Rachel's lily tunic

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More progress on St Martin

Here's a bit more of the progress on my tapestry panel. I haven't done much the last few weeks, but I got a nice bit done earlier.

More progress

Friday, September 10, 2010

Some more stitching progress

Here's some more stitching progress. My stitching queue has been filled up now and I'm trying to work out how to juggle it. I still have the tunic to finish and now I'm designing gloves. I also realized that I forgot to do some follow-up from folks I met at Laurel's Prize, so I'm going to try to get that taken care of this weekend. Additionally, I have some armor repairs that I really need to do. Its harder to find shop time than stitching time - so I'll have to work at finding a way to that. Busy, busy, busy!

more stitching progress

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


My birthday present has arrived! I got an assortment of gold work supplies from Hedgehog Handworks. Its so sparkly and gorgeous! The check is amazing - its like liquid glitter. Now to plan a project....


Monday, August 30, 2010

Sca Weekend

I had a busy SCA weekend :) On Saturday, I went to the Ansteorra Laurel's Prize Tourney in the Stronghold of Hellsgate. It was a short road trip from home with good companionship along the way. The event was lovely and there were so many amazing displays and helpful Laurels. I had a display on my embroidery work and it was a great chance to meet the folks working on embroidery around the kingdom. I took lots of pictures of all the pretty stuff. The displays were very inspiring and I have a long wish list of cool projects that I'd like to try. I will try to control myself and limit the project pile to something managable. Also, I received a Sable Thistle in Embroidery, which means that I am now Lady Helene. Spiffy!

On Sunday we had another War Company sewing day at Rachel's. I was hoping to finish up some fighting surcoats, but we made excellent progress. We're close to finishing, so will start rolling finished finished surcoats off the assembly line on the next session. They are looking really sharp!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Panel progress

Some more stitching progress on the panel. I'm hoping to get a nice chunk of it done before Laurel's Prize Tourney this weekend. I'll be taking the panel and a pile of my embroidery, as well as the pattern swatches that I've done.

Stitching progress

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Panel progress

Here is the initial progress on stitching my panel. I'm really liking how vibrant the colors are, especially in contrast to the tan linen. I started stitching in a corner and am moving, but I think next time I will start from the center out. I'm afraid that I'm going to abuse the outer stitching while trying to get the inside stuff done. Fortunately I have three other corners free so I think I can still get the center without messing up the already stitched corner.

stitching progress

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Source and sketch for St. Martin's panel

Ready to go!

I've actually started my panel. I've got the frame dressed and the pattern traced, so now I just need to get started stitching. I've included a picture of the original from Bildindex below.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Embroidery frame mod

I've been wanting to do a full panel of the German brickwork and I now finally have the time to sit down and get it started. I did some math and most of the panels that I've got good information on are somewhere between 10 inches square (ish) and 12 inches square (ish). My embroidery frame only has an 8inch height and I wanted to put the full panel on the frame without lots of rolling and un-rolling as I stitch. The problem was easily fixed with a piece of 3/4 inch square hardwood from the crafters pile at the hardware store.

BeforeEmbroidery frame before modification (8 inch height)
Stretcher BarsI got Rachel to drill a couple of holes and make the cutes. I took the bars back to my garage and finished them up so they'd be pretty.
AfterFinished! A larger frame :) The finished height is 13 inches.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tunic trim progress

Originally uploaded by helene83
I've finished a little less that a skein of thread and the back panel is almost done. After I finish this part, I need to trace the design on the rest of the tunic trim. Hooray for progress!

Monday, August 2, 2010

SCA Census

SCA is conducting a census / survey of current and past members. Log in and tell them what you think :)

From the website:
The SCA Board of Directors is asking past and present SCA participants to answer some questions about who you are, how and why you got involved in the SCA, and what you think about the issues we are currently facing in the SCA. These questions will help us to better understand where the SCA is today and help us to plan for the future. Your answers to the questions on this survey are important to us and will ensure that your voice is heard.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Stitching trim

Originally uploaded by helene83
Here's the first little bit of stitching finished last night. Its in DMC Cotton Perl #5 Ecru. The tunic is linen.

Tunic trim

Originally uploaded by helene83
Rachel and I sewed like crazy to get enough garb to stay clothed for all of Gulf Wars, but we planned to decorate stuff later. Now that I've got some time, I'm going to embroider the trim. This is my first victim - one of Rachel's tunics. I've picked a lily design off of a 13th century German painting.

Here is the first batch of tracing. I used a washable crayola marker to trace the design. My test swatches with the crayola markers washed clean, so hopefully it will work out ok.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Finished white work

More pictures of stuff that I have been finishing up post dissertation time :) Here is the white work that I took off the frame and started to finish some time ago. It's stitched in Londonderry white linen thread on a white linen background. This style uses many of the same patterns as the silk work that I have been working on, but has a larger geographic area and a longer time period of use. The pattern is a small (4.5 inches x 3.25 inches) notebook cover.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


I've been rather busy finishing up my dissertation, but now that all of that business is done I am slowly returning to the joys of life :) I finished, defended sucessfully, and turned in the dissertation - so I will be graduating in August! Hooray! But enough of that, what y'all really come here for is dorky stuff like...


During the big crunch for graduation I haven't done any big projects, but I finished up some smaller, fidgety-type projects. Buttons have been all the rage on the A&S 50 mailing list (Home page) and I got caught up in the madness. They are perfect tiny projects and fun to play with. My biggest inspiration came from the pretty pictures on the Flickr stream for Kat_d_b, who is an Australian SCAdian. I also found some good information and pretty pictures at Guild of Tailors, Haberdashers and Mercers of Lochac and Karl Robinson's Etsy shop.

Here's what happened when I pulled out a couple of skeins of DMC cotton perl #5 and a bag of wooden beads:

They are a nice small project that is easy to put down and pick back up later. They are a bit addictive though...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Gulf Wars!

I had a really fantastic time at Gulf Wars and have posted some pictures on Flickr . I fought in the town battle, the bridge battle, the ravine and the castle battle. I'm still a little amazed that I managed to fight that much :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rachel's armor

Rachel got me a quick turn around on her plates. She finished sanding and drilling them and got them back to me before the weekend was over. I've been adding a few plates everyday and today I finished! Hooray! She now has functional torso armor. Next time she comes by I'll size the buckles and then she'll be ready for action.

Her coat of plates is basically the same pattern as mine, sized down just a bit. Check a major item off my to-do list :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Snow Day

Yesterday was a real snow day in Austin, Texas! As a result, I had the kiddo home and was lounging around with him doing some more stitching on the white work. Alas, now my spools are empty! Its very sad. I am completely out of my nice linen thread. I couldn't even get more, since we were snowed it (well, the Texas version of snowed in).

I fidgeted for a bit and then realized I had enough room on the frame for another piece. I recently took a black work class at Candlemas, so I (rather impulsively) pulled out my class packet and started a small blackwork bit.

The only thing is that I was trying to finish the white work so that I could put a larger piece on my frame for fun during Gulf Wars. Now I have another piece to finish before I can free up the frame. *sigh* I have sabotaged myself by adding another item on my to-do list. On top of that work is going to keep me pretty busy as well. The good news is that its a small piece and it seems to be moving rather quickly. I am going to have to do a run for more linen next time I head that direction for errands.

On the bright side, I had a fun day with the kiddo and got some stitching done when we were all romped out and lounging around. A good streak of stitching always makes me feel better about life, so its nice. I also learned that while the little boy doesn't mind cold at all, he considers snow a nuisance.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gulf Wars Preparations

I haven't had a lot of time for SCA stuff, but the time I've used has been on preparations for Gulf War. Rachel and I have made a garb generation plan, divided up fabric piles, taken measurements, picked patterns, and even begun making stuff. A whole week is a lot of garb!

We need to get Rachel's coat of plates finished, so I've been working on that. Its going to be just like mine, only shorter and in brown. This weekend, I finished cutting a pile of plastic plates for it and marked all the drill holes and grinding points. I handed them off to Rachel and she's going to do the next bit.

Cutting out the rest of Rachel's plates pretty much finished off our second plastic barrel. I picked up two more for a friend who is also trying to get her armor going. I've gotten a couple of questions about the plastic barrels, so here's the scoop. They are trash for the local car wash, so they let me pick them up for free. This picture below shows one of the barrels with a 6 inch x 24 inch quilting ruler, so you can see that they are quite big. Always check the labels on your barrel and make sure you don't pick up one that held anything toxic, and clean them out well just to be safe. We cut ours up with a jig saw, and the plastic sands and drills nicely. As the barrel gets cut down it starts to vibrate with the saw. I solved this problem by nailing it to the workbench, which worked really well. The curve to the barrel works well for the coat of plates (but you do end up looking a little barrel-like).

With all the busy at work and armor projects, I haven't stopped making pretty things, I've just slowed the rate. The picture below shows some German white work that is currently on my frame. Its a yummy linen thread on linen that I picked up on an impulse at Christmas. The texture on the white work is turning out very nice, but the linen thread is a bit temperamental. I have to use short lengths of it because it tires easily and ends up fuzzy. The pattern is Pattern #14.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Centurion War College

I went to Centurion's College last week and it was awesome! The first part of the day was classes and the second half was group fighting. The teachers were very patient and well prepared. I also got some good aside time with various folks as I had questions. I particularly like that the classes were mostly "hats-off" (not full armor) which left me with enough endurance to fight most of the afternoon. I took some photos and have posted them here.I fought in the field maneuvers and the bridge battles in the afternoon and had a great time! The bridge battles were crazy :) After the fighting there was a short court and then lots of social time. It was an very entertaining night to end a really fun day :)

The armor improvements have worked well, but I still have some tweaks to do. Rachel is working on making some pells for us to practice on and I'm hoping to finish up her torso armor some time soon. Here is a picture of my armor kit so far; it's now more mine than loaner. I've still got a good list of armor projects though, along with the need to make more garb before Gulf Wars. All of that depends on how much free time life grants me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I've been doing some knitting lately and it got me thinking about nalbinding. After a bit of research on the internet, I found some good instructions. I made a nalbinding needle using my Dremel tool and a small piece of spruce wood from the hobby shop. I then did a couple of test swatches and started on this pouch. Its very different from knitting and I think that I'm beginning to like it.

I used these two videos to get started:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Armor progress

I've posted some pictures of my armor progress at You can see the coat of plates in its finished form.

I'm pretty happy with the coat of plates. Its light, comfortable, and provides good protection. I need to add some straps to the back to hold in place. I'm currently just belting it, which has to be adjusted periodically.

The legs were some I got at a steep "I'm quitting fighting" discount from a very nice lady. They needed some love and had to be re-strapped, but they work quite well. I added little plastic wrap flaps for the backs of my thighs, but they were a quick hack, so I need to pretty them up and rivet them in. They are currently held together with leather strap and duct tape :)

I got some elbows from a friends "random stuff" bin and finally finished the leather work on them this week. I hardened the leather with water and then lightly waxed it and I am very pleased with the results. They are lightweight, hard, and very durable. I test drove them last night and they worked fairly well. They are slipping some towards the wrist. I got some great feedback from folks on how to fix them, and I think that I will add some shoulders and strapping to hold them up.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cool pictures

I don't have any finished crafts to post, but I saw these pictures of the Ansteorra crown tournament today and I thought that I would pass them on. They are beautiful and some of the best combat pictures I've seen.

I've been sick a lot lately, so I haven't made a lot of progress on my projects. I generally set up my projects so that I can work on them in very small time increments (5-15 minutes) and make progress. My life is such that I often only have small time chunks, but I've found with a little organization I can do quite well with projects this way.

One of my great challenges has been how to get my armoring projects done. I do quite well if I have an afternoon or a day, but organizing armoring into small time chunks has been a daunting task.
I am finally starting to get the hang of it and am making some good progress. Now the challenge is finding non-baby-nap times to do the loud riveting, but the spouse is helpful on that front. I'm almost finished with my arms, so there will be pictures soon :)