Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A&S Century Challenge - Embroidery Design

Today I spent my time working out a non-counted embroidery design. I am quite pleased with the result but I can't share photos until it is finished.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A&S Century Challenge - hemming

Today I turned up a hem. When I'm tired and/or sick (which is most of the time!) I start slouching and  end up tripping, so hopefully this will help. It certainly is making the gown hem stand out very stiffly.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

A&S Century Challenge - Seam treatments

I haven't posted for a few days because I have been quite sick with pleurisy and a chest infection, but I have tried to continue the A&S Century challenge.

Today I wasn't up for more than some very simple seam treatments.
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Yesterday I helped to judge some A&S competitions.

The day before that I did some hemming and sewed some sleeve ties on.

The day before that I sewed hooks and eyes onto skirt openings.

All boring and slightly tedious jobs that are easy to put off. The Century Challenge has been great because it is encouraging me to get lots of little jobs finished - usually the ones that I tend to put off.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

A&S Century Challenge - Simple Tassels

Today I made simple little tassels to go on pouches.

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The first step is to take the thread you want to use and wrap it around your fingers. I used three fingers because these tassels will be small. Four or five fingers would make bigger tassels.
I used crochet cotton for these tassels.
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Take a longer piece of thread (about 25-30cm) and thread through the centre of your loops. If your thread is extremely fine, you may want to use a thicker thread in a similar colour, because this thread will become the attaching thread that secures your tassel to the project you are making it for (e.g. pouch, clothing, hat, sash etc.)

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Once the thread is in the centre of your loops, tie it off securely. I do it a couple of times with a double knot at the end to make sure it is very secure.

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Next, smooth the loops out and make sure they are all lying together and there are no big bulges. Take a smaller piece of thread (15-20cm approximately) and tie off the loops. The distance you tie off down from the first knot will be how big the ''head'' of the tassel will be. Continue to make sure all the threads are laying nicely and nothing has got caught up or is bulging out. I tie off and then wrap and tie off again to make sure everything is nice and tight and strongly secured.
Cut the loops.

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I thread the ends of the tie off threads through a needle and thread them back under the horizontal wrapping so that they end up sticking out with all the other thread ends.

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Finally trim off the ends of the threads so they are neat and the desired length. I tend to trim the edge ends a little shorter so that the tassel ''skirt'' has a slight bell shape rather than being cut straight across. This is a matter of personal preference.
If you wanted to decorate the ''head'' of the tassel, you could do it now.

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The finished product ready for attachment.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A&S Century Challenge - Split-stitch Heraldic Patches

My hands were too sore to do much today, but I did get the final split stitch heraldic patch sewn on to the Championship cloak.
Now it can be passed on to the next Champion.
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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day




A&S Century Challenge - Split stitch heraldic badge

I'm still sick and not to be trusted with anything remotely complicated, so finished off my heraldic split stitch patch today.'
It just needs to be sewn onto the cloak now.

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Yesterday I woke up sick and had to cancel all my plans, so I worked on this project too.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Extant Redwork Unicorn Embroidery

I saw this piece posted on a Facebook embroidery group and just had to share. It is c.1588 and is embroidered in silk. I am going to make something using this as my inspiration.

Image source: https://digitaltmuseum.se/011023682952/orngott?aq=time%3A%22%2F327cd97d-7dd2-4ba0-9016-da73c8628a49%22+text%3A%22broderi%22&i=5

Friday, May 12, 2017

A&S Century Challenge

I've already lost track of what day I am up to in this Challenge!

Today my time was spent doing paperwork. I did a little bit of stem stitching and a little bit of scribing. I also got one of the heraldic badges sewn on to the A&S Championship cloak. I think it looks good.

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Yesterday I made a pattern and cut out a couple of pouches as my fingers are a too bit sore to sew.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

New format?

Well, it is getting close to two weeks of the new format with daily updates. What do you all think? Are you sick of hearing about projects in dribs and drabs? Did you prefer a write up of a finished project, or should I continue with the new format?

100 Days of A&S - Split stitch Badge

Today I finished the split stitch badge for a friend.
In my SCA Barony, we have cloaks that the Heavy, Rapier & A&S Champions wear. They are decorated with the devices of the Champions & this is what these split stitch badges are for.

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Monday, May 8, 2017

100 Days of A&S - Seam treatments and split stitch badges

Today I worked on seam finishing inside a camicia (chemise). I have three cut out and assembled to a basic level. When I have a bit of spare time (e.g. in front of the telly) I can pick one up and do a bit. I'm getting there (very) slowly.

I also did some stem stitching on another heraldic badge for a friend.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Days 8 & 9 - 100 Days of A&S

I couldn't post yesterday, so you get two day's worth today!

Day 9
Boring old hand hemming again today.


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Day 8
Spent a good part of the day adding spangles to an embroidered caul at an SCA demo, but also managed to finish off the split stitch championship patches.
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Thursday, May 4, 2017

Day 6 - 100 Days of A&S - Cartridge Pleating

Today I spent my time setting cartridge pleats. I made bigger pleats than normal, setting them at about 1cm apart. (Sometimes I do 0.5cm.) I cheated and drew the pleats up with a single thread of crochet cotton because I wanted the job to go faster. The 'proper' way to do it is to use 2 parallel rows of very strong cord/thread, and draw your pleats up. The big risk with the single crochet cotton is that it will shred and break and you will have to start all over again. Luckily, that didn't happen to me today.

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Chalking out the 1cm markings

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Adding the crochet cotton 'draw thread' (the smaller white thread is a tacking stitch to secure the top hem of the skirt panel during pleating and not related to the cartridge pleating process.)

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Pleats ready for adjustment

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The skirt panel ready to sew to the bodice. I divide my skirt into quarters and divide my bodice into quarters. Then I tack the points together and adjust the pleats evenly in each quarter section. It makes the job much easier and results in nice even pleat adjustment.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

A&S 100 Challenge - Day 5 - Eyelets


Today I am tackling eyelets on an unfinished front-lacing gown. I struggle with eyelets because I have a lot of pain in my hands and fingers. I tend to put buttonholes off because they hurt so much - so I always have plenty to do.
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Monday, May 1, 2017

A&S 100 Challenge - Day 3

Flat felling seams today. My hands are protesting yesterday's fingerloop braiding experiment, so I'm keeping it simple!

This is one of a pile of chemises/smocks waiting to be hemmed and made up.
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A&S 100 Challenge - Day 2


Today's challenge was to attempt fingerloop braiding for the first time.
It was interesting; I understand the process and the terminology much better now. I don't think my stiff, sore fingers are dexterous enough to ever be comfortable doing fingerlooping, but I will keep practicing until I can get the tension right on a simple braid.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017

A&S 100 Challenge - Day 1

Some SCA friends have proposed an A&S Challenge in the style of the armoured combatant Century Drill Challenge (100 blows for 100 days). The aim is to work on A&S projects for (at least ten minutes a day) for 100 days.

The point of the challenge is to build habit and consistency, reduce the number of Unfinished Objects (UFOs) we all have, and (hopefully,) generate enthusiasm.

I have such a large pile of ongoing projects at hand at any given time that it is unusual for me to go a day without doing ten minutes of A&S work. I am hoping that the Challenge will help me to keep better records of what I am doing and blog more often. I prefer to blog items when they are finally complete because it all seems a little disjointed - especially at the beginning of a project and because I jump from unfinished project to unfinished project. But maybe getting into the habit of blogging as an ongoing process will mean more things get blogged.

Today I worked on some split stitch Championship patches for friends in my SCA group. I got two washed and blocked. They just need backing. Another two are still in the hoop.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Elizabethan Coif Presentation

Last year I was honoured to be accepted as a volunteer to create an embroidered coif for the Queen. The item was to be a gift for the outgoing Queen on behalf of the Worshipful Company of Broiderers (the SCA Lochac embroidery guild).

The lovely Megan supplied me with a coif pattern to suit Queen Branwen. This is very important when designing a coif, as not all styles suit all faces, and the amount/thickness of hair a lady has also affects how the coif will sit. Megan used an existing coif as a pattern so that we would know the new coif would be the correct style and shape, and then sent me the pattern so I could start.

Once I had the correct basic shape, I could settle down to create the design. I chose the traditional coiling foliage design which is so common in Elizabethan coifs. I prefer to design original patterns, but use motifs taken from extant pieces and Elizabethan portraits. Roses were an essential inclusion for a Queen. I used flower and insect motifs.

Some extant pieces can be found on my earlier post: http://broidermebethan.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/elizabethan-whitework-coif.html
and
http://broidermebethan.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/new-world-elizabethan-coif.html

Once I had sketched the design, I traced the pattern and design onto tracing paper with a permanent marker. Using tracing paper or greaseproof paper allows the light to shine through, and the permanent marker makes the design easier to see. The design can be traced using a light box or by taping the foundation fabric over the pattern on a large glass window or door.

In period, ink was often used to mark designs onto white foundation fabric. I used 100% linen for this piece, and chose to use a modern alternative to ink: the Frixion pen. This type of pen irons away, is widely available where I live, comes in a range of colours and is available as a pen or marker. Very convenient for the modern embroiderer, and much more forgiving of unsteady hands than dip pen and ink.

I began the embroidery in silk, but was unhappy with the way it was working out, so I unpicked the stitching and began again with cotton floss (DMC 310). Silk is a more authentic option (as it was used in period) but the cotton worked better for this project as well as being more affordable and easily available.


A variety of period stitches were used including stem stitch and double running stitch. I like combining different stitches on this type of project. It makes the finished product texturally more interesting, makes working the embroidery more interesting, and is also entirely period. I used a double thread for the main motifs, and I used a hoop because it is more portable than a frame.






Once all the stitching was complete, I ironed the design to remove any traces of the Frixion pen. Then I gently hand washed the piece in wool wash, rinsed, dried and ironed it again.



The next step was sewing down pressed metal spangles. I used three stitches of single thread to secure the spangles, and knotted each one off after securing. Once the spangles were sewn on, I ironed the coif again and cut it out from the foundation fabric.

I edged the coif panel with zigzag stitch for extra strength. This is a modern option and one I personally prefer to add because I am quite hard on my clothes. I have whipped the edges by hand in the past, but time was of the essence on this particular project, so I didn't feel guilty about using a modern 'cheat'. I cut a linen lining and sewed the two panels together. This lining hides the spangle threads and protects the embroidery from hair oils and pins.




The cord channel was hand sewn as was the top seam which runs over the top of the head. Only the first two thirds of the seam was sewn up; the last third was gathered with very small stitches to produce tiny cartridge pleats. The pleats were drawn up to gather the back of the coif into a circle and the pleats were secured with buttonhole bars. My earlier coif article below shows an extant example of how the back of the coif is gathered:
http://broidermebethan.blogspot.com.au/2012/01/article-on-red-striped-coif.html

This pleating rounds off the back of the coif and makes a space for the hair underneath. I added a single thread decorative stitch in embroidery floss to ornament the seam.




I did a small whip stitch around the edge of the coif to stop the lining moving about. I threaded lucet cord (made by the talented Heather Carter) through the casing. I hand-stitched some commercially made gilt metal lace along the face edge.









The coif was presented on the weekend just gone and I heard that the recipient was very pleased with it.