Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Trying to stay motivated

I have a lot of projects on the go which are going to take a LOT of time, and I have been feeling a bit unenthusiastic for the last few months. I'm having some 'extra' health issues, so I would guess that a lot of the problem is tiredness. 

Feeling overwhelmed and directionless, or unmotivated, seems to be a very common issue for makers, especially since the start of the Pandemic. It is a theme that keeps coming up again and again in conversations and Zoom chats with other SCA people. The way I am minimising it is:

1. Make a list of to-do items (so you don't forget anything) and then stop thinking about your project(s). Put it on your list or in your workbook and get it out of your head. If you are at a loss for a project to do (it could happen, I guess!) get out your list or book  and pick a project that fits your time frame or energy levels. (I also list ideas and plans for future projects in my project planner.)

2. Keep plodding along. Do a little bit every day, even if it is only five or ten minutes to get into the habit of making A&S a daily priority. Whittle it away gradually. One day you will realise how much you have achieved and you will be able to enjoy the enthusiasm of that downhill run to a completed project.

Some people find that joining online groups of like-minded people can help keep them motivated because there is an element of accountability. Others find that it makes them feel guilty if they don't achieve what they wanted and have to announce it to the group. Do what works for you and helps you feel good about what you are doing.

I found this image on one of my feeds and cropped it to show the numbers. I've stuck it up on my wall as a reminder to myself to stop procrastinating:

Friday, March 5, 2021

Embroidered Heraldic Banner Device

 A new family member has been keeping me very busy the last several weeks, and bringing that special level of insanity that only a puppy can add! Completed projects seem to be few and far between, and there is so much cleaning to be done. But I did manage to get a banner device done for my local device banner.

The device banner project is a group project which records local SCA heraldic registrations in chronological order, with heraldic devices sewn onto a series of banners.

The banners look great, record the history of our group, and enable a fun guessing game at events. We have six banners so far, with registrations sewn under the devices of the Baron and Baroness of the time.

                                            Banners 2, 3 and 4 on display at an event pre-Covid.

One of the locals didn't have time to complete their device so I offered to help them out. The device is made of felt with applique and embroidery.

Split stitch was the main stitch used, with a little bit of whip stitch and couching. Crochet cotton and DMC embroidery floss were used also.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Kumihimo cords

I'm still not getting much done at all except for puppy related activities. Lack of sleep is not helping either. It's hard to imagine at this point that one day she will be able to sit calmly beside me while I sew!

Cord making is about all I am able to attempt at the moment without Kamikaze style attacks ensuing. These were done on a Kumihimo disk. This is the simplest 8 cord, round cord pattern which is worked in pairs (so there are 4 sets of cords on the disk at noon, six, three and nine).

Friday, January 29, 2021

Calontir Clothing Challenge - January Update (and a new family member)


There are still a few days to go on this Challenge, but I *know* I won't get my projects finished. My plans have been completely derailed this month by the arrival of a new family member. 

This little Bean is the best sort of disruption!

It has been seventeen years since I dealt with a puppy, so I am well out of practice and underestimated the destructive and disruptive impact 😊

I didn't get to finish anything from the Challenge this month, but I did achieve the following overall:
* camicia cut out, embroidery marked out and underway
*coat pattern drafted, cut out and underway
*gown pattern and gown sleeve pattern underway
*linen partlet complete
*patterned partlet mostly complete (just needs a small amount of hemming)
*knotted partlet underway
*jewellery made
*masks made
Not even close to what I had hoped, but not too bad considering the massive amount of administrative work I was doing for the first two months, then Christmas projects, and then.....puppy!

I have also got a lot of ideas and inspiration from the other participants and I am looking forward to seeing the completed entries.

I'd like to thank the admins, judges and entrants for giving so much time and energy to this project to inspire others. I would certainly enter again, and even though I couldn't finish this time, I would definitely recommend it as a great way to focus time and energy for new projects.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Calontir Clothing Challenge - December Update

Once again, the month got away from me and I didn't achieve what I had planned. I didn't beat myself up about it too much because December is always a crazy month with festive preparations, and time seems to go extra fast in the lead up to Christmas.

I cut out my camicia panels and marked out a design for the sleeves. This motif is taken from Richard Shorleyker's 'A Scholehouse for the Needle' published in 1608 and 1624. Several pages from this English pattern book can be found reproduced on Pinterest and more information is available here

Similar designs can be seen on extant Italian undergarments, as well as paintings from the region. My real problem was deciding on the colour of the embroidery; red, black and blue were very popular colours, and there are extant examples of gold, purple, pink and green as well as polychrome. In the end, I decided on classic black, and started working the motifs in split and double running stitch.

I experimented with a partlet made out of silver grey ribbons. I used an existing rectangular partlet as my guide. The inspiration portrait has diagonal ribbons or knotwork, and I already have a partlet like that in the works, so this one is set with the ribbon going horizontally and vertically. It is tedious work.

In amongst all the other projects, I painted some faux blackwork on masks for an event. It was predicted to be a warm day, and I didn't want to have to add a fourth layer to account for the embroidery holes, so I tried painting the designs. I did not have my good paint bushes at the time, so had to use a very poor quality craft brush that was much too big for the task. Considering that, I think they turned out alright. (The paint was acrylic mixed with fabric painting medium.)

I made some beaded necklaces for gifts and made a blue and white one for me, to wear with this outfit. It has 4g seed beads on tigertail wire.
I also got a small amount of sewing done on my underskirt.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Woven, wooden- base buttons

 December and January have been very busy. A small, portable project that I was working on in December was making some bound buttons (as per my photo tutorial here:  ). I haven't put the final decorative decoration on; I will do them all at once.

It has been quite some time since I made this sort of button, and it took me a while to get back into the swing of it and get my speed up. A sturdy needle with a large eye really helps. I am using crochet cotton for these buttons. I've found that mercerised crochet cotton is the easiest to use if you can get it. I'd also like to try silk thread.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Friday, December 25, 2020

Monday, December 7, 2020

Seljuk Lion Embroidered Napkin


In July I attended Polit Uni online and was lucky enough to see Mistress Miriam’s embroidery class. Mamluk and Middle-Eastern embroidery was a new area to me, and I suggested to my local group of embroiderer’s that we challenge ourselves to try some embroidery from this region.

I was particularly taken with this strange looking lion found on a 10-11th Century textile which is now held in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (Accession Number 31.445, dimensions 11 x 9 cm).

It was found in Mesopotamia but believed to be of Egyptian make. The stitching is predominantly split stitch in silks, highlighted with metallic threads on a cream mulham (silk/cotton) base fabric.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use it as decoration on a pouch, or to decorate a tunic with the design, so I decided to work it in cotton on a cotton base fabric to see how it looked, and decide then. I used two threads of DMC cotton and the design was marked out in frixion marker. Originally I planned to use blue thread, but changed to classic black.

Even though the sample is unfilled, it worked up fairly quickly, which actually has done little to solve my dilemma. I think I might work the design as an outline on a tunic because the design is quite striking even as an outline.

I knotted the ends of my threads for durability as the sample is worked on a napkin which will get thrown in the washing machine.I also did a running stitch in black around the hem of the napkin to finish it off.



Many thanks to Mistress Miriam for sharing her knowledge, and the MFA Boston for their excellent online resources.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Embroidery Designs - Strawberries

I'm trying to keep track of different types of embroidery motifs for easy reference. Here are some strawberry designs; I plan to keep updating them when I have time.

From 'A Scholehouse for the Needle' (1624):


From 'The Trevellyon Miscellany' (1608):


Monday, November 30, 2020

Calontir Clothing Challenge - end of Nov 2020 Update

As with last month, most of my time has been taken up with SCA officer commitments, and the Challenge has been temporarily put aside. I have finally decided on a specific mid-sixteenth century Italian noble lady’s gown, and I will now be using blue cotton drill fabric.

Add cPaolo Caliari (Veronese), 1561: Detail from fresco at Villa Barbaroaption

The pale coat I have already cut out will work well with the blue dress that I am planning, especially as white cutwork sleeves and decorative elements on the bodice and sleeve head will work well. I managed to obtain some white cotton to line the coat, and that has been laundered and is waiting to be cut out and sewn.

The collarless white linen partlet that I have already made will go perfectly with the dress I have chosen, but I have also cut out another in white cotton voile with a lozenge pattern. It has been sewn up with enclosed seams and is waiting for hand hemming.

  Cutting out the partlet pieces

The design on the voile fabric