Sunday, June 18, 2017

On My Worktable

It feels lately like my project list has the hiccups. I've got the regular list of projects that builds up like normal, but then little projects pop in randomly out of nowhere, usually inspired by some experience at an event. This most often takes the form of repairs or easy updates. Occasionally, it is a project that may have been really low on the priority list that I realize I badly needed. At the moment, between events and not having any gowns in the works, I'm working on a real hodge-podge of things. Let's start with the little things I've already done.



I'm not sure how long I'd been dealing with it, but the strap on my best St. Birgitta's cap was too long. I did a video where I talk about this issue a while back. To deal with it, I was using the twisting trick I describe in the video to shorten the strap. Over time, though, I realized that I had to twist it a pretty good amount. So it was time to cut it down. This is one of those very easy projects (took me about 10 minutes all told) that just takes forever to get around to.

I've consistently had a problem with garters. I don't know if it's the shape of my legs or just some kind of operator error I always fall prey to, but all my garters would slide down. Sometimes, they would slip far enough that I'd kick them off as I walked. I managed to do just that with one at Pennsic last year, and miraculously, it was still on the road when I headed back to camp several hours later! In the past, I used soft leather or tied garters. I always wanted a woven pair, and I wondered if doing the woven pair would work better since I can make them as tight or as loose as I need to.


My mom picked up some really pretty light blue wool thread for me (from White Wolf and the Phoenix) at SCA 50 Year last year specifically for garters. It sat around for a long time, then I realized that I needed to get buckles too. I went with a brass pair from Armor and Castings.


I thought it would be fun to do a little pattern in the weave, and I chose a heart shape. One of these days, I'll do a little video on using the pick-up weaving technique for tone-on-tone patterning. (Spoilers: it's easy!) If you aren't familiar with Baltic-style pick-up inkle weaving, check out my how-to video.


I don't think there's much of any evidence that woven garters would have been made of wool in period. Silk was the medieval way to go, it seems. This was a cost-effective option, though, and I really like that they have a bit of a scratchy texture to grip my hose. It did slow the weaving down a little, since the wool wanted to grip to itself, but once I got the hang of that, it was easy to adjust my process for it. (BTW, the actual color is somewhere between those last two photos.)


Also in the long overdo category, I finally got a pole and finished up my two silk banners. The large heraldic banner has a casing at the end that's tight enough to slip into the pole and stay in place. The smaller scissors banner (which will get replaced once the scissor-related badge I recently submitted is approved) uses two strips of silk sewn on to create ties. Eventually, I may paint the pole alternating yellow and white to match the two banners' borders, but for now, I'm just happy to see these two banners fluttering in the breeze.

A really, really quick project was to turn this sad, old felt hat:


 Into a cute cap I can throw on whenever!


Not that it's entirely medieval, but I'm far more likely to toss it on my head now than I was with it being the sorry excuse for a hat that it was.

Those are the things I've crossed off as done. There are also a bunch of things that are in the works. Wait. Let me rephrase that. There are a bunch of additional things that are now in the works. The pile of things that are started by not finished is deeper than what I'm sharing today.


I've been looking for opportunities to set up my Tailor's Workshop as an "artisans row" style display at local events. I did this at RUM/RUSH last fall (pictured above), and I really had a good time and thought it was a success. Over the winter and spring, I've been looking into the ways I can improve it. The list there is long, and some of the improvements are going to be pretty big investments (like a new worktable), but other things were small and easy. I'd wanted to make some kind of sign to replace that printed paper sitting down there on the ground. Then a few months ago, Rosalie shared a simple notice board that she'd made for her display. (Rosalie always gives such great inspiration for these types of things.)

I thought a bit more on the idea and my needs, and decided that I wanted a frame to hang off my shade. I also wanted a little more Gothic-looking flair. Here's my original sketch:


After searching around for the supplies, I ended up with a blackboard backing instead of cork. It also took me a bit to find good finials. I decided to just go with two. A third at the top of the frame felt a little too ostentatious.


I have red paint for this. I picked up acrylic, but I noticed some milk paint at Joann's the other day, so I may use that instead. It will also get a pair of gold scissors painted on it. When I'm ready for it, I may attempt to make my own rope to hang it. I've been meaning to give Viking whipcord a try.


Working through my Doppelgänger Challenge (follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see my progress with that!), I was able to see some areas in which I need to supplement my wardrobe. It seems like I have SO MANY CLOTHES, but it turns out that I don't necessarily have the right clothing. My last post talked about this discovery phase. In that phase, I realized that I needed a red open hood that wasn't too heavy. I have an orange-red linen hood (it can qualify as a light madder red color), but I wanted a wool one. I had a pretty good amount of worsted flannel leftover from my red cote, so I thought I'd try that. It's very "suit" like, so the results will be quite different from what I'm used to, but I think it will work out.


So far, I only have one gore out of four sewn in. The hood is "self-lined", then a piece of sturdy linen forms an inner layer in the brim to help the wings hold their outward shape when it's worn. This is my usual method for nearly all of my hoods when the primary fabric isn't stiff enough on its own. I didn't do any experimental changes to the pattern on this one. I used my new pink hood as the pattern, if I remember correctly.


In addition to these things, I seem to always have a list of things I'm working on for other folks. That's not at all a complaint. I'm honored that my friends trust me and ask me to make things for them, and I also love making gifts. I always try to leave some room in my workload for those things, since they are just as important as the things I do for myself.

I think that's it. Now, time to get back to work!

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