tisdag 21 januari 2014

Trying on a toile

Lucas is trying on a new toile for his liripipe hood. Just a blurry snapshot from our livingroom.

onsdag 15 januari 2014

Socks, in passing

Some UFOs receive less love than they deserve. There's nothing particularly wrong about these socks, other than the fact that they're such an early product that I misjudged the amount of yarn needed to finish them. By now I'm not even sure that I want them and I most certainly don't need them, but they make a fairly easy UFO to get rid of and are just too ugly to give away to some unsuspecting victim/recipient.

Like many other items in my yarn stash, this brown ball came with a back story that I have completely forgotten by now, despite my best intentions. It might be a plant dyed specimen from Maria. For some reason I had trouble finding another yarn of matching thickness, but at the fourth attempt found some handspun that might be some if the first I ever made. It's full of twist-locked slubs and rather uneven, but it'll do. The color combo makes me think of gingerbread. 

This is the season of crappy mobile pics - it's just too damn dark to get decent photos. At least we have electricity: in the Middle Ages you could spend an entire winter crafting in the dark and then you had to wait until spring to be able to actually see what you had made... So, surprise! Eh. 

Securing regrowth

BoW camp 2013, with Maja and Micke.

These days, one of my primary motivations for making period clothing is the opportunity to dress up my kids. The thought itself is more appealing than the actual work, since I hardly ever get around to it, but I really, really hope that I will be able to bring them to events when they are a bit older, not just right now when they're more like two very demanding pets that incidentally share my DNA.

I want to offer them this very special playground, with its own kind of enchantment, and I hope that they will approve of it for a few years before they initiate the mandatory revolt against dorky parent business and immerse themselves in team sports, things the old people Just Don't Get, and far cooler online games than those their parents play.


Today I do many things that I would have loved to do when I was maybe, like, five years old. Or fifteen. They just weren't available to me then, and it has taken me a long time to find them in the form of re-enactment. The crafting, the fighting, the learning process and the very special form of hanging out with others of a similar disposition makes me more enthusiastic than almost anything else (except maybe the 15th century books at the library where I work). I envy the kids I meet who are growing up inside the hobby. Sure, it probably has its measure of shame at some point, but still, what fifteen-year-old wouldn't like to get a proper sword for her birthday?

It was hard work bringing my son to Battle of Wisby 2013 as I was going alone and was 7 months pregnant. But it was worth it. If we have the opportunity to do the event again, I will make sure to bring him back, as I would have loved to go there myself when I was a kid (as I do now). Next time he will hopefully have grown into the hat.

Ignore the mother. Please.
From left: Mother, unborn little sister, baby son.

tisdag 14 januari 2014

Soled socks

I made these tiny needlebound socks for my son out of scrap yarns from the thriftshop, a small bag of plant dyed leftovers that had been sitting around since the 70's according to the labels still attached to them, with notes on the respective plants used. Some little old lady did this a long time ago, and I wish I could have told her that her work would finally result in a finished piece of work.

For Battle of Wisby 2013, Lucas borrowed a pair of shoes but ended up wearing these (or going barefoot) most of the time. I picked one of the soles from his everyday trainers (size 22) and traced them on the leather, then cut with kitchen scissors (this IS the orc variety). If you are as new to this as I am, don't forget to flip either the pattern sole or the leather itself to make one left and one right sole. I forgot, ending up with two left soles at first.

Since I am super lazy, I just used a hole puncher to make the holes around the edge of the sole, winging the distance between them. They are attached to the sock with waxed, double linen thread, no fuss. I greased the soles to keep the damp out, and then cheated hideously by spraying the upper part of the socks with waterproofer. Works, kind of. The good thing is that these are easy (and cheap) enough to make that I can keep up and make new ones almost every season if I have to. I'll make another pair for myself.

söndag 12 januari 2014

Kruseler - frilled veils

Why, History, why??
 Wearing medieval clothes takes some getting used to. After a while you ease into it, and I must say by now I really enjoy it not least because of the practical aspects. The veil in particular took me a lot of time to accept, though. Both for aesthetic and political reasons. In all fairness, everyone is made to suffer silly headwear in this hobby, and it makes me feel a whole lot better that the coif makes the guys look like village idiots across the board, not to mention the various felted hats (except Florian's) which all remind me of a certain rather offensive part of the male anatomy. But mainly the idea of displaying your face in what I consider to be a very unflattering way made me dislike the veil for the longest time, particularly in combination with the neck piece some of us wear with the veil itself.

Now, to up the ante: The frilled veil demands a whole new level of acceptance in the I Look Like An Idiot Department. Everyone else seems to pull theirs off beautifully, so I guess it't mostly in my head, but still...

I have seen and admired the wonderful, painstakingly counted and crafted honeycomb-type frills out there, especially those of Isis, of course. But I've resorted to the easier, unstructured version with a pleated strip of fabric mounted on a plain veil - I just don't have the patience to do it properly. This one, below, is for a friend, and also happens to be one of my UFOs.

A heap of Civil War bandages?
Since the frills I've made so far are completely detachable, I could theoretically change the plain veil part (or use the frill as a close-range weapon - the starch is really something!) but yeah, that will happen...

I asked for some hints regarding the starching process, (also, read the instructions in the box) and since I'm writing this for other nervous n00bs, I thought I'd share. Maria told me this: if you're letting the veil dry flat on a table, leave the frills hanging over the edge to avoid flattening on one side. Use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process, after shaping the folds with your fingers. The Verda starch I'm using has an adorable 50's packaging, and I should have been content to use the two-teaspoon mix instead of eight. The length of frills can be used to kill people, I swear. It feels more like trying to wrap a two-foot board around your face than wearing at item actually intended to be a piece of clothing.

måndag 6 januari 2014

Ufo wabbit

Next one up for finishing: a rabbit I started making for my son before he was born. Two and a half years later: ta-daa...

fredag 3 januari 2014

Brick stitch bitch

Wool and steel is what gives a Reenactor her power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together. This one, however, is not about wool but silk.

I've tried my hand at German brick stitch a few times, not least so I could buy the droolworthy yarns from Devere. At first I was a bit wary, I never thought I would have the patience to finish a piece, and I could really picture the hissyfits I would throw in the face of an irreversible, structural fault that would force me to abandon a near-finished pattern. Turns out, brick stitch has an even worse tetris potential than most other crafts, and since the designs are easy to either stel off the interwebz or create in a robotlike fashion, people without any real artistic skill (like me) can make their own and still pull it off.

Plus, you get to think of this guy EVERY time, and laugh.

We are never alone in our crafting. I have received a lot of inspiration from the lovely blogs of my friends and acquaintances, such as Medieval Silkwork, ...ur ett insnöat liv and the pages of some people who are completely unknown to me personally, like Racaire and Wymarc. This summer I attended a workshop on brick stitch in the Battle of Wisby camp, and that was my final excuse for a new kind of hoarding.

The Devere color charts are sort of tricky to get hold of since they're sold out right now, so I took some reference pics in decent light - I will have to give them back to Vix who kindly let me borrow them.

For starters I made a trial pattern on graph paper, and I made a HUNDRED mistakes in simply drawing it, so I'm glad I tried without the actual embroidery first. This page offers free graph paper for printing. I ended up making just the one panel, so I might turn it into a needle roll or a pincushion.

This is how it turned out.
Then I made two panels for a bag, and was instantly punished for my sloth: I figured, the less threads per cm in the linen weave, the less work, but this can apparently be overdone as the coverage suffered...

Damn you, lazy woman!

Maria tells me that smaller purses are usually double-sided, with embroidery on both sides. Larger bags may have just the one side worked, and the other plain, with maybe a picture motif. I really like the variety of options, picture motifs / geometric patterns or a combination of the two, with brick stitch as a filler in gaps between figures.

I'm really anxious about piecing the panels together and making the actual purse. Let's see if I can bring myself to make a blog post about the process further on.

torsdag 2 januari 2014

Paved with good intentions

For this year I've made a few feeble resolutions - mostly concerning what I should and shouldn't do regarding my fiber stash. One of them is to try and blog more about the stuff I've actually done, and I've decided to incorporate a few knitting and crochet projects in this blog as well. I don't want to start another blog dedicated to modern crafts, but I hope this addition doesn't scare away any of you hardcore wool nerds. Embrace the acrylic! Just, eh, not while reenacting. 

The rest of my list reads as follows:

 - I want to finish all my UFOs (UnFinished Objects). I think there are maybe five yarn-related ones and maybe ten or fifteen reenactment projects that deserve looking into. I had a very liberating experience going through my unfinished knitting and crochet projects, ripping/frogging some, reclaiming supposedly lost hooks and needles (and a wealth of tiny scissors), and even throwing a few sad, frustrating projects away (don't try to make large lace shawls in fuzzy yarn with plenty of halo).

- I want to try and shop my stash instead of expanding my hoarded materials. I have two excuses for simply hoarding rather than using up my stuff: I'm waiting to shrink a little more after my last pregnancy, and I want to make a new dress pattern. I've been making the same one for about five years now and I'm a bit tired of it. Making a new pattern is another of my resolutions.

 - I need to spin a total of at least one whole sheep this year. The herd in my closet have already reached their maximum amount. I can hear them bleating. Spin us! Spihihihihihihihn ussss! I got new spindles. I got materials for MAKING new spindles (coming up). I just need to get behind the mule. 

 - I will (should, really) not accept any more swap assignments or paid work before I've delivered ALL items previously promised to other people. And I would do well to actually make some stuff for myself before I take on more orders for others. 

- I will sell or donate any leftover second-best things I still have, in case I make new and better things that replace them well enough. (And certainly not bring these second-best things with me to camp and scatter them all over the place to make it look more like the exploded wardrobe of a runaway circus).

This is one of my recently finished crochet UFOs, a stashbuster version of Eva's shawl which I've made several versions of. The pattern is easy and frustration-free even for a choleric beginner like me. Here's the Ravelry link.