The Big Coif Project – possibly

Tonight I started drafting up an embroidery pattern for a new coif for myself. I have silk thread, I have gilt silk thread and I have silver thread to use. However, the design I worked up isn’t really a metallic thread project – but I would be able to do it up using the black and green gilt silk I got as a birthday present a few years ago.

I have done this basic pattern before, for the coif I made Mistress Mary on her elevation to the Order of the Pelican. But for her I changed the scrolling vines inside bands to separate sprigs, and pelicans. For this version I’m putting back in the scrolling vines, and exchanging every other flower with a laurel wreath. I would also like to add spangles – unfortunately that is the only thing I do not currently have in my stash.

I could do the scrolling vines in silver thread, although the original it is based on has them in silk, and the sizing isn’t really ideal for metal thread stitches. Well, not for plaited braid stitch at least, but I could do the vines in chain stitch or ceylon stitch and it would work.

In order to start this project I would need to do a trial of the stitches, and the threads, without wasting too much of it, as it’s not going to be easy to get more.


This site

I’ve been working on moving over my content to this platform. I started with embroideries and scrolls. The dress diaries will be more annoying, so will take longer.

Wardrobe troubles

So, it’s been clear that everything is all muddy again.

I’m not sure anymore which layers I should be wearing with new insight into supportive kirtles to be accurate to about 1560s 70s:

  1. A smock next to my skin, plain white to be washed frequently.
  2. Over that, a shirt? Or a corset?
  3. Over a corset a shirt?
  4. Over the shirt, a kirtle. Sleeves or no? Supportive, with boning or no?
  5. Over the kirtle a partlet?
  6. Over the kirtle a gown.
  7. Accessorier: Hats, socks, shoes, gloves, ruffs and bling.

So for those 7 layers I’m certain about 3 if you count the accessories. There’s more ponderings and research to be done.

The one thing I know I need is a new red kirtle made in silk. But the question is how I should construct it.

Just goes to show you, the more you know, the less you’re certain.

Coding up a storm…

I don’t just do embroidery and crafts and things, I also run my shire website. When I started with that the Internet was not the same place it is today, and finally the home-hacked solutions that ran our website has proved too annoying to be worth my bothering. I am making sure we are switching over to WordPress for the shire website as well, so that officers can also help making entries in a more user-friendly environment, and so that the articles can be accessed and found in a better way.

I’m hoping to premiere the new site for the first of May, with the next months article – which will be on bobbin lace.

Easter Silk Painting Workshop


My camping household, Mallar Manors, spent easter painting silk standards, banners, pennons and more. Three full days of prepwork, outlining, painting and quality hang-out time. Very tiring though, and so much hemming to do.

But we’ll continue to have more flags than everyone else here, even if there are flag making workshops going on all over the Principality this spring.

The video is a timelapse slideshow of the three days. We set up a tripod with a camera, taking a shot every three minutes.

Detatched Buttonhole Stitch


Not quite Elizabethan

The second item I made as a gift for Margaret de Mey on the occasion of her elevation was an over the shoulder bag. I looked in my stash and found a very small remnant from the fabric which I used for another friend’s elevation (as a Laurel in his case). It was enough to make up the front, back and lid of a roughly binder-shaped carrying bag, but there was not enough to make a carrying strap. However, the fabric was a golden yellow tone, and Margaret’s arms are mostly red, so I thought I would match the Drachenwald colours, and make the strap black. Luckily I had a few scraps of black wool of approximately the same weight also in my stash to lend to the project.

With the bag sewn up with a green linen lining I turned my attention to decorating the lid with Margaret’s device. I had not much time, and since the design is quite simple I decided to find a red fabric to be the shield shape, and then embroider the water bougets white on to that. Minimal of work, to create a three dimensional effect, and also weigh down the lid a little.

OutlinesThe red wool was cut to an appropriate size, then I transferred the pattern by stitching through a piece of paper where I had drawn it up beforehand. The outlines were then filled in properly with chain stitch in white silk.

The red wool was quite sturdy, and so I felt I did not need to work this in a frame, but could do it freehand. I also chose to work the chain stitches in reverse. I’ve found that this way of working them, gives me much more control over the size of the stitches, and exactly where I can place them for maximum coverage and details in the design.

After all outlines were done, I proceeded to fill in the shapes of the water bougets with detached buttonhole stitch from the top down in the main body of the design, and from left to right for the crossbar. I hoped this slight change in texture might make the two parts a little more distinct, but I’m not so sure that’s really noticeable, as the thread I was using made the distance for the crossbar basically two stitches wide. If I had used a thinner thread the change in directionality would be more noticeable. I like this sort of stitch, because it uses a maximum of thread on the front of the work, and almost nothing is wasted on the reverse. It’s efficient and thread conservative, as you can see from the back of the finished piece.

Finished work - detatched buttonhole stitch

To finish off the bag I attached the shield shape by appliqueing it to the lid with blanket stitch all around the outline in black. It also helped to highlight the edges a little, and bring in some more contrast.