Round-up of summer 2017

I had the lofty goal of updating this blog weekly, but, as has become customary forgot about it almost immediately. I have, however, done a few things since the last update. I patterned, cut out and have stitched up a new basic black 16th Century kirtle, which I plan to make my basic base layer. It’s nearly finished, the only thing left is hemming. I had help measuring the hem (Thank you, Tece!) so I just have to do the remaining bit of work. The goal now is to have it in time for October Crown Tourney in Aarnimetsä.

An old project nearing completion. 16th century gloves in soft tan leather. Sewn with silk thread.

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Another project finished this summer was a pair of leather gloves! I started them in 2008, after having the pattern done for a while after a Sewing Circle day where we all made glove patterns. I bought soft glove leather in a store which is no longer in existance, but since there are two gloves I got bored and it took nine years to finish them off. I brough them along to Cudgel War, and they were gorgeous, beautiful and all things wonderful.

Signet ring and gloves. 29/365 #everydayphotos #bwphotography #lumixgx7 #signetring #gloves

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If I were to do them again, I would fit each finger to me as I went, as the forefingers on each glove is a little too large. There’s not going to be any changes now, though, they are good enough for me.

AntoniosBreeches

Documentation for Antonio’s breeches made at Raglan

The second really cool project I did was draft and sew a pair of 16th Century breeches for a friend during the ten day camping event at Raglan in Wales. I had a look at the schedule before we went and could tell there was going to be plenty of time for me to just hang out. Instead of just sitting idle I wanted to try out some more proportional drafting as taught by Mathew Gnagy in “The Modern Maker“. He is currently working on his second book, which will contain breeches as well as lots of other garments for the 16th Century gentle, and he has been posing lots of pattern drafts taken from Freyle which is a pattern book from 1588. My friend Baron Antonio has long been asking me to make him something, so I thought I would combine the two. Said and done on the Thursday before Raglan I sent him a question about fabric, and style, and arranged for him to bring me fabrics. I provided threads and all other tools. I made a bara-tape based on his waist, and with the Freyle layout I drafted a pair of breeches, which I sewed on site using my reproduction brass needle bought in Visby.

Antonio’s breeches, front

Antonio’s breeches, side

They were a complete success as far as I’m concerned. Fit him very well, moved with ease, were comfortable enough. I also added a pocket, which I could have worked a little better, possibly might need a couple of stitches to make sure it doesn’t open where it’s not supposed to. I opted for a tight cuff at the knee, which meant I had to add a couple of points, which I made fingerloop braids for in matching silk. I started them on the Sunday and finished them just after noon on the Wednesday. The documentation was for the A&S Display for “Things worked on during Raglan”. I put the trousers out there along with the little page to explain the project, and some generous gentles left me a couple of very nice tokens of appreciation which made me very happy. I now have a matched set of fleur-de-lys brooches!

Nearly finished Laurel Cape

For Raglan I also made a little 16th Century cape, with a collar, on which I appliqued a Laurel wreath. This was a gift to Mary Verch Thomas who was elevated to the Order of the Laurel there. The base fabric is a cotton velvet and the leaves were cut from a wool cloth. Applique on velvet is a somewhat frustrating exercise. It’s also lined in a nice thin suiting wool, so it’s quite warm and cozy. The collar also makes it excellent as a wind-shield.

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Cudgel War – the long exhale

Ever since Geiri and Drake talked about going to Cudgel war a long time ago, at the beginning of the Aarnimetsä ten-day camping event, I knew it was an event I wanted to go to, eventually. Once I finally made it over there for the first time, two years ago I knew for certain I needed to come back the following year, and this year as well. Now having been there three times both me and Edricus agree that it is one of the best times one can have in the Current Middle Ages in Drachenwald.

It is basically one long exercise in relaxation – the schedule is well-spaced out, the surrounding is beautiful, the food is superlative, and the company is splendid. Even when it rains a bit, like it did this year, we could sit comfortable in our cabing sewing, chatting, nibbling snacks and sipping drinks. If we had had our tent with us we’d be sitting in our tent doing likewise.

And really, the sauna and the lake is perfect. I swam out to Monkey Island and back again this year. I think it’s becoming a tradition. It was only warm enough to do it once though.

There is a good amount of things to do if you want to, and I’ve so far always taught at least one class during the week. This year we also had a Laurels Prize Display there for the second time (the fourth overall, counting the two we’ve also put on at Double Wars) and it’s great to see what people are working on and talking to the artisans about their stuff. Last year we used the loft, which is big and airy, but has no light. This year we were in the lunch room with was big enough, and plenty of light, but had no air in it by the end. I was very glad to be able to step outside for a minute to gulp down some water and fresh air at the same time. Last year the display had eleven people, this year there were nine. The Prize I gave out this year was a few rings from my fingers, plus tokens for everyone. Although I had forgotten my proper tokens at home I quickly whipped up some little pouchelets with candy. It doesn’t have to be big, or gaudy, or expensive to leave a little gift of appreciation.

It was all in all, a splendid event, very relaxing, and I can’t wait to go back to Aarnimetsä, and Nuijasota.

There was also other things happening there, among them some good talks with Silwa – both of us agreed that we would like to continue our relationship and continue to be Laurel/Apprentice. Officially the one year trial period ends in October – but hopefully neither of us are fickle enough to change our minds before then. There may be more news soon as well, but that’s for another time.

Cudgel and Visby Medieval Week post mortems

The three biggest event of the year are over, Double Wars, Cudgel and the Camp at Visby Medieval Week. Double Wars went great, and the bleh I felt right before it turned into awesomeness and inspiration directly after. The hype was great before Cudgel and I spent it exactly as I wanted, doing not much at all, trying out the horned headdress styles seen in early 1400s art, and witnessing Lady Sahra becoming Mistress Sahra, and in general ambling about being relaxed and hanging out with cool people and eating awesome food all week long.

Before Visby I had again started to feel a bit blah, but the only thing fixed on the Visby schedule was to talk for 15 minutes in my speed lecture (how to analyze and learn a new calligraphy style) on Wednesday at 1 pm. The rest of the time there was slacking, more slacking, slowly walking around the market and town, socializing and snoozing. The food was not as regular and awesome as at Cudgel, where we paid for it beforehand, and having to pack up on Friday and leave in the middle of the night sort of sucked.

Visby ferry in the middle of the night - misery

Visby ferry in the middle of the night – misery

The weather was pretty spectacular (although entirely too hot) and our camp beds are so comfortable I didn’t even miss my own bed at home. However, I am now feeling anti-social in general and will probably need to isolate myself for a few weeks to re-charge.

I had nothing I wanted to purchase at the market, which is Sweden’s largest medieval market and attracts some really cool merchants, but I ended up buying:

  • one new silver ring, set with a square onyx
  • Visby purchase of fabricone metre of a green goose-eye twill for a blingy hood
  • some blue linen to make a heat-wave kirtle out of
  • one stoneware plate (and one for Ed)
  • one charm-hanger in pewter and
  • one black plastic mug (and one for Ed), practical as travel feast gear we hope

We also spent quite a bit of time, on Friday and Saturday dreaming and planning our next tent, how to furnish it etc, etc. Right now, we’re dragging the entire encampment down with our crappy set-up, which makes it less fun to go.

I did bring my camera to Cudgel War, but have not yet edited the photos, but I didn’t bring it to Visby, because we had very limited space. I did take a few shots with my mobile phone, but they’re nothing to write home about.

The next event I’ve planned on going to is October Crown, and I’m not sure about that. Maybe cozy A&S event in Gyllengran (Glöta Gillet) if it’s got a fun theme.