31 January 2005


No sewing, just work. Too hot for much else. Family visiting. More later. I can't believe Jan is gone already.

30 January 2005

Hot and Tired

Went to the computer markets, even hotter and stinkier than usual. Went to Baronial meeting, managed to get rid of some fabric that I have now admitted to myself I will never use. No point taking up room if I'm not going to use it. It now has good homes and will get made into something useful. No stitching, too bloody hot.

29 January 2005


Today I cleaned, and cleaned and then for a change, I cleaned some more. I am exhausted but now have space to do things. I need to get some LOG pouches organised into kits to work up before Festival.

28 January 2005

Book Review: Embroideries (Fashion & Style) by Althea MacKenzie

Embroideries (Fashion & Style) by Althea MacKenzie. This is a relatively new publication, part of series of four about the Wade Costume collection (the others in the series are: Shoes and Slippers, Hats and Bonnets and Buttons and Trimmings). While the subtitle readings, "one of the world's leading collections of costumes and accessories of the 18th and 19th centuries", the collection and the books have several items from earlier periods, including the 16th century.

Of particular interest are:
  • a 16th century embroidery fragment in the classic scrolling flowers motifs, this one made especially interesting by the placement of some of the flowers within ogee shapes. As well as a colour photo of the whole item, there is a full page close up of one of the flower motifs, giving excellent detail of the stitching (p. 10/11)

  • a 16th century metal thread purse. While not in the best of condition it gives a great design for a purse and how metal thread embroidery can be employed on a small project. (p. 36/37)

  • a later 16th/early 17th century gaming purse, this one a combination of metal thread and polychrome silk work.

  • a 18th century Thimble or Guinea purse. While this falls outside the area of interest of this blog, it is noteworthy due to the full page close up of the two tassles ends, which appear to be of the same construction as tassel ends seen on many sweet bags (p. 40/41)
There are some areas where the book could be improved, for example there is an annoying lack of technical detail on some of the items, such as size and materials, but this is more than made up for by the excellent close up colour images in the book. Please note, however, that this is an undersize book, only 7" x 7" (18cm x 18cm).

Each item is given approx. two pages. There is a brief summary about the item giving basic info on materials and some background on the type/purpose of the item. Most spreads have an image of the complete item and some sort of close up, either full page or quarters of a page.

On the whole, a great little book, one can only hope that the series is expanded to include some of the other collections held by the National Trust.
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: National Trust (January 1, 2005)
  • ISBN: 0707803861

27 January 2005

Hat Redux

Mary-Frances has asked what the hat is covered with. It is a wool blend fabric, quite lightweight. I would prefer wool but that is virtually impossible to get here. But what I used does give the effect of a felt, so I am quite happy with it. The only problem is I need several metres more to trim my surcoat but the shop I bought it from is sold out.

26 January 2005

Elizabethan Arched Brim Hat

I've decided to re-make my Black Arched Brim Elizabethan hat. The first one turned out too small, so I am going to make another one. For those that are interested, here is the style of hat, as seen in a period drawing. I have the buckram cut out and I am sewing the wire around the varous rims.

All the buckram has the wire on it, now to add the bias tape around the edge of the rim and the top of the crown, where the crown and sides have been joined. This tape serves a couple of purposes, to soften the edges and to help protect the stitching holding the wire to the buckram. The bias around the top is glued and the tape around the brim is sewn on.

Once the glue had dried, the next layer was the mulling. This helps to soften the various edges and to soften any bumps. I've just used a plain flanellette fabric. Had to use blue, no black available. This is glued at the top edges, I used spray adhesive for the brim, to stop it from going floppy, which happens if you use PVA. It was also sewn down on the brim.

Now time for the cute cat photo. Pharaoh loves to hangout when I am working on something in my craft room. He also likes to guard the door so no one can sneak up on me.

Lastly, it's a matter of putting the final layer of fabric on, much the same as the mulling. The crown went on first, with the side sewn over the top seam, then pulled down and sewn up under the bottom rim. The black bias is sewn around the outer edge of the brim. I had to make my own bias as I didn't have any and the shops were shut. The fabric is again glued. I didn't glue the top brim and this proved to be a mistake.

The bias around the brim isn't the best, but once I get the braid around the bottom of the hat and the pheasent feather in, it should be servicable.

Now that I have that and a couple of other things out of the way, I feel like I can go back to my blackwork shirt again. So there should be some more postings on that coming up in the next few days.

25 January 2005

Group Participation Project Details

I've managed to track down the image I thought we might use for the group participation project. It is from the 12th century St Albans Psalter. I just think these horses are the cutest, they are graceful, the colours are stunning and I just love the way they are covered in little swirls.

Now the idea is that we all work on some sort of project, using this illumination as our inspiration. I think that this would make a great design for a needlepoint cushion or a delicate silk card or miniture. The idea is that we use the illumation as inspiration. It doesn't have to be an exact copy. I for one am think of just doing one of the horses, without its rider and perhaps including the border pattern some how. The idea would be that we set a time limit, say three months and we track out progress, from design to finished products on our blogs. I'm sure a small token could be arranged for everyone who takes part.

What do you think?

Finished Banner Piece

Here is the finished banner piece:

24 January 2005

Great Site and Group Participation Idea

I was lucky enough to be emailed today by a talented fibre artist from Poland. Bozena has some lovely work up on her website. It covers many styles and media, so take a look. Of particular interest to readers of this blog may be the Medieval Inspirations section.

On another topic, I would be interested in hearing peoples thoughts on a group project, partly inspired by a comment Bozena made to me. My thoughts were that I would post a link to a specific picture (an illuminated manuscript) and that anyone who was intested, could use that picture as an ispiration for a needlework piece. The picture I have in mind to couple adapted to many different techniques. I need to track the picture down, so keep reading.

23 January 2005

Collegia Done (Sort Of)

The collegia was today, well sort of. It's been typical weather for this time of year, totally unpredictable. It was raining when I left home but by the time I got the meeting it was sunny. Of course when a couple of people rang to ask if the event was on I said I wasn't sure, but that I would be there no matter what and see what people wanted to do (having a car does give one many more options!). So I got there and only a couple of people were interested. I think attendance was low due to the weather and the fact that there had been a big party the night before. Ah well, I will be more organised next week (I left the handouts at home).

I also managed to pick up some nice wool fabric from a newcome to our area. Not alot, but some nice mustard that I can use to make some trim.

22 January 2005

Preparations For Mask Collegia

I spent the making preparations for the mask collegia I am running tomorrow. I went to Spotlight to get some supplies. Not half face masks, only the full ones. But in the party decoration section I found a heap of cheap half masks 6 for $2. So when I got home, I grabbed some buckram, and tin foil. I foiled two of the masks, used a sprayer to wet the buckram and once it had loosened up a bit, I pushed it onto one of the masks, using it as a mold. I then put the other one on top. A mask sandwich! After a while, once the shape of the nose had set a bit, I took the top mask off and used a hair dryer to finish it off. Worked like a charm. So now I have a valid, period technique that I can show people that is really easy to do.

21 January 2005

Banner Bit Finished

The Device I am sewing for the WCOB banner is finished. I have a photo but it's on the other computer. I will post it once I get the energy to do the transfer. It turned out pretty good, took a total of 7 hours.

20 January 2005

New Elizabethan Jacket Online at V & A

It looks like another late Elizabethan - early Jacobean jacket has been added to the Victoria and Albert Museum. As usual, I'm unable to link directly, but if you go to the V & A website, type in "919-1873".

19 January 2005

More Mask Research

I haven't done any more sewing. Doing research for the mask collegia on the weekend. Nearly got the handout done. Very slap dash job, but with only a weeks notice, it should serve it's purpose.

16 January 2005

More Banner Device

Here is the progress on the banner device at 4 hours of work.

15 January 2005

My Banner Device

This device is being made as part of the WCOB Banner Project. I have finally been able to start working on my device since it has now been officially approved.

The device came as part of a kit. The device was already drawn on the silk and mounted on the backing fabric. I also received printed instructions. I just have to supply the thread (Maderia silk).

14 January 2005


I'd like to thank everyone who left a comment or sent me an email to congratulate me for getting my licence. For those non-Aussies out there, I passed my test, which means I am on my red P (probationary) plates for 12 months. P-plates means I am restricted on speed (90km/hr), blood alchohol limit (zero) and other things like size of trailer I can tow. After the red P's I have to do another test and then go onto green P's for another 12 months. Then I can get an un-restricted licence. If that sounds like alot, there are likely to be further restrictions implementated on P-platers due to the number of them who are wrapping there cars and themselves around light poles and trees. Hopefully, most of them will be age restricted and won't apply to me!

Information on Medieval/Early Modern Mask

Our first Arts and Sciences competition for this year is a mask. So I've compiled a few resources and submitted them to our Baronial magazine. So I thought it might be worthwile in posting here.

Masks were used throughout the SCA period, and fulfilled many functions. Below are some useful links and references to research about masks. Please note, the spelling “masque” was also used in England to refer to an event where people dressed up and wore masks.

Some tips for finding information:
  • Was there a particular festival or occasion in the culture you are interested in that might have used masks in its celebration? Eg mumming at Christmas
  • Were masks used in combat?
  • Did masks serve a religious function? Eg Mystery plays, funerals
  • What materials were masks made out of? Eg, linen, leather, wood, plaster
  • Try looking in period literature Eg, lots of references to masks in Shakespeare, Spencer Dante, etc
  • Twycross, Meg and Carpenter, Sarah. Masks and Masking in Medieval and Early Tudor England. Ashgate Publishing Limited. England; 2002 ISBN 0-7546-0230-3

13 January 2005

P is for Passed!!

12 January 2005

Additions to the Historical Needlework Resources Page

The following links are to recent additions to the resources at the Historical Needlework Resourcs website. I will continue adding material as I get time:

11 January 2005

Gro Pouch Finished

The pouch for Lady Gro Torstensdotter is now finished. I am happy with how it turned out. It took me a couple of hours to get the button holes done, much quicker using wool!! I am going to put it in the post today.

10 January 2005

Coptic Embroidery

If you visit the link below, there are some images of Coptic embroidery from the 10th-12th Centuries:

9 January 2005

Putting the Pouch Together

I managed to get a fair bit of the pouch done today. I cut out and put in place the red linen lining. I also got the tassels and handle put on. Looks much more pouch like now! All I have to do is put in the buttonholes in for the drawstrings. That should only take me an hour or two.

8 January 2005

Family Stuff

No sewing today. We went shopping in the morning for a birthday present for one of the step nephews. We were going to the party later that night. We also had a look at some more bedroom furniture and picked up Adam a nice chest of draws. We were able to get rid of this horrible plastic thing he'd been using. And we moved the thin cupboard he had over to my side. So I have a basically empty cupboard to fill up with stuff! Yeah.

7 January 2005

Work In Progress Blogs

Sharon over at In A Minute Ago has been discussing why people post work in progress blogs. For me there is a multitude of reasons:
  • Look at Me Factor - to be honest, there is an element of the look at me factor. I don't hang around people who are interested in needlework, so the only place I can get some positive feedback is via my blog.
  • Motivation - the blog is a way of charting my progress. In a project that might take over a hundred hours, it's easy to forget just home much progress you have made, unless you can go back and see what you have done and that you are in fact making progress. It also makes me finish projects. I am deadline driven.
  • Curiosity - I post in the hopes that it will encourage other people to post, because I REALLY enjoy looking at what other people are working on.
  • Propaganda - my focus is on historically inspired needlework, which is a pretty niche interest. So by posting about it on my blog and explaining how I do things, I am hoping to get other people interested in it.

6 January 2005


Nothing to report today. Too hot for stitching. Did a bit of scanning of stuff from old embroidery magazines. Still doing driving lessons, I go for my test next week. I just want to get it over and done with.

4 January 2005


No sewing today. We bought a new chest of draws on the weekend and I had to spend tonight re-organising to get everything to fit. I did a major cleanout of my wardrobe and gave away a heap of things to my neighbour (who was visiting to give us a try of her peppermint cream ice cream - very nice!). I managed to get all my clothes in the draws, with even a bit of room left. It will be nice having the floor of the bedroom back now!!

3 January 2005

Nearly Finished

Today I ironed the sheild section of the pouch. I managed to get rid of most of the deformation, but it isn't completely gone. However, now that the crescent is ironed, you can see the change in direction of the thread and it gives more defination to the shape. I have stitched the shield to the ground of the fabric (after putting fray stop around the edge of the shield).

I was then able to put the outline of string around the edge of the shield. I used a thick string, as I believe this will sit better than wool.

I think it looks much nicer now with the edging on. I was going to put the lining in tonight, but I just realised I don't have any cord, so no point in doing that just yet. Back to work tomorrow, so I won't be able to get the cord until the weekend.

2 January 2005

A New Low Reached

My name is Laren and today I dumpster dove for thread. Well, not quite! I was within about 10 mins of finishing the border of the pouch I am working on and I ran out of thread. I was really trying to finish the pouch before I have to go back to work. So I ended up rummaging through the scraps bin I keep next to me when sewing. I found a small length of thread that was enough to finish the trefoils on the border. Here is what it looks like.

Tommorrow I hope to get it all together.

1 January 2005

Happy New Year

Happy New Year dear readers! We had a pretty quiet night at Adam's sisters place. We made cocktails, the ice maker was a huge hit and I made up a cocktail, we're calling it a Burnt Maple Leaf! Bourbon, creme de curcao, maple syrup, lemon juice and coke!! I made sure I had plenty of water before we went to bed. We were asleep by 1.30am. Woke up about 8.30am. Feeling pretty good. We then hung around for a while then headed home. I am just doing a bit of sewing and basically just veging out.