Quote from D. Gackenbach

Friday, April 27, 2012

Plan Ahead?


Hey, I just realized I can't see the back of my head.  I guess I should have thought of that BEFORE I decided to cut my hair...

I Am Useful

Earlier today, or possibly late last night, or both,  I was complaining to my husband about my complete, and utter lack of motivation.  I was waxing poetic about how I have no ambition and it troubles me, blah blah blah.  Then I proceeded to trace out the lovely pattern I wanted to embroider on my skirt (to go with the bodice I finished yesterday while recovering from the stomach flu).  And in the process of laying the first few stitches it dawned on me that I am VERY ambitious.  I may not have "goals" in the traditional sense, you know making money, saving the planet, being remembered for my amazing contributions to society, but I DO STUFF.  There, I said it, I validated my existence, I do stuff.  In fact I MAKE stuff, yeah, that's right I make all kinds of stuff, and I like it.  So, next time I get all, "woe is me, I'm a useless skin sack,"  I will try to remind myself that I'm a valid use of space, I make things, and that is something, dare I say, special...

So here is a quick pic of the bodice, please forgive the dummy, she isn't as voluptuous as me, and a close-up of the embroidery project.  By the way the embroidery pattern comes from Kathryn Goodwyn's amazing work Flowers of the Needle.  Go check that out, it is an amazing FREE resource.

Slightly Modified Butterick B4669

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Medieval Garb Goodness!

Saturday I went to my first ever SCA event.  I love costuming and I was lucky enough to have the time and resources to make garb for myself, my husband and our son.  I thought it might be fun to share all the layers that went into my garb, so here is a description of the goodies and some pictures.  My drawers have an embroidered hem and hand woven belt, the camisa has embroidered sleeves and neckline, the saya encordada is made of bright sky blue linen in honor of my name (Celeste is a color), the pellote is teal linen with hand woven trim and hand sewn hems, the leather belt I made out of strips of very soft leather riveted together (it isn't very functional and will need a stiff backing if I want it to last), my veil, barbette, and band are hand hemmed and kept in place with seven beaded straight pins, my drawstring pouch is embroidered and beaded linen, the wool cloak is trimmed with rabbit fur, the red wool socks are from target, and my clogs are by Dansko.

And just for fun here are pics of my lords.  My hubby is wearing a green linen tunic with hand woven trim and hand sewn hems, a cotton chemise with laces, a thrifted pair of black leggings, a lovely hand woven cotton scarf given to me by a dear friend, a brown leather belt (previously used for a tool belt) and Doc Marten boots.  My son has a dark green tunic, cotton chemise, thrifted linen pants, brown leather boots, a gifted belt, and an amazing velvety cloak made by my friend Elizabeth Jennings (to see more of her goodies go here). 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Epic Fail, Followed by Success!

Sometimes when I pick up a new craft it reminds me of reincarnation.  I feel as if my hands have done this new thing a thousand times before.  I wonder if that is what instinct in animals feels like, if a bird flying south for the first time has the same feeling as me with a loom in my lap.  I wonder if humans have developed any sort of instinctual connection to old crafts... and then I have another cup of coffee and do some dishes and get back to normal, shallow, everyday thoughts.  Other times I can't figure out a new craft to save my life!  Today was one of those times. 

I ordered cards for tablet weaving when I ordered my loom and I have been waiting like a kid on Hogfather's for them to arrive.  I opened them and got to work the second they arrived today, around 11 am.  They were so cute and innocent! 

 I read the instructions I had printed from the internet, and a booklet I had picked up for parents and children.  I thought, how hard could it be? Children as young as 5 can do it, the booklet says so.  Apparently I am not as capable as a kindergartener.  By the time my son got home from school I was ready to cry and throw things!  These lovely photos show you the mess I made.  Pattern?  What pattern?  I simply couldn't get it working.  So frustrating...

Then something clicked, I had my aha moment, I figured out where I had gone wrong and suddenly the patterns were there, like magic!  I was so excited.  I made a sampler of four different patterns and they all worked out beautifully!  I can't wait to make some trim tomorrow when my brain is fresh enough to warp the loom again.  I do love learning, it just goes to show you the old "try and try again" is true as ever.  Good luck in your own learning endeavors.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thrift Haul

Sunday was a thrifting day at my house.  I went out after lunch to grab some leggings for my boys at the SVDP 99 cent sale.  That went well, I got the hubby some nice stretchy pants and my son some perfect linen drawstring  pants, and a pair of leather sandals, all to wear with their medieval garb.  I also found an awesome tankard for $2.99!  We have been talking about getting a set of these so we can have medieval beverages in style, but they run at least $20 each new, so this was a great find.  When I got home and showed off my new treasure it sparked my husband's inner thrifter, so we went back out looking for more goodies. 

At the Goodwill we found a leather weight lifting belt hand tooled with a dragon image (this is now a part of my son's armor.  We also got a wooden bowl and a metal bowl, both good for medieval potlucking, and a ceramic goblet, all together about $15. 

Next we hit the ever popular Value Village and I found two matching tankards for $3.99 each!  The mugs had a f-ugly engraved plaque on the front but my hubby has a grinder so, no problem.  I also found a pair of silver champagne flutes, my husband reminded me we don't drink a lot of champers, I think they will be great for mead, so we got them anyway.  We also picked up some timberland boots for my son to wear in combat, and a pair of creepers for me.  We actually spent too much money at the Village, but it was the shoes, so it doesn't really count, right? 

Picnic Time!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Learning to Weave

So I read through the manual, warped my loom and made a short piece of trim last night.  I had a few mistakes, mostly due to my poor heddles.  I could have used a little more info on the process of making the heddles, mine were initially too loose, but I figured that out as I worked and have corrected for it with a new set this morning.  I used the first piece for my hubby's tunic.

This morning, before my coffee, I warped the loom to try out a band for my own garb.  I am thankful for my husband's keen eyes because I almost warped my loom wrong twice.  Next time coffee first.  But here it is all warped and ready to go.  The last photo is of the band I made, it ended up shorter than I need for my sleeve openings, I thought 6 feet would do it, but I will have to do 8, maybe this will be a belt.  The pattern is called Egyptian Key, it is pretty.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

New Loom!

Well today I finished hemming my veil and my barbette by hand, and then I made a quick machine stitched band for my forehead (this won't show, so I gave my aching thumb joint a break).  I think the hems turned out nice, they aren't as tiny as some people can manage, but it is a good first effort and I am very pleased.  I also glued some beads on  my "pearl" headed pins so I can have pretty veil pins, they aren't super authentic, but I like them so, oh well.  Pictures of these items on me will have to wait because, drum roll please, my new loom arrived!  I have been waiting for the UPS man all day, I have a cup of tea and a manual, time to get cracking...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Okay, because this blog is where I process my life I must, on occasion, have a moment of brutal honesty with myself, and obviously with you.  I may not be mentally prepared for my new hobby.  There, I said it.  The SCA encourages some of my deepest crazy... historical accuracy and authentic detailing. 

I am working on my first complete set of garb, with the intention of wearing it to an event in less than two weeks time.  I am also making garb for my husband and my son.  You could say time is of the essence.  However I have chosen now to practice my hand sewn rolled hems!  Yesterday I hemmed most of the raw edges on my pellote, and it looks amazing!  I told myself I would only do that one piece as a practice before I hem my veil (which OBVIOUSLY requires hand sewn rolled hems, LOL).  Now I can't help thinking I could hem it all by hand and it would be SO much more authentic. 

Let's not forget that tomorrow my new loom arrives and I want to make "some" trim.  I will need at least 20 yards, but I figure I will only do the most important bits before Sir Edward's Memorial Tournament.  The rest can be added later, right?  Oh, and I will need a pouch to carry my goodies, something simple, well simple with fringe, and embroidery, and beads!  I'm in trouble, but it is so much fun!

Inspiration, or Crazy Instigation?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Spring Garb in Progress

My basic pellote (a medieval over dress) is now complete as well.  My little loom will be arriving this week and then I can crank out the trim I need to finish these dresses!   I have the fabric for my veils, but I haven't actually done anything with it yet (in these photos you can see I just draped it on).  I am hoping to complete this outfit in time for the Sir Edwards Memorial Tournament in a couple weeks.  This will be our first event and I am really excited!  I am also making all the garb for my boys, and I went with linen in various shades of blue and green, plus some quilted mint green cotton for my sons gambeson.  I will update with pictures of their stuff if I can, something tells me I might be crunched for time...  But on to the photos!  I had my sweet hubby snap a couple shots in our backyard this morning, please remember these are rough pieces, no trim or hems on yet, but I think the overall shapes turned out lovely.

You can see my inspiration here and here.  There are some amazing resources on the web and I was even able to find some photos of extant garments that were clear and detailed, I haven't included them here because I don't own them, but I'd be happy to point you to them if you are interested.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Garb in Progress

My saya (a form of under dress from medieval Spain) the basic form is complete, now I will be adding trim and hemming the edges, woohoo!

Friday, April 6, 2012

I'm Not Dead Yet...

Spring Break has kept me busy with family obligations and fun, but I wanted to post some quick photos of my underwear.  Yep, you read that right.  I wanted to share my underwear.  I have just finished my drawers and camisa, these are the first items for my SCA persona.  I am working on an entire outfit patterned on the clothing of 13th century Spain.  I am inspired by the mix of cultures in the Kingdom of Castile during the Middle Ages, so my garb will be a mix of Spanish and Moorish elements.  I admit to being really geeky, and really excited!

My favorite part about these undergarments is the embroidery.  I created basic stars on the sleeves, inspired by my name (which I will only alter slightly for the SCA to Celestina Maria), and used portions of Paula Kate Marmor's wonderful FREE Elizabethan Blackwork pattern database (Blackwork may technically be Elizabethan but it is rumored to have been inspired by Spanish embroidery, and sources do show black embroidered designs on period camisas, so I took the leap).  I used coral beads to embellish Marmor's pomegranate design on the cuff of the drawers, and you can't see it in the pics but I wove a red wool drawstring to tie the waist.  So pretty!