Thursday, September 27, 2007


I finally got the pictures of the buttons we are casting uploaded to the computer. They are so pretty and shiny!! They are made from pewter using a three -part mold. The design is a snowflake for Lord Gunnarr who is fighting for THL Lavena in Crown List in a few weeks. I'll post pics of the Meridian Cross medallion that we got cast last week. Project night is at my house this week as our normal hosts are out of town. So we've got the casting stuff here.

This is the completed button. Isn't it shiny? I put this picture in to show the size of the button. They will be used for sleeves and down the front of cotes.

This is the button again:

The back of the button showing the shank:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cool news

Jay Rubenstein has won a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award. That is just so cool! He's medieval scholar at the University of Tennessee! Too cool. Now if we could just get his genius into the SCA. Although he may be, I have no idea, but I like his writings and have followed him for some time.

In other medieval news, the Magna Carta is for sale. Hmmm, I seem to be a few million short to bid on it. NYT has a really cool interactive thingy. I'm trying to figure out the hand. It seems to be a combination of Carolingian miniscule along with a bit of early gothic and maybe something else. I can't make the font bigger to really look at it. I find it interesting that 500+ years ago this was "just a document" and was folded and probably stuffed under other papers for a while and today it is considered one of the most amazing and affirmative documentations we have on human rights. It's the foundation for even our own Declaration of Independence. All for a cool $20-$30 Million.

And this wouldn't be complete without a link to the trailer for Beowulf, Robert Zemeckis' film due out November 16th. Looks quasi fantasy, but then so is the story. It looks interesting and the cast seems well made up. Although I did find this humorous blog on the "fight scene" (You who have read Beowulf know what I'm talking about, you who haven't may need to shield your eyes.) Quod She Blog.

OK, that's all the medieval news that I have for today.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fabric Acquisition Supreme Team

Well, we were at it again. Lavena and I headed to JoAnn Sunday for another round of FASTing (has nothing to do with going without food and all about shopping for fabric.) JoAnn is having one of their 50% off their clearance fabric, including upholstery. Ooo la la did we have fun. We got there at 9am sharp only to realize that JoAnn doesn't open until 10am on Sundays. That meant we had to go to Books-a-Million and have a cup of tea and a pastry while looking through this week's sales ads (and aquire some more coupons for JoAnn- Lavena's paper had FOUR in it!)

When we finished tea, we headed back to JoAnn. Lavena picked up a few random pieces for her hubby and son. We fussed over whether the lightweight striped fabric was period, hemming and hawing about it for a while and finally decided that it wasn't as nice even as bleached muslin which we could get for less than $2 a yard. There were probably 4 bolts of this which made us go, "uh, maybe?" but decided we would stick with what we got. Lavena also picked up a nice piece of "Cody blue" linen blend for Gunnarr a new outfit for Crown List in a few weeks.

I was on a mission as I needed fabric to do some false sleeves for Emily's tudor. I snagged 5 yards of some lucious brown velveteen. This will go lovely with the burgundy kirtle and gold gown. Now to get all this going. I also picked up some gold flat braid and some cream colored pearls to do some sort of decoration on the false sleeves and head dress. I picked up another 4 yard piece of some very soft cotton for Keon a new tunic or two as well as a few miscellaneous pieces that were too good to pass up. My Big Find was some blue linen that I had my eye on last year that is embroidered with daisies. Can you say cote-har-deeeeee!! Oh baby! And at $2.50 a yard versus the $16.99 a yard it was this past spring! I need to carve out some soapstone for buttons for the cote and get Cato and Solva to cast them for me.

There was some lovely lozengy fabric that I thought would be truly awesome for Italian Ren, but passed up on it. Anyone in this area of Meridies who needs assistance shopping for fabric let me know. I'm good at spending other people's money on fabric! And I'm just 5 minutes from JoAnn (which has its faults as well as its advantages.)

In other news of the medieval, the kids and I are working on a "box project" for the Crown. They need largess to give at Gulf Wars and other inter-kingdom meetings. Phoenix Glade is working on providing them with some of this largess. We've got leather bottle and pouch making, bead making, veil pin making, and box making. The kids and I are doing the boxes. We took boxes that we bought for 66¢ a piece at Michael's and took the hardware off of them. We sanded them and stained them yesterday and today we put the first coat of poly on it. We will sand them again tonight and put the second coat of poly on them so that tomorrow we can reassemble the lids and bottoms and put them back together. Trust me, they are NOT going to look like 66¢ boxes when we are done. Amazing what a little cherry stain can do for a cheap wood box.

And speaking of wood, I have wood shoes!! Greet found 2 pair at her local thrift store and bought both pairs. One pair fit her and the other pair fit me with some thick socks on. Woot! I'm going to make a quick pair of thin leather turnsole shoes to wear with them as well and need to sand down one spot that rubs wrong on my right foot. I'm thinking seriously about woodburning my daisy into the back of the shoe. What do you think? I haven't found any documentation into doing such, but I haven't looked very hard either. I think this will be just the thing for my working women's kirtles.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Emily's First Scroll

I just had to share. I did the calligraphy and Emily did the illumination. I'm so proud of her. She's a total night owl and I woke up one morning to find the illumination on my work desk. I kept looking at it going, "I didn't do this. Where did this come from?" It was Emily!! Cooking. Scribing. Fabric. Seems to be taking after mom right fine!

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Nalbinding Tutorial

I greatly owe this to Mistress Maire from Artemisia. I promised her December of last year that I would throw one up on my blog. Hmmm. All good things?

Step 1: Assemble needed supplies: yarn, needles, scissors. In regards to the yarn, it can truly be of any weight. I've used everything from fingering weight to nice heavy lopi that came from Iceland. The difference is going to be how quickly it takes to do up. The finer the yarn the more stitches per inch (just like in knitting). The only drawback to using the lopi for socks was that it is a tad pebbly on your feet until the wool felts a bit (from being walked on). I have two needles shown. One is a simple wide eyed tapestry needle which is just fine. The other is made for me by my friend "Spoon" (his real name is TC Lowery, but his website is down.) Spoon makes hand carved wood spoons at Ren Fairs around the country and made me my lovely wooden needle from Ironwood. You don't need a lovely wooden needle made from Ironwood, but it does look more authentic when you are doing nalbinding at SCA events.

Step 2: Cut a piece of yarn that is about 18 inches long and thread your needle with one end. With the other end make a slip knot. If you don't know how to make a slip knot, Google it. It's easy.

The finished slip knot. See, that was easy.

Step 3: The general rule is "down through the working hole, up through the last two loops." For most of what you do is based on this rule. To start making nalbinding in the round take your needle down through the center of the slip not you just made. You can adjust the size easily. making it smaller as you go around. For now, leave it this size.

Step 4: Go up through the loop that was created by going down through the center hole, but don't pull it tight. Leave a bit of a loop left and hold this with your thumb and a finger (it doesn't matter which finger, just use a finger to keep it from closing all the way up). It should look something like this:

See, I'm holding the loop with my fourth (or ring) finger. You could use your index or your tall man or even your pinky if you so desired. Whatever is comfortable for you.

Step 5: Take your needle again and go down through the center of your slip knot. then come up through the loop you just made and the loop prior to that. It's hard to see in this picture, but hopefully it will help (clicking on the picture will make it bigger).

Yep, kid of hard to see, but trust me. Keep doing this (down through the center hole up through the last two working loops) until you have around 8-10 stitches on the loop. Then you can adjust the size of your slip knot. This makes your first round.

Which looks something like this.

Or this.

The second round.

Step 6: Now you are going to make your next round. There are a couple of things to remember. If you want to make a skinny tube (which I don't know why you would want to unless you wanted to make a cigar warmer or a woolen finger cot, again, not sure why you would want to) you would "sew" (for lack of a better word, since knit isn't right either) in each space. But we don't' want to make a willy warmer so we are going to "sew" about 2 in every previous row's stitch. I have found that if you do 2 in every previous row's stitch that it will be too much, so this is where you just have to eyeball it and see if you are creating a smooth increase. If you are not even with the previous round's hole then add another "stitch" in your working hole. If you are too far ahead, then decrease the number of stitches you are putting in each hole. You will get the hang of it.

This is a picture of the needle coming back up through the two previous loops.

Step 7: When you run out of yarn run the tail through a few stitches on the row previous to where you are working. You will want to go through about 3 or 4 stitches. Then to start your next row, simply run your needle through 3 or 4 stitches in the row you are currently working on, but don't pull tight. You don't need to worry about securing it with a knot or anything. It will eventually get "sewn" into what you are currently working on. Another way of starting a new yarn is to "unspin" the ends of both yarns and then respin them together. I've done it both ways and they both work. Personally I find threading it back through more time saving. Historically we are in a quandry as to actually take apart extent pieces would be a blasphemy to some and we can't tell easily which way was done.

This is how two complete rows should look.

To create a garment, such as a sock. you essentially just keep making rounds adding and decreasing stitches until you get the shape you are looking for. For a sock, you would want to go out until the circle is about as round as your foot and then you want to start making a tube by doing a stitch in every loop. The nice thing about this sort of sock construction is that you can try it on as you go (sort of like when you make toe up socks on two circular needles). When you have the tube as long as your foot (or at least up to where your ankle starts on the top, you then stop working on that piece and start a second piece (from step 2 - as you should already have your supplies assembled) and make a small cup that will fit your heel and is about as wide so that it will meet the tube you made for your foot. These pieces are simply worked together creating another tube that works it's way up to make the leg of your sock. This website has some drawings of learning nalbinding as well as sock part construction. You can leave a slit open in the front if you like. I did this to my socks, but the next pair I make I probably won't do this as it tends to flop open if you don't make a tie for it. Kind of annoying, but it isn't uncomfortable. It's just easier to get your sock on this way. Nalbinding doesn't have a lot of give to it. Although I think there is enough to put a sock on.

I love my wool socks. I like that when I wear my viking underdress and apron that I have socks that match. My friend Gunnar is sewing my viking shoes. I have them cut out, but just don't have the manual strength to be able to actually sew leather anymore. Darn old hands. I'm going to trade him some antler that I have for payment as he won't take cash.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Newest Works

These are some scrolls that I have made most recently. Oh and if you can't tell, I have a new scanner! Most of these are from bestiaries, most from the Aberdeen Bestiary. The cock is from a different bestiary, but of the same time period. I guess that was the style then, do bestiaries with boxed in pictures of animals with descriptions of them.

This is NOT a unicorn. It is called a Monocephalus. (one head with a phallus thing?)

This is from the other bestiary, the Meermanno Bestiary. I still like it. I have several others from this bestiary as well as an Icelandic bestiary that I want to do.

Back to the Aberdeen Bestiary.

You can't really tell in this one, but the white really isn't white, it is silver using Pearl Ex Powders and gum arabic. It looks much nicer in person. This one was done in the style of a 14th century Mongolian manuscript. The center actually had some sort of seal or emblem on it (half of it was obscured). This is very similar in style to Cato and my Goutte's from An Tir.

Yep Aberdeen. Uh, no it's actually Salisbury. This is for the Order of the Rising Swan. It's sort of the "teen award" which I felt very deserving of a pretty scroll. (And I know that my friend Jarrin recieved this which makes it really cool!)

The one thing that I have noticed about my work is that I am becoming braver with color and my hand is becoming much more consistant and the kerning is much better.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

My Nostepinde Experience

I've been looking lately into what tools a medieval woman would need in her collection to effectively run a household. Obviously pots to cook in, bowls to mix in, boards or tables to knead on, and a spindle to spin with. But then what to do with the wool once spun but not ready to weave or knit yet? While there is always your thumb that you can wrap a ball around, what I have found is the nostepinde (which is spelled a billion different ways) I wrote about my experience wrapping on a "homemade" (soprano recorder with the bell taken off) nostepinde on my Knitting blog. So as not to have to repeat it, you can just follow the link. It did work well and I can see it becoming much easier to use as I get used to the new exercise.

Monday, September 10, 2007

And even more Viking News

Seems like the Vikings are all in the news today. This one should be especially of interest to you fiber hounds.

Viking Queen Exhumed

More Viking stuff

Because, well, you know, Viking! (Must be said like Johnny Depp if he were a Viking instead of a Pirate).

Viking Ship found under British Pub!

Ooooo, New books

Ox Bow Books has several new books coming out that are on my definite wish list. The first is The Wooden Bowl by Robin wood which dates the turned wooden bowl back 4000 years through the Tudor period from the Mary Rose. The cost is $40.

The second is Purses in Pieces: archaeological Finds of Late Medieval and 16th Century Leather Purses, Pouches, Bags and Cases in the Netherlands (now that's a mouthful) by Olaf Goubitz. The cost is $35.

The final is Stepping Through Time: Archaeological Footwear from Prehistoric Times until 1800 by Olaf Goubitz. The cost is $65, but I understand that this is a paperback reprint of the hardback original that was much more costly.

Be sure to check out this website's other offerings as well. There are quite a few nice books in their discounted books including the Isabella Breviary for $9.98!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

My first Peerage Scroll

Here's the scroll as promised. It was matted in black and had a simple black frame aorund it. It was for The Order of the Pelican.

One down 3 to go!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I'm done, I'm done, I'm done!

I finally finished my first peerage scroll. I've got it scanned, but won't post it until after Coronation this weekend. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. It's a Celtic theme with lots of knotwork. I incorporated the pelicans into the knotwork as I felt the late period looking pelican seal looked odd on a much earlier Celtic knotwork illumination. I do have a nice achievement of arms on it, which does look a bit out of place, but it was the elevatee's request.

In other scribal news I finished a Legion of the Bear and a Rising Swan scroll and hopefully can get those scanned or at least photographed in the next day or so.

Just an update so I can remember what all I'm doing!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

i Granbý wins

OK, so between the people who responded here and responded privately, I've decided that i Granbý is what I like best. I just want this in and through. And no, Elaine, I'm not out to assimilate people (at least not openly).