Wednesday 28 September 2011

Blog Award

A few weeks back Brooke at Stitches of the Past gave me a blog award, but I’ve had so much to do and think about (not to mention how tired I am now) that I haven’t had time to thank her yet. Brooke – thank you, it’s nice to be appreciated!

The goal of the award is to spotlight up and coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers. The rules of the award are:
1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have fun!

So, the five bloggers I choose are (in alphabetical order):

There are many more bloggers I like, but many of them have already been awarded, some have more than the maximum 200 followers, and some I’m just not sure would care very much about a virtual award :)

Saturday 17 September 2011

First Try at Amigurumi

I have long been impressed with the lovely Japanese crocheted soft toys, called amigurumi. They are so cute, charming or fun, and admittedly, sometimes plain odd or weird. I have been thinking of trying it at some point, but I’m not very good at crocheting, so I never really dared. Then, last night, I was at a baby shower for a friend, and her mother had made the most darling little turtles in this technique, to be hung on a mobile for baby’s crib.

This afternoon I decided I would try. I don’t have the pattern for the turtles, so I browsed the internet to see if I could find something cute and simple as a first project. There are a lot of patterns for turtles, but I fell in love with the ones I saw at the baby shower, and will
hope to get the pattern for those. I found this duckling instead, and it wasn’t as hard to make as I’d thought.

It’s not perfect, it has a few flaws here and there, but for a first time project I’m happy with it. The colours, though I like them, are perhaps not the most interesting, especially not for a baby, for witch this is intended, but it was all I had (or was willing to sacrifice on this trial run) in my stash.

This was perfect occupation for me this afternoon, as I’m having a severe cold again, and tiresome contractions. I believe there will be more amigurumi in my future.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

Baby Shoes

In the beginning of 2009 I made a couple of pairs of baby shoes, just for fun. I made the pattern myself, and the shoes were made from scrap pieces of wool, with a linen or cotton lining. Now, it seems I’ll finally be able to put them to use.

The green pair is made from wool felt, with a flowery cotton fabric as lining, sewn together with embroidery floss, and with ties braided from the same floss. Though lined with flowery fabric, they can work for both a boy and a girl – the flowers won’t show when the shoes are worn anyway, as Tobias said.

The purple pair are made from a thinner wool fabric, lined with lilac lightweight linen, and embroidered with embroidery floss, organza ribbon and glass beads. They, too are sewn together with embroidery floss, have braided ties from the same floss, but are decorated with a bead at each end. Not baby-proof, but the shoes are so tiny, that a baby is not likely to have found her feet yet when they are worn.

These would not work for a boy, at least not in our day and age.

Since we don’t know (and don’t want to find out until it’s born) if our baby will be a boy or a girl, last week I decided to make a pair that would suit a boy. This pair is made from medium weight greyish brown wool, lined with plaid cotton shirting; again, they are sewn together with, and have braided ties from embroidery floss. They also have simple embroidery from that same floss. They could work just fine on a girl as well.

I really like these little shoes, and will very likely make more, in different sizes. I think the next pairs I make will have every piece edged with a bias strip of the lining fabric, or a matching one, before being sewn together. That could look nice.

Monday 12 September 2011

Medieval Festival at Borgeby Castle

So, as promised, here comes my account of the event the weekend before last. It went very well for the most part, but I was in various degrees of pain for much of the time, most of it in my lower back, caused by the pregnancy. Luckily it didn’t lessen my enjoyment in the weekend all that much, though it was a relief to come home again.

The location for the event was perfect, with beautiful buildings and big grassy grounds. As I said before, it had rained quite a bit during the week, so the grass was wet and the ground very soft when we pitched our tents in the dark late Friday night. We then had some pizza, stuffed our straw mattresses with, well, straw, and went to sleep.

I must say I really like our straw mattress; it is such a difference from just folding a blanket around a bunch of straw, which slides away as you sleep. It also has the additional advantage of not getting straw in all your things. My sleeping badly and waking up with pains in my back and hips had more to do with the fact that I’m pregnant and generally uncomfortable right now when trying to sleep, than with any deficiency in the sleeping arrangements.

As we woke up Saturday morning, we gradually changed into our 14th century clothes as we made and ate breakfast; porridge with apple sauce, milk, bread, butter, cheese and sausage. Some of us also had a second breakfast of leftover pizza.

Picture by Elin

As the event opened, we were all fully dressed for the Middle Ages, all our 20th century items hidden away in baskets, carry sacks or in the cars, and occupied with some period craft, cooking or fighting practice.

I, who could not help with some of the heavier chores due to contractions, spent my time hemming and marking a new towel for the company. They always seem to disappear, or getting worn out….

As I’ve said before, the aim of our group is to educate the public (as well as having a splendid time ourselves), and we had a couple of short lectures each day. One was on medieval wrestling and close contact fighting, with or without daggers or other things that could be used as weapons, like hoods and ladles. That one was a blast, even for me who don’t really care about that sort of thing.

The other lecture we had was on late 14th century clothing. I was one of the lecturers on Sunday, and we used most of the present group members outfits as examples of typical and varied details of dress. Fun, but didn’t draw quite as many people as the fight – no surprise there…. A few people were genuinely interested though, and came up to us and talked afterwards and got a closer look at materials, stitches, cut and colours.

Picture by Elin

There were two memorable events during the weekend, both involving hand guns. The first happened the first morning; the program stated quite clearly that we’d fire guns at 11 am. Somehow, the knights had missed this, and also missed the calls made of shots going to be fired. Let me just say, that those guns are loud. The result was a horse getting loose, and running wild over the field. Ooops… Luckily, neither the horse, nor any person or property was damaged. The second was at another shooting exhibition. The recoil on the guns are apparently very strong – one of the guys was shooting, next second he’s looking down into his empty hands, with a puff of smoke hanging in front of him, and the gun lying on the ground a couple of meters behind him. Someone managed to get pictures of this, but regrettably I don’t have them. I did see it happen, though, and it was hilarious. A good lesson to everyone not to stay too close to fire arms… Of course, hand guns in the 14th century looked and worked slightly differently than in later centuries, or this would not have been possible…

Picture by Elin

The rest of the festival was as you might expect a “medieval” festival to be, with nothing interesting for sale for the serious reenactor. However, if you were a five year old interested in polyester princess gowns and sequin maille, you were in the right place. We did, however, have a very good time, having set up our camp at a little distance from the rest, and having really nerdy discussions about the wages of hand gunners in the 14th century, period clothing, sewing techniques, food, armour and weapons. We made a lot of period food, which visitors were miffed not to be allowed to taste for insurance seasons.

Picture by Elin

My sister in law made herself useful, and liked, by helping with preparing the food, and looking after the four year old daughter of one of the group members. She had a good time, and she looked lovely in 14th century clothes. It was fun to have her with us.

Picture by Elin

Now we don't have any more events to attend this year - well, there will be a feast in December, but it'll be about the same time as baby is due, so we're not very likely to attend that.

Monday 5 September 2011

Our Late 14th Century Outfits

I’m working on a post of our last event, and am hoping to borrow a picture or two from some of the other members of the group. In the meanwhile, here’s a description of mine and Tobias’ outfits, all of it hand sewn. Peter, one of the group members, said we looked the part of a lesser bugher couple, which I guess has some truth to it. Tobias is wearing his blue, front laced cotehardie, green hose and a grey bag hat. I’m wearing my yellow kirtle, and over that the reddish maroon, short sleeved dress I've been working on lately, also front laced. I’m wearing a wimple and a veil as well.

The lacing on Tobias’ wool cotehardie. There are 50 eyelets, and the cord is made from finger looped wool yarn.

Eight cloth buttons on each sleeve, and buttonholes. I had some help in making the buttons from Mikael, at the event in Varberg two months ago, as I was running out of time, and he had nothing to do at the moment. Let’s just say his buttons are much nicer than mine…

The lacing on my over kirtle. It has 42 eyelets on it. Since making the cord for Tobias’ cotehardie, I learned how to make lucet cords, and this is what I use to lace my kirtle, again made from wool yarn. Tobias thought it was fun to take the picture at this angle, as it showed of the baby bump...

I was thinking long and hard on what kind of sleeves I wanted on this dress. One part of me wanted full length sleeves, but wasn’t sure how that’d look worn over the buttons on my yellow kirtle. When I looked at pictures, shorter sleeves usually had some sort of tippets on them, and that’s just not very practical for a soldiers wife working around camp. I’d seen a lot of reenactors with short sleeved kirtles worn over full length sleeves of the kirtle beneath, but you can’t use other interpreters as source material. When asking for advice, Maria pointed out that there are examples of shorter sleeves without tippets in the Herjolfsnes finds. Yes of course... I knew that. Finally some proof – I went for that.

A while back I wrote about us ordering new shoes for both of us, and pins for me, and this was our first time using our new purchases. I used my pins to secure the wimple and veil – I don’t have any proof for this, but I secured the wimple to my dress as well, to keep it in place.

Wimples are far from mandatory on married women in the late 14th century, but you can still see them on some married and widowed women of all ages even in the 15th, so I consider it safe to use. I think it looks nice, and I also find it strangely comfortable (especially on a cold, windy day...). Not that I don’t think it a relief to take it all of after an event, but in this setting, I like it.

Thursday 1 September 2011

Pre Event Sewing

I’ve had/have quite a bit of sewing to finish this week before our event on Friday. Well, it’s not been that much, I know of a few people who could pull of a whole lot more, but I haven’t really been feeling my best lately, as you know, and don’t do too good under pressure at the moment, so it’s been quite enough as it is. I had to finish my over kirtle (I finished the sleeves a couple of days ago, and as I write I’m half way through hemming it – Tobias helped me cut the hem to length last night), and then I got a little late extra sewing.

Tobias’ little sister will be coming with us, and we have had to quickly improvise an outfit for her. She has the same size in shoes as I do, so she’ll be able to use my old ones, and luckily she’s tall enough that she can wear one of my old wool cottes without alteration; it’ll do very well when tucked up over a belt, and possibly with the sleeves folded back a bit. I’m sure that must have been a common enough practice for growing children back in the days. The linen smock she’ll be borrowing however (one that is presently too tight for me…) had to have quite a deep hem put in it to prevent it dragging and being completely black after the weekend. A quick, functional, easy to take out again hemming was done two days ago.

Since autumn is coming, it’s beginning to grow cold. Some days are still very warm, but in the evenings you want something warm to wear, not to mention if it rains, and considering how the weather’s been the past week, it might. I only have one pair of women’s hose, but am trying to finish another pair in time. I made the pattern (trying to reach my foot and place pins where I wanted them proved difficult, as the baby bump was in the way), and cut out the pieces yesterday, and have started making them up today. It looks like I might get them done in time, and worst case, I was told that “there’ll be ten of us down there” and that with a joined effort, they could be done quickly on site.

As for headwear, she’s just a girl and don’t need anything for proprieties sake, but she might want something to keep her hair in order or keep warm – or just because it’s fun. I’ll bring an extra kerchief and she might borrow mine or Tobias’ hoods.

The one area where I feel a bit worried is when it comes to outerwear. None of us have anything at the moment – I have fabric in my stash waiting to be made into a coat-kind-of-thing for Tobias, but there’s no chance of getting it done before this weekend. I guess we’ll have to be pretty much stuck in one of the tents if it rains. The best we can do is to hope and pray for it not to rain, or at least not rain very much.

So, a bit busy, but very exited for the weekend! Hopefully I'll remember to take pictures of us this time, so you'll get a good look at our outfits.