Tuesday, September 24, 2013

It's Crap!

I bought myself a little treat today -- at least, it was meant to be a treat. I bought a small scroll frame, 4"x 8", to start work on a brick stitch needle case for myself. It cost ten bucks, and if you know me at all, that's quite a bit of money for me to pay, not to mention how unusual it is for me to buy something new, instead of waiting to find it at a thrift shop. But I was excited to start on this project tonight, and so I plonked down ten whole dollars and spent the rest of my workday happily anticipating getting started tonight.

I got home and I open the package and ... wow. What a disappointment.

First of all, one of the arms was visibly warped. Maybe once I had fitted it into the side pieces, the tension would have straightened it out, but that's not really the point, is it? It's only four pieces of wood, for crying out loud. For $10, I expect them to be straight.

Then we get into the slots in the dowels -- the ones I'm supposed to "slip fabric into" -- not likely! They've obviously not been sanded or smoothed in any way. It's just rough and horrible and waiting to snag the dickens out of my material! I got a splinter, y'all. I was going to take the pieces into my shop and sand them smooth, but then I thought, HEY. I paid ten bucks for this. I shouldn't have to do anything.

Look at it! Ugh. I was so mad, I wrote to the company and told them how disappointed I was. And I told them I would be telling you all, too -- so if you're ever in the craft store and you're looking at embroidery frames, steer clear of the ones that are packaged like this.  They're sold by a company called Kahoots, and I got this one at Michael's Crafts. I'll be returning it tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Anniversary Mini-Tapestry

I just realized that I never posted a pic for y'all of what I made my parents for their 50th wedding anniversary. So here it is!

That is just a terrible picture! How can it look so good on the camera and when I transfer it over, I realize what an over-exposed, blurry snap it is. Ugh. I apologize.

Haha, just now I thought to myself  "Oh, I'll just go take another one." But of course I can't. Because it's at my parents' house now, on the other side of the country!

I had a few lovely lines from Spenser that I wanted to embroider around the edges, but fitting the verse on was just impossible and I got frustrated and went through tons of printer paper trying to get things to fit right and be a decent, readable size, and finally I just wrote the verse on the card:

From that day forth, in peace and joyous bliss
They liv'd together long without debate;
Nor private jars, nor spite of enemies,
Could shake the safe assurance of their state.

Spenser, am I right? He's got a quote for everything.  I feel like I should tell you more about how I put the whole thing together, and the stitches I used, etc, but I have this terrible toothache that's turned into a infection-y sort of thing, and until I get into the dentist tomorrow afternoon, my brain is percolating in a delicate haze of painkillers that makes me a bit woozy. So I'm gonna go lie down. G'night! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Shirt for Dave

As we are planning to go back to Camlann for their Yule celebration, I felt I should make Dave a more period outfit. He's not so hung up on authenticity as I am, and I admit that in my love for him, I tend to add fanciful details to his things that aren't exactly in keeping with 14th century style.

Dave's only request was that I not make him braes and hose.

Thanks to the kind folks at Cloak and Daggered for this example picture.
Dave calls this the "saggy diaper butt" look, and says he'll refuse any attempt on my part to
force him into such nonsense. I bow to my lord's wishes. 
Now, I don't see what the problem is with this sexy, sexy way of dressing (although I'd think one's tush might feel a bit drafty not covered in wool like the legs are). My attempts to assure him that his nethers would be well covered by his tunic fell on deaf ears, and I know enough to choose my battles -- after all, he'll be the one driving us to Camlann! -- so he'll be wearing cotton tights under his kit, and as usual, if anyone wants to comment, well, then they can try to force him into hose.

Wait, this post is titled "A Shirt for Dave". Why am I going on about hose and Dave's tush? Back on topic this instant, madam!

What I am making Dave for Camlann is a traditional linen shirt and a woolen tunic. Shirt comes first: I pulled linen from my stash. Once I measured out, I realized the off-white stuff I had was not quite enough. I made the body, gores and gussets from that, and cut the sleeves from a scrap of white I had left over from making my wimple and veil. "No one will notice your sleeves and body don't match," I assured Dave. "You'll have your tunic on over it, and the color difference isn't that extreme." Dave looked uncertain. So I brewed up a quick tea bath and gave the sleeves a quick dip to get a closer match. They turned out matching perfectly.

As I ironed and cut and stitched, I noticed a few little stains. This happens when your linen source is secondhand tablecloths. I won't buy things with obvious dribs and drabs on them, but a speckle of this and that here and there is hard to avoid. I don't mind it on underthings. Like I say: it's not dirt, it's authenticity!

It took me two evenings, start to finish.

It's so nice to be able to work up such lovely, simple things. I wonder if the average housewife in the 14th century took any pleasure in making her family's clothing, or if it was just another chore? Of course things for babies, weddings, and fancy wear would be more likely to elicit a feeling of pride, but was there satisfaction in simple garments made well, too? I suppose it varied among individuals, just like today.

I'll be cutting the tunic from dark spruce-green wool and working on it during a vacation to visit my family this coming weekend. Until then, tell me: what have you sewn that pleases you most?  Share with us in the comments and I'd love it if you'd link pictures!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Actual conversation Dave and I had just now:

Me: Dude! You know where my tiara is?

Dave: No. Isn't it... (goes to look on bedroom bookshelf)

Me: That's what I thought, too, but it's not there.

Dave: Wait... (goes into computer room) ...It's in here.

Me: Oh, that's right. (taking it from him and nestling it on my head) I forgot. I had Wil Wheaton wearing it while he rode a shark.

Why was I looking for my tiara? Because my mother had just written to me saying that the anniversary weekend I'll be sharing with them and my brother was going to be quite casual, and she hoped I hadn't gone out and bought a new dress for the occasion. Which -- as I am the world's biggest jean-and-t-shirt wearer -- was completely unlikely, so I wrote her back saying I'd be sure to leave my elegant posh frock and tiara at home, then. 

Which of course prompted the sudden perverse urge to show up at the airport wearing a tiara. And I do have one. I got it to wear to a Zombie Prom event or something a few years back. And yes, now it lives on Wil Wheaton riding a shark.

I am a troubled queen.
Oh wait, no. Not troubled.
Squinting in the bright sunlight. That's it. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Here, check this out while I make some more stuff to show you.

It's been a very busy weekend at work, but I hate to go very long without something new for you. I know you depend on my for your entertainment, and probably clap with delight every time you see I've posted something new!

I'm a bit late for everyone traveling to Wisby, or for Pennsic, but perhaps you can just squirrel this information away for your next trip, thanks to Ask the Past.

Ask the Past has a lot of interesting, amusing stuff to share about the way folks did things in the way-back-when. Get yourself a cuppa something and take a look around!

Think Geek used to have the perfect shirt to stash in the bottom of your bag or secretly wear under your tunic in case of emergency. I can't find it on their site now, though, so here's a picture of the text. You'll have to make your own!