Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Suitable Gift and a Giveaway!

I feel compelled to take a few small things to hand out as gifts at Camlann. I know it's odd; if I this were a trip to Disneyland, I certainly wouldn't be packing little doodads to give to Mickey and Goofy. But Camlann -- it's different. I'm just so pleased to have such a nice place within reasonable driving distance, where I can indulge my interests and not feel weird and alone. These folks get me! They understand! I like what they're doing. And I want so much for them to like me in return. Therefore, small gifts in appreciation of their hard work and vision, and as a token of friendship.

I don't have time to make anything very fancy, like small embroidered bags or linen coifs, but I think a needle book with handmade pins in it is something anyone could use. Dress pins, wimple pins, and a fancy beaded pin to decorate a hat, perhaps.

A search for "how to make medieval pins" lead me to Katafalk, and her clear, concise tutorial on how to make a period-style pins. A quick trip to the craft shop and fifteen dollars later, I had a basic set of tools for wire jewelry making and a coil of 20 gauge silver-plated wire.

Once home and in my shop, it took about ten minutes to make my very first pins.

It was very difficult to get a good picture of them, they're so shiny! I'm pleased with the results, even for a first attempt. After dinner I sat down with my bead box and made some longer decorative pins. I remembered seeing some on the Medieval Silkwork blog that had beads on them. I guess I got a little carried away and mine are quite fancy; more like hatpins. They're about three inches long (plus the beaded part) and in this picture they still need to be tempered and straightened but I can't do any of that now as it would wake the household sleeping in on Saturday morning.  What do you think? Too much? Should I reel it back to just one simple bead on each pin? I'm going to keep looking and see if I can't find some extant support for my fancy veil pins, but any help is appreciated.

I've decided to make an extra needle book and set of pins (six dress pins, four wimple pins, and one fancy beaded pin) as a prize for a lucky reader who will be chosen at random from the comments on this post, because you also get me, and understand, and hopefully like what I'm doing. Leave a comment and I will do the drawing next Friday!


  1. Third time's the charm? I keep trying to comment and it isn't posting through. To sum up: the pins are very pretty, but I personally would lean towards more simple. I haven't seen ones that fancy, though if you find some I'd love to know!

  2. If anyone else is having trouble posting a comment, please email me directly at so I can talk to Blogspot and see if there's a way to fix the problem. Thanks!

  3. Handmade pins - ok, you win. Seriously - I'm all for hacking my way to tools that are hard to find or expensive, but generally speaking, I'm going to purchase pins. :)

  4. Those are amazing! I wish I had a period dress to put those on my wimple!

  5. Either one bead, or one focal bead with a smaller accent bead or two. My two (insert small currency unit of your choice).