Thursday, August 28, 2014


I have found my inspiration for the Manuscript Challenge. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. I wanted something different from what I normally make but I didn't want to get too intricate for fear of frustration/losing interest halfway. I looked through thousands of pictures online and in books. Here are some of the things I considered.

Anything in this picture would have been good. I was looking for things that I could make out of fabrics already in my stash, so the brown tunic and red stockings of the shepherd caught my eye. I figured I could do a blue overdye on some red wool to make the purple for the hood -- I read that was sometimes done back in the day to imitate the expensive purple that only the wealthy could afford to wear. But tunics and hoods are pretty basic, so I decided I'd keep looking.

This fellows jaunty red and green outfit with tan hose was another option. But again, it's just a tunic, really, and that's too easy.
In case you're wondering, yes, that critter is biting off his testicles. Although it looks like a wolf, it's actually meant to be a beaver. They were hunted for their testicles, which were said to have medicinal purposes. The crafty beaver, when pursued, would bite off his man-bits and leave them behind. The hunter, having gotten what he was after, would stop the chase. See how that fellow in red is holding testicles? See how the critter at the top of the page is scampering painfully away? Pure malarkey, of course. But it makes for an interesting discussion with your children at the museum.

This was me being a little silly. I thought it might be a laugh to make dragon pants for myself and top it with a tunic. From what I've read in various places, half-human, half-animal portrayals like this were meant to represent either demons or foreigners who were not Christians, their primitive beliefs betrayed by their animalistic, not-quite-human shapes. Travel over long distances in this time was rare for the common rural man, and a great deal of artistic license was taken by scribes to portray the people and animals that existed in faraway lands. I still might make this outfit someday. Imagine me showing up at Camlann in it!

This one was a strong temptation. That Armenian king looks awesome! What stopped me? Well, I haven't enough blue wool, so I'd have to buy some. I want to avoid that, since I have a closet full of perfectly nice wool I'd like to use up -- just not blue, since I made that last dress. The gold armor I was going to recreate in leather, and shine up with a little gold Rub'n'Buff, but I'd have to buy leather to have enough, and so I set this picture aside for another time.

Finally I chose this fellow in light brown. It's from a "comic strip" panel telling the story of St George and the Dragon. The robe of caramel-colored wool is generously cut with wide sleeves that ends in a snug cuff. There's a border at the cuffs and bottom hem that looks like a band of different material with an embroidered design. I'll probably make the border on the hood a less ornate version of the hem and cuff.

Okay, that's it for now. I need to figure out my pattern next, making sure to stay within the amount of fabric I have -- which may be more of a challenge than finding the perfect picture was!  Stay tuned!

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