Sunday, November 29, 2009

First of the Tree of Life Socks for Duchess Lao.

The Tree of Life pattern is my own design; the rest of the patterns are from period sources. 100% wool yarn from Cascade Heritage.
The second sock is started and hopefully I can get it done in just a few more days. :)


Friday, November 27, 2009

New Turkish socks for Moreleigh. The pattern is from "Fancy Feet", a book on traditional Turkish socks. (Pardon the image being 90 degrees askew--I can't, for the life of me, get the thing to turn and STAY that way.) These were knitted using 100% wool Cascade Heritage yarn, Red and Black on sz. 4 DPNs. It features a different sole and heel pattern, and has the traditional triangular heel found in Turkish socks.

At Halloween, I borrowed my husband's Lao hat, took a picture, and was teased for being a HAT THIEF! I was then offered to have another hat made in trade for socks, as I had done earlier this fall. These red-and-yellow socks in progress are the new pair for Duchess Lao. The blue and white sock is simply for size comparison. Includes "Baraka" (blessings) on the foot, and Trees of Life around the ankle, which I designed, and will be repeated around the top of the sock. Yarn is 100% wool Cascade Heritage yarn, red and a skein of formerly snow-white, but now tumeric yellow, dyed in my kitchen.

The next thing that I'm considering is whether to enter a knitted item into Kingdom A&S, as a single entry not for champion. I'm going to have to go down to Weaving Works to find some supplies to make cotton socks in the Egyptian style. I'd love to also dye them with indigo, just to try it once. I'll have to do some more research on the topic.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More dye & sock experiments

Cloves - not as bright as the tumeric dye, but a beautiful mustardy yellow (it's a little washed out here due to the flash). And the wool smells lovely!

Finished the first Turkish sock tonight, though I'm not entirely happy with the heel closure. I may take it apart and re-do it. The construction/closure of the heel is unusual and I was going to follow the directions, but I chickened out on attempting it, thinking I could just crochet it together. That didn't really work, so I think I'll take that apart and try again.

This is the sock top. I just picked a pattern that looked fun.

As is traditional with Turkish socks, the sock sole is different than the rest of the sock. This can make for some really fun patterns and designs!

More later,


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Socks and Hats

Socks for the Duchess! I handed them off on Thursday--they fit beautifully! I'm so happy!

Here is the hat that was given in trade. It's absolutely gorgeous!!

I started working on my next commission, a pair of Turkish socks for a Baroness. This has been a learning experience since there are a few more new techniques to learn. The sole of the foot is different than the rest of the sock, the heel shape and structure is different, and the patterns are so much fun! The directions in the book, Fancy Feet (Zilbourg), that was loaned to me for this purpose has some rather confusing directions without any illustrations as to exactly how it's constructed--I'm making my best guess based on the written instructions and looking at the photos of finished socks...I think I can make it work. If I can, I will be writing up a paper on it and having it published in a newsletter or two. Baroness Anastasia has been urging me to write an article for the Costumer's Guild newsletter.

This is the top of the sock, which will also be the pattern on the body of the sock (by the ankle). (Don't be horrified that the photo was taken in my car--I was at a rainy soccer game...and that my feet are blindingly white.) My feet are 7" long from heel to first metatarsal, so I will have to knit the socks to at least 7" (maybe 8") for the sock's future owner, then begin the heel flap and cast on stitches for the top portion of the sock. It'll be interesting!

This is the sole of the sock--it is traditionally a different pattern than the rest of the sock, and seems to often be a smaller, more delicate design.

Dye experiment using tumeric, vinegar and alum using stuff from my kitchen. The idea first came from pickling this summer--it actually turned my plastic ladle yellow. I figured if it could permanently color my plastic utensil, I wonder what it would do to yarn? I pulled out some white yarn called "snow" that I thought would be much better as a yellow in the Turkish Sock design. They didn't have any yellow at the store, so I got the white with the intension of possibly dyeing it. I brought the ingredients to a boil, then simmered the yarn in it for about 10-15 minutes.

When finished, the tumeric dye turned a brilliant canary yellow.

Next I tried to do a dye bath using paprika. It was only partially successful--perhaps it doesn't create a very dark dye, or maybe it needed to have a different mordant.
The finished product was a little more peaches-and-cream than I would have expected.

More updates as they are created...


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Finished Socks for a Duchess

The finished socks made on commission--it took approximately three weeks to finish them and I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out! I can't wait to see the other half of the trade...


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Making socks for Duchess Lao.

Finally finished the first sock! It's taken me quite a bit longer to make this pair than it did the first one, but it's the beginning of the school year and there are a lot of things going on.

I have started the second sock, as you can see from this picture--only the size of a half-dollar here--and have increased it slightly today, including all the stitches I will need for the foot, but not beyond.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Finished Egyptian socks

Finally put the last stitches on it last night and made the garter this afternoon.

I'm not sure if I would do anything differently...maybe add more stitches earlier in the increases over the calf to fit a little better. I started increasing every 4th row starting after the zig-zags at the ankle, but I might do every third row for a while, then every other row until I reach 104 stitches.

I've been asked to make a pair on commission by a well-respected artisan...I'm pretty jazzed about that!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Sock Done!

First Egyptian sock finished today. The second sock has been started, but it'll be several days before it's done. Garter is attached in the back--a five loop fingerloop braid. I don't know if it's period for that pattern or culture, but it was quick and easy.

Here it is worn by me. I see now that I needed a couple more stitches through the middle where those diamonds are a little less square...too late now. Maybe if I lose a bunch of weight it'll be less noticable. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sock Update

Making some serious progress on the Egyptian sock. After a few stops and starts, I was able to turn the heel and start increases to fit over my calves. Spindley legs do NOT run in our family.

I may even finish it in the next couple of days. The trick will be to see if the yarn reaches the end of the pattern, and if I can make another one just like it.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Toe Up!

While I was working away on the new knee-high socks...I got distracted by the ecru and navy wool that was just sitting there...taunting me... Yooo-hoooo!

I went ahead and cast on 120 stitches for a top-down Egyptian sock...but doing a bit of cruising on my favorite blogs revealed that there are other crazed SCAers who are recreating these socks. One was on display in the Sock Museum at the recent Sock Summit in Portland, OR which Heide kindly photographed for me. I recently joined the Historic Knit list which started discussing the Sock Summit, and decided to post a question about the sock pattern, if anyone had a copy that I could compare my first attempt with theirs. Not surprisingly, I received a couple of responses, including from the maker of the sock on display, and the author of the pattern she used!

My pattern that I created based on looking at the extant piece was very close to the pattern from Ellen Perlman that I was referred to. However, while my first attempt was a top-down, this was a toe-up sock, which I had never tried before. She recommended using Judy's Magic Cast On method for toe-up socks, which was taught at Sock Summit, and the directions can be found on, so I had to try that! I followed the directions and after a few attempts, got it to look like the photos. Success!
So today I learned how to start a toe-up sock, as well as a new cast-on method, as well as trying a two-color sock, as well as trying to recreate the Egyptian socks. It's been a day of firsts!
So how are the socks coming, you ask? So far, so good! They're a little bit big, but because they're wool, I may be able to shrink them if necessary. Maybe size 3 needles would have worked better? Or four repeats instead of five? We'll see when they get closer to being I just have a toe-cozy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

False Start. Redo. Chirka!

After some extensive trial & error...mostly error...I put together the ziri qaba. And hated it. I threw it aside for now...I may be able to salvage it for a later over-layer, but I'm going to back-burner it for now.

Out of frustration and in need of more inspiration, I did some more research and came across a great site. It's owned by my former Apprentice-Sister--listed to the left under "Agnes Cresewyke". She has a series of photographs of the layers of her Turkish garments and I decided this is what I want to make. First, I have to start with the chirka!

I also referred to Laurellen's site, The Renaissance Tailor, and found her notes on Eastern European clothing. I got some new muslin (used up that other bolt), and started fresh. With some minor modifications on the side gores and armpit gussets, I think I've got a winner!

Changes I will still make from this mock-up:

  • I will need to cut the pieces 5" longer front and back--one of the side gores is the length it should be--the front and back panels were too short. It should end just above the knee.

  • I also need to add width the front gores for extra skirty fullness.

  • I will probably add another gore in the center back for MORE fullness across the tooshie.

  • Sleeves can be a little shorter--it should be just above the elbow.

I pulled out some heavy weight linen and some medium weight cotton...though I'm thinking that the linen is *too* heavy. Maybe I'll just use the muslin after all for this first go-around.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hammer Time!

Today it was a day to make my salwar--Hammer pants!

They're pretty simple. First, I measured from my waist, over my bum to the floor while bent over. This is the way they suggest doing the measurement on this site. That's the length.

The width, according to the directions, should be 45" wide, right off the bolt. The first pair I made for Kelly seemed WAAAY too big, so I reduced it by 10"--so each piece is 35" wide, folded in half.

Then you measure down 13" on the long side, and 15" over on the short side. Mark those two points, draw a line, and cut. Then you flippy-floppy the cut piece for gores--the 90 degree angle should be at the crotch side.

Sew the gussets onto either side of each leg, then fold right sides together for each leg and sew down the triangular gussets to the ankle. Then turn one leg right-side out, insert into the other, line up the seams and sew the crotch together. Make a casing for the waistband, put in a drawstring or elastic, and PRESTO!

Hey, do these Salwar make my butt look big?

The next challenge is this coat. I did a bunch of measuring, doodled the cutting layout, measured some more, scratched my head, mumbled curses under my breath, and eventually started cutting...into muslin of course! I have all the pieces cut out and will make a prototype tomorrow.

Between the two pairs of salwar, the pirihan and the ziri qaba, I went through half of a bolt of muslin in two days.

If all goes well, I'll take the muslin ziri qaba apart, note all the measurements, and use those parts as a pattern on the chocolate stripe fabric. HL Donwenna wrote from Afghanistan and offered to find me a scarf to go with it. I'm thinking yellow--like a butterscotch gold.

Then I'll need to find a dozen buttons or so for the front of this garment.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Costumer's Guild Challenge Part I

Part one of the Middle Eastern garb ... the 'kamis' or 'pirihan', aka Chemise, aka Shirt! This is the dress that will be worn under the other layers. It's supposed to be a lighter weight cotton fabric; more sheer than what I used, but this muslin is what I had on hand and what I usually use for testing out patterns. Clearly, I haven't finished the seams and the middle section was cut several inches too long--whoops. This isn't intended to go to the floor, but that's how I measured it. I'll have to trim it back then measure the actual length so I can cut it correctly next time. Very interesting construction--all rectangles except the bits trimmed off the ends of the sleeves, which are sewn into the tops of the sleeves by the armpits. Creative...

I copied this from an extant 14th century Persian pirihan. While it's beautifully preserved, the neckline is unfinished, so I am unsure how to proceed with finishing mine. Sir John Chardin, b. 1643, travelled to the Middle East and wrote extensively on his observations of clothing and textiles, said that this type of undergarment would have been "open to the navel" on women, but closed with a little button at the hollow of the neck. I suppose that would make for very easy & convenient breast feeding.

I just noticed, however, how freaking long the sleeves are on the extant piece. Weird.

Well, we'll just say mine is "working wear".

Next will be the Salwar (baggy pants). I found a great pattern for it from someone in the East Kingdom. I'll have to measure my now hobbling hubby and see if I can't make a pair of pants that he won't rip to shreds. Then I'll try myself.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Costumer's Guild Challenges

I have achieved Junior and Senior Student in the Costumer's Guild, and now am inspired to complete the next level: Journeyman!

This is a much more arduous journey, man... :) "...designed to demonstrate a broad knowledge of costuming within the SCA period."

If you aren't familiar with the challenges, this level requires the entrant to create 10 pieces in a wide variety of cultures and time periods. Simply put, you must make ten items, at least two in each of these four categories:

  • Teaching/writing
  • Garments
  • Accessories
  • Other (such as service, classes taken, etc.)

That totals 8 items, so the last two can be in any of the four categories.

Within those categories, the subjects have to be from different time periods and cultures to show a breadth of knowledge. You cannot enter more than two items in the same culture or time period.

I would like to do some knitting using ancient Islamic patterns, make some Viking clothes (both early period women's and 12-13th c. men's), a Mongolian jacket and pants, some weaving -- either inkle (two-shed weaving) and/or card weaving, hat making, and a couple new pieces for my Flemish gear, like a lightweight partlet, a jacket, and other accessories. That should give me plenty of pieces to complete the Journeyman level in the Costumer's Guild. I only hope that I will be happy with the way they come out. My deadline to complete them is January--or next July. I think I'll decide by December whether or not to delay it until Summer.

So far, the items I have completed are:

Socks, British Isles, 1550-1559 - complete with fingerloop braided garters.

Tunic, Scandinavia, 1200-1399
*I may end up doing another tunic start to finish--they sew up pretty quickly and I can be sure to take the time to finish the seams, etc.

Monday, July 13, 2009


In an effort to keep track of my SCA accomplishments, I have created this resume. Some dates are estimates, as this was rebuilt using my memories and back issues of newsletters.

OP Listing
Elewys Cuylter of Finchingfield - Highest Award: Goutte de Sang Branch: Aquaterra
  • Acacia (Shittimwoode) 3-Apr-1993 AS 27
  • Award of Arms 16-Jul-1994 AS 29
  • Goutte de Sang 19-Apr-1997 AS 31
  • Lector Ithra 18-Apr-1998 AS 32
  • Bunny's Crook (Shittimwoode) 24-Apr-1999 AS 33
  • Golden Acacia (Shittimwoode) 20-Apr-2002 AS 36
  • Red Flame 9-Apr-2005 AS 39
  • Silver Dolphin (Aquaterra) 20-Sep-2008 AS 43

  • Senior Apprentice to Mistress Ariel de Courtneay, OL, 1996 - present
  • Officer oath taken with Their Excellencies, Hauk & Rosamund, Aquaterra, January 2009

Offices Held
  • Seneschale - College of Wisdom's Keep - 1990-91
  • Chatelaine - Shittimwoode 1991-1994
  • Gold Key - Shittimwoode 1991-92
  • Registrar for Ithras in Shittimwoode - 1994? (98 for sure) - Jan 2005
  • Chronicler - Shittimwoode Sep 94 - Summer 97
  • Stock Clerk - Shittimwoode Nov 98-Jan 99
  • Exchequer - Shittimwoode Apr 99 - Feb/Mar 2002
  • Farspeaker Publisher - Dec 1997, Jan 99, oct 2000, 2001
  • Tir Righ Census Administrator, Shire of Shittimwoode, Feb 2001
  • Tir Righ/Northern Principality sub-committee; calendar committee, 2001
  • Shittimwoode Baronial bid committee 2001
  • Chancellor-in-Training for Ithra in Shittimwoode (Lions Gate Campus) - 2001 - 2005
  • Chancellor of Ithra - Borderlands campus (16 sessions) - Jan 2005 - present
  • Arts & Science Minister - Barony of Aquaterra - Feb 2008 - present

  • Town Faire II - College of Wisdom's Keep - September 1989
  • Sir Edward's Tourney - Shire of Shittimwoode - early 90s
  • Crown Council - Shire of Shittimwoode - during the reign of Jarl Hwolf & Countess Louisa, Fall 1995
  • Sixteen Ithra sessions as Chancellor of Ithra, Borderlands Campus (2005-2009)

  • Make Yourself a Bog Coat - 4 cr. - 9.10.05 at Medieval Village Ithra II
  • Bog Coat Construction - 1 cr. - 3.22.08 at Shittimwoode Spring Ithra
  • Making a Bocksten Bog Style Tunic - 2 cr. - 4.5.08 at Aquaterra Spring Ithra
  • Beginner's Knitting - 2 cr. - 4.25.09 at Sir Edward's Tourney Ithra
  • Bobbin Lace - Shire level class - July 22, 1996
  • Hat Making - Shire level class - Nov 19, 1998

  • Newcomer's/Open House/Costuming nights - hosted - several years in and around 1995
  • Hosted Shire garage sales (1993 at Cherrywood, 1995 at Valencia, 1999 at Rusley)
  • Hosted Planning Meetings - including, but not limited to, Oct 98, Oct 2000
Organizational Events
  • Iron Needle - Banner War 08, Good Yule 09, Boar's Hunt 09
  • Demonstrations at Ursulmas 09
  • Contests - Boar's Hunt 08, 09; Ursulmas 09; Good Yule 09;

  • Made a canvas tent - 1996 (30 Year Celebration) used for three seasons
  • Author of "The Wilde Hare", a column in the Bunny Tales, the Shittimwoode newsletter (1994-1997)
  • Entered Northern Region's first Arts Championship "tourney" - 1997 (didn't win, but didn't come in last either)
  • Ursulmas costume contest abt. 1998 - Man's Wool Surcoat - and won!
  • Calligraphy entered in Ursulmas A&S contest abt. 1998 - and won!
  • Entered Ursulmas A&S contest 2009 - placed in the middle somewhere

Donations to Largesse

  • Bobbin lace - 1996 - ultimately given to King & Queen of Drachenwald, who, by coincidence, were old friends Garrick and Talitha from Shittimwoode.
  • Elizabethan coif - 1999?
  • Inkle Loom trim in An Tir colors (abt. 5 1/2 yds.) - 2008

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A place for my stuff

I decided it was time I had a blog for my SCA creations. Why not? It'll serve as a Journeyman's Journal and an SCA resume.

So here's me. I joined the SCA in the early months of 1990 and attended my first event at Sir Edward's Tourney during the reign of Thorin and Angharad.

I have held several offices in the past for the Shire, including Chatelaine, Chronicler, Exchequer, and Stock Clerk. I also served as Seneschale of Wisdom's Keep for a few months until it closed (inadequate membership numbers). I autocratted a few events, including Town Faire (AS XXV?) and Sir Edward's Tourney.

Ariel de Courtenay saw promise in my artistic endeavors and took me on as a student in 1996. Upon her elevation to the Laurel, I became her senior apprentice.

I was trained as Registrar for the University of Ithra under the guidance of Viscountess Amanda Kendal, and was later elevated to the Chancellor of Ithra for my campus in January 2004.

I moved from Shittimwoode to Aquaterra in late summer 2007 and began attending Baronial meetings as soon as possible. I soon took the office of Minister of A&S for the Barony in March 2008.

I have been making my own garments since I began. In about 2000, I decided I much preferred the Flemish style garments from the mid-1500s for comfort and style. Here are a few things I've created for SCA use.

Recently I began knitting socks and it occurred to me that knitting was period, and found the pattern on a web site for Eleanor of Toledo's stockings. While the pattern didn't work (for many reasons), I modified it to create a cuff and knit the rest of the sock to fit my legs. I used a not-very-period varigated purple in a fingering weight yarn, just for fun.

Then I tried to make some in a more period colorway...thus my hot socks. Knitted on size 1 needles.

Nightcap, made from Cascade 220 wool yarn.

Another "Elven" nightcap, made for the family members for Christmas portraits, but will be useful for An Tir camping, too.

Dye stuff experiment with Onion skins. Yarn on left is the "before" color; left is, obviously, after. My hands were about the same color as the yarn on the right when finished. :)

Weaving on the Inkle Loom in An Tir colors. It was donated to largesse.

Making a small banner for my office.

Needleworked a badge for the Costumer's Guild with two beads sewn on to indicate my achievement.

A pilgrim bag with antler button for holding all my goodies.

I've made children's garments, too. Young son, Benno.

Sorry--it's crooked, but it's the best picture I have of the entire tunic. And he sure is handsome!!

Two gowns and a "bog" coat (not period construction, but it's quick and has a passable silhouette.

I love the simplicity and ease of making a period rectangular constructed garment.

Middle kid, daughter, Lottie.

Unfinished experiment - Nalbinding the Oslo stitch.

I have lots more, but this is a good start to show the breadth of my interests and abilities.