Sheesh, it’s been forever since I’ve done a blog. (I need to keep this thing up more regularly.)
So, the last year, I’ve been studying Hebrew and this past Friday night I did an adult Bat Mitzvah with my mom and 4 members of the Hebrew class. It’s a pretty amazing experience and the study of Hebrew and the prayers and my Torah portion took a fair percentage of my free time. Now, though it’s time to clear the decks and get my scroll backlog cleaned up.
I’m working on this scroll, it’s really not the top priority scroll on my list, but it’s the one that calls to me the most right now to get it done.
Here’s the rough layout. I need to do a little more clean-up on it. The vines will be white with grey shading. The background will be an ochre color. The flowers will all be natural (more or less).
Here’s the latest calligraphy practice. I think I ought to practice the entire text 2-3 more times before putting it on the good paper. I’m planning on using pergamenata for this one. I’m really looking forward to painting it! Continue reading
Stitching continues. I’m almost finished with the outlining and a couple of leaves are done. Plaited braid is moving around the curve. Cornflower is started. Progress being made.
Work continues on the sweetbag. It’s slow going but bit by bit things are filling in.
One thing that I will remember next time: It’s a lot easier to do the outlining in black thread if the design on the linen is in a different color. So better to use a sepia colored pen or a grey pen or something. Stitching black on a black line is just confusing.
I also put the first little bit of plaited braid on the sweetbag, and it might have been easier to do that before the outline. The plaited braid was a little nerve wracking and following the curve is a little awkward. Hopefully I’ll get better with more practice.
People sometimes ask me why I’m all over the map on the stitching. The answer is, I get bored if I do all the outlining first and wait until the very end to do all the background stitching. So, I tend to alternate between black, color threads and metal threads. It might not be the best method, but it keeps me from getting bored.
Here’s the sweetbag to date and the first bit of plaited braid.
Sometime back in May, I promised I would finish my sweetbag this year. Of course, I promptly forgot that promise and was off doing a zillion other projects. The end of the year is awfully close, but there is an arts competition in January that might make a good (but tight) new deadline. Right now the sweetbag is half-stitched.
I need to finish stitching it, then do all the finishing work, including pulls and cords and tassels. I don’t know if I can finish all that in less than 2 months, but at least I will have made progress.
I’d like to make the second half a bit more complicated and use plaited braid stitch for the coiled vines. I took a class back in June with Melinda Sherbring and plaited braid was one of the stitches that was covered. I thought I had it down at that time, but alas, it kept turning into a hot mess.
So back to basics. I found a Mary Corbet YouTube video online and studied that for awhile. It’s located here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GesMsKhvXo
Then I tried the stitch on plastic needlepoint canvas with a large needle and pearl cotton until it began to make sense.
As soon as I started trying it on my linen with Benton and Johnson gold thread I had problems. I went back to the video several times, and kept practicing. One of the problems I have is I tend to twist my needle which in turn twists the gold thread. I need to remember to let it untwist after every couple of stitches. Also, I have to remember not to cut my thread too long. I think I’ve got it now (at least in theory) and will try it on the sweetbag next.
So when a friend contacts you and says their husband needs a banner for a weekend elevation, (and they are both dear friends) of course you say yes.
Most of the banners that I’ve made for the SCA were silk, painted with dyes and then steamed and all of those were done via workshops run by Phillip and Rebecca. I knew I didn’t have time to do that (I’d have to buy the materials and build some kind of steamer, and some supplies would have to be mail-ordered.) Another option was applique but that seemed like it would also take longer than I had. So the last option was to paint a banner.
I bought a couple of yards of white cotton canvas duck (mostly for emergencies, I used less than 1/2 yard). And I bought acrylic paints (way more than I needed). I considered buying fabric paints but they are rather more expensive and didn’t seem better than the acrylics. I probably could have bought one each 2 fluid oz containers of black and red and had enough.
Working from a couple of different versions of Diego’s arms, but mostly this one:
I needed to scale up a shield-shaped template (from a different project) to banner-size. I got some brown paper, traced around the outside of my template, added about 5 inches all the way around, then after consulting with heralds as to the height of the chevron) I sketched in the chief and chevron for the arms. I tried to do it mathematically, but ended up really just eyeballing everything and ended up with this:
Next I made a template for the clubs and the ermine tails (also noting that the spots for the ermine tails go on top not on the bottom) and traced the design and charges on to the canvas duck with a light tablet:
I did a little testing of the paint on a scrap of the canvas duck and decided to dilute the paint a little bit with water. A couple of evenings painting and I was done:
Then I cut out a lining for the back of the banner, leaving enough extra material to fold over for a rod pocket. I think I would do that part differently next time. I had to do some weird things to sew under the raw edges. But finally it was finished:
And that’s Banner Time!
In modern life, there is only so much time for creative projects. I probably ought to be working on a different embroidery project (which has a pending deadline) or on scroll projects (which also have deadlines), but I promised myself this embroidery project would be done this year. I’ve been working on it a little bit each day to further that goal.
So, Ta Da! The sweetbag is now half-way stitched.
The photo doesn’t show how shiny the silver and gold are. Trust me, the stuff just sparkles in the sun.
I figure I’m about a 1/3 of the way done with this. I have to stitch the front side and then I’ll have to do the construction, including tassels, cords and pulls which mostly are done in techniques I have very little experience in.
I’m pretty happy with my progress thus far.
This piece of embroidery is now completely done. Now I have to decide what to do next.
Some artsy/crafty projects can be done while watching television, some can’t. Some artsy/crafty projects have to be done at a table, some can be done anywhere.
I need to be doing some scroll work, but I also have a sweetbag I really want to finish and some embroidery for collar and cuffs for a new shift. And then I really want to make a new kirtle as well as finding a doublet I started and working on Pentathlon projects and reading about Elizabethan culture and and and there isn’t quite enough time in the day to do all of it (though I should have more free time in the next few months.)
I think my embroidery project will be to finish the sweetbag. That’s been on the to do list for far too long. I also want to make some things to wear for Known World Heraldic and Scribal Symposium so those will go need the top of the list as well.
Best get started then!