Things with Strings
Long time since my last post but lots of things happening since then!
I finally finished up my purple wool hood. I’ve had the parts sewn together since summer and intended to do some embroidery and beading around the bottom, but just didn’t have the feeling to get started. I finally got the bug about it earlier this fall and finished it up just before the end of November. The embroidery is done with four strands of Splendor silk (using up some left over from an old project the Hubs did) and the beads are purple and gold glass. I like the way it turned out, especially with the little trios of French knots filling in some of the extra space. I hand-hemmed both the wool outer layer and the linen lining, deciding to not stitch the two of them together. I figured leaving them separate would allow them to hang more naturally.
Some folks in our barony have begun a project to replenish the supply of baronial award medallions and the Hubs and I have both contributed. He made a batch of lucet tools and donated them to the group for people to use and I’ve been working away making cord. So far I have about 32 cords, all about 30 inches in length. I’ve been having fun doing two-color cords, working on using up a whole bunch of yellow thread I had from a previous project. Since the baronial colors are black, white, yellow, and green I’ve been doing combinations of those, plus I got a spool of variegated black, white, and grey thread to use with solid yellow. I especially like the two-color cord made with a darker gold thread I had from Halcyon Yarn and the regular yellow crochet thread (right at about 9 o’clock in the picture). The color difference is subtle, but still nice.
Finally, a new technique I wanted to learn is tablet weaving letters. This is part of a future project I want to do for A&S – making a silk tablet-woven belt that I can use as a protege belt for garb where my later-period leather belt isn’t appropriate. I’ve had Linda Hendrickson‘s book Please Weave a Message since my birthday, but I hadn’t gotten around to starting anything since then. I finally got rolling in late October, read through the book and got my head wrapped around a few basic ideas, then warped up a quick sample band on my smaller loom. Since this is just a “getting started” piece I did something fun and wove the phrases “protege number one” and “haus lowenstolz” with a couple of decorative elements. Weaving letters is SO. MUCH. FUN.
Weaving letters is not nearly as complex as some would have you believe, though it does require having the entire pattern charted out ahead of time, with appropriate notations indicating which cards to turn which direction each time. The whole process is based on having two colors of thread in each card and turning cards either forward or back each time. One color becomes the background color while the other color forms the letters, based on the direction of turning. You do have to pay attention to where you are in the pattern so you select the correct cards to turn either forward or back each time, so it’s not as “automatic” as patterns that are just based on repeating a regular number of turns forward and back.
Just before our local canton’s Wassail, I did another band for the gift exchange. I learned a lesson on calculating warp length since I underestimated the amount of take-up that would happen and ran out of room for the decorative bit originally intended to go on both sides of the Merry Christmas phrase. I’m still pretty happy with the way this band turned out and I’m looking forward to doing more of this in the future. This is also my plan for family gifts for next Christmas – different holiday phrases such as Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays with different decorative elements. Apologies for the slightly blurry picture here – it’s tough to take a photo of a long band like this!
On a final note to this long post, I wanted to include one of the fantastic gifts the Hubs gave me for Christmas this year. Doing some other searching, I found a vendor on eBay who makes wooden weaving shuttles and…wooden tablets! So I’m now the proud owner of 24 weaving tablets made of oak. These are about 2 3/8″ square, so a little smaller than the cardboard tablets I’ve been using, which are just over 3 1/4″. I’m looking forward to trying the smaller size – with lots of cards, a big pack can be difficult to turn. These cards are nicely finished – very smooth – and a lovely golden color. I’m excited to give them a try!