It’s been a busy month since I last posted, but I’ve been working on quite a number of different items in that time, mainly leading up to the Val Day event on February 14.
First, I made a set of banners for the Kingdom of Northshield because the current Prince admired the ones I’d made previously for Andelcrag here in the Midrealm. The colors of Northshield are the same (black, white & yellow) so I made a set of four of the same banners once again only this time I added the Northshield heraldry (a white compass rose) on the black field.
I transferred the design onto the fabric using the “prick and pounce” method, which worked really well and is actually a period method for pattern transfer that is still used today in quilting and embroidery.
First, I printed out the design at the size I wanted it to be. Then, using a thumbtack, I punched holes along all of the lines of the design. I actually did a double set of holes along all of the black lines because I wanted those to be left free of paint to let the black fabric form the outlines of the design. I made a slight mistake in punching a double line around the outer border of the design where it wasn’t really necessary, but the nice thing about this method is the marking isn’t permanent. Once all the holes were punched, I laid the design onto the fabric and pinned it in place with thumbtacks at the corners (loving my pinnable sewing table).
Then, using baby powder and a rolled-up piece of felt, I pounced powder all over the surface, making sure to go over all of the outlines with punched holes. The baby powder goes through the holes and leaves little spots on the fabric underneath. Pick up the pattern paper carefully and you have a tidy outline of your design! Since the powder is easily brushed away and these were going to get some handling in the paint process, I went over everything with a tailor’s pencil to make the lines more defined. Any excess powder can simply be brushed away, or give the fabric a good flap to bounce the powder off.
For the paint I used artist’s acrylic because I had it on hand, thinned with a little water to make it more spreadable. Let’s just say that white paint + black fabric = a pain in the neck, both literally and figuratively! The fabric really sucked up the paint, so what looked like a good even coat at first became really blotchy and unattractive as it dried. Ultimately, I ended up putting three coats of paint on each design but I still managed to finish these in a long afternoon.
Since Val Day was on Valentine’s day this year, the Baronesses of Andelcrag requested a theme of red, pink, and white for garb. I had thought about making a new dress with some red linen I bought at Pennsic last year, but ended up procrastinating too long on it. The Hubs suggested that I wear an old outfit that fit the bill – the garb I’d made for our wedding! This is a red linen cotehardie with a black corduroy (yes, I know corduroy isn’t period, probably) cotehardie over it that has red flowers embroidered over one side and red corduroy buttons closing the sleeves and front. To complement this (and go a little over the top on the Valentine’s theme) I made a ruffled fillet out of red linen and sewed heart-shaped beads around the band, along with a veil made out of some fabulously hideous red gauze with red hearts in glitter all over. There was glitter everywhere, but it was fantastic!
A couple of weeks beforehand I read an article on “14 things you should make for Valentine’s Day” or some such and one of the items was a recipe for slice and bake heart cookies – like the ones you can buy in a tube where the shape is inside the log of dough, only these are homemade and so preservative-free! As I was working on these, I was sooooo afraid they were going to turn out to be a “Pinterest fail” kind of thing. By the time I assembled the logs of dough, the shapes on the ends didn’t look much like hearts anymore so I was a little concerned. Inside, however, the shape was just fine. The only thing I think would have been better would be to use more red coloring for the hearts. In the original recipe they are red rather than the pink I ended up with. If I make these again, I will probably get some of the gel-style food coloring used for tinting frosting and fondant since that color is more intense and does not add a lot of extra liquid to the dough.
Finally, I also made a scroll for court. I kind of fidgeted around with different ideas for this one since I don’t know the recipient well, but ultimately I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out. This is a 14th century style gold initial with whitework in the surrounding area and a whitework border. Whitework offers a lot of different opportunities for designs and it was used quite frequently in 14th century manuscripts as border elements, so it makes a convenient transition into scrolls. I even worked in a little bit of heraldry, with an ermine design from the recipient’s heraldry alongside the initial and little crossed maces in part of the border. This is scroll number 57 of the ones I have recorded (there are probably a few more that were made before I started taking pictures and keeping a list).
Now that I’ve made this big update, I’m off to take advantage of some free time since school was closed due to extremely low temperatures and make some cookies!