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Mostly March

March 2, 2016

The end of February and beginning of March have brought some adventurous weather, with about a foot of snow falling last week (which melted over the weekend) and then another 8 inches this week (which should all be gone by early next week).  Hooray for March!

12th Night 2016 BookmarksMy latest weaving project was a set of tablet-woven bookmarks for each of the baronies of Pentamere.  These were displayed as part of the “Dirty Dozen” largesse competition at 12th Night.  Because I made 12 bookmarks for each barony, plus 12 for the kingdom, I also qualified for the “over-achiever” category which gained me a prize of some Japanese kumihimo braid made by another lady in the region.  I still need to coordinate with her on what I want.

At any rate, the bookmarks were fun to make and got me back into the swing of things with weaving.  I haven’t made anything since, but I hope to be a bit more crafty in the coming weeks.

February Fun

February 20, 2016

This might be the longest I’ve ever gone between posts – almost three months!  I’ve been doing things, and I’ve thought about posting but just never gotten around to it.  With a little bit of free time this weekend, an update is finally here.

So, when last we left off it was Thanksgiving, which meant end of the semester, lots of grading, and lots of Christmas cookie baking (and consequently not a lot of time for blog posting).

Brown Butter StarsFor this year’s Christmas cookie collection, I made mostly recipes I’ve used before.  The four new recipes were, first, a Brown Butter Sugar Cookie from King Arthur Flour.  These were supposed to be made with some patterned cookie stamps from KA, but I just made them as star-shaped cutouts.

Next, I was looking for a slice-and-bake or icebox cookie and thinking of something orange, so I found these Orange Pecan Cookies from Taste of Home.  Though I apparently forgot to take a picture of the finished cookies, they turned out nicely, with a light orange flavor.  It’s funny that Taste of Home doesn’t have a picture with the recipe either!

Coconut SnowballsTaste of Home also gave me a recipe for Coconut Snowballs.  I had some coconut in the freezer to use up and these made a tasty option.  The coconut ends up being a little crunchy and chewy at the same time.  If I make these again, I might get some coconut extract to add a little extra flavor.  These get a second roll in powdered sugar before serving, so they’ll have a more finished look.

Cherry Jam SlicesFinally, the best new recipe was one that I think I found on Yahoo in one of their Christmas cookie articles – Striped Icebox Cookies.  These were super!  Nice crunchy texture from the cornmeal in the cookie dough, and tart, fruity layers of jam filling in between.  A little fiddly to make, but a yummy result.

Packed Tin 2015And here is the finished result – 12 different kinds of cookies packed in their tin.  I gave a lot away, as usual – family, friends, neighbors – and also contributed a lot of what I had left to a peerage vigil at 12th Night, so by now they are all gone and we won’t be eating Christmas cookies at Easter this year!

Thanksgiving Weekend!

November 28, 2015

It’s hard to believe that it’s been two months since I last posted, but this has been an extraordinarily busy semester, with many classes that have occupied my time.  I’ve thought about making an update here, especially after the last event we attended, but other obligations called and in my free moments I felt less like spending more time on the computer.

But now we are at Thanksgiving and I’ve had a couple of days off, or at least with no classes to attend to.  There’s always grading to be done, but I finished the last of that today, so I should have at least one day free to relax a bit before the last couple of weeks of the term.

So I have a scroll update and a weaving update from Grand Day of Tournaments at the start of November.  For this event, the tournament prizes are contributed by members of the Barony of Cynnabar and I have typically done some woven trim either in inkle or card weaving.

This year I did a card weaving, as usual in Cynnabar’s colors of red, black, and white:
Grand Tourney 2015

This was an interesting weave.  For the two vertical sections in the picture, the length on the right was supposed to be the “front” side of the weaving, but I rather like the look of the “back” side on the left length as well.  I guess it’s up to the recipient to decide which they like better!

I also did a scroll assignment for court – a Bronze Ring, which is a fencing award:
Grand Tourney Bronze Ring 15

The only thing I’m not entirely happy with here is the spacing I left at the top.  I think I should have left at least another line width between the upper border and the start of the text, but I wasn’t sure how the spacing would work out originally, so I kept things close.

The design here is inspired by a bit of decoration on a 15th century Dutch Bible held in the British Library (Additional MS 15410, f. 54).  I like the relative simplicity of the decoration, though it looks more complex than it actually is.

X-es and…Well, more X-es!

September 29, 2015

Two dear friends of ours were married about ten days ago and since they are both adults with an established household, they didn’t really need much in the way of the usual wedding gifts.  They’d also indicated on their website that handmade gifts were welcome and I like to give something personalized to close friends on occasions like this.

I’ve been doing counted cross stitch since I was young (probably 10 years old or so), though it’s kind of gone by the wayside a little bit since I’ve picked up a lot of other crafts through the SCA.  Still, I knew I wanted to do a wedding design as a gift for them.  I did some searching online until I found a pattern that I thought they’d really like – not too traditionally wedding-y (no hearts and flowers) and no sappy poetic verse (we’re not that kind of folks).  Luckily, I also found a site where I could just buy the pattern and not have to lay out a lot of money for a full kit since I have lots of embroidery floss already and a big piece of Aida cloth is relatively inexpensive.

I started stitching the day after we got home from Pennsic and I worked for an hour or two most nights.  I finished the work just in time – the Thursday evening before the wedding!  That left me just enough time on Friday to remove as much cat hair as possible and press the wrinkles out of the piece before wrapping it up.

I had originally planned to keep track of how much time the project took, but I never started writing things down.  I did, however, take a photo of my work each day so I could see the progress I made.  Instead of a whole series of images, I learned a very basic new skill and used Windows Movie Maker to stitch the images together into a time-lapse video with a musical accompaniment.

I still really like this design and I’m happy with the way it turned out.  I like my little video, too!

OK, other new thing learned – since I didn’t pay for the upgraded version of WordPress I had to upload my video to YouTube and link to it…  But, here’s at least a picture of the finished product!  Click the “my little video” link above if you want to see the whole thing.
DA 33

Two Scrolls

September 22, 2015

A couple of weeks ago the announcement came out from our regional signet (scribal officer) for the court at Vikings Come Home, an event in northern Michigan.  I took two assignments, one that I made from scratch and one that I used a blank to produce.

Vikings Dragon's Heart 15The from-scratch scroll had to be kept super-secret since it was intended for the person who was serving as signet at the event.  This lady is also on the staff of the current royalty and was receiving a Dragon’s Heart for her service.  Since she does a Norse persona, I was thinking along those lines for the scroll and I achieved my “vision” really quickly.

This is a “less is more” scroll with a simple outline of an interlaced dragon (from Pinterest) holding an interlaced heart in its talons.  Vikings Heart DetailTypically the device of the Dragon’s Heart award is embellished with silver scales, but I decided to keep this pretty minimal and just added a couple of silver dots at the points of the heart for detail.  I also gave the dragon an outline of red dots and filled in the big gaps between the text sections with dotwork as well.

The second scroll was for a person I didn’t know at all, so it was difficult to pick a style (his name didn’t really give me a clue) but I ended up using a 14th-century style whitework blank that I’d made a couple of years ago.  I’ve been using up some of these blanks, so I’ll have to try to get started making some more at some point!  Vikings AoA 15I like this scroll, especially that I left space for the signatures outside of the framing element – it’s a little different than the standard border that encloses everything.


Lucky 13

August 28, 2015

I’ve been working on a couple of different projects over the last few weeks since we returned home.  One of them I can’t reveal yet since it’s a special gift for a friend and I don’t want it to be public until it’s given – stay tuned for that in a few weeks!

The other quick project is a set of inkle woven bookmarks made to be given as largesse when our local baroness goes to an event in Colorado – the Kingdom of the Outlands.

Outlands BookmarksI made a batch of kingdom-themed bookmarks a few years ago that were smaller than these, about 3 inches long.  These are about six and a half inches and I ended up with 13 of them from one warp of my loom.

Just a basic weave for these, based on the kingdom’s device, which has an embattled border.  It’s always nice to see the pattern develop once the weaving starts.

I have to sit down and watch a tutorial on pick-up weaving so I can branch out a bit.  I took a class at Pennsic, but my brain still hasn’t really absorbed the process yet.

Button & Buttonhole Tutorial

August 14, 2015

After taking a few years off, I taught my self-stuffed cloth buttons class at Pennsic again.  Even though it was at an early time (9am is early for a lot of people) I had eight students and everyone was able to successfully complete a button.  One student who was left-handed did have difficulty with the buttonhole portion, but I’m sure she’ll get it worked out over time.

Unfortunately, the images I included in my handout were not the greatest.  If I’d made color copies the handouts would have been nearly $3 apiece, and that was simply too much to spend.  So I promised the class that I would put my handout up here to make the images available to them, and here it is!

Button Up!

Please note that the instructions here are for right-handed individuals, particularly when it comes to the buttonhole.  Left-handed instructions are available from La Cotte Simple.

If you have questions, feel free to ask!  Making buttons and buttonholes is one of those little finishing details that I enjoy doing by hand when I sew – this is a step that lets me add a little creativity and individuality to my work.