2014 crafts

Jan. 2nd, 2015 10:50 pm
parlstickare: geometric embroidery in bright blue, red and yellow (Default)
2014 was a rather meager year for crafting, but then again I did almost nothing in the first six months. I worked on the SCA bunting, and will continue to do so this year. I finished my needle book and my apple pin cushion, and have come quite a long way on my glass pouch. I have sketched the design for my friends' wedding cushion, and found out the hard way that a talent for drawing is awkward when you do the more stylised figures of scanian woollen embroidery. The people and animals come out looking all wrong and I have to re-do them.

embroidered needle book
Needle book

embroidered pin cushion with an apple split in half
Apple pin cushion

partly done embroidered griffin in split stitch
Griffin in split stitch, work in progress

No pictures of the bunting, I'm afraid; you'll have to be patient a bit longer.
parlstickare: geometric embroidery in bright blue, red and yellow (Default)
Now I can finally bring my pins and needles in something a bit more stylish when I'm going to events!


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It's the same pattern as the famous 14th century pouch at the V&A.

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Inside there is space for pins and needles, as well as a little pocket for spare yarn, needle threader etc. The M-rune in the corner is my signature.
parlstickare: geometric embroidery in bright blue, red and yellow (Default)
In the same vein that a cobbler's child won't have any shoes, I haven't got a needlebook to use when I'm at medieval events. Or rather, I started one, finished the embroidery and then never got around to do the last little bits. Shame on me! So now I have a mission to try to get this one done before next event.

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Doing the "lussenvlechten" to attach the lining.
parlstickare: geometric embroidery in bright blue, red and yellow (Default)
Crafting is going slowly. Right now I'm working on finishing my latest needlebook, mainly because I'm eager to start my new project, and leaving UFOs around is not a good habit. Today's mission is trying to finish the needlebook embroidery and sewing the zip to my new cushion cover. Hopefully my two UFOs can be ticked off the list before nightfall.

I was away yesterday on a meeting, and while my brain is eager to start engaging in lots of new interesting things, most can't be done until I'm either at work (tomorrow) or in the Natural History Museum's library (some future weekday). It may be for the best to have a slow relaxing day in the sofa today.

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My latest needlebook, in progress.
parlstickare: geometric embroidery in bright blue, red and yellow (Default)
My main embroidery thing for the last year or so has been brickstitch, a counted thread technique common in 13th-14th century Germany. The repeating patterns makes it an excellent technique to do in front of the tv or while listening to audiobooks, as you don't have to give the embroidery your full concentration. Or, at least not after the first two pattern repeats or so.

There are several different patterns used in the original textiles, and a good number has been charted by fellow enthusiasts, such as from Kathy Storm, Tristan, Helene and Richard Wymarc (among others). Some of the original pouches and altar frontals can be found in museums such as the Met or the V&A, but otherwise you are limited to those illustrated in Kroos' book Niedersächsische Bildstickereien des Mittelalters (1970). Unless of course you live near one of the monasteries in Germany which still own and display a few of the embroideries.

To experiment with different patterns I've done some needle books. Two of them were intended as leaving presents for two friends from Thamesreach (London), soon to be residing in An Tir (NW Canada/USA). Since they have now received the needle books, I can (finally) show the pictures.

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The patterns are drafted by Kathy Storm (Patterns #2 and #14), and embroidered in 60/2 spun silk from Handweaver’s studio. The border is made using lussenvlechten, where two loops of yarn are sewn to the fabric. I have no idea what this is called in English, so you'll have to make do with the Dutch term. Machteld from Medieval Silkwork has done a good tutorial of lussenvlechten, which was very helpful to me.

The fastening loops were made by the leftovers of the lussenvlechten, and as I conveniently used four strands in each colour, this translated as an eight-loop fingerloop braid with the following pattern: right 1 to left 4, right 4 to left 1, right 2 to left 3, right 3 to left 2. Repeat. What is important here, as not to repeat my mistakes, is to cut the loops open before you begin, untangle them and re-knot the loops. If you don't untangle them, and think that surely it must be possible to tighten the fingerloops enough while making the braid, you will find that you are wrong.

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This is how it's supposed to look. Note that the braid starts just at the needle book.

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And this is a sign of my optimism. The braid starts after a few millimetres of twisted yarn.

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