Catching up

The last week has been busy with all sorts of things so I’ll try to catch up with posts about the things I have been doing in the following days.

First up is the finished apron! I finally got around to take a picture of it and I’m really pleased to show it to you. It turned out wonderful and it will be put to the test in the kitchens at Civil War in October.

Gathered apron.
Gathered apron.
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Another gatheded apron

After doing some sample smocking, with good results, I set out to do another gathered apron. I had previously bought some lovely linen in a herringbone twill and was happy to finally use it. The sample smocking told me I needed to use twice the desired width of fabric so I cut out an 80 cm wide apron with a length of 90 cm give or take.

Almost done with the honeycomb pattern.
Almost done with the honeycomb pattern.

I made the gathering stitches 1 cm apart and several enough so that the gathering was about 7 cm wide. Then I started on the honeycomb stitch and this time I didn’t leave any empty rows (like I did in the sample), I think it made a prettier and more even impression in the end. My honeycomb stitches were 2 cm apart. I managed 5 rows of stitches which I think is wide enough. You can see the lovely herringbone twill in the bottom right corner of the picture.

After that all that was left to do was to finish the edges and then attach the ribbon at the waist. I used the full width of the fabric for the ribbon and made it 2 cm wide.

The honeycomb pattern with the gathering thread still left in the fabric.
The honeycomb pattern with the gathering thread still left in the fabric.

TWE – part 3 is finished!

I told you last week about my third attempt at the tablet weaving experiment (further known as TWE). This weekend I finished weaving and the band turn out great!The warp is silk and the weft is linen. I really dislike having linen thread in the warp when I weave so this was sort of a compromise which worked out like a charm.

TWE part 3 - silk and linen
TWE part 3 - silk and linen

The ribbon is approximately 2,5 cm wide and really soft. Now I just wash and iron it to make it even more shiny, as well as making some notes in my pattern book about the project. I’ll make sure to write a small documentation for the TWE page as well.

The picture is a bit blurry on my computer for some reason, but if you click on it you’ll get the large and un-blurry version. 🙂

Comparative smocking

After making the first gathered apron that turned out a bit to narrow I realised that I needed to make some comparative smocking to see how much fabric that was needed for the desired width.

I cut out four pieces of fabric all 30 cm wide. On three of the pieces I made gathering stitches 1 cm apart and on the last one I made the gathering stitches 1,5 cm apart. Then I made a simple honeycomb pattern on all four pieces with a 1 cm, 1,5 cm and 2 cm distance between the rows on the pieces with the narrower gathering stitches. On the piece with the gathering stitches 1,5 cm apart I made the rows 1,5 cm apart.

Comperative smocking
Comparative smocking

The bottom two became to narrow and the one on the bottom right had got a to deep pattern because of the gathering stitches being 1,5 cm apart. I like the two on the top and the one on the left is the one I’m using. After smocking it measure about 17 cm wide which means that I have to use twice the desired width of fabric. The other ones need at least three times the desired width of fabric which will make the bottom part of the apron to large.

This little comparative studie was really quick to make and I really recommend anyone to do it, if not just to practice smocking and ge a feeling of the final result.

Silk dyeing

Cow Parsley - photo by JoY74 at flickr.com
Cow Parsley - photo by JoY74 at flickr.com

Last week I finally got around to try out some dyeing with the silk I pre-mordated. I wanted to try something simple and inexpensive so I went out in the garden and gathered some Cow Parsley Anthriscus sylvestris (sv: Hundkex).  Then I put the flowers in a pot with water and let it boil for at least an hour.

The silk should never be treated at a temperature over 70 °C so I let the water cool to that temperature before I put the silk in. I dyed a 9 gram skein, sufficient enough for a fist try. The silk was left in the pot at 70 °C for an hour and then I let it cool for a while. The silk was rinsed in water and then in vinegar water to really get the shine of the silk. You should pour as much vinegar in the water that it tastes sour but not so much that you make a sour face when tasting it!

Silk and Cow Parsley in water.
Silk and Cow Parsley in water.

The silk turn out pretty enough with a lemony-yellow colour. I’m gonna make some thread winders to wind it on and then use it to sew with (it’s very thin).

Silk dyed with Cow Parsley
Silk dyed with Cow Parsley

Camp life at VĂ€rnvik

Today a few of us visited the medieval camp at VĂ€rnvik. It’s a week long event held by Nordrike, a Swedish society very similar to SCA. Not many people had arrived when we visited them today but we got to chat a bit with them. Kerstin from Medeltidsmode was there selling her fabulous fabrics so after some poking around I bought 5 meters of thin linen (perfect for chemises) as well as 1 meter of a gorgeous linen/hemp mix that I intend to use for an apron.

Linen/hemp fabric.
Linen/hemp fabric.

A productive day

Today I spent all day at Astrid and Dis. We had a very productive day working on different projects. Dis started an amazing scoll, Astrid work on 16th century landsknecht-ish garb and I almost finished my tablet weaving as well as started on another apron project. I’m doing another gathered apron and am now doing several test pieces to see which size of smock to use.

Astrid and Dis also got a chance to look at my newly dyed wool and we discussed the possibility to dye some silk in the near future. There was also time for gossip and general craft/SCA discussions which is always nice.

I’m going away for the weekend but hopefully I’ll be able to tell you more about the tablet weaving, the apron project as well as some silk dyeing that I’ve been doing next week. Have a good weekend!

Day trip with Juneborg

Yesterday a bunch of people from Juneborg made a short day trip to see some historical places of interest not far from home. We visited 2 churches and a 3 m high phallus not farther than 60 km from home. It makes you realise that here in Sweden you don’t have to travel that far to discover lots of neat things for a medieval anacronist.

First stop was Vireda church. It’s one of the few medieval churches left in Sweden that is made of wood. It was built during the first half of the 14th century and has a lot of beautiful al secco paintings on the walls from the late 15th century.

Vireda church
Vireda church
Painting from 15th century in Vireda church.
Painting from 15th century in Vireda church.

The we left for lunch at the phallus made of stone in Bredestad. It’s a 3 m high phallus made of stone from 200 AD and it was raised as a symbol of fertility for the god Freyr. This part of Bredestad was inhabited early and produced iron with great success during the Iron Age.

The phallus in Bredestad.
The phallus in Bredestad.

Last but not least we went to the church in Askeryd. It was probably built during the 13th century. On the walls and ceiling are  al secco paintings from early 16th century. Probably painted by Sven MĂ„lare (“Sven the painter”) from Jönköping. In 2008 a lot of work was done to preserve the painting and it is a wonder to see.

Paintings in Askeryds chuch.
Paintings in Askeryds chuch.

The picture shows the to saints with their attributes. Margareta to the left with a dragon and Dorotea to the right with a basket of flowers. One can only imagine the beauty these paintings when they had their original colours of red, blue and green.

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