So, having reached the conclusion that a smock is needed to make a gathered apron I decided it was time for me to try the technique. A while back Dis showed me the basics of smocking and it wasn’t all that complicated. I bought some linen at IKEA  couple of months ago when I run out of it and decided to use that. It has a sturdy weight that I thought would work perfectly with aprons. I used half the width, about 70 cm, and the length of the apron is 90cm.

The apron with gathering stitches.

The apron with gathering stitches.

I sewed gathering stitches along the upper side of the apron. These stitches will help gather the fabric in even folds that I then can sew together with the smocking stitch. It’s approximately 1 cm between the stitches and the same between the rows of stitches. The later isn’t that important and I could probably have sewed the rows further apart. The distance between the stitches will determine the depth of the folds. 

The fabric pulled together using the gathering stitch.

The fabric pulled together using the gathering stitch.

Tie a knot on one side of the apron and then pull on the threads to create the folds. I secured my thread with two separate bow-ties to make sure the tension was even. I’ve left 2 cm of fabrics at the top of the apron so that I have something to sew the waist tie on.

The apron is now ready for the smocking stitches.

I’ve been thinking a lot about aprons lately. It’s seems like that’s an area that we just take for granted, nobody seems to be making any research, at least not publicly. Karen Larsdotter has an excellent collection of links to pictures of people wearing aprons. So after looking through her pictures as well as all my resources in my bookcase I think I’ve narrowed it down to three primary types of aprons.

The gathered apron.

The gathered apron.

The smooth apron.

The smooth apron.

The tucked in apron.

The tucked in apron.

I call these main types the gathered apron, the smooth apron and the tucked in apron (as seen in the pictures). There are other types as well but they seems to be connected to a specific occupation such as a midwife or a smith.

 

The triangular apron.

The triangular apron.

Another popular type in SCA and reenactment is the triangular apron. I’ve read several people taking about sources for this type of apron, often mentioning paintings in Swedish medieval churches (possibly on Gotland) but I’ve never seen any pictorial evidence. If you’ve seen it, please let me know. There is one source for this type of apron in the calender “Ur medeltida kvinnoliv” it’s from Roman de la Rose. Funny enough Elina mentioned this a couple of days on her blog and she included the picture. I agree with her that it’s difficult to see this as a reliable source because of it’s (possibly) allegorical meaning. Never the less it seems like people like this type of apron as it covers a lot of your dress. I sewed one like this a couple of years ago and appropriate or not it works like a charm.

I’ve updated the blog with a new page: The tablet weaving experiment. It’s been quite a while since I started this project but I’ve been to lazy to publish any pictures or documentation. A couple of weeks ago I finally washed and ironed the ribbons and took some pictures – voila! One less UFO!

The first to ribbons woven with the empty hole technique in thin wool.

The first two ribbons woven with the empty hole technique in thin wool.

Next I’m going to weave the pattern with silk thread. I have red and yellow but I’ll have to substitute the grey for white or some other appropriate colour.

On another note, I’m watching a movie – the Other Boleyn Girl. Pretty good so far, although I’m partial to anything featuring Natalie Portman… 🙂

I’ve finally assembled the documentation for the silk garters with pictures and uploaded it on the weaving page (scroll down below the picture).

Biorn wearing his new silk garters.

Biorn wearing his new silk garters.

I’m very pleased with the result. Biorn wore them at the University last weekend and they work well despite my consern for the lack of stretch in the weave.

The garters looked very spiffy and I’m starting to think about weaving more from that pattern. Probably won’t happen thought since it was a real pain in the §ss to keep the warp with an even tension. I have some thoughts about using weights to keep the tension even, like in a warp-weighted loom. We’ll see – it’s not like I haven’t got a million other projects… 😉

The checkered pattern of the tablet woven band.

The checkered pattern of the tablet woven band.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The length of the garters is 60 cm.

The length of the garters is 60 cm.

It’s been a busy week so far with shire meeting and my mundane university class among other things. Now it’s finally time to write a few lines about the event.

We arrived on site half an hour past midnight on slippery roads due to the snow falling on Gotland. The site was the local heritage center, and we got to sleep on the stage in the big hall (a bit weird but at least we didn’t disturb anyone arriving late). Saturday started out busy with the first class at 9. I talked about documentation in my class, how to write and why. I had about 8 participants so it turned out to be a really great discussion! Then I went to the next class at 10 to listen to Åsa Vävare talk about medieval fabrics – very interesting. I also went to Raighnils class about head wear, it was interesting but a bit short. 700 years of head wear fashion in 1 hour… I expected a workshop but it was more like a quick overview. Still they did a good job.

After lunch and snacks we got to listen to a woman from Gotland University talk about her dissertation. It’s about how people (visiting Visby Medieval Week and the museum Jamtli) perceive history. Unfortunately her dissertation isn’t that good… it was a lot of “yep, I knew that” and definitely lacked that “this is the eye catching conclusion”.

I also had some time to look at Åsas new loom. It’s a rigid heddle loom, very small and easy to transport. It looks like this: loom. We also talked a bit about her project on Birgittas coif. Very interesting – must start experimenting!

At court I had the great privilege to announce the newest “guild mistress” (swedish: magister) in the Weavers Guild of Nordmark – Åsa Vävare! Yay for that! She’s a skilled weaver and it’s great that she’s willing to step forward and be recognized as one of the “I’m pretty confidant in my abilities – ask me and I shall help”-people. A bunch of other people got recognized with AoA:s, the Order of the Light (arts & science) and the Order of the Golden Ribbon (service). I got a Panache (kingdom A&S) which was especially honoring since the Queen herself had taken time time to make my scroll!

The feast followed with lots of good food. The theme was a mix of pasta, meat and cheese – what’s not to love?! 🙂 It was fun to sit down and talk to all the people that you seldom meet but I was so tired that I went to bed early. It was a really nice event and I hope they will do it again next year!

My to-do list for the next couple of weeks:

  • write some sort of article about documentation and what we discussed at my class
  • update the blog with my latest weaving projects – I just need to take some photos
  • update the blog with my apron-project!
  • finish my first Crafty Challenge project (Racaire, I’m almost finished! 🙂 )

Elsa held an excellent class at our shire meeting today about Bestiaries and animals from a medieval perspective. Did you know that to escape wolfs all you have to do is strip naked and bang two stones together… Luckily we don’t have many wolfs in this part of Sweden.

Anyway, this got me thinking about how great it would be to make a bestiary. Calligraphy, illuminate and the bind it together in a book. To bad I don’t do either calligraphy or illuminations. Or maybe I just don’t need another project…

Another thing that happened at the meeting was that we started to take a bit about weaving. Eva brought her small loom for weaving ribbons and we talked a bit about having a tablet weaving workshop. It really inspired me to find my piece of tablet weaving that I abandoned months ago, maybe I’ll give it another go.