About This Blog

My current research obsession is centered around purses and pouches from the European Middle Ages, and the accompanying hardware and passementerie. It is my hope to not only study extant items but also learn via reconstructive experiments; these will be limited for the most part to the textile components, however in the future I hope to explore the production of the metal frames.

19 November 2010

Hello, All

As you have probably assumed, I've been rather busy this semester. I've noticed that my number of "followers" has steadily increased in spite of my inactivity; I promise, more content is on the way!

Until then, I hope everyone is well, and finds joy in their own hobbies, interests, and pursuits!


26 August 2010

Latticework purse - embroidery complete!

120 hrs 50 min later, here's the complete embroidered rectangle that will become a purse sometime soon. There are 545 (count 'em!) eyelets. Also included in the picture is a sample for the suspension loop. The side-stitching will be worked in the crimson color as well. Looking forward to seeing this finished!

23 August 2010

Latticework purse progress: 116 hrs

No pictures today, just a quick update. I'm getting to the end of the surface embroidery; I'm guessing maybe 6 to 8 more hours to go on that. And then of course the side-stitching, and all the little tassels and other bits and pieces...

10 August 2010

New brickstitch patterns for your enjoyment

Redacted from the 14th C. altar frontal at the Cloisters Museum in NYC (which I recently re-visited). This time I've included photos of the original along with my patterns:

Cushions - almost finished

Here are a pair of cushions that I'd been working on in my spare time. I call these 'functional experiments' because they were made quickly and relatively easily, using cheap materials (i.e. cotton thread), and not really meant to be portfolio pieces. Even if I did have a portfolio. Anyway, I had wanted to try out these patterns, and decided to make little cushions to rest my longsword upon. I will finish the seams like I do my purses. I haven't decided whether or not to add tassels to the corners yet.

If anyone wants to know, the sword is by Albion Swords, the Crecy.

The cushion under the tip of the sword you may recognize as being based on the Westphalian cushion (see images of original here). The other is based on an ecclesiastical stole. See some similar work at Marta's blog Acus et filium, particularly this post and this post. She does some lovely work!

18 May 2010

A little bit of progress

The blue latticework purse, at 91 hrs 40 minutes:

Work has been slow on this piece for a few reasons. The biggest culprit is all the little eyelets; not only are they time consuming, but all the embroidery is so tight that the needle often needs extra encouragement to pierce the holes in the ground fabric. I've broken at least a half-dozen needles so far. Modern needles, mind you. I shudder to think about how I'd fare using some hand-made needles.

One of the other reasons progress has been slow is due to this little side-project: I'd decided that, after my class on German counted work, I should really have some examples that use the 2/1 stitch slope (sometimes referred to as Gobelin stitch). The patterns are from Richard Wymarc's A Stitch Out Of Time (patterns 6 & 10 on that page). Both will become small cushions:

16 May 2010

Yes, still alive

Semester finished, so in the next week maybe I'll get some embroidery work done.

Meanwhile, enjoy some great photos at Racaire's blog here (16 May posting), which includes some great detail shots of two purses!

16 March 2010

Teaching brick stitch

These days I am only minimally active in the SCA, due in part to the fact that I am studying German longsword on Saturdays (when SCA events usually take place). Also, the fact that I am trying to raise the bar in my own "historical authenticity", something that certain segments of the rather vast SCA population choose to overlook (and I do feel awkward by my lack of clothing/accoutrement that meet this high standard that I'd prefer to achieve). I am, however, very fortunate to have a small group of amazing researchers and artisans in my local group who are a constant inspiration, even though their own times/places of interest is far removed from my own.

So when said small group of people asked me if I'd be interested in teaching a class on brick stitch, with which I've become rather familiar, I of course said that I would. So, I began coming up with some class materials, including a handout, a large-format visual aid, and naturally I brought along a lot of my own work so my 'students' so see some examples up close and personal.

The other thing I did, which—and I hate to seem immodest here—I thought was a rather clever idea, was hand out a student feedback form in the last few minutes, in which the participants good give me comments and criticisms about my class, my teaching method, whatever. But I liked having these little comments to work off of to improve the class whenever I teach it again. And also during the course of teaching, I noticed little things myself, for example an erroneous comment in my handout in which I misinterpreted an example of gobelin stitch for brick stitch.

Although I'm sure many of my readers already have at least a working knowledge of brick stitch, but once I have an updated version of my handout, perhaps I will post it up here (I say "perhaps" because I'm concerned about certain museums' images I've used without permission). Things I'm improving bit by bit include: editing and expanding on some of the historical info, adding a list of relevant books and articles besides the ones I directly cite, and adding some more images of extant pieces. I've already added tutorial graphics (as per one student's request), and added a few more embroidery patterns that they can work from.

Some other comments (which, happily, were all positive) included the wish for more time (and I agree, 1 hour was decent enough for the presentation aspect, but not really for the hands-on portion), and I did overhear one person telling another about how refreshing? it was to attend a needlework class taught by a man. I smiled at that :-)

17 February 2010

Latticework purse: 72 hrs, 20 min

Whole thing:

Corner detail:

08 February 2010

Yes, still here!

I author a few blogs, and posting is fairly infrequent on all of them. However, I always feel a bit guilty about going quiet on this one, since I know there are a decent amount of people who visit it. And while I'm on the subject, thank you all for visiting and commenting—knowing there are people out there with similar interests is a big part of what keeps me motivated!

A few things for today's post:

• I've made some progress on the latticework purse, but haven't taken any pictures recently. I'll get around to that before the week is out.

• I've been working on a mock-up for a 16th century frame purse—my first commission, for a friend of mine—but the pattern I've come up with need some serious re-working, because I'm not at all happy with it. Expect to hear more as this project develops.

• A while back, I came up with some patterns, not necessarily based on any extant pieces, but just getting some ideas on paper (or the computer screen, rather) for my next few projects. These are much simpler than the recent pattern redactions I've posted, and I wasn't originally planning on posting them.. but why not! Here they are:

• Speaking of patterns, I'm continually impressed with my friend Racaire's adaptation of one of my patterns. For those of you who aren't familiar with her and her work, here's her latest progress on that piece.

That's all I have to offer tonight :-)