Monday, November 8, 2010

Knitting Update

I've been doing a LOT of knitting lately!

Back in September, or early October, Miriam () gave me a whole bunch of some yarn she'd spun. She had tried several times to make something out of it, and just didn't like how it was knitting up, so she passed it on. I've managed to make several projects out of it so far, first a slouchy hat(Pattern), then a pair of fingerless gloves(Pattern), and finally I've just started a one-row scarf that will be a gift(Pattern).

I am getting a bit sick of using the same yarn, so I've also started a Fair Isle Hat (Pattern) for my brother for Christmas. It's the first time I've done color work, and I'm quite pleased how it's coming together, despite messing up a few times. I've also got big plans of doing sock for my sister in law, and perhaps more hats/socks/gloves/scarves for others, depends on fast things come together.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Recently Received

I recevied this letter/guide from the SCA Scribes and Illumination list. It's from a judge of the Kingdom of Atenveldt's recent Arts and Sciences Championship. There are some interkingdom cultural differences at play here that make things a little different, but either way it's a good start, and as I intend to enter in Baronial A&S again this year, I want to keep this guide handy, and make it available for others.
Hi all,

I had the pleasure of being a judge again at this year's Kingdom Arts &
Sciences (A&S) Competition this past weekend. I have been a judge and judges
instructor for over 8 years.

The one thing that frustrated several of the judges was the lack of
information in some of the documentation I was given. To alleviate that
frustration (on both the judging and entrant sides), I have some information
about why it is important to include more information, and what I, as a
judge, am looking for. (Note: not all judges have this same criteria. I find
as a general rule, this format and information will get you really far with
MOST judges.)

*Documentation is the entrants voice and representative to the judges.* It
is the only thing that tells us about your knowledge of that piece and the
background and history of that art. Some judges frustration came when they
had to judge several items that had less than 1/2 a page of typed
documentation, including title page, pictures, and bibliographies. There
honestly wasn't enough information there to inform the judges about the
entrant's knowledge of historic pieces or of that specific piece, and thus
made it difficult to judge those pieces.

HE Mistress Ianuk Raventhourne, our brand new Kingdom A&S Champion, gives a
wonderful class on documentation. If you can't get to her class, please
consider this email as a resource for how to write documentation.

As a judge, I am looking for information, input, and knowledge about the art
form in general and on that specific piece. I look for an introduction
(briefly tell me what you're going to tell me - 3 sentences), the "5 Ws"
(answer all of my questions about that art and that piece - in paragraph
form, not list form), and a conclusion (briefly tell me what you told me - 3
sentences). I also lok for if the item is within SCA Period (600-1600 AD)
and if it is European, or could have potentially been in Europe at the time
through trade.

*The "5 Ws" I look for are a little bit expanded:*

What is the item? (be specific, show pictures of historic pieces)
What was it used for in SCA Period?
What is it used for in today's SCA?

When is the historic example(s) from? (be very specific about dates, and
don't guess)
When was this item made?

Where was the historic item made? (continent, country, county, city; the
more specific you can be the better)
Where was this item made? (this is not a necessary thing in the
documentation, but it can sometimes be interesting)
If this item is not European, please tell why and how it would have been
found in Europe at the time (600-1600 AD).

Who made this item in SCA Period?
Who would make this item in today's SCA? (not the specific artist, but a
group of people; ex: the scribes make scrolls)
Who used this item in SCA Period?
Who would use this item in today's SCA?
If it can be used in the "Modern World", who would use it?

How was the historic item made? (include the tools and materials used to
make it; ex: craftsmen of the time would have used a purple widget to
tighten the green do-hickey)
How was this item made? (include the tools and materials used to make it,
ex: I used the blue thing-a-ma-bob to tighten the green do-hickey as the
purple widget is no longer available.)
If you used modern materials and tools, please tell us why.
If you hand made your tools and materials, include that.
If you purchased any tools and materials, and that was historically done for
such an item, tell us that, too. (ex: I purchased my vellum, as the
craftsmen historically did, as I live in a city and didn't want to smell up
the neighborhood and make my neighbors mad.)

Why was this made in SCA Period?
Why was this item made? (ex: I made this for my friend so they could hang it
on their wall.)

Does this piece do exactly what it's meant to?
Does it look, sound, feel, taste, smell like it's supposed to?
Does it function correctly?

*What did I Learn:*
What did I learn about this piece?
What did I learn about this process?
What did I learn _________?

*Note: What, When, Where, Why, and Who can all be quickly and easily put
into one paragraph. How can be one to two paragraphs (Historic How and
Modern How). Does & What did I Learn can be one to two paragraphs. *With an
introduction and a conclusion, there's your 5 paragraphs, and your
documentation. If you include all of this, it will be at least 2 pages long,
with no problem. (Per the Competition Rules, it should be no longer than 7
pages. See below for the specifics.)

Please type, do not hand write, the documentation. Use a familiar font, such
as Times New Roman. Yes, it's a bit boring, but is can easily be read. The
judges read all day, and eyes do get tired.

Use English as your language for documentation. Do not speak "forsooth" in
your documentation. Do not enter your documentation in a foreign language,
not everyone reads/speaks a foreign language. It's sometimes difficult
enough to read and comprehend someone else's English. Use very plain
English, and state things clearly.

*Use ONE reference style throughout your documentation.*
(APA & MLA are suggested in the Kingdom A&S Competition Rules, see below for
rules on documentation. Both of these styles can easily be found on-line.)
APA Style Link:
MLA Style Link:

*The easier your documentation is to read and the more questions it answers,
the better your score will be.*

*When you are finished writing your documentation, then you should add the
1) A Cover Page - Title of the Piece, Country of Origin, From (insert
specific date here)
2) Pictures/Scans of the original piece(s) you took your inspiration from
3) Pictures/Scans of the piece you made in process and completed (you can
put these in a Appendix, or put them into the body of the documentation)
4) An Appendix and End Notes (if necessary, depending on the style you
choose to write with)
5) Bibliography. As for the Bibliography, know your sources. Label which
sources are primary and secondary. Know which ones are primary and secondary
sources. (ex: A Book of Hours that you look at and take the calligraphy hand
directly out of is a primary source. A modern book about calligraphy that
references that Book of Hours is a secondary source. People are not source!)

The judging sheets are available on-line. *When I do my documentation, I
look at 3 things.* If there's anything on any of these 3 sources that I
didn't cover, I go back and put it in somewhere where it flows nicely.
1) My list of "5 Ws"
2) The judging sheet(s) for my category(s)
3) The Kingdom A&S Competition Rules (every judge knows what this section
says, and yes, we do ding a point for not having enough copies of the
documentation, it's just that specific)

*This is the documentation section directly from the KMOAS web page:*
Direct Link:

*9. Each entry must be accompanied by documentation*.
a. Lack of documentation will result in disqualification of an entry.
b. Documentation must be provided in a written format. If handwritten,
documentation must
be legible. [NOTE: We recommend that documentation should be typed in
12-point font
size (no less than 10-pt) in an easily readable font.]
c. Entrants must author their own documentation.
d. Entrants must provide four (4) copies of documentation with each entry
(i.e., one for each
judge to read and mark upon for reference and one for populace access).
e. Documentation may not exceed Seven (7) written pages in length, not
bibliography or illustrations. Exceptions can be made at the discretion of
the KMOAS.
Entrants will submit the written request 30-days before the competition with
f. While other materials and references may be displayed for interest, they
may not be used
as a substitute for documentation. Documentation must not require the judges
to reference
Atenveldt Kingdom A&S Competition Rules 2010 Page 3
a book or any other associated materials (e.g., an entrant may not state,
"Please see pages
54-75 in book A.").
g. Documentation must include:
i. Information relating to the entry’s pre-17th century authenticity and its
use during
that time frame
ii. A general description of the entry, methods of construction and/or
production, and
materials/tools/techniques used to produce the entry [SUGGESTION: Artisans
should preview the judging sheets for each Category or Subcategory they plan
enter and approach the documentation accordingly.]
iii. A reference list and/or footnotes/endnotes indicating source(s)
(references) as
needed. [RECOMMENDATION: Use either American Psychology (APA) or
Modern Language Association (MLA) as a format for documentation to make it
easier to read and reference]
h. All documentation must have the entrant number and the associated entry
number placed
on the first page at time of registration at the Competition. [NOTE: This is
handled by the
KMOAS competition staff during on-site registration.]

*Last but not least, remember the judges are rooting for you! *We want you
to knock our socks off! We want to know what you know. We want your
documentation to tell us what we need to know about that specific art and
your specific piece. We want you to tell why this piece is impressive (with
out using those specific words). If a judge puts their contact info at the
bottom of a judges sheet, feel free to call or email that judge with
questions of your own. Open a dialogue, we are artists or people who
appreciate art, and we love to have an open, honest, friendly, helpful
discussion about art.

I look forward to seeing what I can learn from the entries I judge every
year, as I already do for next year!

I hope this helps in your quest to enter any A&S Competition.

I encourage everyone to enter at least one item at least once to have that

Rooting for you,
Dame Hrefna karsefni, OP
(Kingdom of Atenveldt)

P.S.: Please feel free to forward this email.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Burgundian Inspiration

I may by hook or by crook be able to do something new for 12th Night after all. If I can, I would like to do something Burgundian, for now I am collecting images.

Hans Memling. Tommaso Portinari and his Wife.Diptych. c. 1470

Rogier van der Weyden. Portrait of a Lady. c.1460.

Detail from Portrait of a Female Donor Petrus Christus, c.1450

Petrus Christus. A Young Lady. c. 1470.

Rogier van der Weyden. Portrait of a Lady. c.146(5?)
Hans Memling, 1484 Barbara Moreel and family

Monday, September 6, 2010

Changes and updates to my 'Flemish'

While we were on our honeymoon, we spent some time in the British National Gallery, where I spent about 20 minutes just staring at this painting.
Joachim Beuckelaer's Fire from The Four Elements
This painting, as well as the rest of The Four Elements series, have been my primary sources (well, they're secondary sources, but you know what I mean) for my dress etc.

It was, well incredible, to stand there in front of these. They're huge. At least 6 feet tall, and more wide, the people in the paintings are life size, and the realism of their poses, clothing, skin everything is striking. I noticed several things, standing there watching. First of all that there really isn't enough color variation in my outfit. Second that I need way more lacing holes, and they need to be closer together, and finally, that the outfit is really, absolutely, totally impossible to wear without the partlet and coif.

Having never made a partlet before, this has been the most challenging. Although I've yet to start the coif, so maybe that will be harder.

I based the partlet off ones I've seen on people in real life, one I borrowed and was able to examine, and of course what I see in the paintings. There are two ways that the back of the partlet works. One is seen in the background of the painting above, near the center. You can also see it from the side in the painting to the left (Air). The back is more or less the same size and shape as the front. It covers the entire back, and curves under the arms a bit. This is the style I've chosen to do. I'm unsure as to whether tying or pinning is a better way to secure this. I will probably try both.

The second style isn't clearly seen in any of this series of paintings, but is easily seen in Bruegel's 'The Peasant Dance", on the woman off to the right (the partlet in question is black). This would need to be pinned or buttoned in place. At this time, I'm not doing this style.

In nearly all of the examples in Beuckelaer's series the partlet has a high collar with ruffle that is cartridge pleated, much like an Elizabethan style ruff. I personally haven't made a ruff before, although I did get to see the result of a class on them. I used what I gleamed from that, and my own eyes and logic to make the ruffle section itself. I'm not done stitching the ruffles in place yet, and I'm also not sure how I will attach the ruffle to the collar, to the partlet. I will try and do it the way one attaches a cartridge pleated skirt to a waistband.

The partlet itself I made out of an extremely light weight handkerchief weight linen. This is partially because I've had it laying around and had just enough to make a partlet, and partially because part of the purpose of this outfit is to have something to wear when it's HOT outside, that is still period and appropriate. Between the tropical weight wool, the light weight linen lining, and the short shift, it would seem silly to throw something heavy on top of that. The downside to this is that it doesn't have much substance. In order for the ruffle to keep it's shape (and also because I didn't have enough of the handkerchief weight), I made it out of a slightly heavier weight linen, doubled. I will use this same linen for the collar, however I'm worried that the partlet will be too flimsy to support the collar. In the pictures, none of the collars stand up properly, but they also don't droop completely. We shall have to see.

Either way, it was really exciting to stand in front of the actual painting and be inspired in ways I hadn't been before. A very cool experience.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Knitting Project!

I have decided I need a knitting project for my honeymoon! Miriam was kind enough to teach me a few new techniques and I am making my first shawl!
New Skills:
  • practicing my purling in a practical way
  • knitting front and back
  • increases
  • reading knitting patterns
That last skill has also given me enough confidence to try and find a project on my OWN to start, something teeny tiny that I can do for fun and learn on my own. I always was a self directed learner.

This is also exciting because I've gotten to add to my Ravelry

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Progress on Netherlandish

So. I jumped right into the Flemish/Netherlandish I was making. I had more white linen then I remembered and started with the shift.

I used your basic rectangular construction, cutting the neckline fairly low and the front and side pieces as close as I thought I could get away with to encourage as much support as possible. I also doubled the fabric for the front of the shift down to the waist, I don't want to be putting on a free show, so to speak. I only put in side gores because I made this shift very short, just above the knee. The idea is to be COOL!

I was very proud of myself because this time I actually cut it keeping finished seams in mind. I finished off every single seam right form the beginning, so hopefully this shift will last a long time, even with machine washing!

Because of the low neckline, the top wasn't quite as supportive as I hoped it would be, so I had to make little tucks in the shoulder seams to provide a bit more support in the front. I think it's ok now.

Sorry, no pictures of me in just my skivvies!

After the shift, I plunged into the bodice. This was the nerve racking part. Kass's article is fairly step by step, but it expects to you discern a lot on your own. I has to make a choice between using the width of the fabric to go around my waist, and leave nearly 2 yards for the skirt, or cut the other direction, leaving less for the skirt. I decided to leave more for the skirt, so I used every inch for the bodice. I think in a perfect world I would have had another inch or so of fabric to wrap forward. It would have given a bit more support and a little more modesty, but what I ended up with still resembles the pictures enough that I'm satisfied. I lined the bodice section with itself, folded over, so there are no seams in the bodice. I used cuttings from around the bottom of the bodice (I'm so short waisted!) in order to bind around the edges and arm holes.

The rectangle of wool left for the skirt was just under two yards. I lined it with a brown striped linen (from Joanns!) The skirt is heavily pleated in the back to give the impression of a bum-roll, but falls flat in the front. Kass used rolled pleats to give it the fullness, but I think she is a bit of a smaller woman then me because I was having a very hard time getting the rolled pleats to give me enough space to wrap the skirt section around to meet in the front without massive puckering. I kept making the rolls smaller and smaller and eventually found a way that would work, by rolling only 2.5 inches of fabric into each pleat and then flattening the roll some. It's not as full as it could be, but was as full as I could get considering the amount of fabric I had.
Skirt puckering too much in the front.
Too much of the fabric in the pleats at the back. Doesn't look right.
What I went with for pleating.
Much better!

After sewing the bodice and skirt together, I was really happy with how the pleats fell though I still wasn't satisfied with the amount of puckering I was getting along the center front seam due to how little fabric there was around the front so I cut the hem, and used the extra from around the bottom to add a small pannel in the center front and sleeves.

I really wanted to be able to have pin on sleeves so I could wear the dress at day or night, so I cut the sleeves first. The linen was less wide then the wool, so I ended up having to piece the lining. This left me a rectangle that i was able to cut into strips.
I sort of mish-mashed the panel together out of the left over pieces and had to be creative sewing it on to keep all the edges enclosed, but not take up any more of the fabric in a seam allowance then I had to.

Skirt attached, panel inserted, now I had to figure out lacing. I made a finger-loop braid out of some rust colored cotton to use to lace up the front. I wanted some brass rings to stitch into the front, rather then eyelets, to lace it through as that is what I have seen other people do for their gowns of this style. I picked some up at Springfield's Econo Fabrics. I have sewn three into each side, I set them even to one another, even though I'm spiral lacing. Right now this isn't warping the balence of the bodice, though I may change it after I wear the dress all day once or twice. I may need to add a fourth pair in order to keep the girls supported.

Final touches for the outfit are hemming and the apron. I'm still putting off hemming, mostly becaues it's too hot to iron right now, but I'm particularly excited about how the apron turned out.

I'll be honest, I relied almost exclusively on my own logic and ingenuity when making the apron. I used the full width of my white linen folded over so that the entire front of the kirtle was covered, which left a flap about to my knees as a second layer. I hemmed the edges, embroidering a simple chain to tack down the hem, and then sewed another strip of finger loop braid (a reject for the waist strip, I made it too short) along the top (where it ties on) creating a channel along the top for another strip of finger-loop braid to run around my waist and tie it on. It looks a little fancy, and I don't have evidence for that fancy of an apron, but I like it, so I'm keeping it. There isn't any evidence for this style of a dress to be worn without an apron, so I might as well look nice.

My final piece will be to make a partlet to wear over it and keep me modest.
Final look, sans hem and partlet.

Comments, questions, suggestions?
Vegetable SellerFlight to Egypt
Aertsen 1559 Cook in front Stove detail

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Working Woman, Netherlandish, Flemish, what have you.

Finally starting. With the shift. The style I am making is what Kass talks about in her article on Netherlandish. This means that I want to make the shift a double layer of linen in the top part.

Trying to decide neck style. I'm seeing both scoop necklines and high semi-ruffled neckline. What I THINK i'll do is make the shift scoop, and the partlet higher. So I can go back and forth between the two.

I am trying to keep in mind functionality, I want this to be late period tourney garb.

I'm nearly out of white linen, and can't afford more for... at least three months, so I don't want to mess up. I'm a bit afraid to be honest.