Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I am a horrible blogger...I'll admit it :P

It has been nearly 7 months since I wrote last. I've been good about taking pictures and trying to keep a record of things I have done (although I missed a few) and I have been continuing to push myself out of my comfort zone. To that end, I have tried several new things since July.

In early September, I attended a glass bead making class. I have always been fascinated by glass beads made with a gas torch, but I will admit that I was a total coward about dealing with anything flaming and hot. Well, after a full three hours and six beads later, I realized that it was FUN! I have since picked up the basic materials for doing it at home. However, I am limited for a while until the snow melts and I can move back outside. I can make some beads indoors, but not many and not for long. Our house is just not set up for removing the fumes that are created while running the gas. I will probably see if I can go over to my Hubby's shop and make some beads there. I'd like to have enough to give away as gifts when I step down from my position as Baroness in our local SCA group. It would make me happy to be able to give away something made by me. :)
My Beads...Not amazingly round, but not bad for my first beads EVER....

In October, I went back to the same glass shop and attended a class on fused glass ornaments. I learned how to cut glass, choose colors for overlaying, how to attach and decorate the glass shapes with "stringers" of thin glass and how to attach hangers so I can hang my ornaments up. It was a blast! It isn't something I can repeat anytime soon as I don't have a kiln :( I can easily get the glass and cutters, but the kiln is way out of reach in cost right now. However, the skills I learned from this class show me that I should be able to handle the stained glass class. Hopefully, I can take that class sometime this spring.

I turned them into a mobile :) My Bee

In November, I took a basket making class. This was especially cool as I took it with six of my closest SCA friends, and we had a fabulous time! One of the best parts of the class was the fact that we were using materials that were actually pretty close to medieval materials, and the basket style we chose is one that existed before 1600ce. The class took the entire time from 9am till 5pm, but it was worth every minute. I now have a reed market basket that is as pretty as some I can buy....but I made it :D
Isn't it pretty? It is hanging here for the protective oil varnish to dry...

Outside of classes, I still stayed pretty busy with projects. I did a small embroidered book cover/girdle book for a friend who has become my protege' in all things service oriented in the SCA. I wanted it to be a token that was "me" without being hugely obvious and obnoxious. So, I used black linen and embroidered a bumblebee design with red and white wool. I think it turned out pretty. I also stitched two modern needlework pieces; one in cross-stitch and blackwork, and the other was in canvaswork. I haven't decided what to do with the blackwork piece yet, but I am thinking of using it as a box top. The canvaswork one will be a gift for my Mom-in-law and will probably be framed. I am in the middle of another canvaswork that is all in yellow. It is the perfect pick-me-up for a dreary February. After I finish it, I will go back to my bumble bee and hive needle accessory set that I am making in canvaswork and cross-stitch. I have only one more piece to actually stitch, then I can do the finishing on all the pieces. I have been working on this for over two years, bit by bit, with lots of breaks for other stitch work. It will be an absolute pleasure to have the set finished.
The token My pouch for the auction
Book cover canvaswork
my blackwork piece (from the pattern in Monica Ferris' Blackwork mystery)
In progress... this too....

I made quite a bit of jewelry for Christmas presents and SCA gifts and I didn't manage to take a single picture before I gave it all away. Oh well. I tend to do that a lot, especially if an item is a gift. I get so caught up in the pleasure of the giving, that I forget to take a second or two and get a picture. There are probably hundreds of items out there that I have no record of...and sometimes no recollection either! Silly, I know. The important thing is that all of the people I gave jewelry to seems to be very happy with what I made. That is more important to me than any record of their making :)
I also did a fair bit of bobbin lace making this fall. I created a total of six ornaments in lace and brass rings. I traded one off in a lace card exchange that I also did lace on the card for. I gave one as a gift to a SCA friend who was visiting Alaska for the first time. Three went into a ornament exchange at our needlework guild Christmas party, and the last one is going to a friend from that same guild. *Whew*.
Here is the card and one of the ornaments. The other ornaments are different colors and some have slightly different shapes (diamond and flower shapes), but they are all similar enough that one picture should suffice ;)

I have half a lace handkerchief edging done and I hope to have it finished and on a linen hanky before the fair in August. After teaching the class at the SCA event this summer, I was asked to come in to our local senior center and do a class there. I had four ladies who came and seemed to have a good time. One of the ladies had worked lace before and was just needing a basic refresher. It was fun, and I would love to teach more, but I am still such a newbie myself. I haven't done that much beyond Torchon, just a couple of free-lace pieces. I have designed a couple myself, but they were really basic. It is a start though, and one I intend to keep working on.

I also taught a needlework class for the North Star Needlework Guild in October. I usually do an ornament class that is usually in plastic canvas. However, last year I went with a blackwork ornament, and this year I decided to mix hardanger with a bit of Lagatera blackwork. I think it came out pretty and was challenging enough to keep the guild members on their toes :) Next year I'll probably go back to plastic canvas as I have an idea for a really cool 3-D one...and plastic canvas is great for 3-D designs.
The ornament...no hardanger cutting, but kloster blocks and eyelets instead. Lagatera blackwork mixes blocks of color in with the double running stitches.

Just in case you are wondering, yes, I did work on garb also. I ended up making another rapier armor coat, this time for my son, Galyn. He is still looking at a more Russian style, so his coat reflects that. We need to secure his short sleeves somehow, since they tend to catch the rapier blade tips. I would like to get his big wool coat off of the drawing board also, so hopefully I can have that done in the next month or so.
I finished another part of my hand-done garb as well as a couple of sets of sleeves to wear with my kirtle. As far as the hand done stuff, I have the kirtle done, the partlet, a coif, and now I have a wool Flemish overgown as well. I found a pretty blue wool that worked perfectly for the over gown. I lined it in linen and it wears like a dream. I am debating about hemming it a bit shorter as it puddled a bit too much. The hand done smock is taking the longest amount of time since it has a great many more seams and is more detailed to put together. I plan on making the collar and cuffs ruffled with blackwork on them as well. I am aiming for summer Coronet to have the whole thing done. It did dawn on me, however, that I am not going to be wearing a circlet at Coronet this summer. I step down as Baroness in April, so I will be handing the circlet over to someone else. This means that I can actually wear a proper head covering! Hmmm...I guess that means one more thing on the drawing board. I also have to take my kirtle in by 3" or so because of the weight loss as well as my silk partlet. I know, it is at least a good reason to complain with a smile :)
my hand done kirtle with linen sleeves and my partlet.
The kirtle is actually reversible black to blue, so it is the same one from above that is here:
See, too long...and the partlet shouldn't overlap. I didn't realize how much I had changed since this summer.... (btw, the odd white thing hanging from my laces is a token from Viscountess Esperanza...she had just given it to me as a thank you :D )

One last silly thought....the spell checking feature has a COW over names and specialty terms like Torchon, Blackwork, Lagatera, etc...it makes me laugh :D

Anyway, that is it for now. Thanks for reading, and happy stitching!

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