Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

So after finishing my first Arts & Sciences project (or at least the physical part–not the documentation yet), my husband decided he wanted a similar thing for himself, which means more embroidery. I’m cool with that and all, but I have to find a design for what he wants…and there aren’t too many period-esque cooking pot drawings.

My hubby is definitely the cook in the family. I can manage mac and cheese, ramen, and some salads/sandwiches. That’s the majority of my cooking “skill.” And I’m talking box mac and cheese, not scratch. So for his SCA device, he chose a couple fleshpots (an oldschool type of cooking pot) as part of it, and since I used part of my device (a swan) on my piece, he wants a cooking pot on his. I can do it, but we were hoping to find a Viking-type or knotwork design, and Google is not providing any such thing. So together we’re working on a compromise in the form of a period-style circle around whatever design of pot I choose. Or he chooses. I don’t know; as far as I know he hasn’t found what he wants yet.

I was going to start the embroidery this weekend, but unfortunately we didn’t have the pot design picked out before we left for our weekend trip. I could freehand something, but I want this to be neater and more precise than what I can sketch. I might have to wing it, though, if I want to start today. I might just read instead. I have a book that I’m reading for my research paper portion of my A&S entries, and I plan on bringing that to the SCA thing today as well. Give myself options. Or something.

Well, almost time to go. Gotta get my stuff together and get cracking. Embroidery or research…what will it be?

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I have a new place in the art world, and it’s an interesting one. Thanks to my new interest in embroidery, I have become the maker of belt ends.

Let me explain:

My husband weaves belts and trim, and he’s made a few now for “foreign” royalty. One thing he wanted was a way to end the belts that would look nice and be functional. Our solution? Tiny, 1.5-2″ embroidered coats of arms sewn into little sleeves, into which I slide the end of the belt, and then it gets sewn shut. Ta-da! Belt doesn’t unwind, and it’s personalized for the recipient.

I guess it’s been done before, but from what I understand it’s not done often…at least not that I’ve seen. And so far, the people who have received the belts have loved them–especially the embroidery.

It’s kinda cool, but a little painstaking at times. The designs I’ve done so far haven’t been too complicated to shrink down and stitch, but I wonder what I’ll do when we get a commission for a more complicated coat of arms. I want to get recognition for the work I do, but I don’t want to get to where people expect more than I can do.

I’m finally done with the commission embroidery for the meantime, though, so I can focus on A&S. I’ll be reading and embroidering and measuring and cutting and sewing and typing and…yeah. A lot of work ahead, but it’s work that should be fun. Interesting, at least.

There won’t be any progress pics here, though, because that’s part of the research paper; you have to include pictures of the process of whatever you’re doing. Once it’s all done I’ll post stuff… but that’s a few months away.

Estrella War is over, but my project list is far from completed. I’m currently about halfway through a couple of tiny embroideries for a gift for a king in another kingdom, I have a hood to make for my husband, an underdress and apron dress for me, three Arts & Sciences projects to get going, and then there’s also some mundane sewing I want to get done soon-ish.

I’m not super stressed out like I would normally be, because aside from the embroidery I don’t have any deadlines less than a few months away. This is great, because for the first time in months I feel like I can relax and take my time. Well, not relax too much. But I can breathe.

I’ve picked out the Arts & Sciences projects that I’m going to do, so since that is the next true deadline I will focus on those once the embroidery is done. I am even combining one of the above projects into the A&S stuff (but I’m not saying which one!) to kind of get a little ahead of the game. Be more efficient, I guess. Now, I need to do research in addition to the physical work, and I need to remember to take pictures as I go, but I’m getting started right away so I’m not too worried. I have most of the research materials I think I’ll need compiled, so it’s just a matter of reading it all.

Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to the research paper part of the projects. I always aced my research papers in school, so this should be a breeze. I’ll just have to dust off the ol’ “student” cap and put it on and get to typing. I even made sure I knew which format (y’know, MLA, APA, etc.) I will need to use for my citations before I got started. I’m getting kind of excited for it. Yeah, excited for three research papers. I’m such a nerd.

I also need to mentally prepare for A&S, in the sense that I know my works (written and handmade) will be subject to criticism from multiple fronts. My research papers could be metaphorically torn to shreds, or my sewing could be scoffed at. I think I’ll be okay, though.

Can’t let myself get too comfy in my sense of security when it comes to timelines. We still have to move into our house once it’s built, which is rapidly approaching, and there are more SCA events in the meantime. I can do it, though. Just gotta avoid getting to Crunch Time like I usually end up doing.

Ah, modern life. Sleep number bed. Smart thermostat. Long, hot shower.

Yeah, it’s true that I will miss being at war with my SCA family, but I am still glad to be home. I can get back to my normal routine and worry less about freezing in the middle of the night. (And yes, it can get to freezing temperatures in the desert at night.) I got a new cloak out of it though, so that’s a bonus. Reversible with cotton on one side and wool on the other. Warm.

Today is a day for recuperating before jumping back into modern life full-on. The house is still in progress, work is still there, and bills still need to get paid. Can’t run away to a camping event forever, unfortunately.

For the most part everything’s back to normal, but I’m far from done with SCA stuff. I have things to sew, research to do, swording to learn. Basically, even though I’m back in the now, there’s still plenty of the then to keep me busy for quite some time.

I haven’t found a Laurel yet, but I’ll admit I didn’t try too hard to seek them out at war. I was too busy absorbing all that Estrella War had to offer me. Tournaments, melee fighting, shopping, Grand Court, etc. I’m proud of myself for not having a freak-out with all the people around me, but I still have a long way to go before I’m comfortable enough to try approaching strangers about stuff. I may start talking to the Laurels that I know, though, to get an idea of what I need to do to get on the path to that path.

I’m already “officially” on the path to a white scarf in that a good friend of mine accepted me as her rapier student. It’s kind of exciting to be on a set path and not just swinging blindly.

Eventually I’ll get there. It’s not like I’m on a set timetable here. Some people take a decade or more to become a peer in the Society, so I don’t have to rush myself.

I’m slowly but surely whittling down the Estrella War projects as I wait for the latest edits to come back on Book 1. Bee trim sewn to my fighting tunic: done. Embroidery on one of my husband’s tunics: mostly done (hoping to finish today, in fact). Stamping of top fabric layer of my husband’s fighting tunic: done. Assembly of said fighting tunic: up next on the docket once the tunic embroidery is finished. So hoping to start on that today.

Still to do: some miniature embroidery for a couple of my husband’s projects (they’re now joint projects–gotta love teamwork!), two pairs of linen pants, and … Oh yeah, I have to find time to make sleeves for my husband’s Italian Ren doublet and figure out some way to attach them. Those are the pre-War projects I have for now.

It seems like a daunting list (especially to those of you who don’t sew or craft), but I am confident that I can get most if not all of it done. The sleeves are the most concerning for me, as I had not originally planned to make them so I skipped the step in the pattern where you make tabs for attaching sleeves, so I have to engineer something for that. Otherwise, between off days and half days in the interim I think I’ll be fine.

The embroidery on the seams of my husband’s tunic is turning out nicely. I still need to couch the stitches, but here’s what I managed to do this morning:

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The coloring is a bit off, as the red is more a true red and the yellow is brighter, but what can you expect from a closeup on a cell phone in a room with weird lighting? Lol I do see a few minor flaws, places where the stitching isn’t 100% even, but I’m getting better with each project.

Speaking of which, if I hustle I can maybe get at least half of the couching done before work.

Until next time!

So I’ve finally figured out what arts I want to focus on for the SCA…now I just have to get up the nerve to talk to several different peers (Laurels specifically) so I can get to know them and hopefully find a mentor.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not fooling myself into thinking I’ll be at Laurel level any time soon. Years. Many years. But I think I’m ready to start getting to know different Laurels and hopefully find one who will be a good fit for me. Then there’s the ask-vs-being-asked dilemma…some Laurels want you to approach them about apprenticeship, while others want to get to know you and your work and will then eventually ask you. So I have to test the waters on that a bit before diving in. Don’t want to offend a potential Laurel by being too forward.

As far as peerages go, Laurel is the most likely one I could potentially get. Yes, there’s Master of Defense for rapier, but I’m probably decades off from that one, if ever. And of course I’m not going to be a Knight (because I am too weak for hardsuit fighting), and Pelican (the service peerage) isn’t really for me. Not that I don’t mind helping people or anything, but I just don’t have the intense drive to serve that a lot of good Pelicans have.

I’ll get there eventually, but first thing’s first.

Remember that list of things I have to make before Estrella War? Well, it’s still there–and not much has changed. :/

I started on my husband’s fighting tunic, but I made the sleeves a tad too big so that has to be altered before I can put the pieces together (thankfully I assembled the lining first, so I don’t have as much undoing to do). He also wants buttons, so I have to make adjustments for that. The embroidery is coming along but slowly. His rapier hood is larger than mine, with more seams to stitch, so even though I’m nearly done there’s still a good bit of work left on it. I have to stitch the trim he made for my fighting tunic onto the garment before I finish his. I have pants to make still (not complicated, but involved). And there’s a scroll I have to complete in addition to the sewing. I’m hoping to get a good bit of the prep work on that done today between my pre-work waking up time and the scribal class this evening.

There are a couple of things I had wanted to complete that I don’t think I’ll be able to this go around. I had wanted to make a coat of some sort (Viking style, of course) to wear at Estrella, but that’s not going to happen. I won’t be able to get decent material for it prior, and it’s just going to take up too much of my time. So it’ll be a cloak to keep me warm on those cold Estrella nights, at least this war. I had also wanted to make a Viking apron dress and under dress to go with the Viking “treasure beads” I got for Christmas, but that too will take too much time. I suppose the latter is for the better though, because now I can take my time on it and use those as one of my Arts & Sciences entries.

That’s right; I still plan on entering in the A&S competition for our barony, and despite some peoples’ reservations, I plan on competing for Champion. Go big or go home, right? Besides, I have confidence in my abilities, and I have a secret 3rd project in the planning stages that I think will at the very least be interesting to the judges. It sure as hell will be interesting to me to research, and any learning is a good thing. Yeah, there’s always the chance I won’t win, and I might be judged more critically if I enter for Champion and not a couple of Novice pieces, but I don’t care about either of those. I’m in it to prove that I can do it at this point. Go ahead and naysay; there’s enough stubborn Leo in me to push on and keep working towards my goal. And if I win? It’s all cherry at that point.

I keep telling myself that things will slow down after Estrella, but who am I kidding? I’ll be busy busy busy right up until and after A&S. That’s okay, though. I can do it.