31 March 2006

Senior First Aid Day Two

It hurts to type!! Well, not quite but I won't be moving much tonight unless I smell smoke. My knees are even sorer, and I realised why the back of my hand hurt, it was from doing the compressions in CPR. We did our tests today. Much more team oriented than it used to be. So I passed the 20 multiple choice questions, don't know what I got, I wouldn't be happy if I got any wrong so I didn't ask. Then we had scenarios we had to do. I got a kid who'd fallen off a bike. That meant lots of fractures. Fractures are good because basically you just leave them alone, except for a bit of padding. Oh, BTW, I passed. So I am good for another 2 years.

We finished early, so I went to the scrapbook shop that was around the corner from the St Johns place. I had planned on going there at lunch time but the traffic was killer. I also managed to stop in at OfficeWorks to get some magazine holders. Magazines just seem to breed!! I looked at the computer section and they actually had the Toshiba R10 tablet PC on display. This is one of the two tablets I have been looking at. I am tempted to treat myself with the left over mortgage money. But I will have to see how things go. I don't really need it but I have wanted one since they first came out and it will be cheaper than the HP that is the other contender. Then I checked out Spotlight. They have some wool, but it's cashmere blend, so beyond the budget at $40m. All this after course activity means that I now have a clear Saturday.

30 March 2006

Senior First Aid Day One

Today was the first day of my Senior First Aid training. My knees are so sore and I am gonna hurt more tomorrow. There is much more emphasis on practical application than last time I did the course. So for every 15 mins sitting down with theory, there is another 15mins on my knees or lying on the floor. Which is probably the better way of doing it. I was thinking of going shopping after the course but I was too tired. No sewing either.

28 March 2006

Baronial Badge Progress

No sewing last night, just a bit of housework. The Baronial Badge is coming along. The chevron is taking a bit longer than planned and also a bit more thread than I expected. But I will still have enough. I might buy some more just in case though. Here it is at 4 hours:

27 March 2006

A Detour Into Scrapbooking

A quick "You're Welcome!" to Nik, about the stuff I sent her. I have so much scrapbooking stuff, I can spare the leaves. I'd got most of them in swaps and I don't use them much, so better they go to a good home.

And yes, some of the things I sent were made with the Sizzix machine. If you are thinking of getting one to mainly use for cardmaking, I would recommend getting the Sidekick, as opposed to the original machine. Firstly, they are much cheaper, secondly, they are much smaller and also much lighter and thirdly, will do what you want. The original machine is good if you want to cut other things than paper and also use the bigger dies, but for cardmaking both the Sidekick machine and the Sizzlits dies are much cheaper and better option for small spaces. Especially since the Sizzlit dies tend to be more geared to card makers (availability of phrases etc like Thank You, Get Well etc).

Nik, if there was anything you especially liked, let me know which ones and what colours you'd like and I can send some more.

26 March 2006

Loud, Noisy Machines

Dad came down today, checked my roof and sprayed some stuff that will hopefully fix the leaking roof problem. While up there we spotted some more holes, which will require a more permanent fix. But nothing major.

We also went shopping. I needed to get lawnmower. So talking Dad into going to a hardware shop was not a big deal! Ended up with a Victa mower and a cheap whipper snipper. I actually like mowing the lawn. You get instant results. I also picked up a chest of drawers. Which should help with having clothes all over the place, since there was no where else for them to go.

24 March 2006


I went shopping last night and bought some clothes. The current trend here is moving from BoHo to quasi-Edwardian. So I ended up with a tiered chocolate brown chiffon skirt, a chocolate brown cami top and a chiffon and lace over top to go with it. Also a nice plum jumper (sorry, I don't knit!) and since it would be impossible for me to not buy something pink, a pink knitted tank top which would go with all the brown stuff. It sounds alot but with the new job, I have to start buying some nicer clothes. And I tend to buy when I can, since getting nice stuff to fit is a hit and miss affair. No sewing.

21 March 2006

Some More Historical Examples

Linn posted some links to several small museums who have their collections online, here are some pre-16th C pieces that I found:
There are lots of other examples from other periods, well worth a look.

And now a bit of shameless self-promotion. Don't forget about the Historical Needlework Resources Forum - a great place to ask questions, and interact with other embroiderers interested in historical embroidery. I can tell lots of people are reading the forums but we need some more posts, even if it's links to what you are working on, resources you might have found etc.

20 March 2006

More Info Added to Historical Embroidery Page

Wasn't in a good mood yesterday. Everyone at gathering was talking about going to Festival. I can't go. Not happy.

Added some updates to the Historical Needlework Resources page, nothing major, all pages still have more work to be done on them:

19 March 2006

Stitches Used in Sweetbag

Lia asked about the stitches used in making the sweet bag.

There are three main stitches used in the majority of sweetbags. The first is tent stitch. This is used for the coloured silk elements, usually flowers and insects, favourite motifs of the Elizabethan embroiderer. The second is some sort of braid stitch. This is used for the stems, worked in gold thread. There is great debate about what stitches are used for this section. The current thinking is that a form of plaited braid stitch is the most common, but other braid or plait stitches were also used. The third stitch is some sort of gobelin stitch, used for the silver thread that forms the backdrop of the design. When looking at some photos of sweetbags, this often looks black or purple, where the silver thread has tarnished.

18 March 2006

A Three Shower Day

Adam came to pick up the last of his stuff from the house and the shed. So I took the opportunity to go through all my boxes of stuff. I managed to get rid of a fair amount of stuff and I brought a bit up to the house. Various bits of china and chrystal that I'd inherited from my grandmothers. Nothing terribly valuable, but things I liked. So I have a nice set of four tea cups, saucers and plates. These will fit in nicely withe '50's colours I've painted the cupboard doors in the kitchen (pink, green, yellow and blue). There is also a full set of chrystal (sugar bowl, milk jug, platter, etc) Not sure when I will use these. A nice green water jug and cups etc. I have decided there is no point having these wrapped up in the shed. So I am going to have them in the house and use them.

The shed is now much less cramped. I have four plastic tubs of stuff (mainly glassware, bottles, candles) that I have collected over the years that I am never going to use, so I am either going to sell it or give it away. That will give me even more room. So I am going to see if there is anything in the house that could be moved to the shed, to give me a bit more space here.

I have also filled in some gaps in the shed, sprayed liberally with pesticide in hopes of reducing the various bugs that inhabit the shed and also keeping the dust and dirt down. When the shed was next door, it was oriented differently and it never got dirty in there, now it's filthy. Hence the need for three showers yesterday. But hopefully plugging gaps will slow the dirt.

By the end of the day I was very tired, so no sewing. Just vegging out.


A few of the girls from work went out for cocktails and Japanese for dinner last night. I tried a Margarita (don't like them) and a Caprinha (these I liked very much). Only problem was that this was a new trendy bar where the bartenders have delusions of granduer. We only had time for two drinks, cause it was taking them half an hour to make each round of drinks. And most of use were having simple drinks. A few people had to take their drinks with them cause we were 15 mins late for our dinner reservation. And the place wasn't even that busy. Not a very good business model.

The Japanese restaurant was very nice, the food was simple but very nice. We all had a pretty good night I think.

17 March 2006

Sewing and Designing

I did another couple of hours on the sweetbag last night. Added some red, always livens up any design! No pictures yet, maybe on the weekend (not having software at work is really annoying, might have to start taking the laptop in).

Annoying news, I put in an order on the Eterna website yesterday for some more green thread. I ordered other colours but I mainly needed the greens (chucked in the other colours to make the postage worthwhile). So today I got an email saying they were out of stock on all the greens I wanted. Very annoying. So I might see if any of the stuff I got from China a couple of weeks back will work. But I don't think it has the sheen of the Eterna. I have enough to keep me going though.

On a serendipidous note, I got an email on one of my lists about a company that will make iron-on transfers for embroidery. I have been trying to find someone to do this so I can make some of my designs available but I haven't been able to find anyone. So this is very good timing. Only issue is that they only do A4, and I need A3. I wonder what their setup is like? I wonder if they use a standard printer with special ink? Even with A4, there are a few designs I could do and sell.

16 March 2006

Sweetbag Progress

Due to the Commonwealth Games starting last night, there was crap on TV. And the only thing I had on the frame to work on was my sweetbag. So I pulled it out and got a couple of hours on it. Boy my arms hurt from holding the frame. I really don't like working this sort of project. But I will endure, cause I really want to have full suite of Elizabethan embroidered items. I am also about to put a coif on the frame. It will use exactly the same floral motifs as the sweetbag, but will be worked in detatched buttonhole.

Project for the upcoming Easter holidays, is to learn plaited braid stitch. Speaking of which, I came across an interesting article by Jennie Durkin, called "Loop-stitch Embroidery: Peruvian and Elizabethan". Bascially, she is arguing that one of the stitches used to make the goldwork vines seen on many Elizabethan items wasn't always plaited-braid stitch (which I agree with), but was a version of Celyon stitch which was introduced to England from Peru (here I think her evidence is a bit weaker). I am going to do further investigation.

15 March 2006

The Bits You Don't Normally See

Racaire has asked me to put up an image of the back of my Blackwork shirt, to get an idea of what it looks like. I am willing to do this as part of my ongoing "not all blackwork is reversible" campaign. BTW, I am always looking for new recruits. So here it is.

Now while I don't adhere religiously to the Victorian-era influenced people who say the back MUST be as neat as the front (which is how I was taught by the way), there are practical reasons for keeping your back neat. The neater you back, the less chance of getting tangles. Less tangles, less chance of the back getting caught on things and getting damaged. And yes, I use knots. I will not apologise! This item is going to get washed so I think knots are necessary. Having said that, I also make sure that a section of the thread is worked into a previously completed section of the sewing to add even more of an anchor point. So basically I use both techniques to start/finish a section.

Anyone else want to show their back sides? ;-)

13 March 2006

Never Volunteer For Anything

You walk down to the main area of the office in search of a ruler and you end up the new First Aid Officer. It's a dangerous world!

Actually, I've been wanting to renew my Senior First Aid certificate for a while now. If I'm First Aid Officer at work, they pay for the course. Which I can also use in the SCA to be a Chirugeon (first aid person).

PS: Just kidding about the not volunteering. Volunteers are vital to just about most aspects of life here in Australia (and most parts of the world). If you can volunteer, do so, it really can be fun. And if it's not fun, be satisfied you are doing good.

Unbusy Weekend

I decided to have an unbusy weekend, after the choas of last weekend. I did some housework on Saturday, including washing some lovely grey wool I got off ebay and had an old school friend drop by on Saturday night. We just hungout, chatted, etc.

Sunday, I was supposed to go buy cat food and flea stuff but I just couldn't get motivated to get out of the house. I really should've though. I will see about picking the stuff up one lunch time maybe.

I did get one project out of the way. I wanted to make some sizing collars for the stuff I am going to sell. Problem is that you can't really cut out the centre and let people try the collars on. So I made up three "fake" collars, using the same templates I make the nice ones with. This forced me to make the templates in medium and large as well, so now I can do all three sizes. There is about a quarter of an inch difference, between small and medium and then again between medium and large. That doesn't sound like much, but when added all the way around the collar, it does give three distinct sizes (I'm sure there is maths for working out what that equals, but it's beyond me!). These fake collars will allow people to see which ones fit best. Should make things considerably easier and make people more willing to buy them!

I had hoped to pull out the various bits of wool and mark up a heap of collars so I could embroider them at my leisure, but I really just couldn't be bothered. Maybe I need to put the air con on more, I get more work done when it's not hot!

9 March 2006

What is a Newcomers Event?

Lia has asked about our Newcomers event. Our Newcomers event is aimed mainly at University students. The event is run by the College of St Crispin, who are the uni branch of our Barony. During Orientation Week (O-Week), all the clubs and societies on campus have stalls to let people know what they do and to allow them to join. This is the main place we advertise Newcomers Feast. However, the event is open to ANYONE who wants to come and find out more about the SCA, but letting those outside Uni know about it relys on word of mouth and any promotion we do on the web or other means. So mostly, we end up with Uni students.

Newcomers is a full on feast, same as we would hold any other time. However, if it is your FIRST event, it is totally free. Free food and Uni students are generally a good combination! We got about 15 new people on Saturday night, which is pretty good. But we will be lucky if say 5 or 6 stick around. Last year, we had 4 people who are still there this year, but they are keen, so still a good way of bringing new blood into the group.

All of our events are run by a team, as they are too big for one person to do. We supply alot of food but usually break even or only make a small loss. Regular members who attend pay, so that covers most of the costs.

If you don't have a Uni near by, there are probably ways you could adapt this strategy for the wider community. But don't worry, recruiting is a problem for all SCA groups, especially those in less densly populated areas. Lochac is a single kingdom but geographically, nearly the size of the USA.

Baronial Badge Kits

I didn't want to put all the pictures in one post! So I have started working on writing up the instructions for the Baronial Badge Kits. Below is the design for the badges. The heraldry is pre-determined, but I wanted to get away from the plain heater shield, so I have chosen a late 15thC/Early 16th C German shield shape. I wanted to use the jousting shield, but that shape would be hard to sew, so the simplier shape it is. The lymphad (ship), chevron and wreath will all be worked in imitation Japanese gold thread in plain surface couching.

8 March 2006

Fencing Practice

Last night we had fencing practice again. We were not highly motivated, but we did get out there eventually. We practiced by tying ping pong balls to my clothes line and trying to hit them.

7 March 2006

Baronial Badges and Tourney

I managed to get a few kits together for the Baronial badges project. I actually have too many volunteers, which is really unusual. I might not even have any to do for myself! I will take a picture of the design and post it. I am going to make extra ones, so I am sure you will see progress pictures here soon. I am planning on entering them into the Queens Regalia Competition, since we fit all the criteria already. And it will be nice to lift Mordenvales A & S profile. Maybe time to start thinking about a kneeling carpet?

We had our monthly tourney was on Sunday as well. I wore my blackwork shirt. The pictures aren't great, I am a bit dishevelled after doing some archery (which was fun) and lugging lots of stuff around. But here is the outfit.

Damn, left the pictures are home, I promise to post them soon!

Note to Self:
Make a dress that actually fits!

5 March 2006

Newcomers Feast

Last night was our Newcomers Feast. It was Turkish themed, we had 21 dishes, not including starter and 6 deserts! No one ever starves at our Baronies events! I got my Persian outfit finished. Didn't get a chance to to get another photo. Might have to do a photo shoot one day. It was the best event I've been to in a while. I tend to not have anyone to to talk to, but that wasn't a problem last night. Lots of new people, so with a bit of luck, we will have some new members in the Barony soon. Need to start helping them get kitted out, especially if they are planning on heading to Festival.

3 March 2006


Last night I managed to finally make a couple of paternosters. Though not embroidery related, I think that they fit on the blog in the wider context of historical reenactment. It's little things like period accessories that really make a good set of historical garb. They are both fairly simple sets, but a good start I think.

The first one is made from black stone beads for the Aves and glass for the Gauds. They are strung on black silk twist thread. It is based on a 15th C Madonna and Child.

The second one is made with 50 small glass beads (meant to look like amber), with a bone bead. They are strung on red silk twist thread.

2 March 2006

Odd Jobs

I finished the round red and brown collar last night, only took half an hour. I will post pictures tonight.

I also finally finished off my blue Persian coat from last year. I just had to sew the shiny gold frogs down the front. I ordered them for last year, but they arrived one day too late. The same event is on this weekend, so I thought I'd better get it done. It does make the coat look much better. Now to take out the lining of the second coat and I will be ready for the weekend. I will try and get some photos on the weekend.

1 March 2006

What A Day!

I think I am starting to recover from yesterday! I had a really big day for work, involving driving quite a ways to somewhere I've never been before. I did quite well and didn't get lost on the drive or at the hospital! It was a pretty early start so I was pretty tired by the time I got home, but rapier practice was on. A couple of people turned up and we had fun. Ish had enough armour that we could stab him. I have realised while I don't mind doing sporting activities, I quite like them, what I detest is practicing! I remember when I did tennis for a while, I went to lessons for 6 months and we never got to play a game, all I did was hit a ball over the next. It got so boring. That might be fine if you want to be professional, but if you are in it for a bit of fun, then it is no good. So I am much more pumped about rapier now. So I really need to get myself organised. Hardest thing to get hold of is going to be a mask. I am hoping to pick one up cheap, if I can.

I got a bit of sewing done last night as well. Nearly finished the red on brown collar. I have to work on fixing up my Persian outfit for the weekend.