Fashion show

•April 22, 2017 • 3 Comments

I trotted out to do a little fashion show at a new textile symposium at leeds university today. It’s always odd seeing my frocks on other people.

Although there was the odd modern safety pin visible, because temporary adjustments had to be made.

i haven’t worn the red duchesse satin one that’s second from the left for years. That lady really suits it more than I ever did, but I think I might have to get it out more often after today.

One thing that didn’t get worn ( I took eight outfits for six models and let them choose) was the one that goes with this.

I did talk about it though, firstly because it’s a prime example of my habit of making an entire outfit because I desperately need a daft hat, and secondly because it’s a lesson in how much experimentation often goes into things. I made this maybe seventeen years ago, and revamp it almost every time I wear it. I’ve shown it here with the crespine/ cocaCola cans empty, but I’ve tried it with all sorts of fake hairs and stuffings, none of which have ever quite worked. Additionally, the rivets that originally held the sides on gave out to metal fatigue almost at once because I hadn’t considered the amount of movement it needs, so now I sew the metal together, which works better, and I also usually run a ribbon around the bottom of each can and the back of my head to control the movement and support some of the wieght ( I’ve seen cheap versions made from lightweight modern alloys, but this is gilded silver with real gems so it’s quite heavy)

its  very pretty when worn, but to be honest I avoid wearing it unless I have to because my nickname for it the headache inducer- you carry all the wieght on your forehead.

D is for…

•April 20, 2017 • 6 Comments

…dainty dancing dragons.

And I have nothing more to say on the matter.

Not quite an Easter chick…

•April 14, 2017 • 8 Comments

But an Easter baby chicken dragon

and kitty spam. At the moment they’re being very good about sitting nicely together whilst I sew, trouble seems to share branstons tolerance for being accidentally smacked on the head with an embroidery frame.


Blue meanie

•April 7, 2017 • 6 Comments

Am doing ok at this weekly luttrell update thing.

I’m quite pleased with his blue grey skin, it reminds me of a kabuki mask, although I’m not so sure about the horsie’s bogbrush tail, even though it looks like the ms.

Wierd, nonhuman looking skin is used in medieval art to indicate the grotesque, evil, and unnatural, and I find it interesting that the dragon slayer is shown this way because it shows sympathy for the dragon.

The baby chicken dragon up above isn’t going to be yellow in the end, I was in a hurry and grabbed yellow at class on Sunday to demo, but when I got it home I changed my mind.

Little Saxon thing

•April 6, 2017 • 8 Comments

I prepared six designs for the Anglo Saxon class on Sunday, but as always allowed everyone the option of doing thier own design. At this class I also allowed the choice of working in wool or silk – I don’t think I would be happy teaching a class where I dictated every aspect of the design, people need to enjoy what they’re doing.

anyway, in the end we had eight alfred jewels, two Saxon brooches, one beastie, and one original design.

one design that no one picked was a simple little enamel brooch, which I thought was cute so I decided to do a version of my own

Its very small, barely two inches diameter. All silk, split stitch, stem stitch,laid and couched work and outline couching.

Those working in silk had a choice of filament or some plied veg dyed silk I did a few years ago. I’d forgotten I had the veg dyed silk, to be honest, and got quite excited about it when I dug it out for class, so I decided to play.

the original brooch was blue white and yellow, and to be honest I think my colour choice makes the design look more late medieval, but I loved the way they sat together. I’m also not so sure the dark red silk works for the couching, gold might have lifted it a bit. Gareth says my problem is I’ve shocked myself by doing something subtle, and I don’t normally do subtle so I can’t come to terms with it.

I might end up using it under I for illumination on my bodliean scroll, I’m not sure…

When I arrived on Friday I was shocked by how bare the workroom looked, so Jude made me take a picture of it looking busy

And one of the women’s labours trundling along nicely

Dyeing for the ashmolean

•April 2, 2017 • 8 Comments

Had a panic dye session last week because I’d completely run out of blue wool, apart from the half skein in my personal work basket.

I did a kilo and a half of wool, dyers green weed, fustic, and onion, over dyed with indigo. I’m quite please because I’ve got some darker greens than I had already, which is useful.

I’ m quite excited to see how this works up. I had been using yarn from texere mill, but they went out of business last year, so I’ve been hunting around for a new source, and I’ve ended up with blue faced liescester from yarn Undyed. It’s more lustrous than the old stuff, and it rather brilliantly comes in 100g skeins, so I don’t have to spend days winding wool off cones and weighing it. I do still owe my stepmum £300 though, because she got it wholesale through dad’s business account and saved me a fortune. Actually I probably owe her £300 and a cake…

with my usual stunning organisational skill I managed to dye this at the last minute, so it only dried out enough to separate them out for students this morning.

Do you ever have one of those days…

•March 29, 2017 • 6 Comments

…when you just feel like a bit of a horse’s arse?

I had a bit of an experiment with the dapples. In opus anglicanum horse dapples tend to be done by packing spirals of split stitch, I’ve done this many times and it gives lovely results. But the dragon hunter’s steed looked more like blue with circles applied on top, so that’s what I did. I think it looks lovely, but I’m not convinced it looks like dapples – to me it looks more like the way native americans paint their horses, in fact I was quite tempted to sneak in a white handprint, for the fact I’d already dappled his larger areas I think I would have done.

I don’t think this was really any quicker than the split stich version, either, since so much split stitch was overlaid across the couching.

The whole thing is rolled to the next stage now, and I’m working on the rider. I might be approaching the halfway mark.

In other news Gareth is shocked by the size of the parcel that just arrived from hotel chocolate. I don’t know why he’s shocked, since he knew I had a 50% off coupon and he has actually met me.