Something old

…very old, as it happens.

A few weeks ago, when I was dressing the mayor for the Anglo Saxon fashion show at Kirkleatham, it seemed only fair that she should have something pretty to wear, so I dug out an old wimple that I very rarely wear. I do use it on a regular basis, as I display it as part of my embroidery display at events, but I don’t think I’ve worn it in the last decade.

It was made twelve, maybe fifteen years ago, and I decided it would be a good excercise for me to dredge my memory of the making process and air the old lady on the internet.

The viel is based on the one worn by queen Emma/Aelfgifu, who stands here to the lower right of the cross. At the time I was intrigued by the little tags hanging down from the back of the viel – I’ve never seen anyone else reconstruct this viel, perhaps because not being part of one of the larger Uk dark age groups I’ve always been allowed to be braver in my reconstructions than many group rules allow.

 Since the detail on the manuscripts is minimal, but definately shows some sort of decoration on these tags, I decided to have fun with celtic puppydogs – I still love how thier tongues look like strings of sausages stolen from a butchers shop. They’re 60/2 nm silk, laid and couched work with split stitch, couched gold, coral and pearls on shot taffeta backed with linen. The pearl and coral fringe could perhaps be considered somewhat fanciful, but it does add a nice bit of extra wieght, which comes in quite handy at breezy outdoor events.

 The other thing that appealed to me was the fillet round Emma’s head, which seems to show only at the front – suggesting that the back section is concealed beneath the viel. Now, this could well be a metal band or crown, but I had just learnt gold brocaded tablet weave at the time, and this was one of my very first pieces. If memory serves me its Birka 21 with a border added, done so the body of the band is plain silk with the brocading only showing on the forehead (the plain silk band fastens aound the head under the viel)

Because I was reconstrucing a Queens headdress, I felt justified in covering the entire body of the lovely soft yellow silk in a tiny pattern of silk and pearls. At the time I had two boy cats, Truffles and Newt, who decided to knock over my embroidery frame and “play” on top of it when I was inches away from finishing this ground pattern. If they hadn’t both already been castrated they would have been when I found that frame on the floor. Somewhere on this headdress is a very carefully concealed patch…

 Sorry about the poly head – I find it impossible to take my own photo. You can get a rough idea though of how the whole thing drapes, although the tags should really hang down the back. I think it could be argues that the tags might be attached to the fillet ends, but to me the manuscript clearly shows them attached to the ends of the viel, which is how I did it

Sigh, I am having to sit on the floor to type, as Branston is hogging the sofa again…

~ by opusanglicanum on April 16, 2012.

20 Responses to “Something old”

  1. Lol. I made my daughter’s wedding veil last summer. She never knew about the tiny hole until long after the wedding! That was Pedro. I couldn’t do anything without his involvement. The other cat, Fuzzles, doesn’t get into things like that. He’s a computer geek and puts appointments in my calendar, posts updates to my Facebook and once restarted my laptop in safe mode. The things we put up with just to have some snuggly, furry faces around.

  2. Beautiful wimple — I really like all the flowers on the yellow silk. Too bad you can’t teach cats to sew. (heh!)

  3. It looks lovely – the height of style for the period!

    • the first time I wore it a friend spotted me from bbehind and realising that i was the only person she knew who would make something like it, yelled “Tanya, you ostentatious tart” at the top of her voice from the other side of the field

      • How charming of her!

      • another friend once had to teach her to say “colin has an extremely small penis” in old norse, because she’s just split up with colin and insisted on telling every one she met that hew as hung like a mouse – he thought that at least if she was saying it in old norse she was less likely to cause offense

  4. It’s absolutely gorgeous. I am so envious, your work is really wonderful to look at and lust after.

  5. I agree with Natalie!

  6. Amazing work. And the – what did you call it? – fillet is amazing work.

    • Thankyou .fillet is one word you can use, yes, its really just a very fancy ribbon

    • See? I was so flabbergasted to read that you’d woven it that I repeated myself! Now I’m going to pick my jaw up off the floor and try to write sense.

      • its done with a brocaded tablet weave. tablet weave is hard to explain but fiarly easy to do – the brocading is fiddly, kind of like embroidering something as you weave it. most of it just takes patience and isn’t that difficult

        i never write sense as that would involve me engaging my brain and I try not to do that very often since the steam coming out of my ears makes the windows of my house all foggy

  7. What was your source for the picture? I can’t get it to enlarge enough to view the details. I might give it a go.

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