finished stuff, started stuff, and the first outdoor event of the year

You may remember this piece of gold brocaded tablet weaving from last year

gold tw for john

Well, I finally finished it after I’d bunged it in a box for nearly a year, although I ran out of gold thread so it wasn’t quite as long as I would have liked. I also made a non-brocaded band to go with it

tw fot john

Ideally this band would have had more twiddly bits, but it ended up with a regular twiddly pattern that you see here because I left it until the week before I needed to finish the garment and twiddly bits are time consuming. I also don’t know what happened with the widths – both bands used the same number of cards, but the gold one came out a couple of millimetres narrower than the other. This was a problem since they’re meant to flow into each other, so you might notice from the top pic that I ended up layering the gold band over the other, rather than piecing them.

warrior coat

The finished garment is very simple, just  a basic tunic with a split down the middle, which looks remarkably like a dressing gown. It’s based on the so-called “warrior coat” from Taplow

So yesterday we toddled off to Morpeth gathering, which this year is Anglo Saxon themed to tie in with the return of the Lindisfarne gospels to the region – hence the last minute panic finish of John’s new coat. Luckily we had a sunny day.


I need to make him a Saxon hat – he wore the Viking one and and extra tunic underneath because it was cold. I teased him all day for wearing a dressing gown, by which he was quite bemused.

Either side of John are my mum and stepdad.

Peter is dressed as a shepherd, with a traditional Northumbrian working plaid (as opposed to the black and white Sunday best one). This particular plaid is an original from the 1850s, and belonged to a freind of the family’s father – it has wrapped many a newborn lamb before it began it’s retirement job as an ambassador for English national costume. Peter is dragged along and made to dress up by my mum, who researches ENglish folk dress – he doesn’t complain as long as he is allowed beer.

Mum is dressed as a Bondager, which isn’t nearly as kinky as it sounds. The bondagers were female farm labourers on the English/Scottish border, so called since they were bonded to work for a year. They had their own distinctive style of dress designed to cope with the demands of their work. They existed right up until the second world war, and there are still a few old ladies around who were bondagers, a few years ago one was kind enough to give mum some of her old stuff.

JOhn and I had a large awning that we divided between us.

morpeth tent tanya

NOah’s ark had it’s first outing, and was much admired. All of the adults managed to figure out what it was once I told them it was old testament. I ended up giving  some sample of my veg dyed threads to a nice lady who explained that her own c17th reenactment group wouldn’t let her wear anything other than grey and brown because of the belief that such colours could not have been achieved. I am, however, even more unhappy with the mounting on that piece.


This old dear hasn’t has an outing in ages, so I thought I’d tell you about it. It’s our old group banner from when we used to do a lot of Viking events, much faded now due to use, wind and rain. About 20 years old, done with silk and gold (which has rumpled when the banner shrank a little in the rain) on dupion with amber eyes. JOhn used to make the entire group salute it when he raised or lowered it, and got quite grumpy with me because I always refused to salute something I’d made.

morpeth tent john

JOhn had the other side of the awning, where he talked about weapons and let people try stuff on.


I didn’t spend all day chatting though, I also started work on the unicorn who was late for the Ark. Bithard to see as it’s white on white – I’ve based him on the INverness horse from George Bain’s celtic knotwork book. I quite fancy a green background, but everyone else keeps saying it should be blue, including one little girl who insisted he ought to have wings as well

~ by opusanglicanum on April 7, 2013.

13 Responses to “finished stuff, started stuff, and the first outdoor event of the year”

  1. Looks like a fun day. Everyone looks great. I’m interested in the unicorn. I’d need a closer picture before I’d venture an opinion as to its background colour.

  2. It sounds like a great day, and you must have taught the attendees so much!

    • It was a bit cold, but for the first event outdoors it wasn’t so bad – at least we didn’t forget to pack anything major, which is always a good start. well, john forgot his bling, and pouted about it cos he’s a big tart, but…

  3. I enjoy your blog so much that I’ve featured it in my own blog –

    Every day I’m eager to see what you’ve doing next.

    You do beautiful work and inspire me to “reach higher” too. Thank you!

  4. Tablet weaving, Unicorn, clothes your mum and step-dad are wearing – all mega cool, with extra points for authenticity on the clothes. Poor lady with her restricted colour palette! Hope your step-dad gots lot of beer. It looks bloody freezing.

  5. gorgeous work! I admire it.

  6. […] plain red band was one I’d had set up from doing the brocading on johns  Warrior coat and I had thought I’d weave the whole band plain so I could use it for the edge as well, but […]

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