Thursday, October 27, 2011

3/1 Twill Laurel Leaf Fillet - For Seawinds Defender

So after playing with the idea of Pelican/Laurel trim, I had the idea of making a circlet for a recently elevated Laurel (her 'wreath' at elevation was gorgeous, but not an 'every day' kind of headwear).

So - her color choice was red (Rus like red!) so I went with the red and white background with green leaves. I used a different red from the first band - more of a maroon. I still need to get a new sweater with a 'pure' red - but now right now.

According to the website, the theme for the event is 'The Silk Road' - so silk was appropriate for the material. But they also asked for some documentation. Now - this is a pattern I created myself, but it is based on a small motif from a historical example. And the technique is obviously period, although using the inkle loom isn't. So - I figured I'd do a quick write-up.

Heheh - but that's not me! I now have a 9 page write up, with a full page bibliography, 5 images, 2 Excel graphs, and a whole lot of info for the judge to read. And this is LIGHT documentation - not something I'd enter into Kingdom A&S or anything!

So - here's the band. It's on the scanner, so hopefully the colors look true. It's a bright green and a medium dark maroon.
So - if anyone would like to read the documentation or would like the Excel pattern for this, let me know. It's not hard, if you understand how 3/1 twill works - the stripe in the middle adds to the visual complexity, but not the weaving complexity.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pel-Laurel 3/1 Twill band - sample in progress

In working on 3/1 twill, I developed a repeating Laurel leaf pattern. It's not a documented pattern, but there are several 'leaf' patterns done in 3/1 twill, so the 'look' is right. Repeating trim is NOT super common - but the Hallstatt patterns do repeat, so it was done in the past, as well.

When I attended Laurel Prize Tourney, I saw an example of a Pelican/Laurel band she had made, doing doubleface, double-turn TW. It was a very interesting concept - but the 'leaf' looked very triangular, and there were some other aesthetic things I didn't like (poor contrast w/green and red, etc.) - but it was a cool idea.

So - I currently have a few friends who are fibery-types who are both (or will be shortly!) - so the idea came to combine the 3/1 twill design I had already developed to incorporate green leaves, a red stripe, and black and white 'ermine'. I didn't want the black to overwhelm the white, so it presented a bit of a challenge.

I designed the white stripes to utilize the 'missed hole' technique. on 4 of the cards (2 on each side) I put 2 green, and only one white, instead of 2. This meant that as the weave progressed, the 'missed' sections would show the weft thread. By using a black weft, the 'spots' show up as small sections, and the spacing was offset to prevent 'stripes'. As this was a sample piece, I didn't add a selvedge - I would probably add solid black, or a black and white mix, to tie-in with the ermine section.

I think the color combination works well - the red and green contrast enough w/o being 'Christmas' - and I think the spots show up well enough. Other options would be to thread the cards with a black thread, and thicker thread (which would make a wider band) could also help call attention to it.

Comments welcome!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Snug's Mask from Midsummer Night's Dream - or the Nemean Lion, take your pick.

Our SCA Baronial fall event is called Legacy of Lions. It it celebrating our 35th anniversary, and the number of extraordinary people in the Barony over the years. The Arts and Sciences theme is 'Lions', and all entries should reference lions in some form.

Documentation isn't required, although it is helpful. There are 3 prizes given for A&S entries, based on the favorite entries of the B&B, the Lady of the Lion and Lady of Lyonesse. The Baroness and both Ladies are Laurels, so - documentation=good.

After many false starts on Lion projects - a scabbard, a pouch, and something else, which all ended in failure (including a huge gash in my thumb from the scabbard project) - I was giving up on a suitable project. I was still working on the weaving (now done, pictures to follow soon!) - and I was in a funk.

While finishing the weaving, I decided to put in a fun movie to help with the time. I chose the Kevin Kline version of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' - light comedy, lots of fun, but not much thinking, since I am very familiar with the play.

And what do I see at the end of the play? A lion. Not a fierce lion (t'were pity on his life to scare the ladies, after all!) - but proof that Shakespearean theatre used animal masks in certain situations.  And since I HAPPEN to have a BFA in theatre, I have LOTS of references to masks, Shakespeare, etc.

So - I pick up my copy of Shakespeare, and check the publishing date on Midsummer. 1594-1595. Perfect. Late, but definitely before the cutoff, and not in the grey period. I read the part. Definitely mentions a mask - one where the actor's head could be seen if necessary. So far, so good.

I have a book on Mask Making that included making leather masks for Commedia dell'arte, said to be the same techniques used during SCA period. OR - make that I -HAD- that book, but as I was looking for it, we remembered that it had been lent out to a friend, whose house had burned down, and we'd never gotten a replacement for the book. ARGH! This is less than a week until the event - no time for ILL. So - it has references, but the documentation will be rather sparce, on that count.

But - I have my Theatre history book, my Shakespeare book, and a few other articles on mask making. So I did a basic write-up, based on previous mask making experiences.

Then - it was time to find the leather. Now - I have a garage full of leather (like - enough to start a small shop ... don't ask, it's a painful subject!) - but could I find good mask leather? No, of course not. It has to be vegetable tanned, so it will mold, and can't be too thick, or it'll be too heavy and hard to shape. So I found some that should be perfect, right? And then look at it, and realize that while it IS vegetable tanned leather - it has a finish applied that makes it almost plastic! WTF?!? Why would someone take perfectly good leather and DO that to it. But - it's a large piece, and if it doesn't work, I still have time.

So - with Terry's help, I get the basic Lion shape cut out, and we do the wet-forming. The leather doesn't squish the same (the top-coat stops it) - but it does hold shapes, and some molding was possible.

The plan was to do all the shaping, let it dry, and then paint/dye it afterwards to make it look like a lion. However - the way the finish is on the leather, dye and paint would be an 'iffy' proposition - and painting is NOT my strong point. So - I think the natural finish on the leather is fine for this project, and looks pretty good. If I did anything, it would be to line the eyes and nose in black, to play up the 'lion' shaping.