Welcome to Madame Perronnelle de Croy’s home on the web. Within the SCA I play a middle 12th century Frenchwoman from the northwest or Brittany region. This is my collection of esoteric knowledge and experiences within that august organization. Please feel free to look around, comment, and learn. While the offerings are meager at this time I am hoping to continue to add to this collection as time goes on. If you have any questions or input please feel free to contact me using the “Contact Me” link in the top right corner. Thank you and enjoy!
Back at the end of April I was asked if I thought I’d be up for taking my first scroll assignment. I was more than a little nervous since these tend to me more geared toward the recipient and it’s held up in court for everyone to see. It did not help that my previous experience with submitting things to Arts & Sciences competitions have not gone well.
Bolstered by my teacher’s confidence I accepted the assignment and had to do a bit of research before I found something that I thought might fit the bill for my 11th Century Anglo Saxon recipient. I stole a simple frame with a fair bit of shading work and gold application from the Gospel of John, at left, and used it to frame the device, blazon, and signatures.
The scroll work was interesting and I have to admit to repainting a couple of the swirls a couple of times before I felt it was acceptable. I was so paranoid that I actually did a few test drafts of some of the swirls and shading to get it how I liked and even then I ended up repainting. I am a bit of a perfectionist, even if it isn’t period.
In the end my completed portion came out quite nice and I was pleased. My next item on my to-do list is to try playing with some shell gold. For this project I used the Schminke Aqua Bronze Rich Pale Gold. Since I’m still a baby illuminator and new, I chose this option since it was cheaper and something I already had on hand. Pennsic’s right around the corner though so I may try to pick up some shell gold there to try out.
Pennsic prep is underway and my sewing room looks like it has exploded. No real surprise since it’s what happens every year pre-Pennisc but I always wish I could skip that part of Pennisc prep. It’s inevitable though. Usually two weeks before I get ready to hit the road, I’ll discover two to three items in my wardrobe (at least) that need replacing or repair. I try to keep it all clean and orderly but it doesn’t always work out and I end up having to put away a bigger mess when I get home. Oh well. Here’s to the crazy Pennsic prep season. I can’t wait to see you all there!
I typically make up my braids with the size 10 cotton crochet supply that you find at your average craft store or online. The desired thickness of my finished braid will dictate how many strands I wind on to each bobbin. It’s important to note that the same number of threads needs to be wound onto each bobbin otherwise you have a very lumpy and uneven braid.
I have found that a single strand of the afore mentioned size 10 crochet cotton wound onto each bobbin makes a nice enough braid but it’s simply too thin for most things like clothing laces or medallion cord. The only thing it’s really good for is decoration, to couch down, or something similar.
I find that two strands on each bobbin makes for a very versatile cord. It’s the perfect size and weight for a medallion cord, clothes lacing, or draw stings. Three strands is probably my favorite size. It’s a bit big for a medallion cord, unless of course the medallion is of a heavier or larger variety than normal.
Whipcords made with four or five strands per bobbin are larger but easy to tangle when winding onto the bobbin. These larger cords are good for belts and such.
Naturally, the thicker the yarn or string, the thicker the end result will be. So using size 3 crochet yarn would give you different sizes. I don’t typically have size 3 yarns on hand so unfortunately, I have nothing to show for comparison.
As with any kind of cord making or weaving, the amount of yardage you start with won’t be the same amount that you end with. In general I find that, depending on strands per bobbin, I will loose somewhere between 3/4 of a yard (2 strand per bobbin) to a whole yard (3 strands per bobbin) on the end product.
As far as washing these laces is concerned and the shrinkage that might occur there I don’t have any idea. I’ve yet to need to wash them or washed anything with them couched onto it so I can’t tell you how much it might shrink under that circumstance.
My next project is to make up some cord that will go on my skjoldehamn hood. The hood that was found and is documented had two cords, and were sewn on just above or below ear height. The left-hand cord is fully preserved and is roughly 6cm or 2.5in long with a tufted end, that is covered with a little piece of green woven fabric (Løvlid, 2009; 48). It was braided with two pairs of olive-green, and two pairs of red-brown threads in a clockwise spiraling pattern (Løvlid, 2009; 47). This would make it look like a version of the green and white cord in the image posted above. I’ll be interested to see when it comes time to sewing the cord on, what the attachment point will look like when I’m done.
1Løvlid, Dan Halvard, Nye tanker om Skjoldehamnfunnet, Masters Thesis in Archeology, Bergen University (2009)
I just realized last night that I haven’t published anything on here in over four months….oops! Life often has a way of rushing past you even when you try your best to hold and keep things in control, it doesn’t always work. Since it’s been a while I thought I would catch up on a few things:
They’re amazing! I made my own this past June (see this post on how-to) with some basic supplies ordered from Amazon.com or purchased at your local craft store. So far I’ve only done things in size 10 crochet cotton but it’s been a really good learning material. So far I’ve made a ton of medallion cord and a nifty Obi belt for Mistress Eleanore McCarthaigh. (Photo coming forthwith)
The medallion cords are simple, one thread per bobbin. For the Obi belt I doubled up and used two lengths of thread per bobbin which made for a nice solid cord belt of about three and half yards. That was a last minute make and I simply knotted the end but I think I’d like to add a large bead to each end of it of jade, carnelian, or pierced metal…something to give it a bit more bling.
The bobbins have a really nice heft to them and are perfectly heavy enough to provide the necessary tension for the cords which is awesome. I’ll be interested to see how the weight affects the work up of other types of thread. Unless I’m using something really thick, I don’t think the bobbins would ever need to be heavier but my main concern is working with thinner threads or wool. It’ll have to be an experiment I tackle in my copious amounts of spare time.
I’ve been working on expanding my stitch repertoire since I began learning a couple years ago. I learned Oslo and Mammen at the Pennsic before last and I’ve completed one fingerless mitt in the Mammen stitch. Unfortunately, it wound up a bit too small so I’ll be starting a new set. I’ve since begun a hat in Mammen stitch which is nearly finished. I’ve also begun a hat in Telemark stitch which is flatter and more densely packed than the others I currently know.
The picture to the right is the top view of the the Mammen stitch hat and the Telemark stitch hat. Below that I included a picture of the top view to see the difference in the thickness of the stitches. I tried to get a good shot with a ruler but that failed. Just for comparison through the Mammen stitch comes out at about 1/4 inch thick where the Telemark stitch comes out at only an 1/8 of an inch.
The wonderful lady that does this explains in Finnish and English so there’s the added benefit of seeing things done twice and done slowly. She also has a number of videos on how to start, adding, and decreasing stitches. I’ve listed the four stitches that I know below with links to the relevant video tutorial and a side note: the figure 8 starting trick is really phenomenal as it tightens down and doesn’t create an unsightly loop at the beginning like the knotted loop start that I had been using.
The woolen inkle band that has been on my loom for a while now is nearly done. I’m about three quarters of the way through. I had forgotten how sticky wool can be. I can only be glad that the wool is a simple inkle pattern instead of a card woven one. I’ve never done card weaving with wool and I’m not so keen to give it a try after this and remembering how sticky it is.
Beyond finishing both hats that I have going, I hope to start and finish one fingerless mitt for myself before Christmas with the goal of finishing the second one before Valentine’s Day.
My sewing room is still not quite back into fully functioning order after having everything just dumped inside after my last trip. I have a lengthy list but I’ll be happy if I can finish just two or three before Christmas on that front. I’m currently jobless again so here’s hoping that my motivation won’t go down the drain.
Once upon a Pennsic I was walking down by the merchants and going back to camp using the walk by main gate. There were the usual children laying on the grass, plying their art, and enjoying the shade. Then there was woman standing with string on old-school laundry pins hanging from a tree and it was something I hadn’t seen before. Since I’m fascinated by all string things I went over and asked what she was doing. That was my introduction to Whipcording or Viking Whipcording.
It’s been a several years since then and I still play with little laundry pin bobbins and use them for youth activities but get easily frustrated when I’m trying to do it by myself. There just isn’t enough heft to those little bobbins to really get a good momentum going if you’re passing it between two people. I also feel like the little bobbins don’t put enough tension on the string but that’s just my opinion. So like any good crafty person I began to research. My internet digging turned up a couple of options but one was almost completely out of the question. I could either:
- Purchase them: The bobbins were available though some sellers on Etsy and the like but were in the 60-70$ range. *Not* an option for me.
- Make them: Far more realistic and I was able to buy the parts I needed off amazon for under 15$ . PERFECT! (I’ve linked to the products in the How-to below!)
My searching also brought me to Master Richard Wymarc’s page of artifacts. His class handout for making a set of bobbins (PDF Handout) was what I followed when I made my own and he was really specific with the parts list which helped a lot! There are a few discrepancies between his list and mine because I couldn’t find the exact items he called for so I had to do some substitutions such as a 2.5 in doll head instead of a 2.25 in head. I also didn’t want to use the drill since the kids were asleep so there’s no hole in the base of my candlestick. So here’s how I made mine with pictures.
Whipcord Bobbin How-To
1. Put a good layer of wood glue on the flat part of the doll head (large sphere) and then press the base of the candle stick on to the sphere. The glue should come out a bit. You want it to look like frosting on a cake. As a result a nice even line of glue should touch the top and bottom pieces to make a good seal. If it’s messy use a finger to smear it all the way around to create the seal. Wipe off any glue drips with the damp paper towel.
2. Sit it in a cup (I used a plastic shot cup leftover from some party) and wait for the glue to dry.
3. Measure the depth of the cup in the top end of the candlestick with a tooth pick. Mark 3/8 IN more than that and break the toothpick. See if the dowel cap will still sit solidly on top of the candlestick with no space between the two. (This may take some finessing so take your time.)
4. Break or cut more toothpicks until the hole of the dowel cap is full.
5. Pull the toothpicks out and put a large drop of glue in and put the toothpick segments back in. Squirt a bit more glue into the candlestick cup and insert the toothpick end of the dowel cap assembly into the candlestick cup.
6.The cap should be touching the rim of the candlestick cup and the glue should gush out a bit to adhere to both wooden pieces. I also smeared my finger along the join with additional glue to ensure the hold. Again, wipe up glue drips with the damp paper towel.
7. Let sit for 24 hours to let all the glue set.
While I haven’t finished my post on fitting my daughter’s Eura dress I thought I should get this post out while it’s still fresh in my mind! I also have an update coming along about the upgrade to my donut hat as well which I had discussed before but was missing a curved needle to finish.
It’s been a while since I got my loom warped and actually have done some weaving. A couple of weeks ago I found a forgotten goldenrod hangerock or Norse apron dress that was partially finished. I thought I may finish it in time for the coronation of Kenric and Avelina here in the East Kindgom of the SCA. It’s happening this Saturday. True to form I couldn’t just hem it and call it done. NO. I got the brilliant idea to wave some trim and add stitching to make it a little more finished looking. So out came my wonderful loom. Did I mention it’s amazing? It does about 15 FEET or 5 YARDS of inkle woven trim (give or take a bit). I got it from one of my favorite vendors: Egill’s Woodstuffs. You can find him on the Book of Faces too. It’s solid and works beautifully. Not to mention Egill is super reliable when it comes to standing behind his products.
So I decided to weave and in wool no less. I fiddled a bit with the pattern I wanted but in the end I used a simple design. A good place to play with this is the Pattern Generator located at the Carolingian Realm. It’s a simple plain weave generator and allows you play with colors and produces a swatch and threading diagram for you. Very handy actually. So I decided that with the wool that I had from White Wolf and Phoenix is a 2/8 (2 ply of size 8) Jaggerspun Main Line that 25 threads would be enough for a half inch band. Thanks to the pattern generator I was able to come up with a blocks and ladder sort of arrangement that I like using the approximation of colors I had on hand.
Inkle weaving is blocks and lines for the most part. Using the threading diagram provided by the pattern generator I warped the loom. The threading diagram is rather plain but as long as you take care to remember which ones to heddle it’s not a problem. Depending on what you are using as a loom it can add varying difficulty to your warping. If you look at mine at the top of the page the first goes over the top and the other goes under it. The ones that go over are the ones that get heddled in my case.
Then, to begin weaving and to leave out the knots and things, I use a small piece of cardboard or, in this case, a business card.
After about six or seven passes with my shuttle I remove the card and proceed as normal. The one thing I had forgotten about weaving with wool is just how “sticky” wool can be, especially this variety. I am being cautious about how tight I pull my tension bar and how hard I’m packing each shed but over all it’s going well and I’m moving right along.
A thought just occured to me….If I have time after I finish this maybe I’ll do a short run of something wider to put on the center panel of my over dress below the braided stitch that I used to hem the top edge. For Saturday….sure, I can do that!
The current progress:
A shot time prior to the Fall Coronation here in the East Kingdom, I made a houppelande to wear for the occasion. It’s not my best work but I think it’s a good piece of work for a first attempt. The belt, collar, and lining and hat were all made from remnants and small pieces. That being said, it is rather plain. The donut hat in particular is very plain and I had been hoping to finish the half henin that I’m making but since it’s been taking a back seat to the garb upgrades and embroidery projects that I’ve had on deck for the past several months.
During my research on houppelandes I came across this picture to the right. It shows a donut-type hat with some kind of flower and leaf motif twisting around it. I suppose it could have been embroidered or even woven into the material used but given the raised nature of the depiction I would like to think it was a separate band sewn on to the hat.
Let me back track a little bit. The donut itself is not difficult to make. The general consensus is that they are simple tubes of fabric stuffed and seen together. My rectangle was approximately 5 inches wide by 24 inches long, allowing for 1/2 in seam allowance on both edges. I stuffed it with left over scrap fabric since I didn’t have any batting and I’m all about recycling.
Note: If you choose to use scraps of fabric to stuff your roll or donut be aware that it will be a little harder to get an evenly stuffed look. If you are looking for perfection, this is not the stuffing material that you want to use.
I’m not a huge flower person so I went looking through the box of trims and things that I have to see if I could come up with something that could work. What I found was some plain double fold burgundy bias tape and a length of plastic crafting pearls. Not super great but enough to pass the 10-foot rule. I hand sewed them on since the machine stitching would have been glaringly obvious.Something else that will make this project a bit more difficult will be that my donut has been stuffed and the ends already sewn together. In retrospect this would have been much easier to do if it had not been stuffed and put together already. Since it is and I got it to fit just right I’m loath to take it apart to put trim on it. I think I may have to break out a curved needle for this.
I’ll try to post my progress a little later this week, though I think there will be a lot of cursing stitching this on.
I’ve finally gotten around to putting my daughter’s dress together. I apologize in advance for slightly blurry pictures. I took them with my phone and for whatever the reason I couldn’t get a clear shot when I was putting the thing together. All of these are thumbnails. You can click on them to see them in better detail.
First I have to address the need to wash fabric before cutting. On one of the Facebook groups that I follow some recently asked if it was really necessary to wash and iron fabric before drawing the pattern and cutting. The answer is a resounding YES. For the reasons behind this, see this post on care and use of fabric. Wash and iron the fabric, you’ll thank yourself later. Another note while I’m here: I tend to do a bobbin thread of a different color. This is left over from my theater days. If you had to take something apart you wasted less time hunting for the thread. So I do have a pink thread for top stitching and a cream thread for the bobbin. The fabric is a stash remnant from someone in my local group. She was cleaning out her stash and came up with wool and linen remnants. It smelled a little like moth balls but I was able to wash that out easily. (More on that here)
I began with the layout of my daughter’s Eura dress. As I said in the previous post, I wasn’t too careful about length on the torso since I’m planning to tuck it up anyways. It’s important to note that the material is folded in half, end to end. The full piece of fabric is 42 inches long and 45 inches selvage to selvage.
Always double check your measurements and don’t forget to add seam allowance to the body measurements. A 1/2 inch seam allowance is standard for the modern fashion industry and fine for adults whose body weight doesn’t fluctuate. For children and for myself I tend to use 5/8 inch. It allows you to let out the seam as the kids grow, which is useful.
Once I’ve double checked it all, I cut the pieces apart. Three cuts and I have all the pieces for the dress. Its part of the reason I love this pattern. I took the pieces and laid them out just to make sure everything looks right before I start to sew it together. The two sleeves meet in the middle of the torso and overlap while one of the gores is running up the left side of the torso and underarm of the left sleeve.
- Hem the widest part of the sleeve.I cheat when hemming and use a hemming “board” or piece of card stock with lines on it marking a narrow width of 1/4 inch, fashion standard of 1/2 inch, and costumer’s standard 5/8 inch.For something like this I can simply iron 1/4 inch hem, fold, and iron 1/4 inch again and I won’t need to pin the thing before I sew it.
This is really handy and if you have spray starch handy you can hem even larger things this way. It is faster and nine times out of ten it means I can whip it through the machine without having to worry about a single pin. That’s always a bonus to me. Since I made such a narrow hem on this my stitching is only 1/8 of a inch.
- Hem the wrist portion. I don’t happen to have a picture of this because as it happens my wrist is on the selvage. I’m not going to make more work for myself than necessary.But! This is when it should be done if you are using a machine. Hemming wrist openings by had isn’t hard but it’s also not one of the things I tend to want to spend time on. If you wait until the sleeve is closed you won’t be able to do it by machine because the opening will be too narrow.
- **A side note: Gores typically extend to the wrist but since I didn’t want to do any unnecessary stitching I ended the gore early. See Bleow.**
- Attach the sleeve to the torso portions. Find the center of each torso piece and mark it. Next take the widest hemmed edge and (the part that will make the V) and place it right side to right side, just to the opposite edge of the direction the sleeve is going in. If you look at the dress pieces laid out in the picture earlier on: the sleeve going off to the left is placed just to the right of the center mark.The right sleeve is placed just to the left of the center mark.
- Next add the gores. I tend to add them from the hem to the wrist. I like having a roomy skirt and usually I don’t need any additional room in the sleeve past my elbow so I taper the gores to reflect that. I did this with my daughter’s as well. You can see this in the picture below.
- Hem it. Now because this particular dress stretched from selvage to selvage I didn’t have to hem it. This is a simple added bonus in this case. It means I will have extra length and I may end up having to add another tuck.
It’s not the end of the world though since I will likely get additional life out of the garment.
The dress is complete but I haven’t had a chance to pop it over my daughter’s head and see how the length is. There will be another post I suppose with the finished product. I do have more pictures of smaller details below.
This post stem from a post that I recently saw com up on one of the Facebook groups that I follow. The question was whether or not fabric should be washed before being cut. I tend to be very picky about my fabric care and preparation.
The idea of not washing it and then I had to stop and consider: everyone is new at some point and not everyone has grown up sewing. To that end I’ve thought I would spit out my general practices for fabric care made from natural fibers such as wool, linen, and cotton.
First I have to address the need to wash fabric before cutting. New (or even new-to-you) fabric should always be washed on the hottest setting and dried the same to get all of the sizing out of the fabric.
Sizing? What’s that? The sizing substance is added to fabric before the weaving of the fabric to reduce fiber breakage during the process out. The sizing can also cause the fabric to be scratchy and stiff and no one likes that. In addition some fabrics have a tendency to shrink after washing (or de-sizing). The last thing anyone wants is to put time and effort in making something only to find out after the first wash that your clothing doesn’t fit.
With wool you need to be a tad more careful. Washing should be done only in warm or cool water and it shouldn’t be dried in a dryer unless your dryer has a ambient air/air dry setting. Even then you can expect a little shrinking but blocking, pulling the fabric back into shape, can help this.
Pre-shrunk fabric is not exempt. I’ve learned this one the hard way. Don’t assume that any preshrunk fabric is not going to shrink. NEVER ASSUME. It can come back to bite you.
What to Wash With
For the initial washing most any gentle detergent is fine. I happen to use Dreft (laundry soap for children) but anything without bleach is good. It does a great job at getting the sizing out and really is just a mental thing for me.
To make natural fibers last longer though I do successive washes with an all-in-one shampoo and conditioner. I happen to have several half empty bottles of Aveeno baby wash/shampoo that I am using up. If you don’t have anything in the house you can pick from anything on the supermarket shelf. You even have your choice of scents.
Why shampoo? Shampoo is much more gentle than most laundry detergent, for one, and works just as well as detergent to get things clean. Secondly, because these are natural fibers, the combined conditioner makes the fabric softer, much nicer to the touch.
Stains and Problem Spots
Moth Balls: I have been gifted wool and linen before or have found them but they smell like moth balls. You want to use it but you can’t get past the smell. It’s okay! You can get rid of it.
- 2 Parts vinegar to 1 part baking soda
- Wash on the hottest setting
- Wash one more time with soap.
If the smell persists do another hot wash with the soda and vinegar.
Grease: These stains can often be the toughest to take out. The bulk of the ones I tend to have to deal with are cooking grease stains. Oil, fat, etcetra. There are a couple of things that work well.
- Chalk – plain, white classroom chalk rubbed into the offending stain will remove the majority of things and it is gentle on fabric.
- Dawn Dish soap – old school blue dawn dish soap is fantastic. They use it to remove oil from birds and animals caught in oil spills so getting grease out of clothing is easy as pie. I recommend putting several drops onto the stain, rubbing it in, and letting it sit for a bit for optimum results.
- Hydrogen Peroxide & Dawn – For the toughest grease stains (and just about anything else) this is a miracle worker. 2 Parts hydrogen peroxide to 1 part dawn. The mix will turn white/clear which is normal. I keep it in a spray bottle for easy use. Before any use, test a small area where it won’t be noticed. I haven’t run into any reactions and the only thing I’ haven’t tested it on is silk. Pre-treat the stain and let sit for a while. For more severe stains let it sit overnight.
Yellowing: This tends to happen with whites or near white garments. Usually it’s due to oils. Veils, barbettes, and other items that touch the face and armpits are prone to this. My solution?
- Hydrogen Peroxide & Dawn – It’s better than Oxi Clean and I’ve had a lot of success in using this mix (see above) to bring my veils back to new.
Ironing is nearly as important as washing. There are times, when making up an early period dress, I can get away with taking the fabric out of the dryer as soon as the machine buzzes. However, this is definitely not best practice. Ironing the fabric before transferring your pattern ensures that your pattern will be true. If you have wrinkles in the fabric when you draft your pattern onto it, your pattern will be off. The more wrinkles, the more off your pattern will be. For a simple t-tunic this may not be a big deal. However, I would not recommend ignoring this step for fitted garments.
For now I think I’ve hit on all the major items. As I find more tricks and such I’ll post them here. If you have some tricks you’d like to share, make sure you post them below!
So it’s been a while since I began this run of posts but I’m finally getting around to posting my daughter’s dress and it’s progress.
The fist part and sometimes the hardest part (for me) is picking out material. In this particular case I was looking for an underdress piece that was roughly 34 inches by 44 inches unwashed.
The pink in the picture to the left is going to be the Eura dress and the blue will become the apron dress to top it. The roll of trim there on top of the material will go on the Eura dress at the wrists and maybe the neck. I’m not sure yet.
I measured my daughter and come up with the following measurements:
Chest to ankle: 24 in.
Neck to wrist: 14 in.
Shoulder to Chest: 9.5 in.
Torso: 22 in.
Using the same pattern as I did for my own I came up with the following measurements (using a 1/2 seam allowance, and fudging a little for fit):
A: 26 in (Chest to floor)
B: 15 in. (Neck to wrist)
C: 10.5 in. (Shoulder)
D: 10.5 in. (1/2 Chest & over shoulder)
In this particular case I don’t mind if the “V” neck is a little deep or the dress is a little long. My daughter grows like a weed and the deep “v” can have a panel put in until she grows into it. The same with the overall length. I can easily put in a few tucks and let them out as she grows to get extra life out of this particular dress.
Now I don’t know about the rest of you but I “cheat” when it comes to dress assembly. I use a machine. If I were to hand hem or finish any of my pieces I would never get them done. To that end, this is how I assemble these dresses.
- Hem the widest part of the sleeve. (I usually fold it twice to encase the raw edge)
- Hem the wrist portion
- Attach the sleeve to the torso portion (overlap the widest hemmed edge by 1/4 to 1/2 in in front and back)
- Next add the gores. I tend to add them from the wrist to hem since I know I don’t want to add too much to the wrist and if the skirt is a little slimmer it’s not the end of the world.
- Hem the sucker.
With all this in mind I went to layout the dress on actual fabric. Now, apparently I wasn’t paying too much attention when I picked out my piece, because the overall length stretches selvage to selvage. Granted, I wasn’t too picky about getting the exact length on the torso piece and will have to test it on my daughter. I’m assuming that there will be at least one 1/2 inch tuck which will actually take up one inch of fabric.
For now I’ll stop here as the next bit will have more pictures and such. I hope this has been useful and stay tuned for part 4!