belfebe (belfebe) wrote,

Thanksgiving, Coifs, and Silks, Oh My!

This has been an entirely too productive weekend.

Thanksgiving dinner was a lot of fun and all of us enjoyed ourselves enormously. I have lots to give thanks for: A wonderful husband, a great kid, and lots of good friends. And if what Carlos tells me is accurate, Hector, my Dark Child, seems to be doing okay these days.

Friday, ballistabob and I did our usual "Black Friday" run to the Mall.

No, we are not insane. (Well, we are, but not when it comes to shopping.) The point is that a couple of weeks ago we discovered that if you arrive to the Mall before 9 a.m., there is plenty of parking available and you can take advantage of all of the "early bird" promotions.

Of course, you need to pop out of the Mall at about noon, before all of the people who slept late decide that this is a good time to go shopping. That's when it gets crazy.

Black Friday has become more of a fun tradition for us, just for kicks, since most of our Christmas shopping is done online these days. But nothing beats going to the Mall and see what's cooking. For instance, I scored a nifty hat that I had been coveting for months but that I was too cheap frugal to purchase it at the regular price of $49. But at $17 on sale, the awesome hat was mine. Mine!


(Plus shoeshopping with ballistabob is always a lot of fun. He does have a good eye for fashion shoes for me and he doesn't mind doing it.)

(I think I'll keep him.)

I have also spent some quality time with my computer updating the website. At our last visit to the V&A we took some very nice pictures of embroidered items with ballistabob's kickass camera, and people have been asking over and over for us to share them -- the reason being that some of them are very close pics that show the stitches rather nicely. Since these pics were taken in areas where photography is permitted, and since it is for purely educational purposes, I don't mind adding a page for sharing them. Check it out.

And speaking of period embroidery, I have decided to make me a blackworked coif, following attack_laurel's pattern on one of the Carew-Pole collection. For that, I have spent several hours researching what types of stitches would have been used specifically on this coif. This has been quite entertaining since the coif is incomplete and the pieces that had been completed were cut off long time ago, so how it was actually stitched is anyone's guess. All we know is that chain stitch was used.

Soooo, I have been pulling a "Bel's Laboratory" stunt, and practicing with various weights of silk on scraps of various weights of linen before even thinking of touching that pattern. I have settled for a chain-stitch outline with speckling stitch inside, and some boullion knots for shine. I think I may add some spangles as well, but that decision will be made when the embroidery is done.

The other thing is that after looking at the close-ups that we have of the V&A pics, I have concluded that my first choice of extremely lightweight linen might not be the best for this particular pattern. I think I'll go with more of a medium weight, which will probably hold all of that embroidery better. (A heavy weight would be out of the question, since I feel it would be too rough and this is supposed to be very fine work.)

Also, I had ordered some 2/30 weight silk thread from Halcyon for this, but I may want to use a heavier weight of silk instead. I came to this conclusion after experimenting with combining chain stitch and speckling on a medium weight linen with various weights of thread. Something just a tad thicker than the usual embroidery floss just looks much better. I have ordered an extra mini-cone of the black 2/12. Once they arrive, I will try them both and make an executive decision then.

In that regard, I have also been playing with metallic thread in order to figure out how to work the little bullion knots that I have seen on other coifs, and that I may want to use in mine. After much agonizing, I decided to practice with the real thing (No. 5 gold passing thread) instead of Jap gold to try to figure this thing out, since nothing behaves like metal as metal. The gamble paid off, and I think that I came up with a workable technique without wasting much of the good stuff. Now I just need to order some more from Hedgehog Handworks.


I am such a geek.

But it will be lovely when it's done.

On the other hand, I did finish my pink doublet. Like I said before, it would be lovelier if I had not overfitted the chest, but it is a very nice linen fighting doublet and you can never have too many of those. Plus, I finished something this weekend, so I am happy.

Finally, we painted the new shed outside, and ballistabob has been working on insulating the inside.

I can't wait to put stuff in there and reclaim the downstairs room.
Tags: costuming, embroidery, holidays

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