20 January 2018

Distaff spinning hints & tips: the half-hitch

There have been some questions recently from newbies on the Evangelical Church of Distaff Spinning page, so I thought I'd do some hints and tips. This first one is about the half-hitch, a common source of concern given that many of extant medieval spindle sticks do not have a notch or hook at the tip to hold the half-hitch in place.

Here are my hints and tips as to how to get a strong, functional half-hitch in place easily every time despite using a notch-less spindle.

1 January 2018

What did I do in 2017?

It seems like 2017 has whisked by, barely stopping on its way! It's been a rather tumultuous one for me, with crazy job commitments, career changes and health problems meaning I haven't done anywhere near as much historical crafting as I would have liked. However, there have been a couple of things that I have managed, although several of these haven't featured on this blog.

So, to focus on the positives, without further ado, here is my 2017 of crafting.

19 November 2017

Tutorial: Greenland gores (with M-shaped tops)

I've been working on my Herjofsnes challenge dress (finally!) and have been inserting the centre-front and centre-back gores. Now, this means doing those lovely gores that the Greenland garments are so famous for, with their interesting M-shaped tops. I've seen a tutorial or two, but none that really made sense to me, so I invented my own method. Here's how to do it.

23 October 2017

Are we free? Some thoughts...

Isabella Pitcher at Prior Attire wrote an interesting post on her blog recently, entitled 'Are we free? The struggles of a professional interpreter...'. Whilst I often don't entirely agree with her opinions, on this account she has an excellent point. The issue of artists, musicians, writers and craftspeople being chronically undervalued and frequently requested to work for free or (groan) for 'exposure' is well documented. Heck, there are whole twitter feeds dedicated to it, a Huffington Post article about how to avoid doing it and, of course, lots of comics lambasting it.

This isn't even an issue just with 'professional interpreters'. I participate in a re-enactment group that has a high level of authenticity and research. As a group, we charge for the majority of events to hire us. Yep, even though we are hobbyists. Our group still has costs that need to be covered (petrol and insurance, to name but a few!) and we are still, for the most part, highly skilled and knowledgeable individuals with high-quality costumes and equipment, not just Jo(sephine) Bloggs off the street plonked into a synthetic pretty princess gown from Ebay.

That said, one thing I think Isabella has missed in her (quite justified) rant against being asked to work for free is that there are sometimes reasonable reasons why you might choose to do this. (Note: choose. People assuming you will work for free, particularly when emailing you at your business email, are just obnoxious.)

So here, a handy dandy guide to how not to be an arse when attempting to book historical interpreters (professional or otherwise).

6 May 2017

Historical Sew Monthly 2017: #4 Circles, Squares and Rectangles

I'm obviously on a roll this year - this is my second challenge completed for the year, and we're not even half-way through! Erm, which probably says more about my usual rate of sewing than one cares to...

Anyway, I'm really glad to finish this challenge as a proper women's purse is something I've been missing for the past 10.5 years of re-enactment. It's amazing how much it improves my outfit!

12 February 2017

Historical Sew Monthly 2017: #2 Re-make

The February challenge for this year's Historical Sew Monthly challenge is "Re-Make, Re-Use, Re-Fashion". Luckily, I had something in the works that perfectly fitted that challenge:

A 'Martebo' sack.