Archive for April, 2011

Item #2: Felt bag

Felt Bag

Having bought a large amount of wool at Festival, mainly for the purposes of learning how to use a drop spindle (I’m still working on that one, give me time), and seeing it cluttering the lounge room in a way that would make my beloved eventually start grumbling loudly and banging things together, I decided to use some of it in felting.

I would like to point out that I have never felted before, I have never even seen it done, and only have a vague idea about it taking hot water and detergent.

What can I say?  I’m a reinvent-the-wheel type of person.

Anyway, I decided I didn’t just want a piece of felt.  That would be useless to me.  It would sit around the house until my beloved started grumbling loudly and banging things together, then it would get either tossed out or hidden somewhere that I wouldn’t see for the next decade.  So I decided to make a bag, all of one piece, no seams, much like the Scarborough Fair verse about the shirt.

Let me just say that wool binds to cotton.  Either that, or through it.  I’m not exactly certain which.  I read a couple of online instruction things on felting, and it never mentioned that part.  So after all the dipping into hot water, and the kneading, and the sudsing, and the dipping into cold water, and the rolling, and pounding, and scrunching, I found that I managed to have felt bound to two sides of the one piece of cotton (which was meant to keep the felt separated).  I tell you this so that you know, just in case you ever want to felt a bag.  Either double the fabric over, so that it forms a lining, or use a piece of plastic.  I’m very glad I discovered my error while the bag was still wet.  I think if I had waited for it to dry, I would never have got the cotton cut out.

Then I hung it, open, and ensured that it stayed open by shoving it on the mop handle AND the broom handle, in the hopes that it would dry overnight.

It didn’t.  Due, I think, to the rain we had overnight, but the bag is sitting here, all nice and pretty, even though it is still slightly damp.  It’s got some lumps and bumps, and some thin spots, but overall I am pleased with the result.  I think if I try this again, I will possibly use twice the amount of wool to avoid the spots where I can see through it, and I will definitely recall the issues I had with the cotton.

The bag obviously has some work still to be done on it.  A shoulder-strap, for starters, and eventually I believe I will be embroidering my device upon it.  But I am proud of my accomplishment, and think there are a number of other uses for felting in this fashion.  Gloves.  Socks.  Hats.  I will put my brain to it.

For those of you who would like detailed instructions on felting, I think this looks like a good place to go:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A633052
There are plenty of other sources online also, including Youtube videos galore.

Happy felting!

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Item #1: Italian Rennaissance Gown

Having just returned from Rowany Festival, and learning that my partner’s teenage daughter has nothing actually “nice” to wear to events, I decided to make her an outfit that she can own, and she can wear to feasts and actually look like she’s not a ragamuffin.  Having recently made a gown for myself from this same pattern, I find it to be not only comfortable and warm, but to also draw a lot of positive comments.  The hand sewing took me only a day and a half, the majority of which I spent watching movies, and I have yet to get the material to make a chemise to match.

I’ve taken the construction instructions directly from here:  http://homepages.wmich.edu/~rowen/renbk/rendressbook.html
I’ve found this website to be extremely easy to follow, it even tells you how to alter the pattern for your individual requirements, gives you suggestions for alternate closures, etc.  It was great for someone who has never had any practical experience in putting together anything but a T-tunic, and has no access to pre-drawn patterns.

My one sadness is that I didn’t have enough material to really go to town with the skirt.  My own gown has a 4 meter skirt which really sits out with a lot of volume, but this had not quite 2 meters to play with.  It’s still got plenty of leg room, though, so it’s not going to trip her up if she decides to go running around.

Sleeves can wait until I’ve made my own.

Italian Rennaissance Dress

50 A&S by 50AS

Having newly discovered the SCA’s A&S 50 challenge, I have decided to partake with gusto in the breadth challenge, in the hopes that I will learn a great many varied things about a great many varied things.  Thus the beginnings of this blog, which will hopefully document my progress.

More information on the A&S 50 challenge can be found at
http://www.ArtsandSciences50.org
and at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/AandS50ChallengeCommunity

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