Sunday, April 29, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap Questionaire

We've been instructed to post the following questionnaire and answers in our blogs. I am really getting excited about this swap. I've never done one before. I'm already trying to decide what to put into the sock kit for my partner (and I can't wait to find out what house she (or he?) is in so I can get going on it. We have until nearly the end of June to get it sent off, so it's not a huge rush, but I'm like a kid at Christmas. I just can't wait!

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into? Hufflepuff, which is sort of convenient, since gold and black are also the colors of the kingdom of Northshield.

2. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length. I prefer shorties, especially in the Bryspun size 2 & 3. Also the Brittany 1, 1.5 and 2. Nothing wrong with clover size 4 & 5 either. Living here in North Dakota means that a nice thick pair of worsted weight socks are very welcome, especially when you walk to work when it's 20 below zero. But I also like finer gauge socks too.

3. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length? I would LOVE to try some Addi's, size 1 or 2 in the short 4 or 5 inch length. But they are not cheap, and I don't expect anything that expensive.

4. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference? Nope. Hufflepuff.

5. If your pal decides to send candies or chocolates are there any that you don't like? I love jordan almods amnd turtles. And milk chocolate is my favorite.

6. What are your favorite scents? I really enjoy vanilla or sweet floral scents.

7. Do you have any allergies? I'm allergic to cats, dogs and aspirin, but since I doubt my swap partner will be sending any of those it shouldn't be a problem. :)

So that is my questionnaire. I hope it's lucid enough, dear swap partner, for you to understand.

Friday, April 27, 2007

My Inner Daemon is Albus (as in Dumbledore...?)

Please follow the link and take the quiz so I can see what sort of inner D I have.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap!

I've joined a swap! This one is for a sock kit, not finished hand knit socks. Good thing, since I have lots of socks on the list ahead anything new.

I am a Hufflepuff. Not as glamorous as Gryffindor or as intellectual as Ravenclaw, and certainly not as sly as Slytherin. But Hufflepuffs are steady, loyal and trustworthy. They make excellent friends. As soon as I find out who my swap partner is and what house they are from I'll begin sewing a bag to contain their sock kit. I'll need yarn in their house colors, a pattern, needles... Everything needed to make a pair of socks.
I can't wait to get started!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Most Beautiful Thing I've Ever Seen...

This is my Baronial Scroll. Isn't it lovely? It was made by Master Tarik. But this isn't the whole thing! It's not painted on paper or parchment. It is actually a hinged wooden box like a triptych, or a Byzantine icon. He made it very personal, and I love him for it! I just can't get over how beautiful it is..

This is what it looks like closed, and the inside of the side panels

Note the two cats on either side of the figure (which represents me wearing my purple and silver Byzantine court garb). This is what makes it so personal. Merry and Magic are on my scroll! When I saw those while they were putting the hat on me I *really* started to bawl. And the figure is exactly what you would expect on a Byzantine mosaic.

This is absolutely the most unique and beautiful scroll I have ever seen. It is rich and lavishly decorated. I have always secretly lusted for a scroll done by Tarik, but I never expected anything like this!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Baronesa Maria Maddalena da Monreale, landless trash

This past weekend was the Coronation of Hrodir and Giulia. They have been friends of mine since my earliest days in the SCA. Hrodir is like a brother to me, only better, because we don't fight, and Giulia and I both have a love for fiber arts. When I grow up I want to knit like her. I got to go to the event, and I had a wonderful time.
I saw Mairghread laurelled in beautiful ceremony with Auntie El doing a bit of poetry. Niklos chose to take the white baldric of a Master of Arms instead of Knight, also in a moving ceremony. Gwyneth and Zig stepped down as king and queen and then G got all painted up and trick up as a Pict warrior woman--what fun! I got to see a bunch of friends that I don't see all the time, like Daye and Pete, and the gals from Castel Rouge, and I saw the folks I should be able to see all the time but haven't since I'm working so much. I saw Ceri and Tarik, Lusche, Giovanna, and Thunderbunny and Astrid, and Greta and tons more. It was so good to see them. I had a hotel room with the Castel Rouge gals. We had such fun! I showed Typhaine the Moons and Stars socks I'm knitting for her, and she seemed pleased with them.
And a shocking thing happened. Hrodir and Giulia made me a baroness of their court. When I first was called into court I wondered what on earth it was about. Some of Hrodir's famous schtick? A quest? I was nervous. I didn't know WHAT to expect. When I finally figured out that I was being made a baroness I started to cry and couldn't stop. I think Giulia was crying too. When they told me to turn around and look at the populace all I saw was a blur of faces until my eyes fixed ion my friend Daye. She was crying too, which made me smile while I was crying.

So now I have a shiny hat to wear to events. Part of me is squirming with delight over it, and part of me feels like I really shouldn't have it because I don't deserve it. I don't remember exactly what i said while I was kneeling in front of Hrodir and Giulia but I think it was something like: "You shouldn't do this. I haven't earned it."

Friday, April 13, 2007

Found: One Angry White Cat

Part 1 - yesterday

When I got home from work today there was a sign hanging on my door stating the maintenance people had been in to fix my water heater. Oh, yeah, the apartment office had notified us that every apartment on my floor was going to have their water heaters serviced today. Whoopie. I had to drag all my stuff back into my front closet. I thought I heard a faint growling noise. The cats? No, they were radiating pure innocence. Naturally, since the garbage was knocked over. Strange. They've never been into the garbage before... But I didn't see anything to tell me what that faint noise was. Probably the neighbors. I went to my meeting at 5:30 and got home around 9. I set to work packing for the event this weekend. At 9:30 I heard my cats dive into a hissing fight. They've never howled at each other like that before! I ran into the dining room and saw a black cat screaming bloody murder while trying to kill a white cat.

Double take. Magic is black. Merry is white. Magic was twisting and clawing at a white cat under the dining room table, Merry was sitting primly in the hall.

Hello? WHO is that white cat and how the dickens did it get into my apartment???!!!

Those blasted maintenance men must have let it in! We don't have a resident manager, so I called the apartment office. Of course there was no answer at 9:30 pm. If this was an emergency (cleverly listed on the phone message as being fire, flood or heat outage--no mention of angry cats) I could call a certain number. I called it. There is no way I'm leaving that cat in my apartment while I go off to Coronation. No answer. I left a message. Fine. I hand wrote a little sign stating I had a white cat in my apartment and for the owners to call me right away and taped it to the front door of the aprtment building.

The cat is wearing a collar. That is all I can see, since s/he/it won't let me near it. I went up and down my hall knocking on doors asking if anyone had lost a white cat? Nope. Fine. Now it's 10pm and I'm going to work at 6 am, and leaving town directly after work.

So what am I going to do with this spitting growling alien feline? If I could get close to it I would be tempted to kick it outside. But if I come near the dining room it starts that evil growling. Maybe if I pretend it's not there it will go away?

Part 2 - today

I went to bed last night at 2am. Prayed the cats would leave one another alone. The alarm clock went off at 4:45, and I hit snooze. Didn't need to, as the cats began another vicious yowling fight five minutes later. My, that's a sound garanteed to get you out of bed in a hurry. Shoulda taken David's advice and called 911 last night. But, no, I didn't want to bother them so late at night. Moron. Me, not David.

So I took Jane's advice and locked my cats in the bathroom. Opened the patio door wide. Opened my last can of tuna. The good stuff, albacore in water. My cats, safely locked in the bathroom, hear the distinctive snick of the lid coming off and set up a subdued yowl. Waved the tuna in Alien Feline's direction. Stoopid feline wasn't interested, remaining huddled under the table making like a refugee from a torture camp. It apparently can't decide whether it wants to be a Long Suffering Martyr or a Feline Warrior Prince Defending His Turf. Or, no, wait. That's MERRY who is a Warrior Defending Her Turf. And Magic is the Long Suffering Martyr. Stoopid Alien Feline can't even be original. Got the broom to prod it out the door. Stoopid cat attacked the broom. Broom lost the fight. I retreat with less dignity than I would like. My cats are screaming at the tops of their lungs in the bathroom at 6am. No one in the entire apartment building needs to use their snooze this morning.

Finally, one agonizing step at a time, the alien moves toward the wide open patio door. It obviously wants to leave but doesn't dare. It slinks like a footed snake toward the patio. I employ the wounded broom to encourage it to Get The Heck Out of Dodge. At last it is only a yard away from freedom (my freedom. At this point I could care less about his) and in one single glorious bound he is out the door. I leap to slam the doors shut. Crap!! Spit!! Curse it!! What was my finger doing there??!! I dance around the living room, holding my crushed finger and muttering curses of pain interspersed with praises that the Stoopid Alien Feline is gone.

I get to work only a half hour late, with a hastily made tuna salad sandwich. That makes THREE lunches I have in the fridge here: left over chinese from yesterday, the frozen dinner I had originally brought to eat yesterday and the tuna fish. I'm leaving town in a few hours. When am I going to eat all that?! The system we use here at work has crashed. I can't work, except to pound my bruised finger on the keyboard writing this note.

Are we having fun yet?

Did you notice it's Friday the 13th?

Monday, April 09, 2007

OK. Plan B

I went to two fabric stores today looking for either gold or burgundy linen or nice cotton to make a new under kirtle for that early Tudor gown. Blast. Couldn't find anything. It seems like all the linen was decorated with bows or had cute flowers woven into it. Might be cute for a mundane dress... if I ever sewed mundanely. Just as well, I guess, since I wasn't supposed to buy anything new anyway. Went home and looked at that black raw silk again. No. Wouldn't work. Too light and almost gauzy. I wanted an underdress like the one worn here by Margarethe of Austria. Oh, well. Let's check the stash once more in case something might jump out at me. What did I already have for linen? Hm. Choice between hot pink or white. Well... Maybe I don't absolutely have to have a new kirtle. I think it's time I made myself a new square necked shift. I got three yards of the white linen washed and cut out tonight while I listened to the MN Twins lose. Tomorrow I'll sew it together, leaving the rest of the week (Wednesday and Thursday) to add a little simple embroidery to the neck edge. I'll post when I'm done.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

On The Needles

Here's what I'm currently working on (aside from what I'm wearing for Coronation):
the varigated pink socks are for ME! The gals in the Loopy Ladies knitting circle bought me two skeins of Koigu and told me that I had to make something for myself. So I am. It's a fairly simple pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks called Yarn Over Cable. I'm about ready to start the heel on that one.
The other one is for my friend Jane. They are called Stars & Moon Socks, and I chose the pattern because the phases of the moon make me think of her. They are extremely thick, so she won't need them until next January, which is probably about when I'll get them done. I've gotten hooked on those darned felted purses, and have four planned before Christmas.

OK, I've decided...

...on the Black Linen French/Spanish 1500 gown and hood to wear to Coronation next weekend. Here are the pictures that were my inspiration for the outfit: Anne of Brittany, twice Queen of France on the left and Katherine of Aragon, the 1st wife of Henry VIII on the right. I believe these both date from approx 1490 - 1505. Since I'm a middle aged woman of no particularly high rank I think I can get away with linen (although, really, for a high court event like Coronation even a lower noble like myself would have commissioned a gown in silk or velvet.) and only a nice embroidered tape instead of pearls or gold at the neck of the gown. Still, my dress is pretty nice and I think the early version of the French hood is pretty good. Wearing the thing all day will be a trial. I can't hear a thing with that silly thing on my head. How did they stand it back then?!!

The gown actually looks better on me than on the mannequin, but I still have some more to do before
it's ready. I need to do something about a belt. And I think I have to make an appropriate under gown (kirtle) in gold linen so as to celebrate Northshield colors) in order to fill in the neck and make the skirt look more full and drapey. However, I do not have any gold linen, and my rule is to Not Buy Any New Fabric this year. I do have a nice selection of heavy upholstery weight brocades, but for this I want something fairly thin. I have a raw silk that might work, but it is black, and I wanted a contrast. Or there is that gold silk satin, but I was planning that for the under kirtle for the spanish loose gown I want to make. Besides, it's too expensive to be not seen. So... That means I will use the black raw silk and buy just a teeny bit of something gold to edge the neck and sleeves of the under kirtle to create a nice contrast. Not ribbon. That would be too expensive. So that means I will look at the silky brocades that are out right now in the shops for wedding/prom dresses and turn it into bias tape to decorate the edges of my under kirtle.
Gosh, I thought this would be quick! I'll have to shop Monday, sew like crazy the rest of the week to make another gown. Blast! Maybe I could get by without the under dress...?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What To Wear To Coronation?

What am I going to wear to Coronation? My friends Giulia and Hrodir are stepping up as King and Queen of Northshield the Saturday after Easter and she wants to do a late period reign (16th Century, for those who don't know what late period is. My friend Fina thinks anything after 1100 AD is late period) Hrodir does early medieval Rus/Scandinavian, so he's having a whole new wardrobe made. i have a couple of choices of late period garb to pick from. I would love to make something new. I've had plans for a Tudor for years...

I had planned to make a new Tudor dress like the one Princess Elizabeth (later to be Queen Elizabeth I) is wearing here. I have lovely cut velvet in black for the dress and sleeves, and gold brocade for the forepart and under sleeves, and red cut velvet for sleeve lining and the french hood. But it's too late to start that now. All this overtime in the past two months really cut into my sewing time. I suppose I could throw something together over the Easter weekend. I do have the farthingale and petticoat bodies already made. But really, I don't want to rush through $200 worth of imported cut velvet.

I do have an Italian gown similar to the one here. Mine is made of steel blue velvet. But I wore that
to12th Night, and I don't want to wear it again.

I could of course wear the late period Italian gown I made by hand for A&S many years ago. I've very proud of it, as you can see, since it's the pic I used for my blog. But I've put on quite a bit of weight since then, and sure, I could tightened the corset a bit more, but I want to enjoy the day, not die. Besides, the silk chemise (which isn't quite the right style for this gown) was lent to a friend who ripped it and did not return it. She says she will replace it. Yeah, I could sew a new chemise, and I've been planning to, but, like I said I want to enjoy the day.

I could stick with an earlier period and wear a dress that is truly sumptuous. The silver and purple silk brocade was gifted to me by Tarrach and Fina, who were King and Queen of the Midrealm a few years ago. I turned it into a Byzantine gown. I have more to do on it, like a band of pearls and embroidery on the sleeves, and pearl temple pieces hanging from the head, but I might be able to work on that over the weekend.
Or I might just re-invent an Early Tudor gown (around 1520 or so) that I made several years ago. It's black linen with gold silk embroidery on it. I could take the zillion hooks and eyes that I sewed on to close the front with and put in laces instead, and add large square turned back sleeves and a solid, pleated skirt. I already have a early version of a french hood, and a corded corset/petticoat. It's a little early for what Giulia has in mind for her reign, but it's already mostly made...
Decisions, decisions...