If I ever finish it...
As Aida cloth didn't exist in the Renaissance, most work was done on linen, or some other kind of evenly-woven fabric. From my very first frame-able piece, I've used evenweave, which is an embroidery fabric usually made of a blend of cotton and rayon. However, I came across some Belfast linen for needlework on clearance, which I snatched up, knowing I'd find a use for it. Linen is a little more difficult to work with than evenweave, but it has really given the project a more period-appropriate look.
Secondly, I stumbled across this song on YouTube that I found myself replaying for its beauty and calm. Below is the version I first heard. It's not your typical recording space, and it's not a professional quality camera/microphone by any means, but take a couple of minutes and listen:
There are a few things to know about the song; it is one of the most popular hymns in Iceland. The lyrics are a psalm composed by the devoutly christian poet-cheiftan Kolbeinn Tumason in 1208. He had been mortally wounded in battle, and it was composed on his deathbed. The tune was composed in 1973 by Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson, but it evokes the style of a medieval chant.
Here's the first verse, translated into the modern Icelandic you hear in the song:
Heyr himna smiðr
hvers skáldit biðr;
komi mjúk til mín
Því heitk á þik
þú hefr skaptan mik;
ek em þrællinn þinn,
þú est dróttinn minn
After reading through several different English translations (both word-for-word and more poetic translations), I came up with my own version of a translation that I really liked. Here's the first verse as a teaser:
Hear my invocation, Smith of Constellations,
May your mercy come softly to me.
So I call on thee, for you have crafted me.
I am your slave, you, my Lord on High.
I really have no timeline for how long this cross-stitch will take. I tend to work on these more in the winter, and as we're just getting into the good parts of spring, I may not get back to this until late fall. In the meantime, hopefully by telling you all about it, I'll have more motivation to pick it up again when I have the time?
Frog and Toad, Anne and Diana, Laverne and Shirley...I think a lot of us have that one friend that you find you can't say "no" to; the one that's always leading you into adventures. So of course when my bestie "H" said she had an idea for a viking costume and could I help, I wasn't about to refuse her.
For once, I can't rightly say this was "my" project. In this case, I am playing atelier for my friend's designs, and for once it was nice to be along for the ride instead of in the driver's seat.
=The main inspiration for this design is a character from the TV show Vikings. H found a pattern in McCall's new cosplay line of patterns that had the basic elements that she wanted, and forwarded me a screenshot of the character that inspired her. We worked together to pick fabrics that would be appropriate for wearing all day outside at a renaissance festival, and also gave a nod to historical accuracy. She had already sourced a chemise style top and appropriate leggings, had been working on crafting a wide leather belt/cincher for her waist and bracers for her wrists, and made weaponry that would pass festival security. Where my work was needed was for an over-tunic and open-fronted skirt.
We settled on a beautiful buff/tan linen for the tunic and a medium dark blue linen for the skirt that would provide enough body yet also drape well for dramatic flourishes. I also added in some faux suede to make trim, as a nod to the abundance of leather in viking costume. For once, I had a commercial pattern to follow that only needed a few tweaks to fit her size. The other change I made to the pattern was to use a thin cotton voile as lining for the top, rather than using the same fabric for both front and lining fabric as suggested by the pattern. One layer of linen still had enough body to give the garments shape, and the thin cotton lining allowed the top to breathe.
As this wasn't fully my project, I didn't take as many pictures. But I will note a few features that aren't immediately visible. The outer edges of the tunic and skirt are trimmed in the faux suede that is sewn on much like bias tape, but only folded on the outside edge. Sewing through more than three layers of faux suede would have been nearly impossible for my little machine.
While the tunic is lined, the skirt is not, so I used french seams for the skirt, knowing they would be fully visible as the skirt is open in front. The tunic laces up the sides with grommets, the skirt laces together at the front waistband with grommets, and I put studs at the inner neckline corners for reinforcement at the stress point. Thanks to procrastination, I was putting in the grommets and studs the night before the fair.
The costume came together beautifully. H wasn't interested in taking pictures (and after all, this isn't her online blog!), but she made quite the sight at the festival.
This was also the festival that saw the debut of our pirate costumes, so we made quite a band of marauders going though the festival. I do hope we can all get together and get more mileage out of these costumes and characters.
Twins each with half a brain in reality; the other half displayed here!