hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
Petra ([personal profile] hyperbole) wrote2015-05-17 01:15 pm

Learning blackwork embroidery...

I'm struggling to motivate myself to get through the last quarter of this semester's schoolwork, partly because I'm discovering the exciting world of historical reenactment. I was at an event last weekend that really made me want to learn to sew so I can make my own garb*, as well as relearning tablet weaving, blackwork embroidery, bobbin lace, etc. which I've dabbled in before but quit because I had nothing to use the products for.

I'm super lost when it comes to dressmaking (and so far too shy to ask for help from the reenactment guild I've joined) but I think I could figure out enough to make a decent coif and apron before our big market-at-the-castle event at the end of July, preferably with some blackwork and bobbin lace details. To that end I've started a small bit of blackwork on a cotton not-quite-evenweave using cotton embroidery thread (unwaxed! Wax is #1 on my tool wishlist) for practice.

Blackwork embroidery in progress

I was surprised to find that it's so much more fun than I remembered, and so much more fun than cross-stitching. It's something about the thought required to not miss any stitches and not get caught in corners without a "way out".

I've also discovered the research about 15th century spinning and am working on developing my own technique with it. I didn't have a distaff at the event last weekend, but I brought spindles and carded wool and spent most of the Saturday drop spinning. I filled two spindles with singles and Andean plied them (first one, then the other). Mighty pleased that they came out at about 30m each (haven't weighed them) and perfectly balanced; my first properly good spindle spun yarns!

Two skeins of spindle spun yarn

Another item on my tool wishlist is a pair of combs. I only have carders at the moment which means any fibre I prepare myself now makes for very fuzzy yarn, which isn't great for any of the things I want to do. I think the fleece I've got would be great for combing, too, but I don't know enough about combs to decide which ones would be suitable for me.

Now, if only I could get as excited about my paper in microeconomics, I'd be all set.

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* I've borrowed garb from the guild so I'm good for a few events at least. But the coif I borrowed doesn't fit me very well, and they had no aprons to lend, so those are the things that would make the biggest difference right now.

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