The Gladzor Gospel is an Armenian illuminated manuscript from the 15th Century. My task was to create a matched pair of scrolls for friends who were being recognized for service to the Barony, and this particular manuscript fit well with their personas.
I made a pencil sketch, then used a light watercolour wash to block in the colours. Erasing the lines, I then filled each block with a solid layer of gouache, and shaded with black and white (or yellow for the green). I discovered a passion for white work as I did the final layer of unblended accents. Because I took tiny images from the original and used them as features, I used my imagination to fancy things up. And added shell gold. And silver. My friends definitely deserve the bling! This was a rewarding exercise, and has re-inspired me to take up the paint brush again
Over the years I’ve taken a few spinning classes: on the drop spindle, on the wheel, learning how to ply. Needless to say, it can be tricky. I have a little collection of vastly uneven samples…
…none of which would be really workable for anything. And I have one ball of reddish wool I spun from some batting I received as a door prize, and a pretty ball of variegated earth tones that I plied (that was spun by someone else in preparation for my learning opportunity)…
…but I maybe think spinning is a bit to fiddly. I can just leave that to someone else. I don’t need to have aaaalll the crafts.
Picked up this absolutely beautiful white roving, an Alpaca and Merino blend…. gave it a few trials, then decided it definitely needs to be spun to work for me.
It just fell apart in my hands, or on the nal. Well, actually it just fell apart on the spindle too. So frustrating! I decided to combine it with a very thin wool single in a soft caramel colour that I bought from a friend that spins.
I feel a little bit like I was cheating. But I also enabled myself to have a successful and fun spinning practice so, I’ll take it, and keep trying. I learned that although I absolutely looooove the texture of merino, it’s a real bother to spin, and one of its properties is just that it’s fluffy and falls apart! This is the whole 120g of roving spun up. I think it took me about 4 hours. And it’s pretty good to work with on the nal.
This is shaping up to be a multi-faceted project, as I practice nalbinding and fulling and dying to hopefully come away with a hat or mittens or something!
A year ago this week, I took a beginner tablet weaving class, and came away with a basic understanding of how to turn cards in a variety of ways to create a shed, and a sampler to take home.
I really had no idea how to get the warp threads ready for weaving, or how to design a pattern, let alone actually weave the pattern. Plenty of practice led to a variety of what I consider “learning experiences” or “frustration followed by unexpected results”… some of which were actually pretty nice, just not what I wanted to accomplish and I’m not even sure I could replicate them?
The two useable pieces went to a fundraising auction! I was determined to make at least a single, simple reproduction piece. Using instructions from Shelagh Lewins, I settled on the narrow band from Oseberg.
A few passes (left) where it looks like something but not necessarily the pattern, and then I finally figured it out. One card was facing the wrong direction. There is so much in tablet weaving that can affect the outcome, I was a bit over the moon to have that breakthrough! I broke out the linen, and made myself a fancy belt with the Oseberg pattern in between a border I made up for myself. I had to braid the end bits, I couldn’t figure out how to twine them and have it all stay in place.
This year for Christmas, I was gifted with The Techniques of Tablet Weaving by Peter Collingwood. So I’ve been using cotton and trying out techniques one after another. I’m finding it easier to accept my own mistakes, and to work through why they happen and how to fix them. Sometimes I can weave backwards and correct myself, but often I just leave a space and try again. Sometimes I am able to catch myself before I make a mistake, and that is golden!
Trying out staggered direction changes. The first couple feet of weaving is a bit random, as I get used to the rhythm of the pattern, and try variations (right). Then I am able to produce an even effect for a length (left)! This I call success!
Has a chance to use a four harness floor loom this weekend at my in-law’s place. Took a whole day to choose yarns, make a warp on the warping mill, and transfer it all to the loom without making a tangled mess. I was guided through the whole process, which means other than colour choice, all the details around length and width and weave were thankfully made for me! We did a plain weave scarf set, two scarves long, and used different wefts to make them unique.
I learned about the parts of the loom, including the heddles, the beater, the brakes, and how to advance and tension the warp, and how to replace a broken or missing warp. It took a few inches to get my stride, but then throwing the shuttle and beating and changing the shed with the foot pedals became easy, and I really enjoyed the process.
I’m happy with the samples I made and I hope to have the opportunity to learn to design my own projects in the future.
I baked this delicious beauty for Frost Fair’s annual Desert Potluck competition. It is my own recipe inspired by Maggie Black’s The Medieval Cookbook. I even had the luck to get fresh rose petals from the family garden in November!
I won a prize AND it was so popular that I didn’t get a piece! Should have made two.
I had my partner calligraphy the ingredients card, but did my own illustration.