1) I made a new batch of the vinegar black, using rusted metal this time. Instead of boiling it foe 4+hours in vinegar I just let the nails sit in the vinegar for a few weeks. Figured it would have the same effect without stinking up my house as badly.
Next step is to prep a piece of leather with the gall nut extract to see if the resulting black is better than using just plain veg tan.
2) The other night I started a redo on my red leather dye to see if I could get it to work better, based on the discussions we had at the QPT in the fall. We'll see how well it works, the second coat is still drying. Here's what I did differently from my last attempt:
- I used purified water in hopes of getting any chemicals/minerals out to see if that would make a difference.
- I double checked the recipe and based on my notes from last time I may have miscalculated how much water to use (I had cut the recipe in half but my notes say I used the full 680 ml of water). I may have just written it down wrong though so not sure if this is a difference or just a scribal error.
- I pre-soaked the leather in my alum water for a full two minutes instead of just a quick dip to moisten.
- I actually soaked the leather in the dye for 30 seconds rather than just painting it on.
- After coat number three, I plan to apply the oil coating earlier (when its mostly dry but the colour hasn't faded yet).
3) I also started thinking about how I'm going to update my documentation. I need to add any new research or colours (for example, I found a fourth source of period recipes), but that's fairly easy. I also plan to include an annex where I'll detail what I changed since the QPT to show that I'm not just resubmitting the same exact project, but that I've progressed and continued my research and experiments based on the input I received.
I did another test run on the handle braiding, this time using thinner strips both vertically and horizontally. I've decided to go with the original wider pattern. I like the look better, but also the thinner strips cause the pattern to raise more, making the leather shift on the handle. From a practical perspective, I also need a significantly longer strip of leather to do the thinner pattern and I don't actually have a skin long enough to produce something that long.
I also tested the colour and I think I like it better with the dark colour as the base (vertical strips) and the light colour being woven in, so that's how I'll do the handle for the purse.
I tried again but still haven't been able to figure out the leather braided knot for the end of the handle. Given how much work I have left to do for Spring A&S, this element may get scrapped.