Monday, 18 July 2016

Trillium War notes

*****Oops, wrote this last week but forgot to post it. Bad blogger. :) *****

It's been a busy week so I'm a bit behind in my updates. Trillies was pretty busy but here are some thoughts.


Didn't really get all that much done on Thursday since that's the day we arrived. We setup our presence with Fettered Fleur, who let us crash our day-visit setup with them, and got our banners all setup. There was a bit of a scramble because I left our portable hole in the garage at home when I was packing the car. Fortunately there were some available at a couple of blacksmith merchants on site so we now have several. After that and a quick dinner snack, I was off to the rapier list for inspection and the torch tourney.


Friday morning was the start of my main class I was signed up for, Mistress Lucrece's leather bottle-making class. We spent most of the morning learning about the historical context of the bottles, design types and then trying our hand at making our own. I got to do my first wet forming of leather, and picked up a few neat tricks to improve my overall leatherworking techniques. It was an ambitious schedule, so I wasn't able to get done my bottle during the class, but I have everything I need to finish it up at home when I have time.

Right afterwards, I taught my first of two classes at Trillies. We had a full class of six people (Yay). We scheduled my Intro to Leatherwork class on Friday so that people would have some time to finish their pouches in camp if they didn't finish during the class, but I think almost everyone got pretty much done during the two hours, which is really great.

I like the format of this class because its kind of free-form. Over the course of the two hours I do a bit of an intro and then everyone spends about an hour and a half sewing their leather while I basically do a show and tell about leather tools and leather. Because I pre-cut and pre-punch the holes, we can chat and discuss all kinds of things while they work, so they end up hopefully picking up a lot more basics than they would otherwise.

I got some great comments during the class, and I'm told some of the students were really excited about it when they got back to their camps, which is cool to hear.


I had a couple of classes I was going to take on Saturday morning but I ended up not going for a couple of reasons. Aethelbert was doing a neat class on how he makes shoes, covering last making, stitching with boar bristles etc. It would have been neat but it was first thing in the morning and being off site, we just couldn't make it.

I was also originally signed up for a knife sheath class that Henry was teaching right afterwards, but I released my spot because there were a lot of newer people on the waiting list, and I figured they would get more out of it than I would. I was able to pop in and see his home-made bone leather stamps in action though, which was cool.

Right afterwards I taught my second class of the event, my discussion about period leather dyes. Its a bit more of a specialized class, so we only ended up with two people. Otherwise I think it went fairly well. I haven't taught it lately so I felt a bit disorganized in my thoughts, but I got all of the information out. The main goal is really to give people the basic tools to be able to select leather colours that look right, even if they don't want to experiment with making their own dyes. We also talked a fair bit about how the leather dyes compare to period fabric dyes, since at least one of the ladies had some experience with natural fabric dyes.

I spent most of the rest of the afternoon at Mistress Lucrece's camp, where she was showing us how she finishes the bottles to make them water-tight using pitch and bees wax. This was her first time trying this on a camp stove setup, so there was some experimenting involved. There was much less swearing and crying than was advertised since it actually worked pretty well.

Other general stuff:

Since I was essentially in the A&S tents for most of the event, I didn't do any thrown weapons or rapier (other than the torch tourney on Thursday). I also didn't even break my camera out until court on Saturday.

During court, we got to hear the scroll text Avelyn and I wrote for Mistress Kersteken get read out when she was presented with her Hare Valiant, seemed to go over well.

I was kindly requested by Her Excellency Catherine to stick around to take pictures of the Skrael fighters at the Rose Tourney, which followed after court. I'm pretty sure this was a RUSE though (sneaky Baroness is sneaky), because the plotting had begun to make sure certain people were there to witness my Laurel, Mistress AElfwyn, being put on vigil for the Order of the Chivalry. Woot Woot!!!!!! There was a lot of cheering. :)

So I got lots of great pictures of this fine event and some pictures of the subsequent fighting before we had to go pack up our presence (we wanted ot get it packed before dark). We hung around the rest of the night visiting, going to the awesome bardic circle and otherwise doing the SCA camping thing, and then went back to our hotel for a good night sleep before driving home on Sunday.

The classes have really become a much bigger part of Trillies in recent years, which is great to see but also puts a lot more time demands on me since I spread myself pretty thin across different SCA activities. But we are an educational organization after all, so lets edumacate people when we can. ;)

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Banner making for Trillium War (with pictures)

Yes, I know this is a leatherworking blog and silk banners have nothing to do with leather. But I'm still posting it here because we've been wanting to make some silk banners for a while now, and we finally got around to doing it heading into Trillium War this past weekend.

But don't worry, I have a Trillies update coming too and that'll be largely about leatherwork, and I have a huge slate of projects on the go so there will be a number of project updates coming over the next two months.

So, to the banners.

Avelyn and I had previously purchased all of the supplies to make silk banners, but we didn't have the frames. We'd bought some copper pipes to make the frames but didn't necessarily have pieces short enough for small banners, so the week before Trillies we went out and bought a some more pieces. So we're now fully stocked (we also ordered some more brushes and such that we picked up at Trillies from HE Percival, so we're now setup to be Talfryn's eastern banner making hub). :)

So the first attempt at a banner was one we did jointly, with both of our main heraldic charges (I'm the kraken, she's the comet). We did the banner quartered and then did a purple and white border around the edges. I used a pre-hemmed silk scarf from our supplies, which made it a bit easier to work with.

You'll notice in the pictures below its a bit faded, that's because of a flaw in the instructions we got with our dye supplies. They were great up until the end, where it said to fix the dye and gutta using an iron, and then wash it out. What it didn't say is to wait 3-4 days before you wash it, to let the dye set. We only found that out when we went to the manufacturer's web site and read their instructions afterwards. 

As a result, the colours are faded and the black gutta didn't leave black lines like we expected. Lesson learned - in consultation with others it seems like they don't even bother washing it afterwards so we know better now.

You'll also see the lovely banner stand topper that we got. It was an awesome birthday gift from Their Excellencies Eleanor and Menken. I'm super please, it works like a charm and the artwork is fabulous!!! 

After the first quasi success (I admit there was a lot of swearing after the black lines washed out, and many emails and Facebook messages to try to figure out what happened), I decided I wanted to do another one. I thought it would be nice to have a small kraken sign to put up outside my classrooms at Trillies since I'd be teaching two classes (more to come in my next post on that). So I used a narrow pre-hemmed scarf to make a small personal banner that could hang from some of the modern garden stands that we have. This one I think turned out really well! Need to improve my painting technique a bit to avoid the overlap areas on the big stretches (I'm told its because the dye was drying faster than I was painting)..

But of course it wouldn't be fair to just do one for myself, so after I got mine done, I started on one for Avelyn. Thankfully I booked the week off to prep for Trillies so I could do it during the day, given the time it took to do the gutta lines. Hers is rather complicated. Here's the picture of the black lines without dye.

And here it is with the dye. I think it looks super sexy, the purple and white lozengy really pops. I might go with a different colour border next time, not sure about the yellow and black, but we didn't want purple because we thought it would be too busy given the complexity of the lozengy. We also made the bars in the border longer than in mine by about double so it would be less busy.

And here they are side by side on our modern stand (its actually a target shooting stand, but it collapses and is just the right size for these. We put little wooden dowels in the bottom to help wight it down a bit in the breeze, not sure that was super successful, they kept falling out. May need to rethink that.

Next up, I'm hoping to do a full 5-6 ft long standard for each of us. Hopefully in time for Summer Siege if I can get the rest of my projects going. My gutta line drawing could still improve, fewer blotches and blobs would be nice, but overall I think I'm getting the knack for these things.