White Wolf Fian

So I took the plunge and submitted a proposal to the fian group again. (Challenge order in Ealdormere, go read about it here.) My last attempt ended in a haze of stress and fakery (stress was mine, the fakery was not mine, but the item I was trying to copy.) This time, I took a step back and looked at my own skills and the places I needed to suck it up and acquire myself some accountability.


It’s fairly well sad that I do so much stuff with string, but cannot clothe myself. I know there are people who enjoy doing it, but I’ve never really given it a good solid try. I get frustrated because I suck at it, and then I (metaphorically) table flip and stomp off and shove it in a corner forever. (I never claimed it was a mature or reasonable reaction). So for the next not quite a year, I don’t get to leave it in the corner forever. I have to pull it back out and actually make myself learn from my mistakes and screw ups and frustrations and either fix it, or do it again. Probably both.

The fian hasn’t accepted my challenge yet, so it might yet change (or be rejected completely, but none of the questions coming back have implied that they hate it), but I kept it simple. (I’ve a couple other things going on in my life over the next year.) One late period linen dress and chemise. Probably Venetian, possibly English. Hand sewn and entered into KA&S 2018 for feedback.

There’s a lot of challenge in what sounds like a super simple fian challenge. I don’t cope well with stuff I don’t ‘get’ quickly. I have to face a lot of body image challenges in clothing myself. It’ll be good for me, even if I’m not expecting it to be a ‘fun’ challenge per se.

I also reserve the right to start bribing (begging, bartering, paying) other people to sew all the rest of my garb forever more after KA&S 2018. <grin>


This is either a bonus Tuesday post, or a ‘pretend this was last Friday’ post. Take your pick. 🙂

We spent the weekend at CostumeCon 35. Our second CostumeCon (the second time its been in Toronto, what a coincidence), and while the last one was a little overwhelming (in a good way) and we spent all our time in panels cause we basically knew a couple people there slightly, this one had such a different feel.

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Now, I’ll put forth here a reminder. Garb is not my A&S. My sewing skills are adequate, but require someone to say ‘sew from here to here, go’. My tailoring skills do not exist. Making things fit on bodies is a miraculous mystery. Making things fit on the body you intended? That there is black magic and probably required some sort of shady deal in a ritual circle.

It is for costumers of all stripes. From ‘I gathered up weird crap at thrift stores to look like X’ to ‘I obsessively and lovingly recreated my favourite character down to the last rivet out of pop boxes and glue’ to performance art in wearable form to historical recreations and every permutation and combination therein.

It’s the sort of place where walking up to someone and gushing about their wings/boots/embroidery/seams/laser gun/skirt is normal. (Not so different from SCA in that way). It is also the sort of place where you walk away going ‘I CAN DO ANYTHING!’ (okay, perhaps just me). Reality will kick in later, but for now the inspiration to make amazing things wildly outstrips my actual skills.

The funny thing about skills, however, is that you can gain those. Some easier than others, but it’s possible. The trick is not to let the gap take over.  I suppose I have some sewing to do.

A wee diversion

I know the blog is called ‘Adventures in A&S’ and that generally implies that the handwork in question is at least vaguely SCA period appropriate. Not so much this time. I’ve been working on a bit of knitted lace, and that’s solidly post 1600 by a couple hundred years. (A few eyelets in a stocking does not lace make, don’t even try. If you want to debate it, bring your sources and I’ll be DELIGHTED, but so far? No dice.)

In any case, in a moment of questionable wisdom, I signed up for an exchange on a lace group I’m part of. The requirement was a bookmark, any style of lace, in the mail by June 1. (When I signed up, I didn’t realize that May would contain ALL THE THINGS, nor did I fully process that ‘in the mail by June 1’ meant ‘finished in May’ and not June.) It is not an SCA lace group, it’s not even an historical lace group, which means I could indulge in my original lace love, knitted lace.

Knitted lace is often the red-headed stepchild of the lace world. We’re new (only a couple hundred years of history), our lace is generally pretty accessible, and as most knitters consider lace weight yarn to be ‘rather thin’, the lace is coarse by bobbin lace standards. (Don’t get your knickers in a twist, a well knit lace weight wool shawl is just stunningly ethereal and gorgeous, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not the same sort of thing at all.)

Which is how I ended up knitting two bookmarks. One is at a fairly typical knitted doily gauge (Perle 16 cotton on 1.5 mm needles) and the other is at something closer to what I might use for bobbin lace (60/2 silk on 1.0 mm needles).  Knitted lace looks like a curled up pile of dental floss before you block it, see?

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A quick bath and a little bit of thread bondage later, everyone looks much better.

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Pinned to an inch of their lives

Generally most pieces once they’ve been dried all pinned out are willing to stay. (I think they’re scared to move by that point.) Even the silk was willing to play along and stay put while they got tasselled.

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Amusingly, when I went to get the foam cushion I do most of my small piece blocking on, I pulled it down from on top of the shelves in the craft room and found a doily pinned out on it. That I have no recollection of knitting, nor blocking. So hey, bonus doily!

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Bonus doily!

Now I just need to get the bookmarks in the mail and get back to work on everything ELSE that has a deadline. It was a lovely little diversion though.

Comfort Knitting

There’s always some sort of handwork that is just pure comfort. Much like comfort foods, when you’re a string person, there’s some flavour of project that relaxes rather than frustrates, that your fingers do automatically and it soothes the savage beast. For some this might be crocheting endless granny squares. For others, it’s knitting socks, or cross stitch or inkle weaving. For me? It’s knitted lace.

Someone on FB very aptly put it as ‘this has been a week of Mondays’, and it feels that way. Nothing dire went wrong, but nothing amazing went right either, and the ‘this will never end’ endless stream of white in all my current projects on top of spring snow and I couldn’t face it anymore. Break out the comfort knitting.

Fortunately, I can mix deadline work with comfort knitting this time. I need to have a bookmark out for a modern online guild exchange by June 1. The original plan was to use this to kick myself into progressing further in my bobbin lace, but best laid plans and deadlines and the Universe laughed, as it is so very often wont to do. Modern guilds, however, mean that my lace options open up dramatically and voila.. a knitted bookmark it shall be.

I figured I’d do a quick poke before I designed my own (if one can properly call the plan of ‘pick a nice edging, knit that until its long enough’ much in the way of design work), and found a rather lovely german pattern Blumenlesezeichen and some bright pink thread.

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(Because someone will ask: Finca perle cotton No. 16 that has been in stash approximately forever on 1.5 mm needles)

I’m about 40 rows in (don’t be too impressed, the rows are only 27 stitches long) and I feel better already.