Trillium Exchange

Like many kingdoms, we have an artisan exchange a couple times a year, where you get to make a gift for another artisan. Sometimes on a theme, sometimes not. Oh yes, you get a present too, but let’s be real here, the fun is in getting to make something for someone! Secret Santa for A&S types!

Many of us use it as an opportunity to stretch our skills, try something we’ve always wanted to do, or explore something new. Our giftee provides some ideas (or reassurances that they’ll be happy with anything), a few guidelines on their persona and preferred era, and off you go.

I decided that I wanted to paint my giftee’s heraldry on a jewelry box, and paint up a silk fan for her, also with heraldry. Now, if you’ve met me (or have read this blog for any length of time), you know that I play with string. Paint and I don’t have much of a history, in fact.. I think before this project, the last time I painted anything was elementary school. (Spoilers: That was a very long time ago.)

Heraldry to hand, carefully printed to the right size for the box lid, I got out the carbon paper (also last relevant when I was in high school taking typing class on a manual typewriter. But Staples still sells it!), and traced it onto the small jewelry box. I stole borrowed my husband’s acrylic paints (he does the painting of things around our house) and then froze. It’s teeny! It’s complicated! What am I thinking?

Okay. Deep breath. The box lid is pretty solid, you can sand this sucker off half a dozen times before you need a new box. You got this.

Tiny brush to hand, and with the relevant advice of starting with the light colours first, off I went. Ott light, I love you for everything, you made seeing what I was doing possible. I puttered at it off and on, got a firm and solid fresh new appreciation for our scribes (magic, I swear they are magic), and then walked away when I hated it.

And y’know? After coming back and looking at it not 3 inches away, but sitting back like a normal person? It wasn’t awful! I completely chickened out of using black paint to outline things, so I got out a sharpie. (Worked great. Next one.. I’ll be brave enough for paint. I think. Maybe not. Paint is terrifying!)


One down, one to go.

The husband, yet again, is my tutor here. He’s the one who paints things, and if you’ve seen any baronial banners (or the guidons we give out as baronial awards), they are all his work. I dodge that like the ‘I don’t work in paint’ string gal that I am. But I have a pre-made silk fan (thank you Duchess Rylyn for letting me get in on that order to dharma), and a tube of gutta, and silk paints.

I would rather poke myself in the eye with a 2mm dpn than draw with a damnned tube of gutta. It gloops! It makes giant lines! There’s no precision! I can’t make it tiny! AHHHHHH!

(For the record, the husband thinks my horror at tubes of gutta and wee splotches is /hilarious/.) Yes, I know that the giant lines keep the silk paint from running. Yes, I know that practice makes for better precision. Yes, there are probably tubes of gutta that have smaller tips, but then you don’t get enough resist to keep the paint at bay. I just accept that perhaps, just maybe, there’s a darn fine reason why I am not the banner painter in our household.


Still, I am forging on. I have a gift to make, darn it all. Gutta on, gutta triple checked, and then after that trauma, honestly the silk paint went on like a dream. That was the most zen part of the fan. Other than the splotches, I’m pleased. It looks not half bad. (Apparently the photo I was sure I took of the finished fan is awol on my phone. Forgive me. I’ll update the post if I get some photos of the finished one.)

I hope you like them, Violetta!

Little diversions

In consultation with my loyal readership (okay.. so I chatted it out with the dear spouse.. he counts as loyal readership!), I decided to include the non SCA stuff that I work on, because well.. it’s part of what I do. It’s stuff I think people might be interested in. So if you’re here for a strict regimen of pent worthy pieces, I apologize. You may wanna close this update and come back when I get those damnned heddles done.

As I’ve lamented before, I struggle with ongoing tendonitis, which limits my ability to indulge in my best beloved handwork, knitting. I embraced the dumb, and went on a knitting binge this autumn, and am now paying for it, thanks for asking. But! I got some sooper seekrit knitting done, and I got hooked on knitting little leaves.

It started with a thought that I’d knit a wee laurel leaf for a friend who recently got elevated, but I didn’t care for it once I’d knit it. (Knitted leaves are so spectacularly not historically accurate it hurts, but that is a whole different conversation.) Clearly, the only thing to be done was to knit another, because it was my choice of yarn. That’s it.

Reader, that was not it. I still didn’t much care for it as a representation of a laurel leaf in a different yarn.


I did, however, really enjoy the heck out of knitting leaves. So I started knitting more leaves. In other yarns. And other colours. And finding all the tiny (free) leaf patterns on Ravelry and knitting those. And then I had a windfall of little knitted leaves. A dozen or more, of various yarns and shapes.


I debated on what to do with them. I mean, they’re darned cute, but not exactly functional. Christmas tree ornaments? A possibility, but they’re pretty solidly autumn themed, and while I love Christmas trees, I do not put one up in autumn. A wreath? Also possible, but I was aspiring not to go buy anything, and I’ve no wreath forms, nor a deep desire to wire one up from coat hangers that I don’t own. A garland, however, that is something I can do! And the wreath on the front door died quite some time ago, and there’s nothing there. Garland it is.

I am going to say that lengths of worsted weight yarn about a yard each, perhaps less, are terrible to make icord from, but it was the perfect colour, so there’s a lot of joins. A lot of joins. An inch of cord per strand of wool, but it worked just fine, if irritating, and more bits and pieces used up! I’m terribly pleased with the outcome, I don’t take commissions, but I’d gladly teach you how to knit.


Too much, and not nearly enough.

This is going to be a long winded navel gazing commentary, feel free to just admire the pictures scatted within, or just close and walk away. I’ll never know. 😉

I considered just not mentioning the fact that it’s been a little while since I posted.  It’s not actually been that long, but I am struggling to find things to post about right now. Largely I post on what SCA related things I’ve been working on and while I’ve been working on a lot of creative work over the last little while.. but very little of it is A&S, per se.


I went to an art workshop. Apparently I like playing with colour.

A lot of mundane work, knitting mostly. Dabbling in period-esque things, but without bothering to research much. Just playing, and I was trying to work out why I was settled back into old familiar paths. I’ve made plans, but little else. The why of my own head chewed around for a while, and there’s some big thinky thoughts, and some purely pragmatic reality of Holiday crafting having a timeline and canning various fruits and vegetables doesn’t wait for anyone. I also had a bit of an ah-ha moment just recently. I’d danced at the edge of my skill level (and truthfully.. my energy level) and like Wiley E. Coyote when he’s run off a cliff, and dangles in the air for a moment, I paused there for a little while before crashing. Alright, so the metaphor works better for the reality of running on fumes for too long, than specifically creative work, but it’s not terrible there either. I had a few projects that were big (in my mind, or in my heart) and I didn’t do them as well as I thought I could and after that crash, I fled back to the familiar. Are they necessarily projects that others looked at and thought ‘damn, Lucia.. that’s a disappointment’.. possibly not. No one’s said such to me, and I fully expect that no one will, because it’s less about other’s interpretation of my work, and wholly about my own reactions. Like entirely too many of us, I’m a perfectionist, and I struggle to be a beginner. To live in that gap between taste and skill, and the reality of being a jack of many trades (not all.. there’s a long list of things I’ve no desire to do.. but the list of things I do love is crazy), means I don’t practice any one thing to the depths of a true expert.


My coworker’s current door quote. I think we can all relate.

I am unlikely to ever be a one craft kinda gal. I’ve settled in the richness of time into alchemy and string, but both of those are HUGE categories. There are a few places that are like crawling into a favourite safe space, where challenges are interesting diversions, and the confidence is there. The 10, 000 hours have been invested, and things just work. I don’t need to have quiet, brain engaged, uninterrupted time to knit a hat, or a sock. I can just do it and have the fingers busy without much investment. I can weave without much thought, but getting a loom warped is a much higher commitment of brain power, and so it sits, waiting for heddles.


Waiting for heddles.

That was a lot of rambling to say ‘hey, not working on much A&S right now, lots of mundane stuff’. Holiday gifts are in full swing, I made a terrible batch of hand cream. (It’s fine, it’s just not what I wanted, and I made a huge mess while making it.). I have beer waiting to be bottled, and grain waiting for me to be home for a few hours, all in a /row/ to become more beer. I’ve a loom waiting to be heddled, and cloth asking nicely to be both mundane clothes and garb, and there’s a lot of life going on.  It’s okay to have a pause, a lull even. I’m reminding myself more than anyone else. Deep breath, we got this.