My sweetie answers her writ to the Order of the Laurel tomorrow. Here is the silk banner I made for her!
This banner is made with “Dye-na-flow” paint on habotai silk. I pre-treated the silk with “No-Flow” sizing to make it react to ink more like paper than fabric, so I could just trace the artwork as if it was an illustrated scroll. I’ve had mixed results with this method, but I think it came out wonderful this time around. The suspensory braid is a 16-strand braid in white silk, actually a length of braid left over from Duchess Sir Morgen’s elevation garb.
Sweetie needs some braids to make tokens for her elevation later this month, so I spent a few weeks doing nothing (braiding-wise) besides edo yatsu in silk.
These are all 8-strand “round” braids about an eighth of an inch in diameter. The violet braids use lace-weight silk yarn, but the lilac braids use reeled-silk. This fine filament silk is a bear to work with, especially in bulk lengths like this. Each braid is about four yards long, starting from about five yards of material.
This series, if you can find it in a store, typically gets shelved under “Horror”, but I don’t know. I found out about the first book while trying to watch all of the movies directed by Don Coscarelli. He mostly directs horror movies like Phantasm and Bubba Ho Tep, so I guess that makes the book that the horror movie was based on a horror book. There is plenty of horror in it, but it’s also very funny because there is plenty of humor in it, but it’s not a comedy because there is a good solid serious story under those other layers.
The thing about these books is that each one is better than the last. The horror is more involved. The humor is more pervasive and integrated. The story and the development of the characters is stronger, more personal, and more positive (no, really).
Interspersed with all the bloodshed and explosions, with all the running gags and one-liners, there is some intricate plotting and utterly awesome prose. I read some passages out loud to Sharon because I was just stunned by some of the wonderful things Pargin writes for his characters.
You don’ have to read all the books in order to appreciate any one of them. If you don’t think you have the patience to “get all caught up”, I say don’t bother. Jump straight to this last one even though it will spoil the shock that John doesn’t die at the end of the first one. It’s definitely the best of the series so far.
Back in 2018, when I was being elevated to the Order of the Laurel in the SCA, Sharon made some parts of a Sokutai Sugata for me to wear as my elevation garb. She made the two most important upper-body garments, the houeki no hououter robe and the shitagasanemiddle-layer robe with its long kyo tail. I made or purchased many of the accessories for the garment such as the kanmuri headgear, sekitaibelt of stones, shakubaton, and hiraobelt. However, the lower-body garments and some accessories were substituted with less-formal items because we ran out of time.
To prepare for her elevation next month, I decided to make at leat two of the missing items, which had been on my to-do list for some time. I made the uenohakama out pants, and the oguchi lining pants.
Most of the time, when you see the uenohakama, they are lined and appear to be both of these garments in one. The lined uenohakama are for winter wear. These are for summer wear and are unlined. uenohkama are made very differently from regular hakama. They open in the front, and they only have one long waist tie that connects the front and back at the sides. The tie is arranged so that it can be knotted at the right hip, and there is a fly strip that covers the opening at the front.
The oguchi are supposed to be a bit longer so that the hems are visible sticking out from beneath the hems of the uenohakama. I wound up making mine about the same length as the uenohakama, so I sewed on an extra bit at the bottom to add weight and appear as a hem. The oguchi also only have one tie, and it is arranged to tie at the left hip.
Layered together, the two garments look like this, though you’ll have to wait until after Hara’s elevation to see what they look like as part of the outfit.
All seven of these braids were made on the marudai using cotton crochet thread. I used four plies of thread per strand, four strands of blue and four strands of white. The braids are a variety pack of 7 different braid shapes. All have ring and toggle closures and come with an extra jump ring so that they can be used as medallion cords. They are all approximately 30 inches long.
I completed these braids back in November or December, but I was holding off posting about them because I was going to put them in the Coronation gift basket in April. Then, I found out there was a largesse display at Baronial 12th Night.
They are all color variations on the same braid, with 8 red and 8 white strands per braid. The effects of the different starting positions produce end results that are similar to those produced for other 16-strand braids that are doubles of 8-strand braids.
We are going to need some auxiliary seating at an SCA event in March, and most of the benches I havemade are locked up in a storage trailer. Plus, they are large and not very portable. My breakdown bench is nice and portable, but somewhat of a pain to re-create given the weird joinery. I decided to design something based on the shape of a Japanese endai bench, but a little smaller than normal, and with folding legs so that it be a little more portable. Bonus points if I could make it so that it would fit in a little fold-up wagon we use to transport stuff at events.
The top of this bench measures 15″x30″ and it is about 15″ tall. It took me most of a Saturday in the shop from start to finish. I was able to construct it entirely from lumber that I already had in the garage. The majority of the 2by4 material came from a single 12-footer that’s been up on the rack for three or four years. As a consequence, the bench has a bit of a twist to it and doesn’t sit completely flat on the floor until you put some weight on it. Even the axles for the legs are made from a poplar dowel I had “in stock”.
Late in the design process, I decided to move the legs in one inch from the ends. I did not think about the fact that this would mean that the legs would have to be shorter if they were going to fold entirely into the undercarriage. So, it does not fold up entirely, but it does fold up mostly. If I cut the legs an inch shorter, they would fit, but I also would have to cut clearance curves onto the ends so that the corners wouldn’t jam things up.
I used screws to hold the whole thing together, which I’m not proud of, but I just was not in the mood to do fancier joinery than that. I am proud of the fact that I did most of the cutting by hand with a ryoba saw, though the curves at the tops of the legs were much easier on the band saw. The sanding and assembly were all done with power tools, because I really did want this to be done in one day. Success!
A second braid made on the takadai. This one is a 33-tama 2/2 twill braid made with four plies of reeled silk yarn per strand. 16 strands are rose pink, and 17 strands are scarlet. I started with twice the length of material as last time, and wound up with about 6 feet of braid.
Because I used reeled silk instead of plied silk yarn, the braid came out much smoother, flatter, and even than the first braid. The takdai does a lot of the work, of course, keeping the tension even and such, but I am really happy with this braid.
Back in December, we installed a murphy bed in the guest bedroom. The room is kind of small, so the guest bed was taking up most of the floor space in the room. A murphy bed leaves more of the floor open when it is not being used. I saw some nifty-looking wall brackets in the Woodcraft, and these looked good to the landlady, so I went for it and decided to install a wall-mounted fold-down desk.
The desktop is actually four lengths of 1by8 that I edge-glued and doweled. Then, I cut the desktop to length, sanded, stained, sealed, and finished. After that, I just had to mount the brackets on the wall, and attach the desktop to the brackets. Easy peasy.