Friday, June 11, 2010

Heraldic pouches continued

Thanks for all your comments! It's nice to know that we're in a community, doing research and craftwork together!

I really do not pretend to have the “definite” answer, but I'm inclined to think that it's embroidery rather than knitting. Chris L., thanks for pointing the Spanish pillow out to me and dropping the word “long-armed cross stitch! This reminded me of some sources that were “sleeping in my archive”. I happened to make a scan of the Spanish pillow some time ago, which clearly shows the changes in direction you refer to. The changes are not only at the edges of each square, but also occur within the heraldic motives. With my knowledge of knitting, I think it's technically not possible to change directions like this.

Image from Gomez-Moreno, M (1946), El panteon real de las Huelgas de Burgos, Madrid: Consejo superior de investigaciones cientificas, Instituto Diego Velazquez

There are two papers on long-armed cross stitch by the Westkingdom Needleworkers Guild. Do take a look at them, because they also contain pictures of the Spanish pillow and a close-up of a purse in long-armed cross-stitch which looks very similar to that blogged by Racaire (this close-up also shows the surface “ridges” which surprised me so much)
Westkingdom Needleworkers, thanks for these papers!!!

So, it may be long- armed cross stitch (or a chain stitch?), which allows you to changes directions

Racaire also suggested the technique might be similar to that used in a “Codex Manesse” pouch. I saw this pouch a few years ago, fell in love with it instantly, and made a copy myself :-). This pouch is made using “versetzter gobelinstich” and couched goldwork.

A picture and a description of the original can be found in:
Schneider, J. (1975), Textilien. Katalog der Sammlung des Sweizerischen Landesmuseums Zurich: Zurich: Verlag Berichthaus

The Cloisters Museum, New York, owns a similar purse, see here: Hoving, T., Husband, T., Hayward, J. (1975), The secular spirit: life and art at the end of the Middle Ages, New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thursday, June 10, 2010

14th century heraldic pouches: what type of stitch is this?

Racaire just posted a picture of a 14th century heraldic pouch on her blog. It reminded me of these images from the Bildindex I downloaded some time ago. Does anyone know what type of stitch is used here? I have no idea, and I even thought of knitting, but that's probably not true.. We would love to hear your ideas on this!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

A gift from Quakenbrück

Mr. B. brought back home a gift for me from the event in Quakenbrück last weekend: two sets of veil pins. The one has lapis lazuli beads, and the other cut garnets. I just love them, and can't wait to wear them with my frilled veil soon!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Smocked apron tutorials

Last weekend, I was at the historical festival in Quackenbruck, Germany, where I demonstrated smocking. I think this might become the latest fashion in living history groups: when I told people I was working on a smocked apron, they told me they were either wanting one or working on one :-). This is my apron so far: (it's not stretched out yet)

There are several very interesting tutorials and resources online, so I won't be writing one myself :-). The first place to start when you're interested in aprons is Larsdatter's picture archive:
Tutorials can be found here:

Catrijn, Louisa and Matilda, thanks for the tutorials! In each of the tutorials, honeycomb stitch was used. I was told there are two ways of making these: a) fold the pleads first and then stitch on top of the pleads, or b) make the pleads while stitching at the same time. I used method A (see picture above), click here and scroll down:
A tutorial of method B can be found here:

A technical note based on my experience so far: My needlecraft encyclopedia recommended using 3 times as much fabric as the required length of the finished piece. This means that an apron of 50 cm would require 150 cm of fabric. However, honeycomb stitch is very stretchy, so if you use only honeycomb stitch, you might need only twice or 2,5 times as much fabric. The other smock stitches are not quite so flexible, so if you plan to combine honeycomb with other stitches, it is probably a good idea to use more fabric. It's really important to take the time to figure this out, because I've seen some reproductions of smocked aprons which were too small, and that's a pity for all the hard work!

The aprons from the Lutrell Psalter (see Larsdatter above) seem to be embroidered with different stitch types and probably require a rather extensive length of fabric. This makes me wonder: using 150 cm of linen fabric for an apron seems quite “decadent” for such a basic, working class item, especially when you can also make a plain apron using only 50 cm. Where these types of smocked aprons really part of the working class wardrobe or were they a nice, decorative addition to the wardrobe of more afluent social groups? I don't know, but it would be interesting to read more about that...

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Preparing for Quackenbruck (part 1)

This weekend, the Deventer Burgerscap will join the historical festival in Quackenbruck, Germany. So, there's still time for me to work hard on some much needed last minute costume adaptations :-)

I decided to make a liripipe with an open front, in cream wool and white linen. And, to complete the summer feel, I decided to embroider the seams in yellow and aqua. I still haven't finished it, so there's more work for me to do :-)

I was inspired by Isis' post on this type of liripipes here. It's in Dutch, but the pictures and links are very interesting!

I will be demonstrating how to make a smocked apron, but I haven't got pictures of that yet (so that will be part 2)

I think some of you might go to Quackenbruck as well, so I'm really looking forward to meeting you!

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