a bit behind

Currently trying to play catch up with cleaning, it’s a bit tough though as my cough turned a bit weird over night. I had a dream about chest pains and even woke myself up coughing. Today it feels like I have some conjestion and I had to use my inhaler- it’s something I use rarely.

So taking extra care today, and am trying to learn to relax when not asleep.

So yes, I have terrible sleep. And with my disease there is extra pressure to be on form. Every moment is to be used and anything less is not good enough.

So the idea of just lying down and watching TV is super difficult to think of as anything but a failure.

I think I need to do something though.

So I haven’t really been able to work on my book, except to confirm I think I have covered all the stitches already so it’s a matter of making them look nice 🙂

books and jewelry

Today was spent diving into auction sites. So exciting and exhausting finding better quality images than before. It feels a lot like the work I do to rebuild my site- retreading old ground for not much reward.

But today also a book that has finally cemented how I want to approach my own book:

Le Manuel des Marchans moult utile a trestous. Ghent: Pierre Cesar pour Victor le Dayn, 1545.

It’s a merchants hand book. And it just says so much about what was important for a merchant at the time.

Firstly it’s very nice, but also sturdy.

There are tools!!!! In the front a sundial and compass!!!! This together with the lists of locations and dates of large faires really highlights that trade was full of travel! Ditto the pages of coins- for identifying/converting local currency.

And the back! Scales for money.

There are also pages for sketching! With silverpoint.

I mean it’s so wonderful, and absolutely comparable to a modern day netbook or ipad. Or what I used to have at Uni which was like a filofax. Or even a phone case with slots for money, cards, photos and possibly a mini ruler etc.

So I am considering creating a portable sewing/cutting/pattern collecting book. A premade base with elements for individualisation.

I already planned on my plates being able to be individually coloured, but now I can look at making some portable tools to go along with it! And extra pages to record dress and patterns of dress when travelling.

It’s literally the boost needed for the weekend after feeling a little overwhelmed and a bit defeated.


While auction hunting some of those better images have also made it easier to decide on what jewels to make for my Nordrhine gear 🙂 There are at least two variations on what looks like a wheeled mount with a jewel in the middle. And lots of examples of non mounted foliage.

I also made a full list of all the plates I need to do. At 19 so far. Got at least two more bodices to capture and two skirt plates (increasing/decreasing waists and trains) and still a lot of sleeves (so happy with the spiral paned sleeves though 🙂

But I am tired and my hands are starting to hurt.

I do also need to make diagrams and figure drawing to match each. Luckily we have the Lemberg finds and many illustrated examples of a fitted chemise that it will make it easier to do all of this. A shirt tends to hide a lot.

Oh! I also need to get a few shirts transferred to this new format.

printing plates

Not my own plates this time, though I did get my spiral sleeves sorted.

Collecting modelbooks and books of trades really helps with interpreting art. Today after tracking back an image in a document (reverse image search is getting very good!) and then finding the original I was able to find even more images of people in hand crafts.

The book today is often refered to a book on lacework, but it’s clear the patterns are quite far reaching.

Title : [Libro primo-Libro secondo] De rechami per elquale se impara in diuersi modi lordine e il modo de recamare, cosa no mai piu fatta ne strata mostrata, elquale modo se insegna al lettore voltando la carta. Opera nova. : [estampe, livre de modèles]

Publisher : [Alessandro Paganini] (Italie)

Publication date : 1532

Description : Référence bibliographique : Courboin, 1041-1042

Rights : public domain Identifier : ark:/12148/btv1b10537222v

Source : Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Estampes et photographie, RESERVE 4-LH-102

Relationship : http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb40354751t

Provenance : Bibliothèque nationale de France

Date of online availability : 09/05/2016

This is by Paganino Paganini and according to Wikipedia he pretty much lived and worked all his life in Italy (Brescia then Venice) along with his son.

The works suggest a great deal of contact with German engravers. These scenes of transfering a design to fabric are quite a neat mix of elements one would expect of a German and Italian engraver.

The low slung braids and shaped skirts of one and the evenly rounded linen headdress of the other.

However there is a plate that appears a few times that gets down right Cologne! It is entirely probable the plates were created separately to the text that fills the space.

The timing is perfect for a mixing of cultures, Venice attracted a lot of German printers, and Durer famously traveled and recorded dress of women from the region.

Exactly why there are women in extremely North Rhine clothing has not been able to be uncovered in an afternoon, however the sculptural strip of linen at the front of the headdresses are so very iconic. The key feature being the wings and square frame effect.


This figure even has the braids of an unmarried woman at the front her her headdress but there appears to be a tail to the back that does not appear in North Rhenish dress.

And there is a family connection:

PAGANINI, Paganino
di Angela Nuovo – Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani – Volume 80 (2014)

Sposò Cristina, figlia di Francesco Della Fontana (Franz Renner da Heilbronn), stampatore tedesco attivo a Venezia dal 1471 al 1486, una parentela insolita nel panorama della stampa veneziana, dove la tendenza era a legarsi e imparentarsi secondo la provenienza geografica.


He married Cristina, daughter of Francesco Della Fontana (Franz Renner from Heilbronn), German printer active in Venice from 1471 to 1486, an unusual kinship in the panorama of the Venetian press, where the tendency was to bind and relate according to geographical origin.


more plates

Today I tackled the gored skirt plates and a pieced sleeve.

Yesterday I took in some clothes (cut, stretch stitch, and overlocked, all needed new bobbins/rethreading.)

I made a small mistake of going on twitter. I follow a lot of science communicators and today was a day of special comments they received.

I’ve also tried to check what I can do for my hands, and currently I have fingerless gloves. it makes it harder to type, I think it’s the pressure of the cuffs. So I’m trying to use my left hand for typing and right hand only for backspace etc.

I’ll give hands a good break before going back to do the last skirt plates. Basically adding trains and turnbacks. Sleeves are kind of fun. I really want to get those twisted Austrian/Anna von Kleve types 🙂

And I’ll definitely have to get the assembly plates sorted as well this week.

I’m also trying to remake my red velveteen Cologne gown 🙂 And really want to make the extreme wingnut shape headdress 🙂

Finally, I washed and tinted my hair again. Just need to tidy the hairline a bit.

social media woes

I’ve been quiet for a few days. Friday was the anniversary of the fire (yes, April, Friday the 13th, 2007) on a day of the year I have no superstition about but well.. human memory working the way it does it is now a date that has meaning.

But I also saw my hand surgeon on the same day who still wants to do carpel tunnel surgery, but who is also letting me take the time I need to consider everything.

And with Rheumatoid arthritis is it is a lot. I mean a lot.

So here we come to the woes. Social media is a weird place. We get so much information but can only absorb so much. And it seems my repeated explanations of my situation has not been absorbed.

The other side of social media is the desire for new, which means those of us who were pioneers back in the day get treated as noobs when we apparently resurface in a community. And this includes when we talk about health conditions we have been dealing with for more than a decade. But I’ve been getting it with other communities as well.

And both of these issues have been heavy on my mind and on my soul for some months now.

Back to why this instance was so hard.

My surgeon also said I can have the fusion therapy any time from now.

That was so crushing, I can’t even think about it and not cry.

And again, people who live without this condition have no clue why it’s such a big step.

So I’m going to straight up say personal hygiene becomes super incredibly painful with disease progression. But with fusion the pain goes, but degree of difficulty increases.

I asked about this and literally the fix is surgery to fuse one hand bent forward and the other back.

It was so matter of fact and without any real thought as to the emotional baggage that carries. To have a hand fused in this position specifically to use the toilet.

So why fuse? Pain and to make my wrists stable. And this is why CTS surgery is so hard to decide on. I may not even have CTS. My nerve conduction test was not able to diagnose.

My wrists are a massive mess. Bones are missing entirely, and my ulnar sits on top of the small bones in both hands. That has an effect on how tendons and ligaments attach. And the back of my hands have big numb patches.

I have no idea if the surgery will help. In normal circumstances yes, it would be helpful as all the therapy post surgery helps. But RA patients are not in that position. I’m having trouble stretching now as I can’t put weight on my wrists to stretch where I need to stretch.

Not to mention there may only be five years relief. This is also why wrist replacement is not on the table for me.

So aside from the joint instability there is the massive risk of infection. And given I’m back on antibiotics to fix the cough I still have from July last year from the flu (actual flu yes, had it maybe a few times in my life, the last two had me nearly calling an abulance) it’s really quite a significant risk.

In RA I have a line of white blood cells that shed self antibodies. They prosper because well, there is a lot of tissue that matches those antibodies and our bodies tend to put effort into producing productive antibodies.

So one therapy I’m on is an antibody to the blood cells making my self antibody. So this means my immune system is kind of endlessly targeting my own tissue, be it my synovium (surrounds joints and many other tissues) or these white blood cells.

The other therapy I’m on suppresses fast growing cells. White Blood Cells are right up there. But so is skin, and so I have slow wound healing.

I really hope this shows how much thought has to be given to any decision about health. I’d prefer people asking about why than just telling me they didn’t experience the same thing. If what I write is confusing tell me and ask what I meant. It’s not really difficult.

And I really really need to find answers from the RA community in terms of outcomes for a much better picture.

everything is a careful balance

I’ve been able to walk much more easily recently. And this is great. However it’s been a bit tough and there are multiple factors.

One of those is finding that line where an activity is helpful and where it starts to take up time/ability that could be spent living in other ways.

It’s hard to really understand until you start feeling like you are hoarding every step and every tap on the keyboard.

So for walking I had to accept a really really really limited start. Literally around the block. This was due to pain immediately and pain further in the day/night.

I can’t exercise my RA away, but what this is for is general health. Yes, we still have to think about heart health, about everything that comes with being a biological entity.

We don’t get a reprive from anything. in fact there are higher rates of some diseases due to all those inflammatory markers hanging out systemically.

Anyway. I’m really happy with the walk I am doing now, it’s long enough to have an impact, not as much as I’d like for my former self who would want five times as much, but not so much as to take away from the rest of my life.

That said, a trip to the shops and the walk means I’m pretty much useless for anything else for the day.

today I scan

Having now made my “plates” for printing I’m going to be able to scan them and get them tidied for printing. It’s super exciting. I will be able to publish these as they are for people who already can read pattern blocks but then I’ll have a whole lot of handy images to add in stages to help those who do not.

I’m also going to have a list of stitches with their uses and why they are used. I’m going to go through those stitching plates and also see if I can get left handed people to test mirror images or alternative ways to hold items.

I know in the past left handed people have been shamed out of using their leading hand (if you are still, I am so sorry- I know a lot of common tools are defaulted to right handed people.) That is not an element of the past I want to receate!

But before that scanning!


Pattern plates

They are done! The scanner is unplugged so the caster can use the plug so I’ll start scanning as soon as I am ready.

I just went for my daily walk so am stretching while I decide on the order these will be printed.

Six skirt patterns, four bodices, several sleeves from a simple block. Only haven’t managed to work in my Anna Meyer block which is sleeve with no shoulder strap. But I can get that.