modern tech to the rescue

I need to print out my pattern book at mini size because I really need to do some old school type of editing.

Right now I can’t even edit my text as the images are too darn big. And I do have to draw all the construction images by hand and add in seam allowances for everything. So I need to take the images out and use a board to let me know where to add images later.

I am pondering also scale. I am definitely getting my “how to read the Spanish Manuals” in there because it actually is really easy and weirdly is very easy to convert to metric.

But I finally got the base of my new perlenwerk design sorted. But I need to change it a bit. It looks nice but I need some nice clean svg files and while sure I have, I also need to convert to 12″ by 12″.

I have been hunting out super hi resolution images of pearlwork from outside of NRW to try and show how I am following the track I am for my work. There are several ways to use pearls and one technique is not the same as the other. Luckily I have found one more example of the extreme dimension I need for one project 🙂

bad news is there are very few really good high res images. Good news is I managed to find a really good photocopier and a book at one stage that is a zoomed view and is clear enough to show the curves of design popping out from the design.

Bad news is I did not record what book. good news is I think I can hopefully backtrack as it must have been local library as I can’t photocopy at the Uni library. bad new is it’s probably in Central (CBD) good news is it is actually easier to get there than most places in the city.

But I am also going to use my Scan n Cut (like a Cricut but by Brother- the same principle with cutting and drawing.)

So I am going to attempt to use Inkscape to make my designs able to be easily repeatedly transferred.

So I may not need to do that before I head out.

I also finally have my NRW costuming notes in one folder and my book notes tidied in another and NRW research in another.

It’s felt over whelming but I think I can happily just take out all the images from my editing file and get that ready for printing.

I am hoping to create a pdf that recognises layout so the pages that would face in a book face in the document.

phonetic spelling galore

So I maaaaaay have a few leads on headgear. I even found a totally new to me document (but transcribed in the 1890s I think) that potentially ties an extant item to text. Except I really don’t know and I need a bit more time to test various spelling. It might be a lead or it might be an example of pageantry. And I’m really interested either way.

But it is a bit of a mind bend to try and read personal documents, even when transcribed and OCRed for handy instant translations. I eventually found a really nice lead also on the kind of embroidery work done “at home.”

koeln embroidery is weird

As per previous instagram posts, maybe here, I am redoing my pearled hat entirely.

I had the first round of pearls laid down in 2006, restored it after the fire (2007-2017 it was unwearable) and now I have finally decided to actually restore it properly. So every pearl has been removed, all the threads carefully picked out and the velveteen bonded to a very soft and flexible fabric so I should be able to safely restore the base entirely.

The problem is while we have Quentel not only printing embroidery designs in Cologne, but also contributing to the patterns, they really do not translate to what the pearl workers were actually doing in the city.

Counted work yes, anything in gold can be at least approximated by the patterns and even the examples of gold on linen seem to line up.

But the pearl work….

It’s just. It’s almost post modern. Or looks like someone took one of the modelbucher and a distorting mirror and decided a centre line in meaningless..

But there is a pattern in that apparent chaos. There are a few very clear repeated patterns that help us to be able to think like a pearl embroiderer of the time and place.

But I have been stalling on getting my timeline up and running.

I do not want someone to “pin” my page and a year later have zero context. So I am putting as much info as I can into the filenames, into alt text and into every element of meta data.

On hundreds of images and dozens of detail images of each.

But I do now think I know how to handle all of that. I may have to learn a new CMS to be able to handle images the way I want to. Really not sure why WP has been so resistant to allowing this but that is where we are. Images filed by date works very well for a blog, not at all well for pages where you may need to update a month, a year, two years later.

being brave

So I emailed a very respected institution last week to enquire about an object. I got a lovely reply back, short but considered given what I know was needed to get that information, from a person I have basically squeed about near consistently for the last decade.

So the answer was very helpful, and expected in many ways because of the timeframe, but the techniques are transferable and I do think it’s very important object to talk about.

So as I rebuild my site on another domain (I don’t need the 5000 posts or so I have here for a content driven site) I will also probably debut a post about it over there.

more tidying, I know…

I managed to get my research projects folders together and now I have a great new lead for more hat stuff. And I spotted all my scaled Alcega and Burguen patterns.

I have both Alcega books- the reprint of the later and the download of the original. I recommend getting both. I prefer the portrait format of the second book but the long landscape of the first does take me out of my modern expectations and so I found it helpful.

I also have Freyl- it’s very basic compared to Alcega but I again recommend it for context.

Burguen is perhaps my favourite. The proportions are quite different but it includes more examples of garments not well represented in Alcega.

And I finally got my copy of Anduxar put back in correct order. I prefer how I put it together because it’s a hot mess as it is. It has amazing patterns but they are not ordered in a way that helps anyone.

But I am going to use the patterns I scaled in my own cutting book because apparently I also scaled a few of the Austrian patterns and now I’m like… hang it. I’m going to scale All The Patterns. They will be to my proportions which means I’m going to want to try and test patterns on other people this year.

I do believe that the way I cut and construct does scale well, but I really need a lot of help in

spam is getting mean

Wow. So I think we know of the phenomenon of the hate click. Tradtional and social media sort perpetuates this because it’s been shown we tend to be more likely to respond to negativity than positivity. While a lovely story may generate likes and shares it’s likely to not have as many comments as a negative post.

And as with anything that generates interest and engagement it’s going to be exploited.

And thus we have this list of spam. Passive aggressive spam.

So while many people reading this won’t have to worry about getting spam through a website it is why many sites no longer allow comments at all. But this is also important to know while navigating social media that scammers are going to use the same techniques.

A&S and feedback

So, obviously after a week of historic nerd camp I got to be involved in a lot of sitting and crafting sessions.

I also got to hear a few oft repeated phrases and with my “detective” hat on I have started to ponder ways in which we inadvertently discourage someone from their passion.

So the one that perhaps was most pertinent to me was “it’s an SCA event of course people are sewing.”

Well… yes? Because our craft and art is sewing so we.. do.. it.. at.. events..”

But what was implied was that sewing at events is all about last minute prep. It’s a means to an end, not something some people actually enjoy and also learn from.

I mean sure a lot of my sewing was finishing work. But it’s also something I planned for and had sorted by type of work so that I could just sit and sew and also hold conversations because the kind of sewing is what I can do while chatting. And that the stuff that required too much space I was able to do while.. not very well.

Most of my sewing is now practiced under some specific conditions. I have to have several hours of TV I can listen to. Not watch, but listen to. Mostly that means something I have enjoyed before so that I can use it as both a time management system and something I still use to engage different parts of my brain. But it also means some other parts of my brain calm the fork down which allows for that different kind of processing.

The other wasn’t so much at the event but some general advice to frame criticism in a way that it is bookended with compliments.

I can’t do that. It means an artificial balance that may not reflect reality but also if it is expected then those who will hear criticism will hear that as being SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN THESE TWO NICE THINGS! And those who don’t hear criticism will not maybe respond to a hint.

That said, I choose positivity. Always.

I am very far along my journey of expressing myself through my craft and art. A long way. It means I have a pretty good buffer against deliberately cruel comments, a reasonable buffer against unintended negative comments, and yet I still do struggle with them.

So I never ever tell anyone what to do. I ask, repeatedly, “what do you want?”

Because that changes. Sometimes very slowly sometimes you find something that gives you a boost, sometimes you’ll get an amazing revelation that means you leap frog over the time you think you were going to need.

But what we want should be what drives what we do. We do have needs to take into consideration, but when it comes to the thing that gives you joy I think you can be a bit selfish here.

If you are really happy with what you do, why change? It has to be because you want to change.

Me? I have found my role as investigator and constant “but why?” questioner. Every single fact I know gets inspected. Even the things I like and am comfortable with.

I basically apply the scientific principles of testing until I get through the noise, get reproducible results and if I don’t then I act as if I have unlimited funding and no conflicts and yes, prove my theory wrong.

Right now I have been able to properly review the information I was not able to access easily on site at nerd camp. And I have tried breaking my theory, and I keep coming back to the fact that it is a better fit.

But as I am not a peer reviewed scientist or historian I have a heck of a lot more work to do to show my methods, and also present it in a way that allows future investigators to test and prove my theory right or wrong. Right now I just need a little confirmation. The Moritz gown I am now 99.9% certain has the velvet cut on the bias. But I’d love to be able to go there and, with supervision, get the photos every few cm needed to prove the grain does what it seems to do. It will need a lot of processing power to do what I think is needed to prove that this is the actual cutting versus what could be shallow curves. But I do think the visual evidence is compelling as it is.


I never give critical feedback in the form people expect. I ask questions. And I do not expect answers immediately. The point of asking questions is that the other person can find out what they want, and what they don’t know what they want.

My very best teachers inspired curiosity, they encouraged absorbing all the information I could, understanding and recognising the work of the (usually) scientists who had gone before but to have room for questioning for when I had a wider and deeper understanding of our current knowledge.

The teachers who pre-determined what I was failing in generally were not very good at giving feedback anyway. So even if they took up the “say something positive, then negative, then positive again” would have made the positive seem patroning.

So here are my general but heartfelt, and backed up with experience, good points” you are actually making” or “does it make you proud, because it should; this didn’t exist, now it does, because of you” “okay it sucks to not be able to physically make the things, but you are thinking about them, amd we as people, as humans, grow because of people who consider possibilities.”

I do not give advice but I do try to offer connections. I try to have a backlog of information that seems appropriate to what it is someone else wants to do.

I do need people to come back to me to ask for those links as I do still have imposter syndrome and that manifests as “why would they remember me?” “and but what if they are busy?”

So. Trying to be better at that.


There has been a slight change in my left wrist and it has caused a little localised inflammation between radius and thumb which probably needs a steroid injection.

So it can be hard to explain why we are so aggressive with therapy when the results don’t seem as positive.

On the pain scale I think I’m about a 5. I vary between numbers and as we are talking every joint in my body and how they work with the disease and how I use them that’s a given.

I’m sure it sounds either untrue or middling but…

But I would be well over 11 for about half the year.

It’s not so much about being grateful for a glass half empty, it’s about knowing how much work goes into getting me to this point. And it means decisions I make every day have an impact, even small.

I get to really appreciate exactly what I have actual control of in my life.

And also how much this wrist difficulty winds up leaving me not able to read and write and make things. Thus if I have the injection I will be better able to recover more quickly.

lemberg updates

This is probably the last thing I need to do- a new post uncategorised- but I did indeed wear my Lemberg inspired garments though I didn’t manage to finish my Poysdorf inspired shirts.

So the Lemberg shirts allowed me to be the most comfortable at rest in a long time. It was very hot at the site and my nightshirt (which I use as a stunt shirt) was just a layer too much. It is anyway because the Fibro and Rheumatoid Disease and broken rib all mean anything that adds bulk to my torso to then squish into a laced dress is just too much.

And my shirts have never been excessive.

But the Lemberg shirts essentially acted as a very lightweight garment to protect my garments from me and while I didn’t quite manage to get my short shirts done I did get to test a few ideas.

I am probably going to reduce the fullness of the body of one of my shirts. This is after test driving a kleyr (“kleer” from collier and can be an under and outer garment, it is all on what fabrics were used) tied to mauwen (sleeves, sometimes part of a garment, sometimes an accessory and sometimes made from linen!) and finding it a very comfortable arrangement as opposed to tying the sleeves to my Lemberg shirt.

So yes. The shirt I made looked a lot like the reconstruction in that it is a little too long through the torso and the bust cups were not entirely made to fit me.

I suspect I need to shorten the torso to make it actually supportive, but it was also really adaptive, especially having the CF top not made in one. While I was wandering around just in my linens the top edge sat right up into my armscye area, and once dressed I could arrange the edge to meet in the middle or overlap so as to make a perfectly flat inner neckline.

So I do have two of these and I may look into some more transcribing and translating to work out what region specific garments might have looked liked. I know there were linen and fustian inner garments.

But I do need a lot more kleyr and mauwen to actually call what I have a wardrobe.

I also am remaking the bodice of my red linen dress to try and make it a bit earlier.

My Boo

This is a hard time of the year. Three years ago today I found out Mr Boo had cancer and we had maybe days. I’m not going to lie, it has taken a long time to deal with the guilt of failing him on top of other expected elements of grief.

Counseling really isn’t something people think of for a pet, but I now wish I had asked for some as it was so much worse than I had ever experienced.
I’m trying to do justice to his life as he really was an amazing cat.

He was abandoned as a kitten. And he was abandoned at a very early age, he was certainly not of an age kittens are adopted at.

He was also deaf. So I had to learn along with him how to signal to each other, I also had to teach him to purr, how to knead, and just in general our bond of trust was pretty profound.

And I also had to come up with a name for him, he was never going to hear it so his name actually was a very specific head waggle, a series of stomps on the ground on occasion, and then his legal name was Bolero.

Not after the Ravel version, from Moulin Rouge. It was on TV in the first few days he was with me and it seemed very apropo for the tiny little bundle of very determined little scrapper who had a very set idea of what he was going to do.

Here he is warming himself on some clay I had cleaned by heating and straining and left to cool on the kitchen floor in greaseproof paper.

While sewing silk.

Certain that the plastic bag held secrets.

Finally accepting baby Mordin was not actually a monster.

And my last project with him was Elsa while he was recovering from surgery for skin cancer. So yes Elsa has a lot of emotion for me.