Video Wednesday- Busy Not Spinning

I’ve been pretty busy these past few weeks.

First I got married.

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Then this past weekend I attended History Alive, a multi-period re-enactment event that sadly got mudded out on the Sunday due to excessive rain on Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The rain eased early but the mud was there to stay and the mud made the entrance to the grounds and the car parks unsafe.

I did manage to enjoy myself on the Saturday though, and had the best time I’ve ever actually had at this event. The morning I spent helping with our shop, Make Your Own Medieval. The afternoon I spent visiting some other re-enactment groups and talking to them about their crafts and activities.

I visited my friend Rosalie from Rosalie’s Medieval women and saw her display of artifacts.

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The ladies of my re-enactment group had a go at fabric stamping at the encampment of Karvan-saray and now have plans for fabric stamped wall hangings.

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I took a short video of the fabric stamping.

My friend and I then decided to attend a shoe making workshop, but took a wrong turn and as we walked past a display of coloured wool we stopped to ask if it was naturally dyed. Well, it was and the group spent almost half an hour talking to us about their crafts- it was like a private show.

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I took some video of this as well.

My friend is also interested in researching 15th century dyes and doing some dyeing of our own, so I’ll see if we can get something happening at our reenactment group’s den after the reenactment season.

After this we watched a woodworking display, which I videoed but haven’t yet put up (I might not, there were a lot of people in front of me so the video might not have come out too good and an inkle weaving workshop done on modern inkle looms. The looms were for sale and I was very tempted, as I was last time, but I don’t think I have room or time for another modern loom. I’d rather a box loom I can use at home and take to events.

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I planned on spending Sunday doing some spinning videos but due to the cancelation I had to pack down the stall in four inches of mud instead.

My schedule is pretty jam-packed for the next few weeks, but I hope I might be able to get some video at Abbey Medieval Festival in July- we’ll see, I’ve got a couple of shows planned each day and things can get pretty crazy at Abbey.

Video Wednesday- Drop spindle vs European Suspended Spinning.

Drop spindle spinning is the name we give to a type of suspended spinning that is very popular amongst modern crafters. We give it this name to differentiate it from other types of spinning. There are other ways to spin suspended. I don’t always spin suspended but when I do it’s different to the drop spindle spinning you might be familiar with. In this video I talk briefly about the difference.

Video Wednesday- How I Dress my Distaff with Wool

I get asked a lot to do a video of how I dress my distaff with wool. I haven’t, because there are already great blog posts and videos out there, and I just ‘put my wool on’. I haven’t really researched much about distaff dressing.

But people still ask so at AROW I took the chance to do a quick video of how I dress my distaff.

If you’d like to read a great blog post on dressing a distaff I recommend you read Ode to a Distaff.

 

 

What can female reenactors can do?

I read a blog post recently saying one of the down sides of re-enacting was being a female reenactor as they weren’t allowed to dress as a male off the battlefield and women were only allowed to do four things in their camp—and spinning wasn’t even one of them!

So I thought I’d start compiling a list of historically accurate tasks, crafts and roles for female personas and make a page for these on my other blog.

So, if you have anything you’d love me to add to the list, leave a comment!

 

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Photograph of Cathelina di Alessandri spinning thanks to http://rosaliegilbert.com/

Back from the Museum

I had a great time yesterday at the Queensland Museum teaching people about spinning in the 15th century. I had some fantastic conversations. There were many good discussions about the social history of spinning, about the relative expense of linen and wool and how expensive clothes were in the middle ages compared to now. We also talked about the low quality of clothing today and how it starts right back at the fibre preparation stage. How many people these days list an apron or skirt in their will?

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Photograph of Cathelina di Alessandri spinning thanks to Rosalie’s Medieval Women

Quite a few older women came up and talked about their grandmother’s spinning (on a wheel). One Irish women told me about how to boost productivity her family were given a spinning wheel in exchange for planting an acre of flax.

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Left is a Hershey’s fibre arts spindle, right is an antique french spindle.

I also had sever men fascinated at the physics of spinning, one in particular who said I’d filled in the missing link in his knowledge of how textiles were made, which was wonderful.

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15th Century Spinning’s Display at the Queensland Museum

I also had a lot of people who had seen different types of spinning in their travels (such as drop spindle spinning, supported spinning and different types of grasped spinning) who were very interested in the different techniques. The great thing about talking with the public is they don’t have an agenda to prove their way of spinning is right or deny the existence of certain spinning styles, so we can discuss them all.

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Photograph of Cathelina di Alessandri spinning thanks to Rosalie’s Medieval Women

We recently got a video camera for using for our business, so we took that along and my partner took quite a bit of video, most of which I have to sort through. It was hard as I was usually surrounded by people, but here is a short snippet he got of me spinning.

 

There were also displays on illumination, needlework (specifically some beautiful gold work) and some artefacts that we got to have a up close look at, some of which we were able to handle.

A 15th Century Burgundian Wardrobe, Photography and Wool

One of the great things about changing reenactment groups last year is the fact I am not restricted to 1480 Italian clothing. As much as I love that period, before I joined my old group I was interested in the clothing from other parts of Europe including Flanders and Burgundy. I’d done a LOT of research, but not much making and even less wearing. I have dresses I’ve never worn or have no reason to finish. That said, these dresses are all over ten years old so it is time for new dresses.

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1460 Flemish outfit-an example of my early sewing

Over the next few months I’ll be making lots of beautiful dresses I’ve been waiting ten years to make and I’ll be posting them up over at my sister blog Cathelina di Alessandri so make sure to follow that one to keep up with my sewing progress.

It’s great to get back to crafting, the past few months I’ve been working on our business Make Your Own Medieval. I got some new photography equipment for my birthday so I’ve been re-photographing every product we sell, which is a time consuming but rewarding process. Here are the before and after pictures:

DSC_1316  Medieval reproduction of a strap end cast from brass for Cosplay, LARP and renaissance clothing and costume

I miss the red background but it was so hard to photograph consistently and was showing up from deep burgundy to pink depending on the photograph, and that didn’t look good. The white is less personal but much easier and less distracting too.

Running the business is great, we are meeting so many more people in the living history community and making lots of new friends. It (and changing groups) is allowing us to do many more events than we were previously able to. My partner’s re-enactment persona was always a merchant (and mine either a merchant’s daughter or wife) so re-enacting merchants also suits our persona’s. It is great being able to support the re-enactment community through the business and the support we have received from reenactors has been amazing.

On a spinning note, I’ve also acquired some lovely longer stapled fleece that I need to wash and comb, so keep an eye out for my progress with that on this blog.

New Spinning Video– Slow Motion!

So Just a quick update to bring you all a new spinning video. My friend took this of me at a living history event.

Many of you have asked how much spin I get from each turn of the spindle when I’m holding it in my fingers. Is it just one turn? Up to now I’ve been trying to describe in words, but now you can see for yourself.

Back in Time Again

I haven’t had much time to spare recently for this blog, but I haven’t forgotten it! I’ve got some wonderful comments to reply to still so no, I’m not ignoring you if you’re asked me a question, just waiting for the chance to answer it properly and not rushed.

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This weekend I’m heading back to the 15th century again and I hope to be taking a video camera with me. The event is a reenactors only event so we can use cameras openly as long as we don’t leave them lying around when they are not in use. If I can take a video camera I should get the chance to take some videos of me spinning.

Are there any requests on what you’d like to see in the videos? Anything you’d like to see closer up? Let me know and I’ll try my best to make it happen.

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In the meantime, happy spinning!

 

Back to the 21st century!

Well I’ve almost finished unpacking and am in the process of catching up with my 21st century life.

I had a fantastic time in 1480. My demonstrations went well. As the organisers had listed my fingerloop braiding under activities for young children I took plenty of thick wool for kids to braid with and on the sunday the half hour demo just kept going and going and there was fingerlooping being taught for almost an hour and a half! As people left more people came to take their place. I taught the easy four loop braid which gives a spiral pattern and for those that did that well and wanted to learn another I taught them various five looped braids, either the broad or the round.

Finally the last person finished and we packed up, but the children in our encampment had gotten the fingerlooping bug and they spent hours making lacing ties for their dresses!

Spinning went well, better on the Sunday and I had more people interested in it on the sunday also.

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This was taken by my friend on Saturday of me spinning. I’d just started with a new spindle and for some reason picked it up upside down! When I wound the thread on for the first time I realised and put it the right way up.

Off to the 15th century again!

Once again I’m off to the 15th century at the Abbey Medieval Festival.

Set up starts tomorrow and I’ll be leaving on friday and back on monday. Maybe I might even have some photos to share?

I’ll be doing a demo on fingerloop braiding which I’ve done for the past few years and is always popular. This year it’s been featured on the ‘what to do with young children’ list so I’m making sure to be taking some thick, brightly coloured wool set up for some simple braids so if there are kids wanting to have a go they can make a braid more quickly than with cotton.

I’ll also be doing a talk/demo on ‘how to turn straw into gold’ which covers how flax becomes linen and the spinning technique in the 15th century.  I’ve been working on wooden dowel spindles and clay whorls incase I run out of enough spindles for people to try spinning on. It’s the first year I’ll be doing this one and it clashes with a drop spinning class so I’m not sure how many people I’ll have to it, but best be prepared.