Abbey Medieval Festival- Sunday

Things started slow on Sunday morning. While I got to bed at a reasonable hour some of our group got to bed at 4am! It’s not unusual for people to be getting UP at about 4:30am. And no, it wasn’t just the young ones! Lol.
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I had a little more time on Sunday as we didn’t have the tournament and I was feeling a little better.

I managed to visit the 14th century encampment where I took a few videos.
Here is my friend tablet weaving:

The other videos I’m yet to edit, but I took some in the fantastic Historia encampment where they had a lot of artefacts on display. You can see some snippets of these videos in my highlights video here:

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I also had time to watch (and video) my group running the Tournament of Strength and Skill, which I’m still editing the individual videos for but you can see the overview here.

Once again I had my fingerloop and spinning demos.

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I was also really happy to see my first ever medieval dress worn again. This dress is about 13 years old and still has a lot of life left in it:

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Actually, a few of my dresses were worn by people other than me. The tally over the weekend also included:

My green and gold silk cioppa (you may have spotted it on my friend in the first photo of this post.
My gold silk sleeves
My green sleeves
My jaffa dress (orange gironea)
and
My pink wool kirtle

I have a friend who has borrowed my brown giornea for the past few events but she had a new kirtle of her own for this event

I was really planning on doing some videos of me spinning, but unfortunately I was too sick on Thursday and Friday (also it was raining on Friday) to get them done. At my demo on Sunday I did manage to give and film an impromptu spinning lesson.

Now things are finally settling down from Abbey. Taking the shop is a lot of work. I had the event itself off from helping on the shop, but am still involved of course in the pre and post work which is significant.  But I hope really truly to do some more videos soon. My husband bought me a bunch of spindles from a new (to me) shop so I hope to do a video review of each of them.

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Abbey Medieval Festival Wrap-up

I know it’s been over a month, but I have finally gotten around to blogging about Abbey Medieval Festival 2017. Sadly a few days before I came down sick so my experience and participation was somewhat diminished this year. That, and the rain on Friday resulted in my not being able to do my planned videos, but I hope to take some more soon.
This year we packed the truck on Wednesday (thanks to my fantastic friend Amy who not only came over to help pack but also cleaned my kitchen for me because I felt too sick for packing or cleaning!) and drove up on the Thursday and started setting up. Fortunately we got all our tents set up on Thursday, because Friday was raining.

I was feeling pretty sick on Friday but still managed to ‘make an appearance’ for my friend’s knighting ceremony by throwing my gown over my modern clothes… then went to bed pretty early.

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Saturday

 

Saturday was a busy day. First we had parade, then we hung out at the castle as we only had a short break between parade and our show. (well, everyone else hung out while I ran back to get my camera). I did manage to film our show

 

Then it was back to the encampment for lunch, then to go straight into the fingerloop demonstration and my spinning demonstration was the last of the day.

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(please excuse the crappy veil in the photo, my coif which I spent a long time ironing fell out of my suitcase when I was packing and it was too hot for me to tolerate my red wool hood)

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Saturday afternoon a friend from a neighbouring group was knighted. This year my group decided not to have a feast on Saturday night, so the other groups around us brought the feast to us!

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Of course, Saturday night is the night for shenanigans. First of all us ladies held the court of love, which is where we typically talk about all the horrible things the menfolk have done and come up with a punishment for them. Horrible things can include stepping on a lady’s dress, accidently swearing in front of a crowd or losing their hat (one year every time we found a hat or hood not on a head or put away us ladies picked it up and stowed it in a safe place then presented this as evidence for their carelessness. We were accused of ‘stealing’ their hats, lol!). Punishments vary but my favourite was when we asked them to perform swan lake for us. They gave us a dance from the Nutcracker with the music provided by themselves singing ‘da da da da da but I was so impressed they knew some ballet.

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In this year’s court of love we decided that we couldn’t fault our men, and came back with praise, and asked they honoured us by giving us a performance of their choosing. Unfortunately for us, the court of chivalry had something to say about us ladies, which you can see in this video…

Following this the boys gave us a presentation of the movie ‘The Terminator’ and as our punishment we ladies were asked to give a presentation of the ‘The Termanitor 2’. Unfortunately none of us ladies new the plot so we improvised. We had one lady play the fire (by waving candles around), one lady play The Termanator (complete with terrible accent performed with gusto), me playing John Connor, another lady playing Sarah Connor and finally two ladies playing a pot and one lady playing a spoon.

The plot went that Sarah was at home cooking and the terminator came home declaring he was ‘soo tired from being at work all day doing noooothing’ that she had to drop what she was doing right away and get him some water. Unfortunately while he attended to his needs the spoon caught fire and burnt and he was angry. The next day the same thing happened, but Sarah remembering the day before did not abandon her cooking, and the terminator died from dehydration.

I really wish I had videoed our performance because I’ve never laughed so hard, but I was busy playing John Connor (who was too busy playing video games to help the terminator or Sarah)

After this we played some games and enjoyed some recitations and generally had a really good time.

The court of love and chivalry are all in good fun and do kick the evening off and encourage people to get up and contribute to the enjoyment of the evening.

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And because this is a long post already, I’ll do Sunday in a separate post…

15th Century Spinning Will be at Abbey Medieval Festival 2017

Once again I’ll be at Abbey, so if you’re in QLD, Australia, come and visit on the 8th and 9th of July! The official program isn’t out yet but I should be on at 3:45pm each day. I’ll also be doing fingerloop braiding around 1:15pm each day.

 

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Once the official program is out I’ll link it and show you on the map where I’ll be.

I really hope to be able to get some more vidos of me spinning at the event, with any luck I will actually have some time on Friday after we’re set up and I also hope to get some during the event. I’ve had a request to do one on different types of grasped spinning and I’ll try to get a friend to video my shows, but if there’s anything else you’d like me to do a video on, please ask.

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.