Stitchalong – embroidered purse

This September Tanya from Opus Anglicanum, a blog about textiles and embroidery started a stitchalong which will result in an embroidered medieval purse. When she announced that it would feature a dragon I was hooked. 🙂

Her first post was the materials list with a picture of the finished dragon.
She also offered kits with everything needed but I have plenty of supplies and not so much money, so I will use what I have and try to avoid buying new stuff. That means I won’t be super authentic, but I will be as authentic as my supplies permit.

I will use white wool fabric for the background.
Embroidery thread will be mixed: the white one is cotton, but I have orange (madder dyed) wool yarn, green (several shades), light brown (skin tone) and yellow wool yarn (the yellow being acid dyed, all done by a friend).
I planned to use my handspun alpaca yarn but then I looked closer at them and the alpaca is about double the diameter of all the wool yarns. It’s about the thickness of commercial cotton embroidery yarn, but the cotton yarn can be split up into up to 6 thinner strands, the alpaca can’t.
We’ll have to see what I will use for the rest of the materials when I need them.

Here is my current progress:
Outline sketched on the fabric and all the yarns are ready. I haven’t gotten more done until today.
I will use two of the three greens in the bottom left corner, and probably one of the yarns in the top right corner as the fifth color. But I will decide about that on the go.


Princess dress revisited

Remember the princess dress I made for my daughter about 1.5 years ago?
She still likes it, and it still fits her.
But, as kids do, she has grown a bit since she last wore it and she’s now about 10 cm taller than when I made it. Luckily she only grew taller, not wider and so the dress still fits somehow.

Yesterday I undid the hems on the cuffs and on the skirt and re-hemmed them. I had to elongate the sleeves a bit and made the skirt part much longer. I had planned with much seam allowance in the beginning, so I had no problems with this task.

new princess dress

Here’s the “new” version of the princess dress, it’s now about ankle length for a 1.1 m tall person.
In the picture you can still see the creases where the seam allowance was folded in, above the skirt hem. And the picture still shows pins in the new hem, I sew that this morning.

tablet woven bookmark

Last fall I visited my parents and had my medieval sewing stuff with me. I don’t know how we came to that topic, but we talked a bit about tablet woven bands and my parents wanted to know how to do that.

I had my weaving cards with me and my mother had some yarn (intended for knitting, probably sock yarn weight, so not the really thin stuff). I took 5 cards, cut off several pieces from the yarn balls, gave my father one end to hold (instead of a loom…) and then showed my family how to do tablet weaving.

tablet woven bookmark

The result is just long enough to be used as a bookmark and my mother wanted to keep it for exactly that purpose.

Another photo of the viking outfit

This time with me in it:
I was wearing the dress (as seen on the last post) to my usual dance meeting. The weather was really nice and I was waiting with some other dancers outside, where we took the photos. Normally I wear my hair in a ponytail, but on the photo I just undid my hairtie and was “fluffing up” my hair with my hands.

Also seen on the photo: green socks in the same color as the dress (not planned, but a nice coincidence) and my shoes which are more appropriate for 13th century.

The dress has the right length for dancing, it’s nearly floor length, but in the front my shoes are peeking out. The only problem is that on the sides (where it’s longest) it trails a little bit on the floor, just enough to be able to step on it.

Viking dress somehow completed

Viking dress somehow completed

I think I told you that I wanted to sew a green dress to wear with the orange viking overdress. This dress finally got finished this year in May. Here’s a photo of the green dress together with the orange overdress, lying on the floor. The sleeve on top of the photo is cropped, because I wanted to cut away some other stuff that sneaked into the picture.
At the moment there are no pearls or other adornments on the dress. I took off the string with beads when I had to redo the exact length of the shoulder straps and I will only add it again if/when I have something better than what I showed you in a earlier post.

More viking progress

As I told you here before I wanted to sew a viking style overdress out of orange linen. The dress is still not completely finished, but wearable. On the photo I have a blue (cotton) dress underneath, that’s how I wore it the first time after it was finished. I also have a tablet woven belt (blue wool) that I forgot to add into the picture.


All to-do tasks from the last post is done, all seams are sewn and neated, the hem is done, the shoulder straps are completed. When I tried it on after all seams were sown, it fitted nearly perfect, I only had to change the seam in the middle of the back a bit to adjust to my hollow back.

Here’s the list of what’s left to do on this dress and the whole viking outfit. I probably won’t do that before christmas, and certainly will only blog about that next year.

To do for the orange dress:

  • replace the trim at the upper end of the dress, it’s probably synthetic stuff and I want (one day…) to have a tablet woven trim (woven by me ideally)
  • shorten the shoulder straps a bit more, they are still quite long and therefore the top edge of the dress is lower than it should be
  • maybe do something else with the straps, they were sliding off my shoulders quite often, but that could be because they are a bit too long at the moment.
  • replace the brooches, these brooches look nice but are probably a modern design borrowing from viking designs. If I still like the dress when I have more money, I will want to buy myself some replica brooches.
  • replace the belt buckle, at the moment it’s a key ring attached to one end of the belt.

To do for the whole outfit:

  • sew the dress out of olive green linen (see first “Viking progress” post)
  • probably embroider that dress (I like embroidery and I think it suits a viking outfit)
  • collect more beads for the necklace-thingy that hangs supported from the brooches. At the moment I have one glass bead, one metal bead and one bead where I’m not sure if it’s glass or ceramics. The rest of the beads are wooden beads from a “make your own necklace” kit for kids. And I need a different string to thread them onto.
  • probably something else, but I can’t remember it at the moment.

Here’s a close up picture showing the brooches, trim and beads better. My camera made a moire on the orange fabric, don’t know why it did that.



I dived into spinning this summer and (again) forgot about blogging that.

I learned spinning (with a spindle) a few years ago from a friend, produced a bit of yarn, was happy and moved on to other hobbies. Then this summer (at the end of June) a friend told me about the “Tour de Fleece”, a contest (of some sort) on ravelry where you spin yarn every day the Tour de France races. That started at the same day a rather long period of holiday (or similar free time) started for me and I was hooked.

When starting spinning at the end of June I found out that I forgot nearly everything that I learned and had to start nearly from scratch. I think it wouldn’t have been (much) harder if I only had seen videos of other people spinning and not tried it myself.

During the Tour I learned about many spinning related things that I didn’t know before, some of them I wouldn’t have thought about if I hadn’t participated in the Tour. At the end of July I had some finished wool yarn that I want to share with you:


In the front left corner are the two strands of yarn that were my first tries. All yarn in skeins is spun, plied and washed. The bit on the toilet paper roll and the bit on the spindle (right part of the picture) is just spun.

The picture shows the status of my spinning progress after the three weeks of the Tour de Fleece. But I spun some more afterwards, just don’t have photos of that.

Viking in progress

I don’t know if I told you before but I’m planning a viking outfit for myself since last summer/fall. This spring I got some wonderful linen fabric at the Stoffmarkt, I got about 3 meters of olive green and about 3 meters of a rusty dark orange.

picture of the linen fabrics for my viking dress Here’s a picture of the two fabrics.
The olive green will be (in the future) a new dress, the orange linen will be (very soon) the overdress or “apron dress”.

Last saturday I met with a friend for pattern creation for the overdress, and we both got out patterns done. Saturday evening I spent in front of the TV, ironing 3 meters of linen and trying to get all wrinkles out. I didn’t succeed and will probably iron the finished dress again, with much steam then.
Then I cut out the parts I need for the dress and packed everything up.

Last Sunday I met with my friends and one of them had wool yarn (pure lambswool) from Renaissance Dyeing dyed with madder. That yarn has exactly the same color as my orange fabric, and we were excited to see that. She gave me that yarn as a gift, because she had it lying around for some time and it is strong enough and thin enough to use it as a sewing thread.

Current progress: half of the seams between the panels of the dress are done. I still need the other half, then fitting the dress on my body, then hemming and serging all seams. I won’t look at all that’s to do, just at the next seam, then it seems easier doable 😉

I’m glad that I have a dress to wear beneath it already.

Tablet-woven belt

I started my first try at tablet weaving quite some time ago, must have been over a year, could well have been two. *blush*.

But this weekend I finally managed to finish the belt, and here’s the photo: tablet woven belt

It’s about 2 meters long (just the woven part) and winds about two times around my waist or three times around the waist of my daughter. I don’t know what I will do with it, maybe try to use it as a belt. I’m just happy it’s finally finished and not sitting in a corner staring at me anymore. If you click on the photo you can get a bigger version and spot the mistakes I did. 🙂
The upper part (in the picture) was the beginning, you can see that I tried out the different patterns I can get. In the lower part you can see the pattern (that I chose after some experiments) quite well and also the mistakes I did.

The yarn is mostly cotton yarn, except for the yellow, I don’t know which fibre was used for that.

The photo was taken on our black couch, the velvety (or rather suede-like) surface looks kind of dirty in the photo but that’s because of the flash.


I made several needles for needlebinding by now, and I finally have a photo of them.


from left to right: two made out of oak, two made out of spruce and three made out of popsicle sticks. I gave them all away to friends so that they could try out needlebinding.

The first needle I had was also made from a popsicle stick and was a a gift from the person who showed me how to needlebind. I gave that needle away to another person whom I showed the craft, so the needle goes on inspiring others. 🙂

Currently I use a wooden needle bought at a medieval market, and I recently made myself another needle out of spruce but I didn’t test that one yet.