The BMDL Fiber Guild was invited back to the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh MAKESHOP on April 29, for a medieval embroidery demo. (This is our sixth demo for the museum!) MAKESHOP is a partnership between the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE). It is a space dedicated to making, reusing and designing things, using everyday materials and real tools. It has regular programs and special guests.
The goal of the demo was to introduce children and their families to medieval embroidery and basic techniques. As it can be a complex topic, there was a lot of fine tuning to make sure the program would be useful to the children who have never done any embroidery and to the more experienced adults. This required the talent and resources of many people to produce a successful presentation.
Mistress Ts’vee’a bat Tseepora Levi, Lady Gesa von Wellenstein, and Lady Rivka bat Daniyal generously donated their time and skills to the demo by teaching the stitches, drawing designs, and assisting with the kids’ take home projects.
Lady Rivka and Mistress Tsvia demonstrating skills to the children.
THL Renata Rouge sent us her embroidery stitch cards, which guided the kids through commonly used stitches using a “connect the dots” method (and the cards rhymed, too). They were so successful, that after the demo the Museum requested to keep a set. Mistress Rowena ni Dhonnchaidh of Coppertree donated a big box of embroidery floss, and we used a lot of it!
Embroidery stitch cards from THL Renata Rouge.
We also had a wonderful display of medieval embroidered items – the Baron and Baroness of the Debatable Lands Hilda and Brandubh loaned their embroidered heraldic hoods, Mistress Antoinette de la Croix lent us two amazing embroidered dresses, Mistress Tsvia brought her Elizabethan blackwork embroidery, Lady Gesa brought several traditional embroidery items, and Lady Rivka submitted her embroidered Ottoman Turkish coat.
Embroidered items display
Children and adults enjoyed the display, took home the embroidered designs they made, and learned about the use of embroidery in the Middle Ages. Great fun was had by the attendees and the demonstrators! We are looking forward to the next demo in the fall.
Photographs taken and article submitted by THL Luceta di Cosimo.
Their Highnesses are looking for help from the Populace on their Royal Wardrobe. Are you interested in being involved in making our next Royals look fabulous? Do you have ideas, skills, thoughts to share? Their Highnesses are hoping for outfits inspired by what the travelers of the Nordic countries would have encountered during their trips (raids?) around the years 950 -1050, from Sweden, to Dublin, to Paris, to Iceland and over to Constantinople.
Interested? In the spirit of the Wardrobe Project hosted by Mistress Elisabeth we are hoping to provide more exposure to our wonderful Æthelmearc artisans. Participants would work in groups towards a specific outfit with a predetermined deadline. Historical plausibility is requested. Materials will be provided for or reimbursed. We will again make use of the Wardrobe Project Facebook group to update progress and for the inspiration and enjoyment of all!
We like everyone to share with us ideas for wardrobe items that fit the time period, but don’t worry, we have a few starting ideas as well. Also let us know if you don’t have a specific idea, but would like to participate. Together we will find a way to contribute your skill.
We are looking forward to working with many of you towards another wonderful Royal Wardrobe.
Mistress and Master of the Royal Wardrobe,
Elska á Fjárfelli and Hrólfr á Fjárfelli
On December 2nd and 3rd, the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh invited the BMDL Fiber Guild back for the Wool Weekend. This was our fifth demo for the museum, and our biggest – we were there for two days and had demonstrators in the MAKESHOP as well as in the Studio art space. (MAKESHOP is a partnership between the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE). It is a space dedicated to making, reusing and designing things, using everyday materials and real tools. It has regular programs and special guests.)
This time, the museum guests and staff were able to learn how to use hand cards and drop spindles, spin with a distaff and on a great wheel, knitting, inkle weaving, weaving on a warp weighted loom, and wet felting. To complement these activities, the museum had finger knitting and needle felting stations set up as well.
Display of various materials and products
Woolen items on display by the guild, including materials and clothing.
We also had a display of woolen items and different types of wool for the kids to explore. The display had woolen garments and items spanning from Anglo-Saxon England to late period German. Most of the items were made by Lady Beatrix of Anglesey, who, though she couldn’t be there herself, graciously lent us her work, and by Mistress Irene von Schmetterling. (There was also a cloak made by Mistress Rowena of Coppertree, and a lined hood with oak-leaf dags by Lady Madelaine de Mortaigne of Carolingia)
The demo a great success. By the end of the demo, dozens of kids took home the wet felted potholder squares (one 8 year old lady made several, because, she explained, potholders make great gifts for grandparents). The cloth woven by the kids was gifted to the museum, and the yarn spun on the great wheel was given to the MAKESHOP for future projects!
It was wonderful to be back at the Museum, and we are looking forward to more skill demos at this location. Thanks go out to the Museum staff for inviting us and sharing their MAKESHOP and Studio space and to all the demonstrators: Mistress Mahin banu Tabrizi of Sunderoak and Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope who demonstrated weaving techniques, Mistress Irene von Schmetterling who taught the wet felting and spinning, Lady Kattera Doplerin and Lady Rivka bat Daniyel taught and demonstrated felting, spinning, and knitting, and Medea who did finger knitting, and spinning.
Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope demonstrating weaving.
This demo marks a year of our partnership with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. We feel privileged to have this amazing opportunity to introduce kids to the skills and crafts of the middle ages, show off the amazing artisans of the SCA, and to provide quality programming to our local museum, while fulfilling the educational mission of the SCA. We are looking forward to going back!
Lady Rivka bat Daniyel surrounded by a fascinated group of children.
The following article was written by Lady Luceta di Cosimo about the Fiber Guild of the Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands’ recent demonstration in Pittsburgh:
On March 5th, the Fiber Guild of the Barony-Marche of Debatable Lands (BMDL) conducted a demo at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. This was the second demo conducted at this site by the Barony within the last three months. The theme this time was medieval weaving and was held in the Museum’s MAKESHOP. MAKESHOP is a partnership between the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) and the University of Pittsburgh Center for Learning in Out-of-School Environments (UPCLOSE). It is a space dedicated to making, reusing and designing things, using everyday materials and real tools. It has regular programs and special guests.
The Guild members were honored to be invited to be the guest artisans for the weaving program. Mistress Mahin Banu Tabrizi of Sunderoak and Lady Beatrix of Anglesey of Ballachlagan demonstrated medieval weaving techniques to curious kids and their grown-ups, assisted by Lady Luceta di Cosimo of the Debatable Lands.
Lady Beatrix of Anglesey and Lady Luceta di Cosimo setting up the sprange frame. Mistress Mahin is in the background speaking with an attendee.
We displayed a full size warp-weighted loom, a tablet weaving set up, and a sprang frame, as well as pre-made samples. The kids and adults who wanted to take something home could make little cardboard looms and weave with bits of yarn.
There were dozens of visitors, weaving samples, playing with the looms and asking questions. One of the MAKESHOP staff artists was a tablet weaver himself. He was particularly interested in learning how to weave letters and Mistress Mahin taught an impromptu tablet weaving class.
It was wonderful to be back at the Museum, and we are looking forward to more skill demos at this location. Thanks go out to the Museum staff for inviting us and sharing their MAKESHOP space, to Mistress Mahin and Lady Beatrix for sharing their skills, and to Sydney, Jacob, and Karl of Sunderoak for warping the looms for the demo, even though they couldn’t be there the day of the demo.
Mistress Mahin teaching tablet weaving.
Additional information regarding the Children’s Museum WORKSHOP can be found here and here.
A related article written by WORKSHOP staff member Colin Williams can be found here.
Lady Beatrix of Anglesey demonstrating weaving on the warp-weighted loom.
Welcome to the Festival! All photos by PertolonganKucingyn.
I am new to the fiber arts, having just learned how to knit recently.My teacher, Mistress Irene von Schmetterling, had the wonderful idea of going to this amazing event, the New York Sheep and Wool Family Festival, on the weekend of October 15, in Rhinebeck, NY.I had no idea what to expect but was game for a weekend away from our home, the Barony Marche of the Debatable Lands.
We arrived a half an hour early for the festival, yet there were already at least a hundred people waiting to get in.Many sported their recent creations and were quick to ogle each other’s work.The atmosphere was open, friendly, and very welcoming.
After walking through the first building of vendors I knew this was no ordinary event.My biggest first impression was of the breadth of color on display!There was wool in every form, and the dyed fiber contained every imaginable color you could wish for.One of the vendors specialized in using all-natural dyes and labeled her fiber with the plant used to dye it.The fiber came in every texture from the rougher wool to the silkiest Cria wool that was impossible not to pet.
Needle felted Triceratops.
There was every tool imaginable for working wool.If you went there with nothing you could be fully kitted out to work raw wool into a fine garment… if you were wealthy enough to buy everything!The tools ranged from functional and sturdy to exquisitely beautiful.There were drop spindles I would have been delighted to use as a decoration in my house for the beautiful designs inlayed in the tops.Spinning wheels galore were available in every shape and size.Beautifully wrought looms from portable designs to big floor looms were available.Perhaps the most clever thing on sale was the 3D-printed Turkish-style drop spindle with a lifetime guarantee.If a part ever breaks, all you need to do is send the broken piece in and the company sends you a replacement!
For those people interested in where the wool comes from you could spend time in the animal barns.Throughout the day, there were demonstrations on shearing and educational talks about the different types of animals and their husbandry.There were many breeds of sheep on display showing all the different colors and coats to choose from.The llamas looked on placidly as you stopped to admire them. (My favorite was a white llama with the brown spots all over.)There were alpaca and goats on display, too.Some of the goats were quite interested in the people and things around them.A vendor had to rescue her camp chair from the questing teeth of one goat!The angora rabbits on display hardly looked real with their long, flowing locks.I know some of the rabbits were available for purchase and I had to restrain myself from being tempted by a new cuddly companion.
There was no fear of going hungry at this event – it was loaded with food vendors!There were stands of typical fair food: fried dough, French fries, burgers, and kettle corn.But there were also vendors that sold lamb dishes.We stopped at a food truck selling Moroccan lamb stew with a spiced chickpea side dish.The lamb in the stew was cooked to perfection and delightfully spiced.
There was a building devoted to food and wine.Many small New York wineries from all over the state were there offering tastings of their wines.You could buy frozen lamb cuts that were sent home in an insulated bag.Specialty cheese vendors were very busy and had long lines of people waiting to get a taste.You could get homemade pickles and specialty chocolates.A maple sugar vendor was even selling maple sugar cotton candy.I bought a peck of my favorite type of apple from the one fresh fruit vendor there.
There were plenty of finished items for sale too.I came home with a beautiful alpaca sweater and a wool jacket.There were socks, hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves to purchase too.The needle-felted crafts ranged from adorable to incredible.One booth had the entire cast of characters from the Hobbit including a four-foot-long needle-felted Smaug that must have taken months to create.My favorite needle-felted item was a picture of a cheetah face.It was so incredibly detailed that I thought it was a painting until I was up close!I can’t believe that could be done in needle felting!We found some lovely soaps and lotions containing lanolin that will be much appreciated in the winter months to come.
On Sunday, there was a “Fleece to Shawl” contest of several teams of three spinners and one weaver.There was a team of East Kingdom gentles (in garb) feverishly working away on a beautiful blue and white piece.The contest required competing teams make a shawl step by step: starting with washed fleece, through hand carding, to spinning, to weaving, and finally to finishing ends.We stopped to cheer them on.I keep checking the website for the results of the competition but it hasn’t been posted yet.
Overall, I was delightfully surprised at all there was to do and see at the festival.We were there all day on Saturday and for a couple of hours on Sunday, and yet we still didn’t see and do everything there was to do.Anyone who is involved in the fiber arts should definitely try to attend this event.You won’t be sorry you went!
Looking for something to do at War Practice? Wishing to try your hand at a new art?
Come to the Great Hall and do just that!
In addition to classes in music and dance, and an embroidery salon run by THL Cristina inghean Ghriogair, you can try calligraphy and illumination under the helpful guidance of Mistress Yvianne de Castel d’Avignon and Mistress Liadin ní Chléirigh na Coille, play with fibers with Mistress Mahin Banu Tabrizi, or try cooking over an open fire with Mistress Katla úlfheþinn.
Scribal play time and the embroidery salon will run 3pm to 6pm on Friday; on Saturday, the various play times will be from 10am to 4pm. Stop in and try your hand at something new – embroidery, calligraphy, illumination, cooking, weaving in between attending the classes being run in the Hall. Or stop in and lend a hand to one of the areas, or just come spend the day doing something you love and sharing it with others!
Looking forward to the day.
Baroness Orianna Fridrikskona
Deputy Kingdom Minister of Arts & Sciences