Welcome! I'm Ilene Johnnestoune, a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Come join me on my wanderings, as I share my interests both within and sometimes slightly outside the SCA.

Monday, June 27, 2011

How do I know when I know enough?

Greetings, and welcome back to a normal episode of Pegasus Wanderings, instead of the frantic ramblings of my last post.  J  Yes, the insanity is over, I have officially been turned into a bird, and I can now put Mistress in front of my name.  Woo hoo!!!

Now that I can turn my thoughts to other things, they of course have found their way back to art/sci.  I made a very wise choice not to try and throw something together in the 2-3 weeks I had between my elevation and Summer A/S Competition.  I probably could have done it, but it would not have been up to my standards of a proper project.

So now I am working on a couple things, with plans to enter at Village Faire in the Regional Competition, as well as Kingdom’s Winter A/S Competition.  Village Faire (VF) is in September, so I have been trying to determine what I can have ready in that time frame, and what will be better waiting until January.  It looks like the winner is going to be a 16th century Tudor coif, which I’m actually pretty excited about.  By doing this one now, it means that I can follow up with the knitted flat cap I’ve been wanting to do for Winter, and the two will go together beautifully.  I’m also really wanting to do a tablet weaving entry, so I might see if I have time for both this and the cap for Winter.  I’m not entirely sure if my skill level will be up to par for the weaving by January, so we shall see.  I will push it off to a later Regional competition if I need to.

One of the things I’ve been doing to determine which project to enter at VF is evaluating how much research I’ve already done on my various projects.  Each time I come up with a new idea for a project, I start a folder on my flash drive for it.  Then I promptly start a “What I Know” grid, so that I can fill in my facts as I find them.  When the grid is complete, I’m ready to start writing and making my project.  What is this grid, you ask?  Why, it’s one of the best tools to use when working on a project for art/sci.  It is simply a table or spreadsheet listing the ingredients, the period method, your source, your method, and your reasoning.  For example:

Ingredient / Material / Method
Period Method
Your Method
Your Reasoning
Silk thread
Worsted wool thread
Linen thread
Silk - Purstringes pg 2
Wool - Images 1-4
Linen - Images 5-8
Silk embroidery thread
Wool embroidery thread
Linen embroidery thread
Cotton embroidery thread
I am following the period method by using silk, wool, and linen threads.  I have chosen to also use cotton thread in order to compare the period fibers with a modern fiber.
Fingers, 1-3 people
Textiles pg 138
Fingers, 1 person

I am following the period method of using my fingers to create the braids.
Fasten to a fixed, sturdy structure. 
CA pg 8
Textiles pg 138
Metal straight pin, securing the braid to a small fabric covered table.

Source CA recommends pinning or tying the braid to something.  I chose to use the pinning method as I felt it would be more secure than tying.

This is part of my grid from my fingerloop braids project.

Every single component of your project should be listed in the Ingredient column.  Then as you do your research, you fill in the Period Method column.  HOWEVER, do not write anything there until you have a source to back it up.  If you can’t list a source for how you know the information, than you don’t get to write it down.  For the Source column, you can use an abbreviated name for a source, as long as it's listed in full in your bibliography.  For example, I list "Textiles" as one of my sources, which is short for "Textiles and Clothing c.1150-c.1450".  I have the full citation listed elsewhere, so I can use the shorthand version here.  Once you know the period method and you have a source for it, you can start filling in the rest.  As you make your decisions for the ingredients and methods you’re going to actually use, you write those in, then write why you made those decisions.

If you can completely fill out this grid before you start making your project, you will know everything you need to in order to have a well-documented entry.  Now, as much as I would like to take credit for this wonderful tool, I am not the creator.  My amazing teacher Mistress Adelheid (soon to be my Laurel!) taught me about this.  The real trick is making sure not to leave anything out from the Ingredients column.  Adelheid will tell you that on her enameled glass entry that went to Gulf Wars, she forgot to include glass.  Which was the most important ingredient.  She knew all the information, but completely forgot to write it down.

To all my friends (and even those I haven’t met yet!) who are working on projects, or thinking of working on projects, I strongly recommend you try out this tool.  My coif grid is pretty much full, so I will probably start writing that in the next week. I already have the linen I need to make it, so I should be able to start the construction soon as well.  I will be hand-sewing the entire piece, which is a little intimidating, but it is small and my handwork has gotten much better courtesy of the trial-by-fire that was my elevation gown.  Yes, I will post information about that soon as well.  I need to do a little info digging on that one, though, before I write a post for it.

I believe that’s all for the moment, folks.  I’ve got lots of project ideas in mind, though, and lots of research to do.  I hope you all stick along for the ride!!

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