25 March 2011

Felted pouch, lined: Project catch up

Felted pouch, lined: Project catch up

Sometimes there are project that languish around the house for years before they speak to you. This wet felted pouch is one of those. I had made my layers too thin, so it wasn’t going to be strong enough for a belt pouch. Last month it came out of the box and I reexamined it. I decided to add a wool fabric lining in a color that was complimented by the wool tablet woven trim I had sitting around.

Ultimately, I think it turned out pretty well, and I plan to give it as a gift now.

If you’re looking to get into wet felting, I recommend using Lady Virag’s blog as a starting point:

This project wasn’t a challenge for me at this point. The work was all completed, I just needed to assemble the bits. Therefore I decided not to number it among my A&S50 count.

23 March 2011

Sprang thing: Learning experience

I took a class from Mistress Ealasaid at the Stellar University of Northshield. I was very grateful that she was willing to teach it, because I'd been trying to hook up with her to learn for a while. However, the day conspired against me. I couldn't see well enough or concentrate enough to participate in the class well, so in taking a break I didn't struggle hard to get back after a distraction.
Sad sprang thing, just off the frame

I learned enough, however, that I could go back to it a few weeks later with better eyeballs (i.e. no contacts in) and more sleep and make something happen to the string. And I could repeat it. Going to a Baronial meeting with my project, I learned that Lady Auda is an accomplished sprang worker and got some more tips.

The next project will be on the larger frame that my honey made for me. I think I can make a bag for holding fruit at out camp, and if I keep the twists dense, the fruit won't fall out. I'm not sure what I can with this sad little blue thing, however! It's about 10 inches long, and has some significant holes. The next one I will leave a stick in every ten twists or so, in case I spot something further down and need to back out a mistake.
Sad sprang thing, blocked

On this one, you can see the big hole (sprang is worked from the middle, so it's a mirror image), and in trying to correct that I created a series of smaller holes. These are just on the right side and starting immediately below the big hole (I work left to right). Once the big hole started, the end thread on the right never got twisted to it's neighbor. I believe that I split my yarn just at, or just below, the big hole.

I know that the Copts in Fatimid Egypt were using sprang, but I'm not sure in what capacity. I had thought it was to make head coverings, but all of the extant pieces that I can find now are from earlier than the Fatimid period. Feel free to share any tidbits you might have!

When I have something useful I will add it to my A&S 50 count. Clearly this is a learning experience!

18 March 2011

Award of Arms tiraz: Material Culture eighteen: A&S 50 Challenge

Award of Arms tiraz: Material Culture eighteen: A&S 50 Challenge
Sayyeda Samia al-Kaslaania
Copyright March 2011, Julia May

This past year I offered to help the Kingdom Signet by making an award “scroll”. In Northshield, we have a lovely practice of frequently giving scrolls made in media other than paper and paint. A woman with a Middle Eastern person was going to receive her Award of Arms, which is given in the name of the current King and Queen. I offered to make a tiraz shawl for them to present to her.

A TAPESTRY TIRAZ FRAGMENT, 9TH-10TH CENTURY, FATIMID.  Christie's Sale  5331, item 535. Indian and Islamic Works of Art and Textiles 11 April 2008, London, South Kensington

During the Middle Ages, rulers in the Middle East would honor selected people by giving them gifts inscribed with tiraz. In the Fatimid period these were called khil’a, or robes of honor. These “robes” ranged from a scarf or handkerchief (mandil), to a tunic, to an entire outfit (hulla). Typically they were adorned with a formulaic inscription: honoring god and the royalty, asking for blessings, and often including a date and location of manufacture.

Tiraz shawl completed by Samia.
The shawl I decorated was made from fringed fabric with two lovely bands of decorative weaving on each end. On one of the ends, in the space between the two bands, I embroidered the text of the award scroll. There are similar textiles in the Textile Museum in Washington DC from this period where the two lines of text are upside down from each other and centered around decorative bands.

17 March 2011

King's Hens redaction: Food challenge nine: A&S 50 Challenge

King's Hens redaction: Food challenge nine: A&S 50 Challenge
Chicken Omelet Recipe 

Cookbook: Ein Buch von guter Spise. Translated by Alia Atlas, copyright 1993. This is a literal translation of Daz buoch von guoter spise. The original manuscript was part of a household manual which Michael de Leone, the proto-notary of the Archbishop of Würzburg, had organized. The original is in the university library of Munich. This manuscript is dated as between 1345 and 1354.

28. Wilt du machen ein spise von hüenren (How you want to make a food of hens)
Chicken Omelet (King's Hens)

Diz heizznt küneges hüenre. Nim junge gebratene hüenre. hau die an kleine mursel. nim frische eyer und zu slahe die. menge daz zu gestozzen ingeber. und ein wenic enys. giuz daz in einen vesten mörser. der heiz si. mit dem selben crute. daz tu zu den eyern. damit bewirf die hüenre. und tu die hüenre in den mörser. und tu dar zu saffran und saltz zu mazzen. und tu sie zu dem viur. und lazze sie backen glich heiz mit ein wenic smaltzes. gib sie gantz hin. daz heizzent küniges hüenre.

This is called King's Hens. Take young roasted hens. Cut them in small pieces. Take fresh eggs and beat them. Mix thereto pounded ginger and a little anise. Pour that in a strong pot, which will be hot. With the same herbs, which you add to the eggs, sprinkle therewith the hens and put the hens in the pot. And do thereto saffron and salt to mass. And put them to the fire and let them bake (at the) same heat with a little fat. Give them out whole. That is called King's Hens.

Samia's Redaction:

1/2 tsp dried ginger
pinch anise seed, ground
2 pinches salt
pinch saffron
splash olive oil
1/2 lb roasted chicken
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 425 F. Beat eggs together. Add ginger, anise, salt, saffron olive oil. Chop chicken into small pieces and add to eggs. Pour into a greased pie pan. Bake 15 minutes until set.

Samia's Notes:

I added more eggs and more spices than Ms. Atlas did in her redaction. I have been playing with egg tarts for a time and decided to go with the familiar path when redacting this one. I happened to be out of fresh butter when making this, and substituted olive oil. With the extra eggs it had enough integrity to serve without forks (which was great, since I forgot to bring any!).

I'm not sure how to read "give them out whole". I wonder what shape pot these were cooked in originally. Mine was cooked in a straight-sided pie 8" dish, and I cut wedges to serve it.

To make this healthier, I would substitute 4 egg whites for two of the eggs.