Saturday, February 12, 2011

In the Mean Time...

So the research on my 14th century shift study is going swimmingly, but I haven't yet started the construction phase. And I'm still waiting for my heraldry to pass. So as if I didn't have enough projects to think about, I decided to add just one more!

When I attend SCA events I often have nothing to do while I'm sitting around chatting with the ladies. I try to leave hand sewing and such for those days but it seems more often than not that I just don't have anything on the go at the time. So I decided an extended "hand candy" project was needed.

I used to really enjoy doing needlepoint way back in the old days (before marriage, before becoming a mother) but have decided it would be the perfect thing to start up again. I did a little research on it and found out that yes, indeed, needlepoint was done in the Middle Ages. Though it was not called needlepoint. And for some of you it may come as a surprise to find out that it is also not tapestry work. It is called canvaswork. Real tapestries, which were woven, were much too expensive for the less fortunate in medieval times, so people decided to recreate their favourite tapestries by working the images into canvaswork. Canvaswork was much less complicated and therefore less expensive since it is simply stitching wool yarn into a canvas of linen. Today most canvases are made of cotton but you can still find wool yarn even though many people use acrylic.

So, in the spirit of taking a favourite piece of art and making a poor man's tapestry out of it, I decided to recreate my beloved Codex Manesse illumination. Though not a tapestry, it is a favourite image of mine from the Middle Ages:

I bought some 14 count cotton canvas which started out at approximately 18x20 inches and I also purchased some 2 ply wool yarn in colours to match. I then had my handy hubby take the image and use a borrowed projector to project the image onto a wall where I taped up the canvas (with some white paper behind it) so I could trace the image onto it. I used pencil in case there were any mistakes. Once I was happy with the image I went over it in permanent marker, making it easier to see. Here is a photo of the traced image, which you can see I have already started:

Here is a closeup of the main image. I'm hoping I will still be able to show the detail especially in the faces once it's done:

As you can see here, I have left some of the image in pencil. Since it is an image of a shield and mask, I haven't decided if I want to use my own heraldry in place of the one shown. I've heard that ladies would work their own family's heraldry into their needlework like this but I'm not entirely sure. Once I figure this out I will go over it in the marker.

So I now have no excuses when I attend my next event! I will have something to do! And it's something that I can pick up anytime I like or leave it for months if necessary. I'm not giving myself a deadline on it. It will get done when it gets done!