There are several 14thC finds that seem to be garment fragments with tablet woven edges illustrated and described in the Museum of London book “Textiles and Clothing- Medieval finds from excavations in London”, by Elisabeth Crowfoot, Frances Pritchard and Kay Staniland. 4 of these fragments have tablet woven edges and no buttonholes, another 4 fragments have the woven edges plus buttonholes. I'm not going to place pictures here for copyright reasons, but here is a link to "the sleeve" which has the edging in question down the buttonhole side.

the rest under here )
SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveRecommended order of operation:
-make or otherwise aquire your buttons
-work out how long the buttonholes need to be
-make the sleeves, with facings wide enough for the buttonholes
-sew your buttonholes
-do the tablet edge (can be done later, but not have buttons to catch on is a bonus)
-mark the button positions
-sew on the buttons.
I've written this up for a class I run occasionally on demystifying the art of testing for fibre types by burning. Keeping it simple, just dealing with the basics.

rest under here )
montjoye: (Default)
( Aug. 27th, 2016 03:00 pm)
Close set rows of buttons are a characteristic of 14thC clothing. We know that metal buttons were used. Other materials were also used, including walrus tooth(Greenland) and fabric. My work on these fabric buttons is mostly based on finds illustrated and described in the Museum of London book “Textiles and Clothing- Medieval finds from excavations in London”. This is a link to an image of the most complete sleeve fragment Some of the other button finds are more spherical, and it is these that my technique most closely resembles. I'd love to include a picture here but I don't think copyright allows. For those that have access to the book, see p169, fig144. In fact, if you are interested in this sort of thing, go buy the

all the rest under here )Save

Whoa, that was sudden. I'm in mourning for a peach tree.

A little less than four years ago, as spring was about to sproig in 2012, I fell over an eager looking dwarf peach tree at my favourite garden shop. It looked about to burst into blossom, but still bare rooted. I took pity on it and adopted it without any plans of where it would fit in my garden. I got it home and plonked it into the middle of my herb garden. When it bloomed, the flowers were so lush that they inspired his name* from then on "Luciano", for Pavarotti of course. He grew well over the next few years, with a huge growth spurt across last spring and summer. I got a sudden terror that he either had or would, get his roots into the sewer pipe, which he was planted right on top of. I failed to think of that when I planted him.

So I came up with a plan to transplant him. The only place I could think of to put him meant that other plants needed to be evicted or moved. I've just done all that, including finding a bluestone boulder that was too big to move. A bit more than a day's work produced the hole to move him to. When I tried to dig him up, I felt there was no chance of getting enough of the roots moved to allow him to survive. So, very quickly I decided to cut him down. So sad! but I thought it would be better than either leaving him or having him die after moving. Sorry Luciano. I'm glad you lived long enough to have one good fruiting season. 3kg yield last summer.

I've kept an attractive bare branch, so he gets to live on as a new twig tree.



The luscious flowers


Now there was still a great gaping hole ready for a substantial plant. So I ran off and bought a new dwarf peach tree. This one even comes pre named. The variety is "O'Henry". So he is of course dubbed "Henry O'Henry". He ticks all the boxes: Yellow fleshed, full flavoured, free stone, red colour on the skin, minimal fuzz, mid season ripening. Welcome Henry, I hope you like it here. I've given him a whole bag of manure and half a bucket of compost for his roots to find .


*of course(?) all my fruit trees have names :-)

montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 29th, 2016 01:55 pm)

I've had some black food dye for ages but hadn't tried using it yet. Today I had a sudden enthusiasm to do so. The black dye is made up of three different colours, and I'd heard the black dyes have a tendency to split, so I was unlikely to get an even effect.

I first overdyed these merino leggings. I just wanted them darker so I felt less like I was wearing clown pants.

IMG_5440-2 .

I'm pretty happy with these. I did deliberately twist the legs of the orange pair to get a bit of striping. The dye variation on the blue/green pair is quite random, I just shoved those in the pot foot end first.

Then I overdyed the cream skirt I made last winter, because I wasn't wearing it, and for fun. This so didn't come out the way I thought! I wanted black at the top, grading to whatever at the hem. Well, I at least managed some whatever :-)


It is interesting but I'm not sure yet whether I like it. I tried to get a blacker colour at the waist with extra dye, but it just went a slightly darker purple. I quite like the mottly green at the hem though.

Because I'd added more dye that wasn't working for the skirt, I had some to use up. The red tones are taken up first, then green is left. So I had a pot of mostly green dye. I popped in four balls of a wool yarn I'd liked when I purchased it, but now think is a bit dull. Original colour shown bottom right. I love how these have come out. You can tell what order I put them in the pot eh? Yes I should have skeined them first but oh well, I didn't. Each ball will have a casual gradient of overdye. I'll let them dry a bit before skeining them so they can finish drying. Later. And no I don't yet know what I'll make with this.

montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 20th, 2016 05:57 pm)
reposting here for better findability.

I think it’s time. I’m going to have a bit of a holiday from the SCA. I have not been having a good time at standard SCA events with fighting+court+feast+lots of people(all of whom I’m supposed to know and interact with) or any combination of the above really. All of those things distress me in various ways. I’ve been feeling this way for quite some years but forcing myself to go to events because I think I ought, feeling like a fish out of water and not having a good time. So I’m going to try having a break before I burn out the remainder of my enthusiasm. I still love making things, knowing other people who make things, wonderfully crazy people, dressing up etc, but it’s hard to be involved in those things without large helpings of the rest.

I will still attend Polit university. A&S is cool, I’m booked, and anyway, I’m teaching. I will still make things, some of them might even be medjeeval. I think I will otherwise plan to stay away until Canty Faire (flights already booked). If I have a good time there I will likely come to festival. The very large events actually work better for me, I’m more able to find a safe corner and mostly avoid the things I’m not coping with. After that we will see.

Of course I might miss it and attend anyway, but I’d rather come when I’m not expected than feel I’m expected to go. We will see.
more recipe notes in case I like the result

butter wide cloudy pyrex dish
loosely fill with cubed sourdough bread
3/4 of a jar of sour cherries, drain off most of the liquid and put aside,
mix a slosh of brandy with the fruit
spoon fruit in with bread and mix
beat 3 eggs with 1/3c sugar and two cups milk including the leftover brandy. Plus a grating of nutmeg, a spoon end of cinnamon and a small slosh good vanilla.
pour over bread mix. Let stand 30-60 min.
Bake 25min 160deg lid on, then 25min lid off

a success I'd say. Lovely flavour, not too sweet. A bit richer would have been nice but really edible as is. I reckon it will be nice served warm with yoghurt for breakfast.

Inspired by this: but way less sweet.

montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 2nd, 2016 09:23 am)
Having taken note of Mr Darcy's last moult, and he started again yesterday, I'm inclined to keep a record for a little while. Very minor science :-)

April ~20th. Fairly major moult. >10 large feathers, no tail feathers
June 1st. One wing feather so far plus a bunch of medium ones (bigger than just down)
that gap is only about 5wks, I thought it was a couple of months between moults.
July 10th. Again about 5wks. lots of down, a few flight feathers and one tail feather.
montjoye: (Default)
( May. 28th, 2016 07:26 pm)
2 chicken thighs
brown in olive oil-until some crispy bits and the fat runs
deglaze with a glass of white wine, reduce a bit.
1tin diced tomatoes
1t dried oregano
3 sticks celery, sliced
1/4t salt
~10 turns black pepper

bring to a boil, drop to a simmer for about an hour (if on a slightly too high heat it will reduce)
pick out the bones, stir to divide the meat. Add in 6 halved, destoned calamata olives

serve with spaghetti (or rice) and grated parmesan, pecorino or similar

While staying with my folks recently, Mum and I made a batch of beef croquettes. This starts with simply boiling stewing beef in water. That smelled so good that I had a sudden thought that maybe the problem with my beef stews is the vegetable bulk? So I'm trying a more beef centric stew version to test that. Of course I couldn't resist making it more complex than just beef in water, but there is very little volume in there other than beef and enough liquid. Anyway while I remember what I put in the pot:

750g stewing steak, cubed and with the chunkiest fat evicted
brown this in olive oil in 3 batches
deglaze with a glass of red wine
add: 3 smallish flat mushrooms chopped
~1T tomato juice/passata
1 cube frozen parsley
~1/2t dried thyme
shake of hing powder
~8 turns black pepper
grated nutmeg (maybe 1/8t?)
enough water to barely cover

bring to the boil, drop to a simmer for 2-3hrs, lid on. Must check for seasoning later, the only salt in the above is in the parsley (and tomato goop I suppose). I mean to thicken it a little at the end and treat as pie filling.
montjoye: (Default)
( May. 8th, 2016 01:08 pm)
Right. I've added ties from the side seam to the side of the front panel. Hair up, long beads, slightly darker stockings, heeled shoes*, lipstick.

It's still not the most wonderfully flattering frock ever and I'm not sure yet if I'll wear it to the folk's shindig, but I'd be perfectly happy to be seen in it.


more.... )
I wanted a dress to wear for my parents Golden Wedding celebration. I decided to use a length of panel printed silk crepe I've had for a couple of years, but was struggling to find design inspiration to turn it into a frock. Then I remembered this lovely and simple dress I found in Kelvingrove art gallery, Glasgow back in 2008. A child's dress in silk batik. Made by Jessie M. King in 1923. I think it's delightful and I spent quite a while looking at it. I came up with a plan to position the printed panels that I thought would be pleasing.


So I made it up.


I'm rather curvier than a small child, so the effect on me is not that flattering. Another trademark elegant sack? or just ugly? It is very comfy and nicely floaty though. I'm still interested in garments from simple rectangles, triangles, but they are challenging to make look good on a curvy figure. One needs a big enough circumference for the outward curves, shall we say, but then there is too much bagginess around the inward curves :-)


Like most loosely fitted things on a curvy girl, it looks better when I'm moving. Some will find these pics amusing.

.     .

Now I need to decide if this acceptable? or simply too dowdy and I need to think again?
montjoye: (Default)
( May. 1st, 2016 10:26 am)
Jotting this down because the dessert pizza topping combination last night really worked, though the (doushkasmum's home built, wood fired) oven wasn't at optimum temp and the base didn't cook properly.  It had cooked a bunch of really good savoury pizzas first and I put the sweet ones in too quickly after the fire was replenished.

On your pizza base, put a thick smear of ricotta, another goodly spread of apricot sauce. Top with dark chocolate buttons and slivered almonds.

Come to think of it, I could do something like this at home if I really wanted.
Posting this in case some find it useful. Also because I'm delighted to have come up with another useful variation.

I will only buy free range chicken, and buying it in pieces is expensive. So every so often, I buy a whole free range chook, from which I get at least a dozen meals, sometimes more.

The legs and wings make two meals. I usually make a ginger/soy/honey marinaded slow cooked thing with noodles and veg. Tonight I did a baked thing with cream/zucchini/mushrooms/rice instead.

The thighs make two meals. My standard is a cacciatore variant

The breasts make about 4 serves. I usually do satay or curry but random pasta sauces are also good.

Then the new thought was- instead of just making stock from the resulting carcass, steam the meaty carcass for half a hour. I put thyme and bay in the steaming water. Let this cool, strip the carcass and one gets about a cup of cooked chicken, useful for sandwiches, pasta, pizza etc. Say another two meals. If you have inexpensive white wine, use that for all or half of the steaming water. Either way, the resulting water is a rich stock.

The steaming water counts as stock, then one can boil the bones(including the any of the other bones you haven't already boiled) for more stock. Say 1-2L stock that will make 4-8 serves of soup.
Edit- more like 1L or less stock from only one chicken carcass. I usually collect the bones in the freezer and make a larger amount, hence my confusion.

Not bad for just one chicken.
montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 25th, 2016 12:56 pm)

I feel the Montjoye beer stocks are getting thin. So to help decide what next to brew, I've just been through the cupboards and done a stocktake. There is still a great deal of booze!

13 PET bottles of Golden ale. This is 49 x 330ml serve equivalents. I'll take this to parties and events in the prompt.
the rest are all in small glass bottles, 330ml or near that.
7 of Little Teapot stout- nice to drink in cold weather, and works well in a stew.
9 of Amiable Ale English mild- best drunk unchilled but I think this has gone too fizzy to take to parties now- like much of my brewing sadly
16 Twice Bitten dry amber lager. This has been very popular. I think it goes down better in hot weather, so this might sit for a while.
2 Free Falling pale ale (hopped with Cascade only, hence the name). Other people seem to like this. I think it's a bit boring.
7 Festival ale (English best bitter)
6 golden ale. This was supposed to be pretty much the same as the one above, but I think there was a mix up with the grain. It turned out weak and I added "adjunct" to strengthen it
36 Merry Measure brown ale. I like it, it's a lighter take on a brown. It wasn't hugely popular at the CF tasting, some thought it sat between styles.
So 83 serves of beer in glass. Plus the PET makes 132 serves (plus the few bottles in the fridge, which I didn't count)

13  of the 2015 apricot cider- likely the most popular thing I've made yet.
55 or so of 2016 apricot cider not yet bottled.
36 mulberry cider. Really too dry to be pleasant to drink. It might develop. Works fine in cooking.
56 a full batch of the new ciderry
Which makes160 serves of cider.

Or 292 serves of booze, not counting the various macerated spirituous things in the pantry, or the bits and pieces of mead and fruit wine.

Writing this confirms that what I am short on is pale ale. So the next brew will be a pale, hopped with Citra, which I haven't used yet but comes recommended by Rurik. I'll see how that tastes, but I have only a precious couple bottles of my favourite- a Nelson Sauvin hopped beer (this one is a lager, but I prefer it done as a pale ale). So I'll probably make one of those too.

I'd like to redo the brown ale that tasted AMAZING at 18mths old, and lay it down for... in 18mths time. This started out quite hoppy and sweet. The last bottle I drank had developed raisin flavours and was really smooth. Yum, I want more of that if I can manage it.

I'd also like to try something like the amber lager as an ale. I think that would land somewhere near a Little Creatures pale.

Well, that's four brews planned, that'll do for now.

montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 20th, 2016 07:48 pm)
I suppose I started sewing at about 4 or 5 years old? Pattern darning on hessian to start with, guided by my Mother and Grandmother. Several of those pieces still exist in my Mother's collection. My Mother sewed most of our clothes when my brother and I were small. Initially, much of the fabric came from her old full skirted 50's and 60's frocks. My Grandmother, dear Nana, wanted to be a tailor, but her family could not afford the apprenticeship fees so she had to go to work in a pickle onion factory instead (one of the saddest stories I know). She did manage to study at nightschool however, and had considerable skill. Nan made lots of Mum's clothes of course. Nan (and Gramps) lived with us from when I was about 10, so I grew up with two fairly accomplished dressmakers. Now I have Nan's last sewing machine, sniff.

So large scale embroidery was my start. Then making dolls clothes, both by hand and later machine. Practicing on sewing machines by making "stamps" and spirals etc with old needles on paper. Also making dolls. Pipecleaner dolls and dressing them, often in different country's traditional dress. I was impatient with school sewing lessons because they didn't do things the way my family had already taught me. by late high school I was starting to make clothes for myself, partly because I had access to fabric, but very little money. I kept making clothes all through Uni days, and in the latter part of that, discovered the SCA. Costume became part of the sewing mix, but without much historical accuracy at the beginning.

So many weekends and holidays were all about the gift of time in which to sew. I remember one set of Easter holidays when I was so excited because I had time to make a coat. That coat got made and worn lots. I was so happy both making it, and having made it. For years, I'd spend weekends sewing in the family dining room while listening to one of two sets of albums- Eurythmics or Steeleye Span. I'm astonished in retrospect that my poor family were so tolerant of this.  Yeh I should get out more, or have got out more, but I'd not be as good a seamstress if I had.

I have kept making clothes for myself ever since. Some of the impetus is that I don't have a figure that matches the shapes that retail clothes are made to fit. I look way better in well fitted custom made clothes. I can't buy trousers that fit for any money, or shirts, or anything much except knits and shoes, and even the knits I fairly often end up altering (actually, I've altered a bunch of shoes too). I also love fabric, really love fabric. Well, I really love high quality fabric, especially when I find it for cheap.

I continued my dressmaking education by reading lots of "Threads" magazines, books, and learning things from my sewing friends. Later I found my costume experience informing my general dressmaking. I haven't used a commercial pattern in years. Commercial patterns don't fit any better than retail clothing. I did however learn a lot about garment construction from the instructions in the commercial patterns I worked with for years.

You know that advice for writers? "just write, lots, keep doing it, write, really". Well for me it was sewing. I could simply not count how many garments I have made, or altered, or remodelled. So many. Mumblety years worth. I'm pleased with what I can do, but I suppose I feel I ought to be able to do more. This was not though my paid career. So it's just a well developed hobby, but if I'm away from needle and thread for too long, I crave it.
montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 9th, 2016 10:58 am)

Yet another thing with apricots. This was a kilo frozen, halved, overripe apricots found in my freezer on defrosting the other day. Defrosting this gives lots of liquid and sludgy apricots, not neat halves that one could dry. So my latest experiment was to try for dried apricot leather.

Boil down the apricot goop as far as you can. I got it to a thickish paste. The dehydrator I have on loan didn't come with supports for fruit leather, so what to use? I went with flattened patty cake cups. They sort of worked but were not the best thing. I took the rounds to dry enough to sit on the drying racks without sticking or falling through. By that stage, the fruit had glued itself to the papers. I got the rounds off with a flat knife but it was hard work. Then I further dried the rounds to a successful result.

I'd say the technique works, but I need better substrates for the initial drying phase. Silicon baking sheet?

The finished dried rounds:

more pics )
montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 9th, 2016 10:21 am)
Allium free tomato ketchup take 2. Identical to the first try but with double the spices and no celery (because I didn't have any). The first one was good enough for me to eat it all in about 6mths.
Website of inspiration:

1 jar tomato passata (~700ml)
2/3 cup vinegar (I used cider vinegar from Weaver)
slosh water
generous half cup of brown sugar
3/4t salt
1/2t mustard powder
1/2t freshly ground black pepper
2 clove
2 allspice berry

Passata to saucepan. Rinse with vinegar. Rinse again with small amount water. All into saucepan.
Add all other ingredients
bring gently to boil. Stir lots or it will spit.
Simmer further until the consistency looks like tomato sauce.
Remove whole spices
Bottle in sterilised vessel.
montjoye: (Default)
( Apr. 8th, 2016 08:43 pm)
2.5 litres apricot juice/pulp (yield from 4kg after freezing, defrosting and squishing through a brew bag, last year yield was 3L)*
(no campden or pectinase, first time without, lets see if we get haze problems?)
18 litres clear apple juice (Aldi)
4g wine yeast nutrient
champagne yeast

starting density 1.045, yeast pitched today.
27th April, 1.004.

*so in 2015 I think I managed two rounds of freeze and defrost. I also simmered the apricots a bit to help release the juice, but panicked that it would ruin the flavour or cause haze. Neither of these feared problems eventuated, I got an extra half litre of apricot juice and one of my best drinks ever. Lesson in that for 2017. 2016 fruit only had one extended freeze.
Based on my favourite Apricot Rhubarb chutney but twisted towards orange, inspired by recipes on the net (by Delia and Antony Worrall Thompson)


Apricot Orange Chutney:

2 kg apricots, stones removed, halved
zest  and chopped flesh of one orange
1/2c sultanas
500ml (2 cups) cider vinegar
1 c (210g) light muscavado sugar
1 tablespoon ginger, finely grated (well out of a jar)
1 teaspoon salt
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
½ t cloves (lifted out towards the end of cooking)
1/4 t nutmeg, freshly grated
1t tumeric
1 teaspoon coriander seed}
2 t mustard seeds}
½ t cardamom seeds}- dry fried, then partially ground in the mortar
plus the cassia sticks from the sauce below

Heat slowly until sugar dissolved, then boil gently until thickened. Remove cloves and cassia towards end of cooking. Bottle.


This year's apricot sauce:
2 kg apricots, stones removed, halved
1kg white sugar
finely grated rind and juice of a lemon
2 cassia sticks

Heat slowly until sugar dissolved.
Ignore with lid on while finishing some other stuff for maybe half to an hour. This allows the cassia to infuse. Remove cassia, blitz apricots, replace cassia, simmer for 10min, remove cassia, bottle.


montjoye: (Default)


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