Thursday, April 25, 2013

Regional Pentathlon finished!

Well, good or bad, finished or not, well-made or otherwise… the pentathlon is complete.  This past weekend I entered 6 entries into the regional competition and subjected myself to a day of judging.  It was a long hard day.  The day started our poorly when I hit three road detours on the way to the event.  It took me 5 hours to get there instead of the planned 4 hours.  I also failed to account for the difference in time zones which put me another hour behind.  I was in a panic by the time I got to the event.  I was able to get everything in and set up by the beginning of judging with really no time to spare.  My nerves were a little frazzled though.  We had only four hours to complete our face to face judging.  I had to do demonstration for one of my entries and then had to discuss my five other entries.  Due to scheduling issues I had to make the same sort of presentation a couple times for some of the items.  Since two of my entries were considered "skin out" full outfits I was asked to put them on.  So during that mad rush of discussions and documentation review I had to change clothing three times.  Long tiring day.  The whole event is still a bit fresh in my memory and frankly I'm a little disappointed in the results.  It is much too early to decide if I'll enter future A&S fairs.  Subjecting oneself to such rigorous criticisms is very emotionally draining especially when there are literally hundreds of hours put into a project.  All of my entries qualified for Kingdom Pentathlon, which is good news.  I will simply have to let the dust settle before making any decisions on the Kingdom though.

As I said I was in a rush when I set up, but I did try and get a quick picture of all the other entries.  I think there were some other performances and a couple entries that arrived later which I didn't get a photo of.  Poor quality photos, but this is all I have.

Here are my entries.

Here are the other entries.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Award of Arms scroll for Janet of Ravenslake

Not a whole lot to post these days as I've been pressing hard to complete all my entries for the Pentathlon this weekend.  I have all 6 entries in a state that I'm OK with entering.  I'd like to do some clean up work and finishing on some of the garments, but I'm flat out of time.

Here is a quick AoA scroll I did recently for "Janet of Ravenslake".  Simple vine work which has no period basis.  I simply made it up.  I knew little about the recipient and was simply asked to make it pretty.  No distinct persona, colors or time period so I chose to do the following:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Quiver Finished!

I've been working hard to press along and finish this project before the A&S competition so I've been snapping  a lot of pictures, but not posting them.  I am now done with the quiver!

I don't know what is wrong with this Blogger, but it seems to like to rotate my picture randomly.  All look fine to me when I load them, but when uploaded to blogspot, they get rotated.  I don't have time to fix them all this time, so enjoy.

Beginning the process I scored along the lines which were marked from the tracing of the image off of my sketch.  The following series of pictures are simply the progression of the process.

Here you can see the beginning of a deformity in the leather.  I really started to appear when I wet the leather to start cutting/tooling.  It begins at the upper right portion of this image.  Oh well.  Too far along in the project to start over with a new piece of leather.  I wasn't sure it would matter much on the finished project, but as it turns out it was the first thing commented on when I showed it to a fellow leather worker.

Tooling is basically done at this point.  I planned to come back and clean some edges up a bit, but my next big step had me shaking in my boots.  I had never really stitched leather like this together before.  I knew I wanted to butt the edges together as I had seen on other period project, but I had never done it before and was really afraid that I would mess up the whole project by stitching it poorly.  The following pic is the small amount of practice I did before stitching the finished project.  This is the only test stitching I did.  Prior to sewing the quiver, this was the only use of this stitch I had ever done before.

I scored a line along the edge and then used a commercially available wheel to mark the stitching holes.  I then used an awl to pierce the wholes from the top and out the side.  This stitching appears even and neat and there are no stitches visible from the back.  Good enough for me.  No more practice needed.... lets go!

Here are the edges marked for punching.  The roller makes nice even holes to make the finished stitching nice and neat.  With the thickness of the leather I was working with it took about 4~5 passes to get the look you see in the below pictures.


I debated whether or not I should finish the quiver before stitching but eventually decided to stitch and then coat with oil only.  No dye for this project and definitely no paint.  Here is the first of the two straps which will connect the quiver to the belt ring.  I chose to stitch these before finishing the quiver because I was afraid that I fat hands wouldn't be able to get to the back to pull the needle through once the quiver was assembled.

So far so good.  Onto the other half of the strap.  These stitches were done by piercing with a simple round awl.  I didn't mark the wholes first.  I just eye-balled the spacing and pierced through both pieces of leather at the same time.

I'm rather proud of how clean and neat the stitching is on this project.  The following is the back of the piece.

Same approach for the bottom strap.  This time I could not finish the entire stitching with a single run.  I had to re-thread the needle twice so you can see a small lump where I doubled up the stitching.  Turns out that you can really tell very much once I oiled it all up anyway.  I used the same approach for both straps.  I ran two needles opposed to stitch after piercing all the holes with a round awl.

Straps stitched.... side stitched.  I used a similar approach to stitching the side.  That is, I used opposing needles.  I believe it is called a saddle stitch in modern lingo, but I'm not sure what it would have been called in period.


Fully stitched and ready for the bottom to be added.

Bottom stitched on.  I debated over two approaches to capping the bottom.  I ended up doing what you see below.  The red line in the image shows the manner in which I pierced the leather with the awl.  I then used a saddle stitch to cap the end on.

Here is my daughter holding the quiver to give me an idea of what it will look like.  Not like I could change the project at this point anyway.  I like the look though...whew!

First round of oiling.  This image was about 20 minutes after the first coat of Neasfoot oil.  I wasn't sure how much it would take, but it soaked up like a sponge.  I let the first coat sit for about 24 hours before deciding that a single coat was clearly not enough.

Turns out the quiver was made of leather so dried out that after one day the quiver looked like I hadn't oiled it at all.  The following images were the following day after two more coats.  I coated the entire piece and then waited about an hour and did it again.

I waited 2 full days and it looked like I hadn't oiled it at all.  Ugh!

On to the final piece needed to complete this project. I needed some sort of hook to clip the item to my belt.  I don't know of any extant hip quivers in existence so I had to piece together some items and fashion my own idea.  Some will look at it and consider it a purely modern piece.  I hope not, but oh well.  I found the following images of some sword clips.  These were used to connect a man's sword to his belt so I thought why not use the same technology to connect my quiver to my belt.  Seems reasonable.  


I used a similar basic design to the hoop, but decided to hang the quiver right from the clip instead of adding a ring to the hook.

Here is the second version I made.  Yup the first one sucked.  I started by fish-tailing the end and then tried to fashion the ring.  That doesn't work.  This one I made the ring first, then cut the piece to length and then fish-tailed it.  Much easier that way.  No pics of the first "fail".

Here are all the pieces required for this belt clip.  The rod is the same rod of copper that I made the hook out of.  I planned to use it to make the rivets to hold the item together.  You will notice that the belt loop portion of the leather is much darker here than the rest of the quiver.  This time I oiled it up good before assembly.  This piece has about three coats of oil on it.

And here is the finished piece!  Yup, this version is much darker.  I spoke with a friend who does much more leather work than I do and she suggested that I use olive oil to moisturize the leather.  My leather was much too dried out.  Was sitting in my basement for about 6 months or so I think and it must have really dried out. This image was taken after three coats of olive oil.  I think I will wait a couple days and apply one more layer of oil before the A&S competition.  I am much happier with the color now.  This was the sort of color I was hoping for when I started construction.