I’m not quite sure what the issue is but lately I’ve found that I’ve been feeling very distracted with regards to my various projects and I haven’t been feeling like I’m really getting a lot done.  Oddly I’ve been feeling like I used to be able to get so much more done than I have these past few months.  Logically though I know I must be getting something done because my FR articles are finished and free time seems to be at an even higher premium than usual.  Years ago I used to keep yearly project lists of the things I was working on, things I had finished, and projects I wanted to start over the course of that year.  I sort of stopped tracking them though in early 2009.  Why?  I have no idea.

So in an effort to really compare what I’ve been doing this year with what I had accomplished in years past I decided that I need to revive my old project lists.  So far I’ve found one from 2008 and one from 2009.  I’m fairly certain I kept ones for 2007 and 2006 as well but I’m still looking for them.

Here’s my list from 2008:

2008 Projects

Black silk suit Finished! Jan 2008
Red Wool Hood Finished! Feb 2008
Silver’s Gryps and Clozes Finished! Mar 2008
Linen GFG/Kirtle Finished! Mar 2008
Linen Surcoat Finished! Apr 2008
Second Linen Surcoat Finished! Apr 2008
Gamboised Cuisses, 2 pair Finished! May 2008
Arming Vest Finished! May 2008
Padded leather fencing doublet Linen Proof of Concept Finished! May 2008
Linen Suit Finished! June 2008
White Linen 63 Finished! July 2008
Scarletwork Coif Finished! Dec 2008
Swetnam Article One Finished! Dec 2008
Complete In Progress Silver Article Finished! Dec 2008

Not too shabby.  I finished at least one project a month except for August-November when I was focusing on my coif.  I don’t embroider very quickly.

I had to go back and use my blog to recreate most of it but in 2009 my list looked like this:

2009 Projects

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Wool Jacket Finished! March 2009
Embroidered Jacket Started August 2009
Black Bias Cut linen Hosen Finished! March 2009
Green Bias Cut linen Hosen Finished! March 2009
Blue Linen Fencing Doublet Finished! May 2009
Scarletwork Forehead Cloth Finished! September 2009

I got some things done but I spent most of my free SCA time fencing and embroidering.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  It was really quite enjoyable. :)  But it does mean that I have finished fewer projects.  Especially since my jacket was one of the things I was spending most of my time on.

So now that I’ve had a chance to go back and look at what I accomplished of over 2008 and 2009 I needed to create a list for 2010.

2010 Projects

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Embroidered Jacket In progress: Started August 2009
Flander’s Gown In progress
Saviolo Dueling Blog Series Finished! June 2010 (Combined with class)
Silver Training Blog Series In progress
Swetnam Training Blog Series In progress
Early Modern English Dueling Class Finished! June 2010
Steampunk Gown Finished! January 2010
Wrapped and Stuffed Buttons @ Etsy Opened! January 2010
Grey Wool Bias Cut Hosen Finished! February 2010
Linen Kirtle Finished! April 2010
White Linen Bias Cut Stockings Finished! April 2010
16th-17th Century Stocking Tutorial Finished! April 2010
Blue Linen Bias Cut Hosen Finished! May 2010
14th Century Hosen Tutorial Finished! May 2010

Hmmm…no wonder I feel distracted.  I’ve accomplished much more than I thought I had but I have let several “In progress” projects accumulate at once.  Normally I try to keep it to one or two.  Plus three of those projects are blog series.  I should certainly be trying to limit those to one at a time.  So for now, no more new blog series!  I need to finish these first! :)  I don’t have too many sewing projects going at once, just my Flander’s Gown and my jacket but they did get pushed to the back burner while I worked on some others.  I definitely want to get back to back to work on them once my second article is turned in.  I will also probably place my Saviolo dueling series on the back burner since it’s so similar to the class that I’m working on for June Univeristy.  And I’m going to add a few more items to the planning list to start on once I’ve finished my gown and jacket.

2010 Project Plans

Get my fencing in top notch shape In progress
Embroidered Jacket In progress: Started August 2009
Flander’s Gown In progress
Saviolo Dueling Blog Series Finished! June 2010
Silver Training Blog Series In progress
Swetnam Training Blog Series In progress
Early Modern English Dueling Class Finished! June 2010
Steampunk Gown Finished! January 2010
Wrapped and Stuffed Buttons @ Etsy Opened! January 2010
Grey Wool Bias Cut Hosen Finished! February 2010
Linen Kirtle Finished! April 2010
White Linen Bias Cut Stockings Finished! April 2010
16th-17th Century Stocking Tutorial Finished! April 2010
Blue Linen Bias Cut Hosen Finished! May 2010
14th Century Hosen Tutorial Finished! May 2010
Green Linen GFG (pieces cut out)
French-Cut gown
Red Silk Bodies (have fabric and boning)
A new linen suit
Natural Form Gown

Postponed Projects

(HMA)
Di Grassi Series
Di Grassi Class
Swetnam Class
Arming Garments Class

(Sewing and Embroidery)
Blackwork shirt
Red Wool Suit
1530′s Tudor gown
1530′s petticoat
1530′s Kirtle
English Hood
1605 Gown
Embroidered Night Cap
Blackwork sleeves
Blackwork partlet
Doublet and Pluderhosen
Edwardian Lingerie Gown

Since so many of you have expressed interest in more tutorials and demos I thought I would start off this week with a very simple one that a friend requested on Facebook not too long ago.

The Question: How did I make a pattern for my embroidered forehead cloth?

Forehead cloths are basically triangles of linen that were often worn with coifs to keep hair and sweat out of your eyes.  While they could be plain they were also often decorated with embroidery and there a numerous examples of forehead cloths embroidered to mach coifs.

When I made mine I wanted it to match my scarletwork coif.  (As the embroidery pattern I used to create my coif was made by my dear friend Laura Mellin I would like to take a moment to plug her awesome embroidery patterns. All of her patterns are meticulously researched and based on historical embroidery designs. Her entire line of Extreme Patterns embroidery designs is available online through Reconstructing History.)

So I started with my coif pattern as the base for creating my forehead cloth pattern.

To the left is a sketch of a basic coif pattern.  (Be kind people.  I drew all of this up on MS Paint! :))  Since I was going to embroider the forehead cloth to match the coif it was important that I use the same embroidery pattern and I wanted to repeats to be the same as well.

The first thing I did was find the center of the pattern (indicated in the sketch to the right as the dashed line.  I then selected the point on that center line where I wanted the bottom of the point of my forehead cloth to fall and drew two equal lines from it to the top points of the coif.  This formed an upside down isosceles triangle.  At that point I basically had my pattern.

Cut out a mockup from a scrap of muslin to make sure it fits the way you want it to.  Once you have your forehead cloth pattern traced out onto your fabric you can begin transfering the embroidery design.  I just traced my pattern out on linen, laid it over my coif pattern making sure to line up the top line and center my pattern and simply transfered my embroidery pattern directly from the coif.

In the end mine turned out like this:

If you are interested in making a coif or forehead cloth for yourself please let me highly recommend Laura’s pattterns which, as I said earlier, are available online through Reconstructing History.

*I am always happy to accept requests for tutorials.  If you have a suggestion or a request please feel free to email me or leave a comment.  My contact information is readily available on my Bio page.

Treasure Hunt success at Lake Rawlings Dive Fest. Picture by Luis Pablon

Treasure Hunt success at Lake Rawlings Dive Fest. Picture by Luis Pablon

It has taken me longer to post these pictures than I thought it would which is due almost entirely to the fact that I spent last weekend at the Lake Rawlings Dive Fest. Getting everything ready for my trip took up much more of my free time during the week than I had anticipated.

I had a great time diving with my friends but that has nothing to do with my forehead cloth. :)

The finished forehead cloth.

The finished forehead cloth.

Pictures of the finshed piece as well as the full gallery for this project can be found here.

An earlier picture of my forehead cloth still in progress.

An earlier picture of my forehead cloth still in progress.

As I had posted last week all the embroidery was finished for my forehead cloth so all I had left to do was put it together. In the end I decided not to do any fill stitches and just go with the outline because a large portion of it would be under my coif most of the time anyway.

This weekend I assembled my forehead cloth and wore it for the first time.  It’s very cute and I should have the pictures up this evening.

More than anything I think this project has taught me a small modicum of patience. Patience is not really a virtue that I possess in abundance (or really at all). I’m better than I was at 5 or 6 but really who isn’t. In the grand scheme of things though I’m not particularly patient nor do I like having to soldier through finishing one project before getting to start on one I’m much more excited about.

And that’s kind of how I felt about this forehead cloth. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a cute project and one I’ve really enjoyed doing. Plus it gave me a change to get my embroidery back in practice before really starting my jacket. But once I had really begun transferring the jacket design working on it was all I could think about. It’s all I really wanted to do. But I had promised myself that I would finish my forehead cloth before really getting started on the jacket and I needed to follow through with that if I didn’t want my poor little forehead cloth to wind up in the bottom of some unfinished project pile like all the mending I keep saying I’m going to get to. I started this project because it was small, quick, would get me back into “stitching shape” for my jacket, and with the bangs I needed something to cover them when I wanted to wear a gown and didn’t feel like frizzing them.

I know you are all thinking that I didn’t actually finish the forehead cloth before starting my jacket because I have now transferred most of the design and I’ve also embroidered one of the motifs. Honestly though, given full rein I would have been much further along with my sleeves by now and I wouldn’t have worked on anything else all weekend. It would have been me, the jacket, and instant Netflix movies all weekend.

Considering all that I feel pretty good. And now I can work on my jacket and my gown for our anniversary party without feeling that I should be doing anything else.

Well, at least the embroidery is all finished but since putting it together will go super quickly now that it’s done I just couldn’t help myself. :) I should have pictures up by the end of the week and with a little luck and a couple of free evenings they may even be pictures of the complettely finished forehead cloth!

Work continues.

I worked on several projects this weekend. I didn’t get a whole lot accomplished on any one of them but over all I enjoyed myself immensely and got quite a bit done overall.

Sadly I had to abandon JoomGallery. There was an update and I kept getting really confusing error messages that I could not find solutions to. I also started having issues with my Gallery 2 install again so I eventually switched this weekend to another gallery. I know, story of my life. Be sure to tune in next week when something new happens I have to do it all over again. :)

I am still working on transferring the embroidery design for my jacket on to linen. It’s been taking A LOT longer than I thought it would but it fun to finally be really starting on the project. It’s going to take me FOREVER to embroider but that’s ok. I’ll be able to do it all in front of the TV watching all the fabulous and awful movies that I love to watch while working on projects so it won’t be so bad. It’s not like I’ll be locked up in some sweatshop somewhere until it’s done. ;) I did snap a few pictures thoughso you can see how the transfer is coming along and see the design. I’ve also been working on a brief write up of the project so far for my website (mostly a discussion of the design, my research, inspiration pieces, etc.) and I’m hoping to have that up soon. I’ve also put the first of many articles about the project up on my site. This first article is about the creation of my design and I hope you enjoy it.

I did some more embroidery on my forehead cloth Saturday evening. I still have about a third of it left to go and I need to decide how much fill work I want to do since most of it will be under my coif anyway. It’s so cute though and it’s been a really fun little project.

In other news I have decided to bring back a feature that I had on my site several years ago: The Weekly Inspiration. There will be some differences this time around. Rather than focusing solely on England and Europe during Elizabeth’s reing, this time I will be expanding the Weekly Inspirations to include the entire Early Modern period and including modern reproductions, household items, and arms and armor in addition to protraits and historical clothing. I have not yet decided which day of the week I’ll post updates on but Friday’s are high in the running. I have though already put up this week’s inspiration: a gorgeous blackwork smock from the V&A collections.

This past weekend I did something that I hardly ever do. I spent nearly my entire weekend doing nothing and it felt wonderful. My weekends are usually jam packed with trips, events, projects, etc so it’s very rare for me to spend a weekend doing nothing. Honestly I hadn’t intended to do nothing. I had big plans to work on some sewing projects after cleaning the house the universe knew I needed the break, even if it wasn’t my idea.

Saturday morning I slept in a bit and then went for a run at Lake Johnson. I took the longer dirt trail because I really hate running on pavement. I ran for about a mile and then hiked the remaining 1.5 miles of the trail. It was such a gorgeous day and the lake is always lovely. I had a great time. After getting home I rested for a few minutes before taking a nice long hot shower. After the shower I had plans to clean the house, sew, and watch movies. That didn’t really happen. I ended up taking a nap, watching a chick flick, and taking a second small nap before meeting friends for dinner. I never nap but it really did feel great, even if I didn’t get anything done.

Sunday I got a little more accomplished. We went out for breakfast. I put away the last of the laundry while Coty started some more. I finished the arming vest and got a little cleaning done. We played WOW. It was nice.

But now I really need to get in some serious sewing time. I’ve been working on my jacket and I need to get pictures of it and my forehead cloth up online. I’m also working on a Robe a la Francaise for a party this fall. The one I’m working on is based on the one depicted in Arnold’s PoF. I’ve fitted the lining for the bodice but the fashion layer of the front bodice is rather different and I’m having some issues with getting it fitted. I got it pretty close last night before I had to give up and go to bed. I’m going to work with it some more tonight after I vacuum the house and get some more laundry in.

I’m beginning to think that what I need to do is schedule time for sewing just like I schedule time for the gym. I think it would help me get more accomplished especially since our weekends seem to fill up so quickly. I think I only have 2 or 3 free weekends between now and Dragoncon and I have some small projects I’d like to get done for that as well.