Wednesday, May 29, 2013

15th Century hats and capulets

Recently a friend was sewing some new later period 15th Century Italian dresses for herself and her daughter and I offered to make them proper head wear to go along with their new lovely dresses.  I knew I had made a very simple Italian hat before but I wanted to give her options and this is the one she decided upon. 

"La Bella Principessa" Memorial or wedding portrait of Bianca Sforza [married and died 1496], legitimised daughter of Ludovico Sforza Dated c.1495-6.  

After getting her measurements I started out by making the top back piece out of a woven gold metallic fabric trim.  This was something I picked up years ago and never knew what I was going to use it for but knew I might need it some day.  Once I cut it and added the outer trim I gathered the bottom and sewed it in place and added the pearls.  Once that was finished I used some of the fabric from her dress to create a tapering tube.  Because my friend Amy has short hair she would not be able to braid it and place it inside the tube to hold the shape of the headdress so I had to stuff the tube lightly with cotton stuffing to help hold it shape.  I then wrapped with metallic trim and used pearls securing it all the way up the tube leaving a little opening in the back so she could make a small pony tail and place it inside the tube and then she would wrap the end with the remaining trim and pin it in place.  Below is the finished product before I mailed it out.  I am hoping to get a picture of her in it soon.

As for her daughter, instead for making a full headdress I made her a simple 15th Century Italian Capulet. I made a pattern from her measurements and then on the pattern began to weave the trim and tacking it in place with pearls.  Afterwards, I handstitched the trim edge and added the ties.  Last came the outer layer of pearls on edging. 


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Finding a Medieval pot or cauldron

Because of my love for all things Medieval, I recently starting looking into cook wear.  I have been playing around with clay and made a couple of cooking items, bowls, period pie dish and will be working on a pipkin soon but I wanted something more to use for cooking.  I wondered what examples there might be out there for metal cook wear.  Particularly, pots and cauldrons and  I was able to find several examples in manuscripts and woodcuts.  Below are just a few examples of what I found.

Example of a Medieval field kitchen from Il Cuoco Segreto Di Papa Pio V (The Private Chef of Pope Pius V), by Bartolomeo Scappi, Venice, 1570. 

              Confort d'ami (BNF Fr. 1584, fol. 135v), c. 1372-1377.   Off the site http://larsdatter

K├╝che mit Kachelofen, aus: Kuchenmaistrey, erstmals erschieben 1485 bei Peter Wagner. Abbildung aus der Ausgabe von Johannes Fischauer, Augsburg 1505

After some research, I decided I really wanted a metal cook pot/cauldron.  As I am trying my best to move closer and closer to being more "period" with clothes, furniture, tents etc... I knew that this was just one of many items that would need to be researched and  purchased.  But promised myself before I purchased I would compare each item to pictures and extents.  I happened to find these......



 The cauldron in the center looks very similar to the cauldrons directly below it. Although the top is  straighter rather then fluted out like the others.  Below:   I came across the following extents; one from a shipwreck site from Nauvo and the other is from the Museum of London. 

Museum of London Acc. No. 7859
From raised from the medieval wreck site in      
Nauvo.  National Board of Antiquities 

In the end, I did search many auction sites, auction houses, tag sales and recreated history cook wear sites, until I finally purchased the two cauldrons below. They were purchased from an auction site for fair prices.  As for size, one holds over a gallon and the other a liter.  And although these are cast iron and many cauldrons are copper alloy or bronze; they are great additions to help recreate a more period cooking experience in the kitchen.  Now, on to find a long handle Medieval frying pan!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Medieval open fire cooking

     This past fall we did a couple of outdoor demonstrations at various locations.  I decided that I was going to do some open fire cooking.  From start to finish I was going to make our meal on the open fire.  This gave me a chance to try out one of my new cooking pot.  

     With the lovely view of the lake, my cousin, (in viking) and I started to cut up the vegetables as the chicken breasts were cooking in the pot over the fire.  Once the chicken was cooked we removed it and to the pot we added a little unsalted butter from what the girls had been churning.  Chopped leeks, turnips, parsnips, carrots and garlic.  We then added a little water, salt, nutmeg, mace and ginger.  Once that everything was softened I added a little flour.  Then chicken stock was added.   As it started to thicken up the chicken was added and a little cream from the butter churn itself.  Everyone agreed the stew was very tasty.  Next time, I think I will try thickening the dish with bread crumbs.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

New medieval clay bread oven

Earlier this year, I made medieval clay bread oven and unfortunately after much use it met it's demise.  It was fired up, very hot and ready to be used and then a horrible storm started with hail and heavy rain and the back of the oven blew out.  But in October I built a new oven.  Smaller than the last oven and much easier to travel with.   The construction process was the same, clay mixed with a little sand, straw and water.  The inner frame is a woven basket covered with fabric then the clay mixture.  

Once the clay dries to a leather stage, usually I wait over night for this to happen; I then build a small fire and slowly build it up to where it then burns out the fabric and basket, in this case two baskets and dries the clay on the inside.  It then is hard enough to bake in.  Each time the oven is fired, it will harden more.  Like when you are firing in a kiln the heat dries the clay.  

 The oven itself was built on a wood litter and will be added on a cart, hopefully some time this spring.  The weight is over 100 pounds and takes two people to lift.  The inside is large enough for a couple rounds of bread or two medium pies. 


Viking hat (Birka cap)

Recently I worked on a Viking cap or a 4 panel Birka cap for a friend.  I wish I would have taken more pictures but I have a few below.  The cap itself is made of black wool with a linen lining.  The decorative stitching on the cap is a wool and cotton/linen blend. 

I used a double herringbone stitch with red and gold yarn/floss and a white wool yarn as an added stitch overlapping the herringbone stitch.  I have never done this complete combination of stitches before and I was pleased with the outcome.  My friend seemed happy as well.  


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Butter in the fall

This past fall we attended a demo at a Historical Hotel in Conneaut, Pa.  Every year thousands of people come the their fall festival which is located at the hotel and the adjacent historical amusement park.  We had so much fun and the girls did some butter making.


They really enjoyed show other children how to make butter.  It was a beautiful day too.


New year and new post

Well it is a new year and my New Year's resolution is to post every other week things that I am working on.  I have been very lacked in that respect.  So to catch up I will post some things that I have been doing.  I have attending demos and built a new bread oven as well.  Made more hats and currently working on some hood and clothing.  

Happy New Year Everyone!