The Lewis Chessmen…Embroidered Knight Part 1

A few months ago, I started a group on Facebook for people who couldn’t make it to events due to money, medical issues, time, jobs… you know the drill. Last month, I got a weird idea: what if we found a piece of period artwork and recreated it in as many different mediums as possible? Boom! Art of the Month was born (join the group, you won’t be sorry!)! We held a vote and decided on one of the Knights from the Lewis Chessmen to recreate.


This one, to be precise.

In order to give this guy the attention he needs, let’s explore the Lewis Chess set and get the nitty gritty details on them, first! We need to know where we’re starting, after all!


The Lewis Chess Set is a collection of 93 pieces of carved walrus tusk and whale teeth that were found on the Island of Lewis in the 1830’s. The specific history of the set is unknown, though some believe they belonged to a traveling merchant, since there are nearly enough for 4 sets of pieces. The British Museum acquired the full set in 1831 or 1832 and they’ve been on display, through the Museum and the loan programs, ever since. Eleven pieces, including our Knight here, are on permanent loan to the National Museum of Scotland and on display there.


The other pieces are really cool, too…


Of this set, which I believe is the set on display at the Museum of Scotland, we have really interesting pieces! Our knight is in this picture (top right), and just under him is a Rook in the form of a Berserker, who is so excited about the battle to come that he’s chewing on his shield! What I love about this set is that each piece has it’s own personality. That Berserker and the other one (just behind the King) are completely different people! The Queen looks worried, the Bishop is bigger than all of them, and each of the Knights has a different look! Longer beards, wider eyes… even the horses are different! I want a set, just because they’re so neatly individual!


BUT WAIT! I can have my own set! You see, there’s an initiative called Scan the World that is presently being housed at where famous statues have been 3D scanned so you can print your own versions at home! Now, I know the first thing you’re thinking is all about stealing and passing off reproductions as the real thing, but please keep in mind that we’re talking about 3D printing in PLA. I can’t print walrus tusk!

Of particular interest to this post, is that the Museum of Scotland has scanned their collection of the Lewis Chessmen! You can download the .stl files and print your own set! So I did!


Now I just have to figure out how to get the layers smoothed out! These are both printed in standard white PLA, by the way. My goal is to paint them ivory and weather them to look like the originals. I do love them, though!


That’s all for this week, kids! I’m trying to decide what medium to do the Knight out of this month and leaning towards embroidery for obvious reasons. More on that next time, though!


Until then, my friends!




Yeah, I know I told you I took a class a few weeks ago, but I’ve turned into a crazy knitting person! I finished two scarves and had to quit on another because I need more yarn.


So, I thought I’d share some stuff for you here to help you on your way to knitting freedom!

Here’s the tutorial I used to teach myself:


This is a collection of blog entries put together by Lion Brand that are a really good set of handy things for a beginner to keep, so make sure you click the little star on your browser with this one.

And I’m going to leave you with my latest favorite way to spend an evening… Knitflixing! This article was found in the Boston Globe, but posted in the Fiber Guild here in Savannah and I nodded my way through the whole thing. I’ve binge watched 19 episodes of Gilmore Girls (thanks to my Laurican, Countess Thorkatla) while knitting 2.5 scarves! Next up… BLANKETS! mwahahahaha!

Until next time!





Things I learned today @ Summer Collegia

So, today, I did something weird for a person in the SCA from The Shire of Forth Castle. I slept in until 7:30, took my time getting dressed and ready to go, drove an hour from my house and went to an event. See, the closest events to us are almost 3 hours away. Most of the events are 5+ hours. The ability to drive an hour from my house? Dude…

So, today I learned 3 awesome things: Kumihimo braiding, Bobbin lace (it wasn’t an official class, just me cornering the goddess of bobbin lace, THL Dianora!), and knitting!

The Kumihimo class I took on a lark. I was looking for Dianora, because she said she’d teach me bobbin lace when we had a minute, and I found her taking this class. It’s string. That’s really all you need to know about why I sat down and handed over my $5! Holy cow! It’s faster than lucet braiding, more colorful, and easier on my fingers! Go ahead and add this to my list of things I can do! I made a bracelet before the class was over! yeah, I’m quick at it! I’m a machine with braiding things! MWAHAHAHAHA!

I got a one-on-one session with THL Dianora doing bobbin lace that reinforced that I picked up at Gulf Wars and made me really want to finish a piece. I have a few issues that I need to fix, but I’m impressed that I know what those things are and can fix them! So, now I need more toys. A pillow with a roller and an angle, a pillow stand, laminated patterns, a hard to find book… little things! I happen to know a guy who can take care of the pillow and the stand, I can print the patterns and laminate them! Now, about the book…

The last thing I learned was knitting. To be fair, it was a class dedicated to just the knit stitch, and I had already taught myself how to do that thanks to my friend YouTube! I took this class to make sure I was doing it right. Good news? I WAS! SQUEE! So, now I’m 8 inches deep on a scarf and I bought more yarn to finish it!

So, there you have it! A day full of WIN for Laurin! *dances*

Until next time!

Drawn Thread Embroidery!

I got an unexpected class on drawn thread embroidery at R.U.M. last month that I have only just been able to pick up again and work on, recently. I’m not doing such a bad job at it, if I do say so myself! I have one line left! I’m working with linen thread on evenweave linen! So far, I’ve only done mouse teeth, here. I’m debating going back and doing a ladder by adding another row of stitches. As quickly as this goes, it’s an option!


The lovely Lady at RunningwithScissorsAndFabric taught a class on Italian Hemstitch that was FANTASTIC. She has her pdf linked on her blog, but since I haven’t talked to her about sharing it, I’ll let you go find it (click My Articles along the top menu, it’s the first link on the list right now!). I will, however, link you to Mary Corbet’s Italian Hemstitch article right here:Hemstitch-in-drawn-thread-embroidery!

She has a couple of articles about different kinds of drawn thread work with tutorials on doing it. I’m seriously debating researching which of these techniques are period and finishing the napkin I got in class with internal embroidery that’s all drawn work.

ALSO, the lovely and talented Honorable Lady Dianora let me borrow a bobbin lace pillow and some simple patterns. I’m thinking this napkin might get some trim!

One thing at a time, Laur… slow down and focus!

Sorry, that squirrel just popped out of nowhere! Drawn work, drawn work, drawn work… LACE!

I better stop now before I have a new dress with drawn work getting worked up in my head. hahahaha


Until next time!


Edited to add that Allisandre has given her permission for me to link the handout for you because she’s awesome!!! So, here it is!  Enjoy!!!

Something New: Bobbin Lace

Bobbin Lace is something I’ve been trying to avoid starting for a while, now. At first, I avoided it because it looked complicated and there’s no way I could keep all of those strings and bobbins straight without coming out with a tangled mess. Then, it was because (and I hear this all the time), “you don’t need another hobby, Lauren.” Yeah, you see how well I listened.

I actually took this class at Gulf Wars, or rather, watched this class at Gulf Wars, because I wanted to get into the beaded embroidery class that was in the tent next door. People never left that tent for me to be able to get into that class, so it turned into me hanging out with the bobbin lace folks for two hours, instead. Our local A&S Officer is the queen of bobbin lace, so she gave me grief because a) she wasn’t teaching that class and if I was interested, I could’ve just said something and, b) seriously, she lives 20 minutes from my house, I didn’t have to go all the way to southern Mississippi to learn how to do it.

I started collecting stuff about a month ago to start working on this after school was out for the summer, with advice from the awesome Dianora on what I should be buying.

I bought all of the stuff to build my bobbin lace pillow and finally had time to stitch it together today. Now, I’m at the point where I need to find a good starter pattern and get to work. She has advice for that, too.

Now, being that I enjoy sharing the things I’m learning, so someone else can benefit, too, and because teaching other people is the best way to cement your learning (I’m a teacher, people, it’s the truth), I am going to share this information with you in the hopes of spreading the love of bobbin lace across the Known World!

What do you need?

Bobbins- you’ll want at least 24 of them, though you’ll only use about a dozen at first. THL Dianora recommended square ones to start with so you don’t have to worry about them rolling on your pillow. I bought mine on Amazon here.

Size 30 crochet thread- Now, for those who don’t understand how crochet thread sizing works, the higher the number gets, the smaller the thread is. So, size 10 is much bigger than size 30 , and size 40 is even smaller than 30. I bought Aunt Lydia’s brand crochet thread at Hobby Lobby, but I’ve also seen it at Hancocks (if you can get there before they go out of business). Finding it online was a bit tricky, but I did have some success with this amazon search which returned both Aunt Lydia’s and DMC!

A Bobbin Lace Pillow- You have two options here, you can buy one ready made, which you can find in kits and separately at some small retailers, OR you can make one, which is infinitely cheaper.

<quote>In order to make your pillow, you’ll want to pick up:

*self-healing foam insulation board at Home Depot/Lowe’s or wherever you buy building supplies (I bought mine at Home Depot and got a 3 foot square board for a little over $5. I only used half of it for my pillow.)

*a pillow form (this isn’t required, but I put one in between my foam board to fill up space)

*Fabric to cover both (any fabric will do, as long as it doesn’t have a problem being poked with bunches of needles)</quote>

Patterns for beginners- this isn’t as easy to find as you think it is. A search online will return you a whole bunch of supposed “beginner” level patterns that are way more complicated than I could handle and more than the class I watched was working.

The lovely Honorable Dianora suggested the following resources:

A Beginner’s Guide to Bobbin Lace, by Gillian Dye- at Amazon here

Fascinating Bobbin Lace (aka Nue Modelbuch), by Claire Burkhard-  at Amazon here


I have found some references to these two books online in pdf’s, but I’ll let you explore their rather dubious nature, if you choose.


So, that’s where I am, ladies and gentlemen! Ready to start sticking pins in my pillow!

Until next time!


Research- Bayeux Tapestry

For my A&S Project, which looks like it won’t be finished until Magnafaire in December, I am working on a portion of the Bayeux Tapestry called “The Trees on the Hill.” It’s a beautiful, almost contemporary section that could easily hang on the wall in your den and not look out of place, which I think it really cool, considering how old the design is! It looks like this:

The Trees on the Hill

I know I’ve talked about this before, so I hope not to drive you crazy with repetition while I’m exploring this some more very publicly and sharing as much of the information that I find with you as I can. I know there’s someone out there who’s hunting for this as I am. If that’s you, let’s be friends!

I will make sure to reference whatever source I am using for details as I come across them. I am, by no means, the expert, here. If you find something that contradicts what I’ve found, leave me a (nicely worded?) comment and tell me about it! I’m ALWAYS searching for more documentation and, since no one was alive at the time, no one knows EVERYTHING about this thing!

I have the distinct pleasure of living in a Kingdom that boasts a Laurel whose love is this piece of embroidery. So much so that I doubt she’d be horribly out of place touring the country and teaching people about it! Just take me with you, Mistress Iofa! 🙂

Alright, let’s start with the basics that nearly everyone online gets right, shall we?

The Bayeux Tapestry (hereafter called “The Tapestry”), first of all, is NOT a Tapestry, it’s a work of embroidery. The process for creating these two pieces of art are COMPLETELY different, all the way down to the needles you’d use to do it! I’ll dedicate a whole entry to the difference, later, I promise. This embroidery piece is created using wool thread on white linen. No one is sure how they got the design onto the linen, whether they used pricking or charcoal, though there are logical deductions to be made on which method they used. All of the evidence that would exist after so long is buried under the stitches and since no one is willing to destroy even a small piece of this treasure to figure it out, we will probably never know for sure how it was done. We don’t even know who to credit with the artwork, though there are evidence and similarities that back up the probable inspiration.

The Tapestry illustrates the story of the Norman Invasion in 1066, starting a few years before and ending at the crowning of Duke William in England. Through its eight “Chapters” that span over seventy panels, it tells the story of King Harold’s death, the crowning of King Edward, and the invasion and subsequent victory of Duke William of Normandy, who then becomes King of England. The historical accuracy of the images depicted in this tapestry are called into question by the somewhat purposeful appearance of certain individuals and the fact that we have no idea who created it or what purpose it served.

One of the most interesting things about The Tapestry is it’s history. We have no idea where it was created, first of all. Mystery always helps a piece become intriguing. We know some of the players in its history, from Bishop Odo in the eleventh century to Napoleon in the eighteenth. We have references to it in Church inventories and journals from secular folks, too! In modern times, it is housed in the Cathedral of Bayeux and displayed in a building made just to house The Tapestry.

Through this series of posts, I will walk you through what I’ve learned about The Tapestry, the history, the procedure, the political connections, and the restorations. As always, I’m at the mercy of what I can find documentation for, so if you have newer, better, or just different information that you can document, PLEASE share it! I’m always open for more information and would love to help you, too!


Until next time!


Embroidery Things…

This is going to sound random, but I promise, it’s not. I’ve learned a lot about myself and needlework since my last post. I learned a new stitch (Bayeax, which I will be posting a tutorial on soon, I promise), finished the Coat of Arms for my dear little (adopted in the way SCAdians do) brother, have started and finished two and a half panels of a Victorian Crazy Quilt (read, break from period stuff, but not period stitches…), and haven’t touched my blackwork page since I finished it the day after the last post about it.

The really cool thing is that I feel so much more accomplished with my needles than I did months ago.

So, here is a collection of things I’ve finished. I think they tell a rather unique story! What do you think?

Finished this tree today. Inspired by Mary Corbett’s,

Finished this panel on Friday night.

The first panel I finished for my Crazy Quilt. I love that frog applique…

Pietro’s Device

I have done all of this in August. I’m rather proud of the collection and know they have helped me get better about my needles. I’ll be spending September back on the embroidery book with small breaks with the crazy quilt, so stay tuned, my friends!