nce upon a time there was a place where the artisans of all skill levels from around the East Kingdom gathered to trade their arts. Partners were assigned at random and their preferences given so that each creator could make something truly special for their recipient. Then came the day that I dared venture into this realm of unknown.
Enough with the silly bits and fancy talk. It’s true that a sort of EK artisan “Secret Santa” swap place does exist. It so happens that it takes place on Facebook. I happened to hear about it when I complimented a bag that one of my friends had brought to an event. She told me about this really neat thing and that I should check it out.
I have entered exactly two A&S (arts and sciences competitions) during my nearly two dozen years in the SCA. Sadly, both times were unpleasant experiences and I haven’t done it since. (This is a whole other topic which I will leave to another time.) Leave it to say that due to these experiences I believe that my crafting ability is mostly sub-par. I decided to try this exchange in hopes of gaining practice and trying out new art forms.
Waiting for my partner to be assigned was like sitting on pins and needles. In the end I was assigned a gentle who dabbled in Viking clothing and who had a horse as part of their household heraldry. There was a $25 cost limit on this particular swap but as I had most of my materials I didn’t have to purchase any.
- Create a Skjoldehamn-type hood.
- Add seam stitching
- Add Hem stitching to give hem weight
- Applique a horse.
Fairly straight forward, right?
The pattern is simple for this particular type of hood. Two squares and a long rectangle make up the whole thing. Since I made one for myself not too long ago it wasn’t hard to assemble. I had to try and find pictures of my recipient though, to try and gauge the size I needed to make the hood. I erred on the larger size since if I made it too small it wouldn’t be comfortable. So, with added seam allowances, I made the squares 14 inches by 14 inches and the long rectangle was 60 in by 14 inches. These are rough measurements since I didn’t write them down at the time.
So finding a horse that I thought would look suitably period and visually interesting was fun. It was also a bit of a challenge. I wanted to cut the template at least on my Cricut machine out of card stock so then I could keep the pattern pieces to use again. So I had to convert the image to a PNG file and clean it up. I used an image very similar to the one to the right but for some reason can’t find on my computer right at this moment. I also had to mirror it so that it would match with the heraldry. For my own sanity I decided to stitch the swirly bits on the shoulders and haunches. I didn’t have any wool felt hanging about in the right color so I went with red felt instead.
The Finished Product
So The finished product turned out rather well I thought. I added the cross on the shoulder to fit with my recipient’s heraldry and used blanket stitching on the hem and the seams are done in ösenstitch in undyed hand-spun wool. I spun the wool ages ago on a great wheel, also known as a walking wheel. While the wheel isn’t period, I stink at drop spinning. The wool is a green apple color and not the pea soup color that is pictured here.
Over all I’m quite happy with how it turned out and I was really anxious to hear what my recipient would say. I was ecstatic when she said she loved it and I even got to see her wear it at the last event! It is a huge boost to your crafting ego to actually get to see someone else wearing something you made.
The trade system is awesome and I received something so lovely in return! Would you believe that my partner wrote a song based on my heraldry and persona? So awesome! People are so talented! I’ve posted the photo of the gift I received below! The picture is a little blurry but I also received a CD with the song recorded on it. I feel like my persona, who has been more of an afterthought became a little more real the day I received this which is a super cool feeling!