Thursday, May 19, 2016

slow stitchery


in which our plucky heroine unvents* a knot...

I've been slowly making progress on my Viking purse, in betwixt working on projects for others, or for sales trinkets. I love that I've been able to bring knowledge learned as a child into projects done decades later. I learned to braid round, and square, four strand braids back when my age was measured in single digits, and that skill has served me well over the years.
After I braided the ends on the shoulder strap for my Viking bag, I really wanted some sort of tidy way to finish the ends, after sliding the braid through the holes in the carved wood. My vague concept was "some sort of decorative stopper knot, with a tassel"...

After an unsuccessful internet search for a four stranded stopper knot, I experimented with different ways to bring round the ends, and decided to combine a four strand square braid interlace I learned as a child, with a sort of loop around and through, to form a knot with a tasseled end. Each of the four tassel ends were then split in half again, leaving eight strands.

Well, as it turns out, I managed to "unvent"* the Turks Head terminal knot, as Tullia commented when she saw my project. Turns out I was looking in the wrong places for information, and when I borrowed a Library book on leather braiding, there was the very knot I had sussed out a few days before...

...and now that the strap is neatly ended and attached to the bag, all that still remains is to run a line of stitching in waxed linen up each side of the shoulder strap. This is a slow process, not as much in the stitching which is straighforward and simple, but because stitching through the two layers needs must have stitching holes punched through all along the strap on both sides. I use some venerable thonging chisels, which come in either single, four, or seven ended options.

I've been using the four end chisel, as that is the best balance between effort and convenience. I expect that the strap will be finished entire before the first summertime SCA event.

* unvent is an Elizabeth Zimmerman term for creating from scratch a design or technique that others have likely come up with once or more again in history... not exactly the same as inventing somthing brand new, but equally clever

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