Posts Tagged ‘cross stitch’

Regular readers of this little corner of madness will be aware that I’m a historical re-enactor. As part of that, my husband and I have a small business that caters to our fellow re-enactors. It’s little more than a hobby right now, with just enough income to pay for our supplies and attendance at events. Sometimes we come home with a little more than expenses and that goes into the kitty for as-yet-to-be-determined outlays.

The hubby plays with metal. He’s a blacksmith who uses a charcoal forge and beats steel into submission. He makes all sorts of camp necessities such as stakes and hooks; accessories for open fire cooking like tripods, trammels, and utensils; armor bits (we do pre-1600 Europe); and just about anything else he can think of. His long term goal is to move into larger items like doors, gates, and stair railings and work full time for himself. The biggest obstacle to that is work space, or lack there of. Working out of a residential garage in SoCal suburbia doesn’t exactly lend itself to expansive projects. So he putters away at what he can for now, as we work toward our long-term goal of leaving California. Here are some of his projects:

Decorative items:


Hand hammered broaches in brass.



Hand hammered broaches in copper & chainmail chain in mild steel.



Twisted torc in mild steel.



Simple penannular broach in mild steel.


Camp items:


“Portable hole” in rebar and mild steel. Because the gophers never put a hole where you need it.



“Gravity hook” in mild steel. The jaw goes around a tent pole and then you can hang items like a lantern or coat from the hook.



Ridge pole hook in mild steel.





Trammel in mild steel. Large hook over a horizontal pole and hang your cooking pot from the small hook. Adjust up or down using the holes. The closer to the fire, the hotter the temperature.



Long handled soup ladle in mild steel.



Long handled strainer in mild steel.




Simple elbow cops (armor for your elbow joint) in mild steel.



Viking boss (hand protection for a shield) in mild steel.




Blacksmith tongs in mild steel.


And while my husband is outside playing with metal, I’m inside playing with string. I do various forms of needlework (cross stitch, black work, embroidery), and narrow-wares weaving working a lot in wool and silk because those were the primary fibers in our period of study. I sew our costumes using mostly linen and cotton because they are so much nicer to wear in our lovely desert climate than wool would be. I call myself a survivalist seamstress – I sew well enough to do basic garments, but don’t have the talent or desire for the more complicated stuff like full Elizabethans or Landsknechts. Here are some of my favorite projects:



Cross stitched game board in cotton.



Blackwork pouch on linen in silk with glass beads.



Blackwork pouch in cotton.



Cross stitch with cotton on linen. Viking apron for my wedding dress (still in progress 14 years later!).



Embroidery in and on cotton. I braid all my own cords and make all my tassels.



Cross stitch in and on cotton. Pouch, bookmark, needle book and scissor fob. Braids and tassels hand made in cotton also.




“Patriotic” belt tablet woven with wool.



“Spider” belt tablet woven with wool.



“Strawberry” belt tablet woven in wool.



“Fishy” belt tablet woven in cotton.



“Diamonds” trim tablet woven in silk.



“Ladder” trim tablet woven in wool.



Chirurgeon’s (Medic) belt tablet woven in cotton.



“Flaming Squire” belt tablet woven in wool.



Special projects:


Large pouch embroidered and cross stitched in and on cotton. Donated for a raffle at specific event.



Large pouch embroidered in and on cotton, with appliqué. Donated for a raffle at specific event.



So that’s some examples of how we avoid the real world around here. Hope you enjoyed them. I’m off to my next project, already overdue, of course, but, hey – I’m an Artiste!




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There has been so much negativity in the world these last few years. It’s spilling over everything, creeping into every day and every corner of our lives. The media oozes it at every opportunity, because “if it bleeds, it leads.” They don’t just simply report the facts anymore but put their own flawed spin on things. We are bombarded constantly with religious zealotry, racial bigotry, gender suppression, rights erosion, and all-around-just-‘cuz-hatred. I have reached negative sensory overload. And it’s not like I needed outside help for that, anyway.

I think it’s time we each stopped a moment and took a good hard look at ourselves. We each in our own way have perpetuated this ugliness. I have ranted here endlessly about the problems I see in the world, but often don’t have any solutions. I’ve “liked” a nasty meme on Facebook, or forwarded an email that bashed those groups I love bashing. I sit at home stewing in my depression, and then get mad because nothing changes.

So tonight I’m taking an emotional time out. I’m not going to stew about the things I haven’t done, but be proud of the things I have. Instead of griping about all that’s broken, I’m going to be thankful for all that isn’t. And I’m going to forget the things I hate, and remind myself of the things I love.

Like my hometown of Eureka, CA, with its iconic Carson Mansion, and many other gorgeous Victorian homes.


And the duck pond at Sequoia Park in Eureka. That’s all six feet of me standing among some of the smaller coastal redwoods in the park. It’s always green and cool and peaceful there, and helps me de-stress almost instantly upon arrival. If you want to see more than ducks, go visit the Sequoia Park Zoo – the oldest zoo in California. It is small but mighty.


And string. I love playing with string. I must have been a cat for at least nine of my past lives. Cross stitch and blackwork are my favorite needleworking styles (the German in me must still have order, your know), and I really enjoy tablet weaving, but I’ll play with just about any format, especially if it involves silk.

SCA stuff 145


I also love my home-away-from-home, the medieval tent my husband (that’s all 6’3” of him to the left) and I use for our reenactment events. It’s a bitch to get set up, but once it’s done, we have a comfy retreat that can withstand all sorts of weather.


And my animals bring me great comfort. The dog (my husband’s before our marriage) tolerates me only because I’ve proven I’m the alpha bitch. Jasper the Wonder Mutant (he has six toes on all his paws) was sent to me for comedic relief. He’s about as graceless as any animal I’ve known, makes more noise coming down the stairs than the 50 lb. dog, and has been known to walk on the treadmill with me. We’re convinced he’s an alien in disguise. He’s convinced he’s here to help us by blessing everything we own with cat fur.


Not to forget writing and music. Both have been with me most of my life, and have always given me someplace to go when I didn’t want to face the world. Which is most of the time, but I think that’s more to do with what’s going on out there than what’s going on in here.

That’s why we need to stop and get out of our rages. If we all take a moment to think peaceful, positive thoughts, maybe peaceful, positive things will begin to happen.

© 2013   Cheri K. Endsley   All Rights Reserved.

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