I’ve entered the Calontir Clothing Challenge as a “historical beginner”. My emphasis in the challenge is trying my best for historical accuracy. These kazari-himo will be close but not right. Kumihimo on a marudai is late period, mid 16th century at best. These decorative cords should be made using a fingerloop braiding technique called kute-uchi. I’m slowly researching and learning, I am weaving on a marudai as a practical substitution.
I started by using a cord and my hat to measure a plausible length for the kazari-himo, and compared that to the source image and came up with 3 yards. Kumihimo has a 35-50% take up, so I’m starting my first length at 4 1/2 yards. After the cord is woven, I’ll asses the actual take up and adjust for the remaining 3 cords.
Two sawhorses set 4 1/2 yards apart served as holders as I wrapped silk thread in a loop 10 times. This means that each strand of the braid will have the equivalent of 40 threads per strand as the thread is 2 ply twist. In period it would have been untwisted single thread as fine as 00 size.
I then spooled the strand onto a tama. Once I had 8 tama prepped, I set them together and prepped them for weaving on the marudai.
Today’s effort produced one of the mushi-no tareginu (curtain/veil) panels completely hemmed and 20 inches of braid. And now it’s already tomorrow… though I think 1:15 am should still count as yesterday.
My entry for the Calontir Clothing Challenge and Crowns A&S Champions will be almost entirely from stash fabrics. I’ve ordered linen and silk threads, Japanese needles and bought one yard of a period passable polyester brocade for one of the accessories for the outfit. I will either buy one yard of red silk taffeta or buy acid dye and dye white silk taffeta I have on hand for a different accessory.
I’m making a travelling outfit suitable for a woman of the Heian period of modest rank inspired by this lady of high rank:
If you’re curious, it’s the purple layer that specifically denotes this lady’s rank. Only the imperial family would wear purple or murasaki, one of two forbidden colors, kurenai -a reddish pink- being the other and worn as a sign of direct favor. Sugawara no Naeme is a Lady in the SCA. The forbidden colors are not appropriate.
This ensemble has multiple layers which correspond nicely to the four layers of the Challenge. We have a kosode, made of white linen (this could have been silk in period) as my first layer/underwear. Second (mid) layer is a hitoe of green silk taffeta. My third layer/upper garment is an uwagi of beautiful yellow silk brocade (that I bought many years ago for this purpose) lined in a gold silk taffeta. That leaves the hat for the fourth/accessory layer. I purchased the hat years ago, and it needs new trimmings. I’m sewing up new panels in silk and weaving 12 yards of kumihimo for the decorative cording, kazari-himo.
In order to finish the ensemble on time for Crowns A&S Champions I’ve broken it into chunks. 4 cords, 4 silk curtain panels, 4 garments (I’m counting the lining as a separate garment as it’s a separate garment’s worth of work). To finish on time with the least stress, I need to finish one cord, one panel, and one garment every 3 weeks, the last 3 week section being reserved for any catch up that needs to happen and the last garment/finishing up the uwagi. I intend to make it last. This plan has me finishing on January 7th. The current intention is to hand sew everything.
I have a few stretch goals if I finish early, the red kake–obi (sash) worn around the shoulders, the kake–mamori (amulet case) worn around the neck, and a pair of zori made of paulownia wood. I may have time to finish these after A&S Champions and still make the C3 deadline.
The first step for me is measure out oodles of silk thread into 8 sections (20 threads per section) and reel it onto tama. I’ll bounce between my marudai and stitching a panel for the first week in hopes that my thread will arrive. If my linen thread has not arrived by the time I finish the other two items/within one week, I’ll move on to the hitoe and sew the kosode after.
Next time some talk about the kumihimo I’ll be doing…
I had intended to launch my blog in conjunction with my YouTube channel. I hit a snag with filming and then I found the Calontir Clothing Challenge. I could stand to make one of the many outfits I have planned for Sugawara. And I have a firm interest in starting to enter my projects in some of the many Arts and Sciences (A&S) competitions. There were a few days where I sincerely thought I could complete a full set of robes and all the elements of karaginu mo in the four month scope of the Challenge. And then I discovered that my kingdom’s A&S Champions competition, Crowns A&S Champions, had a deadline 3 weeks earlier in the same month…
If I was to meet the deadline for A&S Champs, I had to simplify. I was already struggling to order the volume of fabric needed for karaginu mo. Another entrant to C3 mentioned making their project entirely from stash materials. There are some lovely silks in my stash…AHA!
Once I had a firm plan, I entered the Challenge and informed my Laurel. I may have forgotten to mention that I was entering Crowns A&S Champions as well…oops.