The Seamy Side

The job search continues. I am not exactly sanguine about the prospects of anyone in the area wanting me, but I’m staying, and I don’t know for how long — it could be quite a while. (Not that I want anything the area has to offer me, in terms of jobs, but such is the artist’s life when marrying for money and then quietly tipping the guy off this mortal coil is not an option.) And then, you know, one has to give up one’s time to doing boring things just to stay alive, when one would much rather be working on art and things that matter — not that boring and money are wrong in themselves, it’s just frustrating when they demand three-quarters of one’s waking hours and leave one burnt out afterward. If anyone would pay me (enough to live on) to write articles about Anglo-Saxon culture that would be great — as well as impossible.

Perhaps I’m being pessimax, but so it looks just now. In time I’m sure I’ll look through the archives and smile at being reminded of how it actually turned out.

I want money enough to live, from a job that doesn’t suck away my imagination, and an apartment where I can grow a few things on a windowsill or balcony, and people to not offer unwanted advice about backup plans or their definition of success: Stability in which to make art, and good art to make. Even a full-time job is really a side gig.


In more cheerful news, I’m almost done with the historical part of the first draft of my documentation for the Black Wasp garb, and have come a long way on the project itself. All the hemming is done (except for the sleeves, which I haven’t even cut out yet), so that’s good. On the other hand. . . the course of garb-making never did run smooth, as I think Shakespeare says, and Tuesday I discovered that one of the two extra gores I cut (adding centre front and back ones was a new addition to solve another problem) has one side longer than the other. Don’t ask me how that happened, but it did, and that would just make the hem more uneven, and other things I want to avoid.

Fortunately one of the side gores has to come out anyway, on account of being mostly done in nylon thread, so I’m going to swop them, and the current side gore will end up in the back. That might be difficult, as it’s the one made of two pieces, but we’ll find out. (Normally for four gores there’d be two made of two pieces, but I did such a bad job cutting the one out that it simply did not work.) That means ripping out a significant portion of handspun, which will destroy it, as I did backstitch. I am not happy about that.

But I got to use my bone needle for the first time on Tuesday, and I’m getting consistent 2 or 3 mm stitches with it (I measured)!


Shown slightly larger than actual size

Nolan (a new addition to the Motley Crew) saw me working on it and said, “That’s a big needle.”

“It’s bone,” I said, and thought it wise to add, “Cow bone.” (I may be Baba Yaga when I’m old, but perhaps it’s early to start forming that reputation.)

“So is it unbreakable or something? What’s the plus of using it?”

“Historical accuracy.”

“Oh!” The word kind of trailed off.

That’s all, except for this.

Come back on Saturday for a proper exciting post!


About Nolie Alcarturiel

I enjoy practically anything to do with medieval history, including the domestic arts, with an especial emphasis on the Anglo-Saxon Era. In my spare time I read endlessly, do medieval living-history, hold philosophical debates at the drop of a hat, and write books on even slighter provocation.
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3 Responses to The Seamy Side

  1. I’m sorry that your job search isn’t going well. I hope it gets better soon.
    Also, I’m with Nolan on the bone needle thing.


    • I get that bone needles are a strange concept these days. I like mine, but when the clothes are finished you won’t be able to tell who used what kind of needle. It’s just an Extra thing you can do. But it’s not. . . gross? When I first read about them I did kind of think, eww, bones, I can do without them (I mean except my own inside me, I like those, thanks). But it’s smooth and translucent and warms up in my hands, after all.


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