But this quasi-hat-making-class is not really what this post is about. There was a recent thread on one of the unofficial SCA forums about those magical moments we sometimes have in the SCA. The follow-up to that thread asked people what they would do to help create those types of moments for others. I have done things to deliberately add to the atmosphere of events, or welcome a newbie, but I always want to do things to encourage budding artisans or to help someone who already knows their area of interest take the next step along their chosen path.
Projects like these hats can be part of it (by encouraging hand sewing), but beyond that, I want others to see how wonderful fabrics like linen can be to handle and sew. And for sewing thread I will be sharing linen and wool from my stash. So many new embroiderers stick to DMC cotton threads for projects not just due to frugal economy, but because they worry about using wool, or silk or linen. There is also a bit of self-doubt in it where one thinks "am I really ready for those special threads yet?" Making the decision to make that leap to buying those sumptuous fibres can often be difficult and sometimes folks just need a bit of encouragement to take that step.
A perfect example is a friend of mine who does some very lovely embroidery, but always works in cotton. She has a good eye for color and design, but the cotton does not have the richness and sheen of silk, nor has it the velvety depth and texture of a fine wool. My Laurel, after seeing this friend's embroidery, gave her two spools of silk and encouraged her to do some work with it. The friend was honored with both the gift and the compliment and thrilled to know that someone thought she should take her art further.
So many of us have ends of nice fabrics or half skeins of embroidery silk or wool in our stashes. Even thrums from weaving can provide ample yardage for embellishment or embroidery. I will be passing some of mine on this summer for use for these hats, and more will go into kits for students in a basic stitching and embellishment class I hope to start teaching this fall. I would just like to encourage others to wind off some of that extra yarn and pass it on for a new stitcher to handle and use for experimentation. (I have found that one small skein of wool yarn is enough to complete one of these caps, or is enough to use basic stitches to finish off the the top, hem and straps of an apron dress or the neck, sleeves and hem of a man's tunic.)
Passing on the magic is one of the things that helps to keep the Dream alive. :-)