Monday, November 14, 2016

Peerage Cloak - Finished

It only took a few months.Well. At least it didn't take a full year.
Back in February I started planning a piece that would go on a peerage cloak. The recipient already had the peerage (and two more!), he just wanted to add the Order of Defense symbol to the cloak that displayed his Pelican and Knighthood. He also wanted it to be shiny.
I'd gotten somewhere in April, but as so often happens things came up, and I had taken on a project a bit more time consuming than I expected ( I would never.)

So we swing around the fall, and I decide that this cloak is getting done in time for the Rapier K&Q tournament, which lights a fire under me.

In the last post, so long ago, I had decided how I was going to create the chain. I was still a little worried that the wool would look unfinished next to the gold thread, but once I had the outline in place I think things really came together. And if I had tried to do the whole thing gold I think I would still be cursing about this project sometime next year.

Next I sketched in the swords. Even though my plan was to applique the swords on separately, I wanted to make sure they were the right size, so I just embroidered them directly inside the chain. I left off the extra fiddly details - the cross guards and swept hilts. There was no way I was going to be able to applique something that thin, so those were going on afterwards.
In hindsight, I think I should have just done the swords entirely on the cloak. I was trying to avoid pokey bits on the inside of the cloak as much as possible, and also trying to not carry around 20 lbs of fabric when I could help it, but I don't think it saved me any real time.

At this point I cut everything out with tiny scissors, leaving about a quarter inch of fabric around the edges. Then I spent so much time fray checking the back and tucking in all those edges. (So Period!) Because the edges were so narrow and the linen so fray-y, in that way only linen can be, I didn't trust things to not unravel if only the applique were holding it together.
I think this made the actual applique easier, but I'm not really sure.
The swords were thin enough that they were a real pain, and there wasn't enough embroidered material to fully cover the white on the edges. So in addition to adding the small details, I went around all the borders in a matching red wool. From a distance I don't think you can tell it's there, other than that the lines look much cleaner.
The sword blades are wobblier than I would like, but straighter than some other straight lines I've done in goldwork. Overall, once it's worn, I'm happy with the effect. Trying to take a nice picture of a pile of wool turns out to be kind of difficult.
Of course, I don't have a picture of it being worn, so you'll have to take my word for it for now.

I'm super excited to have this done and in the hands of its owner, and I learned a lot for next time.