Sep. 18th, 2017



Yes! Let them know ✊🏾

Whiskey, you don’t have to pay rent. Really. #yurtlife #catsofinstagram #deadrodent
The granary, next to the house, is a 2-storey structure of similar age to the house (1820s). The second storey is basically wholly unchanged from its original settup, and the intact slate roof means the floor is basically flawless. Dad fixed the windows this spring. It’s currently serving as a living room for the apprentices on oe side, and sewing machines and dried flower paradise on the other. So the photos are of the sewing machines (both mine, a 40s singer knockoff I’m using to quilt yurt insulation, and a brand-new Brother embroidery machine I’m using to make patches), the loft door, and some of the drying flowers. (at Laughing Earth)
archifist reblogged your photo and added:

turns out, you are a terrible hunter and Whiskey will prevent you from dying THIS TIME but really you should learn to do better.

Last year she left stuff a couple of times, and I never ate it, and told her to eat it, and finally she started eating it herself. This year though, I just don’t want to step over a dead… vole? is that a vole? short tail… so i threw it out into the fresh-plowed field when no one was looking. So she’s gonna think I ate it.

I think she’s actually paying me protection so I’ll keep Beans, who bullies her, from coming around. Beans loves the yurt but only remembers about it when she follows Whiskey out there to beat her up. So I hissed at Beans last time and backed Whiskey up while she drove her off (she’s much smaller and less tough than Beans is), and I think Whiskey’s bringing me protection mousies so I’ll keep it up. Her brother Reno chased her into the yurt last week too, and I hissed at him and actually smacked him with a towel so he’d leave her alone. (Also it was four in the morning so he was not on my good side.)

Poor tinycat Whiskey just needs a safe space. I’d rather she bribe me than pee on my bed, which is what she did to the vegetable manager when Beans was harassing her in his apartment… 


So I’ve been geeking over not only the embroidery from @deadcatwithaflamethrower‘s Nizar and @jabberwockypie’s enthusiasm for making real life versions of costume renderings, but also the magic involved in producing the fabric, and how to sew protective spells, and I am headcanoning medieval magic fabric production methods like mad.
So, one of my oldest fabric geekery areas is medieval natural dyeing in both western Europe and Japan? And if anyone tries to tell me plant-based non-synthetic dye methods are not both potions and magic I will bust out chapter and verse on how the Heian Japanese used to dye silk with cloves for the scent in addition to the color, and used to drape silks over heated frames and play scent-guessing games to see who could identify what went into them, and how the Nara dyers in 900 produced thousand-year-colorfast reds with combinations of akane reds and tea ash mordants that preservationists who came along in the 1500s couldn’t even begin to replicate, and dyers with fermentation-based indigo vats they’ve kept running for 30+ years by tending the vats as though they’re just as alive as people - feeding them, watering them, sheltering them from heat or humidity, removing the living “mother” with care and replacing the same decades-old mother along with more nutrients…
tl;dr Indigo vats are totally potions magic, and indigo was usually a significant component in medieval blacks because the tannin-and-oak-gall combo for ink did terrible things to wool and logwood wasn’t available until trade with the New World happened. And then when you add ACTUAL magic in…
Mother of indigo is such a deep blue-violet-black with green-and-purple raven-wing shimmers that it’s gorgeous by itself, but in the real world you can’t actually capture that in fabric; it’ll flake off. So let’s say that’s one of the colors an enterprising potion-witch DID manage to capture, adding some raven feathers to the mix for transferrence and symbolism of cleverness and flight.
And then there’s the additions to the vat that keep it healthy over the long term, and having to know what it needs to keep the subsurface indigo in deoxygenated states before they had titration kits and pH testing. Madder was added to indigo vats for the fermentation-related enzymes and the like, but also brought red dye components to deepen the color. Bran was also part of the fermentation system but didn’t bring any color at all.
When you cross-pollinate that with non-pigmented but magically symbolic potions ingredients, and then cross-pollinate that with silks “dyed” for scent rather than color… yeah. All kinds of symbolism in the waiting there, along with time of year and phase of moon and harvesting of the ingredients and how to adjust the pH with vinegars crafted from symbolic plants and ashes from others….
And then there’s the spinning. Hand spinning every thread, and what the spinner’s hands and the wood of the spindle (which is very like a magic wand) bring to the fabric. And then there’s the weaving, and the loom choice, and the patterning.
And then there’s the embroidery. With knotwork as the design base there’s three layers of spellwork to stitch in – spell-words in a hidden underlayer with any color of dye that would be magically appropriate, covered by the couched-down silver overlay, and then with a technically-visible but practically-unseeable set of additional spell-words stitched over the top of the couching, and you need to work each ribbon of the knot in the correct order because some pieces overlay - that would be a huge part of making that fabric unreproducible without taking out every stitch one at a time, and that’s before getting into the non-visible parts of spellcasting. :)
Plus it’s entirely possible that the actual species of sheep required for making the wool is no longer available? They had very different sheep breeds in the mundane middle ages; magical sheep breeds must have been even smaller population bases to start with, and there may have been magical non-sheep creatures that provided fiber for the spinning too… imagining angora bunnies the size of alpacas here…
(happy fabric geek.) :D 




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