Countdown to Lilies: 17 Days and Panicking…

If I wasn’t panicking before, I am now. Being myself, I was panicking, but now I’m in panic hyper drive. My brain feels like someone has launched a super bouncy ball into a large concrete box, and it’s flying all over the place.

Needless to say, I should be sewing. I really should. But, maybe (just maybe) if I can center my thoughts on what I have done and what is left to do – I can stop feeling like I’m two breaths away from hyperventilating… …So here it goes…

The good news on the sewing front is that the corset that went in the FML pile after it was too big in July after finally finishing the construction of it, now fits… Not really good news, because I’ve gained 10 pounds since then, but as the scale went up the problematic digging in at the waist has decreased by about two inches and the corset (Elizabethan pair of bodies) is much more comfy. So somehow my bust/back measurement increased as my high hip measurement decreased…. Have I mentioned how funky my body is and how much I bitterly hate attempting to fit anything to it? No? See above… But still, this is good news, because it means that I can pin on a pair of sleeves, add a skirt, and put on an apron and I have a serviceable lower class Elizabethan outfit – that I can plausibly wear for the entire war while switching out various aspects…. So yay. Now to finish up the mile of lucet lacing cord, partlet, sleeve options, skirt options, and hopefully a waistcoat – as well as the other late period paraphernalia needed…   I do have my body linens done, so that is a positive. Right now I have a fresh shift for every day, including a couple of new linen ones and some older cotton ones that are on their last leg and will have to be replaced before Pennsic. New coifs are made too (still need cording to tie), so those will be lovely over a headrail and under a straw hat. I have a couple of finishing touches to put on two aprons, then they will be done.

Linen tub

Linen tub for Lilies War, fresh headrails for each day, shifts, coifs, and socks. All freshly ironed and folded.  


In the sewing process, I decided to recycle an old loose kirtle that never fit well anyway into a viable gown and doublet. We know that clothing was recycled time after time, and can document a booming second hand clothing trade in the late 16th century – so I decided to put an unusable garment (let’s pretend grandma’s old kirtle) to use to create an “in style” outfit for myself. Because the process was pertinent to previous discussions with HL Annora regarding recycling clothing and why we find certain odd shapes when other shapes would have worked just as well, I actually documented the process for once – and look forward to her take on it. Starting with the partially lined kirtle, I took it completely apart, performed various color removing and bleaching to get to a fairly light neutral color, dyed the kirtle (I was going for brown, but had to add black too), ended up with a lovely period shade of “poor black”, and now have the pieces laying on the floor…. So here we see the back sides going together at a diagonal to form a square.

dress layout

Now the sides are together, I’m trying to get the largest rectangular measurement I can to use for skirt panels. And apparently standing at a funky angle to boot…

dress leveling

The rectangles have been cut, re-cut to even out, and additional panels added from the shorter lining pieces to give the skirt additional bulk. The length is approximately 3yards-ish, and box pleated it should give a decent skirt. There is a very good chance that I will be adding a black linen guard to the bottom of the skirt as well as a thick vertical guard up the front opening to give another 1/4 yard to work with. I also have enough left over of the old kirtle to make a sleeveless doublet; more on that when the stays are totally finished since I will need to measure and fit over them.

dress in pannel

Realistically I’d be far closer to being done, however I ran into this problem of wanting to make sure that visible seams were hand sewn. Granted, they look nicer, but time is fleeting. I’m also in the process of making sure that the husband has clothing. Prototype 1 shirt was mostly finished last night, now to replicate that two more times, fit his pseudo-Venetian pants, one doublet, and one jacket he should be good to go – and a statute cap, we can’t have him getting fined…


Then I had the bright idea to use up fleece scraps to make a mattress pad for my camp bed. In Ruth Goodman’s “How to be a Tudor” book***, she mentions sheep’s roving being used to stuff a sort of duvet or mattress pad type thing. Bits of the sheared fleece that were of a substandard nature and couldn’t be used for cloth production were cleaned up, carded, and then laid out in a large rectangular shape. More and more roving (it is roving at this point right? or still fleece?) is laid on, alternating directions in big fluffy layers, almost like you are getting ready to felt a giant rectangle. Instead of felting, a heavy cloth or canvas is used to sandwich the fleece and sew it in a quilt like fashion into a heavy winter duvet or mattress pad. Obviously I was far too clever for my own good, because while I lacked sheep’s fleece I did have a huge tub of polar fleece scraps… Now I have a twin sized mattress pad made of puns…. 13 layers of puns in fact. Now to get them quilted/sewed/basted together into a cohesive and usable item. Some day, when I have sheep, I will be able to actually use and create the real thing instead of a substandard imitation…


fleece blocks

Probably close to the most intricate panel.





Lilies Food…. I was honored with the task of putting together the Ladies of the Rose refreshment table, and the menu finalizing is occurring this afternoon on that. I’m looking at trying out several of the Norse recipes that I’m prepping for the Calontir Party at Pennsic. Included in that is the yogurt cheese that I was going to try out that doesn’t need refrigeration (the Norse could have plausibly encountered it in Byzantium region). Good news, is that the concept of the yogurt cheese was a success; bad news is that it has received mixed reviews ( I love it, the husband hates it), my mom’s opinion this weekend will be the tie breaker. It is a very strong cheese, with a similar flavor profile intensity of an herbed goat cheese or blue. Before its minimum week long ferment in the olive oil, the strained, salted, and partially dried yogurt was rolled in a combination of thyme, sesame seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, paprika (not period I know, but it gives such a lovely color), dried lemon peel, tarragon, and rosemary. Every day for at least seven days, the jars need to be gently turned so that the olive oil re-coats the cheese. Cheese balls are slightly delicate, so if you have experience with making Southern style chicken and dumplings (the old way, we aren’t talking bisquick here friends) and gently shaking and swirling the pot to keep the dumplings from sticking – then you have the right skill set ready developed for making these… The lemon peel gave the cheese a lovely and prominent citrus burst while the sesame seeds and partially whole rosemary leaves gave a nice texture. Like I said, I liked it and think it holds promise. Here is the yogurt cheese on the day 1 and day 10.

Yogurt day 0

Yogurt Cheese Day 1



Yogurt day 10

Yogurt Cheese Day 10



Yogurt cheese cut

The yogurt cheese ball cut to examine texture and yumminess factor.



Should a person not like the yogurt cheese, hopefully they will like the second cheese option. I’ll either be making some fresh herbed cheese the morning of, or I’ll have time to do several rounds of a red wine soaked cheese. Below is a round of cheese that was soaked in a red wine and red wine salt mixture for five days, then dried off, rubbed in more red wine salt and aged for three/four more days. The ending texture before being put up to age until Lilies was… interesting. Almost a sort of springy pickled feel? I’m looking forward to eating it at Lilies….

Red wine cheese

This weekend I received a request from my husband to make some cheese for his work potluck. Oh, this also might be a good time to mention that the previous cranberry and nocino cheeses didn’t make it to the aging process, because the looked far too good – and were in fact. So, I made three rounds of cranberry cheese. Two with my normal presses, and one small one with the awesome Roman cheese press by HE Gwen.

Cheese in presses

Cheeses in the presses!


They turned out yummy. Definitely not an aging cheese. But, very yummy all the same.

Cranberry cheese small

Cranberry cheese made in Roman style cheese press.


Now I really do have to get back to it. Too much to do, too little time left!


***You know I had to mention Ruth Goodman at some point in this blog post, right?