Lady Brigid’s Wardrobe – An update

A few months ago, I let everyone know that I’d decided to finally replace the old court gown that I’d sewn back in 2004 for my last renaissance festival as an undergraduate at GVSU.  After spending a few months distracted by a dollhouse (that’s another story!) and working on a few other projects (including surprises for my fellow alumni — more to come on that as I continue to tweak things), I’ve turned my attention to getting things done with my court gown.

A few weeks ago, I finished off my new Spanish farthingale and decided that maybe I didn’t really want to make a new corset, since my old one was perfectly serviceable–it just needed another set of ties.  Over the course of intervening weekends, I cut out a muslin from extra denim for the bodice and sleeves of my new court gown and was pleased to find that my calculations were good and the muslin fit pretty perfectly on the first shot.  Last weekend, I cut out the velvet for the bodice and the upper sleeves, then spent some time sewing the lining and the shell of the bodice together.  Yesterday, I cut the lower sleeves and the sleeve contrast and decided to just finish off the bodice completely.

I started cutting sleeves and working on putting the sleeves together and finishing off the bodice around the time the Spartans kicked off against the Oregon Ducks.

I finished around 1AM, with various breaks (my mother and I were, of course, watching the football game, I needed to get my old Kenmore sewing machine to power through layers of velveteen and denim when my Brother decided that it was too many layers, etc.).

I’ll hopefully finish off the rest of the gown today.  Pictures to come!

Caught a quilting bug…

Anna's Quilt - made by Erin M. Klitzke

Anna’s Quilt – made by Erin M. Klitzke

It’s official.

I’ve caught the quilting bug, and I’ve caught it pretty bad.

Now, making patchwork quilts has been a thing that I’ve really wanted to do since I was a kid and it’s something that I’ve dabbled in since I was pretty young.  I have tons of half-started projects laying around the house, tucked into bins or shoved in drawers.  I have a stash of fat quarters and yardage of quilter’s cottons and calicos that’s a shame to waste (we’re talking a few bins worth of fabric here–probably as much or more fabric than I have laying around for costuming projects).  That fabric and those projects have been sitting idle, quietly waiting for me to get around to making use of them.

Anna's quilt before I put the binding on.

Anna’s quilt before I put the binding on. The binding is in the same red fabric as the squares.

Before my niece was born, I started working on a strip quilt for her.  I’d finished the top by the time she was born, but the hand quilting and finishing took me until her first birthday–and made me vow to never hand quilt anything again!  Still, I managed to finish it, and for my first quilt brought to completion, I happen to think it’s wonderful (and my family and my sister-in-law’s family agreed!).

Immediately after finishing that quilt, I started digging around in my sewing area and found some nine-patch blocks for a quilt I’d started a long time ago for my younger sister, Kendall.  I realized that I was short a few nine-patch blocks, so I made some more over the course of the intervening days, watched a little too much of Fons and Porters’ Love of Quilting (yes, the series from PBS–I have some DVDs laying around because I am really that kind of geek), and spent a Saturday morning cutting background squares before bringing it up to the family room to test layouts.

Experimenting with layouts for Kendall's quilt

Experimenting with layouts for Kendall’s quilt last weekend–this is actually the layout I ended up going with.

As my mother and I stared at the first test layout, she suggested doing the blocks on point rather than as straight strips–and it was the on point layout that I ended up going with.  I was joking that my sister might not even want the quilt anymore, at which point I’d figure out something else to do with it–but one text message with a picture of the test layout later, and I knew that she still wanted the gift I started making her five years ago.

Over the course of that weekend and the following week, I finished sewing the blocks into strips–this weekend, I’m looking to possibly finish off the quilt top and maybe even finish the whole quilt–it depends on how ambitious I get.

The terrible part is that I’m already trying to figure out what the next quilt will be.

I’m hooked and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, either.

Detail of a strip from Kendall's quilt.

Detail of a strip from Kendall’s quilt.  She plays upright string bass.  The treble cleft and sheet music fabrics I chose for her and she chose the black and white cross-hatched.

Grand Valley Renaissance Festival upcoming and new product line

Geez, I need to stop disappearing because of other projects!

Adventures in papercraftingIn a few weeks, I’ll be at the Grand Valley Renaissance Festival at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI, and I’ll be showing off a new line of Jude’s Chest products which includes new papercrafts and cards as well as some new textile work.  I recently got into papercrafting (about a year ago) and now it’s kind of starting to be a terrible thing for me.  I picked up a Fiskars Fuse last year and have been playing around with it ever since.  I’ve also been having some adventures in cardmaking, which has also been awesome.  I’m loving embossing folders more than I care to admit.Embossed Cards - round 1

Overskirts have been a thing that I’ve been meaning to experiment with for a very, very long time, and I finally scraped together some time to do it the weekend the littlest Klitzke moved up to CMU a few weeks ago.  My best friend and I had planned a trip to the Michigan Renaissance Festival at Holly the following weekend and I’d been thinking that my garb needed a bit more color.  No pictures right now, unfortunately, but I’ll be sure to post some once I’ve made some for selling and not just for me.  The one I made for myself is a very rich, dark red color out of a textured moleskin fabric that’s very similar to the fabric of my skirt itself.  A trip to the fabric store is in the books within the next week or so, since supplies will be needed so I can be prepared for the festival.

Grand Valley Renaissance Festival is on the campus of Grand Valley State University in Allendale, MI.  The festival opens at 10am on Saturday, October 5 and Sunday, October 6 and will close at 7PM on Saturday and 5PM on Sunday.  Come see your favorite renaissance woman (crafter, writer, historian and mild-mannered title clerk) at the faire!

Adventures in papercrafting

Crosses and swirlsI’ve been quiet of late, but how is that different from usual?

Happy TravelsAmong my more writerly creative pursuits, I’ve taken up a bit of papercrafting as well, so there’ll be papercrafts popping up in the Etsy shop over the next few days and weeks as I continue experimenting and start photographing.Adventures in papercrafting

I will also be doing some inventorying of my jewelry stock and putting up some more listings of that as well.

Festival roll-out!

In a few hours, I’ll be setting up a tent (probably in the rain) at the Grand Valley Renaissance Festival for the…fifth time.  I’ve only missed it once since graduation (and that was because I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding a few weeks after festival and was threatened with death if I got sick–so I decided not to go.).

I’ll be there with jewelry, garb, bits and pieces of geekery, Miss Jennie and my boyfriend Mike.  A grand time will be had by all!  I’m also introducing a new product (which I unfortunately don’t have pictures of)–gaming tokens.  They’re about a quarter inch thick and the size of a dime with the letters A-J stamped into them, to help GMs keep track of which enemies are attacking whom.  It was something I always wanted to have as a GM…and now I’m passing that little thing on to others.  They’re made of polymer clay and I’ll be selling them for $5/set of 10 in a little organza baggie.

It’ll be Mike’s first experience of actually running a show with me–he’s visited me at one, but he’s never been there for the whole time I’ve run one.  Jen, however, is old hand at this and should be fine.  Despite the nasty Friday weather, the forecasts say that Saturday and Sunday will be beautiful, even if it’ll be a little chilly on Saturday.

As long as it’s not 30 degrees and snowing, it won’t be the nastiest weather I’ve experienced at a festival…and rain on set-up day tends to be good luck, since that generally means that the weather for the weekend is lovely.

Also bringing some writerly things, including booklets containing an excerpt from Awakenings and a business card with my official site as an author and a free download of my novelette, Falling Stars.  We’ll see how many of those wander away from my booth as freebies.

Time to finish packing…hope to see a lot of folks at GVRen!

New custom orders listings

As of this morning, I’ve posted two new custom orders listings on Etsy.

These custom orders listings can be found here and here, and are for sets of six pairs of earrings in my Azshara and Quel’Danas styles, primarily designed for brides to buy for their bridesmaids as gifts.  The prices are significantly cheaper than they would be to buy the earrings individually, at $40 for a set of six and $35 for a set of six respectively as custom orders.  Regularly on Etsy, you’d be paying about $45 or $40 respectively for these earrings, plus shipping for them.

It’s the first time I’ve listed custom orders specifically as custom, made-to-order pieces that haven’t been pre-commissioned (as in the case of the pair of Lady’s Ransom bracelets I made for a friend, or a single pair of custom-ordered Azshara earrings).  We’ll see how this goes.

Back to the jewelry crafting (say what?!)

It’s been a while since I said anything about anything–my bad, because I’ve been channeling my creativity into writing rather than crafting.  That streak snapped yesterday, when I created this piece (which went up on Etsy today):

I’ll probably poke around with some more jewelry today and list some more items as well. I made a pair of opaline (clear sea glass) bracelets that need to go up on Etsy this morning as well.

Cloaks and capes, oh my!

Finally got new photos and posted my residual cloaks and capes on Etsy — took me long enough, right?

We got a fresh layer of snow on the ground this morning and I had the perfect storm of opportunity: cloudy day, my sister and her boyfriend at the house, and easy access to both my camera and the garb!  So I asked both of them if they’d be willing to model the cloaks outside for me on the patio against the snow and the evergreens along the back fence.  They were good sports overall and helped me out.

The pictures turned out fairly well, but it was pretty cold so I didn’t ask them for much (if I’d been really ambitious, I’d have had Kendall throw on her noble garb and model for me!).

I love this shot so much. It's very Assassin's Creed.

Danny's got broader shoulders than Kendall, so I had to get at least one shot of him in the gray.

Detail shot on the clasp.

This one's our favorite shot between my mom and I.

I don't know why I'm such a big fan of these Assassin's Creed style shots...

Clasp detail shot for the evergreen cloak - flash was on.

Kendall was worried about how the photos turned out. My mother and I agreed they turned out very well.

Both cloaks are up for sale at Etsy.

First Etsy Treasury by me and musings on a new jewelry line

Today, I hit another milestone with Etsy: I created my first treasury, Wired whimsy.  I took some of the shops from my favorites and found others as I simply browsed through Etsy, searching for items that fit into the treasury’s theme, which was wire work.

I made the treasury because I’m feeling too lazy to do real work right about now, which is to say cleaning up and starting on the new jewelry line I’ve been musing over for a few weeks.  I made the first couple pieces at the bust of a craft show I did on December 11.

The collection is inspired by the colors and patterns of Imperial Russia.  All are primarily freshwater pearl works.  It’ll be a very neat collection.  I’ll post pictures of the first few pieces soon.

Christmas gifts ho! (and photos for Miss Trish of

So…it seems my sister-in-law is going to be the only one I have to think really hard about with regards to Christmas gifts this year.  I’ve given back to the Etsy community and bought gifts for my brothers and my father all on Etsy, and my mother, sister, and sister-in-law are going to be getting handmade gifts, too–but handmade by me.

My sister, of course, basically picked her own gift without even knowing it.  She said she liked something that I’d just posted on Etsy (and when I say “liked” she said I WANT THIS) but the piece would be too long for her little wrist.

So I made her something else.

My mother…well, I’ve known what I was going to give her for months, so long as the piece didn’t sell at a show.  It hasn’t so I’m going to make her a matching pair of earrings and call it a day.

Sister-in-law…she’ll be an issue.  I have a very vague idea of what to make for her, but I have to talk to my brother first about some things before I make final decisions.  I’ve still got a week and a half.

Finally, that brings me to a vaguely related subject, which involves peridot giftables.  I’d posted Augustine Brilliance on Etsy, which is a peridot piece, and Trish was shocked to see how it looked.  I promised her I’d post pictures of another peridot piece, this one one-of-a-kind (the nuggets I used are no longer available and I don’t have enough to make a second necklace).

And so, with no further adieu, the pictures of the peridot nugget version of “Imperial Arms,” inspired by the arms of the Holy Roman Empire.