Monday, August 21, 2006


Weekend Roundup

Well, it was a light weekend for music & reenacting. I've been working up a number of alow airs and slow marches for this upcoming gig at Arlington Cemetary on Sunday morning. Here are the ones I'm looking at, starting with the ones I already know:
Slow March of the 74th HLI
My Dearest Dear
Hector the Hero
Bells of Dunblane
Amazing Grace
24th Guards Brigade at Anzio
(played slowly)
Flowers of the Forest
Flight of the Eaglets
Leaving St. Kilda
Mist Covered Mountains
My Home
My Lodging is on the Cold Ground

And I might finish it off with a retreat, like Kilworth Hills, again played slowly. I already know the first six and the last; I've almost memorised the next 3, and the next 3 after that are kinda familiar already. I think that should cover walk-in/walk-out music nicely. It's surprising how quickly the tunes are coming.

September's Royal Mile session is cancelled because of a wedding reception; since it's on my birthday, I think I'll hold it at my house instead. Play from 3-6, then dinner & party. I'll try to get some other friends over for the later part, and Andy's already agreed to be grillmeister. Should be fun.

I finished my waistcoat's phase 1 this weekend, that is, the sleeveless version. I stitched the last buttonhole, and sewed up the last armhole, and laced up the back with some 1/4" white cotton tape. I might switch to linen tape in the future. Looks good, fits well, but would fit even better if I were to lese a few. Now begins phase 2: the sleeves. I made the fitting piece, and am almost done with the sleeve linings. I've also pinned the tartan wool to itself to maintain the sett, ready to pin the patterns to and cut out. The buttonholes/eyelets will be the tedious part - again. I should have the full sleeved waistcoat ready for Ligonier. Then what next? Part of me wants to launch right ahead with the short-coat, the other says "do a longer shirt!" I read over the 18th century shirt pattern instructions, and it seems pretty straightforward. Only one layer, with a couple gussets and reinforcements and a collar - and only three buttonholes! On the other hand, I do have a working (if short) shirt already, and I'd definitely like to have the shortcoat ready by the Xmas walk, or even by the Richmond Games in late October.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Back in Rehearsals... Sort Of

Well, Chris was MIA for the rehearsal; dunno why (though I'm guessing he was called out of town for work). So Rosemary and I spent 4 hours getting caught up, both personally and musically. We did 5 sets that we had a guitar track from Anders for, and looked at Hector briefly.

At one point, Rosemary exclaimed after going through The Devil's Reels, "Wow, the Scottish and Irish styles are really different! And if you had asked me a year ago, I'd have had no clue!" So despite her protestations of not feeling comfortable with the material yet, I think she's really beginning to get it on a visceral level.

John and I are working on a pipe band setting of The Terror Time for next year's Medley set. That's an odd tune, phrasing-wise.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Crafts, Continued Pt 4

Okay, so this is turning into a real series.

I made myself a new sword belt. The old one, which was just a simple baldric of two 2" belts stitched together, didn't support the sword, so the basket would tip upwards, the scabbard would flop around and collide with my legs when I walked, and the whole thing tended to fall out of the belt a lot. That, and the buckle was riveted on, which is inaccurate.

So I got a veg tanned 7oz tooling side of leather, and cut a new belt, this time with a substantial frog. I cemented the pieces together with Gorilla Glue, as well as the double brass buckles, and cut a hole for the scabbard knob. Then I stitched, where the belt segments join, and along the top of the frog. I trimmed the rough edges a bit, then dyed it black, and hit it with a little fine steel wool to even out the dye job. It looks great! I made one little mistake in the stitching - I should have stitched the belt around the buckle along the length of the belt, not across it (the latter weakens the belt, though it is standard modern practice); but you'll never see that error, because it's hidden under the other end of the belt.

(Thumbnails link to full sized pictures)

The new belt supports the sword very well, as the picture shows. All that's left to do is to add a brass heart-shaped thistle-engraved belt tip (currently on order), and it'll be perfect. I may have to cut out brass washers for the tip, which is attached by 3 copper pegs that pass through the leather, and through a brass washer (which I have to make), and then are peened over; so another trip to Fischer's Hardware will be in order to get more of the brass stock.

After a lot more hours with the waistcoat, here's how it looks:

Buttonholes take forever! I didn't make entirely new pocket flaps; I just cut off 1/2" on either side (just enough to remove the original side buttonholes) and restitched them; and I removed another 1/2" at the top, which I had to do anyway to give myself a seam allowance again after two previous attempts to attach the pockets. This achieved the intended goal of reducing the flaps to a manageable size, and even reduced the illusion of how swept back they were. But they don't completely cover the pockets, and I've made patches for the left side of matching tartan to hide it.

The waistcoat is a snug but not tight fit, as it should be - plenty of room for movement. Now it's decision time on the V-shaped dip along the front. I'm hoping these pictures of it with the costume will help me make up my mind... Then I'll stitch up the other arm hole, and the rear lacing eyelets.

Update Sun 8/13/06 9:55 PM: I finished all the eyelets on the back today, and am still waiting for Mara Riley's suggestion on the front. But I can't go any further until I hit the fabric store anyway, as the last eyelet used up my last bit of green silk thread! So I'll pick up ribbon to lace up the back and some white silk for lining the sleeves of the coat, and possibly for the lace-on sleeves for the waistcoat too.

I also bought some 1/4" bar steel, which I'll use to make the castle nut for the dirk. I'd have liked 1/2" steel, but this'll do for now.

And here's the used "Walker" doglock I bought second-hand, along with a wool blanket case and a tow worm. It's a Military Heritage reproduction of a weapon from anywhere around 1680-1750 or so, so it would be good for the whole Jacobite period. The previous owner has drilled the touch hole and fired it too. I couldn't get good pics, so I used those from the maker's website.

Military Heritage lists it as a military piece, though I've elsewhere seen references to the effect that the serpentine plate and French-style stock were the fashion on civilian hunting pieces. The .69 caliber/15 gauge, 42" tapered round barrel is on the short end of the range for fowling pieces, but that length was well-known, if The Rifle Shoppe's fowler reproductions are any gauge (pardon the pun). The caliber makes extra sense in a Jacobite context; since it uses the same ammo as the French weapons imported for the rebellion, it would have been more likely to have been kept around, despite its age. Now all it needs is a flint and a nice patina.

Friday, August 11, 2006


My high hand throws suck

That's the bad news. I've almost inverted the long and short notes. So I'm going to have to learn the high hand throws the old fashioned way, just like I learned the low hand ones so long ago.

Other than cutting short some phrase endings, my teacher liked the rest of the ground of the piobaireachd I'm trying to nail down; though he suggested I view a connecting note figure as a tachum instead of a literal melody note reading.

The strathspey and reel have little kinks, but are otherwise coming along well. I need to actually learn the 2/4. Then I'll be ready for competition next year.

I've been totally lax on my fiddle practice recently. But that ends today - Rosemary's back in town, and The Devil's Tailors resume weekly practices starting Sunday.

Costuming news soon.

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