"A Needle Pulling Thread - Charting"

By Baroness Brianna Je Nell Aislynn of Blue Shadows

To go to Officers Charts #1 (Heralds, Marshalls, Constables), click here

To go to Officers Charts #2 (Chatelaine, Lists, Arts), click here


Several years ago, the Costumer's Guild decided to make favors for the various baronial offices. Mistress Fia Naheed was kind enough to give us copies of the charts. Unfortunately, as Guild Steward, I promptly misfiled them (those who have seen my sewing room probably know why). So as not to be drawn and quartered by the Guild, I re-charted the badges. The method is simple, though sometimes time consuming, and can be used to chart most drawings. Charts can be used for needlepoint, beading, cross-stitch, knitting, tile work, mosaic, weaving or any other craft that uses a grid. Might even be interesting in couched work.

1) Make a simple line drawing of the object to chart at full scale. Use graph paper grided in the number of squares to the inch that equals the count of the canvas or evenweave that you will be using. I like 10 squares to the inch, since waste canvas comes in this size and so does engineering graph paper.

2) Trace the line drawing onto the graph paper. Using colored pencils, color in the squares the lines pass through. This is the artistic portion of the exercise. If a line just touches a corner of the square, I don't color it in. Make sure you use erasable pencils, as you may be adjusting the design. I usually color in my outlines first and then start filling with other colors as necessary.

3) After the design is colored in, assign symbols to the various colors and make up a new chart with the symbols.

Couple of comments:

1) Never work from your original chart. It gets sloppy quickly. Make a photocopy. This can be colored over lightly for contrast. It can also be marked through on the areas that have been stitched. This is especially useful in very large or intricate motifs.

2) Don't try to photocopy the charts on the graph paper. Most of them are made up in fade out blue and the lines won't reproduce well.

3) You can build your own graph paper by using a grided ruler and drawing the lines in ink. Use black or dark blue ink, as red and green usually don't copy well. Make lots of copies. These can be used for finished charts, or for the sizes of grids that can't be commercially purchased.

4) Waste canvas is a commercially available product that you can cross stitch over. This will allow you to work on fabrics, such as cotton velveteen, satin or tightly woven cotton, where the weave is too small to see (and yes I think 32 count is way to small to see). When finished, dampen the project and pull out the threads of the canvas. It isn't woven, but glued together with water soluble adhesive. In period, they used loosely woven canvas for building grids and then pulled the threads (and no, I am not implying that the type of cross stitch used now is period, it's not). They could also leave the canvas as a backing. More often they worked on evenly woven linen.

The badges included in this month's article, are badges that you will see on more that just the officer themselves. These are heralds, marshals and constables. The other badges will be in the next column.

Copyright 1998 by Je Nell Hays

Permission to reprint this article for use in the Society for Creative Aanachronism is granted so long as the complete article is printed with proper attribution to the author using both her modern name and SCA equivalent. Please notify the author if this article is included in any SCA publication or used as reference material in a class.

Return to the Calafia Homepage - Return to the Calafian Library

Last updated on 12/12/00 (P) ...webmaster@calafia.org