Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sir Tomahomie's Kneeler

As aforementioned on this blog, I am a LARPer and in my LARP folks can get knighted for grand achievements over time.  It takes a severe amount of dedication, blood, sweat, and (more often than not) tears, so we have a tendency to make a big deal about it.  One of the "props" that is usually present at a knighting is a kneeler, and over time I have become the self-ordained maker of kneelers for my LARP kingdom.

My most recent kneeler was for Sir Tomahomie, and I actually managed to remember to take pictures of my process...

My fabric choices were not standard this time around.  I usually incorporate the heraldry of the knight-to-be, and Tomahomie's heraldry is really just a bit of Japanese Kanji.  So, I managed to find the same sari-brocade used to make Tomahomie's knighting raiment and chose a suedecloth to match it.

Funny story here; as I mentioned, Tomahomie's heraldry is just a bit of kanji, which isn't terribly interesting to embroider.  I'm not overly fond of/familiar with Asian inspired designs, so I was well and truly lost for inspiration on this kneeler.  I put out a Facebook call for help, and was immediately answered by a crafty-friend of mine who suggested that I look into Japanese "Mon".

Hours later, I had sifted through thousands of Mon, and I couldn't find a single one that represented "flame" in any way.  (Tomahomie's path to knighthood is that of flame.)  I suppose I understand, if your home is made primarily of wood and paper, you don't want to invite flame inside.  Frustrated, I turned away from the computer, just to see my son's copy of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and it struck me that the Fire Nation symbol would be perfect.  Voila!

After piecing the computer-printed images together, I traced them onto tissue paper with a sharpie.

Then, I just hooped the tissue paper and cloth together with the intention of embroidering through the tissue paper and tearing it away afterwards.

Night one of embroidery... a chain stitch was used to outline the kanji and the flame.

Night two of embroidery... more chain stitching.

Night three of embroidery... I finished the chain stitching outline and tore away the tissue paper.

Night four of embroidery... I re-hooped the cloth so I could add in my fill stitches.  The kanji is filled with a split-backstitch in a brick-lain fashion and the flame is filled with what is called a "rice" stitch.

Night five of embroidery... the flame needed something in order to "pop" and my mother suggested that I highlight the curves of the flame in red.  I'm so glad she's so amazing.

The completed kneeler.  The kneeler is traditional "zabuton" size of 28" x 30", which turned out to be the perfect size for Tomahomie as he knelt in proper "seiza" position.  The heraldic emblem is sewn down in the center, but I gave it its own padding to give the flame some dimension.

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