I’ve been eyeballing some heraldic embroidered bags from the 14th century lately. https://www.pinterest.com/chulsing/i-think-i-need-a-heraldic-bag/ I’ve been looking at enough of them, at frequent enough intervals, that my Husband noticed, and asked “if I was researching a new project”. I hadn’t thought that I was…apparently, I was wrong… Turns out, I am researching heraldic pouches, and have decided to started making one. The first step was to decide on a design. Many of the extant pieces have multiple devices pictured on them. Are they depicitions of kinship ties , or simply decorative? I decided to go with kinship ties limiting the devices shown on my bag to two. My SCA arms, and my Husbands SCA arms. Alternating the two images 3 wide, and 3 high.
The next step was to figure out the scale of the design. I started by looking at the size of extant embroidered bags. There are a fair number of medieval flat pouches remaining that are in the 6 to 8 inches square range. Several names are used for them depending on when and where the bag was made. Sweet bags, relic pouches, almoners are some of the different terms used for bags of this type. The heraldic bags seem to be stitched in either long-armed cross stitch, or tent stitch. I’ve never done a project with either of them, but I kind of like the look of long-armed cross stitch. Here are some examples. https://www.pinterest.com/chulsing/long-armed-cross-stitch/ So I think I will go with that.
So I have 3 repeats across and 3 down, for a 6″ bag they would need to be at most 2″ across. That is bigger than the shields in the extant pieces. The shields in the historic pieces have fairly simple heraldry on them. The registered arms of both my husband and myself are a little bit more intricate. I don’t feel like I can go much smaller than 2″ wide and still have the piece be visually readable. So I am going with 2″x 3″ rectangles for my piece. If I stitch over 2 threads, on 36 count linen I will end up with a bag the size I want.
I also don’t feel like our arms blend together particularly well, so I am going to alternate the background color Green behind my white shields, and white behind his green shields. I think this will help tie the piece together.
There is a bag in Bulle Switzerland that I have not been able to find a public domain photo of, but you can see it here on Kiriel du Papillion’s Flicker feed. https://www.flickr.com/photos/papillon_publishing/2927562972/in/set-72157594270878809/ I really like how it uses borders between the shields. I think I am going to do that on my bag.
Fabric- white “Edinboro” linen 36 ct(threads per inch) purchased from my local embroidery shop
Soi de Paris – silk filament floss purchased from Hedgehog Handworks
white – blanc
black – noir
blue- # 1715 or #114 I haven’t quite made up my mind yet.
gold – #2533