Friday, 28 December 2012

In the last week or so, I tried my hand at wood carving for the first time.The result is pictured below. Not a work of art no, but mistakes are an essential tool of the crafting experience and here's where I made mine.

Firstly, impatience. Yes, impatience again. For wood carving ideally you need a wood without a grain, something like apple wood for example. The piece I had to hand was a pine ring, rife with grain and texture. This meant for some of my strokes, I was tearing into the wood instead of cutting cleanly. This however taught me the difference between "fighting the grain" and "this tool isn't sharp enough", which despite the tool set being new, there were one or two less-than-ideally-sharp tools in the set.

Second was a typical newbie error, in which I wasn't creating enough depth with my cuts. This meant when it came to sanding the piece to soften out carving, I was erasing most of my work.

Third. If you zoom in on this picture, you'll notice little blue lines on some parts of the design (which, incidentally, is supposed to be a Tudor rose). I transferred my design to the wood using carbon paper, but I think I leaned too heavily and left too much ink on the wood. This would have been ok for deeper cut designs, but for shallower designs I probably would have been better off with a pencil lead technique.

End result - While the first attempt wasn't the best, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on some more co-operative materials and trying again.

Monday, 24 December 2012

The wrapping, baking and mixing is complete, meaning I'm as prepared for Christmas as I'm gonna be. As money and ideas for presents were short this year, I turned to some home made ideas for people who I knew would appreciate them.

Part of these gifts were a series of body-scrubbies, destined for different persons.And here's how I made them:

Orange & Lavender Sugar Scrub

-350g white sugar
-Zest of half an orange (if your orange is small, use the whole orange. The one I was using was huge!)
-1-2 tablespoons fresh lavender flowers
-20 drops lavender essential oil
-15 drops orange essential oil
-25mls almond oil
-100mls olive oil

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the essential oils to the almond and olive oils and mix - this helps distribute the scent evenly. Add the oils to the dry ingredients, mix well, then spoon into a jar of your choice.

Orange & Cinnamon Sugar Scrub

-350g soft dark brown sugar
-Zest of half an orange (yep, the other half)
-15 drops orange essential oil
-3-4ml ground cinnamon
-2ml ground ginger
-25mls almond oil
-75mls olive oil

Mix the ingredients together as above for the other sugar scrub.This recipe uses less oil as brown sugar usually contains more moisture that the more processed white sugar. Be careful not to overdo the spices if you decide to add more than I have listed above, as too much ground spice can act as a skin irritant.

When I had finished these scrubs, I cut the orange into thick rings and placed the rings into my fan oven at 100oC for over an hour to dry them out. When they cooled down they were still a little sticky, but also begining to singe at the edges. I used slices of these to decorate the jars as above, with a cinnamon stick on the brown sugar scrub and a couple of sprigs of lavender on the white sugar scrub.

Peppermint Salt Foot Scrub

-200g salt
-1g finely grated cocoa butter
-40 drops peppermint oil
-25ml olive oil

Mix the ingredients as above for the sugar scrubs.

A note about the cocoa butter - this was really arkward to measure. I grated the cocoa butter with a tiny little grater, so the fine little curls caught a lot of air. The pile in the picture to the right just about tipped the scale at 1g, so this is what I've included with the recipe. I felt it was just enough to add a little extra luxury to the mixture, but you can add more of less as you like.

All of the jars above came from my local Ikea. The scrubs I made are just moist, which is the way I prefer my scrubs. If you prefer a wetter mix, just add more oils. I used a mix of olive and almond oils as I find pure olive oil too heavy on my skin, but experiment to find the mix that's right for you! Jojoba and castor oils are other good oils for skin care, but really there's no limit.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

I have reached a conclusion. It is that December sucks for crafts. It's not that I've been particularly busy with social calls, or doing other things, I just haven't had the motivation. I guess that was mostly because the next tasks ahead of me I saw as slightly awrkward, so I was putting them off as much as possible. But on the weekend just past, I took myself a liberal dosing of Very Good Company, and with a bunch of like minded people together, I not only made progress, but signigicant progress!

Here Suzie inspects my work and declares it acceptable. If it wasn't she would have stormed off in disgust, but considering she stayed to glare at the camera for another half-dozen pictures, I think I did well!

This work is completely hand sewn to date, and I'm pleased with myself for sticking with that. At the weekend, I finished off the second front bodice piece, then cut out strips of red wool lined with red taffeta and sewed them down to the bodice. The strips were cut on the straight of grain, as even today, cutting on the bias is a fabric-expensive technique. Hand sewing the strips helps the straight fabric strips to follow the curves. The taffeta lining helped the colour of the red wool "pop", and I love how it's come out. I think I might even have enough red wool to include a strip of colour at the hem of the skirt, just to tie in all together.

I had thought that when I completed the red strips (which I've been finishing off while waiting for the pics in this post to load), I'd be able to assemble the bodice and start on the skirt! But I was forgetting the lacing. On my court gown, I used ladder lacing, to create a horizontal lacing. But for the day garb, otherwise known as working class wear, the lacing is spiral, such as seen on the picture on the left. It also means I have to re-dig up my lucet to get that lacing done.

Three more weeks (and a bit) to the next event, so I have that long to get it done. *engage panic mode*

Monday, 3 December 2012

The end of my week was much busier then the begining, meaning things got done, but I didn't get time to load the pictures. And I do prefer to update with pictures.

The first thing worth sharing is the cookix christmas tree I made for the first xmas party of the season I was invited to. I love getting to make this at least once a year, and this years variation was butter cookies with glacé icing, with a dusting of icing sugar. Unfortunately it was a good deal more battered by the time it reached it's destination, but the Leaning Tower of Biscuit was still appreciated.

This impressive structure is made using a set of progressively sized star biscuit cutters that are stuck together with dabs of icing to create the tree effect. I'm not a very technical baker, I prefer to make things that are tasty. But tricksy cookie cutters like these can give even me the chance to make something impressive looking.

I've also managed to impress myself this week by making steady headway on my day garb! I picked up some linen scrim for the interlining and used it on the double, so I could have the added stiffness of the linen without too much added bulk or warmth. I've been sewing the back and both front pieces together seperately to create shell pieces which will then be sewn together. This will also make it easier for me to attach the wool strips to the bodice panels.

The picture above shows the back panel, finished but unpressed, and one of the front side pieces, sewn with backstitch, and still inside out.The one to the right, yes, the one with the really poor contrast going on, are my sleeves in progress. With these, I've sewn the upper and cuff seams and am finishing the side seams with a french seam to keep the edges need and hard wearing. I intend this dress to see a lot of wear, so I want to be sure if lasts.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Today's crafting has gone slowly. So far, the only thing I have to show is the completion of the basic stitch work of the cross stitch pattern that has been keeping my sanity together for the last couple of weeks.

There's still an awful lot of detail work to be done, but I'm delighted to have gotten this far on it.

And now to the shops, to buy a few bits and pieces so I can get some work done on my day garb bodice!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

To make up for an illness earlier in the year, I decided to take this week off from work to catch up on a few things. Mostly this has involved catching up on sleep so far, but today I got re-started on my day garb. 

I say restarted because I'd already gotten my sleeve cut and the sewing on them started. It's slower, but I'd decided to do this day garb outfit completely handsewn, just to set myself the challenge.

The sleeve are cut from a small piece of red wool I had in my stash, and are lined with a red taffeta to enhance the colour. This wool will also form the trim on the bodice of the dress, and I'm hoping I'll just have enough for that purpose.

For the main dress, I have a beautiful, soft, steel grey wool I purchased from a friend in the SCA. The picture on the right shows front and back bodice pieces cutout, with their linen lining. I don't want to make this bodice as stiff as my court gown bodice, but I'm unsure yet how I'll give it a little more body. Another layer of linen perhaps?

The design itself is based on a number of working women portraits from Italy in the late 16th century. In these portraits, the ladder laced front was still popular, though the bodice was squared rather than pointed.

Monday, 26 November 2012

So, I managed to get my fan completed for the SCA event at the weekend, only to find that there was after all, no A&S competition. But a fan with such a beatiful set of plumes is just begging to be used as a tickling tool. And yes, many noses were tickled!

So, to continue from where I left off, when the papier-mâché layers had dried (I left the fan sitting on a wire rack resting on the radiator to help things along), I coated it with three layers of shellac to provide a waterproof and toughened finish. When this layer was dry, I gave it a brief sanding to even out any creases left in the paper layers. Unfortunately I wasn't quite diligent enough in this step, and a few creases are still present in the finished fan. I think I may have to ask Santa for a device that can do the sanding for me. Just one coat of gold paint on top of this was sufficent to give an even coverage.

Next, with help, I drilled 9 holes into the top of the fan to accept the full length Ostrich feathers I had choosen to use. In this step, I had to take it very slowly, as I didn't want to split the balsa wood, or drill down too far. I used a hot glue gun to secure the large ostrich feather in the drilled holes. Leaving the feathers as they were creates a section of fan that is too thin on fluff to be attractive, so I took apart a section of cockscomb trim and glued this into place in front of the ostrich feathers. As the quills of the trim was much smaller, I was able to use a small craft sissors to punch holes. The picture to the left shows the feathers in place and the initial gem placement to match the portrait.

The next step was to take away from some of the "stuck on" appearance of the gems, and give them more of a "set in" appearance. If I was to recreate this fan, I would take the time to carve settings into the wood, but as the gems were already in place, I used some black epoxy putty which I painted gold when it dried to imitate jewel settings.

So to finish, I added a line of small stick on pearl drops around the upper edge of the handle, and it was complete. Looking at the finished handle, I can't help thinking of gingerbread, but that, I think, is not entirely a bad thing.

And just a final note to say, despite what I thought myself when I was making this, the fan works quite well for its intended purpose. While the usual edge on, back-and-forth fan motion doesn't work, using the fan flat and sweeping in on and off ones skin, creates a nice draft by pulling the warm air away from one. I'm also given to understand that this also creates a nice draft for the person sitting beside one.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Even when I'm feeling down, it's good to keep going on something, no matter how little I get done.

For the past week I've been working on a cross-stitch called Barnyard Kitties, a kit I've started well over a year ago, then put down because working with a brown palette on a black fabric wasn't as interesting as I thought it might have been....

This weekend, I allowed the annoyance of not having an A&S entry for the SCA event next weekend bubble over and I finally thought of something I could get done in time.As part of the Realm of Venus competition, I made myself a flag fan. But I still coveted a feather fan. Something big and fluffy that I could sit proudly in court with and fan gently to catch peoples attention or tickle their noses with...

There are many Italian portraits with flat fan, but few of them show details of the handles. So I turned to this portrait of dear Queen Lizzie from 1590 to base my design on. 

The top of the fan, where the feathers emerge, looks to be gilt, embellished with a large ruby, pearls and diamonds. This, I thought to myself, is doable. Especially as it's an idea that's been percolating in my head for quite some time now.

To start with, I purchased a set of wooden utensils from Ikea for less than €2 to make my base with. I selected the wooden fork from this set as the handle shape appealed to me the most, sawed off the tines and rounded off the top.

 Before the cutting started, I traced around the fork onto paper, and used this as a guide for the fan shape based on the above portrait. Unfortunately, the shape I made here was a little too wide for the piece of wood I had, so I had to redraw it with the side swirls just a little tighter to the body. And forgot to snap it. D'oh! Thus started an evening of forgetting to take most of the pictures as I went, so at this point you'll have to engage imagination mode. 

Tip: when you're not confident of drawing the complete fan design, then just draw half. The design above is literally all I drew. For the next step I used my light box to flip the image so I could be sure that both sides of the fan would match. This image I traced onto a 10mm piece of balsa wood twice and cut it out. I swear, next time I have to work with wood, I'm investing in a fret saw.

With the balsa cut, I then hollowed out a section in each piece to fit the wooden fork core, to add strength to the piece. So far, so good. Though balsa has a nasty habit of pretty much dissolving in wet conditions, or absorbing vanish like a sponge, so I needed to add another finish. This is where my previous playing with mask making comes in.

I decided the perfect finish would be to cover the pieces with a Papier-mâché layer, and finish it with a tissue paper layer. When this dries, I'll give it a coat or two of shellac, and when that dries I'll be left with a surface hard enough to sand, which should provide a lot of resilience too.

To finish it off, I'll be drilling the top of the fan handle to insert the ostrich feathers I have on stand by, paint it with gilt and decorate with glass gems (much as I'd love to be able to use the real materials all round, glass it is). I'm concerned that I won't have enough feathers to make it look truly extravagant, but that's always something I can fluff out in the future.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Another week, another lack of progress. I could cite disappointments, such as realising I won't have my Italian gown finished in time to submit it to the A&S competition I was hoping for, but really, it's because I've hit a low mood. Low moods and productivity are not usually happy bedmates, and I don't believe in forcing myself to work on projects when there's no urgency to them, as there's a chance I'll only end up hating them.

But even without progress on my own projects, I've started putting together the kits for the basic felt making class I'll be giving at Yuletide University in a couple of weeks. When that weekend is over, I'll post a breakdown of the kit along with a tutorial for how it was done.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Beeswax polish. I understand it now.

I have finished applying the beeswax polish to my niddy noddy. It feels and smells beautiful. It gleams. I am very happy with how it's turned out.

But the understanding part? Let me explain.

When I first searched for a recipe, there were many options facing me. Some used beeswax and turpentine, others used beeswax and olive oil. Some used beeswax, turpentine and olive oil. Some even included soap flakes. Scenting any of these recipes was optional. But the thing none of these recipes explained was what any of these ingredients did. Now, this may be already obvious to someone who has made more of a study of woodworking than I have, but here's what I learnt.

My beeswax polish, using just beeswax and turpentine, turned out to be the consistency of just soft butter, which made it perfect for rubbing into the wood. I used my fingers to apply the wax mixture for that extra hint of tactile experience. Also, being a newbie, it was helpful in identifying the parts of the wood I'd missed. The smell of the polish when I first opened the jar is very strong, and smells very much like Vic's vaporub. This is why I thought at first that the neroli oil I added wouldn't be strong enough.

When applying the oil at first, it seemed a little sticky, which may have just been a sign that I was applying too much at once. It is very important to use a lint free cloth to rub in the polish; this means a cloth not likely to lose threads or fluffs when in use, like some duster cloths are prone to. And what I learnt was that the turpentine acts purely as a solvent, and evaporates away to let the beeswax and neroli soak into the wood. My finished niddy noddy, which had 4 layers of wax applied to it, has a beautiful soft feel to it, and a faint, sweet scent of oranges.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The other day in work, I found myself in a dilemma. I'd finished my knitting project that morning on the bus, and now lunchtime had rolled around and I had a pattern and an unwound skein. What on earth was a crafting obsessed girl to do? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

How to Wind a Centre Pull Ball of Yarn using Office Supplies {1}

The yarn I'm winding is these pics is Jitterbug "Raspberry". To be honest, this is the second ball of yarn I've wound this way as, typically enough, the first time round I didn't have the camera with me. Lesson learnt, I hope.

So, to start with, I snipped the threads holding the skein in place, and after separating the start of the skein, I wrapped it around both knees. It's important to maintain tension on the skein while you're winding it, so you'll need to spread your knees enough to maintain that tension.
Note: The skein in going just around my bent knees, it is not going under my legs.

And this is where the office supplies come in. Using a couple of plastic cups, trap the start of the yarn between two cups.

With the yarn trapped, start winding! I starting straight on to build up a little grip, that started winding the yarn at an angle so it would stay tidy. The important thing here is to make sure you wind the ball good and firm, so as long as you're doing that, how you're winding shouldn't matter too much.

And voila, one wound ball. I tried to get a pic of the inside of the cups, which have compressed slightly with the pressure of the wound yarn, but it's not come out very well, so I'll spare you the eye strain. The tail lying to the front on the ball in this pic is from the end of the skein, not the promised centre pull end.

But remember that trapped yarn from the set up? Just gently pop the cups up from the centre of the ball, and there it is!

And this is my finished centre pull ball of yarn. For the last ball I wound, I had wanted to start a pair of socks, and given that I like knitting two socks at the same time, I was also stuck for a weighing scales to seperate the ball into two equal parts. Winding the skein like this meant I could use one centre pull and one outer pull to knit each sock, which, inceidently, were the Kiertoradalla from my previous post.

Happy Knitting!

{1} Yes, I was on break when I was doing this.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

I have very much been bitten by the knitting bug. There's something about the colder weather coming in that brings it out. This week saw the completion of two pairs of socks. The first were the Skew socks I mentioned a few weeks ago, and the second were from a pattern called Kiertoradalla, available on

These socks were delayed by a week after I made a mistake in the instep, and by another step when the kitchener stitch heel join (no one said there would be grafting!) got mucked up. It took me a week to both work up the nerve to correct it and be bugged enough to want to do it.

The top picture shows the mistake I made. The bumps in the centre line of knitting in the picture shouldn't be there. When done right, grafting, or kitchener stitch, is invisible from the lines of knitting around it. Clearly I was not having a good day.

I dislike kitchener stitch. Every knitter has a different mental block and mine is on this stitch technique. Even using the nelkin designs instructions, which are the best I've found, especially with the cute little printable chart, I cannot always get my head around it, as the evidence shows.

The picture on the bottom is the amended stitching. Still not perfect, but it's close enough for now. And they're very comfy socks.  

The Kiertoradalla are also slightly off perfect, though I have to mention, this is most likely my own fault as I started with a needle size bigger than the pattern called for because I didn't want to wait until I could get to a yarn shop. The result is socks that are comfy and warm but a tiny bit loose. I'm hoping some wear will help break them in to my foot shape. Impatience, thy name is Debbie.

In more niddy-noddy news, I picked up some pure turpentine on friday, meaning I could finally get around to making my own beeswax polish. After all, if I'm willing to go to the effort of personalising my niddy-noddy, I may as well go to the effort of a special finish for it too.

A google search turns up dozen of recipes for beeswax polish. I reviewed a few then decided to make mine with 10g of beeswax, which I melted in the microwave, and 25mls of turpentine. I also added 20 drops of neroli to take the edge off the strong turpentine smell. A stronger essential oil would probably have been better, but well, I took what I could from my stash and impatience, thy name...

I made up only a small amount as I don't anticipate needing a lot of this at any one time. I anticipate the wood of the noddy drinking in the first few coats before I'll have a buffable coating. Just as well I'm not actively spinning at the moment.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Another busy week so again, not much done.

Went to a household day yesterday where I was mostly teaching, so didn't get much done myself. I did however get started on a pattern for my partlet which was so successful I've decided I need to drape it instead, and I started sewing a saccoccia, an Italian pocket, for an SCA friend. The picture to the right is of the lining, the outer fabric is the same as that used for my court gown, a burgundy taffeta. I'm hoping the lady in question appreciates the lining I picked out for her.


But in good news, my niddy noddy finally tuned up!

For the uninitiated, a niddy noddy is tool used to wind skeins of yarn from bobbins after spinning. I've been looking for it for a while, not being an organised person, as it was the reason I originally bought the wood stain I used to dye my wooden buttons a few posts back.

The stain mixture has a shelf life of 4-6 months, so I broke it out again and the above pictures show the noddy before staining and with one coat of stain. Like the buttons, it's likely going to need 2 or 3 coats to bring up the colour nicely, but it'll be very worth it to have a personalised spinning tool.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


I'm about ready to eat this project.

It's not that it's difficult. And it's not that I dislike it particularly. But it's at that arkward stage that every project reaches, where no matter how much work you do on it, it seems to be going nowhere. 

This, in case anyone is wondering, is the second cutwork sleeve from my SCA Italian court gown. I didn't get the embroidery completed for the competition, but I've been slowly working away on it since then, so get it completed for mid-November.

I've tried counting the number of shapes left to finish, but when that number went
over 30 it ceased to be an exercise in

*deep breath*
Time to pick up the needle again.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

"You have nothing to be worried about. I'm here to help."

And the plague doctor mask is finished!

It's not perfect, but for my first attempt at leather mask making, I'm quite pleased with it. It fits my face nicely and I think it will lend itself well to being modified for future incarnations.

I've sewn up a simple muslin cone to hold the flowers and spices that will form the very last part of the mask. I've decided on a mix of carnations with cinnamon, cloves, and possibly some nutmeg, but I won't be mixing that up until a day or two before the event, because I want the flowers to be as fresh as possible and the event is still four weeks away.

And now to write up my documentation... ugh, the curse of the blank page....

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

After a weekend of fun and excitement, learning new sword fighting techniques and the occurrence of injury (not mine and not serious thankfully, though I did have to drive an unfamiliar car on a four hour journey home), I'm finding myself still quite shattered. This has meant that I've made very little project progress, but on the other hand, I've done plenty of research.

The picture on the right is Paolo Caliari's 1560 Portrait of a Woman and was my primary inspiration for my SCA court gown. Well, it start out as inspiration, but somewhere along the way I felt myself drawn to wanting to recreate it. Details like the sleeve cutwork and the necklace and brooch I've already completed, but I still have to teach myself bobbin lace and improve my reticella needle lace to make the cuffs and camica trim.

I plan to submit the gown as a whole as an A&S entry towards the end of November. That will involve completing a few more details and just one more piece - the partlet. It can be hard to see in this portrait, being almost sheer and with the lines of pearls covering the edges, but enlarging the image shows a simple embroidery pattern of stem stitch lines and stitched holes. I've selected some off white chiffon from my stash and have the pattern pieced out in my mind, so now I'll just have to find time to start it.

In longer term research, I've started looking into soap making in the pre 17th century. The first step in this is going to involve making my own lye, and for that I'll need hardwood, preferably apple wood. I've contacted a local fruit supplier to see if I can tickle their interest enough into supplying my needs, but if that fails, a friend has offered to let me ransack his wood stack. One way or the other, this project has a green light.

And in a last minute find of chance, I came across this beauty on the fabulous Anéa Costumes website. When trying to decide on garb for fencing tournaments, I decided on a plain style of Venetian trousers, but I was lost for a doublet idea until I came across a line drawing of a leather jerkin from the late 16th century in Florence in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion v3. Line drawing are all well and good, but seeing the extant examples really adds flesh to the bones. And this picture is the jerkin! I'm delighted to have come across this (even while kicking myself that I didn't think to check Anéa's site sooner).

I had some beautiful fabric put aside for this project, but on seeing this example I'm wondering if I shouldn't make it of leather instead? Or maybe I should make two, one for the fighting, and one for looking fine when entering and leaving the field.

Friday, 28 September 2012

I know now why I was putting off the next step of the plague doctor mask. It was the part that was intimidating me the most - setting the glass lens.

I shaped a piece of leather in the manner of 14th century glasses and soaked it overnight to make it more pliable. I could believe the difference the soaking made, it was so easy to shape the leather around the purchased glass discs. It's just a shame I procrastinated while sewing, meaning the second eye piece, the one on the right, had mostly dried out by the time I sewed it down. The eye pieces I think will need a little more shaping to finish them off, though I'm wary of trimming too much and having the lens fall out of their settings.

So now the mask is mostly done! I'll need to apply straps and buckle to secure the mask around my head, possibly with another across the top of the head for comfort. Plague doctors of the 14th century believed in the strong scents of flowers like roses and carnations, herbs and spices, or even vinegar soaked sponges to keep at bay the miasma or bad air that was believe to cause disease. The nose will need a muslin bag I think, as I don't want to end up with cinammon scented rose petals trapped for all time at the end of the nose.

And now it's time for me to get in a little quick baking, because home baking always makes long car journeys go quicker. Especially when they involve getting up at stupid-o-clock in the morning on a saturday.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Winter is coming. It's time for socks.

Well, ok, it's not quite winter yet, but it has turned into a very soggy autumn. And with the return of the cold weather, my sock knitting mojo has returned. It's very hard to think of lovely thick, warm, woolly socks when the weather is too warm for boots. And in Ireland, that's as warm as it gets most of the time.

The pattern I'm working on is called Skew, published by, and my using my very favourite sock yarn, Jitterbug by Collinette. The colours are fabulous and it produces such warm and cosy socks! It may also have been the first sock knitting yarn I used, thus reserving its special place in my affections. The pattern is just starting to get to the interesting part, but thankfully is straight forward enough to still be workable on public transport.

Also, I'm am trying to work through my quite extensive stash these days, with an aim to completing projects without having to buy anything extra. Project one was completed this week, a "sit upon", a simple cable pattern Outdoor Seating made with left over yarn, backed with upcycled oilcloth, as the kids are saying these days. The result is a delightfully fully springy mat, which I can see accompanying me to many an event.