Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Things are coming together.

There's a couple of things running in the background that are finally coming together - I will be getting different kinds of needles in addition to the ones already in the shop, sort-of-soonish (these things tend to take a while). Other things are in the pipeline, but not in a stage where I can blog about it - yet. But I'm having hopes to post exciting new things here this autumn.

Also scheduled for this autumn, but something that I can already blog about: The Fleur de Lis Gold Embroidery Kit. Here's the finished prototype, finally:

It does look much nicer in real life.

I did the last stitches yesterday in the evening, when the light was already dimming down, but it was still rather light. That minimises the sparkle of the gold thread, which makes the work hard to see.

Speaking of hard - gold embroidery is really, really hard to photograph. Especially if you are in kind of a hurry, which I was this morning (and that usually leads to a bad photo day). The trick is to take the picture with underexposure, and with no direct light to avoid any sparkles. Then it can still be tricky to get the thing in proper focus, as the autofocus often has trouble with the sparkly bits; or to get the exposure right because of strong contrasts between the gold and the dark background.

So you're not getting the world's best piccies of the finished prototype yet, but I had the strong urge to share with you. Including these bad closeups:

This, by the way, is how it looks if you take a picture with flash:

Hint: Flash is not helpful...

I had such a bad photo day that I even botched the pictures of the back of the embroidery, which technically should be no problem to take a picture of. So you're getting only this bad detail shot this time (you know, because of the law).

I'm really happy to have this finished, though. The template stencil for the final version is done as well, and looks very much like the prototype here, with only a few tiny changes. The fabric for the final version is off to be dyed already, and as soon as it arrives back here, I'll cut it into pieces... and then I will gild the lily once again, a third and final time, taking photos of the individual steps for the instruction booklet.

(And those photos? I'll take them in a softbox, with the camera on a stand, and with plenty of time planned for that shoot...)

Monday, 29 June 2015

Archaeology News.

There's been a Bronze Age find, with residues of food (which is really, really special) in Cambridgeshire.

In sadder news, the C14 lab closest to my home, situated in the Physics Institute Erlangen, is closing down this summer, after twenty years. They don't say why they will close down, but Mathias' blog Schauhuette hints that it's due to budget cuts.

Finally, though a little older news already: The remains of a medieval knight whose skeleton shows damage consistent with jousting injuries.

Friday, 26 June 2015

And that's why you need maths.

When I was starting to study archaeology, I was happy to leave some of my less favourite school subjects behind me. Those included chemistry and maths.

One of my companion subjects with archaeology was heritage conservation, though, and that included "Bauforschung" - documentation and analysis of historical buildings. For that, one of the things you do is draw an accurate plan of floors, walls, and so on. Which means you will need to measure. Everything.

And then... there was this complex process of taking the distances and the angles you had measured, along your main lines or around the outside of the building, and calculate whether your measurements were accurate enough or not. It included things like sinus and cosinus and tangens, and when the prof explained it, you could hear half the room go "aaaaooouuugh". There I was, thinking I'd happily escaped those numbers and calculations... until said day.

Guess what I needed these days? More of those old and slightly dusty maths skills, especially that stuff about angles. So much of maths skills, unfortunately, that I also needed the assistance of the Most Patient Husband of Them All, who graciously agreed to help me tackle a complex formula to calculate the typical spinning angles of industrially-spun warp yarns from wool. (To my great delight, my calculations were not completely wrong. In fact, all I had not done was an additional, and not-really-obvious step to transform kilometres into metres. That step was so non-obvious that it also took my husband a while to track down the cause of the impossible result and figure out why it had happened.)

Oh, and the result of that formula-cracking? Warp yarn angles run between about 14.7° and 17.1° - while medieval yarns usually are above 30°, and very frequently at about 40°. No wonder modern spinners tend to spin soft stuff, it's the only thing we are used to!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Dear Someone who is making The Middle Ages Unlocked available for free,

I would really, really love to know why you are doing this.

I mean, I totally get being motivated to offer a book for free download when it's old, and out-of-print, and you know there is need for said book but it just cannot be gotten anywhere at all (or for a price that is in the hundreds, if not thousands, of Euros or Dollars or Pound Sterling).
I totally get not wishing to pay for a five-page scientific article that is fifteen years old, costs an arm and a leg to access for twentyfour hours, and of which you a) don't know whether the content will actually be of any use for you and b) do know that the author is not getting paid for copies sold.

I totally get that. But "The Middle Ages Unlocked" is brand new. It is easily accessible and it is fairly priced (at least I do think so, and I know that the price may still be out of range for some, and though I'm sorry for that I cannot really help it, but that's an entirely different topic and one only partly related to the book piracy issue).

The thing is... to upload our book to a filesharing site, or a download site, either as epub or as mobi or even as pdf, you must have gotten hold of a copy first. Did you buy it? (At least the very first of you uploaders must have bought it.) Thank you. Your buying the book supported Gillian Polack and myself. We are both freelancers, and income from our books are part of what we live on.

And then? Why did you upload it to share? I really don't understand. This is not like handing out a few copies to friends and relatives, because you are so excited about the book. Or like getting one copy and splitting the price among a small group, and then sharing the book. It's giving away somebody else's work, a book you presumably liked or found important and good enough to be worth reading, for free to a gazillion of people you don't even know. That's what I cannot understand. (Except if you got the book to upload it as bait for a scammy site that tries to spread malware, or get people to divulge their credit card information. That's something I could absolutely understand. Even though it makes me feel a bit sick to have our work used for that purpose.)

If you liked The Middle Ages Unlocked, wouldn't you want to have more books by Gillian and me? Wouldn't you want to support us so we can actually do that? Giving our work away for free is not a good way to go about it. Unless you buy multiple copies and give each of them away - that would be a very good way. (Also unlikely, I know.)

Or is offering the book for free download a way for you to make us suffer, because you hate the book, or you hate us personally? If so, congratulations. You have achieved your goal - we are both feeling stressed out by this issue, and are wasting time and effort on keeping the situation as much under control as possible. We are also both losing income over this. It's not much per book, but it is going to mount up over time. Gillian told me she lost a lot, almost all, of income from one of her books due to ebook piracy from free download sites. We are not getting advances (not every author does) so each sale lost is a real loss to us.

Authors put in work to make books, any books. It's nice to have that work appreciated, and a very tangible way of that appreciation is getting paid for it. If I have the impression that writing can actually contribute to my making a living, I will be happy to write and publish more. On the other hand, putting in a few years' worth of work, but getting very little or nothing in return... it's not going to make be utterly motivated to sit down at the desk and in the library again.

Having "The Middle Ages Unlocked" pirated and offered for free download so soon after its release also makes me wary of having ebooks of my work in the future. I'm a physical books girl by default, though I do know a lot of people appreciate ebooks, and I was beginning to change my stance. Now? Not so happy about it.

So. If you are thinking of uploading "The Middle Ages Unlocked" by Gillian Polack and Katrin Kania to some warez or dealz site for free ebooks, or some filesharing or torrent or bittorrent site because you like the book so much - please think again. You are not doing us a service.
If you would like to read our writing for free, I have this blog here, and Gillian blogs, too. She also posts on History Girls. Yes, it might not always be a topic that interests you, but in case of my own blog, you are invited to engage with me in the comments to ask for specific topics, or any questions you might have. I won't promise that I will be able to answer all of them, but it could not hurt to try.
If you would like to spread awareness about our book, blog about it or leave a review on some site offering the book for sale (Amazon has the most impact, but any bookseller will help). Or, even better, do both. Facebook-post about it. Share it on Twitter, or whatever other socialising site you like to use. We're happy about reviews, and we're happy if you spread word about The Middle Ages Unlocked.

If you're thinking of uploading it because you hate either Gillian, or myself, or the book - well. I think we'd both much prefer to get a personal hate mail to this, or even better some constructive criticism on what we could do better, but I guess there is not much I can do to keep you from making us suffer in this way.

And if you're a scammy baiter... well. Probably nothing I can say here will change your mind anyway. If you are indeed offering our book as ebook and not just pretending.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015


I've written several notices about the ebook piracy thing, and those we found initially have been taken down. It seems there are more popping up, though, so it feels a little like playing whack-a-mole in spite of not really wanting to do so.

Otherwise, my paper is finally about finished - just the formatting of the bibliography has to be taken care of. The lots of rain in the last days mean that I can finally finish washing my fleeces, so one of them is soaking right now. The cat is sleeping, as usual...

...and the chili plants are making nice and colourful chilis:

I've also made a little bit more progress on the fleur-de-lis prototype - one side leaf and the band are left to embroider:

Here's the view from the back:

I'm already looking forward to the next step - doing it again while taking pictures...

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Dear Little Cat,

you are very soft, and very cute, and very cuddly. You are also a very friendly cat, and I do appreciate that you like to be in my company. I like to be in your company, too.

I can also understand that you wish to be petted from time to time, and that a nap close to someone you love is much better than just a nap. Finally, I am delighted that you take an interest in my work, and sometimes wish to participate.

However, you curling up on my desk? Especially in a way that means your paw rests on my laptop's touchpad?

Not. Helpful.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Copyright Troubles and Book Piracy - The Middle Ages Unlocked

I have pondered whether to blog about this or not... but I've decided to do it, in the end. Our book "The Middle Ages Unlocked" has been out for a week now... and it has already been pirated, as the epub or mobi version. Yes, really.

Gillian told me about this just this morning, and I have since wasted some time reading up on ebook piracy, getting some information from our publisher, and other related stuff. I have also sent off a notice to the cloud service thingie that hosts the download link, duly informing them about the infringement. And now I'll do my best to forget about this until it requires further effort from my side and move on. (Well, after this blog post, that is.)

I am, let me whine for a bit here, please, not at all happy about this. Gillian Polack and I have spent many, many hours working on the book, reading, researching, writing and refining. (I actually logged the hours. I have not checked yet how many they were. I am not planning to - it scares me too much.) We have spent a lot of time looking for a publisher willing to take on this exciting-but-also-slightly-daunting Beast of a book. Neither Gillian nor I are going to get rich off this (as is usual for authors).

Neither Gillian nor I expect to get rich off this book. What we do expect, though, is to be treated fairly - and that does not include somebody taking the hard work that we and our publishing house Amberley put into the book and placing it online, for free. That makes me sad, and a bit angry, and also a little depressed.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Things I'm currently working on...

While the cat is sleeping right next to my feet, curled up and sometimes purring loudly, I'm doing things. Lots of them. A brief overview of what happened yesterday and today?

One of the things was sorting my way through a huge stack of paperwork (there's still some more left to go through and sort into appropriate folders, but it was a very good start). Running a business is a huge stack of paperwork on top of the normal, daily-life, everyone-has-it paperwork, and from time to time that needs to be properly sorted out and re-organised into appropriately labeled folders and binders and things.

There were also some emails to look into getting things made, or re-stocked - results of these will hopefully come in the middle future. (I've long since learned that these things take time. In some instances lots of time.)

Gillian and I have written up a stack of guest posts for our blogtour to promote The Middle Ages Unlocked, aka The Beast, and we're looking forward to see where they will end up. We had a lot of fun doing a kind of interview with each other - it really is amazing how differently two people will see and think about something they've been working on together for several years!

I'm also in the process of finishing up a paper about spinning; two fellow textile nerds have graciously agreed to give it a proof-read, so I'll get some feedback on the contents and hope to have it all done and dealt with soon. Meanwhile I'll have to beat the pictures and the references into shape.

Plus some editing work, some drafting, a lot of looking at picture websites (for the spinning paper), some cuddling the cat, some computer maintenance, some getting the book-keeping up to date (again...) and some getting things ordered via the webshop ready to send off. And shooting a gratuitous cat picture. Because it's Friday...

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Rain, at last.

It's finally raining again here, and there is a good amount of water coming down gradually - very, very much appreciated by all the plants. (Plus it means I might soon be able to finish washing my fleeces!) The cat does not feel as happy as I do about the rain, though - for her, it means a sleepy day, as she prefers not to get wet if she can help it. No umbrella for her - though she could theoretically accompany me, under my umbrella, when I'll walk to the post office later today to send off some parcels.

Speaking of outside and the garden, we recently had the pleasure of meeting this guy:

It's a ladybird beetle larva, doing what they do best: eating aphids. In this case, sitting on a (wild) poppy bud. Judging from the amount of aphids still left, we could have used about twenty more of its kind, though!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Stuff that persists.

Some things... they just don't go away. One of them is TTIP. Another seems to be Gamergate.

They have been around long enough, and have been important enough as a disruptive force, that there's a PhD project about them. Which is, unsurprisingly, something the members of that group do not like... at all.

Well. While being one of the reasons to doubt the "sapiens" in "Homo Sapiens", at least the Gamergate folks make a very interesting PhD.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

A Fantastillion of Links.

First and foremost - our first Beast Blogtour piece is out! It is posted on the new blog at the Amberley Publishing website, where Gillian and I talk about how we got involved with studying the Middle Ages.

Then there's several Calls for Papers out:

The EXAR conference (experimental archaeology) at the Saalburg, October 1-4. (CfP is running until 15. July; please note that while it may look bi-lingual, to my knowledge these last years the conference was mostly German papers, posters, and talks, and I would not recommend going there unless you have some German language skills. If you understand German, though - I've had some absolutely lovely times at EXAR conferences!)

If you prefer warm Spain to cool Germany, there's the international meeting Technical Knowledge in Europe, September 17-19 2015.
It will review the key historiographical subjects regarding artistic and industrial technology in the Late Middle Ages and the first century of the Modern Period. One of the meeting’s core targets is to highlight the variety of methods with which the issue can be approached, from the study of the written record to archaeological investigation; and from the examination of technical recipes to the scientific analysis of works of art and archaeological materials. Find more information at their website. CfP is open until June 30.

Not a conference, also German, but still maybe interesting: Nobilitas has resurrected their "Akademie" - a weekend of papers, presentations and discussion for Living History people, taking place November 6-8. You can find out more about it on their website.

Some archaeology now, maybe? There's been a find of a viking-age grave with blacksmithing tools (German article here, unfortunately without links.)

Or some book-shopping? I have just learned this morning about http://www.eurobuch.com/,  a site to search for books (and compare book prices).

Monday, 15 June 2015

Happy Release Day!

Today is release day! Hooray!

I think I will celebrate with coffee and chocolate an a bit of sitting in the sunshine...

... before I continue working on all the other stuff that needs to be dealt with today. (This, I am sure, includes checking the sales rank of the book now and then.)

Things I already did up until now? Work with Margit on the pattern of a scarf for a joint-venture knitting pack. Work with Gillian on blogposts about the Beast. Rescue a sparrow that the cat dragged in (the bird was unharmed apart from a good scare, but the cat was a bit miffed that I took it away from her). Answer a few emails... and check the sales rank. Obviously. (But only once!)

Friday, 12 June 2015

Friday Linkfest.

There's a huge stack of links I want to share with you!

A German archaeologist, specialising on excavation and research of gallows squares and other places of execution, is trying out crowdfunding for her upcoming excavation project. You can take a look at the (German) page here - it definitely is an interesting excavation, and I hope she'll succeed with her funding!

Ferguson Municipal Public Library has received the award for the "Library of the Year". The article shows what a library can be and do for the public - that award was really deserved!

You might have stumbled across an article telling you that chocolate can help weight loss during the last months - it was all over the internet, and apparently all over print media, too. That study was actually a half-hoax - it was intended to show how unreliable pseudo-studies will have an impact on diet fads and public opinion, revealed by the author about two weeks ago. Let's hope this helps, because what John Bohannon writes about the many studies that tell you anything you wish is unfortunately true... fat is good for you, fat is bad for you, carbohydrates are good for you, bad for you, ... there's studies to prove all this. More or less, that is.

The Sad Puppies Hugo thing is still making waves.
Related to that, Kameron Hurley has a rant on her blog that I found well worth reading.

The Middle Ages' love for colour extended to the subtle colouring of gold alloys - as evident on the Shrine of Our Lady of Huy, c 1260. A group of researchers has studied recipes and the actual colouring of the shrine. (Linked article contains link to the actual study paper behind the Maney paywall.)

Genevra Kornbluth has a photo archive about "luxury arts" online, including many museum objects dating back to the Middle Ages.

And if that was not enough of a Linkfest for you, go over to Phiala's blog - she has linkage, too.

Thursday, 11 June 2015


Yesterday, the postie came and delivered this:

and you may have three guesses as to what was in there.

Done with the guesses?

Copies of The Middle Ages Unlocked! And right in time so I can send out pre-orders for the release date, which is June 15, or Monday! (If you order one right now, I'll send it out as soon as possible, though with the Deutsche Post on strike, I cannot promise that you will have it on Monday.) The second box from the top in the stack, by the way, was the best box - it contained this:

The piece of paper is the best kind of invoice there is - an invoice marked "These title(s) are being sent with the compliments of the Publisher".

Opening such a box? That is a priceless, precious moment.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Still testing.

There are things that we see, or use, that look easy. Easy as pie, and they are convenient and quickly picked up or quickly used, and nobody ever thinks about how much work has gone into them.

Take a book, for instance. It has contents (hopefully!) and a cover and a price, and there is writing and cover artwork and editing and layouting and printing going on before you can pick it up and settle down for a nice read. Or a film - even if you know that there will me much, much more that is filmed before the cuts reduce it, it's still something different to experience it yourself.

The same is true for something like an embroidery kit. Which tells you that I am still working on it - this iteration, there is tweaking and testing of the pre-drawing, taking still more notes about what needs to go into the instructions, and testing of how well the frame works for all this. I'm also testing the needles that will be included in the kit and making exact notes of how much thread is used for which of the parts. Meanwhile, the fabric for the final version has been sent off to be dyed, and I want to have finished this second prototype by the time it gets back here.

It's not the final pre-drawing, but pretty close to how it will be, both regarding shape, size and placement. The frame on a closer look (and especially upon touch) is obviously not real wood, but it looks very nice in combination with the dark blue fabric. As I want the kit to be so complete that you can get started right away and end with something that can be used as decoration without further ado, this frame is the perfect solution even though it's very modern.

And this is how the embroidery looks at the moment:

As you can see, I have not progressed so very far. I hope to find a bit of time this evening, though, so that I can at least finish the middle leaf!

The cat, meanwhile, is thoroughly un-impressed:

Tuesday, 9 June 2015


Today is one of these days where I got sidetracked by stuff - in this case, learning some more about the functions of my book-keeping programme. There are definitely new possibilities to do things that will make this part of work easier and quicker in the future, but it ended up eating most of my morning (or at least most of it).

So, before I go to frantically do all the things I wanted to have done before noon (such as drafting blog posts for the blog tour, and finishing a paper that is due, and finalising the English version of the spinning instructions, and hanging up the washing), here's a link for you:

A fully dressed noblewoman from the 17th century was found in France.

Monday, 8 June 2015

RIP Pierre Brice.

This Friday night, Pierre Brice has died, aged 86.

If you are German and my age, or probably a bit older, or a bit younger, chances are high that Pierre Brice has helped form your image of Native Americans - even though he was French, and the reason for this formative action was a German author living in the late nineteenth century who had never been to America when he wrote a series of novels... featuring a German adventurer and a noble Native American.

I am, of course, talking about Karl May and the Winnetou novels. Pierre Brice was the actor portraying Winnetou, the Apache hero, and I watched the films as a child and teenager, enjoying them immensely. I had posters of the Pierre Brice Winnetou in my room, and I was reading up on Native American culture* and listening to Country music. I remember dressing up playmobil cattle with shredded brown napkins to look like bison, and building playmobil-sized teepees for my "Indianer".

I read Karl May's novels, not only Winnetou but a lot of the others as well - many, many hours of reading. I watched the Winnetou films, and I had the soundtrack. We went to watch the Karl May festival at Elspe... I had a lot of good times thanks to Karl May.

A while ago, I discovered that a) the popular image of Native Americans in Germany is surprising to some people, and that b) not everybody knows where this comes from. (In case you do not know, it's very positive overall - Native Americans are living in harmony with nature, are almost always playing fair and are very honorable... you get the idea.) Well, one of the reasons for the spreading of this popular image has died on Friday.

For those of you who would like a glimpse of one of the films, here is the first part of the three-film series about Winnetou.  Watching a bit of it should give you a good impression of Old Shatterhand, Winnetou, the portrayal of Native Americans in these films, and the general not-so-small cheesiness of the movies.

Rest in peace, Pierre Brice.

*That meant I did discover most of what Karl May wrote was, well, not close to the truth. It was fascinating anyway.

Saturday, 6 June 2015


Today is one of the days to get things into order, and clean stuff, and rearrange things, and find new storage solutions. This has been in the pipeline for a while, but today's been earmarked for this for the whole week... and it has been off to a good start already.

The kitchen is dealt with, as is the bathroom, and a bit of the conservatory is still left to tackle, but it's mostly done too. The biggest part of today's reordering work, though, is finding a sensible system to stash all the goods I have for sale.

I've expanded the range of goods I sell quite a bit during the last year, and it has come to the point where I have more stock than my previous system can handle. This is exhilarating, and fun, and I feel very proud that the shop is doing so well - but it has also thrown my workspace into perpetual chaos, and it is time to finally tackle this. There's already been some shuffling of books and restacking of boxes to make a bit of space where it is needed, and if all goes well, I'll be done tonight and have the new system...

(This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but it looks like it misfired - so here you are. Surprise Saturday Blogpost!)

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Have a flower.

Today's a public holiday here in Germany, so you're not getting a proper blog post - just garden pictures instead:

 ...blooming lilies...

... blooming poppy...

and the Ecuador Purple Chili is doing its thing, too.

It's hot outside, by the way... and the sun is shining like there's no tomorrow. Once it has cooled off a little, I have gardening work to look forward to, but for now? It's time to relax, and have a coffee, and some strawberries, and a nice quiet afternoon.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Elderberry Things.

It's the time of the year when the elderberry trees are blooming here, and I can smell their sweet scent through the open windows.

Elderberries outside the window... in full bloom.

Which means it's the time of the year for a very traditional food - fried elderberry flowers. They are known as "Hollerküchle" hereabouts, and the typical batter for them is made with beer:

2 eggs
100 g flour
125 ml beer
1 pinch of salt

all mixed together into a batter. If you don't like beer batter, you can substitute milk or even (sparkly) water. The batter should be enough for about 12 elderberry flowers - use them as fresh as possible. If you want, you can dip them in cold water until clean, then let them dry off. (I usually pick only clean ones and save the washing.)

Dip each flower into the batter, then fry in hot oil or (even better) hot clarified butter until golden brown. Serve hot, sprinkled with confectioner's sugar or a mix of sugar and cinnamon. It's a lovely dessert or, if you make more of it, a lovely sweet main meal.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Things going on in the Blogosphere.

Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer have put together an issue of the New Statesman, and there were, let's say, "slight difficulties" concerning the cover. If you are at all interested, go read the piece on Neil's blog, it's worth it for the comic alone.

If you read German, Rainer Schreg has posted a very good reply to the concern that archaeologists (and the feuilleton press) are talking about the loss of monuments and cultural history that is going on in Syria and the Iraq. If you do not read German, here's the TG;CR (Too German, Cannot Read) short version:

If we are writing about the loss of monuments, it does not mean we consider stones as more important than people. We are concerned about the cruelty to people, but destroying their cultural heritage is part of destroying people and their identity. The effects of this will be felt long after the civil war, when new generations will ask questions about their own history - those questions will not be answered anymore with the lack of cultural heritage.
Loss of cultural heritage has been going on for many decades, all over the world, but it's only with the war and terror in Iraq and Syria that it has hit the press in force. However, if not in connection with these transgressions, when should we discuss this loss of our history? When the world is a beautiful, perfect place that has forgotten what war is like? If we wait until then, it could be too late. Let us stop discussing the merit of stones versus the merit of people and rather start asking why the rest of the world is just sitting there, doing nothing.

Over at archaeosoup, there's a video of Gary Bankhead (who recently stayed here to chat textiles and do some research) explaining about his work in Durham and the cloth seals he is researching.

And on a final note, going on in the Blogosphere in the near future: Gillian and I are planning a blog tour to celebrate the launch of the Beast (soon! very soon!) so if you happen to know of any blog who would be interested... let us know. (Gillian is especially looking for someone who wants to know how she knows so much about Old French insults, and I agree with her that it would be fun to tell about the issues of working together when you are ten thousand miles apart.)

Monday, 1 June 2015

Gold Embroidery Kit - next stage.

The prototype of the gold embroidery kit I'm currently working on is finished. I documented the amounts of thread needed (though not how long I worked on it), and I made notes for the instruction sheet that will go with the embroidery kit.

It took a little less than ten metres of the gold thread, and the couching thread was used in two different colours, which is much more visible in the original than in the picture. It looks a little wonky in the picture because I digressed from the pre-drawn pattern during the embroidering, and it's much harder to do a straight line if there is no leading line on the fabric. Why did I digress?
I made one single drawing, but you can see that I tested two different possiblilities - one was letting the three leaves run together close to the band (as can be seen in the upper left part), the other leaving a gap between the leaves. Same applies to the leaves where they touch the band - bottom with a gap, top without. I like the gaps between the parts better than the run-together look, so the final version will have a gap between the single elements.

And here's how the backside of the embroidery looks:

You can see the different colours of the couching thread much better here - though the rest, obviously, is by far not as spectacular...