Leather Working

I have a tendency to dabble in a variety of A&S activities within the SCA and leather working is one of those areas. As an archer, I’ve found a need to work with leather in order to make quivers, bracers, and other shooting accessories. Luckily, I have friends like Lord Stephan Grimm and Baron Colum Maxwell in the Barony of Stierbach who, not only have all the tools needed to work with leather, but are willing & able to teach!

Flask

This project was completed in one weekend spent at Baron Colum’s house. I picked out an empty glass container and His Excellency then showed me how to shape the leather to the vessel. I then embellished the leather with stamping, carving, and painting techniques in order to personalize it. This was my first leather working project and I’m very proud of how it turned out.

The glass container is permanently encased inside of the leather flask. This is perfect to carry water during the day or for a night out at Pennsic!

A Quiver for Pennsic

For my first Pennsic, I needed a quiver! Up until that point I had been borrowing quivers or using ground quivers while I shot, but I knew that was not sustainable. In the summer of 2015, Lord Cameron de Grey held a quiver making workshop at his home and I was able to make a very basic back quiver.

Cutting straps for my back quiver.
The finished quiver with a rendition of my badge, stamped and dyed.

My back quiver has seen quite a bit of use since my first Pennsic in 2015 and I’m ready to make a new one, in addition to a new crossbow quiver. Progress pictures to be posted here!

Arrow Making

There is a saying within the archery community of the Society: “Don’t get attached to your ammo!” And there is good reason for that. If you shoot on a consistent basis, then the probability of breaking and/or losing your arrows is quite high. The best way to curb the cost of replacement ammunition – with the exception of never missing the target – is to make your own arrows.

While I did purchase my very first dozen arrows, as I became more involved in archery I knew that I would eventually make my own. The first set of arrows I made were never meant to be shot – they were award arrows that I made and gifted to the best shooters at Spring Coronation 2016. I was the Marshal in Charge of Target Archery for that event and one of my favorite parts of this job is coming up with prizes to give my archers.

A few of the award arrows that I made for Spring Coronation 2016.

After making the award arrows, I set to the task of making a set of my own. These ones would be shot 🙂

Fletching my arrows using a fletching jig.
A hanging target at Grimmsfield.

I will continue to make my own arrows and arrows for others – either as prizes or as gifts – and post them here. Arrow making can be an art of its own. And receiving a beautiful, well made arrow can be a true gift.

The first award arrow I ever received. Made by Master Godai for Highland River Melees, 2015. A gift that I will cherish forever.

Music

I’ve always had a passion for music. Who doesn’t, really? My parents encouraged me to learn to play instruments and sing at an early age. In the mundane world I have played the violin, the guitar, the clarinet, and the saxophone… though the flute has always been my one true love. I started playing the flute at the age of eight and played through college, till the age of 21.

Despite the way my youth revolved around music, finding a way to incorporate this love within the SCA has been a challenge. I’ve attempted to learn music on more period instruments, though it’s been to little success. I always resolve to try harder and make more time to practice… alas.

The generous gift of a psaltry, from Master Marcellus.

I’ve had more musical success in the Society with singing, choir specifically. I’ve been a part of two choir ensembles in Northern Atlantia: The Ponte Alto Singers – our Baronial group – and Laydes Fayre – an interbarional women’s choir.

Ponte Alto Singers Performances

  • Chalice of the Sun God 2015
  • Ponte Alto Investiture 2016
  • KASF 2016
  • A Service of Advent Lessons & Carols (Columbia Baptist Church) 2016
  • Tournament of Love & Beauty 2017
  • Yule on the Bridge 2017
The Ponte Alto Singers at Fall Coronation 2016.

Laydes Fayre Performances

  • Night on the Town 2016
  • Battle on the Bay 2016
  • Holiday Faire 2016
  • Spanish Inquisition 2017
  • Love & Beauty 2017
  • Night on the Town 2017
  • Battle on the Bay 2017
  • Midwinter’s Feast 2018
  • Night on the Town 2018
  • Battle on the Bay 2018
  • Laydes Fayre 20th Anniversary Concert 2018
Laydes Fayre at our 20th Anniversary Concert. Total fail on my part to actually look at the camera!

Sadly, I have lost the ability to commit to singing with either of these groups for the moment. For now I will sing on my own or at events, when the moment is right. And maybe one day I will finally master a new instrument…

My Anglo-Saxon Lyre

Pennsic 45 Top Ten

I have a traditional of writing up a “top ten” once I’m home from Pennsic every year. It’s a way to preserve memories while they are still fresh in my mind and hopefully, look back on the positive moments rather than dwelling on any, inevitable negativity that is likely to occur when 10,000 people share the same outdoor space for two weeks straight!

Pennsic XLV

My first top ten! Yes, I am jumping on the bandwagon in the spirit of positivity! And because I want to be able to look back on this and remember the details…

Leaving Cafe Merhaba after obtaining an ice cold beverage to follow a day on the archery range.

1.Water bearing! To my surprise, water bearing was THE most fun thing I did at Pennsic this year. Tuesday morning rolled around and I really wasn’t feeling up to putting my armor on for the battle, but I still very much wanted to support my friends and serve my Kingdom in some capacity. The experience was amazing. I had great conversations with fighters from all over the Known World, people asking me my name, where I was from, and thanking me profusely for being there and offering service – their kindness made a huge impact on me. I can honestly say that I can’t wait until I can water bear again next War!

2. My sister joining me for the weekend for her FIRST SCA event! Matilda drove from Ohio to hang out and experience the SCA for herself after seeing all of my posts on the Book of Faces. I’m excited to say that she had an awesome time and is planning to come back next year – I can’t wait!

3. Retaining for Their Majesties Atlantia. Our populace is incredibly fortunate to have such kind and generous Monarchs. And for myself, I have felt personally invested and connected during this reign more than any other.

Retaining on the battlefield. Photo credit to Master Ursus.

4. Marshaling the St. Sebastian’s Shoot on Saturday. It was a long, hot day, and I wasn’t relieved from marshaling duty until the shoot was about to end, but I didn’t even mind. I had so much fun! I marshaled a line with Lord Grimm and Lord Ronan – we worked well together as a team and assisted some 280 archers through our targets. My target station consisted of four lollipops to which many arrows were lost, but I kicked my shoes off early on to help searched for ammunition after every round. The look on an archer’s face when you return a lost arrow is priceless! This is another event I can’t wait to help with next War!

5. Bog nights. This will always be a staple of my Pennsic experience! I love adventuring down to the lake at night and wandering around with my friends, never knowing exactly what will happen, where I will go, or who I will meet.

Another beautiful day at Pennsic.

6. Wolgemut! Wolgemut has been my soundtrack to Pennsic prep for the past few months so seeing them live was practically a dream come to life for me. They were incredible! Sadly, the performance was interrupted because of a heavy storm. My friends and I took shelter in the Great Hall, mooched some Blue Feather snacks, and danced like crazy people until there was a break in the rain and we were able to wander back to camp. It was a night of general silliness, of which I am always a fan!

7. Knee injuries. Yes, a knee injury made my top ten list! Wednesday I woke up with incredible pain and swelling in my left knee. I still have no idea what the caused the pain, but I’m now fully recovered. Despite being out of commission for the entire day, I received care and assistance that made it MUCH easier to bear. Having such great friends there to help care for me and keep me company made me realize how lucky I am in my chosen family.

My new crossbow, made for both target and combat shooting. Yes, it is purple!

8. The Mother of All Battles. It was the only battle I managed to fight in this War, but it was an amazing experience! I’m not sure that I actually managed to kill anyone, but I still had fun and that’s what matters. A special thank you to Master Seamus and Master Godai for their encouragement and guidance on the battlefield – as someone completely new to combat archery, that level of support is beyond priceless. I still have a lot to learn but I’m looking forward to working with my fellow combat archers and fighters so that I can be ready for next year!

9. Ponte Alto Court, whiskey tasting, and glow stick battle. I always enjoy Baronial court and seeing individuals be recognized for the (seemingly) never-ending service and support that they give – to each other, to the Barony, and to the Kingdom. During Thursday’s court Lady Barbara gifted me with a beautiful box that will be returning to Pennsic with me every year. After court we had a whiskey tasting and social that was A LOT of fun. This was followed by the kidnapping and execution of a ceramic troll and an epic glow stick battle that culminated in the invasion of a nearby camp – still not sure whose camp that was… The night ended with the snacking of leftover couscous and the stumbly-bumbly walk back to camp. It was kind of a blur at that point…

10. Becoming authorized to inspect combat bolts. I LOVE to learn, so yes, sitting through a two hour class on the proper construction of combat bolts was a lot of fun. Although I wasn’t able to make it out to the battlefield much this War after being injured, I plan on being there as much as possible next year in order to be of service in this capacity.

A quick selfie break during an after-battle inspection of combat bolts with Baroness Cellach!

Goals for next year: two full weeks of fun! More classes (I was only able to attend one this year) – both learning and teaching, more fighting, more shooting! The countdown begins!

Pennsic 46 Top Ten

I have a traditional of writing up a “top ten” once I’m home from Pennsic every year. It’s a way to preserve memories while they are still fresh in my mind and hopefully, look back on the positive moments rather than dwelling on any, inevitable negativity that is likely to occur when 10,000 people share the same outdoor space for two weeks straight!

Pennsic XLVI

Now that laundry is done and I am mostly unpacked… My top ten moments from Pennsic this year were (in no particular order)…

Household selfie on our pilgrimage home from the archery range.

1.Camping with Grimmsfield for the first time at Pennsic as a household. The months leading up to the event were hectic and it seemed like almost every weekend or Monday we were busy with projects, but it was well worth it. Our camp looked amazing and we had all of the amenities and comforts that we needed for two weeks. Our heads of household, Lord Grimm and Lady Gunnora, not only organized everything, but were total enablers and supportive of all of our efforts to make the camp as awesome as it was.

2. Water bearing! This was one of my favorite activities last year and so I made sure to volunteer again this year – this time for the Woods Battle on Wednesday. The Woods Battle was very different than the Field Battle that I volunteered for last year, but fun nonetheless. The only downside was getting stung by a yellow jacket that flew up my dress and got a little too personal 😨😭 Many thanks to those that helped with water-bearing efforts this year – a much needed effort!

This is my water bearing garb. Get it? I match the cooler. /sensible chuckle/

3. My sister joining me for a full week this year! Matilda drove from Ohio to hang out for Peace Week since she enjoyed her Middle Weekend so much last year. We even took the time to submit her name and device to Herald’s Point so she will be official by this time next year – yay!

4. Teaching two classes for Pennsic University. This year was my first time teaching at Pennsic and it was great! I taught Russian 101 and a Newcomer’s class on How to Get Involved at Events. Both classes seemed to be very well received and I am looking forward to teaching them again next year!

Reviewing my class notes while students gather…

5. Marshaling St. Sebastian’s Shoot on Saturday. This has become one of my favorite activities every Pennsic! I love marshaling a different station each year and meeting archers from across the Known World. Though I wasn’t able to make a target this year, Master Seamus allowed me to marshal his very challenging target during the morning shift. It was great fun!

6. Monday Night of War Week – the Roman Bacchanal and SwampFest! I have a new love for Roman garb thanks to Lady Laelia and the Roman Bacchanal on Monday was awesome! Going to a party where 95% of the attendees are actually dressed to the theme was amazing. The party was fun, the company great, and the food & drink plentiful! Following the Bacchanal we wandered down to the Bog for SwampFest, which was equally entertaining. We wandered from camp to camp, sampling specialty drinks and snacks along the way. Here’s to hoping that SwampFest continues next year!

7. Shopping. This year was the first time that I made an effort to visit all the merchants and… well, I spent a lot of money 😂😂 I bought a lot of things I needed, quite a few things that I wanted, and maybe some extra mugs because, despite what my camp-mates may say, YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH MUGS!

Mugs… OMG mugs…

8. Volunteering for a Watch shift. Middle Sunday morning from 3am-6am, I was driving around in a golf cart with my sister and enjoying Pennsic during its (relatively) quiet hours. This is another activity that I enjoyed so much that I plan to do it again next year! We saw every camp and road, were entertained by hilarious, drunken conversations, momentary lost a wool blanket in action, and found a dollar in the road 😂😂 And, of course, nothing equals the beauty of Pennsic at sunrise ❤

9. Scotch Night at Crossbow. This was my first time sitting within the circle and taking a sample of everything – it was not only a lot of fun, but I actually learned a lot about Scotch!

10. Volunteering at Newcomers Point. I love being a Deputy Chatelain and helping out newcomers whenever I can. This year, I volunteered for about eight hours of shifts at Newcomers Point and I really enjoyed it! It was great to hang out with other Chatelain types, get to know them, and assist any newcomers to Pennsic and the SCA who stopped by!

Bonus 11. And last, but most definitely NOT least, being inducted into the Order of the Yew Bow at Atlantian Royal Court. All I can say is, wow! I’m still feeling a bit shell-shocked to have received such an honor, but I’m grateful for the entire archery community of Atlantia for always being so welcoming, fun, and supportive. I’ve already been told that now is when the real work begins and, yes, I have plans!

The scroll and medallion made for me by dear friends, awarded in Atlantian Royal Court on Wednesday of War Week.

Recap and goals for next year: This year was much more relaxed than years past – I spent a lot of time in camp, just relaxing and hanging out with the household. I’m getting closer to finding the right balance between busy and restful during my favorite vacation 😂😂 Next year I plan to get back onto the battlefield with a new Combat Archery kit, both teach and take more classes, shoot more archery! 346 days and counting!

Did I cry during tear down? Maybe…

Pennsic 47 Top Ten

I have a traditional of writing up a “top ten” once I’m home from Pennsic every year. It’s a way to preserve memories while they are still fresh in my mind and hopefully, look back on the positive moments rather than dwelling on any, inevitable negativity that is likely to occur when 10,000 people share the same outdoor space for two weeks straight!

Pennsic XLVII

Home from Pennsic – car has been unloaded, laundry is done, camp trailer is unloaded, camp inventory has been taken, list of improvements made, and pavilions set up to dry – deep breaths – and now I can rest and reflect. In all honesty, Pennsic was a bit of a challenge for me this year. There were highs and lows. But in the spirit of remaining positive, I want to continue with my top ten list that I do every year so here goes (in no particular order)…

A moment I captured of the sun shining down on the Pennsic castle.

1.Peace Week – yes, the whole of Peace Week was pretty much perfect. I feel like I struck that balance of busy and relaxed. I woke up early enough to get up and get going, take or teach classes, volunteer, relax in camp as needed, and then party at night.

2. EldVatten/Craic Inne/Octobar – I hung out here at night more than anywhere else this year, mostly to see my friends, Esa and William, but also because the vibe is great. My friend, Mella, and I would get there nice and early, get good seats, drink good brews, and watch Pennsic TV. This is also where I had my one “I am exactly where I want to be/Feel Good” moment of Pennsic that felt like true Nirvana.

3. Chatelain things – I spent a lot of time teaching Newcomer classes and hanging out at Newcomers Point again, like I did last year. I enjoyed it just as much this year. And, if all goes as planned, I will be even more involved in this process next year! Special thanks to Baroness Desiderata and Duchess Kalisa for their guidance, encouragement, and faith in my abilities.

4. Watch shift – seriously, y’all – always one of my favorite things to do at war. This year I did my watch shift with my friend, Alexandria, from 1-4am – the night shifts are THE BEST – and we rocked it. I wanted to do at least one more before war ended, but time ran away from me. Next year though!

5. Known World Courtesan’s Roman Bacchanal – Wow, the Courtesans did an AMAZING job. AMAZING. AMAZINGGGG. It was fun last year, but the improvements made this year were significant. Everyone looked wonderful – the food and drink was delicious – the entertainment was fabulous. Everything was perfect. I cannot wait for this party to happen again!

A Roman matron – it me.

6. Water bearing – another war favorite. This year I did more water bearing than I ever have in the past – being on the field for Allied Champions, the field battle, the Atlantian ten man, and the bridge battle – both rapier and heavy. Our army was amazing – they fought hard and honorably – and I was happy to see so many other water bearers there in support of our fighters. It made me proud to be Atlantian!

7. Retaining for Their Royal Highnesses. Since I was an SCA newbie when Ragnarr and Lynette had their first reign together, it’s been a joy to retain for them now and get to know them both a bit better. They are kind and fun loving people and I am truly looking forward to their reign together as our next Majesties.

Retaining for Their Royal Highnesses during Opening Ceremonies.

8. Fulfilling my role as my boyfriend’s #1 fan. But seriously, I’m so proud of him and how well he fought during war. He placed 4th in the Rose’s Tournament and tied for 5th in the Squire’s Tournament. He also earned both a Shark’s Tooth and the Vexillum Atlantiae as a member of Windmaster’s Hill Baronial fighting unit. So yeah, he’s kind of awesome ❤

9. Shopping! I said I would buy less stuff this year… I lied! Mugs, socks, jewelry, and a lovely chair from Lord Stefan von Kiel (Gryphon Furniture) all found a home with me.

A wimple purchased at a Pennsic merchant’s booth.

10. Wednesday Night, War Week – Atlantian Court, Ansteorran Chili Night, Midnight Madness. We came, we drank, we followed the flag. It was a lot of fun and I hope to have a repeat next year!

Despite the ups and down of this year, Pennsic remains my favorite SCA event. It always has been and always will be.

Finger-loop Braiding

I first learned to finger-loop braid when I hosted a Newcomer’s Fiber Arts class at my home on January 15, 2017. Since then I’ve found it to be an incredibly useful skill to have, as finger-loop braids can be used for practically anything – medallion cords, lacing, ties, loops, etc.

A close-up of some braids that I made with DMC pearl cotton that were later used as drawstrings for pouches.

Most of the braids I’ve made have been used for drawstring pouches and garment laces – from early period Roman garb through late period Tudor.

Revenge of the Stitch

On April 28, 2018 I had the great fortune to be a member of a team of people competing at an event called Revenge of the Stitch. The parameters of the competition dictated that an entire period ensemble be made in 24 hours by no more than six people. As if this wasn’t enough of a challenge, we decided to get ambitious.

In November of 2017 we started planning to recreate the garment worn by King Henry VIII in his famous portrait, painted by Hans Holbein the Younger.

What I lovingly referred to as our Tudor Vision Board.

The results were as follows:

  • 6 crazy people
  • 10 pre-event meetings
  • 6 yards of hand-couched embroidery
  • 150+ hours of prep and research
  • 52 yards of fabric
  • 108 fabric pattern pieces
  • 74 post-it notes
  • 60 hand-cast and hand-decorated jewels
  • 52 hand-stitched puffs
  • 24 hours of constant sewing with 4 hours (on average) of sleep
The inspiration.
The result.

One of my many contributions to the project was the creation of some dozen or so finger-loop braided lacing cords, made of silk hand-spun by another member of the team, Lord Stephan Grimm.

The final braid with measurements.

For instructions for the lacing cords that I made, please visit:

http://fingerloop.org/patterns.html

I used Pattern 29: For to make a lace endented — c. 1475

Sources

Primary:
Manuscript Harley 2320, circa 1450. In the British Library, with scans on the web at
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=harley_ms_2320_f052r

Secondary:
Arnold, Janet: Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d. Washington, pp. 220-221, 1988. On these pages are reproduced 3 pages from the following: To make pursestrings, T 313-1960, in the Textile Department, Victoria & Albert Museum; London, England, circa 1600.

http://fingerloop.org/bibliography.html#T