Embroidery

Embroidery is one of my favorite A&S activities within the Society and I honestly wish that I had more time to commit to making and finishing projects. I have many half-completed projects and ideas for others – I only hope that I live long enough to see them through!

An Embroidered Pillow in Black & Gold

This pillow was embroidered based on my interpretation of a period style found in 15th century Spain.

Juan de Flandes, Portrait of an Infanta. Catherine of Aragon (?), ca. 1496; Oil on panel. 31.5 x 21.7 cm, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid INV. Nr. 141 (1930.36)

The style of embroidery is a counted blackwork, though gold floss was used. Blackwork is typically seen on garments in England from the time of Henry VIII, however the term “Spanish work” was also applied to this same style. The belief became that Catherine of Aragon brought blackwork garments with her from Spain to England. The pattern created for this pillow was inspired by a portrait, believed to be of Catherine of Aragon herself, painted by the Spanish artist Juan de Flandes in approximately 1496.

A close-up of the embroidery on the collar, which was used as the inspiration for the pillow’s design.

For the pillow’s materials, I used Zweigart brand Belfast 32 count 100% linen and Au Ver A Soie brand silk embroidery floss for the pillow’s exterior case. The body of the pillow consists of a linen interior case stuffed with goose down. The case of the pillow was then sewn closed using a whip stitch in a cotton thread.

A progress picture of the counted thread work.
The final result.

This was my first entry in an A&S competition. The embroidered design on this pillow was my second project to use blackwork or any kind of counted thread embroidery. I was very pleased with how it turned out and I’m proud to say that it won the Best Novice in the A&S competition at the Spanish Inquisition – Torquemada’s Trans-Iberian Tour event on January 21, 2017.

Kingdom Arts & Sciences Festival, 2017.

After winning the Best Novice entry, I was honored to be selected as the Baronial A&S Champion for the Barony of Ponte Alto. I then entered the pillow again at the Baronial A&S Champions competition at Kingdom A&S Festival in 2017.

A Blackwork Napkin

I first learned the technique of blackwork during an Atlantian University, at a class taught by Lord Robert Shockley of Avonsford. I immediately fell in love with counted thread embroidery, as it appealed to my love of symmetry and evenness. My first blackwork project – a gift for a friend that has yet to be gifted! – was a napkin with a hem-stitched edge and blackwork motifs decorating its corners. I still have additional motifs that I would like to add, so – for now – it remains in progress.

A close-up of the hem stitch.

I love to hem stitch the edges of any embroidery project the requires a clean finish. This is one of my favorite embroidery techniques and I find it to be particularly calming & meditative due to its simplicity.

A very traditional motif of oak leaves in one corner.

German Brickstitch

Another of my favorite counted thread techniques is brickstitch. I learned this technique for a project that was never completed and, most likely, never will be. But I do hope to start a new project in order to practice this technique some more – I’m thinking, a German pouch? To be determined!

A close-up of the hem stitch.

The pattern was taken from Master Richard Wymarc’s collection at http://wymarc.com/index.php/patterns

It is Pattern 23: A Fragment.

The pattern depicted a motif of trees and birds.
The pattern was meant to be subtle. From a distance, it would appear as solid blue. Only up close would a person see the variations in colors and patterns.

A Norman Dress

One of my first, big embroidery projects was to make a simple dress with very elaborate embroidery – inspired by the Norman garb of the 12th Century.

An Alb (Coronation garment) said to be worn by the Norman King William II. Made by the Royal workshop in Palermo, Sicily. 1181. Inv. XIII 7. Location: Kunsthistorisches Museum, Schatzkammer, Vienna, Austria. Image taken from Pinterest.

My version of this garb was much simplified – made with Appleton’s crewel wool on linen, in a combination of chain and stem stitch. I also used a blanket stitch around the border of the neck and sleeves.

To transfer the design to the linen, I traced the motif onto Strathmore Tracing Paper and darkened the lines with a black sharpie. I then taped the paper with the outlined design to a window on a sunny day, then taped the linen over top of the paper. The light shining through the window allowed me to see the black lines on the paper through the light green linen, and then, in turn, trace those lines onto the linen with the Wrights 8823005 Water Soluble Marking Pen in blue. I find this pen to be wonderful for embroidery projects as the markings disappear as soon as you add water.

The final product, worn on the archery range.

Mammen Embroidery

Another unfinished project! I began recreating the Large Masks motif from the burial at Bjerringhøj, in Mammen parish, Middelsom herred, in northern Denmark. The finished product was meant to be an embroidered bank for a Viking hat, but it never quite made it that far.

The extant piece and technical drawing of the find from the 1869 article by Worsaae. This image is taken from the website of Heather Rose Jones: http://heatherrosejones.com/mammen/

The embroidery was done with Au Ver A Soie brand silk embroidery floss on inherited fabric – I was told it was a silk blend, but that may or may not be correct.

I traced the technical drawing (above) on to the fabric using a light box.

The beginnings of the stem stitch around the face.
A close-up of the stem stitch and the completed face motif.

A Lady’s Favor

A quick project, gifted to a fighter as a favor for a heavy tournament in early 2017. The motif is my first badge registered with the Society: Argent, a tree blasted sable and in chief a mullet of seven points purpure.

I traced the design using my computer screen – haha! Like I said, it was done quickly 🙂

No judgment! It worked 😉

The embroidery was done in satin stitch with DMC floss on white linen.


The beginnings of the satin stitch as the tree branches are filled.
Nearly complete!

The edge of the linen was finished with a machine. Since it was meant to be worn on the fighting field, I didn’t want to spend too much time fancying up something that was likely to end up torn and dirty!

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.