Round-up of summer 2017

I had the lofty goal of updating this blog weekly, but, as has become customary forgot about it almost immediately. I have, however, done a few things since the last update. I patterned, cut out and have stitched up a new basic black 16th Century kirtle, which I plan to make my basic base layer. It’s nearly finished, the only thing left is hemming. I had help measuring the hem (Thank you, Tece!) so I just have to do the remaining bit of work. The goal now is to have it in time for October Crown Tourney in Aarnimetsä.

Another project finished this summer was a pair of leather gloves! I started them in 2008, after having the pattern done for a while after a Sewing Circle day where we all made glove patterns. I bought soft glove leather in a store which is no longer in existance, but since there are two gloves I got bored and it took nine years to finish them off. I brough them along to Cudgel War, and they were gorgeous, beautiful and all things wonderful.

If I were to do them again, I would fit each finger to me as I went, as the forefingers on each glove is a little too large. There’s not going to be any changes now, though, they are good enough for me.

Documentation for Antonio’s breeches made at Raglan

The second really cool project I did was draft and sew a pair of 16th Century breeches for a friend during the ten day camping event at Raglan in Wales. I had a look at the schedule before we went and could tell there was going to be plenty of time for me to just hang out. Instead of just sitting idle I wanted to try out some more proportional drafting as taught by Mathew Gnagy in “The Modern Maker“. He is currently working on his second book, which will contain breeches as well as lots of other garments for the 16th Century gentle, and he has been posing lots of pattern drafts taken from Freyle which is a pattern book from 1588. My friend Baron Antonio has long been asking me to make him something, so I thought I would combine the two. Said and done on the Thursday before Raglan I sent him a question about fabric, and style, and arranged for him to bring me fabrics. I provided threads and all other tools. I made a bara-tape based on his waist, and with the Freyle layout I drafted a pair of breeches, which I sewed on site using my reproduction brass needle bought in Visby.

Antonio’s breeches, front
Antonio’s breeches, side

They were a complete success as far as I’m concerned. Fit him very well, moved with ease, were comfortable enough. I also added a pocket, which I could have worked a little better, possibly might need a couple of stitches to make sure it doesn’t open where it’s not supposed to. I opted for a tight cuff at the knee, which meant I had to add a couple of points, which I made fingerloop braids for in matching silk. I started them on the Sunday and finished them just after noon on the Wednesday. The documentation was for the A&S Display for “Things worked on during Raglan”. I put the trousers out there along with the little page to explain the project, and some generous gentles left me a couple of very nice tokens of appreciation which made me very happy. I now have a matched set of fleur-de-lys brooches!

Nearly finished Laurel Cape

For Raglan I also made a little 16th Century cape, with a collar, on which I appliqued a Laurel wreath. This was a gift to Mary Verch Thomas who was elevated to the Order of the Laurel there. The base fabric is a cotton velvet and the leaves were cut from a wool cloth. Applique on velvet is a somewhat frustrating exercise. It’s also lined in a nice thin suiting wool, so it’s quite warm and cozy. The collar also makes it excellent as a wind-shield.


Cudgel War – the long exhale

Ever since Geiri and Drake talked about going to Cudgel war a long time ago, at the beginning of the Aarnimetsä ten-day camping event, I knew it was an event I wanted to go to, eventually. Once I finally made it over there for the first time, two years ago I knew for certain I needed to come back the following year, and this year as well. Now having been there three times both me and Edricus agree that it is one of the best times one can have in the Current Middle Ages in Drachenwald.

It is basically one long exercise in relaxation – the schedule is well-spaced out, the surrounding is beautiful, the food is superlative, and the company is splendid. Even when it rains a bit, like it did this year, we could sit comfortable in our cabing sewing, chatting, nibbling snacks and sipping drinks. If we had had our tent with us we’d be sitting in our tent doing likewise.

And really, the sauna and the lake is perfect. I swam out to Monkey Island and back again this year. I think it’s becoming a tradition. It was only warm enough to do it once though.

There is a good amount of things to do if you want to, and I’ve so far always taught at least one class during the week. This year we also had a Laurels Prize Display there for the second time (the fourth overall, counting the two we’ve also put on at Double Wars) and it’s great to see what people are working on and talking to the artisans about their stuff. Last year we used the loft, which is big and airy, but has no light. This year we were in the lunch room with was big enough, and plenty of light, but had no air in it by the end. I was very glad to be able to step outside for a minute to gulp down some water and fresh air at the same time. Last year the display had eleven people, this year there were nine. The Prize I gave out this year was a few rings from my fingers, plus tokens for everyone. Although I had forgotten my proper tokens at home I quickly whipped up some little pouchelets with candy. It doesn’t have to be big, or gaudy, or expensive to leave a little gift of appreciation.

It was all in all, a splendid event, very relaxing, and I can’t wait to go back to Aarnimetsä, and Nuijasota.

There was also other things happening there, among them some good talks with Silwa – both of us agreed that we would like to continue our relationship and continue to be Laurel/Apprentice. Officially the one year trial period ends in October – but hopefully neither of us are fickle enough to change our minds before then. There may be more news soon as well, but that’s for another time.

Laurels Prize Display at Double Wars 2015

I am very pleased that at Double Wars this year we managed to get together another Laurels Prize Display. Last year was the first time we arranged it, and we had the Tavern room at Double Wars entirely filled with awesome people and things. This year we only had seven displays, one of them put on by two people (Åsa and Mårten and their tent with furnishings), and one done by a bunch of people (Baron John of Styringheim and his minions working on smelting iron). The other gentles displaying were Lady Renike Tucher with her German 15th Century research, and embroidery, and applique and all the things. Lady Þora Sumarliðadóttir who put out a number of things related to the middle ages in Norway, and Lofoten in particular, including dried fish which you eat with butter. Baron Konrad of Knight’s Crossing and his shoemaking display. Lord Erik Dalcarlius, who is fairly new to the SCA and is working his way through trying a bunch of variations of viking shoes. He and Konrad sat next to each other and I think they had lots of fun. Viscountess Jacquelyna de Bellmont who displayed a scroll she had made including all the steps and research she did to produce it.

All of the displays were pretty cool, and the level of that we see artisans produce here is as always amazing. I personally gave my token to Viscountess Jacquelyna, because her display had the materials, the way to work the thing as well as the finished product, and she talked about her project in a thoughtful way. Anyone who checked out the display could, I think, come away with an appreciation of what it takes to produce a scroll, and maybe learn something about how you can go about making it yourself even if you are brand new to scribal things.

The attempt to produce iron from limonite was also super-cool, and John knows all about how it should work, and why, but the experiment did not in the end produce much iron at all. But it was a great learning experience, and they’ll continue with the experiment next year.

This year the scheduling was not flawless, and the Display ended up being at the same time as the Unbelted Tourney for heavy fighters and the Fencing Rose Tourney – so we had very few people come by the display to chat with the artisans, which was a shame.

Double Wars XXVIII

Before Double Wars this year I was feeling a little disillusioned, a little tired and without inspiration. After Double Wars, I am feeling inspired, delighted and like I have found the joy again.

This year, the A&S side of things had the honour to invite a guest teacher, and since I’m one of the two coordinators and there are heroes of mine out there in the world I suggested Maistresse Mathilde Bouret who now lives in the Outlands, but was made a Laurel in Atlantia. She was working on a method to draft a self supporting 14/15th century gown by measurements alone and I sent her my measurements and three photos and got back a pattern which, when I made it up, fit me perfectly. Including sleeves. So, yes, she is a hero of mine, we asked her and she said yes. Her classes were all interesting and fun, and she herself was awesome and amazing and a person we need to make sure to export over here for sure!

As a result of her coming and teaching, and me bringing all of my early clothes, I am inspired to start working on that wardrobe again. I need sewn hose. I really really need sewn hose, but they are like, the most boring thing ever to sew. I don’t know why. I also need a gown layer, something to put on top of the kirtle, for warmth, and also for pretties. I am definitely making a mi-parti gown. Or a mi-parti kirtle. Not sure which yet. I also need to do something about the purple wool surcote that I almost never wear. It’s a super heavy wool, and it’s a slip on which currently is a little on the tight side. I had to have help to get out of it and the last time it was pulled off me one of the seams ripped. I might disassemble it and make hose from the fabric?

I also wore horns one day and it was awesome. Definitely using horns more often. I managed to apply the big circular veil perfectly as well, so it draped very prettily.

I taught one class, the same as I did last year (long-armed cross stitch). This time I actually had students show up, and they seemed to have fun working the stitch. It is really very simple, but you can vary it in quite a few ways (all quite period) to create many different appearances. I brought the cushion I am working on, borrowed the Nordmark kneeling pads, and a napkin which all have long-armed cross stitch embroidery, but all look very different.

The artisans in Drachenwald are pretty awesome, and the Laurels Prize Display was well worth visiting this year again. Not as many people as last year, unfortunately, but it was also at the same time as the fencing Rose Tourney, and the Unbelted Tourney. :(

Wednesday night there was Grand Court, and Countess Cecilia Jäger was called up along with Duke Marcus, to give out the scroll that I had -finally- finished for Helwig’s Laurel. She was elevated in 2009 and the text was finished at that time, and they both signed the scroll. I’ve just been sitting on the half-finished scroll since then, because I was terrified to mess it up every time I had to put it away and start over again on something. Anyway, it was finally finished, and since they were both there I asked them if they wanted to conclude that little piece of business. It also worked out nicely, because Cecilia was then sent off to sit vigil to contemplate elevation to the Order of the Pelican.

I was surprised and extremely honoured on Thursday when she asked me in the lunch line if I wanted to speak for her during the elevation ceremony as the representative from the Laurels. I didn’t quite understand her when she asked me, and thought she was asking me if I had something to tell her then and there, when she was in fact asking me to make a speech in court. Once I realized I got a little weak-kneed and the rest of that day was me bent over a notebook trying to form my thoughts into well-spoken words. I’m pretty pleased with what I ended up writing down, and I manage to get through the speech without breaking down and I was heard. Cecilia was pleased with it, and a few others commented that they liked it, so I think my first time as a worthy went well.

I ended up feeling extremely delicate on Thursday evening, though. I didn’t really manage to swallow much of the dinner, being nervous. So much so that I had to be helped home by two friends and spent the entire day Friday doing basically nothing. Got up at two, dragged myself to a blanket next to the list field, and then went back to bed because we had not gotten feast tickets. All of that meant that we could pack our stuff up and head home on Saturday already, and we had all of Sunday to decompress at home which was pretty nice. It did mean we didn’t even make it out to Hovdala and the market, which was a shame because we didn’t get to hug Kerstin at Medeltidsmode who had sent me a beautiful thank you note for a dress a group of us made for her.

The room we were in was also pretty awesome; myself and Edricus, Helwig, Filippa, Katheryn and Mathilde were all in one room. I would not mind a repeat of those bunk assignments even if we did have to put a chair at the foot of the bed to be able to climb up into the top bunks.

As usual, I talked to lots of people, but missed so many more. I didn’t even do one evening of camp crawl, so didn’t end up chatting to some that always can be found in their encampments. I attended a few classes, but missed more that I wanted to go to and I didn’t manage to sit down with Silwa and do woodworking on a blanket. She was busy most of the event finishing scrolls, and there was some rain getting in the way as well. I did manage to get both Silwa and Filippa to sign up for Cudgel War, however, and Cudgel is the chillest event ever so we will definitely have time to do that there.

I did take pictures… I’ll edit and upload them eventually I’m sure, but right now I’m so inspired I want to make things instead!

Facio. Disco. Gaudeo.

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