Apprentice got elevated!

Last weekend, the 6:th of September, my apprentice Eva Grelsdotter was put on vigil by Their Majesties of Drachenwald to be elevated the next day for her art of cooking.
Of course this was all carefully prepared in secret by a lot of her friends and her husband to make sure that she got a perfect vigil and a perfect elevation. 🙂

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Eva in her vigil tent!
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The pies were made by Lady Sahra and Lady Åsa the evening before the vigil – and both recipes were carefully chosen from Evas own recipes! 😉 We left space on the table for the gifts that Eva would get!

I can not even begin to express how happy I am for her and how proud I am of my very talented friend!
We gave her a laurel wreath as a vigil gift made by EvaJohanna Studios – another one of my very talented friends!

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Laurel wreath made by EvaJohanna Studios – known as Baroness Estrid in the SCA. Picture is also taken by her. She has a store on Etsy that I have linked to in this blog and she does take orders!

Evas vigil lasted until 3.30 in the morning and me and her husband escorted her from her vigil to get some rest.
In the morning we slept in and missed the Investiture of our new baronial couple which was a shame but the awesome and long vigil had really drained us of energy.
In the evening court Eva was elevated to the Order of the Laurel.
During that ceremony she was also given the scroll that I had illuminated for her and that Lady Magdalen carefully calligraphed!

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Illumination was based on the Neapolitan Luxury bible from 1360. The miniature shows Evas art to the left with a queen by a table and to the right is her vigil tent with a night sky since I know that Eva loves the night sky! I even checked in what phase the moon would be so it would match her vigil night.

If I would tell about everything that happened during the planning of her vigil and elevation and everything that happened at the event – this would make one really long blog post – so I will just end this little brag of my first apprentice who I am now proud to call my peer with a picture of us two together. After her elevation. 😀

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Mistress Eva Grelsdotter and me – Meisterinne Katheryn Hebenstreitz! I also got the honor to speak for Eva as a laurel during her elevation ceremony. Something that I almost managed to do without starting to cry. But at the end of my speach – the tears of happiness came falling down … 🙂 Picture taken by Mistress Lia de Thornegge.

Went nuts with knots

For those that might not know, The Kingdom of Drachenwald celebrates is 20:th anniversary as a Kingdom in June. For this occasion I had really grand plans – but as usual I had time to realize just one out of several imagined outfits.
However the one I chose to really work on was the one that challenged me the most since it was from a period I really knew very little about.
Now I can safely say that my knowledge has increased substantionally and I have learnt several new techniques along the way.
I will not post any pictures of the complete outfit until after the event (why ruin the possibility of a grand entrance?) but I wanted to give a little sneak peak into one of the new things I learnt.

The textile finds from Birka contained a great deal of metal thread ornaments called posament. It seems that there are rather few websites that bring up this technique and most of those that exist don’t share any secrets of the trade.
So I sat down and stared at pictures of the extant examples and of replicas others had made until I finally figured out how it works.
And just to push myself that extra bit I also promised to teach a class at the 20 year celebration on this technique.
After the event I will post about my whole outfit and also post the handout I am working on for the class – but for now I will leave you with this picture of a piece of posament I just finished today and that will be a part of my head wear for the new viking clothing.
The knotted band is about 42 cm long and about 1 cm wide so it is a lot tinyer than it looks like in this picture.
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What I have been up to

I feel I have neglected this blog for long enough so I thought I’d just make a quick post and show you what I have been up to. 🙂

I have made myself a 14:th century hood out of a hand woven fabric that I bought at Pennsic more than a year ago.
The hood was all stitched together for a long while before I dared to make the buttonholes and sew on the buttons.

14:th century hood with pewter buttons.

The fabric i got from this lady.
The lining is a merino wool from Versace that I got at a local fabric store and the pewter buttons, bells and laurel bezants are all from Billy & Charlies.

I also took up illumination again.
And I started with a pelican scroll for Viscountess Genevieve la Flachiere.
I couldn’t be there on her big day so I asked her if she would allow for me to do the illumination. Since I don’t do calligraphy I had to find someone else to do that.
Since I know how much Her Excellency likes heraldry I put as much heraldry on the scroll that I possibly could.
I also exchanged one of the animals on the scroll for a cat from the Luttrell Psalter – her lord hinted to me that she loves cats and I know that the Luttrell manuscript is expecially dear to her aswell.

Pelican scroll for Viscountess Genevieve la Flechiere. Illumination by me and calligraphy by Lady Lyonet de Covenham.

And finally – I have started to make a few items for some friends of mine that won An Tir Crown and they needed some things for their largess.
And this summer I spent a few days over the dye pots learning more about this art and one of my teachers was Her Highness Caoimhe, so I used some of the yarn from our dye session this summer (at Cudgel War here in Finland) to make a naalebound hat that they can give away to someone worthy.
I like to call it ”The Giant Boob Hat”. 😉

Naalebound hat made with the Finnish stitch. The orange yarn is from a madder after bath and the purple decoration dyed with cochenille and an over dye of indigo.

Right now I am working on some blank scrolls so that I can make our signet happy and I just cut out an underdress for a new viking dress I am planning to make.
For the apron dress of that outfit I did a really simple tablet woven trim.

Tablet woven trim – a simple 4 turns forward and 4 turns backward pattern.

So that is it for now.
I am still around and I will not neglect the blog this much again – I promise!
 

Sometimes we forget…

This is a post about two ”trends” in the SCA that worries me. Perhaps trends is not the right word…
Perhaps tendencies is a better word.
All societies evolve and change over the years and to do that we do go through some difficult times.
And sometimes I have a feeling we forget that this is something we do for fun and on our spare time.
One of the things I have noted lately is how some people – they are not many but they do exist – that attend events seem to think they have booked an all inclusive charter weekend to a luxury hotel.
And to clarify – here in Drachnwald almost all our events are weekend evenst that include sleeping arrangements of some sort and usually 2 breakfasts, one lunch and one feast. We do provide food at most our events for all attendees that sign up for it and pay for it.
Many of us have health issues and allergies. Myself included.
For instance I have a hard time getting up to the top bed in bunk beds due to my fibromyalgia. So when I know that a site has bunk beds I inform the autocrats that if only possible – I would need a bottom bunk.
If they can’t provide me with that – I have to decide if I think the event is worth it for me. It is not harder than that in my world.
I can not expect that the autocrats create special arrangements for me – or build me a special bed!
My health issues and allergies can not become the main problem that has to be solved for the event organizers.

And when it comes to food allergies it is actually even simpler.
Some food allergies are deadly. I myself live with a man that suffers from nut allergy.
At some events we have brought him his own food. And that is nothing strange.
The people that cook the food at our events are not proffessional chefs. They are not people that daily handle food for people with severe allergies.
If there are nuts in many of the dishes served, they can not guarrantee that the nuts won’t contaminate some of the other food.
We can not expect the kitchen staff to cook special food for all people with dietry restrictions!
If we would expect the cooks at all events to cook food one to one for all allergies and diets (what I mean is that they would replace each dish someone can’t eat with something else) it would be an impossible task.
I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect that people with serious dietry restrictions are prepared for the fact that they might not be able to eat all the food at an event and that they might have to bring some food of their own to not go hungry.
It is about safety! Safety for the allergic person, safety for the people in the kitchen and about taking responsibility for your own allergies and diet – not making them someone elses problem.
Someone else that has given up a weekend of spare time to cook for a whole event.
Unreasonable would be if you had to pay for the food but couldn’t eat it.
With ANY food allergies you should be prepared for the fact that you might not be able to eat EVERY SINGLE dish during feast.
Feastocrats aren’t stupid – they will make sure you won’t go hungry – but you might not be able to eat everything.
I am sorry if I make anyone upset with my rant, but honestly – the SCA is a hobby and all autocrating, feastocrating, marshalling and other things is something that people do on their spare time.
Don’t forget that we rely on volounteers – if we expect the unreasonable there won’t be any volounteers in the end!

Now to a different rant and a different problem…
In the Nordic countries there is a norm in society that no one should think they are better than anyone else – this is called the Jante Law and you can read about it here.
This causes problems in many hobbies since honestly – there is always someone that is a bit better, a bit faster, a bit stronger etc.
Lately I have heard comments like: ”Some people only do things to get awards”. And I have heard it in many regions of the Kingdom.
Or people say they think that the SCA has become a competition and it is all about who has a new dress, a new tent, new shoes or a new recipie.
And it is sad that people feel like that.
Especially since the people that make new things all the time do it because they are passionate about their hobby.
Perhaps there are people that do things only to get awards – honestly, all people want affirmation and want to get a pat on the shoulder and hear that they are doing good, and in the SCA our pat on the shoulder is awards – but I don’t think that people spend heaps of money and time on something that they are completely uninterested in!
I would not spend HOURS flipping through pictures in the Bildindex and doing wide obscure searches on a topic I am completely uninterested in just to get an award in the SCA.
What I see has happened lately in the SCA, is that people GENUINLEY are interested in doing reaserch and to learn new things and to share their knowledge.
Sure, this raises the bar and sometimes unreasonably high – but is it really all bad?
We have access to so much more information theese days with everything that can be found online – museums have picture databases online – we can easily buy books from anywhere in the world through the internet! Ofcourse the bar will be raised with an increase in access to information!
And we also have so much greater means to share – now we can do it in a blog online and those who are interested can read about it. And those who might not have the money to spend on the book still get access to the information!
The blogs are not there to brag. (Well, most of them are not at least.) They are there so that we can share our finds, increase knowledge, discuss theories, ask questions and also to push ourselves to actually do the projects we set out to do.
To use myself as an example once again – I feel a lot more preassure to finnish a project if I have promised to write about it on my blog. I have a responsibility to my readers.
That is MY way of kicking myself in the butt.
And it does feel good when you see that you get many hits or reads on your blog. That becomes a pat on the shoulder. ”I must be doing something right – people want to read what I write!”
Before I saw tendencies for people to withhold information that they had managed to dig up. Sources were scarce all new knowledge was like finding a gold mine and who wants to share a gold find?
Theese days people want to share what they have learnt for the benefit of all. Actually – theese days it is better to put the information out there as soon as possible – that way you get to be first! 😉

Another reason that things have changed and that people get new things is because many of todays scadians started as poor students many many years ago.
Now many of us are done studying, most of us are working and we finally have the possibilities to do all the investments into our hobby that we have always dreamed about.
Ofcourse there are members in the SCA that don’t have the same possibilities – but it is not a competition! We do it for fun and everyone has to adapt how they can play to their current situation.
And the situation can change – for all of us. Those that have to day might not have tomorrow and the other way arround.
Should I not get a new tent when I finally can afford it just because I have to think about all the others that can’t afford it?
Should I not make a new dress completely out of silk and research it really really well, now that I have found my area of interest, invested in books and have enough money to get the correct materials – because I  have to consider the fact that someone will be stressed by me showing up in a new dress?
Remember – this is a hobby, we do it for fun and we all have different means to practice our hobby.
Some are good at brewing, some are good at textile arts, some are good at metalwork – the people that are good at EVERYTHING are rare!
Find YOUR thing – that you like and that works with your current life situation. All of us have had to cut corners – all of us have had dresses out of sheet cotton at one point or another…
And put things in perspective.
What if we played golf?
Would we sit and complain that ”NN” always win the competitions because he has made himself a new fantatsic club.
”NN” just goes to the drivning range and practices to win competitions.
Damn that ”NN” he, just wrote on his blog how he has figured out how to play hole number 9 on that impossible golf course in Spain – what a prick to share that information!
Doesn’t it suddenly sound pretty silly?
If what others do annoys you – look the other way and play as YOU want to play. Not everyone has to play the same way.
So now some might say – this is easy for you to say! You have awards, you have a camp!
Well, I have not always had it.
I have worked hard for it.
And I know I might not have all of it one day.
Who knows – my fibro might prevent me from sewing in a few years.
Or be so bad that I can’t work or go to events.

This is a hobby like any others. We do it for fun just how we get ProSkins for our video games. We rely on volounteers.
Find the benefits instead of looking for things that annoy you!
Just imagine what sources you can get access to if you reach out!
Play the game the way YOU want and the way YOU can and stop looking so much to what others do.
That way I think one ends up a lot happier and a lot more content with ones hobby.

How to make a Stuchlein – a looooong post!

NOTE: This is a 4 page post due to editing problems in WordPress…

First of all: this is my version of how to make the German 16:th century hat called stuchlein.
There are no extant examples – the only thing we can do is guess how it was made and this is my take on how to recreate this headwear to make it look as in the woodcuts and paintings.

There are many varieties of this hat – different regions had different fashions and the decorations varried depending on how wealthy the womans family was and if the stuchlein was ment for every day use or for special occasions.
The stuchlein was the headwear of married women. And it also stated that the woman was no longer a virgin. If a woman lost her virginity – the norm was that sje has to cover her hair. This way the stuchlein and the schleier (veil) could become a stigma if the woman had lost her virginity ouside of marrige. ( The article ”Haubendämmerung” by Jutta Zander-Seidel, 2010).

The stuchlein was made of at least 3 parts – sometimes even 4.
First you wore a linnen cap. This way you protected the wulsthaube – the second part of this headwear – from getting dirty from your hairs oils and dirt. The wulsthaube was a cap with a stuffed roll attatched to it to get the volume at the vack of the head that is typical for the stuchlein. The stuffed roll was either sewn to a cap or laced to it – there are different takes on this and it is quite possible that both ways of construction existed.
After that you wore a cover that could either be just a schleier (veil) or a decorated or richely decorated cap. The veil often had a long tail that was either wrapped under the chin and then fastened at the side of the headwear with a pin, or the long tail could be wrapped around the wearers arm.
The decorated caps could be decorated with different trims making up a pattern of stripes and they could also be embellished with jewels. If the ouer cap was decorated with jewels and expensive embroideries – the women often wore a very thin veil on top of it so that the decorations could be seen through the light fabric but at the same time the valuable decoratoons were protected.

Here are some pictures that shows some stuchleins that have inspired me to this project.

Award – and why it has been quiet

A few weeks ago, I got this award from my friend that writes the blog One Year and Thousand Eggs.
I will now answer the questions and forward the award.

1. When did you start your blog?
The first entry was made 12:th of August 2010.

2. What is it about?
It is about costume history and the textile projects I make to use in the SCA and about the research I do to find out more about the different items I try to reconstruct. I mainly do German 16:th century, but I dabble in viking things and soon also 14:th century. It is possible that I will also post some things abou calligraphy and illumination since that is another thing I really enjoy.
3. What are the differences between this blog than others?
I am not sure that there is a big difference between my blog and other textile history blogs – and I am fine with that. I do try to think a bit outside just the textile angle and think about who would have worn this item, what would their life have been, who would have made it and such things. In my eyes it is easy to reconstruct the item, but a lot harder to put oneself in the shoes of the historic person wearing the items. The context of the modern world makes it hard to picture how life would have been 500 years ago. But to be able to reconstruct an item so that it is practical for the persom who would have worn it, is impossible without understanding at least some bits of that persons life. Would she cook over an open fire? Would she walk long distances? Would she have someone to help her get dressed?
4. Why did you started it?
I wanted to share my knowledge and make myself document all the things I do. Before this blog I kept my knowledge in my head – not really writing it down. This way I gather my sources for my teaching and at the same time I get feedback from others that enjoy researching the same kind of things. I am a big fan of constructive critisism and whenever anyone gives me a new angle on things or hint about a new source I fet very excited!
5. What would you like to chance in your blog?
I wish I had time to do more posts. And I am still trying to work out how WordPress works. I am not really a computer wizzard. 😉
And the award goes for these 5 gorgeus blogs:

Cristina’s ramblings

Lia’s projects

In deme Jare Cristi

Eva’s journal

Racaire’s Embroidery & Needlework

Now to why it has been so quiet here.
The 7:th of March I went through shoulder surgery and my left arm is in a slin 24/7 for 6 weeks.
I am using this time to read up on a class I am planing to teach at Double Wars at the end of May.
But I am hoping to be able to post on some sort of project very soon!