Monday, March 11, 2019


Since I don't currently have real space to do big projects, I've been relegated to knitting and handsewing, with an emphasis on the former. But, when my stuff arrived in December, I cleverly pulled out all of the handsewing work I had accumulated, and put it someplace where I'd have to look at it every damn day.

Yesterday, I finally did something about it, and now I'm motivated to keep going.

Behold...the continuing story of the Lacy AF Apron of Laciness:

It doesn't look like much, right there, but what happened was me finally finishing the stitching down the flappy bits on the back that were created when I cut the linen behind the lace. It looks great, and was the hardest part, so now I'm all fired up to add the lace at the bottom, more lace at the sides to finish things off nicely, put a waist tie on it and get on with my life.

I feel like I'm going to have an SCA wardrobe very similar to my modern one where it's the same damn jeans/t-shirt or sweater, but change the scarf for a new look, but instead it's the same damn dress, but I'll change aprons to create a new look. There are worse things.

Thursday, January 03, 2019 oleo of statements, if you will...

As we were unpacking all of my stuff, last month, I pulled out the sizeable collection of Things I Need To Fix And/Or Finish. Since I can't really scribe, at the moment, and I don't have a place or a machine for sewing, that leaves knitting and hand-sewing to keep from stabbing people. Starting, of course, with a new project that I hope to have off my plate for the short-term (I'm making some linen napkins for the gift basket from Their Drachenwald Majesties, which started out being a way to learn needle lace but will end up being merely hand-stitched and maybe edged with lace that I just now remembered that I have. Go me!)

And, naturally, as I sit here contemplating that stack of things, my fancy lightly turns to thoughts of...Kingdom A&S Competitions.

Now, if you know me, you know that I hate eschew them, generally, because I don't like art as a competition. However, as a means to a) encourage me to actually make some shit, and b) sort of show my new friends what my jam/jams is/are, it's a useful tool. I'm sure several of you could debate the finer points of difference between An Tir and Drachenwald's respective competitions, but let's just say that the one here is more encouraging to participation, if beset with its own logistical issues.

Here's the drill: unless things change - which they might, and I actually think they will after this year, so all of this is in pencil - I need to enter at least one item in at least three of the six categories, and must send entries to at least two of the five (four?) competition events (spread out over a year, which is brilliant). And I don't even have to be there, if I warn the right people ahead of time (unless I perform something, I imagine, which I might actually do ((don't fall over from shock)) ). This immediately makes the entire endeavour significantly more accessible and manageable. So I'm giving it thought.

It won't happen this year. My poop isn't anywhere near being in a group, and I'd need more planning time to get ahead of things. (Stop laughing.) But I've got lightly sketched-out ideas about what I could do, all fairly sensible, manageable, and doable knowing what I know about myself. Much will depend on how the organisation shakes out after this year. But I'm thinking about it.

If I'm really good, I'll tie it in to the Apprentice Challenge of my previous post, somehow, because I like crossing things off of lists.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Apprentice Challenge: A modified approach

A lovely woman in An Tir (Portzia di Corbino Rosso from Tir Righ, I believe) started a thing, last Spring, called the Apprentice Challenge. Ostensibly, folks were to make teams, attach themselves to a Laurel, and do a bunch of things within a proscribed period of time, and then there will be winners and prizes.

So, if you know me, you know that I don't particularly care for turning art into a competition. However, if you know me, you also know that my ADD brain likes having parameters and checklists. The challenges that are outlined in this thing are good and valid, so I'm-a just work my way through a bunch of them, as a way of getting on a track and staying there, as well as maybe getting some traction in my new Kingdom. For the record, I intentionally kept the performance arts in scope. You never know.

To wit:

*Completed a project that's been in the UFO pile for years.
*Completed a project that's been on the "ooh, one day I'll make/perform THAT" list for years.
*Completed a project that is your most historically accurate thing to date.
*Made/performed something new, that you've never tackled before.
*Made/performed something using largely period techniques and materials.
*Finished something COMPLETELY - no corners cut, no slap-dash substitutions. Something you're PROUD of.
*Defeated a Monster - conquered a thing you've been terrified to tackle: a new discipline, a new medium, a new style. Something you've been terrified to do, but you DID it.

*Performed in court
*Performed at a feast
*Performed at an event
*Displayed art for ambiance at an event
*Displayed a project as a showcase of skill/talent

*Entered a branch competition
*Entered a Baronial competition
*Entered a Principality championship level competition
*Entered a Kingdom championship level competition
*Presented a display or performed for feedback

*Attended Kingdom University - DONE!
*Took a class/workshop outside of an event to further your learning
*Learned a new skill
*Became proficient at a new skill set/discipline
*Attended a Principality/Kingdom Arts & Sciences competition

*Entered a Super Six or Dirty Dozen Largesse competition
*Donated an item, or a collection of items for Largesse
*Worked as part of a team on Royal clothing
*Worked as part of a team on Regalia
*Donated garb or accessories for Royals
*Made garb or accessories for other SCA folk
*Donated prizes for a tournament or competition

*Taught a class
*Created a new class, and taught it
*Hosted/facilitated a workshop
*Facilitated a regular, public A&S or Bardic night
*Arranged a largesse competition or donation
*Arranged a display, with a feedback or populace choice component
*Organised a competition and coordinated judges
*Helped coordinate classes for an event
*Helped arrange A&S and/or Bardic for a demo

*Held an A&S- or Bardic-related office
*Held an A&S- or Bardic-related retinue position
*Volunteered as a judge or student judge for an A&S/Bardic competition

I mean...this list is pretty comprehensive, although I'm a bit dismayed that there isn't a research component to it, so I may add something just because I think it makes sense. There are also things on here that I am highly unlikely to ever do (competitions), or that I'm not integrated enough in my new Kingdom to pull off effectively, right now, but it's a start!

To begin, as I unpacked, I pulled out a few UFOs so I don't have to go digging for them, and hope to start tackling some of this stuff soon.

We'll see how it goes...

Monday, December 10, 2018

We will shortly return to our regular programming.

Another Drachnewald event on the books! Met more people. Chatted with previously met people. Did time in the kitchen. I could go on about how great it is to have events at places like a 15th century former Bishop's palace, but this is my project blog, so I should talk about making things.

My big takeaways from the weekend, on the makey-doey front, were:

1. I need to make a bag to pack/carry my feast gear in. A box doesn't make sense, at this point, since I'm largely having to use public transport for at least part of each journey, so a bag will have to do. I've been noodling on how to engineer one that will work for me, and also I need to get a bowl, and maybe I don't need five drinking vessels but maybe I do.

2. I need to finish the blue wool dress. That should probably be first up on my list of Things To Do, followed by the sleeves floating around in various states of completion. I realise that my Renaissance Counterparttm would very likely not have had a billion sets of clothing, but she damn well would have had more than one.

3. I need to put the frogs on the coat, and re-iron/tack down some bits of the trim. Otherwise, that thing is fucking amazing and I'm so glad I made it and maybe the collar needs fur.

4. I need to finish the stripey chemise.

5. I should probably consider another "day-wear" partlet.

6. It's going to be a while before I'm able to scribe, again, and that makes me sad, but the work I saw this weekend was inspiring.

7. It's time to fire up the knit Huelgas cushion again (and I've pulled it out of the unpacking chaos in preparation).

8. It's time for the table top banner, folks.

9. If I'm only going to have a few dresses, I really need to finish up all of the aprons I have on the go. Maybe I'll pull the lace one out (if I can find it).

10. I'm still noodling on ideas for Tournaments Illuminated/Compleat Anachronist. I may never get around to doing anything about it, but at least I'm giving it some thought. I'm still looking for the notes from the feasts I did, in order to turn the Italian one into something useful, but I'm afraid I purged them in The Great Exodus. I hope I'm wrong. Which leads to...

11. Cooking is a thing I can do, so maybe I'll focus on that for a bit.

12. After I finish the linen napkins for largesse/gift baskets, now that I have my fabric scissors.

I'm feeling the pinch of how small our flat is. I had grown very accustomed to having loads of space and ease of access to my craft supplies. This is a thing that I no longer have, and I suffer greatly from Out Of Sight Out Of Mind disorder. Hopefully this list (and others I suspect I'll end up making) will keep me somewhat honest.

I should dig out the Apprentice Challenge list thinger, too. That might give me some structure.

Bah! So many words for a project blog, but it's all I've got, at the moment. Hopefully soon I'll have more interesting things happening.

Watch this space...

Monday, November 12, 2018

Rumours of my demise have been greatly exaggerated...again

After a brief pause, our intrepid heroine is back in business, sort of.

(The things I shipped in August to follow me to my new homeland - which includes basically all of my SCA gear - continue to sit in a warehouse in Southampton waiting for Her Majesties Customs to clear it for delivery. Thank the Sweet Baby Cheesus that I had one outfit with me so the following update could be made possible.)

I went to an event in my new Kingdom, and didn't die!

It was Kingdom University, and very much along the lines of any sort of Collegium or University class-based event you might be familiar with. Except this was held in a 17th C. manor house in the English countryside. So there's that. Nyah.

I was admittedly a bit nervous - I rode up with a woman (Maude) that I met at the MEDATS thing I went to in September and her husband. They are delightful, and I managed really quite well on a three-hour drive with relative strangers. As we all know, it is in this way that friendships are formed. When we arrived, it turned out that someone had been put on vigil for Pelican so there was much frivolating right out of the gate. I was whirlwind-introduced to a pile of people, some of whom I'd interacted with online, and some who were shiny new to me, such as Master Thomas and his lovely Lady wife Edith, who would come to factor prominently as the weekend progressed.

Because this manor house is used as some sort of hippie arts school, we were housed in dormitory rooms that slept (in our case) about 12. Thankfully, I am not burdened with an overdeveloped sense of Puritanical modesty, so after a brief acknowledgement of "oh, so it's like that, is it?" I made my bed and proceeded to lie in it (and may or may not have pretended, in my head, that I was at Hogwarts).

After a quick review of the Revised revised schedule of classes, I roamed the building looking for the Conference Room (which, obviously, was through the Dance Studio). Therein lay a giant pile of bean-bags, so my mood improved immediately. The class was "Writing for the Compleat Anachronist and Tournaments Illuminated," and I left with some thinky thoughts about Stuff I Might Write. We'll see how that goes.

Followed was a class on "Period Table Settings," which was an overview of English customs of the table across the medieval and renaissance time periods. My takeaway was that I needed to start a shopping list for The Original Reenactors Market, and consider table linens. And table-top banners <-- I intend to start a revolution, btw. More on that as things progress. And then I got into a conversation with Master Thomas who seemingly appointed himself my Native Guidetm, for which I was really quite grateful. It did mean, though, that I missed the next class I'd considered taking, but actually enjoyed commandeering a bit of window seat for a bit and meeting a few more people who wandered by.


Following a lovely repast, more people than the room was built to handle crowded into a cushy wee lounge to hear all about Cooking and Cooks in Urban Settings, as presented by Master Alexandre, from which I took a long short bibliography and immediate planz to put him and Beloved Peer Elizabeth in the same place to watch the geeksplosion.

I meant, at this point, to go help in the kitchen, but my introvert self took the helm and I retreated to my window seat to knit. Which was more or less thwarted, but manageably so. Further conversation with Masters Alexandre and Duncan was delightful, and I discovered that Mistress Juliana has a Drachengänger* - Susannah of York. The similarities in countenance and personality were delightfully alarming.

*I just made that word up. The whole weekend was, in part, identifying the Drachenwald counterparts to many, many An Tirians of my acquaintance. I really do think that everyone has a twin in at least one other kingdom, if not all of them.

And then it was court. My Native Guide kept me up on which awards were being given and what they were for. I found it kind of hilarious that many people felt that an hour-and-a-half court was "long." Also, they measure it in beers, which seems like an excellent device. I was called into court and joined by a shiny new tiny human (propelled by his mother) as the attendees for whom this was their first Drachenwald event. I may or may not have told His Majesty, at that point, that he was beautiful, and Her Majesty (to whom I was introduced earlier, and didn't mention the Queen part until late in that exercise because Stealth is one of her favourite games, apparently) said lovely things and gave me a token. For the record, the new tiny human was largely unenthusiastic about all of this. I managed to keep it together fairly well, and didn't trip on my dress. Go me!

As is per Custom, we were booted from the hall so they could set up for the feast, which obviously meant that drinking continued in earnest. I was asked to join my new friends (rather conveniently, Master Thomas took Maude and her bestie, Emoni, as apprentices earlier in the day and I seem to have been adopted by the lot them, which is amazing and wonderful and fabulous.) The food was good, the company exceptional, and we all agreed that when they set up the video screen for the non-present Drachenvision entrants it was time to flee to the aforementioned wee lounge, where we spent the rest of the evening concocting plans.

It was in this setting that two important things happened: First, I learned that Edith works for my former employer, and might have a line on a gig. This is both unexpectedly hilarious and expectedly hilarious (I often say that after armageddon, there will be cockroaches and Deloitte). Second, I may have convinced Maude and Emoni to take the helm of next year's Michelmas in Thamesreach by offering to do the feast. This gives me a year to plan, which I may well need.

In conclusion: I left a bunch out, but this is getting long. To sum up: I like it here, I am finding my people, the natives are lovely, and we get to have events in castles.

I am hopeful that I will be able to return to my regularly-scheduled ramblings on projects, especially now that the list has gotten a bit longer.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018 I continue to meander in the labyrinthine corridors of my brain...

A post on the Drachenwald Facebook page (or it might be the Dragon Scribes page - I forget) was requesting photos of the various vigil books people have made. They are amazing and impressive, and got me to thinking, as these things do.

Please allow me a bit of Logic 101:

If embroidered book covers are a period thing
And small books are useful
Then small books with embroidered covers are useful.

N'est ce pas?

The down side to not having access to my usual avenues of creative outlets is that my brain starts doing things like finding new and exciting projects to consider since I can't work on the ones I already have on the go or in the queue, we are. How I envision this playing out is finding a source of small, affordable notebooks with stiff enough bindings, embroidering some covers for them, then donating them to largesse.

The reality is that this will probably get added to that long list of things I want to do but never get to. Or that I do once, and then get distracted by the next shiny thing. We'll see how it goes. I mean... It's all just speculation at this point. But it's fun to think about. I did manage to make 100 needle cases, once, so who knows.


It's so frustrating to not be in a place where I can commit or plan or make or do.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Musings in the interim

While I sit here, waiting for word on whether/when I'll be granted the visa to join my husband, my mind turns to hand-sewing.

Some years ago (like, probably more than 10, potentially closer to a million) I read an article or blog post that may or may not have been written by Mistress Isobel Gildingwater of Ditchingham (as I type this, I wonder if I should just ping her to ask...?) about what an amazing difference hand-sewing added to costuming. It was focused on a 16th century bodice? corset? and went into really interesting detail on how, by making each piece an independent sandwich of its requisite layers, then butting the correct edges together for seaming, one would get not only the correct fit, but the correct look. I despair of finding it, now, although I'll continue to dig because The Internet Never Forgets.

Cut to today, when I found an article on The Tudor Group's site about hand vs. machine sewing, and it's renewed my interest to explore it further, due in no small part to having given up my sewing machine in last year's exodus from The Penthouse, and knowing that I will begin my new life in England sine machina. What a great opportunity to explore The Modern Maker's techniques, and make some properly-fitting clothes for me and my conveniently linearly built husband.

Meanwhile, if you know the article I'm referring to, hook a girl up!