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28 February 2013 @ 10:22 pm

So Border War was very fun. Four of us headed up on Friday evening and arrived around midnight, stepped out into the milk-warm humid night and were shown to a bunkroom with air conditioning.  I was so glad to see that. Sleep is so precious at the moment.

Breakfast call was 7am, and we blundered out across the wonderfully well maintained green lawn to find our feasting gear, coffee, cereals, fruit, bacon, sausages, eggs, mushrooms etc, etc in the larger hall. Fighters then went to get into armour and war began. There were a bunch of constructions ready, representing various buildings and lots of scenarios were fought throughout the morning. I sat and sewed bottle covers beside the camp set-up of Owen and his family. The forge and bellows took much of my attention, even though the weather conditions foiled his intended brass pour.

Lunch was DIY sandwiches, and the options were fresh, tasty and abundant, but not excessive. The war schedule was re-jigged so that war continued immediately after lunch instead of taking a long break in the heat of the day; heat being not as bad as anticipated. I stayed indoors for a while to attend Mim's chocolate and coffee class (or was that on Sunday?), then wandered out to see how the combat was going. The fighting was a field further away than I was prepared to go, so I sewed some more. Target archery was happening on schedule, unfortunately overlapping some of the combat, to the bafflement of some of the fighters. War ended for the day, and I listened in on the fighters who were training and fighting pick-ups afterwards.

Ulfgeirr was weary and in need of a shower after that, so I returned to the hall and sat drinking coffee and chatting with people in a circle of chairs where there had been classes through the day. Ulfgeirr, all showered and dressed in his cool and comfy new Eastern Style (TM) pants and shirt, joined me for a hot chocolate. Then the principality discussion happened. Half a dozen or eight people came along, but attendance was somewhat staggered... which may have been a good thing. A couple of them ought not be in the one place at the one time on that topic, I think!

The feast happened and was lovely; the hall was decorated with large painted wall hangings, Easternish style lanterns and so forth. The food was really good and nicely themed. Lots of lemon, mint and rice featuring here and there. A starter of flat bread and dips accompanied by dried fruits, nuts, soft cheese, oil and salt. Stuffed calamari, chicken cooked in lemon and rosewater(?) roasted lamb (all meats in finger-food sized chunks), veggie platter, lots more that I can't call to mind now.

Speeches were made, gifts given, and one guy was given an axe for a year. B&B Stormhold announced the nominees to replace them on step down.

Dessert included baklava and an orange cake drowned in honey syrup as well as some sort of fruit cake and fruity mince balls, but we didn't eat that until we were sitting at the bardic circle. Fire bans meant that we improvised a "fire" of "candles" on one of the green lawn areas instead of lighting up the big bonfire heap. There were a wide variety of performances, some hilarious anecdotes, a birthday and a really bright shooting star (the kind so large and near that it leaves a lingering trail). Ulfgeirr retired to bed a little after midnight, and I was not far behind him.

I waited for breakfast call on the second morning, but it did not come. I did manage to patch together a cold bacon sandwich, though, and didn't come to any harm. I did need rather more coffee than usual to get moving, and I don't remember doing anything particularly useful that morning. I just sat and watched the tourney and chatted and learned that "pursuviant" is pronounced "pursweevant". I'd never heard it said out loud before that I remember, and it still sounds very odd. Ulfgeirr was eliminated in round three, and once the tourney was over, we were packing and eating and leaving. Lunch was much like that of Saturday except that there was leftovers as well; chicken, baklava and orange syrup cake omnomnom.

Then we all piled back into the truck and went seven hours home again. Border War was my first War as such (not Peacefully Surveying, not Festival (where I'm told there is a war)) and it was very enjoyable. Different; the way it was organised was not what I am used to, but people were still enjoying themselves regardless which is reassuring to me, in that if I were to be organising an event and there was a somewhat loose schedule, or schedule changes, I would probably be less stressed about it for having been to BW.

22 February 2013 @ 09:15 am
Leaving for BW today. Antenatal clinic has cleared me for departure.

I sewed a few things, but I still need to finish Ulfgeirr's new pants. I think the upper sections are as they should be, but I want to try them on him to be sure the lower legs work as intended before I go cutting off the excess fabric. He has a new tunic; a very simple riff off a 16th century Persian undershirt. It's in a soft but heavy and slubby white linen/cotton fabric, and will probably look wrong and lazy to many, but the only shortcut I took was not to cut it into six pieces and sew them back together again in precisely the original configuration. I might do that another day, in a lighter weight fabric. I feel that so many seams in such a heavy fabric would defeat the purpose of the garment, which is to be "something clean to put on once fighting is done with".

If I feel that I have time once I have gotten the packing together, I might run one up for myself.

Meanwhile, Ulfgeirr is re-taping his swords and reassembling his shorter axe. And the kids are packed and waiting to be taken to the train station. I should go harass them into tidying up the kitchen a bit. *sigh*
15 February 2013 @ 01:55 pm
Spaulder is cut out - only a shoulder plate per the request of Ulfgeirr. We soaked, shaped and hardened it, but it needs another go-around to get the curve we reckon it needs.

Arming caps are partially assembled. I keep forgetting to measure Ulfgeirr's calves, though, so the pants are still in their one-large-piece-of-fabric form.

I dug out what I thought was the proto-Roman garb, but it turned out to be the fabric that was left over from that project. I have no idea where the pieces I am looking for might be, which is making me lean toward rummaging for fabric to make a simple, voluminous dress, and if I happen to stumble across the proto-Roman pieces, I can decide what to do then.

Packing list will be short: enough garb and feasting gear for the two of us, cash, bedding, Ulfgeirr's armour, some sewing and craft things for me and... I'm sure I'll think of more. 
12 February 2013 @ 09:55 am

I haven't posted here in so long that I forgot my password. 

I'm preparing to go to a war. Ulfgeirr will be fighting, I will be finding comfortable and hopefully interesting places to sit around and relax. 

I'm making some things in anticipation of going, but I will only actually go if I am as certain as I can be that the trip will be uneventful regarding my gestational state. Apart from anything else, it'd be rude to risk inconveniencing or stressing the people I am traveling with by heading off in dicey health. 

Meanwhile, for Ulfgeirr; arming caps. Leather shoulder armour. Pants. I recently got around to quilting his gambeson so that it could be "disenchanted" per some wool-wash. It now smells like wool rather than a year of combat, which is... kind of weird, actually.

For me; maybe a new chemise or underdress and a voluminous surcote of some kind. I don't know what the weather will be like, but it's important that I have garb options that let me stay cool if it's hot. Perhaps I should dig out the Roman outfit I started? It would be cool and decent, but I've never worn that style before. Hrm. The question is; do I make something tried and tested from scratch, or do I complete an experimental outfit and risk it not being suitable?

I could get by with what I have, but a new lightweight clothing option would be a useful addition to my SCA wardrobe in any case. I'll have another look at the Roman experiment and think about the options. 

Spaulders have been patterned and will be made of leather and shaped appropriately. I'll make one to begin with. We can always make another if we need it, and we can improve on the construction if we find we need it. I am thinking of using simple fittings to tie them directly to the gambeson. They need only be removed when the gambeson is being washed, or if Ulfgeirr wants to try going sleeveless (the gambeson sleeves are detachable), but keep his shoulder protection. (I plan to make the lower ties long enough to fasten around the bicep if required.)

I should work on a packing list, and a to-do list. Later, though. Right now, I'm going to use today's religious occasion as an excuse to make pancakes. :)

12 November 2011 @ 03:35 pm
At Timeline Fair, I borrowed a Viking cooking pit which was in use, to test one of the cooking pots I made recently.

As I had read was the way to do it, I soaked the pot over night and then filled it with fresh water and set it near to the fire pit. Over time, the pot warmed and was turned and moved gradually closer to the coals until it was sitting right on the charcoal. The water steamed and seethed, and I lifted it out using the cloth I had been using to turn it with.

I am very chuffed that it worked! :)

it is hard to photograph steamCollapse )

We used the hot water to make cups of tea in some of the cups and mugs I also made. :)

An observer was startled to see that there were no feet on the pot. I have seen plenty of examples with and plenty of examples without. (there are so many at the museumoflondon site that have no trace or mention of feet, and a few with remarks about missing feet to convince me that cooking jars were used without feet in some times and places)

I like the footed ones, but starting with simple forms seems wise as I sort of expect to lose a few while I fine tune my techniques.
01 October 2011 @ 11:50 am
All somewhere between wet and green, these are the first things I've made, so while I am happy with them as first efforts (after a loooong hiatus) they are all sub-optimal in some way or other.

I am using commercially available clay for simplicity, and for its predictability.

Photos under the cut:

here be three photosCollapse )

They are all too heavy, which is expectable at this point. The walls are too thick toward the bottom, and the uneven heights and thicknesses at the top show that my centering has room for improvement.

I look forward to reaching a point where the basics are automatic, and I can focus on reproducing the lines of different medieval/historical styles. Meanwhile, I take comfort from looking at actual artifacts and noting that many of the common wares are a bit approximate, so even my current line of wonky-ware will look authentic enough. :)

Next thing, though, is clearly to actually finish something by firing it. Sourcing glaze is proving problematic, as it appears that the most viable option involves either going to or ordering from a pottery supply place some hours drive away. Budget wise, that's not happening this week, at least.
01 May 2011 @ 12:44 pm
I'd like to register "azure a triquetra argent". Simple, distinctive (locally, at least) and I like it. But it conflicts with "Gules, a triquetra argent" which is already registered.

So I up the complexity to a former favourite arrangement: "azure three triquetras argent". But that conflicts with "Azure, three triquetras Or" which is already registered.

So I could bump the complexity again and try for (My woeful grasp of blazon fails me) a field division per chevron azure and argent, three triquetras counterchanged. (I hope that makes sense).

Or I could get cute and have the same field division with one triquetra counterchanged, and render it with the chevron division running neatly up each of the lower "legs" of the triquetra. That could look neat, but it eliminates the simplicity of rendering it, which is sort of the point.

Before I got keen on the simplicity of 'azure a triquetra argent', I was thinking of 'azure three triquetras in chief argent'.

But I would much prefer to have the charges larger. Or a lone charge for maximum boldness. Maybe I should look into simple border treatments to bring about the required uniqueness?
01 May 2011 @ 12:04 pm
I know I need to make a geteld next. The brief is pretty typical; satisfactory appearance and documentability; light and portable; stable; big enough to comfortably house two adults and their gear (I must be able to lift my arms over my head to dress.) Being able to hang curtaining inside is under consideration.

I am up to the stage where I cut out graph paper and make wee models of the tent and the furniture it is expected to contain.

I believe I have easily enough of the white canvas for that, but I need to do an inventory to see how far I am off having enough to make the walls for the long-planned blue-roofed pavillion.

The brief for that is to make a large blue roof shaped like a somewhat flattened geteld/double bell and make straight walls by cutting the white canvas length ways for a wall about 1.3m high. It will be largeish; it must look okay, must not be implausible construction even if it's not directly documentable, must be portable, stable, not unusually difficult to set up and so forth.

I would also like it if the blue roof section could be pitched as a more conventional height shade, using an extra pole section and longer ropes. I have mundane use for such a thing a couple of times a year.

The design process is different for the two tents because with the geteld, I have ample canvas to be able to fiddle with the dimensions all I like. With the blue-roofed pavillion, I have a set amount of canvas to optimise the use of.

But that is a project for later. Meanwhile, geteld models. Then finding a place and doing the cutting and labeling. Then it will be time for the sewing. Oh yes. And then, when the tent skin is done, the woodwork! :)

Maybe I will paint this one *before* sewing it together?
29 April 2011 @ 02:33 pm
Suth Moot was most excellent. I was very glad that it lived up to the description that I'd given my SO who is a newcomer to the SCA. The classes and activities were informative and fun, the people wonderful and the feasts were truly marvelous.

The site was more lush and green than in previous years but well drained and the weather was dry and fair from Saturday on. There were not the clouds of mosquitoes I had feared, nor were there wasps hanging about as I've come to expect, which was a good thing.

My children spent most of their time in "kid mob" formation either engaged in informal games with their peers in the sand pit area or one of the shelters, playing boffer battles near the band stand or swept into an official kids activity, of which there were many. Many, many, many.

I did get sick -- a sore throat which I would have taken to the event with me, but which only announced itself on Saturday when all I could really do was step-up my hand-washing protocols and avoid breathing in the direction of people who I reckoned might be more than usually susceptible to picking it up.

The girls and I went off site on Sunday to attend a family occasion. I was feeling very ill for most of the day and I was worried that I would spend the rest of the event lying in my tent, but the malaise lifted somewhat an hour or so after arriving back on site. I was still sick, but it was tonsillitis-sick, not nausea and migraine sick.

That level of unwellness persisted into Monday, through pack down and the trip home. And I actually still have it, having lost at Doc-lotto at the walk-in clinic on Monday and having had to go back today to actually get the antibiotics it was obvious I needed all along. *pout, grump*

I'm inspired to make stuff, SO is inspired to make stuff, the girls want to go again next year... which leaves me in an interesting position. I would like to get to Festival with SO sometime in the next year or so, but the logistics are interesting and the combined "missing out" factor of all five of us not being able to go to Suth Moot is substantial enough to potentially outweigh the "missing out" factor of two of us not being able to go to Festival. Especially considering that I'm the only one who feels the full weight of missing out on Festival. Hmm.

Either way, there are projects to work on. A geteld, at least. Some bags and boxes, too. And a decent bed has come up the list of priorities; air beds suffice, but do not really make for restful sleep, and good sleep is really important to enjoyment of any camping event (and survival of the trip home).

And GSG is looking interesting and SO and I are keen to go. One obvious problem we need to solve is how to get from Hobart to the event site, but I am hoping that there will be enough wayfarers arriving sans cars for there to be default contingencies for that.
In the lead up to the Assassin's Tourney and Ball, I ran up some Viking garb for sepharen (known hereafter as "D") who was effectively attending his first event. He's keen to make his own garb, so will use the general dimensions of the tunic to make more garb in the styles he prefers. Authenticity is important to him, but having enough garb to get through a five day camping event in a few weeks means that he'll be getting a crash course on machine sewing. Once he has enough garb to keep him decent for a while, he can get stuck in to the finer points of hand sewing. (puns intentional)

Being me, I over-reached by deciding to make myself something new to wear. I've been fiddling around with more structured bodices of more flattering later period garb for a couple of years, and I made a calico bodice with some boning which seemed to do what it's supposed to. So I finally cut the purply shot silk I have been dithering over using for ages, and made a late 16th century style Venetian frock.

I got it built to lock-up* but when I laced it and tried it on, it was skewy. Erk! But I had run out of time, so I had to sweep stuff into the car, pick up D and go, go, go! At the event, I asked Lady Isobel for assistance in getting the lacing right. Oddly, we did exactly what I thought I had done the first time, only this time it worked. Hrm. The dress looked fine from a little distance, and plenty of people exhibited signs of fabric-love. :)

D looked gorgeous in his Viking garb (I may be just a teeny bit biased) and reports enjoying many aspects of the evening, the food and entertainment, the people and even a little dancing, which was very game of him since he has not even seen any SCA dancing before, and does not regard himself as a natural dancer. The event was lovely and enjoyable overall, and the assassination shenanigans were highly hilarious from time to time. The set-up of having children as messengers provided an added dimension, as people could conspire at a distance, send poison to unsuspecting recipients and at one point someone tried to send a tarantula to Her Imminence, wrapped in a note. Early in the evening, D was delivered a note which read, confusingly, "Please don't kill me! ~anon." He says he would have complied if he knew who this "Anon" person was. "Dead" people wore a red ribbon to distinguish them, and could be resurrected by paying the apothecary, or by helping in the kitchen for five minutes.

At one point early in the Ball, D paid for a messenger to recite a message, anonymously, to ten people at random.

The message was:
"Never gonna give you up,
Never gonna let you down,
Never gonna run around and desert you.
Never gonna make you cry,
Never gonna say goodbye,
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you."

Yeah. That's a Rick-Roll.

I explained to the lovely child who was delivering the message that the message was an internet joke which some people would recognise and think was funny, and some people would not understand at all. She was absolutely wonderful in persisting in delivering the strange message clearly time after time to bemused people. Some of the reactions were priceless.

Later in the evening, His Imminence, the about to be Baron of Krae Glas was assassinated. I was told that on discovering that the person who sponsored his assassin was his lady Her Imminence, he had one of their children deliver her a message reading "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!"

We did both get killed, in the end. A group of us were loitering on the back steps and, having been lulled into a false sense of security by Lady Arganhell who was legitimately serving food and had assured us that it was not poisoned, we ate the food on Leif's tray, too. He went into the hall and returned with a big arm-load of death-token ribbons, handing them out saying "Hey, you're all poisoned, one for you, one for you, there you go, yes, you too..."

When the evening drew to a close, it was revealed that the master assassin was, not the about-to-be Baroness, and not the constabulary (who were not corrupt. Much) but, in fact, young Master Peregrine! Huzzah!

*I could wear it, but the trim needs couching and the bodice is as yet unlined. But that's okay because I want to re-jig it a little to make the silk lie smoother, take a pattern from it and maybe add some boning. After wearing it, I think I could bring the hem up a little, too. Maybe it will be ready for Krae Glas invest/elevation?