It’s been a busy week ’round these parts. And that’s why it took until late Friday afternoon for me to get a chance to sit down to write my letter to the BOD in support of the creation of the Order of Valiance. So here it is…

Dear members of the Board of Directors,

I am writing to you today to voice my support for the creation of the Order of Valiance to recognize activities within the society that do not fit neatly into the categories of Chivalry, Service, Arts & Sciences, and Defence. I am Alianor de Ravenglas (mka Sarah Michele Ford), Mistress of the Laurel and Companion of the Maunche (East). I have been a participant in the SCA for twenty years and in three Kingdoms (the Midrealm (and Northshield during the very early days of its principality) then the East, and now in Aethelmearc). I have been an officer of every local group I have ever been a member of, and in January I stepped down after four years in the office of Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences in Aethelmearc.

The way the Society currently operates with regard to the Peerages, is, for lack of a better metaphor, separate and unequal. Some activities in the Society – armored combat, service, arts and sciences, and now unarmored combat – are treated as “better” or “more legitimate” than archery, thrown weapons, equine activities, or siege activities. Participants in those activities are told that they should be satisfied with recognition at the Kingdom level. By denying them access to the Peerage, the Society is telling them that these activities – that their PASSIONS – are second-rate.

I can’t speak for the rest of the members of the Society, but one of the things that I love most about our game, one of the things that has kept me coming back for over half of my life, is the spirit of acceptance. The Society takes the people who might not fit in elsewhere and gives them a place to be themselves. It takes people whose interests might be looked at as weird elsewhere and nurtures those passions. But, right now, it only nurtures those passions to a point. If your passion doesn’t fit into one of five tidy boxes, you will have a much harder road to the Peerage.

And the people who inhabit those boxes are protective of them. The Laurels ask, “Are they doing masterwork-level research?” I assume that the Chivalry and the Pelicans ask equivalent questions. And yes – there are equestrians, and archers, and weapons-throwers who are doing Laurel-level research and Pelican-level service. (I feel less comfortable making that assertion on behalf of the Chivalry.) But getting a clear “yes” to that question is going to be harder for individuals in these disciplines than it was for me as a costumer, or than it is for the individual who heralds Kingdom court, or for the fighter who spends hours training and competing in tournaments and melees.

Is the archer who spends hours shooting with a reproduction bow and arrows contributing any less to our society? Is the equestrian who trains not only their own bodies and mind, but those of their mounts, contributing any less to our society? To both of these questions and myriad others, I say no. These people deserve better than separate-and-unequal from the Society that has nurtured those passions. They deserve access to the Peerage.

In service to the Society, I remain,
Alianor de Ravenglas

Time from when we found out that our local marshal had been warranted for youth rapier until I was drop-testing fabric for armor for Svankáta: under three hours. Conveniently, we had enough fabric in colors that met with her approval for me to do her body armor without having to go shopping. Much like all of the other rapier armor I’ve made, it’s going to consist of a set of two tunics, pants (in this case, Thorsberg trousers), and a (Skjoldenhamn) hood.

Priority one has been the body armor, because she can wear yoga pants and my hood until I get those bits done.

So. The “smock” is two layers of natural linen. In the interests of time (she wants to fence at Ice Dragon next weekend) I decided to see if a tight zig zag would hold well enough (thus seaming and finishing in one pass). Answer: except for the finicky bits like gore points, yes. That’s brilliant.

The fashion layer is blue wool lined in natural linen. The experiment with this one was in doing a hybrid of bag lining and flat-lining. I flat-lined the sleeves and bag-lined everything else. That was fine until I tried to set the sleeves and I had to do a lot of fiddling to get the raw edges contained – ended up turning them in on each other and topstitching the seam allowance REALLY close to the edge and then setting the sleeves in. Will not try that trick again. I do like the neck treatment, though: I turned the two layers in on each other and I’m blanket stitching them together. I MAY do some decorative topstitching on the seams but not before Saturday.

Pictures to come when it’s on her.

A bajillion years ago, I bought seven yards of blue/grey houndstooth suiting. Probably I planned to make myself a suit. But that didn’t happen, and it’s sitting there staring at me. It’s mostly wool with a very little bit of something stretchy. Svankata needs a new apron dress. I need new tunics. And there’s SEVEN YARDS OF IT!

So non-period pattern and slightly stretchy fabric be damned, I’m going to use it to make her new apron dress and a new gown for me (an everyday one so I’m not stuck with only silk gowns). I did buy some of this orange linen (which is more coral in real life than it looks on my screen) to make the tunic that I mentioned in the previous post. It will look great with either the green silk gown (which I think I’ll line in this lovely lightweight lavender linen I bought recently) or with the wool one.

But first I have to make a racoon hat for my best little buddy.

I suddenly find myself wanting to sew things again.

I patterned some new tunics for Caleb for his elevation to the Pelican in March, as well as making him a new pairs of braies, 2 pairs of hosen (white linen for his vigil and khaki wool for the elevation itself), and a coif.

Svankáta needs a new apron dress – the blue striped one is already too small and the seam allowances aren’t big enough to let it out without risking it falling apart. So that’s priority one… I have enough mauve wool left over from the abandoned tunic for me so that’s that.

I’m also in a place right now where the only decent 13th century clothes I have are my elevation clothes. Everything else is kind of falling apart. But I got some gorgeous green silk twill as an elevation gift, I think from Eilis. Last night I was thinking I should make a tunic out of it and line it with some truly obnoxious orange but today I’m thinking instead I should make a slightly less obnoxious orange tunic and make the green twill and overgrown lined in something normal to wear over it.

  1. Svankáta Matteusdottir was the name winner.
  2. Said Svankáta won the youth A&S at Ice Dragon last weekend with her dyed & felted wool.
  3. She declared last night that she wants to make a viking coat for next year’s Ice Dragon entry. I dug through the short-yardage stash that I got from Honnoria a couple of years ago and found several yards of grey wool (possibly a  blend) and some reddish flannel. Yes, the kiddo is going to make herself a lined coat (probably just going to line the body) for Ice Dragon next year.
  4. I also found in the same box some good hunks to make her some more clothes, particularly a lighter-weight apron dress and a new dress. Plus I’m going to be letting out her existing apron dress, letting down her blue tunic, and putting new sleeves on her yellow tunic. Because the not making her any new clothes in 2 1/2 years is catching up with me.

The kid has decided that she DEFINITELY wants to be a Viking.

And she wants a name. Shoshanna bat Matatiahu is no longer cutting it for her.

So I’m spending some time with the Viking Answer Lady‘s name listings, looking for things that sound simliar enough to her modern name that it will be easy for her to remember.

Her byname will be Matteusdottír.

I have five possibilities for her to consider… Stay tuned… I’d like to have it picked in time for her to put it on her Ice Dragon documentation.

A couple of weeks ago Tiercelin and I piled into her mom’s car and headed to West Virginia for Aecademy. (I know, right? ROAD TRIP IN TIERCELIN’S MOM’S CAR!) We crashed with William, Irene, and David in Pittsburgh on Friday night and  went the rest of the way Saturday morning.

They really were.I went to a couple of fun classes and did some very intensive Sitting Around Eating and Chatting With People. Also, whoever labeled the food on the sideboard had a good sense of humor. Count Sir Jehan’s class on witchcraft trials engaged my sociological brain – the women who were accused, at least in the cases he was focusing on in this class, were all Other in some way – it was really clear that the accusations of witchcraft were a mechanism of social control. And then for a complete change of pace, I went to a couple of scribal classes. Tried my hand at calligraphy for the first time in probably 2o years. Got a nice hand cramp for it, too, but it was good fun.

It's dawning on him that something is amiss....Court was short but sweet (which we appreciated because we were driving all the way home – about six hours – that evening). We recognized Mistress Julianna Delamere as a Fellow of the Aecademy. And then we also got the answer to the question, “Who is the third elevation that’s happening at Pax?” It’s Fridrikr! He will be contemplating elevation to the Order of the Laurel for his Norse research. So now I’m doubly-sad that I won’t be there to see him and Cynwyl elevated. Sigh.

It’s true. We went. There’s even some photographic evidence of it floating around, though we didn’t take our camera so the only pictures I have are a couple of phone ones that I took to send to KayLeigh when Matatias drew Little Antonio (now called Anthony) and then Don Robert in the Ansteorran tourney.

I … didn’t really do much. Participated in the Bergental Combat Costuming Brigade, which got Pagan dressed for her elevation. Went to various meetings related to being KMOAS. Watched some battles, watched some fencing. Rapier Champs was the best-fought, most chivalrous champions tourney I’ve ever seen.

The A&S display was… mind boggling, as always. Baronsteffan has pics in his Flickr stream starting here and going backwards. The personaly highlight for me was Magistra Sigrid Briansdotter’s display that included SIXTEENTH CENTURY BRAS! She constructed them based on finds in Innsbruck, Austria (as detailed here). The most pertinent quote from that abstract… the one that makes me squeal delightedly, is this one.

Amid them were several nearly complete linen bras and fragments of corselettes, some rather coarsely made others more elaborately decorated with plaited borders and sprang worked parts. One of the bras even has a rather modern look.

Other than that… it was a lovely relaxing week with rather good weather (HOT in the beginning of the week, some rain but most of it at night, and then cooler) and lots of hanging out with friends and seeing LOADS of people get recognized for good work… Pagan of course, and also Tristan de Warrel being inducted into the Order of the Laurel, as well as Honnoria getting a Court Baroncy, Katryne and Isolda getting Fleurs, and Izabetta getting a Sycamore. And I’m sure I’m forgetting others as well.

Yes, we’re going.

No, I’m not scrambling to do a million things before we go. Neither of us need major new clothing. I’m working on a couple of new sherts for Matatias. Last night I mended 2 pairs of his hosen (I swear his feet are made of files). I need to look over my clothes and see what needs mending but probably I’ll do the actual mending once we’re there.

Basically, even though for the first time in ages I have to actually make myself a calendar for my vacation (consequences of being a Kingdom Officer and all), I’m not going crazy about it.

On our way to Pax

As I loaded the car Friday afternoon I was baffled by how full the car is for just a weekend event. Note that there’s barely room for Shoshanna in the car! But then I realized that most of the big stuff we take for a weekend event is the same stuff we take for Pennsic (the tent and the fencing bag being the, er, big offenders).

Shoshanna loves Pax. It’s the perfect camping event for us… close to home, low-key. And this year was no exception. We left after camp/work on Friday and stopped for dinner near site. As we were driving around the new-to-us, FABULOUS camping areas, at the second campsite I happened to see Cadlin and asked if we could crash their site. She said yes and I gotta say – I am very glad that she did. Shoshanna and Miss R played happily for the entire weekend. Seriously. All of Saturday morning while Cadlin and Sig were off doing the things that they needed to do, the girls stayed with me and there was literally ZERO conflict.

Other than the girls playing, M fenced, I sat in camp sewing and chatting with everybody who wandered by (which was a lot of people because we were on the road between gate and the field). Went to court where lots of cool people got recognized and I very nearly finished the central figures on my embroidery.

Oh, and Jenny got her finished tunic.
Jenny's Tunic

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