Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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

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.

So there’s a thing that happens when you know you’re being watched for membership in a polling order. Or at least it happened to me… and that thing is that whenever a member of that order asks you something, you feel like you’re being tested.

That feeling hasn’t come even close to wearing off yet. Whenever a Laurel asks me something, I want to prove how much I know. And at the same time I’m now in the position of evaluating others, and I want to do it in a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are under a microscope.

Or maybe I’m just weird.

Last Saturday night the REAL Mistress Eleanore kept insisting on calling me Mistress Alianor.  Which is clearly NOT RIGHT.

The elevation was lovely. Yet another way an elevation is like a wedding: it’s a big ol’ love fest. I think some of the things that people said, both in the vigil room and during the elevation itself, were even about me.

Pictures … are actually few and far between. Ilene took a bunch. There weren’t any taken with our camera at the event. I gotta get the pictures that Morgan Rhys took of my outfit that Eilis made.

But I don’t think it’ll be real for quite a while yet.

We’ve booked a block of rooms in a local hotel for folks who are traveling here for my elevation – email me at saramichelef – at – gmail – dot – com for the reservation info.

Writing documentation for an entry into a “heraldic display” category is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BEAST than writing documentation for clothing & embroidery categories.

It’s not FINISHED finished, but it is all assembled.  And suffering from “looks better on a person than the dress form” disease, but you will get the idea.
Blue GownBlue Gown

For this gown, I tried something new in terms of the neckline – I made bias tape and finished the neckline with it.  Since it’s a keyhole neckline, I had to miter the corners, and I even did it correctly on the first try!  (Hooray, I get to pass ninth grade geometry!)

In general, I like this as a finishing method.  I like an applied facing rather than just turning a small hem for a neckline.  I made one mistake, which was only cutting the strip about 3/4″ wide – this meant that I had to make the seam allowance smaller than the allowance of the center seam, which in turn meant that getting things to line up on the inside was a little… finicky.  It looks a little strange on the inside, but it lies just fine.
Blue Gown