Meet JennyShoshanna has a doll named Jenny. She may look like an American Girl doll but she’s really the Target version thereof. Anyway. Jenny goes EVERYWHERE with us. I think the only night Shoshanna has slept without Jenny since she got her in April was when she had an overnight at camp last week and we wouldn’t let her take Jenny for fear she would be lost.

As you can see, though, Jenny’s clothes (somehow she still only has the set that she came with) are not really very medieval. And that is why I’m sitting here, the night before we leave to go to Pax for the weekend, hemming a tiny blue tunic made from raw silk.

I’ll post measurements for the doll and the garment later.


Summer Aecademy

Summer Aecademy was spectacular. It really was. It was all the nerdy bits of the SCA brought together in one place. I only went to one class – Fredeburg’s woodblock printing class, in which I carved and printed with a wood block. I went to Saskia’s keynote, too, and bounced with glee as bits of the background of my dissertation wound their way into her presentation on women artists and the education of women in the Netherlands. Other than that, I sat and chatted at the Ask a Laurel table, I sat and chatted at other tables, I put together most of an undershirt for Matatias. The “hearty all day sideboard” was indeed hearty and all day, with an impressive variety of foods that changed throughout the day.

So good work Odrianna, Elss, and all of the teachers!


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.

Back in November, when I cut out Shoshanna’s yellow tunic to go with her Viking I also cut out a new smock for her because she’d been wearing her old one for four years. And she’s a LOT bigger now than she was four years ago. No really, look how little she was when she first had it! And at one time it even had long sleeves!

So last week I put together the smock that I cut out six months ago. And just for fun, I decided to see how long it took, because I’m ALWAYS getting asked “How long does it take to DO that?” and I wanted to actually have an answer.

  • Cutting: probably half an hour
  • Machine sewing & finishing: 2 hours on the nose
  • Hand finishing: three Merlins (another 2 hours)

So… for a kid’s garment, 4 1/2 hours. I don’t know how much scaling for an adult would add. Maybe I’ll test that theory next time.

Tired Girl by the LakeYes, that is Shoshanna you see by the lake at Cooper’s Lake. No, she’s not going to Pennsic this year. But she and I did day-trip to Aethelemearc War Practice a couple of weeks ago. (I can’t believe we used to routinely day-trip events that were 3 hours from home, but we did.)

We had a pretty darn good day, too. Doing an event solo with the kid is always challenging, and even more so when the reason you’re going is that you’ve got Official Commitments. So Shoshanna helped Irene set up her A&S display while I went to my first-ever Laurel meeting and then she and I hung out in the barn at Artisans Playtime, which was Katla’s very brilliant brainchild instead of a traditional A&S display or even an Artisans’ Forum. Both Katla and I thought it was a smashing success so Aethelmearc should look for similar activities in the future. Teaching Labyrinth CreationShoshanna even participated, doing some weaving with Mahin, trying her hand at kumihimo, playing with Dagonell’s puppets, and learning to draw a labyrinth.

Since Shoshanna was pretty darn patient all morning, I let her pick what we did all afternoon. So we played on the playground, went to family activities, walked down to the lake so she could see it and watched some folks doing ironwork on the way back up. I was reminded that I am so glad that we camp at the top of the hill rather than the bottom… Shoshanna whined a LOT on the way back up and we stopped off at Runestone Hill to pester Broom and have a rest under a tree. And during court Shoshanna started on a new embroidery. I’ll have to scan it; the change in her skill from the first project to this one is astounding.

And here is another gratuitously cute picture.


Y’all, Ice Dragon is just exhausting. And I don’t even have anything to do with the running of any part of it!

So.  It was my first ID as MoAS… which means picking Minister’s Choice, which was actually very fun.  And conflict-of-interest-laden, because I wanted to recognize the kids as well… but Shoshanna had entered her viking beads and her flower embroidery.  Shoshanna's beadsAnd I wanted more brains to throw at it so I had Katla and Odrianna help me but Katla’s daughter’s boyfriend entered in the older youth category.  So. I looked at the older youth and Katla looked at the younger youth and  Odrianna looked at both (actually she had Alethea help her, which was totally appropriate and awesome).  Good thing, too, because the favorites in the younger category were the flower embroidery and the viking beads and the favorite in the older category was the painted pouch.  And you can probably guess which kids were responsible for those objects. The adult choices were a fabulous horn comb and a baldric featuring embossed copper plates.

I also ended up judging three categories: Curiosa (just one entry – Fredeburg’s ink ball, which was a super-cool project), Costuming to 1400 (two entries – a hood and a linen gown) and Costuming 1400 to end of period (many entries… two Polish garments, a child’s waffenrock, an Elizabethan smock with blackworked collar and cuffs, and a full Elizabethan outfit.  THAT took a lot of brainpower for me to judge…

Shoshanna also played the part of the wizard in Dagonell’s childrens’ play which was a folktale about why fish don’t make noise. It was very cute.image.jpg

I was super-excited to get to chat with Muriel de Chimay who I hadn’t seen in several years. I realized after the fact… she’d never even laid EYES on Shoshanna!

And court was sooooo long. I got to go up for my first Laurel elevation, so I’m not the baby anymore. We did our bit right after intermission and then bugged out… which meant I missed Irene being utterly poleaxed when she got a Fleur.

Oh, I also dropped off two new embroidered award medallions. Once I’m done with the blackwork sweet bag that I picked back up after almost 7 years I’m going to finally take the plunge and get some real gold and stranded silk to try OA for real. Eep!


So often people get recognized with awards, especially higher-level ones, right when they’re on the cusp of burnout… they’ve been pushing hard on a big project or something, and folks noticed and recognized them for it, and then the recipient falls down and goes boom. That certainly was the case for me seven years ago when I apprenticed, was inducted into the Order of the Maunche, and became Kingdom A&S Champion all within the space of six weeks. I fell down and went boom… I had finished the Edith gown project and was just… done. And then I got pregnant and had a micropreemie and then we moved to Aethelmearc…

I’m really fortunate this time that the Crown chose to recognize me at a moment when I feel like I’m on an upswing in my SCA work. I just took the KMoAS office and I’m really excited about that, people are starting to be really interested in 13th century clothes and wearing 13th century underwear, and I have all these great projects that I want to do in my mind. So yes – I WILL be displaying (not entering) the St. Francis smock at Ice Dragon this weekend. I have a huge queue of clothing to make… now that I have a fillet hat I want to try making one (but probably not for myself… I don’t need two Ridiculous Hats). I feel like I’m FINALLY brave enough to try real opus anglicanum embroidery, and I just rediscovered and bought more thread for a blackwork sweetbag that I was working on when I was pregnant. And of course I’m going to keep working on my A&S 50 challenge (next up: new smock for the kiddo, since probably 90% of the time she decides that she’s hot and ends up running around events in her underwear anyway).

So… that’s what’s next.

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.

Smock is done… pictures and a more detailed writeup forthcoming.  It looks great, fits great.  I’m going to display it at Ice Dragon, so there will be documentation available within the next month or so.

Hosen are done, too.  They fit VERY snugly in the foot but that’s OK.  I think I fitted the bottom seam in the toe area differently on the two socks, too… I’ll have to go back and see and maybe I can figure out what I did.

Veil is halfway hemmed.  I still don’t like doing rolled hems, but I am getting faster at them.

I’ve got the St. Francis smock completely assembled, and all the seams finished.  I was working on it at Textile Guild Tuesday night and there was some discussion of how it differs from a “conventional” tunic… so I decided to write up my answers to those question in a more formal way.

Like the conventional “accurate” SCA tunic (for which my usual source is Marc Carlson’s “Some Clothing of the Middle Ages”) the St. Francis tunic (article and carbon dating info are here), the St. Francis tunic is made up of geometric shapes – in this case, just rectangles and triangles.  I’m no good at turning three dimensional garments into two-dimensional representations, but here’s what you’re looking at in the picture:

  • Rectangular body panels
  • Triangular skirt gussets that come almost to the shoulder seam
  • Rectangular sleeves
  • Triangular sleeve gussets

I assembled it by first sewing and finishing the shoulder seams, then doing the neckline.  (I find it much easier to do necklines when the garment is still flat, even when I’m sewing by hand.)  I put the sleeves together and finished those seams (but not the cuffs).  Then I put the skirt gores on, leaving the seams unfinished, and attached the completed sleeves.  Figuring out how to finish those seams was as much a jigsaw puzzle as it ever is and I didn’t do the two sides in the same way but they got done.

Between the two sets of gussets, there’s plenty of give in the chest and armpit. In fact, the general shape is just right for 13th century gowns.

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