Thursday, November 6, 2014

Links and more links!

Recently I have been exchanging Facebook messages about medieval Baltic topics with a couple of my Slavic Interest Group (SIG) friends, Mistress ffride (Kingdom of Lochac) and Lady Magdalena (Kingdom of Aethelmearc). As a result, I have lots and lots of browser tabs open. Before my computer's memory gets tied up in knots, I really ought to save those links somewhere and close those tabs. What better place to save such links than right here?

Without further ado:

Link that mentions the Gediminas Sceptre in the context of Baltic cosmology. I really wish this page provided some sources. page for a Lithuanian graduate student in archaeology. Her name is Augustina Kuriliene.

A Vilnius museum's exhibit on Grand Duke Alexander.

History of the palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania.

Some tiles from a cathedral (in Lithuanian). One of those medieval tiles shows a woman wearing what may be a very tall, flat-topped hat. In another tile, two rabbits seem to be consulting a recipe book while cooking a stew. In a third tile, two rabbits appear to be roasting a human chef over a spit. (Revenge of the bunnies!!)

PDF of a 2003 article on Lithuanian archaeology by Daiva Steponaviciene.

Website of some Lithuanian group called Vita Antiqua (I believe Daiva S. is involved with it).

This page seems to list all the commemorations of Lithuanian historical events that will take place in 2015.

Evidence of Lithuanian platform shoes. (Somebody wanted to look taller!)

Another 16th-century tile, this one showing rabbits fending off the hounds. (Somebody really, really liked bunnies!)

Finally, here are a few links that are not specific to the Baltic and Slavic regions but that I find interesting anyway:

The Tudor Tailor website is a companion to the series of books on 16th-century clothing.

Free, downloadable monographs on various topics pertaining to English archaeology.

A Web page on inkle weaving.

Beautiful clothing that one of my friends made for the Baron and Baroness of Dun Carraig (a nearby SCA branch).

And, finally, did you know that there's an authentic butterbeer recipe from the Tudor era? Now you can combine your SCA brewing with your Harry Potter fandom! :-)

As far as the rest of my SCA life goes, well, things are always quieter this time of year. Earlier this fall I skipped a couple of SCA events that I really would have liked to attend because of cash-flow issues. At least I had great fun participating in a "medieval maker faire" demo that Storvik was invited to organize as part of the University of Maryland at College Park's celebration of the 60th anniversary of the publication of Lord of the Rings. This fall Storvik has been welcoming a number of newcomers, both from the university and the region at large. And our barony is planning a performing-arts event in January 2015. And I'm still knitting socks for Lady Sonya's sock classes. So things are quiet but good.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dresses to go with the cap?

Now that I have a St. Birgitta's cap of my own, what shall I wear it with? This morning I happened to see a relevant post in the SCA Garb group on Facebook. So, right now I'm just parking the links that the comments to that post contained -- various tutorials on fitted kirtles.

I have no idea whether the "gothic fitted dress" would look good on me or not, but it might be interesting to try it sometime in the future. If it turns out to be not the most flattering thing, I don't have to make any more, and I can still wear the cap with other things -- apparently, it makes a great anchor for a veil.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Battle on the Bay

(Adapted from a private LiveJournal post written last week.)

For the third year, the baronies of Storvik and Lochmere held an event called "Battle on the Bay." The tradition came about because the two baronies were holding their baronial birthdays one week apart, and the Kingdom officers were gently leaning on their branches to plan fewer but better events. (Storvik became a Barony of the East Kingdom on September 15, 1979; back then, Atlantia was a Principality of the East. Lochmere became a Barony of Atlantia on August 20, 1988, but that anniversary falls just a little too close to Pennsic and the beginning of the public school year in Maryland.)

For the first Battle on the Bay, Storvik was the primary organizer of the event, with Lochmere helping. Last year, Lochmere was the primary organizer, even though it was a Storvik baronial investiture. This year, it was again Storvik's turn to host and Lochmere's turn to get new Baronage.

This year I decided not to camp overnight at Battle on the Bay for two reasons. First, I wanted to get up to Baltimore and see the "Star-Spangled Spectacular" events surrounding the 200th anniversary of the "Star-Spangled Banner." Second, the chance of rain on Saturday the 13th was 40 to 60 percent, and I didn't want to spend half of Sunday wrestling with wet tent canvas in my crowded condo.

So I got up on Saturday in reasonable time to get to the event. I'd been told I might be needed to herald the last court of Their Outgoing Excellencies of Lochmere, but at the last minute that barony's herald was able to show up after all. Thus I announced Their Excellencies of Storvik when they processed into court and watched the Lochmere investiture ceremony from behind the thrones. It rained off and on during the afternoon, but it was not windy, so we didn't have to worry about tree limbs falling and tents collapsing.

Herveus and Megan, who had their fiber-arts merchant business tent set up, were also selling books that had belonged to Pedro and Devora. When she moved to Iowa City this summer, Devora didn't want to take them with her, so they had languished in her storage unit. I bought four books: three on heraldry and one on medieval technology. Many of the books that Herveus and Megan were selling last weekend were about medieval Spain and Portugal and the Judaism that was practiced there; while those are worthy topics, I simply don't have the space on my shelves to accommodate them, and I have other interests within the SCA. I do hope all those volumes find good homes.

Also during the afternoon, I entered a "Viking plunder" competition in which the winner would receive as a prize all the "booty" that was submitted. I dragged out my wire-weaving supplies and did a modest chain out of gold-toned craft wire. Not my best, but I hadn't picked up the wire in a couple of years (I think). I can't remember who ended up winning, but I hope he or she makes the chain into something.

The rain had stopped by the time afternoon baronial court rolled around. Afterward, Their Excellencies of Storvik invited me and Lady Tatsume to join them at high table, just because they think everyone should be invited to do so at least once. So that was extremely cool. No King -- he had left the site in mid-afternoon -- just the two sets of B&Bs and their guests. I did a little dancing after feast and before going home.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cap of St. Birgitta

As I said in my previous post, last month I took a Pennsic University class on how to make a St. Birgitta's cap. Lady Sarai Tindall taught the class. I don't think she has a website of her own, but the method she taught was very similar to the one in this tutorial. The main difference was that Lady Sarai had us leave the ends unconnected to each other, so that we could tie them in a knot or bow. Also, we didn't do the optional embroidery between the two halves of the cap, and we had to "finger-press" the linen seams instead of ironing them (fortunately, in hot and humid weather, that isn't difficult to do).

You can go to the tutorial if you want step-by-step instructions. I would just like to post photos depicting some of the stages of my work.

First, here's how my cap looked toward the end of the two-hour Pennsic class:

I had hand-stitched the two halves of the cap together and finished the gathers at the back of the head, but that's about it. (Granted, a good part of the class was an introductory talk followed by distribution of materials, etc.)

The next time I bothered to take a photo of my work, I had pretty much finished sewing the ties to the front edge of the cap, down to the gathers. The ties came in three separate pieces, including a bit of extra handkerchief linen I had to buy after the class.

I finished the last little bit of stitching only after I got home from Pennsic. Here are a couple of photos of the finished cap on my head (pardon the mundane clothing on the rest of me):

I'm not sure about that bow. Maybe I should redo the strap/tie as a long closed loop that could be wrapped around my head. Hey, I should experiment with this -- what a concept!

I think I have enough of the handkerchief linen to make at least one more of these caps.I might try the same thing, or I might experiment with doing the embroidery down the middle seam, or other embellishments such as contrasting thread for the hand stitching. We shall see.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with a few other links related to the St. Birgitta's cap.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Restarting this blog

OK, it's been a long while now. While the hunt for full-time employment continues, I try to keep up with my SCA life as well as I can with my limited means. I haven't been doing much Lithuanian research lately, but I have been attending events when I can and trying to make myself useful to the Barony of Storvik.

For example, this past January my Barony hosted Atlantia's Kingdom Twelfth Night, a very Big Deal in SCA circles. We held it at the Shriners' temple in Washington, D.C., which inspired the event's Ottoman theme. Some of my friends and I made brand-new late-period Ottoman garb specifically for this event -- I was literally working on it at 1 a.m. the morning thereof! Plus, I organized the heraldic consult table. So, even though it was the first completely Metro-accessible event in our Kingdom in many years, I couldn't really take Metrorail, because I was lugging 50 or 60 pounds of stuff -- books, musical instruments, refreshments for heralds, etc. Plus I was wearing clothing that looked vaguely Middle Eastern and I would have been getting off the train a few blocks from the White House. On top of everything, the skies gave us cold winter rain all day. Nevertheless, it was a lovely event.

I recently returned from spending a week or so at Pennsic 43, and, now that I have mostly finished unpacking and doing laundry, I have concluded that I really should be chronicling everything I do for the SCA, not just research and crafts related to Lithuania. Don't worry, I'm not giving up my Baltic studies, but many times I find something interesting and enjoyable to do that falls within the purview of the SCA but does not pertain to Lithuania. I really ought to record that stuff for posterity, too, until some greater pattern emerges.

So, to start with, here is a link to some photos depicting the construction of my Ottoman outfit: A few of the photos at the end of the album depict me as I was trying to convert the coat pattern into a vest pattern, so that I could make a sleeveless, unlined vest with the remainder of the fabric I used for the outer layer of the coat. I'll post more of the details some other time.

And here are my photos from the event itself: I'm in the very last picture (apologies for the blurriness; we were trying to avoid flash).

At this most recent Pennsic, I was extremely cautious with my spending and I didn't want to take a class in something that would make me run out and buy all sorts of expensive supplies. However, I did take a class on how to make a St. Birgitta's cap. The cost was just a few dollars for the linen and the handout, and I did most of the hand-stitching at Pennsic and finished it up at home. I will try to write about that very soon in a separate entry.

I'll just close this one off with a couple of images. Here is a selfie of me at Pennsic on August 6, halfway through War Week. (I'm wearing a kerchief, not the St. Birgitta's cap.)

Finally -- just so I can have some Lithuanian content in this entry -- here is a portrait of my cat trying to look learned. :-)