Oh and one more thing – on getting roped in…

Last night was Loch’s Populace meeting – the business meeting of the barony.

I left having promised to apply for the open Chronicler position (the person who writes the newsletter) and to help with the Serpent’s Symposium event in August.

‘Cause I can’t do anything without offering to freaking help. 

(My first job in the SCA was the Loch Chronicler position, back in 2006-2008, and I was the first person to produce a digital newsletter. Of course, there’s no such thing as a printed newsletter anymore, and I’ll have to learn MS Publisher for this, but it’ll be a good time. I’m thinking of giving Charlie his own editorial column.)

Ansteorran White Scarf Ruby Anniversary

The event this weekend was an absolute blast – I got to see old friends, amazing rapier fighting, meet new people and even spend part of my day in service to the community as a scribe. Plus I got to learn The Very Basics of listmistressing, which is the art of pairing fighters on a list field – something I’ve never done before, but which was fun. 

The event was in Livingston, which is almost exactly 100 miles north of where I live, so it took a little over 90 minutes to drive there, even early on a Saturday morning. I planned my morning well, so that I arrived at Sonic at 7:10 (right after they open), got my breakfast not-in-a-burrito (you can order breakfast burritos in a tray instead of a tortilla) and an iced tea the size of my head, and hit the road. There had clearly been storms the night before – site was wet and parking was muddy, but no deep or dangerous mud. I got great parking right near one of two huge permanent pavillions on site. 

Found my friends – lots of people to hug (especially Baron William, he gives the best hugs). Gated in, and set up shop with Elena and Brian to spend the day at a picnic table doing scribally things. I knew I was there to paint – Elena had done original scrolls for all the tourneys that day, and had done the calligraphy and drawn in the illumination, but they were not all painted yet, so I painted the three youth awards. 

Her Majesty also gave out two Queen’s Rapiers (basically a “wow you really impressed me” award), and though we only had one on site – and we really did try to get a second one – I painted that too. (The other will come from Sable Scroll this week and get given out on Saturday at Queen’s Champion, presuming the recipient is there – which I believe he said he would be.)

Then Elena got roped into helping with the afternoon lists, and I went and learned the very basics. Fun skill, got to meet a lot of fighters. There was truly some spectacular fighting on display – some of the best rapier fighters in the Known World were there, and HRM was clearly delighted to be part of this.

The backstory is that originally in the SCA if you wanted to fight, you fought heavy armor chivalric fighting. But a couple of upstarts in Ansteorra (led by one Tivar Moondragon) started researching period rapier fighting manuals, and began a tradition here in our own kingdom that led to HRH Tessa creating what was first called the Order of Cavaliers – the insignia of which is a white scarf tied on the left arm above the elbow (or at the shoulder). These became the White Scarves – and rapier fighting has always had a very special relationship with the Queen. As the King’s Champion is the King’s personal defender, so the Queen’s champion – a rapier fighter – is hers. Many a Don (the title taken by most White Scarf holders) remembers poignantly which Queen granted him access to the order, and the Queen’s Champions all hold very dear their relationships to their queens. 

It’s a special thing, and a thing that really doesn’t exist anywhere else in the Known World (there are some kingdoms where there was no Order of the White Scarf at all). Now that there’s a rapier peerage – the Masters of the Order of Defense – many kingdoms are closing their White Scarf orders, which is a grant level award, and I find that to be a loss. I grew up in the SCA in the rapier community, and there’s a panache and a style to it that you don’t see in other places. 

My thoughts on rapier fighting aside, it was a good day, not too hot, though muggy once the sun came out and started burning off the puddles. Feast was excellent, and by the end of it I was exceptionally tired, and chose to drive home rather than stay and see the bardic circle that followed. Many folks camped Saturday night, and the site has running water and showers, so hopefully it’ll be a site we use regularly, even if it’s a bit far away.

Next event I’ll be at will either be Steppes Warlord (Memorial Day weekend) or Ansteorran Heraldic and Scribal Symposium (late June). Possible detour to Known World Dance and Music in mid-June as well.

I’m doing my best to dance these events around when D&D is – some events (like the AHSS event) will be worth missing D&D for, but most won’t, so I’ll be scattering my event attendance in between weeks or on off weeks. 

I’ll have a post up later this week about garb. I need to make some decisions about what I’ll be wearing, since the garb I have needs alterations or additional layers to be really period. 

Dreaming the Dream

So after many long years away, I’ve decided it’s finally time to really rejoin the SCA for really real. I played seriously from 2004-2010, and then a little in 2014, but hadn’t even unpacked my garb from the move over two years ago. (I’m still missing pieces of it – I have no idea what boxes it might be in.)

But I need people. I need MY people – the nerdy ones, the ones who geek out about hem stitches and wool types and pigments, the ones who make parchment and who cook over open fires. I need people who won’t expect me to be an authority except where I actually am one (see: nowhere, right now), and who will meet me where I am and let me find my footing in a world that captures my imagination AND my desire to create things.

D&D is amazing – I still play every weekend give or take. But D&D is 4 hours  a week, and since I’m not DMing, I’m not having to prep for a game – it’s just time set aside to do things with friends, and those friends are virtual.

I need people in real life, friends to do things with and people to teach me new things. I’ve become very focused and specialized and I miss being able to talk about all of the things I was learning. 

So tomorrow I’m going to my first SCA event in almost six years. Some of the people have changed, but others are still around – probably much better at their arts and skills than they were when last I saw them. The event is Ansteorra’s White Scarf Ruby Anniversary – celebrating rapier fighting in the kingdom that started that entire line of study and fighting in the Known World. 

This is a really apt event for me to go back to. When I first joined the SCA, I was in college in Waco (Emerald Keep), which was being run by a gentleman named Don Edward Mercer. Don Edward was Queen’s Champion for HRM Sibri in the fall of 2005, and he basically offered me a free ride (I’d bring breakfast and gas money) to whatever events he was going to. We’d talk in the car about the history of rapier fighting, about the stories and legends of the art, about the relationship between a fighter and the Queen. It set up a magical thing for me to be part of and to sink my teeth into at the same time as I was first starting to play WoW. 

So from Emerald Keep I moved to Loch Soilleir, where I still live, and there I truly blossomed – learning scribal arts and fiber arts, learning cooking and weaving and dyeing. I made friends that I’m still friends with. 

It’s hard to explain what it’s like to be spending my free time this week getting ready to event – the early morning drive, the garb, the feast gear, the packing a cold bag with snacks and things to eat and drink. The realization that I have no feast gear, no period-looking mug to drink out of. I’ll make do, but I’ve got some kit-rebuilding to do. (And I really probably need to pick up some mundane camping gear.)

But most of what I’m excited for is the chance to meet people – to have friends again that I share common interests with, or that I can nerd out with about things that are interesting to both of us. There’s so much out there to learn, and so much that I want to start doing again, that I’m having to pace myself. I’ll get there though.

And until then, tomorrow I get to go and see if the dream is still alive, in the little things. I don’t have a full set of garb yet – I’m just wearing a plain burnt orange kirtle and a white headscarf/veil. But that will come with time as well. I love making clothes for the SCA, and I think an order of linen is in my future, for a new sideless surcoat and for a proper veil and wimple. 

Wish me luck then, as I start this new (old) chapter in my life. I’ve been Anna online since 2004… but I’ve been Anne in the SCA since 2006 or so, and it’s time to try that name back on again.

Lady Anne atte Rydeforde

SCA Arms Passed at Laurel

About a year ago, I decided I wanted to register a device (at that point, no AoA, so it would’ve just been a device and not arms – now it’s arms!).  With a lot of help from the local herald geek in my barony (Hi Melissa!) – who really gets credit for this one, as it was her idea – I picked something that was simple, period, and which had a lot of visual interest without being busy or covered with “thingies” (I like the thingies on some sets of arms? But I couldn’t think of any thingies that I liked and which represented me without being too busy).

Anyway – it passed Kingdom about 6 months back, with complements from one of the people that is notorious for being grouchy about non-period arms.  I figured that was a good sign.

I found out this morning that it passed Laurel Sovereign at Arms, again with complements, and the device is officially “mine”.

Per pale azure and argent a chevron rompu counterchanged

What that means?

  • Per pale means it’s divided in half from top to bottom
  • azure and argent means blue and white/silver
  • a chevron rompu is the shape (click for a plain chevron rompu)
  • counterchanged means the colors swap places across the center line

My persona – Anne atte Rydeforde (basically Anne who lives by the reedy ford) – is a late 14th century lower noblewoman. She’s of enough stature to have pretty dresses… but not enough to have very many of them.  I think this suits both of us just fine.

Problems with ROY G BIV

The actuality of the house is finally approaching – we’re scheduled to close on Thursday afternoon. Which means decision time on some big things like a fridge and washer/dryer and what color we’re actually going to re-paint these rooms (after we tear down the miles of outdated, ugly wallpaper).

Which is providing a small issue.

My husband is red-green colorblind. And as much as it’d be easy to say “Sorry, hun, that’s not brown, it’s olive-drab green, and is not an appropriate wall color for our dining room” – well, he has to live there too, so things have to look good both to my color-normal eyes and his color-reduced eyes.

If you’ve never thought about or looked at what someone with red-green colorblindness would see, check out these articles on Color Science (What is Colorblindness? and How do things look?) and this article over at Vischeck – they have a program that will adjust normal images to be what someone with various types of red-green colorblindness sees, and it can be pretty profound. When I have my husband look at these pictures, he doesn’t see a difference between the “normal” and the “protanope/deuteranope” images – the type of colorblindness that he has. Part of his particular type of colorblindness also includes a dimming of color in reds and greens.

We’ve avoided that problem so far, since we’re not allowed to paint this apartment, and I’ve decorated mostly with blues, yellows, and light browns. (It’s also one of the reasons both my blogs are green, as I hardly ever choose to use it in our home, and it’s my favorite color)

Since he has no color distortion with blue and yellow, sticking to those colors is pretty successful most of the time (though he often can’t tell the difference between a grey-blue, a pure baby blue, and a lavender-blue that to my eyes are clearly three very different colors). We’ve run into the biggest problem with our formal living room – the idea is to paint the dining room (which has white chair-rail and beadboard on the bottom half of the room) a warm brown, and the entry/piano room a lighter, complimentary brown.

Obviously we can’t actually pick anything until we can actually stand in the rooms and look at the different colors ON the walls we’re thinking of – but we spent 2 hours at the hardware store yesterday looking at paint swatches, leaving both of us frustrated and bringing home a small stack of colors. (We had better luck with lighting and ceiling fans at least)

A new SCA advertisement

Lysts at Castleton 2009

Lysts is one of the premiere high-persona events in Ansteorra (The SCA kingdom in Oklahoma and Texas). There is only one tourney field, so everyone gets to see all of the fighting, and the local Baronies show up with pavillions and food to sponsor fighters. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m really hoping that in the midst of all the house stuff, I can manage to go this year.

People in the SCA often talk about The Dream – those moments where, even though you know you’re a reenactor, you feel like you’re really there. This can be one of those events.

Woad is me!

Took out a lock of the fleece from the indigo bath, squeezed it all out, let it dry, rinsed it well, squeezed it again, and let it dry some more.

It’s blue! 

Soft grey blue right now.  The chemical reaction is definitely going strong (most mornings when I go to stir it, the pot has a translucent film and is greenish, not blueish, until after I stir it up again).

The only thing I’m worried about now is whether this daily agitation in the indigo water will felt my fleece!

I should’ve painted my face too…

So my usual illumination stuff for Monday nights got canceled today.  Instead, I went to go hang out with the fiber arts people, who have been having fun with raw fleece.

I thought I’d be safe, since they’ve already washed the fleece and would be dyeing tonight.

I was wrong.

I now have a vat on my back porch (ok, it’s a bucket) full of barely washed fleece, indigo, and the water that we washed the fleece in – yes, the dirty stuff.  I’m apparently to let that sit on the porch in the sun for 7-10 days, stirring daily, in order to create an organic fermentation/chemical reaction that will bind the indigo (a non water-soluble dye) into my fleece.

So I’ll have blue fleece.

Otherwise, I’ll have dingy fleece and a really smelly bright blue mess.  We’ll see what happens.  Come to think of it, right now what I have is dingy fleece and a really smelly bright blue mess.  I have blue-ish fingernails too.

I also got some uncarded wool, which – at first glance – is going to be a lot of fun.  My wool cards create small rolags (rolag = fluffy bit of carded wool in a little tube), and I’m trying to spin this at a thick DK/thin worsted weight off the rolags, spinning woollen.  This means I get about 2 drops per rolag, sitting down.  However – the hand washed, hand combed fleece really does spin a lot easier than the commercially prepared rovings, I think because it’s not so compact – the lanolin might help as well.

Also, I’m not having to spin from the fold, since the rolags are prepared for spinning woolen.

Spinning takes a lot longer when you have to card all the wool first.

Saturday, Sheep, and SCA

So, I’m a member of the SCA. I’m sure I’ll go on and on about it at length another time, but for now, suffice it to say that the Society for Creative Anachronism is a group of people devoted to studying and reenacting life from 600-1600 AD, with a focus on Medieval/Renaissance Europe. It’s kind of like ren-faire meets civil war reenactment meets living history, with a dose of HUGE and a good healthy sprinkle of neat people.


So I’ve been ‘playing the game’ in the Kingdom of Ansteorra for 5 years this October – but I spent most of the first three being a better college student than SCA member. I kept up a local webpage, went to a few events, things like that. But since I graduated and got married and no longer had all this research and studying to do, I’ve had more time to devote to this particular hobby.

I participate in three major ways – as a local officer in my Barony, as a member of my local scribe’s guild, and showing up at events. Today I got to do a bit of all three – as a “reporter” collecting stuff for the baronial newsletter, as a scribe watching my first piece of original work get given out as a prize, and, well, I showed up!

And I got an award! The first award given to most people (usually) – an award of Arms, granting that I’ve been around long enough and proved not to be a total schmuck, so I can create a device/set of arms that identify me, and use the title ‘Lady’.

Not so sure I’ll be using the whole ‘Lady’ bit – I like being just Anne.

But I got a scroll!!! And my scribal teacher painted it herself – it’s *gorgeous* and even has sheep on it!

Sheep = The Loch Flock (I’m in the Barony of Loch Soilleir)
Sheep = all my knitting/spinning/fiber loving hobbies
Sheep = funny (and kind of dumb, like me)

As soon as I can find a suitable frame, it’s going up on my wall.


Posted in SCA