Monthly Archives: May 2009

Waffenrok- panel update

Panel 1 is complete. Panel 2 is 90% complete. I will be starting panel 3 tonight.

King’s personal arms:

Tyger of the East:

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Posted by on May 26, 2009 in Embroidery


King and Queen’s A & S

So A & S was a really great experience. For my first major competition, I came out alright.  I was a little concerned that the “new kid” wouldn’t show as well as some of these people who have been doing this forever.  But as I set everything up that little part of my brain that has faith in my work and my food, switched on.  If I could equate this to a fencing  bout, I would say that I was on…  😀 My work showed well, I answered questions, I defended my research, and had a really great time. I received great comments in writing and in person.

I got some interesting feed back on my garb entries.  Several people were intriged by the armor.  It looked right, but the linen threw them off at first.  I was told that the garb was very good, and it achieved the goals of being period clothing AND list legal armor.  However… as an A & S entry, it didn’t show as well as it could have if it had been made completely period, with the correct materials and without all the safety features.  So I was docked some authenticity points.  No big deal  They got a lot of great feed back from the judges and populous alike. The Kampfrau sleeves  got people talking, especially when they examimed them upclose.  I love being able to share with people tricks that I discover while sewing. I was told that I should write a research paper about how to do this type of armor/costume design.  When I mentioned I was teaching a class at Pennsic, they said good, and I should still write a research paper. 😉

On the food front, the baklava and small cakes were a big hit.  Apparently the baklava became “legendary” as people came by saying, I was told by so-n-so that I had to come over and try the baklava (including some of the heavy fighters from the list).  That made me giggle and happy that people really enjoyed it.  There weren’t any left overs. The Queen even came by and said “Baklava, and its drippy….”, and then there was a squee and a contented sigh. HRHs really loved it to. That alone made the day. The biggest comment was it doesn’t taste like american baklava.  That’s the cardamon. It adds a hint of peppery goodness that cuts through the sugar and creates a savory pastry.  Just like it did in the Ottoman empire. 😉  My sourdough bread and saffron herb goat cheese won an baronial award for the bread (and spread) competition.

I took a couple of hits on documentation… not for bad documentation, but for loooooooooooooong documentation.  Several people said it should have been entered as research papers. But… people actually read it.  Even the long stuff. I gave out several of my spare copies and mailed out others today.  That was also cool.

Through out the day, little treasures showed up on my table.  Favors that people had left showing me that they really liked what I did.  They were very cool.  I wish I had known about that part of the culture as there were some fabulous entries I would have given a tokens to.

By the end of the day, my brain was fried, the food was devoured, and all was right in my world. Though I almost started laughing in the middle of court when some Tads started making faces and moose impersonations as I was standing my guard shift.  Doh!  That could have been bad.  And someone else from the OSC started talking to me about my socks, during an OSC awarding.  Again also could have been bad.

Side note: I only wanted to throttle  a few people. “I’m a [blah] laurel… I’ve made this recipe hundreds of time and I wouldn’t have done it this way. It looks wrong. Its not how they would have done it in period.”  So on and so forth.  Its those people that I want to shake and say,  I am not a cooking laurel, but I am a certified chef/baker and have been cooking for 30+ years… I might have a clue in my head.  Instead I said, I have a different take on the recipe and here’s why, here’s what I discover and it worked better than the “accepted” redactions that are floating around.  And they still though I was wrong… Im not the laurel. Ah well, cant please anyone.

What did I learn from the experience?
1. I can hold my own in the world of A & S.
2. I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to critism, as it will only make me a better artisan.
3. It is a different kind of geeking, but geeking none the less.
4. I love teaching, and will probably be doing more of it.
5. There is A LOT of networking that goes on at these things.
6. Somehow I think I got volunteered or volunteered to do something for someone later in the next reign, but I dont remember what….
7. Never look at Tadcaster if I am standing up at the front of court facing the audience.

I would not have gotten through the event without A LOT of help from people, everyone who proof read, volunteered to have clothing made for them, eaten recipe validations, made sure I stayed fed yesterday, and generally just gave me support when I needed. it.  THANKS!!!

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Posted by on May 26, 2009 in Projects


EK Rapier Guild- thoughts on a proposal

Ok… so I’ve been thinking. A lot.  Many people have given me many great things to think about.   I decided that I want to be part of the solution and maybe bring some much needed enthusiasm of the newbie to the conversation. I’ve looked at other guilds out there and I think I have a base structure I am willing to propose.  Just wondering what you’ll might think. Keep in mind this is the start of a structure…not a full solution, yet.

The purpose of the guild would be to practice and promote the study of historical light weapon armoring and sword/rapier techniques.  This allows for different areas of sword study outside of the 16th century Europe.  While the primary focus would be for rapier, other sword techniques/weapons forms can studied and potentially adapted for rapier usage.

The Guild be allowed to sponsor chapters, that could be grouped by area of study and/or geographical location.

Members of the guild be responsible for producing 2 projects per year.  Projects can be presented in a variety of  formats including (but not limited to) Classes, A & S displays/competitions, monthly publications, research papers or website articles.

Members can move up ranks through presentation/demonstration/documentation and polling of master level guild members.

•    new members to the guild
•    this level is open to anyone with an interest in the art of defense
•    experienced in the art of defense (academically and practically)
•    mentors junior members
•    has demonstrated competence in 1 or more area of study
Master/mistress of defense-
•    demonstrated competence in 1 or more area of study within a class of weapons
•    mentors junior members

Weapons forms

Single handed weapons
•    Short sword

  • German (I.33)
  • [other examples]

•    Curved sword
•    Dagger
•    Rapier

  • Spanish
  • German
  • English
  • Italian
  • [other school of rapier fighting]

•    [other single handed weapons]

Two handed weapons
•    Long sword
•    Broad sword

Defense objects
•    Cloak
•    Buckler/Shield



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Posted by on May 26, 2009 in Swordplay


Elizabethan Court Gown- Mostly Finished

The gown is coronation ready, but far from complete.  I want to re-work the collar, finish the sleeves, get started on the correct fore-part, and  adjust the shoulders. And then there is trim…. lots of trim.  But in its current form, it was ready for coronation.  I am very happy with the new hoop skirt.  It was made smaller and more functional, but it still retains the correct Elizabethan lines.

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Posted by on May 26, 2009 in Court Wear


Elizabethan Court Gown- cartridge pleating

Ok… so cartridge pleating is the fine art of taking 5 yards of fabric, triple pleating it to the size of 35 inches and attaching it to a waistband 90 degrees horizontally.

Lessons learned (or now I remember why I haven’t done this in 8 years):

  1. 5 yards of cotton velvet is [bleep]ing heavy.
  2. Heavy pleated velvet does not want to attach to a waistband at 90 degree horizontally.
  3. When the needle draws blood the project has taken the requisite sacrifice, and turns out well (think this skirt took at least a pint).
  4. I am not sure what this should be, but probably along the lines of what the ‘hell was I thinking’ and ‘obviously I didn’t learn the first time’.

In spite of the bitching…. the overskirt looks amazing, and feels like silk and yummy goodness.

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Posted by on May 26, 2009 in Court Wear


Elizabethan Court Gown- Bodice and sleeves

The second sleeve is done and the bodice is more complete. I need to add additional trim to “disguise” the machine sewing of the silk.  And more documentation is needed for the pattern of the beading. So say the pelicans and the laurels.

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Posted by on May 26, 2009 in Court Wear


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Research- Sumptuary laws

Sumptuary statute:
None shall wear in his apparel:

Any silk of the color of purple, cloth of gold tissued, nor fur of sables, but only the King, Queen, King’s mother, children, brethren, and sisters, uncles and aunts; and except dukes, marquises, and earls, who may wear the same in doublets, jerkins, linings of cloaks, gowns, and hose; and those of the Garter, purple in mantles only.

The color and materials are the two things that are in question when looking at this Elizabethan law (the first in a long list).

The color purple is not the same modern dye color that can cover everything from plum, to indigo, to magenta.  “Purple” in todays dyes can be anything in the red-blue color spectrum, and is subjective in art, design, dyes, and crayons.

So what was the color “purple” that this law forbade people to wear?  A color modernly called Tyrian Purple which originated in Tyre in Lebanon. The Phoenicians owned the monopoly on this purple dye which was was made by crushing thousands shells of the mollusk, Murex.  This color is actually more red than purple. Tyrian purple “is considered of the best quality when it has exactly the colour of clotted blood, and is of a blackish hue to the sight, but of a shining appearance when held up to the light; hence it is that we find Homer speaking of ‘purple blood’.” 1, 2

Silk was very hard to come by, and only the wealthy could afford it in large enough quantities to create full gowns.

The law:
The law states any silk the color of purple.  It does not make mention of other materials…  One might conclude that the common misconception that “only royalty can wear purple” may be inaccurate, as it generally used as a blanket statement for all colors of purple, all materials, and only applies to King, Queen, Prince/Princesses.  It is clear that ‘dukes, marquises, and earls, those of the Garter’ were persons that could wear silk in purple in various degrees.

How this applies to the gown:
The primary color for the outer sleeves, doublet, and over-skirt is purple, a nice plum/amethyst color.  This color could be achieved via several different dye techniques using lower classed/easier available materials by combining blue and red.

2. History, Shellfish, Royalty, and the Color Purple, Jul 1, 2002 12:00 PM, Dr. Richard M. Podhajny, Ph.D. Contributing Editor

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Posted by on May 26, 2009 in Research