Who is ready to start Pennsic prep???
|A Wandering Elf||
There are several articles on my blog that get heavy traffic, including those where I discuss hot-weather garb options for Pennsic ( http://awanderingelf.weebly.com/blog-my-journey/summer-wardrobe ). I want today to share a friend's blog posts about Archaic Greek Chitons so that folks have even more low-bulk, summer-weight clothing options (and since it is only September, you have plenty of time to get things made before next year). Baroness Anna Dokeianina Syrakousian's work is always lovely and this chiton is no exception (and she is professionally a researcher/historian, so I highly recommend checking out the rest of her blog as well, especially if you have any interest in Byzantine clothing).
Who is ready to start Pennsic prep???
I am really pressed for time at the moment, but wanted to get some photos up of the big display this year. There were SO many impressive entries. I plan to talk about a few of them in more depth later, but for now, here are the pics.
This is a notice that the time and date for this tournament are listed WRONG in the Pennsic book. Full, correct, information is below:
Topic: Martial: Heavy Weapons,
Mon Aug 6, 5PM-7PM at the Castle
This tourney is part of an ongoing celebration of the 800th anniversary of The Marshall’s death in 2019. Fought in the style of the 12th-century ransom tourneys of France, teams of fighters in armor, appropriate from 1000-1250 AD, will fight to gain ransom and glory. Detailed rules will be posted at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1928749080691736/
All SCA authorization, armor and weapons standards apply to the tournament. All combatants must conform to the weapon and armor standards of the tournament. The tournament will consist of three rounds of melée, 15 minutes each, with a 5 minute break between to hydrate or settle ransoms. Dress: 1) No visible plastic, including and not limited to baskets hilts. 2) No visible sneakers or modern footwear (i.e., Crocs). 3) Armor should be from 1000-1250. Surcoats highly recommended. 4) Middle Eastern and European armor only. No Japanese, Chinese, etc. Weapon restrictions: 1) No flamboyant duct tape (i.e., Hello Kitty duct tape). 2) Pole arms must be six feet or under, and must have a head or a proper profile (subject to approval), i.e., no unpadded pole arms. 3) Shields must be painted, heraldry recommended. (Don't take this as a personal challenge; this is also subject to approval.) 4) Spears, daggers, axes, maces and greatswords are welcome. No madus permitted.
Combat and Ransom: All normal SCA combat rules apply. Example: telling blow to limbs loss of the limb. TEAMS: To be chosen at the beginning of the tournament. We will attempt to make the sides even and fair, as well as attempt to keep whole units together. Changing of sides is permitted. RANSOMING: Once killed, combatant takes a knee, and counts to 30, (This does not have to be out loud.) , and: 1) is escorted by opposing team to the Resurrection point for ransom. Or: 2) Time runs out and they return to their own resurrection point to resurrect. 3) Closed face helmet ignore face thrusts.
How the Ransom works: There will be two people on either side to record the Ransoms. Suggested ransom is an item between $5 - $20 in value and should be fitting of one's station. The terms must be agreed upon by both parties.
Eleanor of Aquitaine Clause: A member of the gallery can provide Ransom and is encouraged to do so, especially if they deem the combatant worthy
This post is in reaction to a blog post a friend made about a very bad experience she had at the Pennsic A&S Display a few years ago. You can read that post here: https://annasrome.com/2018/07/05/remember-the-human-dont-be-that-guy-at-as-classes-and-displays/
She made great points about the people displaying, but I want to add onto that. When you attend an artisans display at Pennsic (or anywhere else) you should keep in mind that those presenting are likely to be a variety of levels in terms of skill. Some might be new to the SCA and are jumping into the deep end and displaying during their very first year. Some might be veterans who are exploring a new art. And, most importantly, some might actually be displaying something entirely other than what you think you see.
Usually the first two categories will become apparent once you engage with the artisan and you can handle advice accordingly. That last category though, can be tricky, but you should always ask yourself - and the artisan, if necessary - what it is they are showing. I can use myself as an example, I study Viking Age Norse textiles. I have a nice display of wool, textile tools, a small scale loom and books that house my research. What I was NOT actually displaying was my woodworking skills on the loom that I made for the display. What I was NOT displaying was woodwork or pottery for my spindles (which I did not make at all). I was also not displaying weaving or spinning (though I had woven samples and spun wool there as well). What I was sharing was my knowledge of Norse textiles, how they were made, and also the context in which they existed in period. I know that people do not take time to read piles of papers at events, so I illustrated every item with something tangible on the table. (Realistically, you could say Research, and Illustrated Research, as well as Experimental Archaeology, are my actual A&S "things" in the SCA, not weaving or costuming or any of the other things I do. My geek is in the research and experimenting with what I learn.)
I also have a couple of friends who make and display textiles tools. These people are, in fact, geeked up over making period tools, though they may or may not actually be interested in spinning and weaving full lengths of cloth for garments. This is actually a very period practice (especially as you get into later history where there was a greater division of labor and people were more apt to specialize, meaning that a Renaissance era woman would labor to spin fibre, but would be procuring her spinning wheel from an adept craftsman who specialized in that trade). If someone builds a loom and displays it, it is fine to ask if they have woven the cloth for a garment on it, but it is also fine if they say they tested it to see if it works, but they have little interest in weaving 5 yards of cloth.
If you are attending a display, please keep in mind that what you see in front of you might not be what it seems on the surface. Remember that just because you prefer to do things from sheep-to-shawl (including making all of your own tools), please remember that not everyone has an interest in doing every tangental aspect of their craft themselves (and it might not be period for them to do so). This is NOT a competition where you get more points for each item one fashions by hand. You will learn more about someone and their art if you are willing to walk away from assumptions that you might initially make when you learn that those assumptions were off base.
And please, please, remember that many people love the research aspect more than any other and their displayed craft might just be to test theories, it might just be to help illustrate the folder of papers sitting in front of them. If you are interested enough in their work to stop and talk to them, you should be interested enough to accept that they might be more interested in sharing their research with you rather than the fine details of a machine sewn costume that is only there to help people visualize a paper they composed.
And for the artisans, I recommend that if you make modern substitutions (let us say buttons for your costume), but you have no interest in metal casting to make your own, that you still learn (and include in your documentation if it is a competition) the historic source of the buttons. Would they have been locally crafted or imported? Was there a guild for this? Were they expensive? (This type of knowledge can also help you better place your garment into historic context.)
I look forward to seeing this year's display. It is an amazing day of geeking out with others and learning from them!
This is absolutely one of my favorite parts of Pennsic. This event is a fantastic chance to take a step into the past and explore various arts as they were done then. Some of my favorites from past years were lampworking beads over coals, early period embroidery, spinning, bronze casting and, my favorite, was last year where I got to make a coin! Some classes will be organized with specific times, but even if you miss that thing you really wanted to take, here tends to be artisans down there all day doing demos.
This is absolutely worth putting at the top of your Pennsic To-Do List!
Preachain's 26th Annual Early Period Arts and Sciences Day
This post is for those in the SCA who brave the hot humid events, and who desire something a bit "less" to wear that still falls in with a quasi-historical look.
Five years ago, I wrote an article for this blog called "Dressing for the Weather". In that piece, I covered use of linen, types of garb and some other tips based on my own experiences over the years. Ability to cope with the weather, is, of course, a very personal issue and while some can parade around in full Elizabethan at Pennsic, others would find their comfort too compromised were they to dress in that manner. Because this is the SCA, we allow for a range of options, and strict period attire is not required. There are still plenty of ways to try to fend off that humidity, with a passible historic guise.
One way to do this is simple single layer garb. Many people opt for Roman or Green in the summer months for this very reason. A chiton or peplos can be a brilliant way of combatting the elements.
Other options include Bog-dresses (which is also a peplos). This garment can be voluminous for a very historic look (and in linen, with no belt, that can be exceedingly comfortable in the muggy Pennsic afternoons). Finds from Huldremose, Zweeloo and Hammerum all give us peplos garments that are a tube of cloth that is pinned at the shoulders. Huldremose has a fold at the top that creates a flap while the other two have the pins at the edge. The Hammerum dress is also short, which actually allows you to make this garment with less fabric (and less bunching under the arms and at the waist) than the Huldremose version.
For something still passible, but that uses minimal cloth and reduces bunching, I have a document on creating a "less fabric" version of a bog dress, that uses pleats at the top for a better drape. Without the pleats it is actually pretty comparable to a "Germanic Barbarian Dress" from the Hungarian Museum. You can find that item here: http://awanderingelf.weebly.com/blog-my-journey/sca-standards-the-bog-dress
Finally, we have the Theoretical Wrap Dress that I tested out last year. This garment only requires a single hemmed piece of cloth and drapes easily and that keeps you fully covered while working. You can find instructions (as well as my tips) for this item in my post from last year:
I find myself answering questions about tents frequently in forums on Facebook. I take the time to do this because I have had (or stayed in) most of the available period styles at some point or another and have input about what things I would do (or NEVER do) again, what I would change, and what has worked for me the longest.
I want to state upfront that I am a die-hard fan of Panther Primitives Tents. They are not the only tent maker out there these days, and while I have heard mostly good things about companies like Midwest tents, I have also seen some other pavilions from other companies that made me cringe (seriously, nothing should be STAPLED together on a tent). So yes, I am definitely a fan of Panther, and should I ever buy another tent, it is guaranteed to come from there. Even if you are buying a tent elsewhere, some of my comments about tent styles might still be of benefit to you. ( http://www.pantherprimitives.com/ )
My first tent, which I do not have a picture of at the moment, was actually a Wall Tent. This was left over from my days as a Civil War reenactor and my then-husband portrayed an officer, we had a wall tent rather than a wedge. I actually have no faults with this tent or this style. If you use the style that has only a ridge and end poles, the length of ropes you need to stretch out the walls can take up excessive space in camp, so that is something one needs to consider. These do, however, tend to have a good deal of usable space inside, and front and back doors make for good air circulation.
The second tent I used was one I borrowed, and that was 16X16 Regent. We actually used to have quire a few of these in our camp (both the 16X16 and the 12X12) size. I like these for their portability as they have very few poles involved. You lose floor space due to slanted walls and the clipped corners, but the 12X12 is particularly awesome for single people who might not need to put a large bed inside. They go up pretty easy, but I prefer setting one up when there are at least 4 people to help manage it. The walls are attached which means that the person holding poles inside might bake a bit while everything is set up. But as a hole, I find them to be attractive and functional. They are also nice in that you can get a fly on the front as well to help with sun.
The next tent we had was an 18" Round Carousel Style Pavilion. This is the one type of tent I would never, ever buy again. Rather, I would never have one in this size, combined with the style. They look beautiful and the carousel top means that you only have a single vertical pole to deal with. The problem is that 7ft walls on the larger sizes means that you have to have someone tall to add the spokes as you set up. We also had attached walls on ours, which made it very difficult to get up to begin with. I think they might only sell them with detachable walls now, which is a good thing.
One of the benefits is that you can actually use the spoke system to hang light weight items like a few garments or your lanterns. The only other benefit is that they look good. They look really good. This is what my brain imagines all medieval tents looked like. The major drawback though, is that the large sized ones always seem to have the top blow out after about 5 years, even with careful maintenance. There is a great deal of weight on the top of that pole. In a single year at Pennsic, I knew of 4 or these that ripped through. One happened when folks in my camp were there to see it go. They heard the pop and then the entire tent slowly deflated and shuddered to the ground.
Next came the grandest tent of all, the 18X30 Oval Marquee. This thing was glorious. We also had it decorated rather amazingly, with a variety of goods imported from Morocco and India. There was enough space that we had a foyer, a king air bed, a queen air bend and a huge "closet" wing. This type of tent, as well as other marquee styles, can make great use of the closet brackets that are also sold by Panther. There were four of us in the tent this year, and there was still plenty of space. However, it was a good deal of work to set up and maintain, so it now is being use by my household as our common tent/shade fly (it also worked beautiful to house guests waiting during my vigil a few years ago).
The next tent in line was the 18X18 Seam Engineered Rectangular Marquee. Rectangular marquees are also something we have in abundance in our camp, so I am familiar with other set-up options on those as well. There are, however, things I would never, ever again order in this type of tent.
I want to make a note here about Shade Flies for tents. These come in two types, one is a Side Mount Ridge Fly and the other is a Flat Fly. The former is fantastic, as it can be left up during a torrential downpour because it is angled in a way that does not readily collect water. The flat style of fly will collect water and can eventually collapse a tent. For these you need to tilt the poles every time it rains to prevent this (though I have also seen people add other internal structures to avoid this fate as well).
Finally, we arrive at my current (and very much loved) set-up, the Norman Saxon Tent. I will admit that I resisted this idea for years. My boyfriend suggested these over and over and I was very worried about about all the things I heard about all of the things I have heard about not having any space in these things. He bought one for himself, and after a year of him using that and my friends and I using the Marquee, I realized he was correct and he got me one as well.
We use one wedge for small events, or even occasionally for mundane camping and there is plenty of space for a queen sized bed and our gear, as well as a chair in the front for him. For Pennsic, we often are moving around at different hours (and he likes to take naps), and plus I bring a ton of stuff (class materials and garb, garb, garb) so we take two and set them up side-by-side.
This style of tent goes up quickly. I am not strong enough to lift the ridge, but I can roll out the tent and stake everything down, get a few hands to insert the ridge and lift the roof and then I can finish on my own from there. The whole thing can go up in less than 20 minutes.
There is also plenty of room in there for me for War, despite the amount of things I take. I have a cot that is bigger than a twin bed and nearly as tall, a small dresser and a cooler. I have tons of very large bins that get shoved against the walls in the back half of the tent and I have rigged a small closet rod (which I will post about later at some point) that hangs from the ridge in the very back of the tent for my garb. Honestly, there is more than enough space for me, even with my excess of stuff. In the center photo below you can see his tent set up as vigil tent a few years ago. The cot in the back is a tall XL cot and there was enough room to have it running across the width of the tent rather than the length.
Another comment I want to make about the wedge tents is that they require zero maintenance once they are set up. With a marquee or regent you will usually need to adjust the ropes several times during a long event (sometimes even daily). These require no effort at all. We also have had his wedge tent set up on a mundane camping trip that had 60mph wind gusts and it never leaked nor budged. They are very solid beasts.
A note about Ground Cloths. This is a very contentious item on some of the forums. People love them, hate them, have other alternatives, you name it. I will note that we have the Panther Super Ground Cloth for each of our tents. I personally love them. This is a canvas cloth that is cut to the size of your tent and has a plastic tarp sewn to the bottom. Having the correct sized floor is very important to properly set up tents like the wedges, which can be staked to the ground before raising the roof. The tarp on the bottom means that I don't have to carry an extra tarp (though some people do). These last a very long time, and we take care to fold them so that none of the canvas floor touches the icky damp tarp portion when packing-out from Pennsic. When I get home I lay them out on the pavement in the drive way, tarp side up, and bake off all the gross stuff in the sun, sweep it clean and then flip it over to bake some more (and ensure it is totally dry).
I have one other thing to add to my tent commentary, and that is regarding mundane tents. For an event like Pennsic, you really do not want a nylon tent if you can help it. Fortunately, there are a number of canvas tent options these days that not only breath well, but they also set up with ease (and take up little storage space compared to a pavilion), and, honestly, they also can blend in a little better.
There are two companies that make very similar canvas tents, Springbar and Kodiak. Friends of ours have several Springbar tents, and when we were looking for a more portable option (that was not nylon) to using our wedges for mundane camping, we decided to test drive the Kodiak. I have to say that I love these tents. The components come in two bags, one for the poles and one for the tent. This means that I can carry these items myself as separately they do not weigh overly much. My boyfriend could set one up by himself, but I need help to raise the ridge (the same as I do with the wedge). They go up in mere minutes and take up little space in the car compared to a pavilion. If you are on a tight budget and cannot afford a pavilion yet (or if you have space constraints such as apartment living), something like this might be the best option for you. The Kodiak tent we have even has an adorable little built in sun shade on the front, and there are accessories for inside that allow you to store some things up near the ceiling. I cannot recommend these tents enough for those who can not yet make the commitment to a period tent.
There is plenty of headroom in all of these options, and the bow sides mean that you have less of a slant and less wasted floor space. The bottom of the Kodiak is very heavy vinyl that keeps water out and we have never had an issue with the tent leaking else where either. We do use a small tarp under this, because you cannot as effectively bake the bottom of the tent the way you do with a Panther Super Ground Cloth.
We have the "8 Person" 10X14 foot Kodiak. There is a couple in our camp that has one as well and it is more than sufficient for them for Pennsic (and more comfortable than their previous nylon tent). I do not know that I would consider going smaller, but they do have other sizes as well, including a 10X10. (There is also a cabin tent style that I do not recommend if you want fast set up. They are really neat in terms of the shape and size, but take much longer to set up than the flex-bow design of the tents we have.)
Occasionally I realize that I have totally lost my mind. Clearly this is one of those times.
Last year I decided I wanted to come up with a super easy, one layer sort of loose garment that I could do in linen that is more period than my typical bog dresses. (My "bog dress" is a modified version of the typical two-flap style that involves less fabric, less bunching, and some pleats for better drape. It is plausible, but is "inspired by" rather than based on an actual extant piece. My instructions are here: http://awanderingelf.weebly.com/blog-my-journey/sca-standards-the-bog-dress) awanderingelf.weebly.com/blog-my-journey/sca-standards-the-bog-dress
I prefer linen at War, but the issue with linen is that its drape does not lend well to garments that have a lot of fabric bunched up at the waist. Linen has a very beautiful crisp hand, and tends to fall away from the body rather than flow over it. Linen is also typically a tabby weave. Tabby also tends to fall away from the body, whereas a twill will better flow.
Both linen and wool are wonderful, as are both twill and tabby. They, however, have very different looks and are suited to different things. For me personally the linen tabby does not make me happy with a Huldremose or Zweeloo style bog dress because it is simply too much cloth (that does not flow well) gathered in at the waist.
I recalled awhile ago that I was deciding on what to do with some lovely mid-weight wool, twill plaid, and tested a very hypothetical garment out in that cloth. The bulk was too much, but just maybe it would work with this mid-weight linen...
In my massive stash of books and articles I have one entitled "Visions of Dress. Recreating Bronze Age Clothing from the Danube Region". This is by Karina Grömer, Lise Bender Jørgensen and Helga Rösel-Mautendorfer. I tend to collect articles by certain authors, in this case it was Bender Jørgensen that is responsible for this one being in my stash. It discusses a fantastic find from the Bronze Age in Austria and what the plausible costume construction for the fantastic (and dangerous, lol) jewelry could have been.
One of the options (Variant 4: Pustopolje type) is a very simple wrapped garment made from a rectangle of cloth. I have to take a moment here and note that it is expressly stated in the article that "none of the recreated outfits can be considered as 'the truth'". This is very key, they are all exceptionally hypothetical (and the methodology is laid out in the document itself, which I shall link further down). It does, however, work amazingly well and is quite beautiful in the linen that I tested! (There really is not enough to back this, even with this article, to give this garment enough to pass muster as an A&S project, but it certainly works for events like Pennsic, where I want to stay cool and comfy!)
Below are some tests I did. This is 2 yards of 5.3oz linen, un cut and unhemmed. I tried it with and without a belt and both styles are secure. I can walk, climb stairs, get up and down off the ground and chase cats in it. For this test I simply used kilt pins. In reality I will hem the cloth and use my Crafty Celts Belt and Fibula set (which dates several hundred years after this, but I have it and it is stunning).
The only issue I have so far found at all was that the top-front (neckline) tends to ride a little high on me. That can be easily fixed with a small brooch or fibula in the front that would serve to gather just a bit of that fabric (pulling it a bit lower).
2018: NOTES FROM THE AFTERMATH - I made and wore one of these several times last year at Pennsic. In practice, I learned that this garment needs to be a bit shorter than I am showing in the trial images below, to be completely functional. No longer than ankle length, with slightly shorter being better, allowed this to not bind up around my legs while walking when it is belted (I have a long stride). I was able to take off my belt and help someone set up a pavilion last year and and despite getting up and down off the ground a number of times, I was never in danger of flashing anyone, as the dress stayed secure and coverage was complete.
For sizing, I am typically an 8 or a woman's medium. I use two yards of cloth (before hemming) for this garment. My recommendation is to start with cloth that is double your bust size, PLUS extra. Wrap the garment and you can tell from there exactly how much you will need, and you can trim off the excess.
Last year I pushed the fibula through the dress fabric itself each time. This year I might add small hand sewn eyelets to pin through to help preserve the cloth.
I know that I wanted to over complicate this exceptionally simple garment, and was pleased when I figured it out exactly how easy it was. Below are steps to complete this look yourself. Note that the fabric requirement will change with size and body type!
PALADIN'S PANTRY RIDES AGAIN!
Dear Gentles, Have you ever found yourself with more to pack at the end of Pennsic then you did when you set out from home, only to find that your vehicle seems to have shrunk? Is your kitchen area full of boxes of cereal, pasta, jars of peanut butter, and jugs of bottled water you can't remember buying?
Never fear! The annual Paladin's Pantry Food Drive is here to help by conveying your camp's extra food and drink to a local food bank. Just drop any unopened foodstuffs or beverages (no alcohol, please) at one of our handy collection points:
Aethelmearc Royal (N04) Next to Pennsic University
Atlantia Royal (N40) Near the Gothic Abbey
Northshield Royal (E02) Across from Soalr Showers
Trimaris Royal (W17) Runestone and Great Middle Highway
BMDL Baronial (N10) Central Serengeti
Barony of Bhakail (N11) Corner of Brewer's and Fletcher House
Sable Maul (N29) Count Jehan's Bounty
Puffin's Rock Inn (N01) Next to Great Hall
Barony of Blackstone Mountain (E04)
Venshavn (E24) Next to Wulfden's Back Door
Clan Blue Feather (E12) Slope of Horde Hill
House Akeru Thunder (E17) Hill Road
The Lusty Wench Tavern (E17) Across from Chalk Man Pub
The Chalk Man Pub (E17) Hill Road and Good Intentions
House Finisterre (B09) Far West Side
House Iron Lance (W13) Base of Runestone Hill
Maison Rive (Merchant Space 23) Across from Cooper's Store
Offices of the Pennsic Independent --Top of Runestone Hill
Herald's Point (Low Road, next to playground)
In addition, this year the program will be collecting used tents, sleeping bags, cots, and rain gear, (especially those in child sizes), which will serve no one in a dumpster, to benefit the homeless. Exercise your charity, lighten your load, and help members of the community that has made us so welcome over the years! Please direct any questions to Lord Alexander of Ayr (301.401.2045) or Master Morien MacBain (304.283.5640).
Paladin's Pantry: We put the "large" in "largesse"!
I dance, race cars, play video games and am on a fantastic journey to recreate the past via costume, textiles, dance and food.
Blogroll of SCA & Costume Bloggers
Below is a collection of some of my favorite places online to look for SCA and historic costuming information.
More Amie Sparrow - 16th Century German Costuming
Gianetta Veronese - SCA and Costuming Blog
Grazia Morgano - 16th Century A&S
Mistress Sahra -Dress From Medieval Turku
Loose Threads: Cathy's Costume Blog
Mistress Mathilde Bourrette - By My Measure: 14th and 15th Century Costuming
More than Cod: Exploring Medieval Norway
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