Author Archives: Rhieinwylydd

Reflections on a Writ

Most people reading here already know that I received a writ for elevation to the Order of the Pelican this last weekend at Crown Tourney.  It’s been quite an experience!  Trying to get my thoughts in some sort of order at this point… Continue reading


still here!

I forget about this blog a lot… I just go do what I’m doing and let that be it.

But, OK, things are still happening!   Continue reading

sewing, sewing, just keep sewing!

Bar Gemels is this weekend!  It’s an indoor/outdoor sort of site, and although the weather forecasts are good, I figured it was still good to have some warm-and-dry stuff available.  So I finally started on the Norse coat I’ve been thinking about for ages.

There’s slim evidence for a coat like this, and even less for how specifically it might have been constructed, but I’m basically making a Nockert type I dress, a little bigger than usual to fit over layers, slitting it up the front and cutting a V-neck down to a couple clasps slightly above the waist.  The fashion layer is a wool blend, black with an overlay of SPARKLY RED STUFF.  It’s so not period, but I don’t care, I adore it!

I got it all cut out yesterday; I recently acquired a cutting table and mat and it made the process SO MUCH FASTER.  As usual I did some things weird or wrong, but I’m learning!  (Yesterday’s lesson: cut the sleeves FIRST.  I almost forgot about them completely, and I ended up having to piece one together out of scraps. Had I cut them first, I’d just have a shorter coat, but normal sleeves, which would be better.)

Since the fabric is already not-so-authentic, I don’t have to hand sew this garment (‘have to’ being my own standards, you understand :).  That helps in terms of speed, although not in terms of back pain.  I continue to adjust the exact angles of the top of the body pieces (continual struggle is that at shoulder level, my measurement is significantly different than at bust level, and standard rectangular construction with a straight body piece gives me shoulder seams near the elbows!) – we’ll see how this one turns out.  I’m also trying two square underarm gussets rather than four triangles – the geometry is messing with me but I’ll persevere. Although given that I’m putting pretty wide sleeves on I’m not sure I’ll really need the gussets – we’ll have to wait and see.

Fashion fabric and felting materialsAnyway. While I don’t know that the embellishment will get done by this weekend (in fact, I doubt it will!), I plan to try a new craft: needle felting! I scored some supplies via freecycle and bought some lovely wool yesterday, and I’m intending to do some felted vinework along the edges.  Stay tuned to see how it goes!

finished dress!

So I finally finished the red dress! Mostly, anyway. All the seams are sewn and flat felled and it’s ready to be hemmed. I didn’t have quite as much fabric as I’d hoped, so it hits about mid calf. I could either leave it is as a shorter overdress, or add a length of another color around the bottom. Given what’s in my stash I think I’d have to add white. Not sure how I feel about white at the bottom! Not the most practical idea, certainly. I could wait a little and see what I have left when I make up the gold wool for Galeran… ponder.

Anyway. I had originally planned to norskify the hell out of this with mammen embroidery but I have changed my mind; if I do something less culturally specific the dress is more versatile. But I do want to jazz it up somehow, just not something that screams ‘norse’ so I think I’m going to take inspiration from these lovely cuffs I saw at Crown last fall and seek out some metal findings and accent those. It’ll be sort of generically period-esque, I know, but beautiful and versatile!

moar projects!

So the longest-term project in my crafting life lately has been the red dress.  This is a red wool dress that was made at the last minute the night before an event and, well, looked like it.  Last June I picked it apart and started the process of careful measuring, cutting, and all that to put it back together (100% hand sewn, silk thread, bone needle).  I also made google drawings of my body measurements and of the shapes I cut for the kyrtel, so that I’d have a record of what I did and how well it worked.

Well, last night I finished everything but the hem and tried it on.  It’s tight, but it fits, and looks a zillion times better than last time.  There are things I want to finesse about this pattern (a pretty standard Nockert Type I  garment, with the shoulders cut in a bit), and there are a couple places where my sewing did not do exactly what I wanted it to, but overall I am very pleased with it!

I had originally intended to jazz this dress up with tons of Viking-style embroidery based on the Mammen finds, but I’m reconsidering that plan.  For starters, the dress isn’t perfect enough for me to want to spend  THAT much time on the embroidery – and I was figuring a LOT of embroidery!  I think I’ll do some simpler embroidery designs on the dress, and will probably do something pretty elaborate on my Jorvik hat, but I think I’ll leave the red dress alone at least for now.

Instead… MOAR PROJECTS!  I am torn between doing another Nockert Type I garment in hopes of perfecting the pattern, and doing a St. Francis tunic as described by Alianor, which has the advantages of (she says) producing a perfect 13th c. silhouette – and, as you will note, NO DAMN CENTER GORES!  (I am contemplating cutting all my future gowns that have center gores all the way up the front to avoid inset gores, since I simply cannot get them right.)

I dunno.  What do you think I should work on?

on persona development

When I first joined the SCA I wanted to be ‘something celticy’ and ‘early’ ( before 1066 when being ‘celticy’ became less pleasant).  I ended up choosing to be Welsh, and went along having fun, and somewhere along the way decided I cared about authenticity, when I realized how difficult it was to know much about daily life in Wales that early.

Happily, I found a time when  I could be Welsh, but not completely oppressed: 13th century!  Sharon Kay Penman’s fabulous historical novels might have had some impact here, plus Galeran’s persona is also 13th c., so it all works out nicely!  🙂  But you’ll find a number of 13th c. Welsh personas, because it’s about the only time where you know something of your period AND live under a native Welsh prince: Llywelyn ab Iorwerth, called Llywelyn Fawr (‘the Great’) – for more about him, go to the google.

So, 13th c., Welsh… what else?  Well, I already have ‘Llanaelhaearn’ as part of my name – Llanaelhaearn is a small cantref near the northwest coast of Gwyneddd.  Llywelyn and his court also lived in Gwynedd – as did his children!  Those children traveled and married outside of Wales, which gives me a great opportunity to meet this French musician….

So, Rhieinwylydd’s story: my mother was Gwerydd Wen (‘Gwerydd the Fair’), and she was a pretty but not particularly high ranking person.  She caught the eye of Einion, the lord of Llanaelhaearn (not a historical person), very early in the 1200s.  Gwerydd was Einion’s common-law wife (a fairly usual practice in Wales at this time) and I am the result!  Einion brought Gwerydd with him when he traveled to Llywelyn’s court; he made a politically advantageous marriage there but did not give up his relationship with my mother entirely (however, our position at court was somewhat lessened).

In 1207, Siwan (aka Joan/na), Llywelyn’s wife, had a baby girl, Elen.  My mother had lost a baby boy around the same time and so became Elen’s wet nurse.  I was around four or five at the time, and helped my mother care for Elen.  I was very fond of the princess and she seemed fond of me as well. We remained close as we grew older and I was appointed one of her ladies in waiting (possibly my father influenced this choice).  As the daughter of the Welsh monarch, Elen was married an English lord, John de Scotia.  He died without issue and Elen then married Sir Robert de Quincy – another Englishman.  So you see how a nobleman’s bastard daughter from a tiny village on the coast of Wales traveled to England and sometimes had opportunity to visit France!

Someday I might go through and draft answers to all the questions at about persona development. But not today. 🙂

What about you? How much do you know about your persona’s history?

Monthly Makers

I Keep. Wanting. to DO. Things.  Make things. Work on things.  Talk about things.  And it just doesn’t happen.  I do better with company, for starters; I also need variety.  I don’t have time for a C&I night, sewing night, music night, etc. every week or month.  Too much.  I think it’s too much for everybody else, too, and we lose focus.

I was also reflecting recently that if I were brand new to the SCA and lived in my shire, I would be feel a little lost.  Fighter practice is hard to just jump into, you need so much prep in terms of gathering equipment, and it’s not a practice super focused on teaching, it’s a… PRACTICE.  (Note this is not a criticism of the way things are – practices are important!  Just observing.)  We have dance practice, which is much easier to jump into as a newbie, but it’s also a fairly limited focus.  What if you want to do other stuff? Where do you start?

SO.  Thing of the month club, voila!  My goal is to host or coordinate a get together – with THEME – once per month.  It will be different every month.  It will be a different time every month, depending on schedule.  It will NOT be a class, it will be a general get together for working/chatting/sharing knowledge/asking questions, but nothing super formal.  It might be a sewing day; it might be a charter painting party; it might be a potluck dinner party where we all bring a dish from a single period source; it might be a bardic circle or period music night (note the same :)… etc.  But it will be scheduled, I will do it whether anyone else shows or not, and it’s open to anyone.

If you’re interested, please join the google group:  I’m thinking the first meeting will be the last weekend in March, leaning towards a C&I day but that’s TBD.  Hope there’s interest! 🙂