Something Completely Different

This is not a textile based post or Bardic, or anything SCA related. Or even fun really. No. This my loves is a post on depression, mental health, and self care. This time of year is hard for a lot of folks, me included, so it’s timely.

A gentle reminder before I begin: I filter comments. This is to prevent spam ads. Thus far I’ve approved every comment made on every post I’ve published. Given the nature of this post I’m making an exception for this topic alone. I will not approve any comment that is insulting, derogatory in nature, or dismissive of mental health issues. I don’t care if it is a comment or response to a comment. Comments perpetuating stigma around medication vs other coping mechanisms will likewise languish in limbo. 

I live with pretty severe depression, generalized anxiety, and PTSD. Part of why my posts and updates are so sporadic. Some days I just Can Not. And that’s fine. It’s a limitation I live with. 

Most days. 

My depression gets worse in winter. I don’t sleep, I eat weird (when I eat at all) and my motivation to do anything is crap. But because I overload with projects I have to keep doing things. This always ends up in the guilt death spiral. Which doesn’t help.

It makes me doubt what I can do and who I am. Which leads to imposter syndrome. And more Anxiety. 

Ultimately this culminates in suicidal thoughts. Eventually this comes around every few months. I refer to it as dodging mental assassins. I’m not looking for advice on how to deal with/get rid of them. I pay a professional for that and take chemicals to help my brain chemistry work. In my case I can get along with over the counter herbal solutions and managing diet. I know that makes me lucky. 

This is not an advice post. This is a you are not alone post. 

You are better than your brain tells you. 

You are more important than the things you can do for others. 

You are worth more than your dollar figure. 

You are not defined by your job. 

And finally: you do not need a big reason to keep living. Everyone talks about living for your family, your kids, to see the world, to change something important, to have an impact. And if that’s what keeps you going? Great, hold onto that. 

But if not? Then grab something small. Honestly guys, one attempt of mine was dodged by the realization that my husband would be out of town for too many hours for my dogs to hold their pee. I’m alive because my dogs bladders don’t last 20 hours between empties. Grab anything. And just, hold onto it for an hour or so. Then cling to something else. 

It sucks. I’m not going to sugar coat this shit. It really fucking sucks to be sitting there crying, feeling useless and worthless and just wanting the whole world to stop for five gods damned seconds so you can fucking breathe, and deciding to keep going. It sucks to tell death to fuck off on days you’d really rather just welcome him in like an old friend. And sometimes? Sometimes you wonder why you bothered in the first place. 

But try. You’ve got this. I promise. 

Self Care helps. I’m not talking about sit in the tub/treat yourself self care. No. I’m talking about taking your meds every day, doing your exercise routine when you can, remembering to shower self care. The basic things that seem impossible to accomplish when you’re dodging mental assassins. The hard stuff. But do it. 

If for no other reason than because it’ll really annoy the part of your brain that tells you you’re not worth taking care of. And fuck that part. 


Effing Gloves

So a couple months back I find out a dear friend of mine is getting elevated to Master of Defense. This is super awesome and well earned. I offered to help out with anything that needed doing. A hot minute later I got asked to make regalia, specifically gloves. 

I’ve only ever knit gloves before, but I didn’t have time for that. 

I had never worked in leather before (my bog shoes don’t count here.) 

He’s late period, which means super fancy/sparkly. I don’t generally do super flashy. 

Of course I said yes without thinking this through. You guys know me well enough to know that by now.

From the beginning I’d known I’d wanted the gloves to be list legal. MoD is a fencing peerage, so regalia should be able to be fought in (in my opinion, I do not speak for or judge anyone elses views on the subject). So I researched late period leather gloves. And by “researched” I mean “asked someone with a late period persona what the hell I should be looking at.” They pointed me at a pair of white gloves with cutwork and emboridery with beads and couched embellishments. 

Using that as a jumping point I decided to get red leather gloves sent to me (his MoD paid for the gloves since surgery two months back has me pretty cash strapped). Using those as a base I’d line the cuff with white linen, cut his arms into the red so they showed white, and add gold and silver where appropriate. I had the linen, 14ct gold thread, and sterling silver thread. 

Note: metal threads are really just metal foil wrapped around a paper or silk core. This means they are for couching only, not actually embroidering with. If you try to actually sew with them you will strip the metal off. 

So here is what I started with. Plain red leather gloves. First step was to get the excess dye out since I was going to be backing the cuffs in white. And I wanted that to stay white, not turn pink as I worked or as he wore them. So I soaked them in plain water, wrung them out, and let them air dry. This had the added bonus of making the leather super soft and easy to work with. The next step was to void the non-existent warranty and rip the seams out that held the cuff to the hand, and held the cuff in a circle. No turning back now guys.

Now for the cut work. Effingham’s heraldry involved 6 white crosses, and a white slash, with a gold orobouros in the center. That means the cut work is going to be 6 crosses and a slash per glove. I had husband help me for this part since he’s much better than me with a knife.


All cut out.

Now I added the linen since couching the embellishments on would have the effect of securing the linen to the leather.

Note the linen edging at the bottom. MoDs get a white collar as part of their regalia and I wanted to echo that in his gloves. So now we come to the part where I started carrying these around and got less reliable about progress shots. 

The original plan was to couch down the orobouros in gold, then put the three crossed swords of the MoD symbol on the back of the hand. However someone who was doing a different part of the regalia mentioned they were putting the crossed swords inside the orobouros. Which was a cool idea and I clearly needed to match that. Unfortunately I didn’t get that memo until I was almost done with the linen patches I was going to sew to the back of the hand. 

Work not appearing in final product. 

Orobouros roughed in.

One cuff “finished”. I put it in quotes for a reason. Just wait.

Behold what happens when I don’t pay attention.

Sewn together and finished! Right?

No. Why no? Because the day before they were due I decided I wanted to outline the crosses. Note! There is a strand of silver down around the linen edging AND down the cuff seam. I just didn’t get a picture of that. 

Actually done and how they were presented. All hand work aside from reattaching the cuff. 

Started Bun Atop Disapproving Snailman

AKA why Aethelflied shouldn’t pick projects on high octane pain medication. 

Last post I talked about some tapestry basics and mentioned my first tapestry was a bit…uh… ambitious. Those of you who know me in real life know I’ve been out of work recently following emergency surgery (I’ll be ok, don’t worry. One of my organs committed treason and needed removal.). I get bored. So I decided as part of my recovery/pre-surgery bed rest I’d try learning a new skill. 

Long story short I decided to attempt to weave the first thing I saw on the internet that A. Seemed feisable and B. Made me laugh like a loon in my pain and medication induced haze. 

Word to the wise: guys? Don’t try something for the first time while high. This didn’t turn out too badly all things considered, but I did make some questionable life choices. But it’s important to document projects that you’re not 100% happy with and show your progress so here we are. 

I give you: Startled Bun Atop Disapproving Snailman

Materials: No. 10 crochet cotton (pale yellow, black, and white), embroidery floss (all other colors), linen backing, and wooden dowel for hanging rod. 

I wove the solid blocks of color using a combination of dovetail and slit style tapestry weaving, and embroidered on the outline and finicky detail bits.

Image is taken from a margin doodle in a manuscript. Next time I’m doing a simpler image. 

Let’s Talk About Tapestry

There comes a time in every weaver’s life when our thoughts turn to tapestry. Or maybe it’s just me. In any case here are some tapestry basics. 

What is tapestry?

At its core tapestry is a style of weaving that produces a non-repeating picture in the woven cloth itself. It’s a weft faced style where the warp is entirely covered by a densely woven weft to make the picture (called, charmingly enough, a cartoon). 

You’ve seen tapestry. If not do a quick Google search for Unicorn Tapestry and you’ll see one of the shining examples. Tapestry is a luxury product that takes a lot of skill to do with that level of detail, but is fairly simple to get started. 

Why is it a luxury product? Think of all the effort that goes into making thread. Especially the strong, smooth, thread for weaving. On a drop spindle, no wheel or orther labor saving device here. Sheer the sheep, comb (not card) the wool, spin it, dye it, ect. That’s months of work before we’ve even started weaving. For something you’re going to hang on a wall, not even something with a use beyond being pretty. 

So how do you do it? It’s got to be complicated. Yes and no. 

To weave a simple tapestry you will need:

-A frame loom (think those little looms you made pot holders on as a kid. Yes those.) Or a rigid heddle loom. 

-A cartoon.

-Thin, hard spun warp thread. I suggest no. 10 crochet cotton. 

-Thicker weft yarn in the colors you want your finished tapestry to be. I used DMC embroidery floss and didn’t separate out the individual threads. You can really use anything so long as it’s the right color and thicker than your warp.

-Sturdy tape. 

–  A weaving comb.

To start:

Warp your loom for tabby.

Tape your cartoon to the back of your loom so you can see it behind your warp. 

Paint by numbers with your weft threads. What I mean by that is, instead of throwing your weft across the whole shed change your color without changing shed every time your cartoon color changes. When you’ve gone across the whole shed, changing colors as appropriate, change shed and use your weaving comb to beat the weft tight against the previous row, completely covering your warp. 

That’s it. Everything else is practice and style. 

Some things to be aware of: 

The denser your warp the more detail you’ll be able to pack in. 

You need a new length of thread for every color change. So if you’re using blue, then 2 threads of red, then it goes back to blue? You need two separate bobbins of blue. You shouldn’t just float it like you do in stranded colorwork knitting. That will make your back look super sloppy and may screw with your tension. 

Don’t pull your weft tight against your warp threads when you’re throwing. There’s going to be a little gap between colors when you change, leaving a tiny loop of weft at the end of each color will help hide that slit. 

Curves are hard. Start with an 8 bit cartoon or you’ll drive yourself nuts. Ask me how I know. 

Start with something simple with only one or two color changes to build skill and confidence. You know me well enough to know I skipped this. I started with a cartoon based on medieval marginalia of a bunny knight that just realized he’d left the oven on riding a bearded man-snail. Because life’s too short to be logical or make any sort of sense. 

Have fun and be patient. Give yourself plenty of time to  finish your project. Even if it’s tiny. Because of the color changes tapestry is slow. That’s not an idicator of your skill as a weaver or some sign that it’s too hard for you. It’s not, you’ve got this, it’s just string. 

French Hood: Actually making the thing.

Beloved internet, I am not late period. Aethelflied lived and died before the year 1000. Yet I am led to believe that some of you insist on living after I died, centuries after even. And a few of you even have the nerve, nay the sheer bold faced audacity! To be people I like and want to give textiles to.  So for the purposes of this post, and the one previous on how I made Donovan’s floppy topper, assume Aethelflied found a time machine for the sole purpose of going forward in time to make awesome folks hats. So without further ado I present:

Apprentice Sister’s French Hood

I’ve already posted a lot of documentation for what a French hood is/looks like. So if you’re confused on where I’m pulling this from feel free to check my archives to refresh your memory. I’ll wait.

Back? Awesome.

Ok so, I wove this. So there are going to be a lot of steps here and this is going to be a Long Post. Brace yourselves, get some snacks, maybe a tasty beverage, and buckle up. First we need to figure out how much fabric we need. From there we figure out how much string we need to make the fabric. Then we’ll move on to assembly.

I guessed and patterned off of myself, but if you’re being more meticulous: You want to measure the circumference of the head of the person who is wearing this complicated hat. That’s measurement A. (there’ll be a diagram in a minute ’cause describing this is neigh impossible).  Now, measure from the temple (roughly on level with the eyebrow) down to the cheekbone. That’s measurement B. Measure from just behind the cheekbone, up over the forehead where you want the hat to sit, over to the same point on the other side of the face. That’s measurement C.

Now we’re going to pattern the paste (that’s the bottom headband bit the crescent sits on). It’s going to be roughly this shape:


Measurement A is the long bottom curve, measurement B is how far those two doinky bits come forward, measurement C is that front curve. Plot those measurements on graph paper and rough in the shape. Do your best, we’re building a pattern for a freaky shape with no right to exist. It won’t be utterly perfect but it should be symmetrical. Keep adjusting the angle of the doinky bit until the center of that measurement and the front curve are right. Then draw in those little side curves,  they need to be deep enough to go above your ear comfortably.

Cut this out of paper, yes I know this is the first time I’d advocating making an actual pattern, that’s how you know it’s a big deal. So, cut this out of paper and lay it on your head the way the finished piece will lie. The two long arms get wrapped around your head to meet at the bottom back, where your skull and neck meet. The doinky bits should lie on your cheeks, with the arch above your ears. Once you’ve mastered that magic set the paste pattern aside.


(See? Arching up and over the ear)

Now we’re going to pattern the crescent (the flashy headband bit). Measure from just in front of your ear (where the paste we just made starts to arch) up along your hairline (where the front of the paste lies when you’re wearing it), to the same front of the ear point on the other side of your head. That measurement is the bottom of your crescent. You’ll need to curve it slightly. The deeper the curve the taller your crescent will end up after you sew it on.

Once you’ve got that measured/drawn out, measure 2.5 -3in straight up from the center point in the arch and make a little mark. Make a second curve from the outer points of your existing curve up to that center point. That’s your crescent. Pictured in the first photo right below the paste.

Now to determine how much fabric you need.

Fabric for stiffening:

Enough to cut out two copies of the paste, and two copies of the crescent. For my sister’s hood that was about 1/2 yard of heavy weight linen. Some people will advocate using buckram. I’ve never used it before and didn’t have any. I had linen. So that’s what I’m going to walk you through, if you want to use buckram there are plenty of tutorials that will assume that’s where you’re starting. I suggest reading through them then coming back here and ignore the stiffening step. But I’m not referring to it again, got it? Good.

Fabric for shell/fancy fabric:

Enough to cut out a copy of the paste (plus 1/2 in all around seam allowance), a copy of the crescent (plus 1/2 in all around seam allowance), and a veil 1in wider than the outer curve of your crescent, and 22-26 inches long. This is what I wove on a table loom, so my measurements are a bit weird. That being said I needed one length of fabric that was 15in x 12in for the paste and crescent and one 45in x 12in that I cut in half and seamed for the veil.

Fabric for lining/backing:

Enough to cut out a copy of the paste (plus 1/2 in all around seam allowance), a copy of the crescent (plus 1/2 in all around seam allowance). I used the same fabric for this as I did for the stiffening and got out of the same half yard.

So total fabric shopping list:

-1 yard of 45in black silk (if you’re buying commercial)

-1/2 yard of black linen

Additional needs:

-Sufficient beads/pearls to edge the crescent and the front of the paste (around the doinky bits and across the brow) For me that was 3 15in long strands of cultured freshwater pearls.

– a length of ribbon long enough to box pleat along the front edge of the paste (45in for me)

-18 gauge jeweler’s wire, enough to edge the entire crescent and the entire outer edge of the paste (10ft for me)

-Super strong thread

-A curved tapestry needle (I didn’t use one. This made me sad and my hands hurt. Trust me. Get one)

-Plain school glue. I used the clear gel kind.


So now we know how much fabric we need. I wove the shell and veil, which came out to a needing a chunk of fabric 60in x 12in wide, as well as a 1/4in wide ribbon 45in long. Because I was going to have to seam the center of the veil anyway I warped the ribbon as one of the selvedges with intent to cut that off and use the raw edge as the center seam of the veil and tuck the raw edge of the ribbon into the paste.


50 epi for 12 in = 600 strands.

60 + 10% (take up) + 18 (loom waste) = 84in (I rounded up to 100 because I’m paranoid.)

600*84 = 50400/36 = 1400 yards of thread needed for the warp.

50ppi at 12in long for 60in = 36000/36=1000 yards needed for weft.

Total: 2400 yards of 60/2 silk thread.

Spend the next two – three months weaving the fabric. Then move on to the next step.


(sewing pin for scale)


Making the paste:

  1. Cut out the two pieces for the stiffened inners of the paste.
  2. Make a solution of 1 part glue, 4 parts water
  3. Soak the pieces in the glue water, lay them flat (one on top of the other to stick them together) on wax paper and leave them to dry. Set this aside for now.
  4. Cut out the lining and shell pieces.
  5. Stitch them together along the interior edge (the part that goes around your head.) Set that aside for now.
  6. Take your dry stiffened bit and sew jeweler’s wire along the exterior edge. (from the back point of one leg, along the sides, along the doinky bits, along the front, and to the back point of the other leg. Use an awl for this. Trust me)
  7. Gently bend the stiffened, wired, internals into shape. Keep putting it on your head until it’s sitting comfortably in the right spot.
  8. Slide this into the shell/lining with the lining on the bottom side.
  9. Carefully, using as invisible a stitch as you can, stitch the open edge closed, tucking the raw edges into the internals. Set your paste aside.

Adding the wire^^

Making the crescent:

  1. Cut out the two pieces for the stiffened inners of the crescent.
  2. Make a solution of 1 part glue, 4 parts water
  3. Soak the pieces in the glue water, lay them flat (one on top of the other to stick them together) on wax paper and leave them to dry. Set this aside for now.
  4. Cut out the lining and shell pieces.
  5. Stitch the shell and lining together along the upper edge.
  6. Stitch the jewelers wire around the entire dry, stiffened internal piece.
  7. Gently bend the internal into shape
  8. slide the internal into the pocket made by shell and lining (lining to the back)
  9. Carefully, using as invisible stitch as you can, stitch the bottom of the crescent closed, tucking the raw edges in.


Crescent shell, ready to have the wire innards stuffed in ^^

Final assembly:

  1. Thread and knot all your beads or pearls onto a length of silk (OR! use very thin floral wire for about 174% less frustration later. I didn’t. This was a hint I got after my pearls were knotted on the silk)
  2. Align the center of the crescent with the center front of the paste.
  3. Gently bend the crescent into place
  4. Using the hooked needle (you bought one right?) sew the crescent to the paste. This will be a difficult, pain the ass process. Just go into it expecting it.
  5. Hem your veiling.
  6. Stitch your pearls or beads (this is called a biliment for a random factoid) along both edges of your crescent and the front of the paste.
  7. Pleat and iron the ribbon
  8. Stitch your ribbon along the underside of the bottom of the front of the paste
  9. Sew on your veil.


Done! Finally! This is a lot of finicky handwork. But, if you’re fond of late period hats then it’s worth the work. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting back into my time machine and going back to 950 C.E. when clothes make sense and hats take less than 3 months to make.


Floppy Topper

Beloved internet, I am not late period. Aethelflied lived and died before the year 1000. Yet I am led to believe that some of you insist on living after I died, centuries after even. And a few of you even have the nerve, nay the sheer bold faced audacity! To be people I like and want to give textiles to.  So for the purposes of this post, and the one following on how I made my apprentice sister’s French Hood, assume Aethelflied found a time machine for the sole purpose of going forward in time to make awesome folks hats. So without further ado I present:

Donovan’s Floppy Topper

What in the name of Alfred is a floppy topper?! A floppy topper is the super technical proper term (that I made up) for an Elizabethan men’s hat. You know the one. It looks like a half risen loaf of bread got in a fight with a non-rigid plate and the plate lost.  You can see them in several portraits. For example, this one by Ludger Tom Ring the Younger (Self Portrait – 1547)


So how do you make one of these stunning bits of fashion? To be honest I have no idea if any of what follows is technically correct, or how anyone else does it. I reverse engineered off of portraits because I was too impatient to wait to borrow my apprentice sister’s copy of Tudor Tailor; and I was making this in a time crunch so didn’t want to take too much time letting perfect be the enemy of good or good be the enemy of finished.  That being said, this seemed to work. So it’s at least plausible.

Because I wanted this to be entirely machine washable I skipped any kind of stiffeners. Normally I’d use glue, but I wasn’t sure how that’d hold up, and being able to wash it (as it’s intended to live in a gear bag, and those can get…fragrant) was more important than strict accuracy. That is also why this version is made out of cotton I had on hand.

First we are going to do math to figure out how much fabric you need. Yes, math is scary, but I’ll walk you through it I promise. I am not a math person (in spite of what previous posts would lead you to believe), which is why I tend toward early period; straight lines make for less math. But we will get through this ordeal together.

Step 1: Measure around the intended wearer’s head where they want the hat to sit. In my case that was 23.25 inches.

Step 2: look up how to figure out the diameter of a circle from the circumference because you forgot middle school math. Because I love you I did this step for you. Divide the number you got above by Pi (Use 3.14, don’t go further, you’ll drive yourself bonkers trying to get that accurate. This is fabric, not a life support system). For me this looks like 23.25/3.14 = 7.40.

Step three A: Take that measurement, add 4 inches (11.40 for me) and multiply by 4 (45.2). For the internal of the brim I will need a piece of fabric 11.40in x 45.2 in.

Step three B: Take that measurement, add 6 inches (13.40 for me) and multiply by 2 (26.8). For the shell of the brim I will need one piece of fabric 13.4in x 26.8in.

Step three C: to determine how big you need the flopsy loaf part to be take your brim shell diameter (13.4 for me), subtract 3 inches (so 10.4 for mine) and multiply it by 2 (20.8) that is the diameter of your flopsy loaf. So you need a piece of fabric 20.8in x 20.8 inches.

Total fabric needs: 11.40 + 13.40 + 20.80 = 45.6in x 45.2in if you’re doing it all out of the same fabric.

Interior fabric needs: 11.40in x 45.2 or a little less than ½ a yard of 60in wide fabric.

Shell fabric needs: 13.40 + 20.80 = 34.2in x 20.80in or a yard of 60in wide fabric to be safe because that math looks weird to me and I don’t fully trust it even though I did it 3 times. Better safe than not.

YOU WILL ALSO NEED: a 2-3in wide strip of fabric about 2 inches longer than your circumference/Pi measurement for an internal brow band thing.

Ok so we have our fabric. Now what? Cutting. I’m not going to lie, I hate cutting out circles. Circles are hard. Therefore my circles are not perfect because I do not own a compass (I know, I know, eventually I will get one, or make one out of a stick, string, and tailor’s chalk. But I’m lazy guys, you know that.)

To make/cut the pattern:

Interior brim:

Step 1: draw a circle 7.4in in diameter (or whatever your circumference/Pi measurement came out to)

Step 2: Draw a concentric circle 2in outside that one, or 11.4in in diameter with the first circle centered inside it.


Step 3: Cut 4 of these. Cut the center circle out of them too. You’ll end up with 4 floppy, hollow, Frisbee looking things.


Step 4: sew those together. I did a line around the outer edge, one around the inner edge, and a big zig zag to stabilize it. (If you want a stiffer brim and if machine washable isn’t a concern for you; feel free to stiffen this by soaking it in a solution of 1 part white school glue to 4 parts water and let it dry flat on wax paper. I did not do this, but I won’t judge you.)

Set that aside for now.

Make the brim shell:

Step 1: draw a circle 7.4in in diameter (or whatever your circumference/Pi measurement came out to)

Step 2: Draw a concentric circle 3in outside that one, or 13.4in in diameter with the first circle centered inside it.

Step 3: Cut 2 of these. Cut the center circle out of them too. You’ll end up with 2 floppy, hollow, Frisbee looking things


Step 4: With the right side of the fabric (if it matters) out run a line of running stitch along the outer edge, as close as you feel comfortable to getting, but aim for 1/8 an inch or less.

Step 5: Flip that inside out and run another line of running stitch ¼ of an inch from the edge. This will enclose the raw edges in a little tube of fabric. The astute among you will notice I just had you do a French seam. I did this because trying to flat fell in a circle, when you’re trying to avoid visible finishing stitches on the outside of the shell, is an exercise in self-hatred and I love you too much to put you though that.

Step 6: Flip that back right side out. Take your internal brim and stuff it in the little pita pocket made in the brim shell. Line up the centers as best you can, understanding that circles are fickle things and it will probably not be perfect and that’s ok. Don’t be afraid to trim the center disk if you need to in order to make it fit.

Set that whole 6 layer hollow Frisbee aside without sewing around the center.

Making your flopsy loaf:

Step 1: Cut out your circle (20.8in for me)

Step 2: Run a line of basting stitch about ¼ in from the outer edge. Do NOT tie it off at the end.

Step 3: Gather the fabric along that basting thread (if it doesn’t move freely your stitches are too small, pull your thread out and try again.) until the diameter of the gathered edge matches the interior circle of your hollow Frisbee.

Step 4:  Pin the gathered edge of your flopsy loaf around the interior circle of your hollow Frisbee.


Step 5: Take your 2-3 inch strip of fabric. Fold it into quarters long ways (hot dog bun, not hamburger roll). Iron it if need be. I didn’t.

Step 6: Pin your quartered strip along the interior edge of your hat (it looks like a hat now right?) sandwiching the raw edges inside the fold of the strip. Tuck the very end under when you get all the way around so you have no raw edges showing.

Step 7: Break your sewing machine needle trying to stitch the band/interior of hat sandwich. Skip this step if you’re smarter than me and realize your machine won’t go through 14 layers of fabric.


Step 8: Hand stitch the band into place around all the raw edges. Please use a thimble otherwise your fingers will be sad. Also use the stab stitch method, like you do with a bone needle, otherwise you’ll get super long/loose/ugly suture like stitches, sore hands, and a broken needle.

Step 9: Wear your floppy topper with pride you fancy late period person you. Or give it away and get back into your time machine and return to where textiles make sense.


(Yes I am wearing it, no it is not actually mine)

Mistress Aife’s KOE scroll

AKA oh look! Bard stuff. Aife is my SCA aunt so when I got asked to do the words for her backlog KOE scroll I jumped on it. I’d never written a scroll before, but darn it she’s family so I was going to, given the chance.

Now writing the scroll itself is the “easy” part. Easy for me because I am a cheater cheater head and using the poem I already wrote for her as my base to build off of. Doing this for someone else? Would be a wee bit more difficult. Especially if it is a style that I am unfamiliar with. As a reminder here:

Hear me eastern lands / now behold!

Before you comes a / bard of note

Named voice of a king / known to all

Aife here stands

Given gift of verse / grand her words

works stand highly praised / welcomed songs

silver voiced poet / sung of war

Wordfame gained

Summon we now this / rousing smith

Reward her well for / wisdom great

Green leaves given to / great lady

Laurel earned

Is the original poem. That is my base. Note a few things on style here. The second half line is three beats with a pattern of Stressed unstressed Stressed. This is the most simplistic beat pattern you can get away with with this style of poetry. It ultimately can be any beat pattern you want for the second half line BUT every one has to be the same.  I am going to stick with this pattern because it is the most comfortable pattern for me to follow. I am keeping the style of three full lines plus half lines with a verse end of a single three beat line.

The beat count before the second half line must be 5 for a total of 8 beats per line. However these 5? Can be in any stressed/unstressed pattern I want, so long as it ends in such a way as to stress the first beat of the second half line.

Note also the wrapping alliteration, the last word of the line sets up the alliteration for the line that follows. This isn’t a requirement, but I feel it adds a nice touch so I treat it as one anyway.

Now the way my writing process works is once I have an outline I pick my alliterations, write out what I want the poem to accomplish, and treat it like Medieval Madlibs. Don’t laugh, it works. Doing it that way helps break alliterative poems into bite sized pieces that makes them easier to tackle. I don’t know how well this approach would work with rhyming poems or sonnets. But it works really well for alliterative (for me anyway, who doesn’t love Madlibs?)


Here is the rough draft:

Hear me Eastern lands / now Behold!

Laurel ringed brow of / lady fair

Fierce fili giver of / fame of words

Called by King.


Well he knows her worth / wisely calls

Clever woman for  / Kingly grant

Gives great praise of work /Grant of Ollam

Honor high


The King’s Order of  / Excellence

Enhances name of / Aife bright

Bringer of wisdom / Brought knowledge

Work is known.


I’ll have a picture of the final scroll posted once I see it. I wrote this about a year ago, realized I didn’t save my finished copy anywhere (be smarter than me kids) so I’ve just kinda been sitting on it until it went out.