PaternosterAbout a year ago I became interested in the idea of creating a paternoster or two.  I had seen them in a variety of period illuminations and noticed that some of them are quite beautiful.  With a common thread of religion and/or faith in the middle ages, it seems likely that many women would have carried some form of prayer beads.

Since college, I have enjoyed making beads and making projects with beads.  This seemed like a great new challenge.  I began looking around online, and quickly found an excellent site called Paternoster Row.

After more reading and research, I decided to make a paternoster.  There have been some interesting issues as to what to string the beads with.  Because the paternoster rubs on my belt, the cotton threads have broken on me twice.  You can imagine beads flinging everywhere in the middle of an event.  Talk about embarrassing.  Finally, I decided to combine the thread with a stronger clear filament.  So far, it seems to have worked.

This paternoster made its debut at 12th Night 2008.  The tassles are a much deeper color than this picture indicates, a rich purple.

I like the idea of carrying prayer beads.

~ Cristiana

A New Sideless Surcoat

Green SurcoatFor the last two years, I have been working on putting together a formal outfit to wear at SCA events.

While I have been learning a great deal about sewing by making linen dresses for Mirella, Molly, and myself, I am definitely not ready to put together an outfit made with velvet and fur.  As a result, I did not actually sew these new garments myself.  They were put together by someone with far more talent than mine.

Instead, I was more of a dress coordinator.Smile

I began gathering supplies a couple of years ago when I purchased the silver buttons used to close the sleeves on the cothardie while on a trip to Victoria, BC.  Then I selected patterns for both the cotehardie underdress and the sideless surcoat.  Using linen, I made a sideless surcoat out of this pattern to verify that the style of the pattern was well suited for me.

The green velvet skirt has a bit of a train in the back, which made walking at 12th Night interesting.  Quite a few gentlemen (but no ladies) put an immediate halt to my attempts to walk by standing on my dress.  I suppose this is one of the hazards of medieval high fashion. 😉

The one portion of this outfit that I did make myself is the hat.  The sides are green velvet and the top is made from the same brocade as the surcoat.  It is lined with buckram to help keep the shape.  There is a silver trim and beading on the front.


A final touch for this outfit was to find appropriate footwear.  I located a wonderful SCA merchant who makes shoes and purchased this pair.  I was going to wear black linen hose with this outfit, but at the last moment decided to wear dark red instead.  Just for fun.

~ Cristiana

12th Night 2008

12th Night

This last weekend, Gerald and I were fortunate enough to have the occasion to attend 12th Night, hosted by the Barony of Lions Gate.Lions Gate  I looked forward to this event with great anticipation, as it was not only my first formal event in the SCA, but also my first opportunity to observe a coronation.

This gathering was quite distinctive, and I found that fact to be both enjoyable and sometimes a bit disappointing.  It was lovely to stay in a hotel where I felt comfortable wearing velvet without any worries about it getting wet or muddy.  🙂

The Royal Court on Saturday was long, but sincerely touching.

In the evening we went dancing.  I have to extend my most sincere gratitude to several gentlemen of An Tir, with whom I had no previous acquaintance.  They were gracious and kind as they helped me learn a variety of country dances.  What a wonderful way to spend an evening ~ dancing with my lord, Gerald.

Unfortunately, I did not have the good fortune to see any of my friends this last weekend.  I was a bit disappointed to find that this type of event was primarily a gathering of people who are already friends.  At times, I felt like an outsider.   Gerald and I found that we missed our friends from River’s Bend.

We did enjoy shopping with the many merchants in attendance.  A delightful woman was selling hand painted game boards and we found a charming one to bring home for Mirella.

All together, we had a splendid weekend.  Our deepest gratitude to the people of Lions Gate for all of their work in hosting this momentous occasion.

~ CristianaLions Gate

The Squire Belt at 12th Night

Squire BeltWell, I finished the belt.  I was surprised at how well it tuned out and how easy applying the suns and crescents turned out to be.  I received several compliments on this belt at 12thNight, the most important one coming from my beautiful lady, Cristiana.

To finish the belt I first had to attach the metal plaques I’m using as a buckle to the leather strap.  Each plaque has two prongs on one side designed to hook through the loop on the other side of a corresponding piece.  To use two of these as a buckle I had to attach the ‘loop’ side of one plaque to the leather which I did using two rivets.  The other plaque is attached by punching two holes in the other end of the leather, passing the prongs through these holes, and bending them down to hold it in place.

12th Night

I then made a pattern jig out of a scrap piece of belt leather to match where the holes had to be to attach the suns and crescents.  I measured the correct distances between where each piece needed to be attached, held the jig in the right spot, and used a leather punch to make the holes.  The pieces fit in perfectly and I bent the tabs over on the back side of the belt to hold them in place.  I used a ball-peen hammer to bend them over so they wouldn’t catch and snag my tunic.

 The red color of this belt is actually a bit darker than these pictures appear to be.

~ Gerald

New Squire Belt

Squire Belt 1So, what do you do when your Lady gives you a beautiful new cotehardie, hood, and shoes to wear to 12th Night, and all you have is an old brown leather belt?  You make a new one of course.  I chose to honor my knight, by making a new squires belt for myself to wear with this outfit.  The metal plaques were another gift from my Lady and the suns and crescents were a Father’s Day gift from our daughters, Mirella and Molly. 

I began this process by dying the leather red.  The dye was applied with a piece of lamb’s wool.  The belt appears brighter in the picture below than the actual color.

Stay tuned for part 2, the construction phase.

~ Gerald

Squire Belt



I became interested in chainmail at about the same time I discovered the SCA, in the fall of 1989.  On a PBS special I saw a character wearing a mail shirt and thought it would be fun to make one. 

Chainmail 3

Two weeks later, I went to my first SCA fighter practice in The Barony of Wealdsmere (Kingdom of An Tir) wearing my first mail shirt.  It weighed 42 pounds and had 17,000 links woven in a 4-in-1 pattern.  I had used too large a diameter wire and too small a diameter ring, it was too heavy to be practical.  Two weeks after that, I had completed my second shirt, 12,000 links and 17 lbs.  I was getting the hang of it and ended up selling this shirt at a September Crown in Northern Idaho a few weeks later.That was 18 years ago and I’m still making mail shirts.  I’ve used many types of wire, brass, soft iron, galvanized, stainless steel, even aluminum.  I prefer stainless steel for butted mail.  It is tough, easy to care for, and doesn’t turn your clothes black the way iron or galvanized wire will.

I recently began a new project, a stainless steel hauberk using a 6-in-1 pattern (photo at top of post).  I’m planning on fighting in this one so I wanted something that offered more protection than a standard 4-in-1 pattern.  It will take me more than two weeks to make this one but I’m enjoying the process.

~ Gerald

Chainmail 4

Yule Feast 2007

Yule Feast 1

December 1, 2007 was the night of our family’s first Yule Feast.  Mirella, Gerald, and Cristiana attended the Barony of Glymm Mere’s Yule Feast which was held only a block from our home.

This was a picturesque served feast and masked ball.  The glow of candles warmed the festive hall while snow fell outside.  We were fortunate to share a table with Cyriac, Annalise, Corey, Nettie, & Adakan.

What a splendid evening.

~ CristianaYule Feast 2

Spring Demonstration 2007

SCA Demo 1On a beautiful spring day in 2007, our family ventured south to Oregon for a demonstration.  This was the first outdoor event for Mirella and Molly and we were lucky enough to escape the rain.

Gerald found his way to the thrown weapons area where he preceeded to spend the majority of the afternoon throwing spears.  It didn’t take long before he decided that it would be fun to help other people learn to throw, and soon he had several new friends.

We were also lucky enough to bump into both Lyra and Magda.  It is always nice to see a friendly face in the crowd. 🙂

~ Cristiana

SCA Demo 2