Archive for May, 2011

Item 9: A Cordial & Item 10: A Kirtle

I’m going for a two-fer here.  Two disparate items, both of them actually late in the offering.

Item 9, a cordial:

This is a mandarine liquor, or cordial, or whatever you wish to call it.  It’s made on vodka.  I’ve taken the rind of two small mandarines, 1/2 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp cloves, and 1/2 stick of cinnamon, and I’ve filtered a bottle of vodka through these ingredients with a coffee filter multiple times.  Then I’ve taken fresh ingredients, and I’ve let them steep in the bottom of the bottle for around 3 weeks.  Today I decanted it into smaller bottles, as I intend to take a small amount with me to Great Northern War.  It’s got a lovely flavour, it’a a very deep citrus, the cardamom notes come out strongly, there’s just the tiniest note of bitterness on the back edge.  I’m rather happy with this attempt, as it’s entirely my creation.  I’ve never ventured beyond Ypocras and Claree before this, and those were working from redactions.

Citrussy Goodness

Item 10 is a kirtle.

I picked the material up from Rowany Festival, and always knew that it would become a kirtle.  I actually finished this dress about a week ago, but I’ve only just got around to photographing it.  I’m sorry, I don’t remember where I got the instructions for making it.  I do recall that I edited it heavily though, and did things in a very different way to the initial instruction.  I would not be able to replicate it, I think.

Mmm, I like green.

This brings me to the completion of my first fifth of my challenge.  Yay!

Item #8: A Filk!

I’ve been a poet since I was a teen, and I’ve come to know that if the urge to write strikes in the middle of the night, I had better get it all down on paper right then, or it gets lost forever.  So there I sat in the middle of my living room, shivering, in a bathrobe, madly scribbling away on a sheet of computer printer paper, at 4am this morning.

I’ve heard the tune before.  Some of you may even have heard my heavily edited rendition of The Ball of Kirriemuir at an SCA event some time ago.  Though I must admit, it took me a little while to work out where the tune in my head had come from.

This song is for my friend Ragnar, who fences, and is a Viking.  Thus the “whippy stick”…

Ragnar: the Viking with Flair
by Pelagia Aldinoch

I sing of a Viking warrior,
Ragnar is his name.
He had a little whippy stick,
A sword, he did proclaim.
It was so light and slender
It felt like thrusting air,
So he pillaged long and far,
And he did it all with flair.
He pillaged long and far,
And he did it all with flair.

He had a Viking longship,
And he sailed it round about,
And every port he sailed into
His whippy stick came out,
Saying, “Give us gold, and we might let you live,
Does that sound fair?”
Then he raped the wives and daughters,
And he did it all with flair.
He raped the wives and daughters,
And he did it all with flair.

Now Ragnar’s put his sword up,
He’s hauled the longship in,
For every port he pulls into
The kids all look like him.
But don’t discount the danger
As he sits there in his chair-
He tells other Vikings what to do
And he tells them all with flair.
He talls the Viking what to do,
And he tells them all with flair!

To hear my rendition, click the link below.  You are welcome to download my song for your own personal use, but please don’t publish it anywhere else without discussing with me first.
Ragnar: The Viking with Flair

(c) Kristine Robinson 2011

Songs 1: Adam Lay I-Bownden

I’ve been planning for a while to start putting together a book of songs for the solo SCA singer.  Mainly because there doesn’t seem to be much singing happening in the Northern Reaches that I’ve seen, and those songs I have heard around and about seem to be focussed on the Known Words that Eric the Fruitbat put together (you can find it here).  This is a lovely text, but there is little in the way of actual period material in there.  It would, I think, be nice to have a one-stop-shop of period and near-period lyrics whose tunes are easy to find online.

I have no intention of putting songs into this text unless I know them.  Thus I am starting a second challenge, where I will attempt to gather together 50 period or near-period songs, learn each by heart, and track the origins of the song as well as possible.  I will do this with only the aid of the internet, as I don’t read music.

Today I’m learning “Adam Lay I-Bownden“.  The lyrics come from a Sloan manuscript, held by the British Museum, who have dated the work from c.1400.

Adam lay i-bowndyn,
bowndyn in a bond,
Fowre thowsand wynter
thowt he not to long

And al was for an appil,
an appil that he tok.
As clerkes fyndyn wretyn
in here book.

Ne hadde the appil take ben,
the appil taken ben,
Ne hadde never our lady
a ben hevene quen.

Blyssid be the tyme
that appil take was!
Therfore we mown syngyn
Deo gracias!

These words are the ones I’ve transcribed directly from Wikipedia, the original Middle English version.

The original tune for these lyrics is lost.  However, there have been a number of performers who have come up with their own tunes.  I found a lovely version of this on YouTube, performed by “The Medieval Babes”, this is the version I’m learning.  I have only one criticism of their performance.  They pronounce “app-le” rather than “app-il”.  I can understand the pronunciation if they were working on a transcribed version which spelled apple in the modern way, however, the original seems to offer a different pronunciation.

I like this tune mainly for its simplicity and its constant beat pattern.  To hear my rendition of this song, please click on the link below.   I don’t mind if people download it for their own usage, just please don’t publish it elsewhere without checking with me first.

Adam Lay I-Bownden

Item #7: Camicia

The past few days have been spent sewing masses of fabric.  I’ve taken instructions from here:


Italian Chemise

The fabric I’ve used here is a pale yellow muslin, which I managed to pick up at a very cheap price from Spotlight, and I’ve taken some lace from an old shirt to serve as the cuffs and the neckline.

Recycled lace

Lace cuff

Some notes from the process:

  • My initial thought on seeing the fabric laid out was “That is going to be way too big for me!”  The neckline is enormous before it’s gathered.  Don’t worry.  It’s meant to be that way.
  • When you sew the sides together, make sure you line up the gussets before you start sewing the sleeves shut.  I didn’t, then found that the fabric had skewed badly while I was cutting out one sleeve.  Thus, there are a number of gathers in the back of one sleeve, because I’m lazy and didn’t want to unpick everything when I realised that my gussets were uneven by about 2 inches.
  • Gathering is tedious work.  I used a different technique to those listed in the link, I gathered by sewing pleats directly onto the lace.  If you’re going to do it this way, make sure you’ve got the lace on the correct side of the fabric, rather than have to unpick 3-4 inches of the neckline when you realise you’ve got it inside out.  It might have been more, but for my reaching a seam and thinking “That doesn’t look right…”

Happy sewing!

Item #6: Creme Bastard

Okay, I have to admit, the name got me.  How do you resist with a name like that?  It’s recipe #112 in Pleyn Delit: Medieval Cookery for Modern Cooks (2nd ed).  I’m not adding a photo.  It’s white.  It’s a liquid.  There’s really nothing to see.

Take the whyte of eyroun a grete hepe, & putte it on a panne ful of mylke, & lt yt boyle; then sesyn it so with salt and hony a lytel; then lat hit kele, & draw it thorw a straynoure, an take fayre cowe mylke an draw yt withall, & seson it with sugre; & loke that it be poynant & doucet: serve it forth for a potage, or for a gode bakyn mete, wheder that thou wolt.*

*Please note:  there’s a symbol that looks like a cross between a b and a p in the recipe.  I don’t know how to replicate that letter here, so I’m substituting a “th” wherever it appears.

It’s a custard, basically, but instead of being made on the yolk like modern custards, it’s made on the whites.  I wasn’t too sure of the smell after I’d made it, and I’m not one for enjoying the taste of egg-whites particularly, but the edge is taken off by honey.  I had it with homemade apple pie, and it  was delicious.

I’m not prepared to post the redaction here, as it’s not mine and I imagine that it’s covered by copyright, but the original should be easy enough to follow.  Guesstimation is my favourite way of cooking.

I can has medieval burger?

Today I received “Pleyn Delit” from my wonderful mailman.  courtesy of Mainly Medieval.  So my cooking, which has sadly stagnated due to not actually having any cookbooks available which don’t reside on the internet, shall be revived.

I do intend to start posting more on here very shortly, however my time has been somewhat taken up by things I can’t really post up here (yet).

Coming soon:

  • My subtlety for the upcoming coronation
  • Viking Treasure Necklace (an A&S entry for an upcoming event)
  • Bacchus Wood seal (an A&S entry for an upcoming event)
  • and the thing that has been taking up my time: the construction of 150 tokens for coronation (this one is a tale and a half).

The construction of the last should be completed this week, which will give me a chance to work on my own projects once more.  This is somewhat imperative, as I have a gambeson and a lot of garb to complete for Great Northern War, which is not very far away at all.

A Gloat.

Yes, a gloat.  I have not been idle the past week, I have instead been making entries for A&S competitions that are looming so that I have something to show.  Today I was searching for a crucible (or simply a small cast iron pot that I can safely store away and never use for cooking) and suitable metals to melt down for “stuff”.

I don’t drive.  So, if I can’t get it in walking distance, I generally do without.  Thus I was looking at cooking pots in Lifeline, when this item happened to pass in front of my eyes:

Awesome Fabric of Awesomeness

Awesome Fabric of Awesomeness

What is it?  It’s a king size doona cover.  It also happens to be my wedding dress.  Or it will be.  When I get a chance to sew it.  I think I’ll model it off the same pattern as the one I showed in item #1 (the Renaissance dress), with just a few small tweaks.

I think it’s a cotton/nylon blend.  Parts of it feel like cotton (the flowery bits), other parts feel like nylon (the not-flowery bits, or, in other words, the bits in between the flowery bits).  So I’m seriously thinking of dying it in the hopes that it will pick out the pattern, I’m just wondering what colour I should choose.

The cost of this oh-so-extravagant piece of fabric?  Thirteen dollars!  I feel like dancing!

There isn’t enough there, I think, for a really full skirt, however, there’s certainly enough there for a front panel, and the other side of the doona is a very nice quality cotton, which I can probably dye with the rest of the fabric for an all over colour scheme.

And after the wedding, it can serve as garb.

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

Meanwhile, I found all the other stuff I wanted.  Now to find out if my stovetop gets hot enough.  I do have a plan b if it doesn’t, but one thing at a time.

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