Put a Wing on It!

I joke about everything. It’s how I deal with the world: no matter what goes wrong, I look for the silver lining and try to at least make others smile. Since adding wings to the main charge is a common way to clear conflict, I’d been meaning to change the words of Beyoncé’s Put a Ring on It to Put a Wing on It. In a discussion in the Heralds’ email list, I mentioned this, and Herald Alexander in Meridies came up with the following:

All the single charges (All the single charges)
All the single charges (All the single charges)
All the single charges (All the single charges)
All the single charges

Now put your hands up

Up in the tub, we just conflict up
I’m doing my own little thing
You decided to dip but now you wanna trip
Cause another herald noticed me
I’m up on him, he up on me
don’t pay him any attention
Cause I cried my tears, for three good years

Ya can’t be mad at me

Cause if you liked it then you should have put a wing on it
If you liked it then you should’ve put a wing on it
Don’t be mad once you see that he has it
If you liked it then you should’ve put a wing on it
Wuh uh oh uh uh oh oh uh oh uh uh oh

Wuh uh oh uh uh oh oh uh oh uh uh oh

I got gloss on my grips, a rose on my slips
Hold me tighter than my peon jeans
Acting up, drink in my cup
I could care less what you think
I need no permission, did I conflict?
Don’t pay him any attention
Cause you had your turn
And now you gonna learn

What it really feels like to pass me


Don’t treat me to these things of the world
I’m not that kind of charge
Your dove is what I prefer, what I deserve
Is a man that makes me then takes me
And delivers me to a destiny, to infinity and beyond
Pull me into your arms
Say I’m the one you want

If you don’t, you’ll be alone
And like a ghost I’ll be gone

All the single charges (All the single charges)
All the single charges (All the single charges)
All the single charges (All the single charges)
All the single charges

Now put your hands up
Wuh uh oh uh uh oh oh uh oh uh uh oh
Wuh uh oh uh uh oh oh uh oh uh uh oh

List Tree Shields


Twice a year in the spring and fall, each Kingdom in the SCA hosts Crown Tournament. This happens a few weeks after the Coronation of the new King and Queen, and determines who the next Prince and Princess will be. (My home, the East Kingdom, has not yet had a Queen by Right of Arms, or two monarchs of the same gender. Yet!)

Crown Tournaments will usually host between forty and eighty competitors and their consorts. Combatants are divided into pools, usually with the top two or four advancing to the next round. The period way to display who would be fighting where is to use list trees with small shields displaying the competitors’ arms.

This is when my work as an Armory Herald really makes a difference, and why it is so important for fighters to have Registered Devices with the SCA College of Heralds. While fighters are allowed to compete in Crown without registering their name and arms with the Heralds in the East Kingdom, they are strongly encouraged to register before the tournament.


These are the arms of my consort, Lord Þórin Úlfsson: Azure, a dragon and a stallion combatant argent.

When he asked to fight for me at Crown Tournament in November, I insisted that he and I submit his name and arms as soon as possible. They are currently working their way through the registration process, and should pass before Pennsic 46.

This list tree shield is 10″ by 12″.



In contrast, these are the arms of my friend and first Heavy List instructor, Baron Wulfhere of Stonemarche: Per fess argent and sable, a wolf’s head erased contourny and a clenched gauntlet counterchanged.

I made his a list tree shield because he left his at home  last Crown Tourney. I wanted to make sure that wouldn’t happen again. He may think I’m being silly, but I feel like arriving at the tournament without your shield tree is only slightly better than arriving without your helm!

Pennsic Heraldic Reference Boards

Pennsic 44 Herald’s Point had twelve reference boards showing field divisions, line treatments, and common charges. They contained many errors, and between Pennsic 44 and Pennsic 45, I made a new set of boards.

A few errors were not caught, and carried over from the originals. I have notes on what should be corrected, to ensure the next person who wants to create boards will be error-free!

I wholeheartedly encourage you to make your own set of boards for reference at large consultation tables. Being able to point to field and line divisions made Heraldic Consultations much easier. These boards are each two feet by two feet, and the shields are the same size as those on the Device Submission Paperwork.


Incorrect label: “Chevrony” should be “Chevronny”.

The shield labeled “Other Lozengy” is in error. That charged used to be “Fusily” which is no longer used. “Party of Six” should be put in its place.

The shield labeled “Gyrony” should be removed; a bordure cannot be divided that way. “Party of Nine” should be put in its place.


The shield labeled “In Anullo” should be “In Annulo”.


The shield labeled “Gyron Sinister” should be changed to display a normal Gyron, and the image should be flipped horizontally. Also, the shield labeled “Roundel” should be removed and replaced with a shield displaying a roundel “In Canton”. Placing the roundel in chief at 1/4 scale just below the writing would make that image correctly in canton.

Organizing and Presenting Arts and Sciences Research


This class will cover six steps on how to gather, organize, and lay out Arts and Sciences presentations so viewers understand their research, process, and final product. Step one with cover gathering research materials, with suggestions of what to include. Step two will cover how to assemble images and text. Steps three and four focus on how to plan a layout using the Golden Rectangle. The final steps cover how to adjust the layout, and edit finalize the display.

Step 1: Gather Research Materials

Research is not a linear process. A scholar may start with a single article or book, and have their research encompass many volumes before a project is finished. The most important thing to present is the reference images that inspired the work.

When deciding what books or articles to include in the presentation, try the note card approach. Place all of the materials on a table, and write a sentence or reference point on an index card or sticky note for every piece of research that relates to the final product. The books with the most notes should be included.

Be careful with the notes. Having too much research can be overwhelming for viewers. Try to limit your project’s references to no more than three or four sources. Keep a full bibliography page on hand if additional information is requested.

Step 2: Gathering and Assembling Images

“A picture speaks a thousand words” is especially true of research. If the presentation is a piece of clothing, show the inspirational renaissance painting or the ancient garment from a peat bog. Viewers can easily see how close the final product is to the source materials. This is the time to use color print-outs or scans.

Not everything done in the past can be re-created in modern times. Lead was a common element used in paint, make-up, and feast gear in period. Modern science has demonstrated the dangers of lead, and other metals are substituted in its place. Note how safety, availability, and expense affected the final product.

Take pictures of the work-in-progress. If the final product is a painting, show the outline sketches, and how it looked as each layer was added. If the product is a garment, show how it as pinned. These details can help someone else create their own version.

Finally, don’t be afraid to show mistakes. If a thing was incorrectly measured or cut, note that, and show the correction. Document the process.

Step 3: Using the Golden Rectangle

The Golden Rectangle is a mathematical ratio found in nature and the proportions of the human body. This ratio is seen daily in 8.5 x 11” pieces of paper, among other things. 1


The ratios of the golden rectangle determine the sizes of photographs, art prints, and most frame sizes available in any store.

Applying the golden ratio to larger or smaller layouts than 8.5 x 11” requires some proportional math. This process is called ‘cross multiply and divide,’ and can be used for finding an unknown length for either the larger or the smaller side.

XmultiplyStep 4: Laying out Your Research

The Golden Rectangle is more of a guideline than an actual rule. A thumbnail sketch showing relative locations is more important. Thumbnail sketches are quick drawings made in seconds. Make four or five thumbnails. The images below show an original design, its thumbnail sketch rearrangement, and the resulting information board.


Step 5: Putting it All Together1page

This is an example of a single-sheet thumbnail sketch. The resulting board could be 11x17” or 24x36”. Each piece of information is surrounded by a box drawn with a dashed line to show how much room it needs.

This type of design is similar to a magazine page. It has a title, supporting text, and one or two of the most important points repeated in a larger font. Images are interspersed above and around the text.

The 10-foot rule is the most important part of board layout. Place your text and images on the board, walk about ten feet away, and look at the result. Details you miss when working up close become apparent from farther away.


A folded display is more versatile, and can be placed on a table instead of relying on a wall for support. Folded displays are more complicated to plan because the thumbnail sketches need to show both halves, but they can incorporate side-by-side comparisons easily.

Double-sided tape or spray adhesive are the best ways to attach printouts to boards. Single sided tape can stick the boards together during transport, and should only be used for single boards.

Step 6: Less is More: Editing

Stephen King’s advice for editing is that each draft should contain 10% fewer words. Write the documentation, have a good night’s sleep, and remove unnecessary words the next day. Focus on making project’s concept easy to understand. Understanding leads to engagement. Engaged viewers look for more information, and will appreciate the full depth of the project.


Organizing Arts and Sciences presentations is a complex, multi-step process. It requires assembling reference and process images and text that tell a story without overwhelming the viewer.

The first step requires gathering research materials, and choosing which sources to include. Next, images and descriptive text are assembled. The third and fourth steps are layout considerations, using the Golden Rectangle as a guideline. The final two steps involve looking at the almost complete project, and choosing how to streamline the information presented.

Suggested Reading

Architecture: Form, Space, and Order (2nd Edition) by Francis D.K. Ching ISBN: 978-0471286165

This book is useful because every page has a stunning visual layout. The second edition is out of date and has a lower price.

1 Images scanned from Architecture: Form, Space, and Order.

Sewing a Viking Cloak

VikingCloakThe first thing I entered in an Arts and Sciences competition was my möttull, a semicircular cloak. At the time I was fencing, and had seen other Carolingian fencers wearing short, wrist-length cloaks.

I prefer a circular or semicircular cloak to a square or rectangular cloak because a cloak with corners will have an uneven distribution of fabric weight at those corners.

Thor Ewing’s  Viking Clothing book mentions a reference to a semicircular cloak in the Kormáks saga, and suggests this cloak  design might have been introduced in the Viking age. This type of cloak was pinned at the shoulder.

This cloak was the first time I tried using embroidery floss for the running stitch that edges the garment. It’s such a simple thing, but I’m always touched when people compliment me on it.

VikingDrawingThe hardest part of making this cloak was remembering that the hood would not attach at the center of the neck opening. It felt very strange to me to have fabric extend past the edge of the hood. At Pennsic, I was surprised at how useful it was to choose to cover or free my right arm. If it was cold, I tucked the extra fabric around my body. When the day warmed, I could uncover my right arm and carry things or easily pull my  latest hand sewing project out of my bag.

I scanned this illustration from page 106 of Viking Clothing. It shows a figure from the Oseberg Tapestry wearing a wrapped, hooded cloak that exposes the right shoulder.

The Bog Dress: An Early Sewing Project

CAM00229One of the first things I made for Pennsic was a Bog Dress. The garment is named after the dress recovered from a peat bog. I used Alfrun’s Bog Dress pattern. I really appreciated her attention to details. Her suggestion for sewing the pleats by hand before doing the overstitching was invaluable.

This dress was one of the first pieces I sewed for the SCA, and it has a number of problems that I have learned from.


The biggest issue with this dress is how the arm opening isn’t the same length in the front and back flaps. I overcompensated for the back panel needing to fold over the shoulder. In the next iteration of the dress, I’ll try it on, make sure I can move both arms comfortably, and then cut the back panel to match the front panel’s length.




I love the way the side seams look, but they were a pain to sew. The next time I make this dress, I’ll sew the front and back panels together first, and then hem all the edges.

One of the marks of a true craftsman is that we will always see more flaws in our work than anyone else. I could rip out seams and make this dress much better. Instead, I choose to leave it as it is. This dress has become part of the record of my sewing in the SCA. I want to keep it, wear it, and show newcomers that nobody starts out making perfect garb!


Sewing a Heraldic Viking Maiden Dress

Heraldic Dress The shield atop my blog displays my arms, Azure, a winged ounce rampant within an orle argent. I wanted to display my arms in everyday Scadien life, so I set out to make a Viking maiden’s dress to wear to Court and Feasts.

I am often asked why I don’t wear the typical Viking Apron Dress with Turtle Broaches. While researchers are not sure about the significance of the broaches, they are never found in the graves of children or young teens, but only in the graves of older women. This leads me to believe that  Turtle Broaches were the Viking equivalent of the modern wedding ring–they would certainly make feeding babies easier!

This is why my Heraldic Dress is an ankle-length tunic. I also took a Step From Period Practice by incorporating my orle border into the dress’ hems and neckline. A typical Viking tunic or dress would have a contrasting colored band at the neck and hems. I used blue thread that contrasts against the grey in a simple running stitch.CAM00156

If I had to do this project over again, I would make my winged cat smaller. It’s over 30″ tall, and because it’s so big it sometimes gets lost in the folds of my dress. This picture shows it next to my shield cover. If you’re planning on making a large applique for a dress or tunic, I encourage you to keep it less than 24″ on a side!CAM00042

I cut my cat out of the same linen I made the bands from, and in retrospect I realize that was a mistake. I attached the grey cat to the blue fabric with iron-on interfacing, and then went over every line with embroidery floss using a pillow stitch. I spent almost three weeks doing almost nothing by embroidery. The photo to the left is an early work-in-progress photo, with the lines that would become blue marked in chalk.

The next time I decide to do applique, I’ll use wool, which doesn’t fray and can be tacked down with a blanket stitch!

Finally, you may have noticed that my Arms look similar to the new East Kingdom Order of the Silver Tyger badge. I had to grant my entire Kingdom Permission to Conflict with my Arms! (I’m wondering how long it will be before some nice older knight pulls me aside and tells me my arms will never pass.)