So at the 2015 Fall A&S Day Camp, I began working on pieces for outfits to wear with my Iron Age Karelian Finn persona, Valborg.  Some of the initial wool and linen are still in the cut stage, as I tend to have a lot of projects going all the time – rotating them about or substituting if something comes up with a more urgent deadline or wish factor.

I began wearing the completed pieces starting at May Crown 2016, enjoying the different ways of accessorizing than for my usual 14th century Welsh ensembles.  At Autumn War, I wore a red, black and grey outfit to complement the colors chosen by my outgoing Baron and Baroness as they stepped down and handed over the reins to their successors, complete with a necklace and chains made to be similar to one in a museum which was shared by someone in the Iron Age Finnish Facebook group.  And shiny spiral bracelets – although those are a bit more Lagalian/Latvian (but shiny….and shiny sometimes can be so so SO much fun!).


Left photo by Diane Lyons Hedstrom – Replica bracelet photo unknown

I even worked on making some bears tooth pendants to suspend from my belt, these being made of howlite for now until I can afford actual bronze ones.

bears tooth pendants from Viking Age Finland

Grave finds – (photo credit unknown)

I struggle with the tablet weaving, which I need to get better at to do the belt, leg wraps and other ties or embellishments for my peplos, veil, and mantle, but it is a slow process for me.  Unlike actual sewing, which I can manage much more effectively and understand.

September Crown, 2016 (yes, that’s an intarsia block on my lap)

Continuing to add pieces, or try to re-work others as I am gently corrected by those who know more and share their knowledge, leads me to Embers and Ambrosia last weekend.  I started off the day wearing my outfit, and my daughter wearing one as well, to look like Mom on her 6th birthday.  She was cold, cranky from not sleeping well because of the cold, and ended up going home early instead of staying the day to do archery and other fun things – stayed long enough to do a birthday candle and share cupcakes with folks, as I waited until the other presenters for the Arts and Sciences and Bardic championships finished their presentations and both Royal and Baronial Court commenced.

2 Finns at Embers 2017

So I am sitting in Court, enjoying the pageantry and recognition of others hard work, taking advantage of the neighboring dog to make me feel a little less alone, when I was startled to hear the herald call my name.  *blink*  I didn’t do it, really.  That’s coming out of my mouth as I head up, looking at His Majesty who is smiling and asking are you sure, to which I confirm maybe I did, I won’t lie to Your Face, but I don’t know what I’m agreeing to have done yet.

He walks me forward into the cleared area in front of the populace to then talk about how I present myself, the accessories and bling to complete the outfit – even spinning me about, and joking that now we have danced as well.  (I admit, after he said that and been in Countess Judith’s 15th Century dance class that afternoon, I did reverence at the end of the spin.)  Then leads me back to have me read in as the newest member of the Order of the Lion’s Mane.

My soon-to-be-Laurel, Charles de Bourbon, is one of the Premier members of this Order, which was just started in An Tir last month at the behest of Their Majesties Styrkarr and Stjarna to acknowledge those individuals excelling in the display, wearing and/or creation of exceptional period costume.  So yes, quite stunned.  Delighted.  Awed. to be following his footsteps this closely. Knowing that a King who is an exceptional artisan and scholar, as well as a skilled fighter deemed me good enough makes me feel much more confident about what I am trying to do, learn and share.

There are a lot of things I want to do to add to this, in no particular order: 1) better supports for my bears tooth pendants – either antler or wood perhaps to keep them from flopping about, 2) obviously getting tablet woven trim – the only piece I have managed is a very short piece that is holding my veil in place for now, 3) leg wraps, 4) shoes, 5) finishing coil embellishments for my apron and a non-white mantle for a start.  And of course more for my Petite Tzarina, because well, she outgrows things at a tremendous pace right now, and she’d rather still wear Finnish or Norse than Welsh.

But for now, I’ll smile as the numb shock/disbelief has worn off and I’m beginning to believe that this actually happened.



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