Category Archives: Articles

July Cook’s Guild Meeting Activity Report

Activity Report: July Cook’s Guild Meeting (7/8/2017)

(article originally published July 2017, The Phoenix, Barony of Sacred Stone)

The early July day already pushed past swelter as the Cook’s Guild gathered at the Arnarson and de Sevilla manor in Ashboro. Quickly the shade brought by Lady Aine O Grienan was popped up, but only after the fire was started in Elena Colon de Sevilla’s portable fire-ring because we are that dedicated and would need coals to cook over soon.

Tables proliferated for the outdoor prep work and quickly moving knives became the dominate sound. To one side, Lady Prudence the Curious worked on a smocked apron to be used as a prize for the August cooking competition at Flight of the Falcon. She had prepped and cooked everything at home the night before. Each person has their own area of specialty in the guild ranging from herbs and gardening, to period research, to cooking feasts, to cooking over hot coals on a sunny July afternoon. Prudence is more a book-type member of the guild.

The last to arrive, Lady Scribonia Sabina Mus dumped an armload of fresh herbs she had recently cut out of her garden. Promptly she dug out her salmon and scallops for her dish, and the deviled eggs she had prepared in advanced were passed around to take the edge off of the hunger while we worked. Prudence’s chilled asparagus with sesame sauce added some green to the protein. Then Baroness Nuala ingen Magnusa pita bread was ready to be pulled off the fire, rounding out the early food available with a fresh warm bread.

Between snacking and prepwork, much discussion occurred. We discussed the apron and guild rankings while Prudence showed off the apron after the final stitch had been applied. Topics turned to the cooking competition at Flight and the upcoming In a Phoenix Eye, Change of Season competition. Conversation then ranged to why people chose the particular foods they did and what they learned about the country they chose from along the 36 parallel. We lightly touched on using medieval Spanish diaries to prove chocolate usage and Chinese poems to create recipes, in between talks about mundane work, baronial activities, and teaching people of various ages.

Finally Lady Annora Hall’s Tibetan soup, Ema Datshi, finished simmering over the coals and we were ready to move indoors where we could concentrate on the best part of the day. Tasting what had been prepared!

Toki Arnarson’s smoked pork, American style (hey, the USA is on the 36 parallel and we had made no restrictions on date), fell apart into mouth-watering heaven after he pulled it from the oven. The Ema Datshi burned so good, both the front and back of the mouth from the two types of peppers used in its making, and Prudence’s Chinese onion cakes complemented the soup and took some of the burn off. Sabina’s Pakastani-style salmon and scallops were perfectly cooked, and made a nice match to Elena’s chopped spinach dish from Spain.

The meal was a trip around the world – Tibet, Spain, America, Pakastan, India, and China. Eventually the stomachs ran out of space, long before the food ended, and it was time for the gathering to end. Elena gave everyone some squash to go home with from her garden and Sabina’s herbs were scattered to new kitchens. No one went home empty handed, as the leftovers were redistributed for everyone to have another meal at home.

To taste the memories one more time.

Article: Tax Law as Applicable to the SCA


by Lady Prudence the Curious (created March 10, 2017)

DISCLAIMER: I am not a CPA, an Enrolled Agent, or a Tax Lawyer. I have been a tax preparer for over a decade. I am writing this in 2017 for the 2016 tax year and tax law has over 2,000 changes every year so always consult a tax expert for the most recent laws. Most states have their own set of tax code and I have not studied any in particular. This information is provided for free and is not a substitute for Congressional Tax Law or Decisions of the US Tax Courts.


The SCA enjoys a 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. To maintain this status the SCA regularly collects information regarding its non-profit activities, specifically in relation to education of the public, through the offices of A&S and Chatelaine. Teaching and demonstrations allow the SCA activities to count as charity dedications instead of being treated as a community club like a bowling league, car show, or fight club. Seneschal and Exchequer duties include providing the financial information to support the organization’s efforts to meet the IRS record-keeping requirements.


To claim charity deductions, a taxpayer must file a Schedule A. In general a taxpayer can take the Standard Deduction (this year (2016 tax year) it’s $6,300 for a single person and $12,600 for a married couple (double the single) – note: the amount is adjusted by Congress EVERY year) or an Itemized Deduction. Because Standard Deduction is more than the average taxpayer can exceed unless s/he has a mortgage, most people do not benefit for claiming charity deductions.

A Schedule A includes the following sections:

  1. Medical and Dental Expenses – For unreimbursed expenses over 10% of AGI. Taxpayers need to keep track of all expenses such as insurance paid with POST-TAX money (most employers take out medical insurance PRE-TAX and so the employee already got the tax benefit), prescription drug co-pays; lab work; doctor & dentist co-pays; hospital visits; medical equipment like eyeglasses, hearing aids and crutches; and mileage traveled to pick up prescription drugs and go to doctor visits. A medical diary/notebook is helpful. For most people 10% of their income is only hit if they have major surgery or a disabled child.
  2. Taxes You Paid – State income taxes; real estate taxes; personal property tax on your car, boat, etc.; and foreign and other special taxes.
  3. Interest You Paid – Home mortgage interest on your primary and second home (interest paid on an RV or boat may count if the “second home” includes sleeping, cooking and toilet facilities, please consult a tax professional) and investment interest (again tax professional on this one – the law here gets very esoteric). NOTES: (a) Credit card interest and interest on a car loan are NOT claimable. (b) You must both be LIABLE for the loan and PAY the loan. You cannot pay the mortgage for your mom and claim the interest – in fact no one can claim it, because you are not LIABLE and she did not PAY.
  4. Gifts to Charity – THIS IS THE SECTION THAT APPLIES TO THE SCA AND I WILL BREAK IT DOWN MORE LATER IN THIS ARTICLE. (a) Gift by check or cash. (b) Other than by cash or check.
  5. Casualty or theft loss(es) – Fire, flood, or theft affecting your house or car. Requires a special form, you don’t get to claim what is reimbursed by your insurance company, and the first $500 is not tax deductible. If a taxpayer actually has enough to claim this one, they had a very bad year and need the tax deduction to help recover.
  6. Job Expenses and Other Misc – These are limited to amounts over 2% of the AGI. Everyone is expected to spend a little of their own income to work, but some salespeople, traveling nurses, and licensed beauty providers can make the cut. Also in this section is investment related expenses such as tax preparation and IRA maintenance fees.
  7. Other Miscellaneous – Which do not fall under the 2% rule. Most common is Gambling Expenses and Hobby Expenses which I will touch on later.

The most commonly-used Schedule A sections used are Taxes You Paid, Interest You Paid, and Gifts to Charity.


Some charity work and expenses are very straightforward for claiming as a Gift to Charity. Tithing to a church, drop-offs at Goodwill, and building a home for Habitat for Humanity are all clearly efforts for which the major “payoff” is the good feeling after you are done.

Pleasure activities are also usually straightforward such as bowling, attending a party, or a skiing weekend.

SCA activities fall somewhere in between, along with some Scouting activities and fundraising galas. Lots of Tax Court decisions and expansions on tax law by Congress have been created to better define the breaks between pleasure and charity work.

First part is a group must benefit, not an individual. For example, donating to a hospital is tax deductible but helping a friend pay his medical bills is not. Even putting money in a jar on a counter which says “help Bobbie with his Chemo” is not tax deductible, but putting change into the “Children’s Miracle Network” would be a donation to charity. In SCA terms, a donation to help Mistress Elizabeth replace her garb after her house burned down would not count, but donating to the kingdom scribal guild through the exchequer office would.

Second is the taxpayer cannot get any material and/or tangible benefit. The most common examples of tangible benefit for a cash donation are PBS or gala fundraising. PBS often offers incentives to help fundraiser; if you donate $100 and get a $20 book, you only get to claim $80 as your tax donation. For a gala, you might pay $100 to attend. For the response, they should say dinner is $30 and thank you for your $70 donation. In SCA terms, the event fee to attend an event is tax deductible but the separate feast fee is not. The event entrance fee is considered fundraising by the IRS, but food is a tangible benefit.

Third, the primary purpose of attending any activity where the mileage and expenses being claimed must be for non-profit benefit. Again with the gala example, the attendees attend for the food and dance while the organizer is there to work. The attendees cannot claim mileage for the attendance while the organizer can. This rule is very similar to the renter’s ruling. If a renter owns a house in a different state, near where their parents live, and go to the rental to upgrade the windows and stay with their parents while the work is being done, then it is tax deductible. But if they go to a family reunion and incidentally look in on their renters and make sure everything is okay, then the travel costs are not deductible. Usually something is happening somewhere in between and defining primary purpose is important.

“Primary Purpose” is defined as the main intent of traveling out of town is for the activity. Pleasure activities may be included, like sightseeing, but if the primary purpose was removed, the trip would not have happened. This is easy to prove for SCA purposes if you never have attended an annual event before you volunteered to do something for the event one year – say, the children’s activities. But for most SCA event attendance, a gray area occurs. For example if you always attended your barony’s business meeting and fighter practice, and you recently became a baronial officer, can you now claim the travel costs? (In the Barony of Sacred Stone, the answer is yes since one of the requirements of holding office in the barony is attending the baronial meetings.) A diary of SCA activities should be kept to prove primary purpose.

Non-profit examples of meeting primary purpose is attending a scouting function as a parent. Going to a meeting does not count. Driving the troop to a state fair and dropping them off before breaking away to enjoy the fair yourself, leaving the kids in the hands of the troop leader would mean you can claim the mileage but not the entrance fee. If you only drove your child and his best friend, leaving a seat empty in your car, because you hate sticky fingers, then you don’t get to claim the mileage because providing for your child is something you do – you did not provide to the troop. (Remember rule one where it must be for the group, not an individual? Yeah.) If you drove the troop to a camping event, set up the tents, supervised the camp and maintained the fire while the troop hiked, provided first aid for the blistered feet, packed camp, and drove home, then you can claim all expenses.


For gifts under $250, a record of the date of the donation, the amount of the donation, and the name of the organization is required.

For a contribution of $250 or more, additional documentation will be needed over and above a canceled check or credit card receipt. The organization should provide a written acknowledgement stating how much was received and no goods or services were provided in exchange for the gift.

Volunteer work expenses are considered part of the Cash/Check donations.


Items donated must be of good condition or better. The property is valued at what the group can sell it for (fair market value), not what the taxpayer bought it for. For example, dropping off a $250 Gucci suit coat at Goodwill. They sell suit coats for $10, so the donation is for $10.

If a taxpayer has more than $500 of property donation for the entire year from all sources, s/he needs to fill out an additional form where the date of the donation, the group donated to, their address, the value of the donation, and the original price of the donation is listed.

Note that mileage and participation in non-profit events is considered CASH/CHECK donations so it won’t count toward that $500 property donation limit before the additional forms kick in. So for the most part, non-cash items lines do not apply to the SCA.


SCA membership does not come with any tangible benefits. The magazines are distributed via email now. If you pay, separate from your membership, for a paper copy, this addition to your membership is not tax deductible because you are getting a tangible benefit.


For donations over $250, the group’s exchequer receiving the donation should provide a letter saying no goods or services were provided.


The SCA has regular fundraisers; we call them events. The event fee would be considered a donation, as mentioned previously, the feast fee would not.


Donating your old pavilion to the local group to help with demos does not mean you get to claim the $2500 it originally cost. You will need to document of what a used pavilion in its present condition would be sold for, using eBay, pavilion sites, etc. . That is the donation amount. Once you have figured out the amount, you will need to get with the group’s exchequer and write the letter.

The problem is most of the donated items are for things where there is no “fair market value”. Artwork created, like scrolls and embroidery, gets tricky. A common donation for raffles is swords. Swords, fortunately, have a modern market and proving fair-market-value is easy. Whereas art like scrolls is in the eye of the beholder and really don’t have an easily provable value. I lean towards no reimbursement for labor. If a nurse volunteers her time at a blood bank, she does not get to claim her time. She does get to claim any needles used and mileage. Interpreting from this, I assume (again, talk with your local tax professional) a scribal artist can claim for materials used but not what the scroll would sell for on the open market.

The most common donation in the SCA outside of scrolls to kingdom is garb to Gold Key. In many cases the garb is donated in good condition, but there is no fair-market value easily attributed to it. Used costume values should be applied, which run about 10% of the original material costs. I know, it sucks.


Raffles are not charitable donations. Remember me mentioning I would touch on Gambling Expenses later? Yeah, here we go. Raffles are lotteries and are considered a form of gambling. Any winnings are treated as gambling winnings and should be reported under “other income”. For items won more than $600 the sponsoring group’s exchequer should provide a 1099 Misc. and file the related paperwork with the IRS. Which is why most SCA groups will not have package (raffle) prizes more than $500 to be on the safe side.

Most states in the Kingdom of Atlantia have very firm gambling laws and, in general, restrict a group to only one raffle a year. That isn’t group as in Canton, it is group as in all SCA activities in the state. The Kingdom of Atlantia actively discourages any raffles as a result because it cannot let only one local group have a raffle and deny everyone else. If you are an autocrat, consult your state and Kingdom law before offering a raffle and touch base with your local exchequer.

But, if your local law is less strict than what we have in Atlantia and your kingdom allows raffles, for tax purposes you must enter the winnings under “other income” with the notation “gambling winnings”. If you also itemize with a Schedule A, you can claim gambling losses on the Schedule A under the Misc. section previously mentioned. But you can only claim gambling losses up to gambling winnings. The plus side is the gambling losses can be in different areas from the gambling winnings. For example, you won a $1000 hand-made sword in the SCA, $1000 would go under other income and you could claim expenses of the $10 raffle ticket as well as $50 on lottery tickets and $100 spent on a Bingo night and $200 on a casino trip (the mileage and food bought at the casino are not deductible, only the gambling expenses are).


You may have heard Civil War reenactors can claim their garb and accessories like their guns and camping equipment as tax deductions even though these are privately owned by the individual and not the organization. My understanding is you cannot do this for the SCA.

This is a personal interpretation and I highly recommend you talk to a tax professional directly with any questions and/or do your own tax code research. The reason I think the SCA stuff is not deductible is a fundamental difference in how the SCA operates and how Civil War organizations operate. Nearly all of the Civil War activities where the costumes (and they call them costumes) and equipment comes out of storage is for demonstrations open to the public for education purposes. For the SCA, the majority of events are fundraisers requiring entrance fees and all participants to wear garb.

Much of our equipment is used around our houses or can be used for purposes outside the SCA. Mugs and chairs are tucked into our house decor. The tents are used on mundane camping trips. And all of it is used exclusively by individuals. Our garbed activities are more like costume parties than an educational reenactment.

If you want to compare garb to cos-play at conventions, then the cos-players who have made a business get to claim these as a business expense but not as a charity expenses. I have done a little research on science fiction and writing conventions and nearly all of these fall under non-profits BUT not versions of non-profits which can claim tax exemptions. (Bet you didn’t know there were non-profits who are not tax exempt.) Conventions are more like fraternal organizations and are limited to benefits for internal memberships. (Yes, I know it looks like an event fee for attending but if you notice all of them word it as a “membership dues” for a reason.) Attending ConCarolinas or DragonCon, for two examples, are not tax deductible and neither the membership dues or the costumes worn there are deductible unless you are a business owner. For people who work the cons as officers, everything above about donations to charity in relations to working the event does not apply because the event is not tax-exempt.

You can donate garb and equipment to your local group and that would be tax deductible (see the Non-Cash donation section for some of the issues you might run into with that).


Everything up to here is fairly straight forward … yes, really it has been. But mileage and lodging & food for overnight activities gets into a gray area.

The IRS states “You can deduct your travel expenses if your work is real and substantial throughout the trip. You can’t deduct expenses if you only have nominal duties or do not have any duties for significant parts of the trip.”

As an officer, attending functions required by organizational rules, can easily be proven as part duties/non-profit work instead of pleasure. A seneschal must attend business meetings, Unevent, and any local events held by their group where they must be available the entire time. An A&S minister can argue attending A&S meetings is part of their duties. A marshal at-large traveling to an event to marshal all day and return home before feast again has a solid case.

But what about a seneschal attending an event in a neighboring group? Well, that is not part of the seneschal’s duties so now “primary purpose” gets a little fuzzy.

And teaching at events, while central to the SCAs non-profit status, can be hard to divide between the teaching one class and attending five other classes. Arguing the primary purpose was to teach the one class and not for your own personal pleasure of attending the five other classes would be a hard sell since the duties were not “for significant parts of your trip”. On the other hand, the materials you bought to teach the class could be claimed unless you charge the students a class fee to recover costs.

Food costs can only be claimed in charitable activities if the stay is overnight and the overnight is required to perform the primary purpose. Food costs are actual expenses tracked, so you will need the receipts. Food costs can be groceries or prepared foods bought from vendors. While for business and employee expenses, standard food rates can apply, charity activity is actual expenses only. Lodging costs work similarly, only actual expenses apply.


Mileage recordkeeping requires a few essential pieces of information. The various tax reasons you may want to track mileage include medical, employment, job hunting, charity, self-employment, and rentals. Many people don’t realize you can claim mileage for medical purposes, such as visiting the doctor and picking up prescriptions. Employment mileage does not include commuting, but if your employer sends you to a temporary assignment like covering a different store for a week while the manager is on vacation, you can claim that. Discussing what you can and can’t claim for mileage will take up another whole page so I will limit myself to tracking SCA mileage for charity purposes.

The challenge with mileage is finding a method which works for you in that you will remember to do it each and every time. The IRS recommends a log book where you write the start and end mileage every time you take a trip. This doesn’t really work well for me. Fortunately the IRS does not require any particular format for keeping track of mileage, only that it is consistent and done in a timely manner. Timely meaning the records are kept within a reasonable time where you can show the ability to create the materials accurately. Which means if keeping the “daily” log book by entering the activity every month would be acceptable if that works for you. For the recordkeeping certain information is needed.

First, I recommend knowing how many miles you put on your car per year. One of the easiest ways to do this is always have an oil change in December or January. While actual full-year mileage is not required for charity-only mileage tracking, once you get a good system going you may want to track mileage for other tax purposes as well like self-employment or job hunting. The method I use is track my gas purchases and do the calculations from the first purchase of the year.

Second, figure out how you can keep the log. The information you will need is the date, total miles, destination, and purpose of the trip. Total miles usually means you will need the start and stop of your odometer, and this is the most accurate method. The destination should include city and state, but for SCA stuff I often write the canton. Purpose should include any particular duties you had and people you saw or the event name.

At the end of the year, the mileage should be totaled and the log saved with your tax records.

I tried the full log, writing in every trip, and found that doesn’t work for me. My method is to print out all regular trips in MapQuest and put these in my log book which I keep in the car. At the end of every month I write in any appropriate mileage to A&S and Business meetings where I had significant duties based on the MapQuest record for the location. I don’t get to record the mileage for every A&S meeting since I attend most of them for pleasure, but I do teach some and those I claim. For events I again print off the MapQuest directions and when I go to the event I write the day and starting odometer reading on the printout. If I forget to write the end of trip odometer on the form, which is my normal failing because of exhaustion, I still got a good mileage record to work from.

In 2016, I put on 4,322 miles on my vehicle for SCA activity. A significant portion of those miles were attending baronial business meetings as the Canton Seneschal and/or Baronial Officer. The rest were events where I had significant duties.


I haven’t developed a method I consistently use for recordkeeping of cash expenses of event fees, art purchases, and food for overnight events. As previously mentioned, under DONATIONS OVER AND UNDER $250 the IRS requires the following records:

1) For gifts under $250, a record of the date of the donation, the amount of the donation, and the name of the organization is required.

2) For a contribution of $250 or more, additional includes the organization providing a written acknowledgement stating how much was received and no goods or services were provided in exchange for the gift.

In general event fees, art material purchases, and meals rarely exceed $250 so you only need to keep record of the date, amount and name of organization. Since nearly all of the SCA falls under SCA Inc., (with exceptions like Maryland SCA) the name of the organization can be just SCA Inc. or can be more specific as you want. Putting a log book in your car for attending events, purchasing materials, and buying meal as well as mileage tracking could keep everything right where you track it.

You should find a method which works for you consistently. As mentioned at the start of this section, I am failing in this.

I like to reserve for events in advance with checks and use my checkbook to keep track of event “donations”. I mark in my checkbook which were site fees and how much the feast portion was. Combined with my bank statements showing the checks were cashed and the online kingdom calendar going back several years, I have adequate records for the IRS.

Purchases for teaching classes gets a bit more problematic. I try to do them all on credit card and save the receipts. In general, sometime during the year the receipt box gets away from me and I rarely end up claiming these expenses.

For food at overnight events where I do significant work, I never claim costs. The recordkeeping is too much of a bother for me. For example, at Pennsic and War of the Wings, I pay for all my meals in cash and the vendors rarely give receipts. I much rather enjoy my meal and the event then chase pieces of paper.


Someone asked me about claiming the SCA as Hobby Expenses. Hobby Income and Expenses work just like Gambling Income and Expenses previously mentioned under raffles. For tax purposes you must enter all hobby income under “other income” with the notation “Hobby Income”. If you also itemize with a Schedule A, you can claim hobby losses on the Schedule A under the Misc. section previously mentioned limited to the Hobby Income.

An example is my calligraphy. Upon investigation of whether I could do it as a business, I knew I wouldn’t meet the profit three-out-of-five years requirement so I continue it as a hobby. On occasion a friend asks me to make a wedding scroll or a bible verse scroll for them to give at Christmas and they pay me for it. Since the IRS requires all income to be reported, including hobby income, I report the income on the 1040 and list matching expenses on the Schedule A. Since I am not trying to make a profit at the scroll work, finding matching expenses is a piece of cake. I usually spend triple of any hobby income I take in.

SCA activity, in general, best falls under the charity rules.


Throughout I tried to give you some examples of what and how you can claim things. Here are a few more examples from my life.

I attend Twelfth Night, but because of tax season I am never sure when I can arrive or leave so I never volunteer for anything there. Often I do “nominal” duties, working the kitchen, serving feasts, running errands, but I do not consider these significant nor are they my “primary purpose” in attendance. Twelfth Night was my first event and my SCA birthday. Even with the mileage I rack up attending this function, I cannot claim it for charity purposes.

At the other end of the spectrum is Unevent for which mileage is a must. Since the event is business only, proving it meets “significant” duties is easy.

Likewise, for me, attending Pennsic can be claimed because of my duties as Executive Troll absorbing over 8 hours most days I attend. An average person attending Pennsic can have significant commitments in attending, but still fall short of meeting the IRS requirements. Someone teaching two classes, while a strong duty, obviously doesn’t have teaching as a primary purpose. “Camp mom”, while needing to be on-site the first week and have significant duties the first two days, the duties are not “real and substantial throughout the trip” unless s/he leaves shortly after setup is completed. Being part of royal entourage as a guard or retainer doesn’t count either, even if you work the full event because that is part of the game/playtime. The royals get to claim attendance since they are Officers and are on-duty for the entire event.


I would recommend reading IRS publication 526 Charity Contributions. An individual is expected to know the law of the land, so technically you should read the tax code not the department’s interpretation of the tax code but Pub 526 is a great place to start to find out the actual documentation requirements and form submissions.

If you love this sort of thing, the IRS has a 61-page white paper related to charity fundraisers and various Tax Court decisions expanding on what were considered legal fundraisers for charity purposes and what ended up being defined as “for-profit” – see for details: I found the paper helped clear up some of the fuzziness of words like “primary”, “substantial”, and “nominal”.

I love the SCA and have enjoyed doing substantial volunteer work for the organization. While rarely I have been in the position to file a Schedule A to benefit from the charity work, I do still keep track of everything because some years it has saved me hundreds of dollars (which I plow right back into the Society, usually in my embroidery teaching and projects). I hope this helps other gentles put money back into the Dream as well.

History of Japanese Poetry

History of Japanese Poetry

Most people are familiar with the Haiku, but Japanese poetry has a much longer history then this simple and endlessly complicated just-barely-period poetry form.  The Chôka, the Tanka and the Renga are all poetry forms that existed during the centuries in which the SCA plays and are as equally fascinating as their descendant, the Haiku.

The earliest known Japanese poetry can be found within the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) published in 712.  This record was published using Chinese characters; Japanese did not develop its own distinct characters until the late eight century.  In both cases, the written languages are syllabaries in which each symbol represents a syllable rather than a letter.  This might help one to understand why their poetry is syllable base rather than rhyme and meter base like the Western World.

The poems found in the Kojiki were primarily ballads.  This book was the compilation of prose, politics and poetry, a true record of ancient matters.  But it is the Manyô-shû (Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves), published shortly after 759 that defines poetry in Japan.  This is the book to study the ancient poetry of Japan.  It contains two important poetry forms which are unique to Japanese culture.  The Chôka (long poem) consists of alternate lines of five and seven syllables and is often concluded with a final line of seven syllables.  Hanka (envoys) may be appended to a Chôka.  The long poem form waned as time went on.

The other unique poetic form in the Manyô-shû is the Tanka.  This short form consists of 31 syllables written in lines of five, seven, five, seven and seven – basically a five-line Chôka.  Tanka were often used in parallel with Chôka, summing up the longer poem.  The Tanka is the preeminent verse form in Japan; its remains popular throughout SCA period and continues to be written in modern times with magazines devoted just to it and the Haiku.

Two more major anthologies of poetry were collected, the Kokinshû (Collection of Ancient and Modern Poems) which was published in 905 and the Shin kokinshû (The New Collection of Ancient and Modern Poems) which was published around 1205.  These defining milestones of Japanese poetry not only give a snapshot of the poetry found by the author and the patron to be the best poetry of the period, but also gives a overview of the mood and belief systems of the people of the period.  Good poetry is characterized by capturing and capsulizing profound thought and intense feelings.  The Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves has the mood of personal sincerity, the emphasis on the full involvement of the individual.  By 905, the emphasis centers on the bond between humans and nature, an empathy with everything around them.  And during the New Collection, which was published in a nation living with the grim aftermath of the collapse of the manorial system, the poetry centered on gloom and solitude.  Only as the wars became “routine” did a new poetry form develop.

The Renga (linked verse) developed in the early fourteenth century, and continued to evolve through the eighteenth century.  It required three or more poets to work together to compose a long poem, alternating who creates each verse.  One type of verse would be three lines of five, seven and five syllables, and this would be followed by the other type of verse composed of two lines of seven syllables each.  After a century or two, Renga made it way into the general populous and Renga parties began.

A good host was measured on the excellence of his hokku (the opening three lines to start a Renga).  Some enterprising poets created hokku for patrons until this became so specialized that a new poetry form, the Haiku, was born.  The Haiku was honed during the 17th to 19th centuries (post-SCA period) until it has become the premier poetry form of today.  Haiku may be written as three separate lines or as one seventeen syllable line poem.

If you are interested in writing Japanese poetry, the Tanka would be the best form to start with as it existed throughout SCA period.  For a challenge, you might wish to assemble a group of friends and have a Renga party.  During period such parties created poems with 100 verses, sometime high ceremonial occasions had Renga 10,000 verses long.  But don’t limit yourself, remember that the poetry forms listed are not the only forms practiced in Japan, ballads and other forms were also produced.


Microsoft Encarta Encylopedia 2001.  Entries on “Japanese Literature”, “Japan”, “Haiku” and “Poetry”.

Saigyō, Poet

Saigyō, Poet

Saigyō, poet
redefined ancient Waka
breaking restrictions;
he amazes me with his
cherry blossoms and bright moon.


Where in the Western World a piece of prose is often begun with a chapter title, in medieval Japan a Waka was used to close it (whether fictional or non-fictional), capturing the essence of the written work.  Since this is a piece of prose about the twelfth century Japanese poet Saigyō written for a Western audience, I thought it appropriate to open with a Waka.

One of the premiere and pivotal poets of Japan, Saigyō redefined the half a millennium old (in his day) form known as Waka, called Tanka in modern times.  Waka was first published in the Manyōshū in the eighth century.  The poems that appeared there covered a wide range of topics written by everyone, from guards on the far borders of the empire to the Imperial Presence.  By the time the Kokinshū was published a century and a half later, common poetry had become court poetry under the auspices of the Imperial Bureau of Poetry.  Restrictions on topics, patterns and words honed the form with stylistic precision.  But by the time Saigyō was born, everything that could be explored within the restrictive limits had been for over a century.  The form was stagnate, mirroring the culture of the day.

Waka were to be on one item or scene and the poet’s emotional response to it.  The topics were nearly exclusively nature or love.  Verbs were far more prevalent than nouns.  All five lines were to flow smoothly.  Below is a poem was written by Saigyō, and is a classic example of how a Waka would be written before his reforms, followed by a poem he wrote after his reforms.


Gazing at them, Nagamu tote
I’ve grown so very close hana ni mo itaku
to these blossoms, narenureba
to part with them when they fall chiru wakare koso
seems bitter indeed! kanahikarikere Watson p. 45
Looking at the moon Tsuki mireba
I see the branches of cherry kaze ni sakura no
trembling in the wind eda naete
and almost tell myself, hana yo tsuguru
“They’re in bloom!” Kokochi koso sure Watson p. 161


In the first one, there is only one subject, blossoms, and the poet’s response is described subjectively, giving at once emotions and distance from those emotions.  Something many would expect of a restrained Japanese courtier or Buddhist Monk, both of which Saigyō had been during his lifetime.  The second one has a number of subjects, the moon, branches and the wind.  The poet enters the poem and announces startlement, not love or regret.  This poem is dynamic, yet breaks into two very different segments, one part describing what he is seeing and the other has him talking to himself.

Saigyō’s poetry reform and poems captured the change of his times with each microcosm of syllable groupings. During the 12th century, the Heian era finished its slow fall, crumbling under its own entropy.  Emperors gave way to shōguns; courtly peace and intrigue were supplanted by warriors and hostile diplomacy.  Many of the scholars thought they had entered the time of Mappō, or the End of the Law, a period of growing formalism and ignorance of Buddhism.  This apocalyptical era of moral and spiritual decay would only end when the Amida Buddha appeared to take all of the enlightened to the next level.  And during these times while Japan moved from a period of light, color and courtly formalities to something a little more drab and harshly honest, Saigyō lived out his adult life.

Would have the change to poetry happened without him?  Most likely, yes.  The times were changing.  But Saigyō was the pivot on which this change occurred, and his personality and interests directed that change like a sluice in a dam directs a torrent of water from a river.  Through this, he has forever impacted Japanese culture.

Because Waka was an essential part of courtly life, everyone in the courts from the lowest warrior to the emperor (or empress) studied and wrote poetry.  Even today, Japan has hundreds of magazines and clubs dedicated to the creation and study of Tanka.  Only the Johnny-come-lately Haiku (which wasn’t acknowledged as its own unique form until the nineteenth century) is more popular.  But I have no doubts that the highly restrictive three-line form will eventually yield its temporary supremacy to the much more versatile millennium old five-line Tanka.


Even in a latter age Sue no you mo
this art alone knon nasake no mi
remains unchanged! Kawarazu to
But had I not had that dream mishi yme nakuba
I’d have thought it none of my affair yoso ni kikamashi Watson p. 218


Since Japan’s only major cultural influence in period was China, the constant evolution of poetry and art found in the West was not present on this lonely island nation.  Where in Europe, a form would develop in one country (such as the Italian Sonnet) and travel changing form and rhyme scheme as it crossed languages, modifying topic and target-audience as it crossed cultures, the Japanese had only one all powerful neighbor to draw out-of-culture material.  A neighbor which they tried not to be absorbed into as much as they looked to its ancient culture for inspiration.  This isolation made the genius of creativity and metamorphoses have a very small pool to draw from.

Saigyō was such a genius.  Born in a time of change, he rode the whirlwind, and with fifteen thousand poems of thirty-one syllables, created a fulcrum to reinvigorate his society’s culture.  What makes Saigyō amazing isn’t that he came up with a new form, but that he took an old form and cleaned it up.  He respected the past and created innovation for the future.  By not ignoring previous work, he created a continuity that made the innovation fascinating. Saigyō lived at a turning point in his country’s history and he influenced its change.


Let us seek the past, Ato tomete
be an age furuki o shitau
that cherishes the old – yo naranan
then our “today” one day ima mo arieba
will be someone’s “long ago” mukashi narubeshi Watson p. 220



Kojima, Takashi.  Written on Water: Five Hundred Poems from the Man’yoshu.  Charles E. Tuttle Company: Rutland, Vermont.  1995.

This book gives some interesting background to the Japanese culture, but its translations of the poems are leaden.  I recommend checking it out of a library, not buying it.

Ross, Bruce.  How to Haiku: A writer’s guide to haiku and related forms.  Tuttle Publishing: Boston.  2002.

Useful in learning about a number of Japanese poetry forms, as well as how to write them.  This gives no historical information.  Think of it as a modern cookbook to learn to cook, before breaking out the period manuscripts.

Watson, Burton.  Poems of a Mountain Home: Saigyō.  Columbia University Press: New York. 1991.

Very informative.  This is the primary source for this article.  If you are interested in 12th century Japan or Japanese poetry, this is a very good book to own.

The Architecture of a Sonnet

The Architecture of a Sonnet

Both Italian Sonnets, also called Petrarchan Sonnets, and English Sonnets, commonly referred to as Shakespearean Sonnets, are fourteen lines of iambic pentameter, though their rhyme scheme differs due to the simplicity of finding rhymes in Italian verses the difficulty of finding rhymes in English.

Pentameter refers to the fact that there are 10 (pent) syllables (meter) per line.  Iambic describes the emphasis of the syllables to be alternating soft then hard.  A classic example of iambic pentameter is:

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks”.

It would be pronounced:

“but SOFT what LIGHT through YONder WINdow BREAKS”.
1 2 3 4 5 6     7 8     9 10

Italian Sonnets are split into two portions: an octave rhymed abbaabba and a sestet usually rhymed cdecde, though cdcdee is also popular.  English Sonnets have a pattern of abab cdcd eded gg.  Because of the differences in patterns, the two forms of a sonnet create different ways the subject of the poem is developed, but in either case the theme was almost exclusively love, whether that love be sacred or profane.

Italian Sonnets proceed more smoothly than the English version with the opening octave introducing the subject and setting the scene while the sestet presents the conclusion, often expressing the poet’s feelings on the subject.  The natural pause between the two parts lends itself well to philosophic thought where two closely related ideas can be presented.  Normally the octave builds to a climax and the sestet diminishes to a quiet close.

With English Sonnets, the three quatrains each advance a different aspect of the same subject with the finishing couplet summing up the poem.  The slight pause at the end of each quatrain prevents the flowing rise and fall of the Italian Sonnet.

While solitary sonnets can be found, sequences and cycles of sonnets were often developed around a central theme and published as a unit.

The romance of sonnets have been around since the thirteenth century with the structure of the fourteen line iambic pentameter poem virtually unchanged except for a few minor adjustments due to language differences.   While the form seems very restrictive, it has produced as many different shades and expressions of feeling as the love it so often describes.



Sheehan, Terry.  “Italian (Petrarchan) Sonnets” (p. 45), “English (Shakespearean) Sonnets” (p. 46).  The Complete Anachronist #67:  Ars Poetica Societatias.  The Society for Creative Anachronism: California, 1993.

Brittain, Robert.  “Sonnets” (Volume 21 p. 213).  Collier’s Encyclopedia.  The Crowell-Collier Publishing Company: USA, 1965.

Heraldic Quiz: Match the Colors

HERALDRY QUIZ: Match the Colors

(article originally published March 2011, Phoenix, Barony of Sacred Stone)

Bonus Challenge

List the five Tinctures of SCA Heraldry:

  1. ______________________________
  2. ______________________________
  3. ______________________________
  4. ______________________________
  5. ______________________________

List the two Metals of SCA Heraldry:

  1. ______________________________
  2. ______________________________


Quotes on Ides

Quotes on Ides

(article originally published March 2011, Phoenix, Barony of Sacred Stone)

Beware the ides of March.
– Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 1, Sc. 1, Line 26

ides (idz), [Fr; L. idus] in the ancient Roman calendar, the fifteenth day of March, May, July, or October, or the thirteenth day of the other months.
– Webster

In March, July, October, May,
The Ides are on the fifteenth day,
The Nones the seventh; all other months besides
Have two days less for Nones and Ides.
– Old Latin-class mnemonic

Caesar said to the soothsayer, “The ides of March are come”; who answered him calmly, “Yes, yes they are come, but they are not past.”
– Plutarch, Lives, Caesar, Page 890



Bartlett, John.  Familiar Quotations, 13th ed. Little, Brown, and Company:  Boston.  1955.

Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, college edition.  The World      Publishing Company:  Cleveland.  1959.

Ottoman Empire Timeline

Ottoman Empire Timeline

(article originally published in Fall 2004, Ironmonger, Barony of Iron Bog)

At is height, the Ottoman Empire governed 250,000 square miles and eight million people.  It started forming in the thirteenth century, underwent huge expansion in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries reaching the limits of its power and strength, and ended in the twentieth century after three hundred years of slow deconstruction.  For six hundred years, it was between Europe and Asia and any trade between these two areas first had to go through the Empire, including much of the Silk Route.

Below is a timeline of its expansion and decline.  Extremely important events and reigns are bolded.  When there is more than one spelling of the ruler’s name, both spellings are provided.

*****              9th and 10th Centuries.  Turks are converted to Islam.

1055          The first of the Turkish groups, the Seljuk Turks, take control of Baghdad and create their own kingdom, the Kingdom of Rum.  They create principalities within this empire-kingdom as other Turkish groups follow.

1071          Seljuk Turks attack the Byzantine Empire, and defeat them at Manzikert, capturing the Emperor Romanus Digenes.  In addition, they capture Jerusalem, upsetting long established trade and pilgrimage routes.

1099          The first Crusade.  Jerusalem is recaptured by Godfrey de Bouillion.

1204          The fourth Crusade goes a bad and stops before reaching the holy lands.  Instead, they sack Constantinople.  The Franks involved in the Crusades then establish themselves in Greece, Aegean, Cyprus and Syria, weakening these lands.

1240          Oghuz Turks are given a principality by the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia.  Tulips grow wild in this area, hence the long interest by the Ottomans in Tulips.  Toğrull was one of the rulers.

1250          Mamluk Turks begin their rule of Egypt

1290-1326       Osman I – the 1st sultan (first independent ruler of his line, the Ottoman Empire is named after him); son of Toğrull who ruled under the Seljuk Turks.  Born in 1259; died in 1326.

1299          According to Tradition – The Oghuz Turks, under the rule of Osman I, end tributary payments to the Seljuk empire, becoming independent.  (This is not actually true; they continued to make payments of some sort until 1335.)

1307          Death of Ala-ud-din Kaikobad, ruler of the Seljuk Turks. The Seljuk Turk empire starts dissolving.

1326          Sultan Osman I and Orhan, his son, capture Bursa from the Seljuk Turks, establishing the first capital.

1326-1359       Orkhan I/Orhan I – the 2nd sultan; son of Osman I.  Organizer and administrator of the Empire. By his death, the Empire was a mature government, having its own coinage and could dictate some policy to the Byzantine emperors.

1352          Suleiman (son of Orkhan, the 2nd sultan though he never became sultan in his own right (there is a later Sultan named Suleiman)) captures Çimpse in Gallipoli.  This is the first Ottoman conquest in Europe.

1359-1389   Murad I – the 3rd sultan; son of Orkhan I

1361          Sultan Murad I captures Edirne, continuing the surrounding of Constantinople.

1388          Venetians sign treaty for trade privileges.

1389          Battle of Kossovo – Sultan Murad I defeats a coalition of Serbs, Bulgars, Bosnians, Wallachians and Albanians, but is assassinated after the battle.

1389-1402       Bayazid I – the 4th sultan; son of Murad I

1402-1413     Split of Empire between Bayazid’s sons in particular, Mohammed who came to rule the Asiatic possessions after defeating Musa, and Suleiman who rule the European territories.

1413-1421     Mohammed I (the Restorer) – the 5th sultan; son of Bayazid

1413     After Suleiman is defeated and killed, Mohammed I rules with complete sovereignty. Spends most of his reign consolidating power.

1421-1451     Murad II – the 6th sultan

1451-1481     Mohammed II (the Conqueror) – the 7th sultan; son of Murad. Was twenty-one when he became Sultan.

1453          May 29, 1453 – The Fall of Constantinople – The Ottomans capture Constantinople.  Because the city had been the center of everything for so long, most people of the area referred to it simply as “the City”, or in the Greek of the area “stin Poli”.  The City was renamed Istanbul and becomes the capital for the growing empire.

1461          Greece is conquered, taken from the Franks of the long-ago crusade.

1479          Treaty of Constantinople.  Venetians admit defeat after several wars over a period of fifty years with the Ottomans.  They give up several cities and thereafter had to pay an annual tribute to trade in the Black Sea.  They continued to fight the Ottomans every chance they got.

1481-1512     Bayazid II – the 8th sultan; son of Mohammed II

1505     Palace Registry of 1505 – The first of three known registries, including textiles, of the Topkapi Palace

1512-1520     Selim I (the Grim) – the 9th sultan; son of Bayazid II; Became Sultan after a civil war with his brothers and forcing his father to abdicate.

1517          Mamluk Empire, which had been ruled by the Mamluk Turks since 1250, is conquered.  The captured lands include Egypt, Syria, Palestine, and most of Arabia including the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina.  The Ottoman Empire now rule most of the Islamic world.

1520-1566     Suleiman I (the Magnificent, also called the Great) – the 10th sultan; son of Selim I. The Empire is believed to reached its height.

1526          Hungry is conquered.

1529          First attempt to take Vienna. Failed because of bad weather.

1560          Dutch start to cultivate Tulips.

1566          Conquest of Chios, Italy by Sultan Suleiman I.

1566-1574     Selim II (the Sot) – the 11th sultan; son of Suleiman I

1566          Failed to capture Malta.

1570     Palace Registry of 1570 – The second of three known registries, including textiles, of the Topkapi Palace

1571     Battle of Lepanto. Ottoman fleet defeated by combined fleets of Spain, Genoa and Venice.  The allied fleets had 208 galleys and the Turks 230 galleys.  The Empire had 80 sunk, 110 captured and 40 saved, but they had enough rebuilt within a year that countries were hesitant to fight them again.

1574-1595     Murad III – the 12th sultan; son of Selim II

1578          England sends its first trade mission to Turkey.

1581          The Levant Company is formed in England.  Similar in nature to the East India company, only focused on Turkey and the Ottoman Empire.  Lasts until 1807.

1585          Expelled from Persia by the Safarid Shahs.

1593     Sultan Murad III sends presents to Queen Elizabeth

1595-1603     Mohamed III – the 13th sultan; son of Murad III

*****              End of 16th Century – Estimated 20 to 30 million people within the Ottoman Empire.  In comparison, France had 16 million and Spain had 8 million.

1683          Siege of Vienna. Final attempt to take Vienna. Marks end of expansion in Europe.

1697          Ottoman army defeated near Belgrade by Austria.  For first time, the Empire must admit defeat and negotiate for peace. (see 1699)

1699          January 26, 1699 – the Treaty of Kalowitz.  Croatia, Slovenia, Transylvania and much of Hungry is transferred from the Ottoman Empire to the Holy League (Austria, Poland, Venice and Russia).

1703-1730     Ahmed III – the 23rd sultan – Obsessed with Tulips. His reign became known as Lele Devri (“the tulip era”).

1719-1722       Dwindling power forces the Ottoman Empire to start treating the European powers as equals. Ambassadors are sent to major cities: Vienna in 1719, Paris in 1720 and Moscow in 1722.

1724          First printed book in Ottoman-Turkish language.

1807          In England, the Levant Company dissolves.

1821-1829       Greek War of Independence.

1829          Treaty of Adrianople.  Greece gains independence from the Empire.  Serbia is likewise granted autonomy.

1829     Dress Reforms – Introduction of European Dress into the Ottoman Courts

1874          Financial collapse – the Empire can only pay half interest on its debt.

1876          December 23, 1876 – First Ottoman Constitution.

1877          March 19, 1877 – First Ottoman Parliament meets.

1878          Parliament falters.  Sultan Abdul Hamid II doesn’t facilitate its continuance and also ignores the Constitution.

1879     Egypt falls under British control

1909          April 26, 1909 – Sultan Abdul Hamid is deposed by the Parliament he worked so hard to ignore.  He is sent into exile.

1909          Constitution and parliament restored.

1914-1918       The Great War – Turkey defeated by Allies.  (see 1920)

1918-1920     Mohamed VI/Mehmed VI – the 36th and last ruling sultan

1920          Treaty of Sèvres.  Sultan Mehmed VI must sign.  What is left of the Empire is dismembered.

1922     Mustafa Kemal Pasham/Kemal Atatürk, leader of the army, seizes power and becomes the first president in 1923, abolishing the sultanate.

1923          October 29, 1923 – Creation of the Republic of Turkey.  Official end of the Ottoman Empire

1923          Arab script is abolished by law.  Turkish language must be written in Latin characters.

1924          Treaty of Lausanne.  Present boundaries of Turkey are established.


Colier’s Encyclopedia.  “Osman I (Othman I)”, “Osman II”, & “Ottoman Empire”.  Crowell-Collier Publishing Company: Great Britian. 1965.

Ellis, Marianne & Jennifer Wearden.  Ottoman Embroidery.  V&A Publications: London. 2001.

Langer, William L. (editor).  An Encyclopedia of World History: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern, Chronolgically Arranged.  Houghton Mifflin Company: Boston.  1952 copyright.  1960 printing.

Taylor, Roderick.  Ottoman Embroidery.  Interlink Publishing Group: New York.  1993.

Embroidery: Icelandic Embroidery

CoverArt: Icelandic Embroidery

Icelandic Embroidery

(article originally published in Summer 2004, Ironmonger, Barony of Iron Bog)

From SCA period, Icelandic embroidery covered a wide range of techniques.  The following is a brief overview.


From existing pieces, we know they used wool grounds as early as 1450 and linen grounds as early as 1500 and continued to use both to the end of period.

Linen grounds were either white or a yellow-beige.  The yellow-beige grounds are not a discolored white, as there is clearly white color threads used in the embroidery done upon the grounds; what the original color of these might have been is unknown but most likely something close to the color they are today – maybe a little brighter in yellow.

Wool grounds tended to be in intense colors, such as red or dark blue.  It looks as though if the embroiderer wanted a white ground, linen was used, if she wanted a colored ground, wool was used.  (Please note that in Icelandic tradition, nearly all embroidery was done by females, hence the use of the female pronoun. pp. 55-62)


Wool, linen, metal and silk thread were used on both wool and linen grounds, either by themselves or in combinations with any of the other types of threads throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  An appliqué from the first half of the 16th century used wool, silk and linen threads plus employed leather strips for couching on a wool ground cloth that in turn was attached to a linen ground. (pp. 47-48)

The color of the threads included white, black, blue, light blue, green, and orange as well as the very popular yellow and red.  Within each embroidery, there tends to be only one color of red, one color of green, etc. – there is no variation of shades.  It is similar to coloring in the lines with crayons from an eight-color box if that helps you visualize the results.


All existing pieces from medieval Iceland are church embroideries, most of which are altar frontals. The reformation in Iceland happened in 1550 when the last Catholic bishop was executed; the end of medieval Iceland and the start of the post-reformation, or the Renaissance, period are marked on that date. (p. 6) Extent secular pieces are from after this time, most likely because of use destroying created pieces not because embroidery was used exclusively for religious items.  There are a few embroideries whose original purpose is in question as they are scraps used to back or repair later embroideries. (p. 26)


The techniques listed below are broken into the forms recognized by the East Kingdom embroidery guild, the Keepers of Athena’s Thimble.  Please note that the need to compartmentalize is a modern convenience and was very much not practiced in medieval Iceland.

Couching and laid work, called refilsaumur, is one of the earliest forms and continued to present times.  A piece from 1450 is fairly unique in that it was done as a single color (gray) thread to create void work on a black wool ground. (pp. 6-7)  All other surviving laid work was multi-color with the thread creating the picture.

The most popular counted form was pattern darning or skakkaglit.  Straight darning, cross-stitch and long-armed cross-stitch were also practiced.  These forms were used either individually on an embroidered item or in merry combination.

Counted work could also be combined with free embroidery and couched metal threads.  Free embroidery stitches included stem, chain, split and long-armed cross stitch.  There are a couple of extent embroideries that are executed solely in stem stitch.  But in general the rule seemed to be whatever combination provided the results the embroiderer wanted.  The Altar frontal from Kalfafell church contains a central figure done in free embroidery with silk and metal thread and the surrounding patterns done in counted form with wool thread. (pp. 24-25)

Metal thread embroideries were mostly imported to Iceland, though there are a couple of surviving examples.  In general, if metal thread was used, it was only a small portion of the embroidery.  One exception is the Altar Curtain at Holar, done nearly completely in couched gold threads. (p. 52)

Lacis or Sprang would be done on a knotted net or drawn thread ground.  Cloth stitch was used almost exclusively; there are no surviving medieval pieces done in the weaving stitch from Iceland.  Please note that lacis is done solely white linen thread on white linen net or drawn thread ground, or ivory on ivory.  Colored lacis started in the 17th century.

Finally, appliqué and padded work was done in Iceland during the SCA period.  One spectacular piece previously mentioned in THREADS was worked on dark blue wool. (pp. 27-28)

If you would like to read more about Icelandic embroidery, I would encourage you to read Traditional Icelandic Embroidery, 2nd edition.  Guđjónsson, Elsa E.  2003.  All page references refer to this book.