Category Archives: Other Arts

Class: Largess: The Gift That Keeps Needing Gifting

Largess: The Gift that Keeps Needing Gifting

(Taught October 5, 2017) for the Aire Faucon Newcomer A&S Night)

What is Largess?
Largess is the trappings of the “stage” side of the SCA, the sets and props carried into court or used to produce an event. In SCA vocabulary, largess usually refers to gifts given by Royalty and Baronage, but can include gifts given to them as well.

Merriam-Webster’s definition is (13th century) (1) liberal giving (as of money) to or as if to an inferior; (2) Generosity.

Our royalty and baronage, as part of the dream/play, are expected to give gifts generously to those they visit – other royalty, other baronage, medallions and scrolls in court to their populous. In addition they are to look totally spiff. All while holding down real-world jobs, traveling from one end of the kingdom to the other (and outside the kingdom), paying for their normal living, and taking care of the behind-the-scenes management like recommendations or personality friction resolutions. Unless they have a private stream of income like real royalty do, they afford this “production” by the generosity of their friends and those they have no clue.

Types of Largess: Gifts and Spiffs
Royalty Court Largess – The cups given to newcomers, the gifts given in the children boxes, medallions (also candles for flames, feathers, ect.), scrolls, scroll carriers, rings from their hands.

Royalty Gifting Largess – Brews and cookies to get allies at wars like Gulf Wars, Pennsic, and War of the Wings; baskets to give to other baronages and royalties at events useful (like gas-cards) and pretties (like napkins) or both (like paper umbrellas).

Populous Gifts to Royalty for Largess – All that Royalty Court Largess and Royalty Gifting Largess comes from somewhere. Everything they gave out came from someone else’s hands, so see the lists above.

Populous Gifts to Royalty for Spiffness – Garb (including shoes, head coverings, and jewelry), coronets, thrones, tables, pillows, rugs, knifes/swords, mantles/cloaks.

Populous Gifts for Peerage Spiffness – Each time a peer is made certain symbols of rank are given or used in the ceremony. A special vigil and ceremonial outfit, a processional banner, a tent/vigil area with food, a vigil book. Knights: chain, spurs, belt (in some kingdoms a sword); Laurel: medallion, mantle, laurel wreath; Pelican: medallion, mantle, cap of maintenance. (Court Baroncy: Coronet.) – In all cases, an amazing scroll or scroll-like product.

Event and Demo Materials (for Spiffness) – Site and feast tokens, gold key, banners, flags, tablecloths, cooler covers, or anything PERMANENT and/or REUSABLE which makes the site and activities more medieval feeling (dance, food cooked, classes taught don’t count as largess).

Largess Night in the Canton
The Canton of Aire Faucon has had a monthly Largess night since June 2015 as part of their A&S cycle. The purpose is two-fold: (1) make largess both spiff and gifts; and (2) have a small hands-on class allowing people to learn new A&S skills without a big commitment.

Things we have made:
2015 – Fibula pins; Jeweled bookmarks; Spices mixes to give as Largess; Painted processional banner of Aire Faucon for WOW at the request of the Baronage; Painted wooden boxes; Painted notecards

2016 – Messenger bags; Kumihimo cord; Mug hangers; Site tokens for Wow 2016; Origami; Mustards; Repaired all canton and baronial gold key

2017 – Drawn threadwork towels; Sweet bags; Heraldic banners (and planned for December Scribal carriers)

Largess Ideas for Home or Classes
Doesn’t all this sound like fun? You can make this stuff at home, attend Largess night on the 2nd Thursday of the month, or even volunteer to teach a class. Do you have something which will only take about an hour or two? Perfect for a Largess night. Bonus points if children can participate in it in part (example: Isibel’s twins helped with stuffing the sweet bags this year.)

Scrolls, scroll carriers (see medallions and cording under jewelry)

Belts for baronial gold key (the canton has some but the barony doesn’t have any)
And for the ambitious: new outfits for our new baronage.

Necklaces (pendants or beaded), rings (wire or stone), bracelets, earrings, painted beads, glass beads, prayer beads. Fibula pins
Hat/hair/veil pins

Awards: Medallions and Cord
Medallions made from wood & paints, painted ceramic; cast in various metals like pewter, leatherwork, embroidered, carved in amber or stone, glass/enamel work (check with the baronage for particulars of what is needed right now)
Cording to hand medallions including Kumihimo and Lucet (green and white for barony and blue and white for kingdom is especially welcomed). Bonus if clasps are included.

Belt pouches made from felt, linen or leftover materials then plain, beaded, trimmed, or embroidered. Belt pouches made from leather.
Coifs made from linen; Snoots made with linen, silk or cotton; Veils (rectangular or oval – silk or linen),
Mug holders (leather is best), neck coolers (my goodness wouldn’t this be an awesome site token at a summer event!)
Woven trim, buttons (cast)

Linens and Things
Napkins, handkerchiefs, tablecloths, runners, doilies, towels, basket liners, rugs, pillows (pincushions, chair cushions, kneeling cushions, etc). These can be painted, stamped, embroidered, woven, sewn, etc.
Cup covers – usually lace or fabric and beaded

Food and kitchen creations – Any food largess should only be given in relations to particular requests (usually timed to major wars) and only through prearrangement as most have a limited shelf-life and specific transportation requirements.
Brews (mead and beer); Cordials; Cookies; Spices and sauces, Perfumes, Soaps, Candles, Beeswax forms for sewing

Scribal Support
Scribal paint brush carrier, Small scribal paint box, Paper for starting scribes, paint brush holders (think chopstick holders), Painted notecards (thank you cards)

Fiber Arts Support
Drop spindles, Wooden lucets, Sewing kits, Needle cases (cloth, leather, wood, bone), Winding sticks, Laying tools

Game boards and pieces (embroidered, carved, wood-burned, painted, etc – example games Chess, Nine-man-Morris, Fox and goose), Cards made in a period fashion, Dice (metal, bone, wood)
Toys for toy box (small, light, can handle jostling, gender-neutral is good, $2 and under) – cup & ball, small dolls, pirate eyepatch, clothespin/peg doll sets, etc.;

Cups – glass, clay, plastic, metal; Cork screws, flatwear holders for feastgear
Gas cards, Paper umbrellas, Small mirrors, Hair combs, Wooden boxes all sizes (from holding a ring to a feast gear box), Beaded flowers, Sweet bags, Small notebooks – or notebook covers, Bookmarks, Tissue holders, Messenger bags,

Sites for some of the projects
Cup covers – (link broken and removed)

Feast gear (flatwear holders) –

Medallions –

Neck coolers –

Needle holder (notebook style) –

Scroll carriers – (link broken and removed)

Toy (small felt seahorses) –

Toy (Crayon booklet party favor) –

Toy (linen balls) –

Toy (rag doll) –

Courtesy: Toasts to the Crown (Master D. MacRuiseart)

Soundings of the Conch: On Your Feet!

by, Master Donal Mac Ruiseart, Conch Herald (Posted to the Merry Rose, a public SCA email format on Feb 1, 2011 at 7:17 am, forwarding was expected)

Most of us know that it is traditional to have a round of toasts (or to use a
more period term, healths) at some time during any feast. The usual pattern is
Atlantia’s Monarchs, visiting Royals, Atlantia’s Crown Prince and Princess, if
there be such, the local Baronage, and any visiting Baronials.

Most of us also should know that all ought to rise for these healths. There is
a belief in some quarters that ladies need not rise, but in fact they should.
Exempting ladies from rising is a modern, probably American, innovation.

But apparently this is not as universally known as I thought. At a recent
event, our Baron rose to drink the health of Their Majesties, and fully half the
men in the hall remained seated. So dismayed was I by this apparent lack of
respect for our Monarchs that I called aloud, “My lords! On your feet, in the
King’s name!” At this admonition, the men – and many of the ladies – did rise.

Have so many of us forgotten our manners? Or, I wondered on reflection, are
such things not common knowledge among the populace, so that we need to teach
them? From the reaction of those at the event, I suspect – indeed hope – that
it was a simple lack of knowledge, not a deliberate lack of respect, that kept
those gentles in their seats.

So let me begin with the case in question. When healths are drunk at a feast or
at any event, all should rise, unless unable to do so. That last provision
includes infirmity, injury, or a hall so cramped as to make rising en masse

For the following examples, let me say that there is always an exception given
for infirmity or injury, and to those working at a registration table or the
Minister of the Lists table, or in the kitchen. Musicians are also exempted
when actually playing. There are of course other exceptions dictated by common

It is respectful and courteous to rise when addressed by a person of higher rank
than yourself; indeed, it is truly courteous to rise when addressed by an equal,
and more courteous still to rise for one of lower rank. But it is truly
discourteous to remain seated (unless unable to rise) when approached or
addressed by a person of particularly high rank, especially a Royal.[1]

You ought also to rise when a Royal enters a room, except a really large public
room, in which case you need rise only if the Royal is announced.

You should rise when a Royal passes near you while you are seated.

A gentle lord, when approached or addressed by a lady while seated, will rise to
greet or respond to her.

A gentle lord will rise when a lady enters a small room.

A gentle lord will rise when a lady comes to a table at which he is seated, and
if the seat she will take is near to his, will assist her to sit by holding her

A gentle lord will rise when a lady or a person of high rank, seated at the same
table, rises.

I pray you remember that this Society of which we are members fosters the
practice of courtesy and chivalry. The acts I list above are truly basic
courtesies. Indeed some of us can recall when they were practised in the modern
world. But the lack of such observance by so many of our mundane contemporaries
should not discourage us from practising and encouraging them.

[1] (How many of you were as aghast as I when Chancellor Palpatine remained
seated when speaking with the standing Queen Amidala of Naboo?)

The Merry Rose Tavern at Cheapside

Ideas on Largesse (C. Ambrose)

Ideas on Largesse

By Catherine Ambrose (published Phoenix, March 2013, Barony of The Sacred Stone; copied with permission granted thru Facebook on June 2, 2016)

It’s always a challenge to decide what to make for largesse, especially since there is so much in the SCA that could make cool gifts. Recently, though, an A&S Night with Princess Ysabella gave some very helpful hints and ideas on what royals want, need, and appreciate. Here are some tips:

1. Unless you make prior arrangements with the recipient, give something small and lightweight. There’s little worse than putting your heart into making something, only to find out at the event that the recipient doesn’t have room in their car, or can’t lift it alone.

2. Trinkets are always welcome. Most royalty need small items to give out as tokens or to other royalty, and a few small items often go farther than one large one.

3. If worst comes to worst, check the kingdom website for ideas. Often royalty have their whims – likes and dislikes – listed there, as well as items they would like to receive for future favors or in gift baskets, and their personal heraldic colors. And don’t worry: you can never go wrong with something in the kingdom colors.

4. Make a night of it. If you want to make a lot of items, invite your friends over to help. Many hands make light work, and the time will fly.

If you have no idea what to give, here are some suggestions from Princess Ysabella:

Mug/goblet covers
Beaded strings or necklaces
Wire-woven cords or bracelets
Braided cord for hanging medallions
Embroidered handkerchiefs or napkins (machine-embroidered as well as hand-embroidered)
Sewing kits “books” (needle and thread, wax for linen thread, pins)
Small stuffed animals and rag dolls for the children’s basket
Pouches, both plain and embroidered Beads of all sorts
Cordials and ales of all sorts
Cloth game boards (that fold up) with glass beads as markers
Small cloth-covered notebooks
Empty bottles (for filling with brewing)
Trim and ribbons
Anything hand-made.

Royalty will recognize and appreciate the care you put into the gifts.

Mosaics: 2015

My First Mosaics

I hope to do more. I did these between October and November 2015.

Photo of red Mosaic Box
Red Wings – Seeing how to work around strange shapes like the wings and round edges
Photo of Mosaic box
Golden Sunbeams: Testing how to doing things off the square. Also learning how to break the mosaic tiles in half.


Photo of mosaic box
Seahorse: Largest of the mosaics attempted. Culmination of previous skills including working around a shape and half tiles. Meant to give a Roman feel with the border.

Class: Jeweled Book Weights

LARGESS: Jeweled Book Weights

(Taught July 16, 2015 for the Aire Faucon Largess A&S Night – This is a hands-on activity night taking about two hours.)

People in period were very protective of their books; many illuminations show people reading on top of pillows or handling books with towels to protect the outside. Likewise modern people are interested in protecting books, for example holding a book open when cooking without breaking the spine.

A common cheap bookweight is taking 28 pennies (2 rows of 14) and sealing them inside some duct tape. For Largess we are going to take some ends of trim and some scraps of cloth, decorate them with beads and make Jeweled Book Weights.

Some hints to help with decorations:


  1. Find a needle and thread that can go through the bead more than once.
  2. Make certain the bead does not have a cutting edge on the hole that will destroy the thread in time.
  3. Go through the bead three time. Going through only once or twice makes it loose. This is whether you double the thread or not – the amount of stitches secures the bead more than the thickness of the thread. Basically you want to “backstitch” the bead on to lock it in place.


  1. Do not sew on individually
  2. Do not sew by stringing the beads and sewing the string down
  3. To get a smooth continuous curve, pick up a bead at the start, then go down, come back up at the start of the bead, go through the bead and pick up two to five more (depends on the size of the bead, you will get a feel for this as you work with them), go down in the line, come back up between some of your added beads – go through them and pick up more. Basically you are backstitching the beads down. The double stitching allows curves and creates a straighter line then laying down a string of beads.
  4. To create even spaces between the beads, once done go back over line and anchor down the string between each bead without going through the bead again.
  5. You have now sewed down the beads vertically and horizontally; these will stay.