My SCA Year 2016-17 in Review, Part 1

My SCA Year in Review for 2016-17, Part 1 – addressing the goals that I made at Great Northern War 2016. Part 2 follows, outlining my new goals for 2017-18.

The goals I made last year and my self-review on how I tracked against them include:

  1. Successfully hand over the role of Kingdom Historian.

I wrapped up my tenure by completing the first handbook for future historians to use, which included explicit sources (people, documents, websites) and descriptions of tasks one might want to do as historian.

I handed on the multitude of files on a USB stick that future historians may find useful in their office.

I had a successor appointed at Midwinter 2016 and offered my assistance to them if they wanted it.

SCA 50 year rundown

Me (Ceara) at Midwinter Coronation (St Ursula) giving the presentation from SCA 50 Year and stepping down as Kingdom Historian (July 2016).

2. Take a step back over the next year from laborious administrative tasks (historian, chronicler, stewarding, etc) with the explicit purpose of giving me the head space and time to spend on rapier and potentially a return to heavy combat.

I don’t think I achieved this goal, unfortunately.

I’ve ended up spending approximately:

  • 10 hours writing/prepping the historian handover, drafting the missives from SCA 50 year, and announcing the missives and presenting the royal gifts from SCA 50 year at Midwinter Coronation (St Ursula),
  • 3 hours refining and presenting my 16th century Irish Costuming class at Politarchopolis University,
  • 8 hours prepping event tokens, setting up and packing down the hall at Bal d’Aneala,
  • 6 hours as herald for November Crown 2016 in River Haven (2 hours heralding and 4 hours prepping the pair of heralding folders, scripts for the tournament and associated court ceremonies, and names/devices of combatants),
  • 120 hours between November 2016 and April 2017 for Rowany Festival 2017 as annunciator and bookings officer, including:
    • sending out 21 announcements (containing a collective 81 messages about the events, cross-posted to 2 email lists and 4 facebook groups),
    • Compiling and sharing various statistical reports about bookings for event officers,
    • Making over 470 responses to email enquiries (mostly about bookings), and
  • Writing up the event report (3 hours).
  • 2 hours writing and posting images and descriptions of the awards and events of 12th Night 2017 (Politarchopolis)
  • 63 hours between April and June 2017 for Great Northern War 2017 (St Florian) as the annunciator, herald in charge, teaching Arts and Sciences classes, helping with event setup, and helping in the kitchen:
    • Updating the website (including FAQ, A&S classes and bios, general timetable, descriptions of different streams, etc) (15 hours),
    • Writing, editing, collating, and posting 9 missives (containing 35 messages) on 1 email list and cross-posting to 3 facebook groups (8.5 hours),
    • 4 hours updating, editing, and revising the event handbook (4 hours),
    • Herald in Charge, including creating signups and shifts, liaising with nobility and officers for heraldic needs, emailing volunteers, managing the volunteers throughout the event, writing up 9 announcement rounds during the event, heralding the flame tourney and powerful owl tourney, printing and providing folders of heraldic scripts for volunteers, etc (21 hours),
    • Assisting in the kitchen (food prep and service) on Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday breakfast, Monday breakfast (6.5 hours)
    • Helping with setup (taping showers, carrying bread, carrying tables, moving and setting up padded benches, untangling and putting up and adjusting bunting, etc) (3 hours),
    • Preparing for, and hosting, a Worshipful Company of Broiderers meeting (2 hours),
    • Co-hosting an embroidery circle (1 hour), and
    • Writing up my post-event report (2 hours).

Crikey, that’s at least 212 hours so far, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things.

I’ll also note that February-May is when work was off the charts and I was also going through the stress and time suck that is moving house (both unforeseen when I signed up for these roles).

Credit where it’s due, though – something I’ve improved on this year is only doing one major role at a time. In 2015-16, I held several officer positions and helped run events all concurrently. In 2016-17, I’ve been much better at pushing back and ensuring that I am only doing one major thing at once (#winning). I also completed each of these jobs reliably and to standard. If I had moments where I became unavailable for a short while, I communicated that with the relevant event officers and picked up the ball again as soon as I could.

  1. Continue my persistent contributions to the various events I go to through in diverse ways, such as heralding, marshalling, teaching arts and sciences, cooking.

I have continued to teach arts and sciences, herald, cook, and help with setup/packdowns at events. It’s rare that I go to an event and do not have some sort of role, whether it’s in the event team or filling in gaps during the event as needed.

  1. Complete and document my 14th Century Estonian Headwreath. At least have a start the remaining pieces of the outfit so that I have an authentic costume and accessories to wear with it.

I am really proud of myself for this project. I started it knowing nothing about coils or Estonian headwear, and through large amounts of research, trial and error, and perseverance… I ended up creating a respectable first attempt.

I spent over 80 hours creating this piece, and endless hours researching and writing it up – see

Not only did I complete this project by the July 2017 deadline, but it ended up winning first place with a 23/25 score in the Worshipful Company of Broiderers beading competition. That’s one hell of a success in my books 😀


The rhombuses of the four completed tails with fluffed fringing. Ceara Shionnach, 2016.

On top of the goals and hours spent doing various activities above, I also spent 50 hours creating a banner:


The completed raven banner by Ceara Shionnach (2016).

I spent hours and hours and hours learning how to weave fabric for the first time, and creating my first piece – a diamond twill in wool.

Diamond Twill

Diamond twill fabric that I (Ceara) wove at the end of 2016 on a four shaft loom in white and blue wool. It is my first ever attempt at weaving a fabric.

I’ve also spent a couple of hours figuring out pattern darning:

Pattern Darning 1

Left: Pattern from page 62 of Vinciolo (1609). Right: My completed test piece of silk on linen in pattern darning style.

Of course, there are areas where I’d prefer a better balance is achieved (e.g. more time, motivation and energy for fencing and A&S projects, less time on administrative tasks)… but, all in all, I am rather proud of how productive and reliable I’ve been this past year, despite adversity trying to get in my way.

Part 2 follows, outlining my new goals for 2017-18.