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It was very productive weekend, aside from the complete debacle that was my dyed-silk pennant project; I think I’ve established what I did wrong (short answer: too much dye) and at least one of the two banners I worked on is moderately acceptable, so I’ll at least have that for Crown Tourney.

First try at a silk banner
My first attempt at a silk banner. Ignore the bleed-through bits and the spotting where the dye didn’t take properly.

I also finished up both my shields, my tournament shield and my war shield. The primary difference between the two is size — the war shield is half a foot longer and two inches wider than the tournament shield. That doesn’t sound like much, I know, but six inches of extra length covers me from chin to knee, and the extra width adds quite a lot of protection. What it also adds is weight: the war door isn’t going to be nearly as handy as my tournament shield. Not that it matters as much in the press of a shieldwall, of course: you’re packed in so tightly that moving the shield to block isn’t really an option.

My new war-door
I’m also pleased with how the colours worked out — the deep red of the Kingdom War Badge is particularly nice.

Over and above my projects, however, The Wife™ managed to build herself most of a new cotehardie (it’s going to look gorgeous, by the way) and put a major dent in a new “heraldic hall hanger” banner for me. She also started work on my heraldic surcoat. Between those items and my finished tournament shield, I’m going to be very well-supplied with heraldic display for a good long time… unless, as she pointed out, I win Crown Tourney; then we’ll have to pack it all away for a year and put together some stuff with the royal arms. (I replied that in those unlikely circumstances we’d doubtlessly have a bunch of volunteers to help make all that stuff with us.)

The finished tournament shield.
The clear-coat makes it shiny. Hopefully that’ll also keep it from picking up too many scuffs and stains on the list field.

So I’m feeling good about being ready for Crown, at least cosmetically. Now I’ve got to worry about being physically ready for it: I’ve been doing some pell-work here and there, but the next couple of weeks is going to be the real training: I’ve got a fight practice tomorrow night, a fighting event in the East Kingdom on Saturday, then another fight practice at Caldrithig next Wednesday… and then Crown Tourney itself. It definitely helps that I’ve lost a lot of weight: I’m forty-three pounds lighter than I was six months ago… or as I like to put it, “one whole armour bag.” That’s going to make a huge difference in my endurance, I have no doubt.

I still have to write that speech, though. Fortunately I’ve gotten advice from friends, and the overall gist seems to be “talk about love and keep it short,” which I can do.