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Dorrie, Dory, Dorry

Guide to a Standard An Tir Trade-Blanket

(this is from my experience, if you have rules, tips, or any comments, PLEASE feel free to post them! This is by NO MEANS an absolute set of rules, just a general guide for what I've experienced)

The rules of "standard An Tir Trade-Blanket" (ie, variations are highly possible)

Everyone sits around an open space, usually a "blanket" or other ground covering. Sometimes it is invite only, sometimes you can only participate if you are there at the start. MOST An Tir trade-blankets are very open, traders come and go over the course of the night. Usually if you are late, pick a good spot, and ask permission to joint the trade blanket :) DON'T jump in right when it is your turn, that's rude.

Whoever is hosting will then explain the rules, any prohibited items, etc. Sometimes consumables or alcohol are prohibited. A lot of trade-blankets TRY to concentrate on hand-made items and supplies, but often things quickly deteriorate into knives from Asia and strange second hand stuff.

Then it is Trader #1's turn. (often the host will start, or ask someone specific to start).
When it is YOUR turn, you choose an item that you want to trade, and place it in front of you on the blanket. You then describe the item, being as flowery (or silly, or serious) as you wish. A minimum description includes basic descriptions like what it is made of. You can pass it around the blanket for people to see up close, offer samples if it is edible, or whatever.
You (Trader #1), now waits for everyone else to make an offer.
NOTE! Trader #1 CANNOT accept any trade until EVERYONE has had a chance to make an offer!

Making an offer: The Trader directly to the left of Trader #1 now has a choice of two actions:
1. Make an offer
2. Pass

If they wish to pass, they simply state: "pass". If the Trader wishes to make an offer, then they bring out a thing, describe it, and place it on the blanket in front of them.

This proceeds around the circle, until everyone present has had a chance to make an offer on Trader #1's item.

(so, everyone who wants to trade will then have their trade-thing sitting in front of them at this point)

Back to Trader #1.
When everyone has had a chance to put their proposed trade on the blanket, Trader #1 has 3 choices. (you may wish to inspect the offers on the blanket before making a decision!)
1. Accept a trade. You and the person with the thing you want shake hands, and trade things. DONE!
2. Withdraw. If nothing on the table that you want, you can withdraw your item at this stage. Your turn is now DONE.
3. Ask for a sweetener.

Asking for a sweetener, how and why.
There are two reasons to ask for a sweetener.
First, there are two offers on the blanket that you can't decide between. Don't identify who they are, that will show your hand. Just state you can't decide, and that you need a sweetener to make your choice.
Second (and a little more socially dicey), is that the level of items out are not equal to what you think you can get for your trade item, and you want a higher "price". This is....not always polite. It can be, if done well, but be aware you shouldn't state it out loud, for example.

HOW to ask for a sweetener:
When everyone's stuff is on the blanket, and it is your (Trader #1's) turn to decide, state "I want a sweetener".

WHAT happens then?
Everyone leaves the thing they had initially put out, and, proceeding around the circle in order, each other trader has the opportunity to add a small item (a sweetener, to make the deal "sweeter") to their proposed trade. So, each trader has two options at this point:
1. Hold. They do not add anything to their offer
2. Add a small item (often with flowery descriptions of why you should pick them)

After each trader has had a chance to add to their proposed trade, it is now back to Trader #1. Trader #1 now has TWO choices:
1. Accept a trade. As above, shake hands, exchange things, your turn is done.
2. Withdraw your item, and your turn is done.

Now it is Trader #2's turn to put out something, and everyone offers trades to Trader #2!

DON'T show your hand!There is a significant amount of strategy to getting a good trade. Keep your stuff in a box, so you can surprise people with really good trades for something you want. Keep something big-ticket in your box in case something big-ticket that you WANT comes up. Also hold back a few really good small items for sweetners, so that you can close a deal on items you really want.

DO bring snacks and drinks to share. This is a social event, a time to nosh, whisper, try to drive bargains, and generally socialize with other people who make cool items.

DO bring lots of little things, both as sweeteners, and to put out as trades for beginners. As an experienced trader/craftsperson, you should encourage them, but you may not want the thing they have this year. Some of them will have TOTALLY awesome stuff next year, and just didn't understand what they should bring.

Expect a wide range of items. People will show up with amazing crafts, or second-hand items that are stunningly good. Don't discount people you don't know. There are also usually many beginners, either to trade-blanket or to the SCA. Encourage them, but don't feel obligated to trade your very best items for things you don't want. Educate them about what the expected level of merchandise looks like.

Use this as a time to get to know awesome craft-makers. A good, social trade-blanket means that you now have a lot of "professional" connections: you now know the people that make really cool things that you want. Many times, the day after trade blanket is when I set up my best commissions, both as a customer AND as the maker. If someone else got the thing you want, go order a custom one.

Bring good items to trade. These can include any item you made yourself (jewelry, textiles, etc), supplies to make hand-crafted items (fabric, yarn, etc), or second-hand handcrafted items (old jewelry you don't wear anymore, etc). It is perfectly fine to bring items you no longer use, but they need to be high quality and in good shape. AVOID commercially made items unless they are supplies (cooking pots, yarn, etc), or indistinguishable from handmade (Puukko knives, Kalvala Koru jewelry, etc).
Just to give you an idea, here is a VERY partial list of items I have personally seen/traded for at trade blanket: bows, mead, amber, drinking horns, bronze and silver jewelry, glass vessels, glass beads, hand dyed yarn, hand spun yarn, ceramics, hand bound books, armor, roving, fabric, salve, knives, shoes, boxes, benches, chairs, fire tools, furs, blankets, clothing, socks/mittens, wire, chainmail, hats, beeswax, pickles, jam, belts, cloaks, etc.

Most trade-blankets have a wide range of items from many time periods, though many trade-blankets in An Tir have a Viking Age theme. Before attending, please check with the organizer to see if there is a theme, prohibited items, or other rules concerning trade items.


I *love* this! It sounds so much fun!!
If you are hosting a public one at Grand Thing, perhaps a shortened "guide to trade blanket rules" should be put up on the website? or in the biffies? *laugh*
Thank you for unraveling the mystery! I think I can actually attempt this now.
i have heard of such things before but never seen one. i am intrigued. :)
Thank you!


I believe that alcoholic items are still illegal items at Trade Blanket.
I have participated in many Trade Blankets and they are great opportunities to make great trades. Some years we didn't stop until 2 AM because good stuff just kept coming.