Whirlwind

Phew. November was a month of many plates being kept spinning in the air, and valiantly attempting not to let any (or all) of them land on my head. But we made it! It’s December, and while that’s rarely the time that anyone pauses and thinks ‘oh good, this will be relaxing!’, it’s better.

Part of the whirlwind was mundane RL needing copious attention for some big transitions in my extended world, but much of the whirlwind was also capping off RL excitement with a whole lot of travel and teaching.

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Stuffies waiting for me to come to bed at String Thing.

First up in the travel with String Thing, a weekend long focused event held at Upper Canada Village. Awesome location, if just a smidge tight quarters for some of us who struggle with such. Still, it was a hella good time of like minded string geekery squished into a weekend. I taught beginner bobbin lace there (handout available here), and it went well! I’ve taught this class a few times, and this time got a re-work of the handout (*cough* totally not because I lost the old one.. okay I lost the old one. Found it again when the new one was 90% written. Of course.), and it felt like class flowed better than the last time I taught it. Possibly we were just all high on nice weather and good company, but I was pleased. As is an eternal theme with me, I didn’t get any pictures of class itself, my life doesn’t just need theme music, it needs to come with photographic staff, but I digress.

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Rug hooking at the NS Welcome Centre!

Next up was the big exciting adventure when we headed out East for East Kingdom University and Baronial Investiture! We broke the rule so bad! (The Rule ™ is that one should never spend more time in travel than you spend at the event. We break this rule routinely, but I’m going to say that 4 days in a car for a 1 day event is a pretty epic breaking of it.) Granted, we did not go out there /only/ for an event. We went out to spend time with friends, and see a bit of the city, and enjoy the road trip with friends. Mission accomplished on all fronts! The event was a lovely bonus on a fabulous trip.

And it was a lovely event, it’s always absolutely fascinating to go to other Kingdoms and watch how their A&S fits together, and meet teachers and students utterly new to you. It generally ends with a bazillion new ideas and plans and the to do list exploding in a haze, but it’s utterly worth it.

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String class involves a lot of wood.

I taught beginner drop spindling there, to my one whole student! (And an Emelote who knows how to spin just fine, but a spindle refresher didn’t go amiss for her either.) We got string! The true exciting part of learning to spin is when you get string for the first time, it makes it all seem possible. After that, it’s just practice, practice, practice. Spinning is muscle memory more than any other handwork I do, and you do not gain muscle memory by trying really hard. You gain it by doing, preferably a little bit over a long period of time. Practice, practice, practice, practice. The mantra for most things, as irritating as that reality is. It was a delightful day of chatting with friends, making new friends and trying not to be toooo disruptive to other classes or the Athena’s Thimble panel. (Seriously, I noted on FB that it’s a good thing I can’t get to many panels, or I’d throw the to-do list in the fire and just embroider forever on the fumes of enthusiasm in that room. Clearly I need to go huff with weaving fumes a while.)

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Head table stuffies at Wassail

The epic whirlwind ended with Wassail, an event close to home. It always feels like the start of the holiday season, and an event full of laughter and smiles and good cheer. I hosted the inaugural A&S show and tell! We got about 8 people’s worth of stuff (some folks couldn’t stay, but sent stuff to show! Which was great!) It was a lovely way to sit and spend some time admiring what we’d either only admired on social media, or projects that haven’t hit the internet yet! It was great fun, and I hope to do more of them at other events in the future. I love seeing what other artisans are working on, that’s the crux of how I find my inspiration, so thank you all for ensuring that my to-do list won’t be empty anytime soon.

There we go, mostly caught up I think! Now I have a whole swack of projects to organize!

Tiny Stupid Project

So those who know my crafting predilections, know that my happy place is putting holes in things on purpose and playing with tiny string. Usually it’s thin cotton, or linen, sometimes wool or silk. Pre-SCA, I tended to kick back with knitting doilies and table clothes and now .. well.. now I try everything, and weaving seems to have taken over much of my time, but that’s besides the point.

It’s been a stressy few months, for a variety of not dire reasons, but that doesn’t make it any less gnngargh in the moment and with not a lot of brain for taking on new things. So I turned to my one true love. (It didn’t hurt that I was trying to come up with an ornament to make for a lace guild exchange, so I was happily surfing small knitting lace patterns.) I found a little doily chart that was super basic, but cute enough. (Promenade for those following along at home.) A variation on a very classic spiral piece, knit from the outside in, which is unusual. (Not sure I’m a fan, but that’s neither here nor there.)

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I decided that cotton was enh, fine, but enh, and then remembered that I had a small spool of copper wire that I’d acquired for wire weaving. Y’know, the stuff many in the SCA make lovely metal cords from, that I don’t love doing. I tried it, of course I did, but others love it more than I do (ditto with naalbinding for that matter) So clearly the only thing to be done was to knit a small doily out of copper wire. Because that’s what I apparently view as good stress knitting. (my tendonitis disagrees)

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There’s something very satisfying about knitting lace that doesn’t need blocking beyond yanking it into shape, and I did learn that apparently when your tension goes funky you /can/ snap copper wire doing a knit two together. But hey, it’s not going anywhere, just squish that busted stitch in and move on.

I did find a lace pattern for my ornament exchange, so hopefully I can have that for you soon, as well as more silly ornaments. Apparently November is for tiny bits and pieces sort of knitting.

Burn the candle

I wasn’t sure if I’d blogged about this before, but a quick glance through old posts says no. Get a cuppa (go find the cup you started if you’re anything like me) and settle in for some random musings.

My crafting time, of late, has been sparse because of a whole lot of RL. A healthy chunk of that RL is due to people around me moving from a larger space to a smaller space. Sometimes willingly and long planned, and sometimes abruptly and with little warning. The former is not so bad, you at least get the time and opportunity to go through and give away, or donate things in a thoughtful manner. The later? Well sometimes it’s not even you who might be going through your things to downsize. It’s hard, it’s emotional, even when you get to take the time to go through things, and it sucks. There wouldn’t be entire TV series about decluttering if this was easy.

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Dalla’s opinion of winter

In the helping to pare down (and in my own decluttering, which has no reason or timetable, save we own too darn much stuff), I’ve noticed a lot of things that were tucked aside as just for show. Or too nice to use. Or kept for a special occasion. Still in their packaging, and clearly many years old. Now, as we downsize, sent off to the thrift store (or my house).

And so I sit sipping my morning coffee, with a lovely little crystal candle holder, and a candle that was ‘kept for good’ for so long that it’s lost both its scent and it’s colour due to age. It’s not ruined, it still burns, but would have been so much nicer in its prime. The same with now expired treats from the back of the pantry. The never opened pretty napkins. The yarn ‘too good’ to dare use.

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Special yarn becomes special mitten.

That last one is a big one, and could be any craft. I read about people finding ‘hacks’ to use lesser quality materials while they are learning, because they are ‘scared’ of the good stuff. Except that the ‘good stuff’ is actually pretty average stuff, and their great hack to use the cheap stuff might well turn them off the craft entirely. There’s a line here, certainly. I don’t advocate a beginner scribe going for the fancy real gold on their first scroll. Beginner knitters might want to explore cotton a few times before heading to silk. First garb out of cotton rather than linen? Makes total sense. But there’s a limit. Shredding up acrylic yarn to learn to spin when you have wool roving available is not helpful, IMO. Use the basic wool roving, there’s more sheep. There’s more roving, it’s fine. Knit with wool after you have the basics down, give silk a try. You’ve got thumbs, you got this. Weave with the nice stuff, get the feel for it.

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Fortune cookie wisdom from my desk.

Life is short, and it’s unpredictable, and you’re worth it. Yes, even you who feels totally not worthy, are worth it. Burn the candle, use the pretty napkins and knit with the special yarn.

Trillium Exchange

Like many kingdoms, we have an artisan exchange a couple times a year, where you get to make a gift for another artisan. Sometimes on a theme, sometimes not. Oh yes, you get a present too, but let’s be real here, the fun is in getting to make something for someone! Secret Santa for A&S types!

Many of us use it as an opportunity to stretch our skills, try something we’ve always wanted to do, or explore something new. Our giftee provides some ideas (or reassurances that they’ll be happy with anything), a few guidelines on their persona and preferred era, and off you go.

I decided that I wanted to paint my giftee’s heraldry on a jewelry box, and paint up a silk fan for her, also with heraldry. Now, if you’ve met me (or have read this blog for any length of time), you know that I play with string. Paint and I don’t have much of a history, in fact.. I think before this project, the last time I painted anything was elementary school. (Spoilers: That was a very long time ago.)

Heraldry to hand, carefully printed to the right size for the box lid, I got out the carbon paper (also last relevant when I was in high school taking typing class on a manual typewriter. But Staples still sells it!), and traced it onto the small jewelry box. I stole borrowed my husband’s acrylic paints (he does the painting of things around our house) and then froze. It’s teeny! It’s complicated! What am I thinking?

Okay. Deep breath. The box lid is pretty solid, you can sand this sucker off half a dozen times before you need a new box. You got this.

Tiny brush to hand, and with the relevant advice of starting with the light colours first, off I went. Ott light, I love you for everything, you made seeing what I was doing possible. I puttered at it off and on, got a firm and solid fresh new appreciation for our scribes (magic, I swear they are magic), and then walked away when I hated it.

And y’know? After coming back and looking at it not 3 inches away, but sitting back like a normal person? It wasn’t awful! I completely chickened out of using black paint to outline things, so I got out a sharpie. (Worked great. Next one.. I’ll be brave enough for paint. I think. Maybe not. Paint is terrifying!)

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One down, one to go.

The husband, yet again, is my tutor here. He’s the one who paints things, and if you’ve seen any baronial banners (or the guidons we give out as baronial awards), they are all his work. I dodge that like the ‘I don’t work in paint’ string gal that I am. But I have a pre-made silk fan (thank you Duchess Rylyn for letting me get in on that order to dharma), and a tube of gutta, and silk paints.

I would rather poke myself in the eye with a 2mm dpn than draw with a damnned tube of gutta. It gloops! It makes giant lines! There’s no precision! I can’t make it tiny! AHHHHHH!

(For the record, the husband thinks my horror at tubes of gutta and wee splotches is /hilarious/.) Yes, I know that the giant lines keep the silk paint from running. Yes, I know that practice makes for better precision. Yes, there are probably tubes of gutta that have smaller tips, but then you don’t get enough resist to keep the paint at bay. I just accept that perhaps, just maybe, there’s a darn fine reason why I am not the banner painter in our household.

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Still, I am forging on. I have a gift to make, darn it all. Gutta on, gutta triple checked, and then after that trauma, honestly the silk paint went on like a dream. That was the most zen part of the fan. Other than the splotches, I’m pleased. It looks not half bad. (Apparently the photo I was sure I took of the finished fan is awol on my phone. Forgive me. I’ll update the post if I get some photos of the finished one.)

I hope you like them, Violetta!

Little diversions

In consultation with my loyal readership (okay.. so I chatted it out with the dear spouse.. he counts as loyal readership!), I decided to include the non SCA stuff that I work on, because well.. it’s part of what I do. It’s stuff I think people might be interested in. So if you’re here for a strict regimen of pent worthy pieces, I apologize. You may wanna close this update and come back when I get those damnned heddles done.

As I’ve lamented before, I struggle with ongoing tendonitis, which limits my ability to indulge in my best beloved handwork, knitting. I embraced the dumb, and went on a knitting binge this autumn, and am now paying for it, thanks for asking. But! I got some sooper seekrit knitting done, and I got hooked on knitting little leaves.

It started with a thought that I’d knit a wee laurel leaf for a friend who recently got elevated, but I didn’t care for it once I’d knit it. (Knitted leaves are so spectacularly not historically accurate it hurts, but that is a whole different conversation.) Clearly, the only thing to be done was to knit another, because it was my choice of yarn. That’s it.

Reader, that was not it. I still didn’t much care for it as a representation of a laurel leaf in a different yarn.

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I did, however, really enjoy the heck out of knitting leaves. So I started knitting more leaves. In other yarns. And other colours. And finding all the tiny (free) leaf patterns on Ravelry and knitting those. And then I had a windfall of little knitted leaves. A dozen or more, of various yarns and shapes.

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I debated on what to do with them. I mean, they’re darned cute, but not exactly functional. Christmas tree ornaments? A possibility, but they’re pretty solidly autumn themed, and while I love Christmas trees, I do not put one up in autumn. A wreath? Also possible, but I was aspiring not to go buy anything, and I’ve no wreath forms, nor a deep desire to wire one up from coat hangers that I don’t own. A garland, however, that is something I can do! And the wreath on the front door died quite some time ago, and there’s nothing there. Garland it is.

I am going to say that lengths of worsted weight yarn about a yard each, perhaps less, are terrible to make icord from, but it was the perfect colour, so there’s a lot of joins. A lot of joins. An inch of cord per strand of wool, but it worked just fine, if irritating, and more bits and pieces used up! I’m terribly pleased with the outcome, I don’t take commissions, but I’d gladly teach you how to knit.

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Too much, and not nearly enough.

This is going to be a long winded navel gazing commentary, feel free to just admire the pictures scatted within, or just close and walk away. I’ll never know. 😉

I considered just not mentioning the fact that it’s been a little while since I posted.  It’s not actually been that long, but I am struggling to find things to post about right now. Largely I post on what SCA related things I’ve been working on and while I’ve been working on a lot of creative work over the last little while.. but very little of it is A&S, per se.

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I went to an art workshop. Apparently I like playing with colour.

A lot of mundane work, knitting mostly. Dabbling in period-esque things, but without bothering to research much. Just playing, and I was trying to work out why I was settled back into old familiar paths. I’ve made plans, but little else. The why of my own head chewed around for a while, and there’s some big thinky thoughts, and some purely pragmatic reality of Holiday crafting having a timeline and canning various fruits and vegetables doesn’t wait for anyone. I also had a bit of an ah-ha moment just recently. I’d danced at the edge of my skill level (and truthfully.. my energy level) and like Wiley E. Coyote when he’s run off a cliff, and dangles in the air for a moment, I paused there for a little while before crashing. Alright, so the metaphor works better for the reality of running on fumes for too long, than specifically creative work, but it’s not terrible there either. I had a few projects that were big (in my mind, or in my heart) and I didn’t do them as well as I thought I could and after that crash, I fled back to the familiar. Are they necessarily projects that others looked at and thought ‘damn, Lucia.. that’s a disappointment’.. possibly not. No one’s said such to me, and I fully expect that no one will, because it’s less about other’s interpretation of my work, and wholly about my own reactions. Like entirely too many of us, I’m a perfectionist, and I struggle to be a beginner. To live in that gap between taste and skill, and the reality of being a jack of many trades (not all.. there’s a long list of things I’ve no desire to do.. but the list of things I do love is crazy), means I don’t practice any one thing to the depths of a true expert.

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My coworker’s current door quote. I think we can all relate.

I am unlikely to ever be a one craft kinda gal. I’ve settled in the richness of time into alchemy and string, but both of those are HUGE categories. There are a few places that are like crawling into a favourite safe space, where challenges are interesting diversions, and the confidence is there. The 10, 000 hours have been invested, and things just work. I don’t need to have quiet, brain engaged, uninterrupted time to knit a hat, or a sock. I can just do it and have the fingers busy without much investment. I can weave without much thought, but getting a loom warped is a much higher commitment of brain power, and so it sits, waiting for heddles.

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Waiting for heddles.

That was a lot of rambling to say ‘hey, not working on much A&S right now, lots of mundane stuff’. Holiday gifts are in full swing, I made a terrible batch of hand cream. (It’s fine, it’s just not what I wanted, and I made a huge mess while making it.). I have beer waiting to be bottled, and grain waiting for me to be home for a few hours, all in a /row/ to become more beer. I’ve a loom waiting to be heddled, and cloth asking nicely to be both mundane clothes and garb, and there’s a lot of life going on.  It’s okay to have a pause, a lull even. I’m reminding myself more than anyone else. Deep breath, we got this.

Loom Waste

All loom have loom waste. It’s a thing, and it’s a thing that you just learn to live with. The chunk of warp that just cannot be woven, because of how the loom structure works. Usually it’s behind (or below) the heddles, to wherever your back beam is, or your weights are. Some looms are exceptionally efficient, some looms are /really bad/ for excessive loom waste.

My Fanny (go ahead, giggle. I get it. It’s also the name of a really common Leclerc loom, so get it out of your system now) is about average for loom waste (24″ or so), the warp weighted loom (WWL) that I’m borrowing is pretty excessive (almost 30″ or so). Inkle looms are shockingly efficient for loom waste (which is good, when you only have 60 – 70 inches of warp to begin with, you don’t want to lose half to loom waste!)

Forgive the mess I’m about to make of this photo, but I’ll try and show you what I mean:

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I recently asked online for ideas on how best to minimize it on a warp weighted loom, and after most folks failed to read the question and provided excellent, if extraneous, suggestions on what to do with it, there was a couple useful suggestions.

First off, have more slots for the heddle bar to rest in, especially further down, close to the shed bar. Not a solution for this loom, I’m only borrowing it, but good to keep in mind if I ever build a loom!

There’s also the very pragmatic solution of having a longer string upon your weights, such that your precious handspun warp doesn’t need to get all the way to the shed bar, some other string can. That’s the most practical solution for me, on a borrowed loom that I am hardly about to start drilling holes into.

 

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As for what to do with your loom waste? Naalbinding is the classic answer. (I’m pretty sure that the historical weaving internet has a pavlovian response to the words ‘loom waste’ and just yells ‘naalbinding!’ without hearing anything else) Pre-cut lengths of wool, it’s an obvious jump. One can also embroider with them, if you particularly wanted to. I decided to do neither, recently, and instead used them to replace the handles of my basket. Looped back and forth and then wound tightly, the wool works just fine for handles!

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Nothing ever really goes to waste, especially not when the process of getting from dirty sheep to spun wool is quite as labour intensive as it is. Use every last bit of it!

 

Warp Weighted loom progress

Wow, I have not kept the blog up to date on my weaving progress. Whoops! I suspect I kept looking at it and thinking ‘damn, it looks the same as yesterday’ and never realizing I hadn’t shown you any weaving pictures.

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Tucked in next to the dining room table.

So when last we left our hapless weaver, I’d managed to get heddles knitted and then whoosh, was off to travels. At Pennsic, I attended a couple of warp weighted loom classes, and judged a couple war point entries about WWL weaving.  That’s a whole different conversation, judging things that you aren’t an expert in. I am a weaver, but a beginner WWL weaver.. Coming soon to a blog near you, commentary on judging in A&S. It’s a huge topic, and one I have a lot of thinky thoughts about, both as an entrant and as a judge. But that’s coming soon, that’s not this blog post.

Chatting with weavers, and watching weavers, and getting excited about weaving on that freshly heddled loom, basically ensured that I wasn’t even unpacked before I was diving in and weaving. My warp was incredibly sticky. It loved to grab onto itself at every moment, and I fought tooth and nail for every single shed in this warp. Every. Single. One. Rrrrriiiiiiip went the warp, every time I asked it for a new shed. And the fuzzies on the floor? I’m surprised I didn’t misplace the cat.

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Loom weights, just hanging around.

Now, it was a warp I’d already wound ages ago, so no tablet woven band to start. It’s quite a thick yarn, knitting worsted weight (and fairly worsted spun at that.. yes, same word.. yes two totally different meanings. Fibre arts jargon is mean like that.) My sett (how many threads per inch in the warp) ended up incredibly tight, and as such, my fabric is incredibly warp faced. I also made some threading errors, and decided that I could live with them, so in they stayed. (A couple threading errors could not be lived with, and I repaired those heddles just by cutting them and retying them a tiny bit shorter. Seemed to work just fine.)

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Weaving along.

I’d be warned that draw in is a real bear in WWL, and I lost about 2 inches from start to finish. The first bit is absolutely that janky ‘I have no clue what my tension is going to be’ start that happens in all weaving, and I tried really hard to get consistent and stay consistent, so the second half is much better than the first. Ultimately, I ended up with 82″ of cloth, that started out 12″ wide, but for the most of it is just about 10″ wide. Not the most functional size, especially for something that thick, but hey.. it’ll become something. We’ll see what size it settles to after its bath. No weaving is finished until its wet finished, and while I’m a gentle wet finisher (No staking it out to sea for me!), it really does change the fabric to have some swish swish water time. It only got washed this morning, so no glamour shots of it all clean and dry yet.

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All done!

I’m super pleased with how it turned out, and super stoked to get something else on the loom. I need to find someone who loves to naalbind (I hates it, precious), who wants all my loom waste. This particular loom leaves quite a bit, and it seems a waste to throw it out. Oh wait.. I don’t throw it out, I use it for other stuff. I’ll show you that next week. (Although seriously, if there’s someone who likes lengths of wool that are basically perfect for naalbinding, talk to me. I would happily pass them off.)

Everything’s a dyestuff!

This is a bit of a pet peeve ranty commentary, so get the popcorn and settle in. (Or tell me I’m a cranky pants, and scroll down to the pictures of pretty yarn.. whatever makes you happy).

Anyhow, I am part of a few dye communities on the internet. I am mostly a lurker, sometimes I add my 2 cents worth, but I’m not what one would call a pillar of the community. I’m confident enough in my own dyework to go off and experiment on my own without much in the way of reassurances from random strangers on the internet. I’ve explored and read enough about the chemistry to have a pretty good idea on what’s going on (enough that I teach a class about the chemistry behind mordants!)

I am going to preface this rant with acknowledgement that experimentation is awesome. I am not anti-‘let’s see what this does!’.. I am wholly and enthusiastically on board with ‘try it and see!’. That being said..

You CAN get colour from damn near anything. Not everything is a good dyestuff. Even those things that you get colour from. Getting colour, even a colour you like, does not make something a good dye. Dye is a specific chemical reaction. Stain is not dye. Stains fade (never fast enough when it’s your favourite shirt.. I know..), they are not a chemical bond between dyestuff and fabric.

Good dyestuff is fairly light fast. Having dyed fabric in light (not even baking in the sunshine.. just not a pitch black box), should not made it fade quickly. Good dyestuff is fairly wash fast. It sticks well, even through washing, or getting wet. Water should not, ideally, break the bond between dye molecule and fabric. If it does, that’s not good dye. Good dyestuff should be fairly colour fast. It should stay the colour you made it, generally speaking.

There’s good reason why you hear about the same dyestuffs over and over, they have a good amount of easily accessible dye molecules in their bits. Madder, Weld, Indigo, Woad, Cochineal, Walnut. There are others. There absolutely are others. There are others that are solid dye plants, with all the fastness you could want, but those are the classics, especially those first three. (A class about dye molecules is at the musing stage, stay tuned!)

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So, at Althing, we did just that! Well mostly just that. Orlaith brought awesomeness in the form of an indigo vat (fructose reduced, I’m a convert), and she brought some weld and walnut. I brought a mystery packet from an Indian dye kit, unlabelled beyond ‘mustard yellow’. (The madder was elderly, and didn’t play along. Pro tip kids, madder doesn’t keep well in solution).

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This was not an afternoon of careful notes and measuring. This was a few of us bringing pre-mordanted yarn (alum generally) and tossing it into dyepots and hoping for pretty colours. And we got pretty colours. We tossed things into the vat of my mystery powder and decided it was probably annatto. (No proof, but it fits!) We got unexpected colours (Cotton and tannin and alum and annato and indigo.. wow pretty brown… that didn’t stay.. boo..). We got great greens and fun blues. We got a whole collection of yellows. We played and relaxed and chatted and laughed. It was a delight. I’ve not dyed with others in a long time, and I’d forgotten how much less like work a dye day with friends is. It’s just pulling out pretty colours.

 

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I’ve nothing against experimenting with whatever you find to hand, but remember that there’s old standards for a reason, and your experiments aren’t likely to keep as well as you might hope. Go forth, play and delight in your transient colours.

 

Known World Cooks & Bards

A little lull in posting, because we were off travelling again! This time an epic road trip over to the Barony of Shattered Crystal in the Middle Kingdom, who were hosting Known World Cooks and Bards over Labour Day weekend. (Google says it’s an 11 hr drive, we found it to be closer to 16 hrs with stops and food and border. It’s a good thing we rather love road trips.)

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Obligatory hotel room pic. (Thurs night hotel)

Now, I am going to point out that I am not much of a cook and none of a bard. I do cook, yes.. although not much. I research cooking more than I set pot to stove, and given a choice, I’m more likely to be cooking weeds for colour than soup. (I do love to bake, but that’s more feeding a carb addiction than anything.) I also love to sing, but it’s generally in a sing along pack with my songbook in the key of army, although I do some part singing and enjoy it when I do. I play no instruments and write no music. I am no bard. There was a few moments of ‘hunh, I will be the token string person at this event.. it’ll be fine’. And then it was noted to me that /brewers/ fall into purview, and I am certainly one of those, if only a rather beginner one. Problem solved! (And spinning packed, because I am still a string person, let’s not be silly here.)

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Vinegar class included mustards. Win!

My class choices can be best categorized as the care and management of micro-organisms. I took classes on yeastie beasties (different kinds, how to capture them), I took classes in encouraging bacteria (yay vinegar!), I took classes in discouraging bacteria (food preservation classes). I chatted with bakers and microbiologists about Wilma (she’s brewing only these days, no more bread from her. Ah well.) We chatted with people about quinces and how to use them in everything. (Class notes can be found here.) I chatted with people about brewing, about life and everything and about nothing much, basking in the afternoon warmth. The mosquitos drove us back to the hotel before bardic really got going each night, which was sad making. I’d hoped to hear more just ambient music during the day, but I think the bards were worried about being too loud, and as a result, weren’t nearly loud enough.

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My oreo! Heraldry works!

We chatted with anyone who stopped by. We had a little baronial day camp, and held baronial food court, filled with silly Oreo flavours and fortune cookie scrolls. (Halloween, latte, mint chocolate chip, and the star of this oreo tasting.. Maple Creme). It was, overall, a relaxed weekend of food and good company (for the mosquitos too, apparently!). Ealdormere was where cooks and bards started, and there’s a push to have it come home again, and I’m happily in favour of that. As always when we go travelling, we find so many people that we wish lived closer. The world holds far too much awesome, spread too thinly over it.

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HG Kitty at the Michigan Welcome Centre. Almost home!