(re)energize!

Home again from the annual time-traveling pilgrimage to Pennsic War in Slippery Rock, PA. Each year I long to continue that life when I return home, but it really is impossible. Stop pining away and enjoy it while you can! Purchases this year were typical: fabric, a few new pins, some trim. Nothing wildly exciting. I did splurge on a new card weaving book. When I first joined the SCA, I played around with card weaving a bit. Because I would tie the yarn to my belt for weaving, I found it difficult to travel (or answer the phone or get a snack). Eventually I purchased a small rigid heddle loom that removes these problems. About two years ago I bought a new pack of cards and this year I got a new book. It’s going to happen this time!

When we got home on Saturday, one of the first things I did was dig out my little loom. It was buried in the corner under about 10 fleeces. Since inkle bands are a little easier to jump into, I started with that as a refresher. The first one was rather wonky, the second looked better, and by the third, I wasn’t too bad. I’d like to get a little more consistent, and then I can weave my own trim and straps and thingies galore!

inkle bands
My ultimate goal is to make myself a new belt to fit the new buckle I bought from ThorThor’s Hammer (the best place ever!). In the SCA we tend to rely heavily on leather belts, turning them into the “Batman utility belt” with many pouches and dangly bits. I’m trying to get away from this and going towards a woven belt. Usually when I see them, they are tied in a big knot. I do not like this look. Why can’t I use a buckle? Who says they didn’t? Are there any definitive sources stating otherwise? I’m doing it. But not today.

buckle

 

kickass pennsic!

Another spectacular Pennsic is behind us. Things were different this year, the most significant being the dates. We were moved up one week and required to leave early due to another event that followed. I was not happy with the change, but we still enjoyed the time we had there. Overall the weather was great! During the day it was cool enough that I didn’t have sweat running down the backs of my legs and at night I enjoyed wearing my cloak.

Our camp used to be all about staying up all night and sleeping late. However, somewhere along the way we dropped all the party people and turned into a chatty morning group. Poor Rich! He is the only one left who wants to sleep in and now he can’t because I talk too loud! One morning I got up at 6 am and walked around the neighborhood. It was the perfect time to look at other camps since no one was up yet. FYI: There are a lot of scroungy looking camps!

Front gate

Last year we made the mistake of leaving our sheet wall system at home.  Every now and then we’d have some wandering idiot go through our camp because he/she couldn’t tell that the bridge was the entrance to OUR CAMP and NOT a public through-way. Determined to end it, we had my mom paint a new sign for over the bridge, put up lanterns and attached a rope to block the way (easily moved by those who are welcomed in). Some people may think we are overly cautious about “security”, but we’ve had many issues in the past.

At the bridge

Once you get in though, it’s quite lovely.

Pavilion

Vardo

Camp

We had a new common tent – “Big Blue” as Rich has named it. And it is big. 80 pounds big. This was the first time we put it up, so there will be modifications in the future, but we stayed dry and had plenty of space. Can you tell that the grass hadn’t been mowed in several weeks? It was mid-shin. Where is my annoying neighbor to hassle them? “Why do you let this get so high??”

Common tent

Pennsic is a great place to make friends, but sadly that means you are likely to see them only once a year. Such is the case with these ladies. We met when that little girl was 10 months old. Now she is six. Rich had taken this picture right after they came in and I hadn’t seen them in two years, so that explains the ridiculous Oprah face.

Friends!

The camp has a front and back entrance. Our lovely hand-painted sheet wall panels go across the back since the front of the camp is covered in shrubbery. These are the heraldic representations of our household members. I am a squirrel. Richard is a gryphon.

Sheet wall

Back gate

And that is a quick tour of our camp. I didn’t take any other pictures, not even of my camp mates. When you are there in the middle of it, it is hard to remember to get your camera out. Also, I was using the camera on my phone and then battery died.. sooo… anyway, we have a really great group. It really does feel like a funny little family with each person having their specific role. Hooray for Pennsic. Bringing weirdos together since 1972.

this year it was the crickets.

I am having a difficult time readjusting to “this” life after being Genevieve for a little while. Being at Pennsic isn’t so much a vacation as it is a lifestyle. I can enjoy the outdoors without having to make special arrangements. I get exercise every day without having to make time for it in my schedule. I watch the moon travel across the sky each night. I sleep so much better. I don’t watch TV. Everything I need is right there. It’s so simple.

I hate coming back.

My house feels alien. The yellow kitchen looks so bright. My bed is uncomfortable. I can’t see the sky. And of course I have to get back into my routine, whatever that is.

Remember when I said I didn’t have anything planned for this year? Well, that was true, so when an opportunity to work at one of the merchant booths fell into my lap, I accepted. So from Wednesday of the first week to Friday of the second, I worked at Carolina Calicoes as a “fabric pixie” (that’s what one of the customers called me). Measuring, cutting, folding yards upon yards of linen. It was a great experience and the shop owners were wonderful to work with. At least it was something totally new and different!

I took a few pictures of the camp, but they aren’t very interesting…

pavilion

common tent

vardo

And just to prove there were people in camp…

in camp

in camp

while I’m out…

Since I’m away having a good time at Pennsic, I thought I’d share some memories from years gone by. After looking through Rich’s photo album, I realized that we don’t have any prints since 2005. So this year I decided to buy a disposable camera (with film). I will fill it up and drop it off at the drug store! Plus I’m planning to take the digital camera, although from looking at my Flickr photostream, it seems I’m not even very successful with that.

campfire
Around the campfire at Pennsic 37 (2008)
shadefly
Around the campfire at Pennsic 40 (2011)

packing it up

Just a few days till we board our time machine and head back into the 12th century (or something like that). I’ve been packing up various items such as clothes, shoes, towels, toiletries, bedding, food. I am responsible for everything “in the house”. Rich takes care of the big stuff that lives in the garage.

totes

Before I can pack the stuff that needs to go, I have to unpack what remained from last year. Some thoughts that run through my mind as I pack: what is this? Do we need this? Did I wear this last year? Will I wear it for the first time in 7 years if I bring it? We’ve never used this. Where did this come from? No wonder this box is so heavy, it’s full of metal spear tips. It’s hard to pack light since we take a lot of the camp’s gear, like the shower and water system. This year we have a beautiful new shower floor and fixtures. I’m sure it will be disgusting in mere days (hard water deposits).

Now that all the obvious things are packed, I have to address the most difficult portion: projects. Over the years (9 of them) I go back and forth between bringing lots to do and bringing very little to do. It gets hot there and sometimes all you really want to do is lay around and fall asleep, not have wool in your lap. Other times you’re busy visiting camps and wandering through the merchants. Or perhaps you spend your days in the class tents. But this year my Pennsic friend isn’t coming and there are not any classes I want to go to. So it looks like I need to bring something to do or spend my days lounging. Of course, we are having a few visitors throughout the week that may appreciate a companion, so I’ll probably spend some time with them.

But what do I want to work on? If this is truly a vacation, then spinning and knitting could be considered work, however, I have a few shows coming up. I really need to get some knitting done and I wouldn’t mind using my drop spindle. Perhaps I will bring some yarn and if I feel so inclined, I will feebly cast on and then promptly ignore it. Also, I’ve been reading the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind and I will likely spend all day on that. And then there’s the lazy part. Too lazy to pack the stuff and too lazy to use it when I get there…

It’s a mess, but it should keep me occupied. So far I’ve got two unfinished knitting projects; two spindles, one with stuff already going; odd balls of yarn for cuffs; and fiber to spin. I’ll probably bring it all home untouched.

going to Pennsic

another Pennsic project

Rich decided we needed a new lighter bedframe to take to Pennsic this year.
So we spent one day making this:

wood bedframe

It fits a double mattress, or in our case, the futon mattress.
And there is ample storage below for totes.
We were able to fit all the pieces in one bag.
Including the slats.

wood bedframe

And it goes together with these cute little wedges.
Easy to put in, easy to take out, easy to tighten up.
Don’t you want one?

wood bedframe

2011 Revisited

While everyone else out there in media-land is doing year end countdowns, recaps, reviews, and best-of lists, I thought I’d try that myself. So, what happened this year? I can’t remember off the top of my head, so it’s a good thing I’ve got Flickr to help jog my memory. I’ve gone through all my photos for the year and selected one or two of the most meaningful for each month (so, lots of pictures to follow). How was your year?

JANUARY

blocked shawl
My first shawl. Knit from handspun/dyed BFL. I use this almost every day at work.
birthday cake!
The most amazing birthday cake I have ever put together. It was for Rich.

FEBRUARY

table set-up
Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival.

MARCH

Olive
Olive, our little black cat.
weaving with roving
This is Rambouillet that I hate spinning, so I wove a giant rug.

APRIL

Table set-up
A Knitter's Fantasy, Youngstown, OH.
April & Dad
April & Jeremy's wedding in For Lauderdale, FL.

MAY

new mitts on new hand
The new hand model with Vertical Veins mitts.
Great Lakes Fiber Show
Great Lakes Fiber Show, Wooster, OH.

JUNE

matched set
A matched set knit from Cosy-dyed Falkland.

JULY

wool room
Organizing the wool room.

AUGUST

front gate & sheetwall
Gryphon's Rest camp at Pennsic XL.

SEPTEMBER

helios
Helios, handdyed Corriedale roving.

OCTOBER

me & my table
Fall Festival at the Apple Castle, New Castle, PA.
spinning
Showing off the Wristler.

NOVEMBER

booth at Indie Knit & Spin
Indie Knit & Spin, Pittsburgh, PA.

DECEMBER

gwenerin logo
New logo designed by Erin Flynn.
craft sale booth
SAA Fine Art & Craft Sale, Youngstown, OH.

back in town

Another Pennsic has come and gone already.  It was a quiet year, which is good for us.  We have a history of foot burns, broken legs, bee stings, and spider bites.  Ok, so all of those things only happened once each, but we do seem to be accident prone.  I will claim the year’s medical issue in the form of a migraine that occurred on Saturday during pack up.  But everyone and everything made it home just fine.

The fun parts of the week included visiting Pennsic-only friends (hi Lydia!); attending classes, such as cheesemaking, medieval spinning wheels, and becoming a merchant; drinking the best mead ever created; wandering the merchants; spending time with Rich; and lounging in camp.  Also, I had a few items for sale at the Pine Knoll Herb Shop, so I spent a good deal of my time there.  I brought all of the Romney yearling roving and scattered them amongst the soaps and herbs.  It was exciting to have people at Pennsic buying my stuff.

As requested by my sister, I did take a few pictures of the camp.  There are a few more on my flickr photostream if you’re interested.

front gate & sheetwall
Gryphon's Rest -- front gate and sheetwall
my tent!
The tent of Lord Rickard and Lady Genevieve
shadefly
View of the shadefly and firepit
tents
Tents and firepit

the last days

heading into the final days before I return to Pennsic.  Now that I’m thinking about it, I should’ve taken the camera the first weekend and then I’d have some pictures to share!  oops.  Who is good at forgetting things? Me!  So, yes, I’ve already been out there and unfortunately was forced to come back to reality in order to go to work this week.  I thought I’d come home each night and get lots of things done, since I’d be on my own, but that hasn’t really been the case.  My mom and I have had dinner together every night, which is much better than sitting at home alone.  Monday I sewed a pair of braies for Rich (medieval boxer shorts).  I fear they will not fit him though.  And then last night I fixed a really tasty recipe consisting of barley, wheat berries, brown rice and wild rice, however it took 2 hours to cook.  We didn’t eat until 7:30.  After that I ran around the house vacuuming, doing laundry, and cleaning the shower.  Tonight I have even more things to do but the cat has deciding I am sitting in a chair instead.  They know when you are about to leave them.

The camp, when I left it Sunday evening, was very lovely.  We have a nice shaped area this year, so the tents lined up well.  The sheetwall panels were all up, the kitchen and lounge spaces were arranged, the fire pit was dug and ready for fire, my tent was arranged just right.  And then I had to leave.  But in just a few days I will return to stay.  I have nothing on the agenda for this year, so I’ll probably be super busy!

Pennsic is coming!

Pennsic is coming! Yes, Pennsic IS coming. SOOOOON. This time next week will be the last day before the official opening of the gate (Friday at noon). With one weekend left and hardly any packing done, this is going to be an “exciting” week. You’d think by now this would be easy. Rich has gone 12 or so years and this is my 9th, so we’re not newbies. But we have to shuffle through the house, basement, and garage to collect up all the bits and pieces that seem to scatter when we get home. And every year we say, “let’s pack light” which really means nothing because we bring the same things every time. The only sad part about it is that I have to stay home the first week while Rich gets to have fun. Thanks, job.

So, don’t expect to hear from me about anything fun anytime soon.