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I’m baaack!

Tired, but no longer dirty (hey, hot running water!), and proud owner of large mounds of dirty laundry. It rained, you see. For days. It doesn’t matter what kind of tent you have, camping in the rain will make everything wet and muddy. The washing machine will be running until Wednesday, most likely.

My vacation failures: no pictures. I took a camera, but I’m afraid you will need to find visual evidence of Pennsic elsewhere. I blame the rain. Also, very little knitting. I didn’t touch the jaywalkers, and did only a few rounds on the purple tank top – not even enough to decide whether I like pattern. I did work on spinning the silk cap, though. Three hours of spinning made a tiny little bump on the spindle shaft. I had trouble on some days but not others with the thread breaking. I think the humidity was to blame – on hot, moist days the silk stuck to my hands, making it harder to draft evenly. (See? I can blame the rain for most everything! And on the days it didn’t rain, it was too hot and humid to move, let alone touch wool.)

Vacation successes: I finished Harry Potter, also due to the rain – hard to do anything else when you are tent camping in a torrential downpour. I was sitting under the awning reading during the worst of the storms, standing up periodically to dump the water out of the awning. I was inspired to put the book down and do some trenching when I happened to notice an empty water bottle floating past my feet. Several inches of water in my shoes hadn’t really registered until then.

I may have bought some string. I know you’re all surprised, right? I purchased some Mora wool and some very bouncy plied reeled silk, both for tablet weaving. I also purchased some madder root (red) and some weld (yellow). I have plenty of indigo (blue) but little madder and no weld. Obviously I’m planning to dye the new yarn. Hopefully I’ll get to that soon, while the Pennsic inspiration persists. (Though I do need to finish the jaywalkers… where’s the inspiration for that?)

More surprises: I also bought a few books. The most exciting: a book on weaving Lithuanian sashes. Or more accurately, weaving, braiding, knitting, crocheting and tablet weaving traditional Lithuanian sashes. These are gorgeous traditional textiles, and played an important role in the culture of this Baltic country. You’ll definitely be hearing more on this topic – I seem to be on a Baltic textiles kick (there are worse obsessions, no?). The other book purchases were on the history of astrology, and have some illustrations I hadn’t seen elsewhere, including an astrolabe that will be the inspiration for my next one. (I’m fickle, and do other things that have little to do with string.)

If you aren’t familiar with the SCA you can skip the following story, which will end my post.

I attended a vigil for the Laurelling of a friend one evening. (This is the major SCA arts award, and similar to a knighting in execution. It’s customary for the new Laurel-to-be to sit vigil and receive advice from others. The atmosphere is as medieval as possible, and there is usually food and drink.) The rain had let up, so Thorvaldr and I were able to get there and meet with the candidate. (This was important to me, so I would have been there in a downpour!)

The rains began, so we all huddled in a pavilion tent. Fortunately, this tent sheltered the food and drink, so we were well-nourished while we waited. Lightning lit up the night, and the rain poured down. There’s really nothing to compare to thunderstorms in an open-sided pavilion at night. Duke Cariadoc (yes, that one) slipped in from his camp next door. The thunder cracked, and he mused quietly on the Kipling poem “The Red War Boat”, which contains a wild storm. Thorvaldr sang it for him, then Cariadoc recited another Kipling poem, then Thorvaldr sang a third… and so on, for the entire storm. Fantastic! I don’t right now remember which one Cariadoc followed with a comment, “I recited that for the Midrealm at Pennsic I”. This year: Pennsic XXXVI. My first Pennsic was XXII.

1 Comment on “I’m baaack!”

  1. #1 Laura
    on Aug 14th, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    I hope you had a good time even though it was so wet! The Lithuanian book sounds really neat, esp. the variety of techniques. And ooh for the astrolabe. One of these days I’ll make one, too.