Back to the Real World
I know there are a lot of people who consider Pennsic to be “home” – many even say “welcome home” to others when they arrive – but I’m not one of them. Pennsic is a great vacation and I enjoy it every year, but home is where my bed and my TV and my kitties are.
So we’re back home now, back in the real world. The Hubs went back to work on Monday and I’m working on doing the laundry (lots and lots of laundry) and getting things back in order. We have a couple of post-Pennsic projects we are working on, such as some minor repairs to the wooden chests we use every year and I have some garb adjustments to make before moving on to other things.
Pennsic was, as it always is, good and not so good. Super hot the first week (the thermometer in camp hit 100 on Tuesday afternoon) but very little rain. I was a little disappointed about the lack of rain, since I’d bought new rubber boots beforehand because western Pennsylvania had been experiencing higher than usual levels of rainfall during June and July. There was a lot of panic over the possibility of mud and several camps were even moved by the land staff because the low areas were not capable of being used. Ultimately, my boots sat in the tent for both weeks and didn’t see any mud. There’s always next year!
Camp drama was minimal, which is always good, and I did not have a Pennsic job this year so I could spend my time as I chose rather than being tethered to a radio. I didn’t do the volunteering I’d planned, other than teaching a class and doing a golf cart public safety shift, but that’s OK. It was nice to just do what I wanted and there will be other years to volunteer.
So I sat around with friends quite a bit – we had a really enjoyable “craft and snark” group one night – drank more than a bit on a few nights, and went to classes. I even watched a little bit of the battles on a couple of days, which is something I haven’t really done the past few years!
I took a couple of weaving classes, one on card weaving shapes and letters and one on Baltic pick-up inkle weaving. The Baltic weaving is interesting and I need to do a sample warp on my loom to try it out so I can fully wrap my head around the process.
I also took a beginning fingerloop braiding class and made a new braid favor for the Hubs to wear on his belt (the old one had been snapped during fighting at some point). The teachers of this class were SUPER patient with the four young children in the class, none of whom were able to focus and follow directions very well.
A “beyond basics” lucet cord class was also interesting and I learned some new techniques, particularly one for making a two-color striped cord (one color on each side). Ready for more medallion cords when they are needed!
The nicest classes were those taught in camp by a friend who specializes in basket weaving. I took her class on beginning reed baskets, where I made a simple flared shape. It was really fascinating to learn how to manipulate the reeds, and everyone in the class came away with their own individual basket shape. I’m planning to trim down the wooden base so that it doesn’t stick out so far, but overall I’m very happy with my first-ever basket attempt. We even used the basket in camp to hold some small red potatoes we’d bought at the store, and I saw several others who also made practical use of their baskets. This was so easy, I’m contemplating an idea for an eventual largesse project!
The same lady also made me a gift of another project to congratulate me on my elevation. One of the techniques she uses is making a basket out of pine needles, which is a documentable method that I may use as part of an A&S entry at some point. Instead of the white pine needles commonly available in the northern part of the world, she kindly brought along some needles from the long needle variety of tree that are found in southern regions such as Florida. These are needles that are easily a foot long! This is a basket that is coiled and stitched together using waxed linen thread, and I had a lot of fun working on this piece over a couple of days in camp.
I didn’t buy much this year, though I did end up with a small cup from Please Touch Pottery. It was only $5, a combination of the same mottled green glaze as the beaker I bought last year with a bright blue on the lower part, stamped with fleurs, and the only one of its kind. I couldn’t resist!
I also got a new barrette from Circle Works, a merchant selling a variety of hair ornaments made of bronze. I’ve had one of her hairpins for several years now, as well as a barrette with a fleur de lys coin attached. The coin popped off earlier this year, so I brought it back for repair. It ended up going home with the craftsperson to try a different epoxy – apparently she stopped making them because the barrette flexes and the epoxy does not so there was a problem with the coins or other attachments coming off. We’ll see if she can get it to work – if not, I’ll still wear the barrette without the coin. I got a new one in a different pattern so I’d have one to wear at Pennsic and a little more variety at home.
I had resolved not to buy any fabric, but… There was a new fabric merchant called Royal Blue Traders who had mainly wool, and I found a fabric that I just couldn’t get out of my mind. It’s a lovely light wool with a brownish background and a thin blue and green plaid running through it. It’s so hard to find good wool locally that isn’t super-heavy and I really don’t like to buy online – I want to feel the fabric – so ultimately I did a little bargaining and bought about 12 yards of the material for a slightly reduced price. There will be at least one wool cotehardie in my future, once I work out a four-panel pattern, and probably something for the Hubs and I was thinking of a Bocksten tunic for me as well. We’ll see how it goes…
So that’s it – another Pennsic is in the books and now I have to go back to thinking about everyday things like work and grocery shopping and working on other SCA projects.