Monday, July 29, 2002

This was probably my first completely non-SCA weekend of the year, if you don't count time spent with my family over Memorial Day weekend. Saturday I got up early (well, early for me on a Saturday) and drove over to Appleton for the wedding of my college friend Carrie. Carrie (and her roommate and best friend Oli) lived in the room next to mine in Trever Hall on the Lawrence University campus when we were all freshmen. Although I wouldn't say I ever bonded much with my roommate (who, after a year of spending weekends away with her boyfriend, dropped out after freshman year to get married), I really enjoyed Carrie and Oli. Carrie was also a French major and we had a lot of classes together; Oli is also Jewish, so we got involved with the tiny Jewish group on campus (I also helped her find her husband, but that's perhaps a story for another day).

After we graduated, Carrie went to Madison to start a PhD program in French, but dropped out after a few years and left with her Masters'. After a stint of living in France, she went to work for Kimberley-Clark near her hometown in the Fox Valley, found she enjoyed it, and made a couple of moves with the company. I lost track of her after she left Wisconsin for Knoxville, TN, but it turns out she later moved to Seattle. Her new husband was returning to Seattle from a job in Appleton, and she was returning from her grandfather's funeral, when they met on a longer-than-planned layover in Chicago.

(It really makes you think. At my last job I did a lot of flying to conferences, etc. and hence spent a lot of time in airports, sitting at the gate. I wouldn't even know how to count the number of times I've looked over at some cute guy waiting for the same plane, and thought, "If I were brave, I'd go sit near him and strike up a conversation...well, I'd be bothering him...he's probably married...wouldn't be interested in me anyway..." Next time I see someone I'd like to talk to, I should really just go do it. The worst that can happen is that the conversation will fizzle out because he's married, otherwise attached, not interested, doesn't talk to strangers in airports, etc. An airport is a public place; it's not like inviting someone home with you...! Where's the harm?)

Anyway. So I went to Appleton for Carrie and Scott's wedding. I only knew a handful of people: Carrie and her parents (don't think I had ever met her brothers), Oli and her mom, dad and stepmom (I had not seen her twin half-brothers since they were too young to talk, and had not met her toddler son), and Kelly, Carrie's friend from grade school. I mostly hung out with Oli's family at the dinner/dance, since I had met them many times--her dad and stepmom even came out to dinner with my folks one year during parents' weekend, I think.

The ceremony was nice--it was in a ballroom at the hotel, sort of theater-in-the-round style, performed by a minister who was obviously used to working with couples who are not both religious (Scott is apparently an atheist). They did a binding ceremony where she asked them if they would do negative things like cause each other pain, burden each other, etc. and positive things like share each other's laughter, give each other support, etc. and each question was symbolized by a colored cord that she then arranged on their joined hands. After a rainbow of cords were draped over their hands, they took hold of the ends and pulled apart, revealing all the cords tied in a knot (I don't want to know how much practice THAT maneuver took). And they read gorgeous vows, and several people read short poems or texts about marriage. It was very lovely and very non-religious. For the first time, I didn't feel like I was steeped in Jesus at a wedding. Very refreshing. And the colors were white and pink, which are just cute--no artsy color schemes here, just Carrie shrugging and saying, "I wanted pink. I still don't know why. Pink seemed like the way to go."

Carrie looked like a princess, in a beautiful dress with a corset top and yards and yards of tulle netting with beads on it. Quite frankly she looked like something out of a brides' magazine. She has lost a lot of weight since I've seen her and looks fantastic. Oli, by contrast, looks exactly the same (also fantastic, as ever)--I don't know what I expected, but often people have body changes after having a baby. She is a veterinarian in Chicago and is currently looking into studying animal acupuncture. Her son, Noah, looks exactly like her husband Aaron, who went to school with us--it's almost eerie, but very cute. He seems to be a loving but clingy little guy who will suddenly change mood, ask to be put down and run out the door before anyone even notices. Oli would have been run ragged, were it not for the assistance offered by several of Carrie's pre-teen nieces and Oli's 12-year-old half-brothers. And I'm sure she is run ragged, when she's at home.

It was a lovely time, with nice people. And in the middle of it all, I got to go to that nice new age store across the street from the Paper Valley hotel, with all the gorgeous silver jewelry, and got some relatively cheap rings to hand out for bardic stuff, and a new ring for myself: a faceted rectangular amethyst with three silver beads on each side. Quite medieval-looking and comfortable to boot.

Today, plans to meet up with another college friend, Greg (mentioned in the last post), finally came together as I went over to the bed-and-breakfast where he was working for the weekend and hung out with him. Greg is really a fascinating guy--has lived in several places in Europe, a few different areas of the U.S., has a house in Madison but manages to be somewhere different every few months (and come back to the Fox Valley regularly to work on cars, one of his hobbies). He's also become a lot more relaxed and fun to be with since we were in college. After a brief marriage to someone who also lived in our dorm my freshman year, he seems to finally have found a really wonderful woman (who lives in the house in Madison) and they're engaged.

Once we got rolling talking, we couldn't seem to stop. Between his friends/acquaintances and mine, we could piece together where most of my freshman-year friends are now and what they're doing, plus he added some stuff I never knew about his freshman year (I was a year behind him, but we shared a lot of friends). When I mentioned I was in the SCA, he also managed to come up with three or four people who were good friends of his, who are also SCA acquaintances of mine--a few from Madison and one from near the Fox Valley area (Grimmy, Greg says hi!). Then I wanted to hear about his business, and I told him about my sojourn in North Dakota, and he talked about rave culture, and I talked about the SCA....I'd planned to stay just a couple hours and catch up, but a couple became three became five, and at 6pm I was still standing in my open car doorway, with him leaning on the car, chatting as we batted away increasing numbers of mosquitoes. Wouldn't have missed a minute, though.

Recently I've been worried that I've been spending too much time and attention wrapped up in SCA stuff, SCA friends, etc. This weekend proved that I am still glad and excited to spend time with old friends--Oli, Carrie, Greg. I hope we don't fall out of touch again.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Today I got an e-mail from a college friend, who was, believe it or not, the very first person I ever e-mailed, back when I was a freshman in college in 1989. In fact, I remember having quite a correspondence with him--although we lived in the same dorm, e-mail was mostly how I knew him, since he was always on the VAX system and he kind of intimidated me in person.

He works for a computer company in Appleton, and wanted to ask something about a possible library-related job opening they have. I'm not really looking for another job right now, but by sheer coincidence I'll be in Appleton this weekend for the wedding of another college friend, Carrie, so I'm hoping to meet up with him at some point. At the very least, I can spend a little quality time with an old friend, and maybe help brainstorm ways to publicize the job opening (heaven knows I'm on enough library listservs...!).

Although something in me refuses to believe a lifetime curmudgeon like Greg would indulge in reading a weblog, I'll still give a shout out to him here: hi Greg! Hope to see you this weekend.

Didn't get anything done tonight, just vegged in front of the computer. I wrote to the Northshield Hall about my philosophy that the SCA is really about the people. Maybe I didn't state it quite right, but believe it or not, some people actually argued with me. I mean, if a person isn't making contacts and friends and acquaintances in the SCA and coming to meetings and events, if they are sitting at home alone writing medieval-style poetry or carving chess pieces or doing blackwork embroidery, tell me exactly how they are participating in the SCA. My friend Carrie's done beyond-Laurel-level research on medieval French poetry; should the King and Queen induct her into the Order of the Laurel for that, when she's never set foot in an SCA event or meeting, or indeed done anything more than listen to me babble about the SCA? It'd make a nice wedding present, I guess...but I'm sorry, we don't give people awards for pure artistry or skill if they have not participated in the SCA, at least in the process of learning or teaching or having a conversation about that skill. People need to make connections with other people, or they're not 'playing' in the SCA and shouldn't receive awards. It's a lot harder to have fun in the SCA without friends than it is to have fun in the SCA without awards.

And here I'm hammering away at my point, again. Never mind. That's the last you'll hear about it from me.

For anyone interested in the role of choral music and choirs in the SCA, there's a new listserv that was started yesterday by a choral enthusiast from the new Kingdom of Lochac (Australia). SCA_Choral has a whopping 41 members on its second day of existence. Not too shabby! I'm looking forward to hearing how other groups manage things like music distribution, logistics of arranging rehearsals across distances, performance and marketing ideas, etc. Not that any of this is my responsibility for the Northshield Choir anymore, not now that Chandler and I have turned that wonderful group over to the able leadership of Lady Iohanna and Lord Colin. But I'm still in the Choir (you can't stop ME from singing in a choir, no way nohow) and hope to offer guidance if needed, and also it's just plain interesting to me.

Talked to Owen last night about Pennsic plans. It is very reassuring to be traveling/camping with someone who has done Pennsic so many times in the past. Yes, I've been there once before, but I was traveling/camping with two other Pennsic newbies and none of us knew quite what to expect. Even with Alissende being a pretty experienced camper who made sure we were fed and supplied the tent and camp kitchen, we were all still pretty clueless about the whole thing last year. Owen doesn't have quite the same kinds of gear or camping philosophies Alissende does, but he's definitely got this whole Pennsic thing down pat. He is pretty much dictating the schedule and itinerary for the trip, while I'm contributing the car, since mine is bigger and has air conditioning, and his is a stick shift, which I can't drive. Ordinarily I would be irked that a travel companion would take over scheduling plans and other details, and simply tell me how it's going to be, but there is something comforting about it in this case. He's also offered to keep an eye on how much I'm eating and help me remember to eat enough (which I didn't at W&W, so I am really going to have to be careful and bring a lot of small, tempting, filling snack items). I am really an inept camper. It's a lucky thing for me that I have friends willing to watch out for me.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Slept WAY in this morning (so far in, I'm not going to tell you the time, or risk looking like a slovenly layabout), then got a bunch of online stuff done: new webpage for Autumn Rose, added "Three Words" to my Bardic Page (the MIDI is linked from the bardic page), and going through all my e-mail from yesterday and today. I was thinking of going to a movie tonight (still haven't seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", which I'd like to) but time got away from me and here I still am.

Going back to W&W last weekend: as I mentioned, it was wonderful. For me, the highlights were mostly bardic. All three bardic circles were excellent--I was at all of them far too late, then had 8-10 am shifts at check-in Friday and Saturday mornings, hence my lack of enough sleep all weekend. Princess Elashava hosted another wonderful Bardic Concert Friday (all Princesses should do that!). The Northshield Choir did a lovely rendition of "Shield My Kinsmen", and Owen debuted his newest verse for "Row, Men, Row", written during the early part of the concert. I performed "Three Words" along with Berwyn on a gorgeous blue ceramic dumbek--Berwyn has earned my eternal thanks for playing along with me, there and at the Saturday night Bardic Slam (in which I came in tied for second with Poison Belladonna and her husband, who did a cool filk of "That Don't Impress Me Much"). Who came in first?

Well, you see, there's this guy named Chandler. Who I have been working with closely on the Northshield Choir for two years, and who I've never really been that friendly with, despite the fact that we are both bards and big fans of choral music in the SCA. Several weeks ago he stumbled on my Yahoo Messenger ID and paged me, and we started talking, and I realized, not only is this guy talented beyond belief (which I already knew and had already told him), he's my friend, if I want him to be. And I do. Because you don't waste friends in this life. If someone shows an interest in hanging out with you, shows some esteem for you and gives you their attention, you do the same. And you generally have a lot of fun doing it.

Chandler has been a lot more into the SCA recently than I think he has during the time I've been in the SCA. That and many years of work and dedication to his Barony, his Principality and his art(s) led Queen Alys and King Valharic to name him a Companion of the Order of the Laurel at W&W, something I admit I knew was going to happen, having been assigned to be Chandler's babysitter the morning before his vigiling. I accomplished this by begging him to help out at my Beginning Northshield Bardic Circle class Saturday morning (which, by the way, went very well, in part due to attendance by other bards besides just me: Owen, Rosanore, and of course Chandler). And I managed not to betray my knowledge, even though we talked several times a week for the couple of weeks before W&W. I'll tell ya, it's a lot easier to keep a straight face in a chat room, when you have the freedom to splutter and grin and laugh and contort your face and inhale bits of food and jump up and run to the bathroom, than it is at an event when you have to REALLY keep a straight face!

Chandler beat out a whole host of bards at the Bardic Slam with his new piece, "Hey, Ho! The Griffin!" (punctuation his, not mine). This is a Northshield song on the classic model, catchy yet serious, in minor key, with repeated lines for everyone to join in on, and Chandler sings it with his own particular drama and spirit. I was honored to come in second. And today (after returning from the Royal Arts Progress, where he accompanied Queen Alys and Princess Elashava across the Northshield) he finally sent out lyrics. That song needs to be sung at Pennsic, and I want to be the one to do it (at least once; others can have the honor too!).

Overall, though those were the highlights. Other little details: I discovered I really do need my cotton blanket while camping; my sleeping bag alone doesn't cut it (not even with my chenille pillow stuffed into it alongside my upper body to seal the top off). Where was the blanket? In the dryer, where I left it. Grrr (or, more appropriately, brrrr...). Also it was driven home to me that I don't eat enough during camping events, and this is a bad thing. I need to find more ways to overcome the lack of appetite, or it's only going to become more of a habit, which could be health-threatening at Pennsic.

I sang Mistress Marian of Heatherdale's song, "Mordred's Lullaby", in Chandler's arrangement for voice/recorder consort/didgeridoo, for my friend Rochl's dance performance. I bought a magenta Interchangeable Bard hat for myself, then a gray one for Chandler as a Laureling present, to let him know that even with all he's done for instrumental and choral music in the Northshield, the bardic community claims him too. I finally met Tirloch from Jararvellir, one of the co-autocrats of the event, and injudiciously mentioned to him that all I'd heard about him was that he was opinionated; this amused him no end, and then for the rest of the conversation he proceeded to demonstrate how opinionated he was. (Very. You should hear his reason for not wanting there to be a Kingdom of Northshield. It's...original.) No hard feelings though--he really was amused. Hope I've made a new friendly acquaintance.

Hate to have to say it, since there are really endless numbers of stories and feelings to share from a large event like W&W, but that's going to have to do it. It's been a week and other things have happened...

For example, last night we had the Queen's Arts & Sciences Progress stop not too far from us. At the Village Hall in Coille Stoirmeil, a healthy-sized group of people (perhaps 50) from Rokeclif, Coille Stoirmeil, Falcon's Keep, Jararvellir, Shattered Oak, and Nordskogen gathered to impress our Queen and our Princess. I brought the Bunny Scroll, another scroll, my current kumihimo and blackwork projects, and myself. Got to sing "Rose of Autumn" (flawlessly from memory! HIGH FIVE!), "Three Words" with Flori on drum (it was her turn again, I guess), and the Northshield Choir did "Since First I Saw Your Face". I also helped out with harmony while Kudrun debuted "Haul on the Oars" and "The A&S Fight Song" for Her Highness and Her Majesty, who had not heard them before.

Some other folks who did neat stuff: tablet weaving from Lady Alex and her stepson Terek, Lady Lilith's Celtic-knotwork-embroidery-covered chemise, lovely completed Renaissance-style and fantasy cross stitch kits from a lady in Shattered Oak, a tablet-weaving loom made by Finn and Mjoll from Shattered Oak, a lovely beaded leather purse by Lady Kori from Coille Stoirmeil, and Kudrun's reliquaries (and fake relics). Also, the just-under-a-year-old Warwick Consort from Nordskogen gave the venerable Jararvellir Music Guild a run for its money with some fantastic performances (I want to hear Flori sing more often!!!), which the Jararvellir Music Guild then topped with a couple of wonderful performances of their own. I could listen to them do "Honie Suckle" all day.

After the Progress, Chandler was obviously jazzed about the SCA in general, so he invited a few people to meet him at a truck stop diner near New Lisbon, which we did. Heinrich, Alienor, Chandler, Calvin, and I weirded out the locals by singing snatches of music as we ate (most of us were in normal clothes; if I'd walked in in my red silk beaded Italian gown that I'd been wearing earlier, I can't even imagine the reaction!). Note to self, or whoever reads this: the "Bardic Angry Giant Squid of the Northshield" song must get written. It MUST!

And that brings us up to today (if you count my account of today, at the beginning of this entry). It's been a good week, SCA-wise. May it continue so, in other areas of life, too--and for everyone who reads this.

Friday, July 19, 2002

Yes yes, Sarra, I know I haven't posted anything else about W&W yet. There'll be more. I promise. This week I've been taking care of little stuff in preparation for the Progress visit in Camp Douglas tomorrow night (painting a scroll blank, printing up Autumn Rose flyers, doing kumihimo kits, etc.) and participating in some of the renewed conversations on several Northshield-related e-mail lists, especially the Northshield Bardic College list.

And I've been thinking about the rest of the year. W&W is so big, it's tempting not to think past it--but we're into the second half of the year already, and Pennsic is looming big on the horizon...and I have to write challenges for Bardic Madness...and I need to somehow get to Bardic Madness South...and I'd like to visit my sister...and I have two friends getting married, one in a week and a half and one in October...and, AND, I'm going to be apprenticed to Owen in the fall and I have to write something to say when that happens (he requests triads, but I'll be lucky if I can get anything out through the tears).

In the words of Master Efenwealt Wystle of Atlantia, who may or may not have any apprentices, "How can you repay someone for giving you a dream?"

I need to think, but I can't seem to get any high-quality thinking done recently. It might be just me coming down off of an excellent event, or it might have something to do with the fact that I got my period a full week early (after a 25-day cycle!!?!) on Sunday. All week I have had trouble concentrating. Now I just feel sleepy.

Would that I had a digital camera, to show my devoted readership the beautiful creature Owen gave me at W&W. Her name is Colleen and she is a small stuffed loon, perhaps half the size of Claire, with a matter-of-fact expression, intelligent eyes exactly the same shade as mine (golden brown) and a very musical loon call embedded in her tummy, that sounds if you give her a hug. Owen named her Colleen because "she's calling". I also have Claire de Loon again; she has spent much of the last few days bonding with Colleen, and both will come to the Progress tomorrow evening.

Owen is not a "thing person"; he normally doesn't cart around a tremendous amount of stuff invested with deep meanings (if you don't count the contents of his monumental bardic bag), but sometimes he comes up with a winner on this count; Claire and Colleen are excellent examples. I surmised aloud at lunch Sunday that Colleen was a friendly concession to my being a "thing person" and investing stuffed animals with meaning and love beyond the value of their stuffing. He stopped me, said I was wrong, and made an eloquent little speech about how Colleen symbolizes unusual friendships and the spirit of fun. I could be remembering that last one wrong--I was REALLY tired at that point, so tired that when we were talking about Chandler's beautiful visualization exercise for the Northshield Choir before conducting "Shield My Kinsmen", I started crying and couldn't describe the exercise. Well I'm sorry, I think I got about 14 hours of sleep total over three PMS, plus the heat, plus I really didn't eat enough through the event. But his point, and his gift, was well-taken. And I am waiting to be awakened some night by rolling over and causing Colleen to...well, call. ;)

Anyway, there's so much more to say about W&W. Since I will probably get back late-ish from the Progress tomorrow night, it will probably be Saturday before I post anything. Saturday, I get a rare day with nothing planned. Much sleeping-in will ensue!

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Here's what I've been up to tonight: my eighth illuminated scroll blank. It has bunnies! Go see! ;) I have never done miniatures before. The bunnies looked like they wouldn't be too hard to copy. I fussed with them quite a bit and am still not satisfied with the lower one, mostly around the back and belly. He looks like he's about to fall on his little chin. The problem was that the original had what looked like a bunny either emerging from an unseen hole in the hillside, or lying so his legs are concealed under his bulk; I wanted to have his legs extended so they would overlap the gold border, so I had to create his position afresh, based on the other miniature. I do really like the vines and flowers, esp. in the top one where I finally got the brown paint diluted enough so the vines are sort of subtle and flowing.

I haven't gotten a chance to sit down and write all my thoughts about W&W this weekend. For right now, suffice to say that it was a pretty amazing event. The site is no longer just a pleasant surprise, like it was last year when it was our first time there: it's home, it's a physical expression of a community. It's easy to get around in and it's pretty. And you can buy ice. We love it...

For me the weekend was dominated by bardic activities. I would like to observe that the NCB listserv (for info on joining, see the Northshield Bardic College site) has been more active in the last two days than I have ever seen it. People I never thought would take much interest or feel much identification with the bardic community, are--some to the point of planning on representing the Northshield at the Known World Bardic Congress Cooks Collegium in October. Late, late Saturday night when the parties had mostly wound down, and perhaps 15 or so key people were still at the bardic circle (or had returned after the parties) talking and enjoying each others' company, I had this feeling that even though the bards of the Northshield have been excellent for years, and most of us know each other individually, we are just at the beginning of big adventures together as a group. Individual excellence is a delightful but secondary goal: we love being together and doing what we do, and excellence follows. It's a good feeling.

Sang "Three Words" four times (once a cappella, once with Colin on bodhran, and twice with Berwyn on dumbek). When I performed it Friday at Princess Elashava's concert, Queen Alys cried and gave me a garnet ring off Her finger. The last time I did it, Saturday night, I was starting to get the words down (well, it had to happen eventually), so I was able to look up a little more, and I was startled by the looks on peoples' faces. Some had their eyes closed and their heads moving to the beat. A couple of people were dancing. Everybody seemed blissful. I think I have my hit.

More tomorrow night...!

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Yet another reason to secretly wish I were into comic books: Strangers in Paradise by Terry Moore. Human characters, drawn with beauty but also personality. One of the main characters, Katchoo, is the blonde bombshell snarling "Look it up..." on my Librarian Avengers t-shirt (and on the Librarian Avengers website).

I have never really been into comic books, though I liked Mad Magazine when I was younger. And I got briefly addicted to Hepcats the summer before grad school, mostly because in its origins, it had some similarities to Bloom County (full of animals, began as a simple strip in college papers, etc.). Bloom County (that's The Most Holy Bloom County to you, buster) for me is one of those few things we come across in life, that infect and affect us, and become part of how we think and how we view the world. But it's not a 'comic book' per se--it was always 'just a daily', collected in larger feature books sometimes, but every strip first met the world on its own.

Sarra's foot is feeling better (yay!), so she's just been by to pick up the tent, and she's going to set it up tomorrow afternoon when she gets to W&W. This is somehow a big relief to me, to know I won't have to wrestle with the tent immediately upon arrival. I'll come home after work and change, pack the cooler, have dinner, etc., then leave for the event around 6pm or so. The weather has looked good in the bare facts of the forecast (cloudy tomorrow, sunny Fri. & Sat. and partly cloudy Sun., only 10-20% chance of precipitation and none for Fri. or Sat., temps in the upper 70's to lower 80's). It's actually sort of nice out now: cloudy, windy, about 70 degrees, no rain. But I have this bad feeling (specifically: fear) that we'll have a huge storm of the kind we had two years ago at this event. I know we won't. I just worry that we will.

So this will be the last post until after the event, Sunday evening probably. See you on the other side of W&W.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

Drove up to Eau Claire today for a demo, part of their version of Riverfest--basically a little park fair with church booths, Kettle Corn, a sno-cone and lemonade vendor, Civil War and Sons of Norway encampments up the lane, and what sounded like a gospel karaoke competition in a pink stone bandshell at the other end of the park. Shattered Oak camped, and used Wyndreth's tent (without sides) for a display, with tables full of framed scrolls, books, weapons, and craft projects. Finn's hand-turned wooden bowls attracted some attention, and even a few offers to buy! Despite being at the extreme end of the park away from all the activities, quite a few people stopped by, including what seemed like a dozen or more people and families who greeted the Shire warmly and reminisced about days when they used to play with the SCA. Besides being warm outside, it was a warm group to spend time with.

I spent much of the time sitting with a newer member of Shattered Oak, Jeannine (no SCA name yet), singing stuff from my bardic book and the Choir's repertoire. We had a small decorative cauldron out for donations, then (when we were afraid people thought we were witches) a hat, but no one seemed to get the concept. A few people did stand and listen, but most ignored us and kept walking. A small girl of about 7 stood about a foot in front of us as if we were the TV, and stared while sucking on a balloon, then abruptly turned and left in the middle of the song. I realize I sound like an old fogy here, but doesn't anyone teach their kids how to respond to a performance anymore?

Gearing up for W&W again. This year I feel tired just anticipating it. I don't know what's up with me this season. I'm just always tired, and especially so at the thought of putting up that tent--ridiculous, since it's about as simple a tent to put up as anyone could want. I just keep reminding myself of fun stuff, like the Northshield Choir, the bardic circles, Court, etc. It'll be a great event, it always is. It's just that I'm kinda slow to get my spirits up and running right now, is all.

Gave away my last kumihimo kit today, so if I want any to give away next weekend, I'd better spend a little time putting some kits together.

Friday, July 05, 2002

Why am I up so late? Because I had today off and I largely spent it sleeping. I slept until 11, got up and had lunch, puttered around, read, puttered around some more, went back to sleep for a couple of hours, then have been loafing about on and off the Internet since about 7.

I did get some more work done on my cloak, which is looking nice, and feels light yet substantial on my back. Can't wait to wear it. It's hanging in my front closet now, which it needs to do overnight before I hem it. I'm hemming both layers to the inside, and the hems will be small (about an inch; perhaps two for the lining so it doesn't peek out), so I won't have the problem I had with the red cloak of constantly stepping on the hem and pulling it out. Not that I would, with the shorter length of this one, but trust me to find a way...

The plaid lining looks great, especially since the cut of the pattern pieces requires it to mostly hang on the bias--something you can see pretty easily with plaid, which has obvious vertical and horizontal directions. It's very zingy on the bias. The outside, on the other hand, I would not describe as 'zingy'. It's basically plain navy blue cotton velvet, until you get closer and can see the pinwale corduroy lines. Maybe I'll have to pick up some matching trim, blue and green with a touch of gold, when I'm at W&W next weekend. Wonder which trim merchants will be there?

Still deciding whether I want to go to the demo this weekend in Shattered Oak (Eau Claire). I didn't even have directions up until now, and I still don't have a schedule of what's supposed to happen there. Toki has an e-mail from someone claiming we have to be there at 8 am on Saturday. That's two hours from here--I don't THINK I'm going to get up at 5 am on a Saturday just to drive to a demo! I'm awaiting more information, but if none is forthcoming, I probably won't go. My pet peeve is people who can't get their act together enough to pass along the correct information to the correct people.

Sarra, hope your foot feels better!

Thursday, July 04, 2002

This is what I'm doing to celebrate the holiday: staying up late, knowing that I can sleep in tomorrow. Earlier in the evening I celebrated by going grocery shopping at the Co-Op (as if I needed that...I just went last Wednesday), then loafing around my apartment for the entire evening. I did get two scraps of work done: I transcribed and uploaded the final MIDI file for this season's repertoire to the Northshield Choir website, and I sewed one seam on the cloak I'm making.

The cloak is a summerweight, shorter cloak, a bit of a departure for me. My previous cloaks have been built for warmth. The red polarfleece cloak was meant to be lightweight but warm; it was nice for cool summer nights, and outerwear for fall and spring events. The cloak that ate Cincinnati was made a couple of years later, for the first 12th Night at Camp Courage; the buildings are insulated but you have to be outside a lot, so I knew I needed something genuinely winter-worthy. Both have served me well since they were made, but at the end of Pennsic last year the red cloak seemed to droop. The clasp broke, the hem tore, and it just seemed ready to be retired.

So last time I was at S.R. Harris (last September I think), I bought six yards of a lovely, soft cotton plaid flannel in dark purple and green. At Pennsic I bought a sturdy brass clasp in the shape of two fleur-de-lis. And this past weekend, I stopped at Hancock and bought up their last 5 yards of soft, lightweight pinwale corduroy in navy blue (at 30% off). And I already had a large spool of navy silk thread, light and strong and really easy to sew with. Both fabrics are a dream to work with, though I do have to guard against pin marks on the corduroy. The cloak will be navy on the outside and plaid on the inside, soft and cuddly but lightweight, and reach to mid-calf--short enough to conserve the limited supply of corduroy, but long enough that if my feet are really cold, I can sit down somewhere and pull my knees up and it covers me completely.

With a little work I should have it done by W&W next weekend (countdown 8 days!). I keep forgetting how non-complicated cloaks are. Just a ton of long seams, which you flat-fell if you want them to look spiffy (or just press to the side if you don't care), and a lot of hemming. In fact, about a year ago I went to S.R. Harris with Mom, and I invested in a couple of sets of fabric for more big honkin' cloaks: wool coating and nice satin lining. If I can get some more of the big clasps like the one I used on my winter cloak, I can sell the cloaks on eBay or to friends who need cloaks. It's just a question of finding time to get going on them.

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