Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Thing

I've actually put in my financial etc reports for Spring Thing so I figure I'm overdue to give a blogger report on it. About four weeks out I had a serious attack of life. Life attacks are a known issue in the SCA, they can occur at any time and generally are unavoidable, because if they weren't we'd avoid them like the plague. Mine was work related, more on that later. Anyway because of it there are a couple of things that weren't as well prepared as I had intended and I was generally feeling harried.

Then we had a bad case of weather. The weekend before the event was lovely. I think that at some point I'd even walked kiwi in a t shirt. But early the week before Thing we looked at the weather report and it was bleak, like in snow down to 300 metres or so, southerlies, rain etc. I'd always known that that was a possibility. September is still early spring around here and definitely ski season weather. However postponement would have messed up the plans of the crew coming up from southern Southron Gaard, currently known as Wildmoor, and so we went ahead.

And it was fine. Not the weather so much, that was cold, overcast and in the evening a bit drizzly. But nearly 40 people showed up, and shot at apples, fought, threw stones, bought stuff, hit each other's heads with something resembling a stuffed sock and roasted per freshly shot rabbits over an open fire for dinner. 

Some moments were a little chaotic but that happens when you're really running an event. But the only injury was self inflicted, we didn't burn down the neighbourhood, and everyone got offsite in a reasonable fashion. I think that I managed to inject a bit of Norseness into the event with my opening 'law speaking'. More light at the meal would have been good, I don't know where the candleabra had got to but it really was needed, I need to make a bag with the extras that go on the pavilion when it gets set up.

So that's it for running events for me for a while. I have new challenges coming up which I expect will call for some life reorganisation. And we're still hoping to go to 50 year celebrations next year so that will preclude any other major plans.
Photos, as always, over on Flickr.

Below, the bonfire that I made, but we didn't burn (just a bit of it).

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Less than a week to go

OK so I've sort of failed at the 'blog the event preparation' plan, largely because there has been a HUGE intervention of life over the past couple of weeks. However its not been that exciting as this is the grunt work that happens between the 'vision' stage of an event and the actual 'doing the event'. I'll give you a run down.

Make/buy/acquire stuff

I've made a bunch of things for the quest/treasure hunt - the event theme is Idunn's golden apples so I have thirty golden 'apples' which will be hunted for and won over the course of the event. Whoever ends up with the most apples will win the prize.

We've made six 'shields' to use at the Holmgang and made or adapted appropriate stuff for the lists. Two bits of wooden that I thought were just tree stakes have had nails driven into them to be the sheild trees. We happened to have two heavy sacking cloth ground clothes that had big eyelets in the corners which will be ideal for the holmgang cloth and just needed some baling twine loops for pegging them. For the other ring we've bought a pack of ever useful garden stakes and some medium weight rope. We're covering these costs ourselves as both stakes and ropes will be useful. I do this as much as possible for events - it also means that we're not throwing away stuff afterwards, or just as bad, forcing the group to store it just in case its useful again.

We bought a huge bale of peastraw to shoot arrows into. It must be about two metres tall and weighs a ton! But again, we've paid for that and after the event it will go on the garden. Getting it standing upright is one of the tasks for the morning of the event. In addition Nick has cut many 'wands' for the archery out of some spare timber we had lying about and I painted them white. He's also made 2 staples for hold them and an apple holder, which is the other archery target - combined apple/wand shoot.

Last weekend we went out to pick up stuff from the quartermaster but the main target of that trip, the signs, were no where to be found. One has since turned up but I think that the group might have to replace a few. Some of them were more than 20 years old so were probably ready for replacement. I'll put one of our silk banners by the letterbox - should be fairly obvious to people. We did get the first aid kits an a bit of cleaning/kitchen stuff.

And then prizes. Most of these are being donated from our stash of goodies, a couple of things I've made and then some appropriate food-stuffs. I had wanted to include some of the fabulous single variety apple juice that was being produced in Dunsandel but apparently its no longer being made.

Writing stuff

So the other thing I've been doing is gathering bits and pieces that people can do without preparation for the bardic. I'm hoping that some people who haven't prepared anything might be tempted to give it a go if its easy and short like a Norse riddle. Plus I've been trying to learn a song to present myself.

As well as that I've been 'scripting' a few things that I want to do throughout the event. A Thing was a time for the laws of the group to be spoken by a lawspeaker so that everyone can learn the laws, in a mostly illiterate society. So I've selected a few of our 'laws' from Corpora and Kingdom and some proverbs from the Havamal. In addition I've got the rules for the various events, and the 'vision' to start off the quest. So there's a bit of speechifying to be done. All of which needs to be written down so I don't forget it at the time.


I had made a communications plan but it kind of got a bit squashed. I had planned a series of shirt articles for the local newsletter followed by fortnightly or so blurbs aimed at different sections of the group: fighters, makers, archers, entertainers etc. Some of this happened OK, I did three short articles for two newsletters and a couple of the targeted posts but then the LIFE attack happened and my last couple of emails didn't. I have one going out today which has a short: don't forget to bring list in it and directions to the site and then I'm done.

Transport issues

There's been grumbling, or just plain failure to launch, in the past when we've had events outside of the city limits (and bus routes) before so for the second time I have offered to sort out shuttle transport for the less independently mobile, but had not a peep. So I don't think that I'll bother again. Its something that has to be done well in advance or folk just have to sort it out for themselves. I did actually contact a couple of places and the quotes seemed very high to me given that we're only 30 minutes from the centre of Christchurch!

Yeah so that's where we are. Its not a fantastically complicated event, simplified by having it at our own place, and I'm mostly down to a handful of small things to sort out, mostly the kinds of things that have to be done the day before anyway. Still have to do the printing, buy apples and catch up with my volunteers.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sky Shawl complete.

I actually finished this some weeks ago and have only just gotten around to blogging it. The shawl didn't take very long to weave - in fact much less time than my planning and warping had taken. I think I was done in less than three weeks. The plain weave was very easy to weave, the only thing that slowed me down was having to beat very gently. I ended up more placing the weft with the reed than actually 'beating' it at all.
Full length of floor, unfinished.

It came off the loom and still felt a little stiff in my hands. I assumed that like the sample a wash would take care of that. Above you can see it laid out on the floor, not a great way to photograph it. As you can see I left a long fringe on it. I knew that I wanted a fringe but hadn't decided how to finish the ends. However Nick had long ago bought a lot of cobalt blue beads and one lot were about the right size for the ends so, after removing the waste weft I simply beaded and knotted the ends of the warps.
Detail with beaded fringe

Next I trimmed the fringe to a reasonable length, about 20cm, and washed it. It is still a little stiff, giving it a lovely drape and body, while the wool warp gives it some warmth. It will be really nice for summer evenings.
Shawl draped on dummy

More photos of this project are on my Flickr.

I discovered at my next weaving meeting that the weft that I had thought was silk, because of its lustre and slubbyness, is actually linen. So there you go, one lesson learnt: test your fibres.

Waste Not

I actually ran out of the weft a bit earlier than expected and so there was a bit of warp left over. There was also some warp left over on the bobbins that the sectional beam uses so at Nick's suggestion I used those left overs as wefts and wove a bit more. There's enough for a small bag or cushion cover or something like that.
Left overs

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sky shawl

Another weaving project.

This one had been on the slow burn for a while. In my stash was a roll of light indigo coloured tussah silk. Very slubby but a beautiful colour, just like faded denim but somehow still a fresh colour, gorgeous.   I was perplexed with what to do with it but I decided that it would look lovely with a mixed colour against it and that a selection of the blues and greys that I had in my stash would work well, in terms of colours, with it. Amongst the stash were two mid-weight 2 ply wools, one a dark blackish blue, and the other a light blue grey, but I only had a smallish amount of each. Then there were several cones of very light weight wools in various blues and greys. So not only was my weft of uneven thickness but my warp was going to be of wools of various thicknesses too - I was a bit perplexed as to how to go about calculating the sett for this project.

So I took my ideas and yarns to my first area weavers meeting. Do some samples they said, quite rightly. See I hate doingsales or practice pieces so I had been hoping to avoid that. But I was a good girl and warped up my table loom with a narrow warp and started swing. The sett was WAY. To open so I unwove, re slewed and started agin. Better this time. I did about 10cm in plain weave and loosened the warp, too stiff. Then I did a bit in 2/2 twill, ok, better. But maybe if I had beaten the plain weave more loosely that would be ok, so I did that, better still. Finally I did a bit in 1/3 twill. This last has the affect of placing more of the warp on one side and more weft on the other, which shows off the silk nicely. But when I took the sample off the warp and had washed and dried it I decided to go with the loosely woven plain weave. 
Sample starting from top.

I took the sample to a Guild meeting to double check my conclusions and received general agreement that the sett would work and be stable.

So my next new experience was to warp the sectional beam loom using the multitude of bobbins that came with it. Last time I had 'cheated' and had wound off the warp in the normal way and then used the sectional beam tensioning device to wind each section on. That had worked fine but I wanted to do it properly this time. What had held me back was a) how to wind the bobbins, and b) how to tell when they had enough on them, and not too much. We surmounted a) with an electric drill and a long shafted bolt but b) proved more difficult. I made do with just putting a certain amount on each bobbin but in all cases it want enough so every warp has needed up with a join AND almost all the bobbins have left overs on them which is wasteful. How do I manage it if I have an expensive warp yarn of which I have only the right amount?

Anyway I finally got the warp threaded etc last weekend and began weaving and am already half way through the weaving bit. Seems like the fun bit is also the fast but, it's the planning and warping that takes the time, which is why I am already planning the next warp, and it's going to be a long one, probably about 20m or more with a fine grey marl yarn of which I have SO much I could probably clothe half the barony. I am thinking more twirls for garb this time.

I was right about the colours in my current project. As with the blanket project I am glorying in the fabric as it appears as if by magic under my fingers, disappearing into my lap. It's going to be a shawl, in case that wasn't clear.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

To council and more

So we went to council and the event was approved. Now the real work begins which in the medium term breaks into three categories:
  1. advertising
  2. recruiting
  3. making


There are lots of different kinds of advertising involved in an event. Sometimes you can just get away with the basics, which have to happen anyway - getting the details on the 'official' calendars. In this case I have done this - I still had the log in details for the baronial Google calendar from when I was web officer so I added it there first. The Kingdom also has a Google calendar but events need to be submitted via a form and then approved by the sponsoring group's seneschal. In both cases I kept to the basics for space purposes: a brief description, time and place, costs and audience note which in this case includes kids and dogs. Since there is already a dog on site both kids and dogs need to be dog friendly. These will be followed by similarly basic event notices in the local newsletter.

Then you have the more 'in-game' type ads. I'm going to do a series of these to appeal to local artisans /merchants, archers, fighters and bards as we have items at the event specific for those and we want generate some 'excitement' in those groups for the event. This is where you can really bring out the 'theme' of the event, hint at other aspects and, hopefully, get people planning for it. My 'communications plan' allows for a couple of these on the local mailing list and newsletter for each edition between now and the event, of which there are three (July, August, September).

Finally I'm also going to do a couple of short articles which will expand on the ads above. Time allowing I will do one on holmgangr, one on Viking archery and the wand/apple shoot, one on Norse food and another on Norse poetry/riddles, all with sources so that (again hopefully) people might get excited about trying something new, or something they already do but with a specific Norse flavour, and at the same time give them some easy sources so they don't have to work too hard to get there.


While Nick and I could probably do all this ourselves, and will do the planning and making of stuff etc, but on the day I like to have deputies for all main parts of the event. This means that if one of us has to run off and deal with an emergency there are still a couple of people who can keep things running. In addition the plan is to overlap the end of one event with the beginning of the next, so again, having some extra people who can keep things running will help with continuity. My other reason for wanting to recruit sub-stewards is that it gives newer people the opportunity with helping run an event without having to do the whole thing which is good for bringing on new event stewards.

The other group of people we need to recruit are marshals, range marshals, lists and herald: all offices which have special requirements in training and/or SCA accreditation. The more of these offices we can fill in advance the better. However I can leave asking for helpers until a bit closer to the event.

Making and acquiring stuff

We need a bit of stuff for this event, props and consumables, such as the wands to be shot at etc. Some of this I'll borrow, and some of it will have to be made. Also we have a bonfire to build. More on this later.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

To council

So, coming up with ideas and plans is all very well but in order to get an event on the calendar it needs to be approved by the local SCA group and advertised in their newsletter and elsewhere. To do that I need to fill out some paperwork which also includes making up a budget.

There are two main types of costs for SCA events: fixed costs and per/person costs. Most events have site fees, food, advertising, and event specific costs for 'props' plus extra charges for non-members and in this Kingdom there is a Kingdom levy which helps support the Kingdom's costs.

Site fees can be fixed, per person or a mix thereof. In this case there are no site fees so that's easy. There are also no food costs per se, in that there is no catering at my event. I don't mind doing feasts and have run several successful feasts in the past, but they require a different kind of organisation and if I was to start planning one now, given that I'd still need to recruit a cook, I'd really be planning it for December or later. However there are going to be apples used as targets for the archery and possibly the games so I'd better allow for some of those.

So most of my costs are 'props' such as the golden apples, printing for poems and riddles for the bardic and other event specific items like prizes. Given that I have to create those in advance and they're not really tied to the number of people attending I have to treat them as fixed costs - I toted it up and it came to almost spot on $100, which includes the 10% contingency that the group adds.

Fixed costs mean that you have to get a certain number of people through the door to break even. Which is always a concern. You end up with a balancing act - if you make the event more expensive then you don't need as many people to attend to cover your costs, BUT the higher cost may put people off. If you keep the cost low you run the risk of not covering your costs and leaving the group out of pocket.

This is one of the reasons that you create a budget and proposal and present them to the local group - at the end of the day they are taking a risk on your judgement - if the event loses money that comes from the group's funds, not yours.

The other question to consider is whether or not to charge children. Our group's policy is half price for under 12s and free for under 5s. The Kingdom levy also only applies to persons over 18, which leaves the gate with 4 breakpoints to consider, which I think is a pain. My personal philosophy is that as most kids come with adults we should make it as easy/cheap for those family groups as possible. Also we don't have huge numbers of teens in the group. So I'd as soon make an event free for all kids (under 18) and have more come along - which is viable for an event like this one, but not for all events of course.

So with a fixed cost of around $100 how many adults at how much do I need to come to my event to break even or make a small profit. I'd like to charge $5 - that's including the $1 Kingdom levy - which would require 25 people to attend in order to meet my costs - surely not an unreasonable number in a  group of our size as 65 booked for Baronial Anniversary (March council minutes). I could be persuaded to charge more as that would make it a dirt cheap event, we will see what the council says on the matter.

Monday, June 01, 2015


 So once we have the broad outline of the event is when the fun bits really get underway, fleshing out that outline into an event concept that holds together. Balancing what's practical, what should be fun, what's actually doable, what people will be willing to do.

So what we have so far is a bonfire on or near the Spring equinox. Now I could be really obvious and do something Celticy, we used to have an event in Spring called the Celtic games and that was a lot of fun so I could just revive that. But something made me look a bit further north for inspiration. It didn't take much poking around to discover that Idunn, the Norse goddess of spring, was also the keeper of the golden apples of immortality, and had a bit of an adventure wherein she was kidnapped by a giant. On realising that they were getting old and doddery the gods sent Loki (of course) off to retrieve her and he turned her into a nut and carried her home in the form of a falcon, while being chased by the giant in the form of an eagle. He got her home safely, but what if he hadn't? What if, say, he dropped her, and her precious apples into our back yard?

So, now we have an event featuring a bunch of golden apples, and a nut. A treasure hunt for the golden apples and other Norse activities. Ideas kept percolating, being assisted by occasional (and I use the term very loosely) 'research' and this is where I got to.

Event to start around 12 or just after lunch. To start with an archery competition, probably a wand shoot, but definitely an apple shoot (real apples required, equine quality* + personnel: range master). Next a market for all the 'peaceful Norse traders', this could start perhaps half an hour after the archery begins so that our events overlap. Overlapping events can work really well to avoid gaps in the schedule and provide alternative activities for people. Once the archery is over start setting up the space for a holmganga 'tournament' (holmgangs are more duels but it will do for a Norse tournament format). 

After the fighting some games to keep people active and warm. Back in the day when we used to have a Celtic games event one of those games was spiking apples* from 'horseback' so that would be a goodie. Another possible game is something we did at an event in Calafia, the game was called Knotlickr, I don't remember exactly how it was played, a bit like field hockey? A quick hunt around the internet suggested that they hadn't had that event for a while and no rules online so I've emailed the Calafian seneschal to see if they can help.

Then light the bonfire, before it's really dark. Bonfire placement will be critical but I'll consider layout later. Potluck dinner early, some bardic, assisted by prepared short poems and riddles for people who haven't brought anything and then end, not too late.

While this is all going on I'm going to have an ongoing search for the hidden golden apples. Also have apples as prizes for the different events, and maybe some spares for spot prizes. Then at the end of the event see who has the most apples and they get a Norse gift basket, or prize. That gives people opportunity to do some canny trading to accumulate apples. It's not as organised as an actual quest, and I'm not really a fan of quests at events, but it still provides something to bind all the activities of the day. People can ignore it if they like, or get really involved and go treasure hunting.

So, now I have the general plan for the event, a theme binding it all together, a date and site. My next job is to get approval from the local group which requires a budget. To do the budget I need to know what I'm going to need to buy, which means fleshing out the activity in detail. I've also decided that I'm going to need some help so recruitment is in order.

* horse apples will be required for some activities, these are cheaper than eating apples and will be willing consumed post event by said equines. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Event planning

So, I'm planning an event and I thought that it would be interesting (to me at least) to share the event process. If nothing else it will get my process out on 'paper', and maybe someone might find it interesting and/or useful. I've had this event in my mind for a couple of weeks now so I'll have to roll back a bit. As always this is written from my perspective and others may have different perspectives on events.

The discussion on the group mailing list went something like "what's happening for yule?", "nothing - stewards had to bail", "oh, so what's coming up next", "nothing". Then two people popped up, one with an event late October but 360 KM away, another with a range of events for newcomers, no specific date. Ok, that's cool, but I'm not a newcomer, no, no I'm not. I felt the need for something more, the brain started to rev up and spat out the following. "Burn baby burn."

An event to burn for - event initiation

The first part of event planning is conception. In my book a good SCA event has to satisfy the following.
  1. Medieval origin: a good event has its basis in a specific medieval event or past time. Not only does it offer a broadly medieval context for the populace to play out their medievilishness but it offers an opportunity to learn something real about the medieval world, even if only subtly. (I guess this is my laurel side coming out)
  2. Nuts and bolts: all the event planning stuff - you need a site, things for people to do, play and mingle.
  3. Paperwork: SCA and mundane legal requirements need to be satisfied.
Normally either an idea springs into my mind (often from something I've been reading) or I have a specific venue or opportunity in mind. This time it was the fact that at some point Nick and I have to gather up all the branches that came off in our last shelter trimming and burn it in a bonfire. And this has to be done before the summer fire ban season comes into play later this year, probably October/November. So that is my opportunity.

There are also often constraints at play when planning an event. In this case our group only accepts event proposals with 3 months notice. Given that the next council meeting is June that means my event needs to be in September or October. There's already an event being proposed for October, albeit far away from home, so September is my best bet. The first month of spring.

Spring has always been an important time of year in the medieval world. I needed a theme that fitted spring and allowed for a bonfire... some kind of early period pagan equinox festival sounds about right - and the equinox is Sept 23 - mid week but that lets me aim for the Saturday before and have the following as back-up. So the next thing to do (while my mind is busily filling the first criteria above) is to ascertain whether I can run something on that date. No point going to all the effort of planning and paperwork if the necessary dates are unavailable. A quick email to the seneschal is enough to a) give him an idea of what I'm planning and, b) check that the date is available. Which brings me to one of my chief event planning rules: communicate with the necessary SCA officers frequently.

So that's probably enough for now. There were actually a lot of details decided between the first 'run an event' impulse and confirming a date and I'll go into that in my next post.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Completed and ongoing

Here's a couple of projects recently completed.
A new 'fancy' kirtle. This one is fully lined in linen and has a v back. I saw the back detail in one painting and thought that I'd try it as a variation. 

A houppelande belt in that same fabric as the kirtle. These were often very long, the tail left to simply hang down.

A new Viking shirt for Sigurd in blue linen sewn with natural linen thread. Many of the seam finishing was done using a herringbone stitch with the cross on the inside, this shows a double running stitch on the outside. This shirt is different from a tunic in that there are no gores and the sides a split, allowing them to be tucked into pants.
A simple loop and toggle closes the throat.

Plus an ongoing project, another belt, this time brocaded tablet woven in two colours. This will be a by short belt to go with the kirtle. Sections of black with three silver crescents are followed by sections of red cross hatched silver, as in my SCA arms.

Finally four samples for my next weaving project. This is going to a loosely woven shawl. The warp is made of various weights and colours of wool from the stash and the warp is a slubby sky blue tussah silk. All the samples were woven, over stitched so they didn't move too much and washed.

The first sample is in plain weave closely beaten. It was too stiff, the silk being quite thick.
The next sample was beaten more loosely and is a 2/2 twill.

The looser beating seemed to work so I tried another in pain weave, beating loosely.

Finally I tried a 3/1 twill. This leaves more warp on one side and more of the silk weft on the other side. Below is the silk side.

After handling and consultation with some more experienced guild members I have decided to go with the plain weave loosely beaten. This will be a challenge as my instinct is to beat pretty hard. It will be a good experience to have to moderate my beat and I should try to measure my picks to keeps them even.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Emperor of autumn

Saffron bed
Saffron in the garden
When we first moved out to our block we thought about various things we could do with it and one of the things that really gripped me was saffron. I went off and read some books and articles, including a really interesting one about medieval use of saffron by nuns to get them through marathon singing episodes (apparently it's very soothing). I call it the emperor of autumn because the flowers are purple, the colour of empire, and of course it flowers in the autumn, with brilliant fiery red stamen that are worth their weight in gold (almost).

Saffron flower
Saffron flower
So our friend Rowley hooked us up with a supplier of bulbs and we put 100 of them in a small patch of vege garden. Since then we've had crops every year, usually in April or May, which we dry in the kitchen bay window, then store for about 3 months and then consume over the next year.This year's crop has been amazing though, we've had just so much more than ever before I am certain that the bulbs have split in two and are producing off both halves. I think that means that this year I have to lift them all, split them into two bulbs and replant them.

Saffron stamens pulled out
Pull out the stamens
If that's correct this is the perfect time as the new herber (medieval pleasure garden) is progressing finally. The lawn section is done and we're really just waiting on a weekend that isn't filled with social engagements to start levelling the garden bed and path part. The plan has six rectangular beds with golden pebbled paths with occasional paver flagstones embedded in it and a space in the centre. At first I wanted a pond in the centre, then a fountain and for a while I couldn't be bothered and decided just to put the sundial there. But now I have found the perfect thing - a 'font' (see below). It has just the right look and is exactly the right size and will look fantastic.
Saffron stamens
Firey red stamens

Stamens drying
Saffron stamens drying in the window

Jar of saffron
Jar of dried saffron - more to come.

Dragonstone font
Dragonstone font

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Weavers Anon

So, at Christmas I went to check out the Christchurch Guild of Spinners and Weaversrelocated shop/workspace at The Tannery in Woolston. Like many others they had been forced out of their accomodation by the earthquakes and had only recently reopened. While I'd been making OK progress on my own, working from books, websites and the odd YouTube video I'd really been feeling the need for companionship, even mentoring in my weaving adventures, someone to bounce ideas off and if necessary provide advice. I'd joined Creative Fibre as an individual member last year but without a group to belong to wasn't 'feeling the love' but most groups meet during workdays which are impossible for me or in evenings which is just almost impossible. But the Chch Guild has a Saturday meeting, from 10-2, which is only difficult.

I joined the Guild pretty much on the spot, they were such a lovely, welcoming bunch of people. I've gone along to a couple of the Saturday meetings between Canterbury Faire, Webstock, riding and other obligations, like I said, Saturdays are only difficult. Most of the people are spinning or knitting at those sessions, weaving looms being a bit of a nightmare to transport, especially with a project on them. I've taken along my current card-weaving project which fits in the boot OK but it requires all my focus to work on which means that I'm either making progress on that or conversing with people, I can't do both. My goal is to get along to a Saturday meeting every month, plus anything more weaving oriented that falls at a time that I can make. 

So that's great, but I was still not connecting with the weavers so much. Then last weekend I got to go to my first Creative Fibre Canterbury region weavers meet up at the Cooper's Creek hall, a very cute wee hall that sports a good sized tea room and open fire. It's a wee way from home, but probably further for most people and so I was pleasantly surprised that about 15-20 people turned up. We had coffee and tea and then sat in a circle around the fire for introductions, a Q&A session and show and tell.
Cooper's Creek Hall

"Hello, my name is Simone and I've been a fibreholic for around ten years. This is my first meeting, I've been weaving for a little over a year"... That's pretty much what I felt I should say. Seriously I had this mental image of it as a kind of AA for weavers... And I wasn't completely off base. Once we'd done intros I was able to ask about my next project which has a warp of a variety of wools and I got some good advice including washing same-length strands together pretty hot to see if they shrink differently, and of course doing a sample, which I am going to do this time. They felt I had plenty of yarn for the project, so good. And then in show and tell I got out the big blanket and they had many kind comments about it which was lovely as I am quite pleased with it (while being aware of the flaws).

Then we all got up and wandered about checking out some of the hardware and projects people had brought with them and in my case grabbing a quick sandwich. I met some of the women who had been at the West Melton 150th who are part of the Malvern weavers group and they said that they might be doing some evening sessions this year so maybe I'll be able to get to them. Darfield is only fifteen minutes away so much easier to do an evening thing there than at the tannery in Woolston which is forty five.
Works in progress (not mine)
So yay. I am really looking forward to the next session in a couple of months, then I think that one after that is in West Melton at the community hall, so just around the corner.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Gearing up for faire

Things are flat out around here as usual. It's a couple of days before Canterbury Faire and I'm off work already, cooking things, doing enormous shopping trips and generally trying to feel like I have a handle on things.

Christmas was lovely but despite having a full two weeks off I went back to work feeling as tired as I had left. Everything out here is incredibly dry and we made zero progress on the garden, but then the earth is like concrete so not really conducive to being levelled and raked.

I got a little weaving done and am past the half way point on the rugs. I am pretty pleased with how it's looking but terrified that I will cut it off the loom and find that nothing matches up. Maybe if that happens I'll just make them two small throws instead of one larger blanket thing. We will see said Kanga.
Half way through

One thing that I did manage to do on the holidays was to make contact with the Christchurch Guild of spinners and Weavers and I am now a paid up member. I won't be able to go to a meeting for another few weeks but they were so lovely that I'm really thrilled to have taken the leap. It will be great to have people to talk fibre arts with and have some people so knowledgeable to add questions of.

Anyway, must feed the dog before she wears my arm off...