Thursday, August 14, 2008

The grass and sunlight are woven in for free

I'm home from Pennsic. This year I camped in a new location with a different group. (I-79 side of the Serengetti rather than on Runestone Hill). Being with a small group was quite a bit different compared to the 40+ people in my encampment last year, but I did miss the other group a little. Our encampment was so quiet. Well, OK, quiet in some ways. I haven't completely passed judgement on the location, but I could definitely have done without the almost constant air horns and jack brakes from the highway.

However, it was nicely flat (a bonus, seriously), shockingly convenient to the merchants, main food court and A&S tents, and I did not miss climbing the steep part of the hill every day. I did miss the sound of drums coming up from the lake all night long, though, and the feeling of being more at the centre of things. I'll have to wait a couple months until it's in long-term memory before I decide if I liked the good parts of it enough to camp over there again.

This was taken shortly before tear-down, so the camp fence and lanterns are already gone.

I played in a very excellent pickup dance band from Sunday through Tuesday. I'm still not a spectacular recorder player, but I'm starting to be able to hold my own on melody and play most things up to speed, which makes me happy. I still need a lot of work on recorder, though.

At heart, I suspect I'll always be a brass player. I believe I want need a sackbut. Possibly before the natural horn. Some day.

I was pretty good about not buying too much. I did have to pick up the obligatory spindle:

Yes, it's a heart. Yes, the pink felt baggie came with it. It would make me sick if it weren't so darn pretty.

...and the traditional couple of bags of naturally-dyed roving from Brush Creek Wool Works.

I had to get the red. Their cochineal red with tin mordant is almost exactly the colour we got. In fact, these were the reddest bags of the batch - the rest of her selection were noticeably lighter. I suspect the evenness of her colour compared to ours is because she dyes rovings, not raw fleece of questionable cleanliness. Her cochineal with alum mordant roving was close to our raspberry batch. It makes me feel considerably better to know we got what the pros get with our cochineal dyebaths. Oh, and that yellow? Onion skins with tin. Really, how awesome is that? Onions are the new neon.

I also picked up a pretty thing for my hair, a tiny hard leather pouch, two small handbound leather journals (with handmade paper! and refillable! one for me and one for Daniel to use as a sketchbook), some herbs for a friend and tea and honey - nothing to break the bank. No looms this year, thanks, and I even passed up on the expensive but lovely closed-toe shoes. I walked past the harps and sighed.

Once again, Dread Viscountess Seelie offered rigid heddle weaving classes, so a lot of my second week was spent weaving and generally playing with string. This year we were re-creating several specific archaeological textiles on the rigid heddle loom, using the multiple-heddle technique she taught last year. A few of us offered up our looms as teaching looms, so in all we had five looms going with different warps. We all wove a few inches on each pattern. All designs were woven on standard 20" Beka SG-20 rigid heddle looms, using either two or three heddles as required (3 or 4-shaft patterns), and no pickup sticks.

First a 1-2 Rippenkoper. This is a three-shaft design, requiring only two heddles. Basically, it switches between a 2-1 twill and a 1-2 twill, weft-faced to warp-faced, and also reverses.

Next, a rosette twill. This is 4-shaft design, done using three heddles.

I think this might actually be the back, but I like this side better.

And finally, my absolute favourite, the Jorvik 1336 (i.e. "Coppergate") textile. A honeycomb, or wabengawebe with a twill. I messed up the pattern more than once, being highly distractible on a good day, even more so there. A couple times I only did one repeat of the pattern, and once I did three. But I definitely want to make some long pieces of this one and do something with them.

Front of an apron dress, perhaps? Hmmm.

There was also a loom with a standard 4-harness twill warp, but since I did the twills and double-weaves last year, I didn't do more of those. One of the looms had to go back with its person early and we ran out of time, and since I was planning to put that very warp onto my loom at home, I was asked if I could weave up 5-6 samples to send off to the instructor and others in the class. It's definitely no hardship! I'm learning a lot, and getting the warping experience I was looking for.

So, now on my loom and weaving up nicely, a 2-1 Lozenge. This one is another three-shaft pattern, so it only requires two heddles.

Sample one of five. Or maybe six.

There really is something to be said for sitting under a sun shade, warping looms with a group of women, chatting with the person across from you, muttering the count of the warp thread quietly between sentences... "Here's the three. So, did you guys get wet last night? No, I was very dry - two fours coming through - but it was freaking cold when I woke up at three in the morning. Is that sixteen? OK, tie that off."

Someone might have caught a video of Seelie weaving in one of the classes, in which case I'll definitely post a link. Most of the drafts for these patterns can be found at the complex weavers medieval textiles study group, in the section on the textiles discussed in Lise Bender Jorgensen's book. The Coppergate textile draft is from Thora Sharptooth's site.

Aside from the RH weaving, I didn't take too many classes - one exception being a viking wire weaving class. I got to make a necklace, and wire-wrap a bead. I need to finish it with a hook for it to be completely done - but the part where you pull it through the drawplate is so much fun. It's like magic.

What do mean you don't go to Pennsic to weave?

I leave you with this. It was visible from Currie Road, near the west gate.

Everyone goes to Pennsic, didn't you know?

1 comment:

Deirdre said...

Hi Bridget!
It was great meeting you this Pennsic - hopefully I'll be able to come more often, and we'll get to sit under Seelie's awning and weave some more.

The lozenge looks great! I can't wait to see it in person!