stitchwhich: (Default)
My vision is coming back into focus. That is one less worry for me.

My Pennsic staff members have sorted out all their difficulties (so far as they are letting me know) so I am feeling very positive about how this year is going to go. And now we're into the 'fun time' - pre-packing for the event, whittling down, in my case, the things that I've been bringing every year so it won't be such a burden for my husband when it comes to loading up the truck. Besides - I have too much miscellaneous SCA stuff. I have a perfectly good, if somewhat eye straining, pink collapsible basket I could bring for trips to the shower, except it is full to the brim with SCA tchotchke I've been holding on to, meaning to 'find the right place' to pass it on or to use some time in the future. I am determined, this year, that it get emptied out and all that stuff removed from my house or actually used.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I decided that I disliked the main gate for our (Great Dark Horde) camp because it looked too 'make do', which it is and has been for a while since our _real_ gate, a lovely Ger, is too danged big and worse, is now missing its sidewalls. Nasty for the guards during storms. But mostly - too danged big. So the camp purchased a used pavilion top from Pennsic stores which comes sans walls. It still worked quite well for the camp, acting as a gate and a gathering place for us to escape the grueling sunlight. But - walls. It needs walls. And something that says "we are a Mongolian camp". So in the way that it goes, since it bothers me I volunteered to make those walls.

Which means that I need a new sewing machine. Because my pampered Janome is not going to be used for heavy-duty sewing of canvas and strapping. There is a guy in our area who does sewing machine repairs who is willing to work a deal with me. I provide a bit of cash (and a small dorm fridge we were getting ready to sell off) and he is providing this>



Yes, it is old. A 1949 British Singer. No, it is not electric - it is hand-cranked. Isn't it a dandy? I don't think it comes with a case though, so I shall have to ask him to keep an eye out for one. A modern case would just be too, too sad.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Three weeks of living in the muggy outdoors was exhausting. And yet not. For the first time I had an air mattress on my bed rather than a real one and it was a joy. The mattress predictably lost air during the first night and then stayed in that state for the rest of the time. Its softness was an awful lot like sleeping on our waterbed. For once I came home without sore shoulders and hips. And slept deeply, too, almost every night.

The Deputy Mayor job was fun. Great, even. I'm going to miss doing it next year.

I'm taking a year 'off' from the SCA. Or more specifically, from my local group. Maybe two years, I don't know. I've been very excited about my plans ever since I made the decision - projects that I had waiting are now things I am looking forward to, and I'm even planning new ones. They are all for my own satisfaction - no deadlines, mostly, and no pressure to please others or work around their expectations. So relaxing.

This break time will eliminate the time sink volunteering has had over me so I cannot use any more excuses about getting stronger and building muscles & mobility. I'm looking forward to camping next summer and being able to be useful during set-up, or rather, during unpacking and erecting the pavilion. I AM useful during set up after the pavilion is up, as I am the one who arranges all the furnishings and creates the kitchen set-up. But the heavy lifting has been done by my husband and it's not fair.

Yesterday started the 'build muscle' regime. Minorly, just one exercise done here in the house, but I feel good about it. Today I return to my food log. It was lovely to set it aside for a month (a whole month!). I ate double-stuffed Oreos last night as my celebratory farewell to unmonitored munching. It wasn't as satisfying as I thought it would be - the dietary changes have modified my dining desires. I would have killed for some decent cherries instead. Alas, the season has passed.

Today I also pull out my sewing machine to put together the rest of the blank sheet walls our camp will use for War of the Wings. Or at least 'this batch' of them. I've had the fabric sitting there for a year and was never inspired to finish it up, even with a whole bag of bias tape hanging from one of the cabinets in the craft room as a 'reminder'. Now I want to do it.

After I get some sleep. It's become fugitive again so I guess the "Pennsic Recovery Period" has passed.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
While we were at Pennsic trying out the new pavilion we suffered a leak in one of our coolers. We were at a loss as to how or why the thing was leaking until I discovered a thin thread that had come off of one of the decorative tassels and worked its way into the water drain, creating a nice little wick for the water to travel through. Over the course of a hot day, a lot of water went travelling. So upon return to the real world, I ripped out the tasseled edging and created a new, less spiffy, one.

Oh - and here are two views of the public portion of out tent. I used my phone's camera, at night, and as you can see the photos are not very good. But I wanted to have a record so we could compare the 'old' with the 'new' after the changes our shakedown vacation has inspired. Excepting the new roof - I'm not going to take pictures of that one once it arrives. Our curtains are going away, much to the disgust of my husband. They are too heavy for the length of rod - nine feet of unsupported rod needs lightweight curtains. He is insanely fond of the dark green ones you can see here, which did make me happy when I found the fabric and made them, but they've paled in my regard after ten years and I want something different. My solution is to cut them down slightly in width and create 'privacy hangings' for the corner of the tent where his bed will be situated. He won't cast shadows against the walls (not "Pennsic TV") and perhaps his area will look more medieval with the rich wall hangings. So we're switching out the curtains and eliminating some of the seating - we brought nearly every piece of camp furniture we owned so we could see what would best fit. Twice we had to bring the truck back to camp so we could slide a chair or table into the back of it so the public area would be less busy. There are oil lamps on their way for each upright pole in our entertaining area - and Arni gave me a really nice wrought iron pole hanger which has an upper and lower support for the arm (there is a tab with a hole in it which the tent pole's rod goes through) so I won't be afraid to use my ceramic oil lantern in my own sleeping area. I didn't trust the 'gravity style' pole hangers to keep it from falling on me or my bed. I thought I was just going to have to give the thing up or use it on a table. But now I won't have to. Oh - and there will be new rugs. These were all the small ones we had squirrelled away in the camping alcove of our garage and none of them were really suitable for long-term use. Or perhaps I should just admit that I thought they were too small and modern-looking so out they go!

The Left side of the public area of the tent (kitchen area - that 'covered bench' is actually our main cooler. And the bright shiny reflective thing on the right is a highly-polished wooden chair that is the most comfortable chair in the whole camping world. My ceramic oil lamp is hanging on the left... I used it in the kitchen at night when I was feeling secure about hanging it up. That wasn't often. The unsightly shelf unit with the cloth-covered box on top of it is our new camp stove/oven and its stand. That is definitely NOT the way it will be looking in the future!
Pavilion side A

The right side of the public area. that small table just to the right of the chair is our leaking drinks cooler. And its very expensive (over $22US a yard!) tasseled edging, which started to fall apart by the end of the first week. Apparently it is the sort of 'upholstery finishing' that demands a total lack of touching after it is put in place. Darn it.
Pavilion side B
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
We shipped our (ruined) brand-new pavilion back to the manufacturer a couple of days ago. Today I drafted and sent a letter to them about it basically demanding a replacement. I think that if a tent fails on the first use of it, replacement is not unwarranted. I do not, however, expect that my hopes will be met - in fact, I foresee a lot of hemming and hawing about it. The business has changed their warranty policies since the original owner passed on and they are not as good as they once were ("warranty repairs up to $50 will be made for free" - anything more involved means the tent owner pays for it, and that after shipping & handling in both directions. Which, from our place, was $148US _one way_. Our tent is now more expensive than if we'd ordered one from the Big Box suppliers like Panther.)

I included photos of the damage and the poor quality in my letter. It ended up being more in a 'chatty cathy' sort of tone - I wanted to invoke a desire to 'do right by these poor folks' sort of reaction in the manufacturer but, well - I don't expect I shall succeed. And there may be a lengthy conversation leading me to demand a full refund. We're within our bank's "shopper's support" time limit to have them take action about the charge. That sounds weird. I mean that we may have to contact the bank & Visa about them getting involved in attempting reimbursement. I sure hope not. I sincerely hope that "chatty cathy' will be enough to inspire them to make everything right with us.

In the long run, however, we can no longer recommend the small family business that once was so golden. The original owner has died and his heirs have turned it into something not worth the investment... it saddens me.

So here's what happened about halfway through Pennsic, thanks to a defective central grommet in the roof:20150804_150301

And here's the type of quality that already had me unhappy about the dags - notice the sloppy sewing on the edging? The whole thing was like that.
20150819_163208
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
We're packed for Pennsic. It's a shorter visit than it has been in the past - usually we'd already be there, working to build it before everyone else arrives, but this year that isn't our gig and it feels.... nice. Relaxing, actually.

The guys (Bossman and a household member who doesn't play in the SCA any longer but keeps meaning to) packed the truck while I worked in the house. This was their way of ensuring that I didn't over-extend myself, which I was grateful for. Even then I joined them in sweating off a few pounds. Man, was it hot today! Too hot for our central cooling to handle well.

I finished Pennsic sewing this afternoon. Nah, it wasn't anything exciting, just privacy curtains for the new pavilion and a cover for the stove/oven so its modernity won't insult my event joy. Da Man does not understand this but he tolerates it. Or maybe he just enjoys laughing at me - especially when I sew, say, a cloth cover for a tower fan so it won't stand out quite so much when we aren't using it. I don't mind its modern glory if I'm sweating to death but otherwise it must look like a musical instrument in a cloth case. Yes.

I don't know if I wrote about it but my diet doctor believes that we have deducted the cause of my lack-of-circulation-when-standing. With luck and physical therapy (and sweating, and sweating, and more sweating), it may be eradicated in my near future. This would mean that I would have to join the hard-working truck-loading guys, but I think I can deal with it. I can even deal with losing the handicapped sticker for the car - sort of. I kinda like that sticker, I do, being the lazy person I am. But still, it'd be nice to leave an empty spot for someone else who'd really need it.

So. Food and drink for the house-sitter has been acquired. Bills have been paid, and bank accounts balanced. Laundry is done, except for those items that will be thrown in as soon as I get ready for bed. Car insurance policy cards have been printed (new policy this month) and Pennsic receipts have been too. The Garmin has been updated. Not for finding our way to Cooper's Lake - that one is committed to memory - but perhaps we'd need to find something in town that we hadn't gone to before. A trip to the farmer's market is eagerly anticipated.

I made (am making, since I have three more to do) sweet bags as appreciation tokens for my department heads. I'll be filling them with Kasugai Japanese Gummy Candy in various flavors, because yum. And because it is also gluten-free and low carb to boot. But mostly because it is absolutely delicious and of the Muscat Grape variety there will be a strict "One for you, and one for you, and one for me" method of filling the bags. Here, btw, are photos of the bags. They are rather rough (larger weight yarn than I expected for the newest ones, which are not natural fiber but feel so soft and silky that I think I shall be forgiven). Except for the smallest and the largest, they should cover a cell phone nicely. The largest could easily act as a travel bag for a person's ceramic mug, and the smallest would do well as a medallion/jewelry holder.

stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
It is the middle of the night and medical thingies have me awake for a while longer*. I had been playing a mind-numbing solitaire game but decided to leave that and go to LJ for some catching up.

I haven't read a thing recent. My hand slipped with the mouse and I ended up opening a 'tag' and reading the entries that were there, and now I am filled with love for my friends all over again, because I have such loving ones. I'm so very lucky.

Vacation time (Pennsic) is coming. I have a big job this time around and it isn't one I know the duties of even after a year of holding it. There is no guidebook, no "standard operating procedure" text. Strange situations come up and others look to me for answers - and I have no clue what the right one is because I have no personal experience with the departments involved.
(Example: "How many radios does Cultural Affairs need this year" "I don't know. There isn't a record anywhere that Cultural Affairs ever used any. We'll take the same number as last year." I guess. As a dodge. And once I get on site I can look at the radio check-out sheets and count up who gets them so I can pass that information on to my successor.)
Luckily, I have resources to turn to and things get hammered out, but wow, am I going to be relieved when this job is concluded. It is a situation where a title, a position, was offered and it was one I'd wanted to try for years, so I took it - and was woefully ignorant. The same title/job in a different division would have been a piece of cake but I got my ego wrapped around 'finally' being given a chance to do 'that job' and jumped when I should have backed away. I don't think my people suffered from my inadequacy but neither did they thrive. I want them to thrive. The sad thing is that I doubt, based on this year's performance, that I will ever be offered such a position again and wouldn't you know it - now I know what's required for it so could do it so much better than I have.

I think I might have a lot more free time this year than I have had in the past. There are daily (? Some mayors have had three-times-a-week ones instead) meetings to go to and multiple departments to check on twice a day, but barring something blowing up in any of them after that I have no duties. And all of my department heads are competent and resourceful so I don't think I'll be seeing much in the way of explosions.

I'm not sure what I'll be doing with myself. Bossman surprised me buy pushing for purchasing the camp stove/oven combo that I'd been lusting over. I'd talked myself out of it, finally, since I'd wanted one for years and had never bought (or was given, as it was on my 'gift lift' for holidays) one... and then he up and surprises me with "I think we should buy it" during our trip to replace the finally-dead propane stove. (Poor stove. We've had it for over 30 years of camping and it just wore out. The newer ones are not nearly as good in quality, for the most part.) Anyway, I am looking forward to playing with my totally-non-period camp oven and producing new things to eat at Pennsic.

And we have a brand-new tent, a 16x16 'single pole' pavilion. It's still in the box. We haven't opened it yet. We probably should do that soon, assuming the rain ever lessens. I'm making hanging oil lamps for it per Master Bedwyr Danwyn's class. The effect should be lovely although I am concerned about the amount of light they will produce at night. Most likely there will be pictures after Pennsic. I suspect that Bossman and I, or mostly "I" will be spending a good amount of time arranging and re-arranging our tent layout until it is pleasing and efficient for our needs. We are going to have a much larger and more comfortable hospitality area.

I should have the time to visit the Herald's Point more often than I have in the past - that would be fabulous - although I don't trust my heraldic ability much right now. I've been slack, I tell you, in keeping up with it, instead working on other things I'd let slide over the last few years, so I'm not sure how useful I could be. But I'm being forced to bring my computer to the event so if nothing else, I could maybe help in the 'names' department. Names are fun. Blazonry still has me scrunching up my forehead a bit.

And classes - since I need to check on Pennsic University and the Dance staff as well as Performing Arts, well then maybe some classes might fall into my lap too. Just since I'm there.

The new walker means that I can stroll the merchant area too. For years I've been rushed, at best, whenever Bossman and I go to the merchant area, since there are few places to sit down and restore circulation to my legs. Now I can sit on the walker's seat any time I want. Any time! And I bought a cup holder for it, too, so the only hassle is going to be running across a merchant's tent that is too packed for me to bring it in there (it is wide). But I'm pretty sure no one would take it if I had to leave it outside while I went it. I can use it as a 'base' to return to and the booths as new frontiers to explore.

Oh - and my two classes at our recent University went over well. They were small but full of excited comments and questions, with the students wanting further information for their own research. That's a win.

So was being there when Ranvieg was given a writ for her Laurelling ceremony at Pennsic. That alone would have made attending University worth the trip.

*Contrast iodine during a CT scan can encourage a barely-there-and-going-away UTI to wake up and roar. Guess how I found that out?
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
My mind is on recipes for Pennsic. Or rather, on changing my view of what is and isn't 'easy' to make for two busy people (or for hosting a small set of friends).

See, after realizing that we were going to have to replace our 35-year-old Coleman camp stove, we dithered a bit and finally, thanks to the Memorial Day sale going on at Bass Pro, plunked down the extra $100 to buy a propane stove-oven rather than just a stove. Yup, I now have a camp oven to mess with. Yes, it is modern and not my beloved Viking-era kitchen stuff but I don't mind at all... I've wanted it for about three years now. Just for the idea of freshly-baked bread and cinnamon rolls to serve my man. Not to mention his idea of the Ultimate Meal - meatloaf. (Yeah, I know.) So those items are easy to consider. But I've 40 years of 'we don't really bake while camping' mindset to overcome, along with my diabetes 'shouldn't eat much grain' daily diet, so what I thought I'd be cooking if I ever got the oven - casseroles, pastries, meat pies - are now not so interesting. And I'm hard-pressed to think of what I should be putting together for this Pennsic, when he's going to be busy as usual and I'm going to be a Deputy Mayor (less busy than as Quartermaster or Head Troll, but more busy than as a general watch stander.)

There is a quick-snack item that I love to make, apple slices rolled up in cinnamon sugar covered croissant wedges, which will be nice to have on hand for guests and quick grabs, and the same concept will work for small meat pies, but beyond that - what is possible? Fast to put together yet not filled with carbs? I am going to have to do some recipe-sleuthing. After all, I must justify to the man that the extra expense and packing hassle is worth it. Although I think meatloaf and cinnamon buns will probably do the trick.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
We came to Pennsic site late this year, in the middle of service week rather than at the beginning of it. That started us off in a very surreal mood. A dear friend, Treestone, came to camp and helped us erect our loaner tent... he was working the night shift so I appreciated his kindness and was in a rush to get everything done as quickly as we could so he could get home and go to bed. Not to mention his girlfriend was in town for a visit and waiting for him back at his house.

While we were setting up the tent other staff members came by to welcome us back. To each one, as they complimented the pavilion, we explained that we were borrowing it and had plans to sell it for the owners during Pennsic-tide, to be delivered when the event was over. (And thusly we wouldn't have to pack it ourselves at the end when we would surely be the most tired and sore.) One staff member bought it right then! Even after seeing the silly dayshade.

We divided the tent as we had planned with curtains separating out the rounded ends. Bossman devised curtain rods of PVC pipe with holes drilled into the ends of the wall-side of the poles so they would fit over the tent pole spikes and be more secure. We had a connecting piece for each pair in the middle where the support poles for the ridge pole were, and after putting the 'raw' edges into that connector the whole mess was securely lashed to each support pole. As it turned out, the small section of curtain rod that Bossman cut into an "L" shape so he could drill a hole in it was a bit too long and poked out a little beyond the wall pole's spike, just enough to allow water to leak a bit into the tent at that spot during rainstorms - four spots in total. But the leaks were minor and by putting the tent poles on the bare earth rather than near our tarp/ground-cloth, the water simply flowed down and away from the interior anyway.

Our little 'bedrooms' were oddly shaped but we were able to fit both beds in there, albeit smack in the middle of each curved area, with the rest of the furniture on either side of the bed. Kitchen items (storage and garbage container) crowded in on one end since there wasn't enough room for them in the designated kitchen area. The drinking cooler and 'room temperature' water bottles were on Bossman's side while the stacked cases of drinks, the garbage container, and our dirty clothes hamper was on my side. It wasn't too bad but certainly not optimal.

One thing I hate about camping is the daily emptying of water from the ice chest before each ice refill. A couple of years ago I solved that in the food cooler by adding in three containers dedicated to storing the ice - they get filled and the rest of the cooler stays dry, so I no longer have to deal with coming back to camp to find water-logged cheese goo or pink water from leaking meat containers. And the daily routine is a simple matter of removing the ice containers one at a time to be drained and refilled. It is much easier on the back. This time, I took our left-over 'leveling wood' (the bits brought along to act as wedges to level furniture since we were camping on a hill) and used them to build a platform to put the big cooler on. Oh, that was nice! It was about the right height for digging into if one was sitting on a chair. Prepping dinner and putting away groceries was much easier than in the past! My back thanked me.

Our 'drink' cooler was filled in the normal way, bottles and cans covered in ice. It had to be drained everyday but it didn't weigh nearly as much as the food cooler did and was easier to maneuver around. It was also handy for storing store-prepared salads on top of the ice since I usually ate those within a day of purchase. They didn't fit well in the food cooler.

Through all the rain and the unseasonal cold, we were comfortable enough to be able to lend extra blankets to other camp members. I love wool blankets! I especially love wool-silk blankets! I've been using lengths of fabric to make blankets for camping since they store better than purchased blankets and I can be more sure of their content. Well - except for my Pendleton Wool blanket, that is. I just buy seven yards of material, cut it in half and then divide one half lengthwise to sew to the selvage edges of the full half. That gives me a good queen-sized blanket with the joining seams (mostly) along the edge of the mattress. After sleeping on a linen-covered pillow for the last two years, I've now decided to do the same with lengths of linen and make sheets for my bed too, if not for Bossman's. He's a little less 'adventurous' when it comes to bedding and holds tightly to his sleeping bag and bedrolls.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
It's nearly 3am and we're supposed to be leaving for Pennsic War at 9 but I cannot sleep yet. Minor 'packing anxiety' is keeping me awake. Or so I shall maintain since I don't want to whine about the extreme muscle cramping in my legs. Why they are still doing that months after I stopped taking the cancer meds is beyond me.

I feel really good about getting back into sewing these last few weeks. The baby garb was fun to make, as were the two tunics and sleeping gown I created for myself. And I found myself doing what I once did more often - standing in front of my shelves of fabric, absently mulling over what could be made from this or that. It was fun. I got the sewing supplies packed away by mid-afternoon on Saturday, and a couple of hours later friends (two protogees, and a member of our old SCA household) showed up to help us load the truck. I spent the time between sewing and loading 'staging' everything... filling boxes with supplies, locating all the equipment, and then putting everything in the foyer so it could be easily carried to the truck. Wow, was I huffing and puffing! We have a mountain of stuff for SCA camping. Did we really used to camp with 30 pound backpacks for the same amount of time?

My new bed is going to be an adventure, I'm thinking. It is low to the ground since it was designed for a box-spring & mattress combination. I bought 'risers' for the legs. They are ugly brown plastic things but I'll be the only one seeing them and I'm sure I can train myself to avert my eyes. This pavilion we are taking up to sell is going to be so cramped. Which is amusing to me since it seems as though it should be larger in footprint than the one we are planning on buying. This is an oval 13x18' (234 square feet) while our new one is going to be 16x16 (256)... the curved sides really ruin the spaciousness of the interior. That extra 22 in our new one is making a much larger difference than you'd think. That one, we're going to divide in half and have the front 16x8 area be our kitchen and entertaining area. This one we have to divide into thirds with the kitchen and entertaining area in the middle 'corridor'. I'm not sure why my husband thinks that is the best way to do things but I am anticipating dissatisfaction once it is all set up. Luckily, it's only for this year, and on top of that there isn't anything keeping us from changing our curtain arrangements to create a half & half divided area once he gets tired of the 54 inches of corridor width. I've packed extra ecru sheeting to use as additional curtains if needed.

I'm really looking forward to a position-less War. Oh sure, I'll be busy in the staff areas with a few shifts and watches, but I don't have a job on staff beyond being the shadow of a deputy mayor so I can be her successor next year. I don't know much about her department since it is the A&S, Dance, University, and stage management one - the very places I haven't had a chance to visit in about a decade. It will be fun to see all the changes and to learn how much bigger it has all grown.

I'm not taking my computer with me this time. Ah, the freedom! I haven't left it at home in about eight years and it feels very odd to think that I won't have to worry about security for it or storing it in a dry and relatively-dehydrated place. But that also means I may miss out on some entries here. I noticed that LJ didn't let me read further back that approx. 2 weeks when I came home last year and started trying to catch up.
stitchwhich: (stitching away)
First you take something like this:
striped fabric before

and you cut it up into the strips that most appeal to you.

striped fabric cut apart AStriped fabric cut apart Z close up

And then you use your stripes to decorate garb.

blue tunic

purple gown tunic

Pen4 surcote
stitchwhich: (stitching away)
Pen3 purple flower shirt
The flowered fabric looks great in real life - and it was from a 'fat quarter' which is a trick I'm going to keep in mind more often!

Pen6 teal butterflies
This is one that didn't photograph well. The teal fabric is right on the cusp of 'blue or is it green' so it freaked out my camera's eye. And the trim doesn't show as nice, either. But I'm still including it in here.

Pen4 Italian Renn
One actual gown. The patterned fabric is from yet another fat quarter. I overlapped the front opening and hid a Velcro strip inside so mom won't have to deal with buttons or hooks & eyes. Or lacings - imagine trying to lace up a squirming baby at Pennsic, in those temperatures!
Pen5 Italian Renn opening

Pen4 surcote
One surcote for wearing over a onesie or whatever, or over a chemise if she already has one. It, too, has color-contrast problems in the photo and looks better in real life.

The "Swamp Gown"
Momma is going to be the Mayor's secretary next year. The Mayor is named "Phrog" (yes, "frog"), so she ends up being called "Tadpole" on our informal roster. And Phrog and his cronies have a camp way down in the bog which is called 'the swamp'. Baby will end up going to the swamp with momma for meetings and such, so she needed a swamp gown.

Pen7 swamp gown

Pen9 swamp gown close up
The fabric came with this embroidery on it already. And what a pain it was, unraveling at each cut edge!

Pen8 Swamp gown neck
I added buttons and a loop at the top of the neck opening so it won't slide down baby's shoulders. And I have no idea why the picture shows up in my files right-side-up but yet transfers laying on its left side.

Baby Garb

Jul. 15th, 2014 09:06 pm
stitchwhich: (stitching away)
I didn't make anything really resembling period clothing, with the possible exception of the pseudo-Italian Renn (which I then ruined the lines of with a Velcro opening). The mother of this 18-month-old baby works in Pennsic Staff and is not in the least concerned about authenticity. She just doesn't want to run around with her child in a onesie. So I indulged myself, since I'm not charging her for these and bought inexpensive fabrics (how long do these have to last? About a week, maybe a week and a half).

I photographed them with my phone so they don't show as well as I'd like. But I wanted to keep a little record of what I'd done, for future days when I'm feeling down on myself. tunics, gown, and surcote in modern fabrics )
stitchwhich: (stitching away)
Skills unused rust. Oh, yes, they sure do. It has taking me all night to cut out four little outfits and sew one together. Part of my time was spent ripping out a neck seam... I know that there are other things worse than finding after clipping the inside of a neck facing with a slit-opening that you've sewn it inside out, but right now I can't think of one. Not that I am stretching myself to do so, of course.

A strip of masking tape down each already-cut slit held everything together while I restitched the seam - although again, I pulled the 'wrong side' error and had to pick out the bits of tape from the outside edge. But nothing frayed so I'm calling that a win. And the little tunic is very cute.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I have secured 4-inch bed risers for my camp bed. These will make up for the height that is going to be lost since I won't be using a box spring. They were surprisingly inexpensive. And the selection alarmed me - why on earth would someone want bed risers that looked like red plastic party cups? Whose bright idea was that? (Mine are plain old dark brown plastic-to-look-like-wood. I eschewed the actual wood ones since they were a pale blond.)

oversharing feminine camping woes )

Bossman is out mowing the lawn, trying to get as much done as he can before those clouds overhead open up. I can hear thunder - it's five in the evening so the summer heat-storm is only adding to the weight of the hovering rain. We expect three or four days of it. I have plenty of indoor jobs to do... most of them having to do with fabric.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Pennsic Prep continues. Bossman cut down the dowels (whatever they are called - the long poles at each corner of a bed frame which might support a canopy) so they are about waist-high now. They'll pack in the truck much easier this way and since I won't have a canopy on my bed, there is no need for the original height. Although I did feel a pang of regret that we were abusing a good Ethan Allen bed. He salvaged the knobs at the top of each pole, which were separate items fitted with a dowel, drilled holes in the new 'tops' and fitted the knobs into those. He did such a fine job staining the raw bits of wood that I couldn't tell in strong sunlight what the difference was between the new stain and the old finish.

Tomorrow I go searching for "bed lifts", as the bed was designed for a mattress and foundation but I'll only be using the mattress. The surface of the bed will be four inches shorter than normal but the bed lifts on each leg should take care of the difference. I'm going to miss my slates. Bossman is insisting that we use a solid board instead. Ugh. As we find in so many hotel rooms, it will be like sleeping on a lightly-padded rock. Especially since our regular bed has a nice comfy waterbed mattress (with a 2" foam top).

The horrible-looking stripe on my night gown has been removed. Yay. I am still picking out bits of the ends from the seams but truly I'll be the only one who notices them since the seams are right at the edge of the armhole. Next will be making the tunic. I'm still torn on the neck opening. Experiment, or stay safe?
stitchwhich: (stitching away)
All I wanted to do was make a tunic (a surprise tunic made possible by the purchase of twice the amount of fabric I needed to make my night-rail. Most likely I thought I was going to use it to make a chiton). I thought it'd be fun to use the off-set neck opening such as the one on Roger II of Sicily's tunic. And I thought it'd be easy to find examples of the style online.

I was wrong. It does appear in middle-era Russian garb, and in Magyar's clothing (referenced but the research no longer available online), which they seem to have gotten via the Avars, and in some cases this style is called 'middle-period Byzantine' although I could not find a single example of it using that search phrase.

I have now thrown caution to the wind. I shall make my surprise tunic, of the deepest purple someone such as I should never wear, in the style of Roger's tunic and just not worry about it. Perhaps while I'm wearing it at Pennsic someone will bounce up to me to say how delighted they were to see someone wearing "_____style clothing" and I can pick their brains.

It is very, very purple. And my sleeping gown will be of the same fabric. I am actually thinking of using flower-patterned trim on it, because, um, because it is just a nightgown of cotton/linen blend and is more a private garment than one I'd wear out and about. I have two yards of printed-stripes fabric that will make great bits of trim for both of them once I decide which stripes will be sacrificed in order to use the others. I do love striped fabric for trim-making.
stitchwhich: (fireworks)
Our Independence Day was forecast to be totally drenched by (almost a storm) Arthur but the predictions also claimed that the majority of the rain and wind would be past by early afternoon. So we went ahead with our plans.

We had eleven friends and one son over for a cookout & pavilion-raising. Unhappily for me, the night before passed sleepless until morning and I ended up asleep, lulled by the moderate amount of rain hitting the house, until almost 1330... and I'd invited folks to start arriving 'anytime after 1300'! I went from luxuriously sleep-sated to panicked upon seeing our bedside clock. Bossman was already long awake, of course, and he'd elected to let me sleep myself out. He prepped the grill, cleaned the kitty box, and washed dishes before I even shook the sand from my eyes. I had enough time to prepare the fixings for the berry shortcake (strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries, sweetened - with the pulp and juice of one overly-ripe white nectarine added in since the rest was a tad dry) along with whipped crème and pound cake. Then I got the pasta salad made. It was a boxed mix of tri-colored spiral noodles with red pepper bits and Ceasar dressing, to which I added cherry tomatoes, sliced black olives, cucumbers, and minced bacon. It wasn't bad at all. We bought steaks for everyone who showed up since they were there partially as a work party. The owner of the pavilion, Barb (Felicia in the SCA) joined us and wracked her brain trying to remember how she and Donovan used to raise their pavilion. That was the only occasion of stress - lots of 'experts' who had definate opinions about how it should be done and few people with any real idea. But success was achieved and the 13x18' oval pavilion was set up. Along with its absolutely ridiculous ten foot sunshade, which is only 5 feet wide and hardly fitting to be called a 'shade'. What a silly looking thing it is! And it adds far too much space to the final footprint of the pavilion.

Nonetheless, we have a single-dwelling setup for this Pennsic. It is not a design I would choose for us to have. I'd harbored minor thoughts about offering for it rather than buying the single-pole 16x16 we are planning on buying but after seeing it up I abandoned that idea with near violence. For a single couple who sleep in the same bed I'm sure the tent is fine. But for the two of us who sleep on very different surfaces (and his is queen-sized while mine is a twin), the tent is woefully small. We'd planned on dividing it in thirds with his sleeping area at one end, mine at the other, and a 'kitchen and salon' in the area defined by the space between the two ridgepole uprights. That space is a measly 4.5 feet. Granted, it is the full 13 feet wide but it is only six inches wider than our kitchen table and six inches less wide than that silly long sunshade. I haven't brought it up to Bossman but I am sure we are going to be changing our plans about the layout. He has been resistant to any sort of planning discussions so I've decided to think everything out as best I can, draw floor plans for him of each arrangement I can anticipate, and then just present them to him to chew on without expecting any kind of actual discussion. Most likely I will learn what he's decided to use as we are setting up, and he'll be confused as to why I hadn't 'known' what we were going to do.

I don't care. He's coming to Pennsic instead of staying home and that is all I care about. He can be as frustrating as he wants to be so long as I get him there for recharging his batteries and rekindling his spirit.

The steaks went over well, as did the eight (!) hamburgers that one of the guest workers brought. Another brought deviled eggs (I was going to make those but she volunteered... now I have 18 orphaned eggs to turn into egg salad for sandwiches). The berry shortcake did, too, with enough left over for us to enjoy last evening after dinner. And once everyone was sated and the pavilion was stored away again, we retired to the kitchen table for a game of "Five Crowns" until our neighborhood's illegal firework-setting was over. Some folks really spent a lot of money on their fireworks but the lack of proper training in how to use them was apparent.
stitchwhich: (stitching away)
On the plate this evening is the beginning of sewing my own clothes for Pennsic. Last year I lost a tunic mid-vacation thanks to that weird "we're just going to shred when you aren't looking" linen game and my night dress had come to the end of its usable life. I shed a tear over the loss of the night-rail. I loved that thing.

I've decided to attempt tackling dels again. I've made two - one of wool that I didn't care for and gave to Bossman since it fits his chest better than my own, and the other I modified by stitching up the sides so even though it appeared to have an overlapping front, it didn't really. That way I could get it to cover my chest in a manner conducive to modesty. That particular 'del' was the first item of clothing I'd had go the way of the shredding-linen surprise1 and I never tried making another. I did love that del.

So I am going to be approaching my cutting table with trepidation and yet not too much - because if all else fails, I can stitch the danged neck openings to stay where I want them to on a permanent basis. But first I'm going to sew a new nightie. It is going to be of cotton flannel plaid, merely because it appears that I've already cut the thing out. Whether or not it is actually my camping gown will depend on my sense of aesthetics... I haven't a stitch of cotton garb left, barring certain bloomers made of silly fabric that no one will ever see. People will see my night-rail, though, during early morning trips to the porta-johns, so I may end up just using it at home and making a different one for Pennsic.

I was going to be sewing clothes for a sweet little boy but someone else beat me to it (or rather, they forged ahead while I was waiting on news about the parent's plans to attend) so he doesn't need anything from me now. I shall have to hold off on the "spiderman medieval tunic" until he outgrows his new stuff. Just as well since it will have to have long sleeves.

1 I have since learned that this comes about by disasters in dyeing, which are acerbated by our washing and drying processes. Apparently, it hits dark-dyed linens more often than lighter-dyed ones, and I'd wager that the source of the fabric means a lot - although we, as the end-customers, may not actually know from whence the store purchases the lot.

[EDIT: Perhaps, instead of sewing, I took the time to finally read all 300 or so messages waiting for me on the SCA-Heralds and Submission-Heralds email lists.]
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
Ah, the time between "now" and "we're leaving" is growing shorter and our plans are jelling. (Not like the Viking burial site, but more like "Hey! one more thing to draw a line through!")

We're borrowing a pavilion this year, as I think I mentioned before. It is an oval one. I've never camped in an oval before as I find the shape to be a space-waster, but just this once I am pleased to do so. I like a plan that has double duty - we're only needing to set up one tent rather than three and we can sell the pavilion for our friends since they were not having any luck in the local area (they even offered to give it to the barony, for free, with no takers). Of course now that local people have heard of our plans there is interest in the thing. Nonetheless the owners are clear that the pavilion cannot be sold until after we're done using it for Pennsic.

It will be different to use our sleeping tent as a kitchen & entertaining one also. The plan is to separate it into thirds by putting up curtains down the middle to create a wide aisle. Each curved side will be a private area while the center aisle will be our kitchen and entertaining area. Added to this will be the length of the sunshade, however long it is. We don't know yet. We are putting the pavilion up at our house on Friday evening after Storm Arthur passes through. Weather predictions say that should be over by 4:00 in the afternoon, so it'd be a good time to get it up and measured although I think we're going to have to leave it up until Saturday in order to take it down dry - the canvas is sure to touch the ground on Friday. Changing plans to effect the raising/lowering of the pavilion on Saturday involves cancelling out a party that my appretigee can attend - she has to work on Saturday and Sunday, but not on Friday. Her birthday is the following Monday and she'll be working then, too, so I don't want to spoil her only day off by cancelling a get together with friends.

I've just secured a hotel reservation for the night before we're supposed to arrive at Pennsic, so we can sleep in air conditioning and comfort the night before setting up. After a ten-hour drive that is heavenly. And a very sweet man (who is incredibly talented in both entertainment and craftsmanship with wood) is coming to help us empty out the truck and set up the pavilion. I was really worried about that. Bossman's ribs are going to heal very slowly and I was determined that he would not be the person inside the truck moving things around, further damaging himself, so it was going to be me in there, moving much slower and with less strength. And probably precipitating an argument as Bossman reacted to me doing 'his' work. Now that isn't a concern. Of higher concern is what to do to thank the friend who is helping us. Cash seems crass but I know he needs some. I shall have to do some asking around to find out what seems like a decent amount to give him. I'm totally in the woods when it comes to that.
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