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11 August 2008 @ 10:44 pm
A Peaceful War  
Well, I'm finally back from Pennsic and even starting to unpack. The laundry and the miscellaneous cleanup will take a few more days yet.

The War from my point of view:

Thursday night we set out as soon as ilaifire, jinglymushroom, and T could arrive. The original plan was to stop for the night in Toledo, but because of the late start it was 4 AM by the time we got there and we just decided to press on.

Friday was all about set up and a town run. ilaifire snuck off to take a shoemaking class all day and returned to camp with a pair of mostly made shoes. T and I made friends with Northshielders and various locals by playing hey you on the road with popcicles we brought back from town. The night ended with a tour of the campground for the first-timers and some casual hanging out.

Saturday the event properly began for us. I tried to go to some classes (bookbinding, wireweaving, etc) but they were all pretty packed and the day was pretty warm, so I fled. I wandered about. locating some friends on site and having lunch and a shopping expedition with one of them. In the evening, I set up my dye pot, had dinner with ilaifire and T, and wandered the camp with a collection of folks, including gwyneth1362, and others who had arrived that afternoon. (Where's the rum!?!) I was a little concerned that no-one had seen jinglymushroomsince lunchtime, but figured she was just hanging out with the choir or dance folks. However, when I returned to go to bed at 1AM and she was still clearly not in her tent, I began to worry. When I realized that no-one had seen her since 11AM, I got a little panicy. It is Not Good to lose one of your chicks less than 36 hours into Pennsic! I checked with Security and then Chiurgeons, but noone had seen her. Then, in desperation, I went down to Vlad's to check in with mightyjesse, hoping she had seen jinglymushroommore recently than I had. I did not actually expect to see her there, since I had pointed out Vlad's as a safe place only during daylight hours and in mightyjesse's immediate supervision. However, lo and behold!, she was indeed there and had been making herself useful all day long. The lost chick found, I watched the end of the Slave Auction, including sirzig's turn on the block and King Lar's... performance on the stage. Once that was done, I headed back to N19, via Security, and crashed hard.

Sunday was opening ceremonies, which I shamelessly skipped. I'd gone to them for years and almost always ended up sick from the heat and loosing the rest of the day. Last time Lars was King, I really got broken in the heat, so last year I simply told hrodir01 that I was not going, end of discussion, and was all the happier for it. It's a fun thing to be part of, it is prety to watch, but I don't need to damage myself that early in the week, thankyouverymuch. Instead, I went to a class by Cariadoc of the Bow on Period Encampments, and took one with mightyjesse on soapmaking. She stayed for the second session on soapmaking, but I slunk off to a class on period encampment furniture. After lunch, we watched a bit of the Battle of the Thirty since K's M was in it as usual. Then it was back to camp for a nap before heading back out to the evening classes, which included a Whisky tasting and a tour of a museum in Hedby. The Scotch tasting was wonderful, even with some problematic attendees (more on this later), but after seven or eight solid shots of whisky in under an hour, I was a very tipsy girl. There was not much time between the tasting and the next class, but I decided that dinner was imperative. I sat with the Denka and his retainer for a bit in the market before getting a portable dinner and toddling off to the tour, which was very well presented.

Monday I slept in and then attended a class on Opus Anglicanum and the "Perfect Purse" which uses a fingerloop-braiding type finish to construct the side seams. I actually ran into K at the second class, so we got to sneak a little time together during the class and over lunch. I honestly don't recall what I did in the evening... probably some shopping and sewing and hanging out on T&F's porch.

Tuesday was my day to hang out with K from CAM. She's been an informal student for awhile and we had been discussing potentially developing a more formal relationship. I had a bad morning and barely made it to the class on Diet in Early Britain that we had arranged to meet at. It turned out to be one of the best classes of the war but sadly I was just far enough in the back not to get a handout. K was a little late to the class (but she has an even better excuse) so she didn't get one either. Luckily, gwyneth1362 showed up later and somehow scammed one, so I'll need to beat her up for a copy sometime... ;) After class, we went for brunch, then shopping, and then a class on the Oxburgh hangings. Sadly, I had to sneak off for about an hour to "go to work" to submit some files to CMS since they needed an urgent update and I'm the only one who can submit the flat files. *sigh* But, ere long, I rejoined K and we wandered through the A&S display and discussed our relationship over lunch. Over the course of the day, she had definitely made up her mind, so at Coronation I will be expanding my little herd of apprenti to three. :) We'd had a plan to go to the Boreal Master presentation after lunch, but we both decided what we REALLY needed was a nap, so we parted ways shortly thereafter. Tuesday night was the attack_laurel's party. I had hoped to arrive in glorious Pictish splendor, but it was too warm to wear the embroidered wool, so I settled for lovely Pictish respectability and a modest entourage. I wore my pretty green linen dress I was Laureled in, but it seems to be fading, so I should plan on re-dying that some time... Tuesday late night was spent wandering with mightyjesse and her sister who had arrived halfway through the party and otherwise just hanging out at Vlad's.

Wednesday, I collected ilaifire and dragged him with me to my first class of the day, The Anglo-Saxon Table. (I have to know what to feed him other than rusty nails, after all.) It was a so-so class, with the instructor largely reading off lists of plants and other foodstuffs known to have been used by the Anglo-Saxons, but there was no handout and the class was not very well organized. She DID have a very tasty pottage for the finale of the class, however, and it provided a bonus learning opportunity for my boy. When gwyneth1362 and some other strawberry-leaved folks in the back decided to pull rank on me, ilaifire learned how quickly shit rolls downhill and he found himself taking out the lunch dishes for a multitude of folks. To his credit, he handled it beautifully and then even offered to collect the dishes for the whole tent. (Wee done, m'boy!) The rest of the day was shopping and watching jinglymushroom in the Novice Tourney. She did quite well, especially since this year they were defining "novice" as someone who had been authorized for up to three years. After the round robin portion of the tourney, I scurried off to procure some ice and headed back to N19 for court prep. Once again, I had set up my little Oasis in the NS Pavilion, so I mixed up some tasty refreshing beverages, put out some snack items, and prepared a special treat for the fighter-boys. Wednesday had two War Point battles for them... followed immediately by Court. Therefore, I had cold washcloths waiting for them so that they might cool down and clean up a bit before Court. While TRM have generally had the Landeds sit court with them, I had not confirmed with them in advance and opted not to do so since I had a more important duty - during Lance's elevation ceremony, I used my dork phone to take pictures (even though it meant having my yucky modern toy out in a public area) and emailed them in real time to his lady back home in Northshield so she could "be there" in some small way. Geekery for the win! Wednesday night was, of course, Midnight Madness, but the shopping was somewhat uninspiring.

Thursday was sort of full of fail. I was supposed to be hosting an Early Britain Conference, but apparently there had been an email announcement going around about it listing MONDAY as the date. Sadness. Attendance was woefully low and dwindled significantly when it hit mid afternoon naptime. I did get a LOT of whipcording done, had some quality time with ilaifire, and taught several people how to whipcord. One young man named Malcom actually stuck around to weave with me for the better part of the afternoon. Even after some teenage gamer boys decimated my munchies table, ilaifire and I ended up taking most of the refreshments back to NS Camp. We stopped by the battlefield in an attempt to watch the Japanese battle, but could not find it, largely because the "battle" drew six guys (which may or may not have included the Denka).

Friday I went to a class on Common Food for Common Folk, which was short on handouts and solid information, but long on tasty made-in-the-class bread and cheese. I may need to make lunch at Border Skirmish... I spent most of Friday in camp puttering about, visiting with people as they prepared to depart, playing with my dyepot, and hanging out with mightyjesse and jinglymushroom. We got to play in the Mammock! (A mammoth hammock!) It was a few tank nets strapped together and suspended between trees. Reportedly, they'd had over two dozen people  in it at a go, but the three of us had plenty of fun in it by ourselves. mightyjesse and I went out to parking to collect her trailer and my cart, but had some adventures on the way. She has posted since getting home, so presumably sirzig loves her more than his truck. :P We spent the night quietly talking and just dropping in on the Pirate Party next door.

Saturday was all about the packing and driving home. Things went reasonably well until we got through Chicago and I foolishly remarked to jinglymushroom that "things will go quickly now, provided we don't run into a major accident or idiot." Ah, Fates! You do have a sense of humor... a few miles up the road, we got caught behind this guy doing about 55 MPH in the fast lane on the outskirts of Chicago. At first, I just thought he was a jerk, but then it became obvious he was drunk. I called 911 to report him to the state patrol and tailed him at a safe distance for awhile, reasoning that I at least knew he was likely to do something stoopid and so could buffer the unsuspecting other drivers. We lost him about 5 miles up the road when we had to stop to pay a toll and he went through the IPass lane. However, we quickly caught up with him since on the other side of the tollbooth he was only going 45 and in the slow lane. That quickly deteriorated to 20 MPH in the slow lane and/or the shoulder or fastlane. I called in his updated location and stayed behind him with my hazards on until he seemed to stabilize enough to pass him with all haste. I really hope the cops got him, but I can't see how they would have failed to do so since they had his license plate and exact mile marker and he was driving so erratically and slowly, I'm sure he was easy to spot. We finally pulled into Madison in the wee hours, unloaded the car top carrier and said our good-byes. I did some quick email, checked on my birdie-boys, showered and crashed hard core. (Note to self: do not try to drive to Pennsic in one shot as the solo driver. Ooof. Multitude of owies.)

Sunday was mostly about sleeping in, doing the most essential errands, helping a local lady move, unpacking my car, relaxing with friends, and just being glad to be home.


So... War was fun, the weather was beautiful, I got to hang out with some cool folks I rarely see... and still the War seemed a little... flat. I was not really wow'd by any of the classes, the shopping was uninspiring, there was not any significant magic moments... On the other hand, I was more bothered but the obnoxious bits of war. The trucks seemed louder than I remembered. There was lots of hurty garb (no, jinglymushroom, you are not the only one to be horrified by tiny little loincloths and bras-as-garb) and only a few good-amazing ones. Some garb I made got torn or damaged, but it was just stuff I had made for myself - I somehow end up investing less time and detail and soul into things for myself than those I make for others. The good classes were populated by know-it-alls without a clue or prone to obnoxious comments. Even the lovely whisky class was disrupted by this little fighter chick of the giggle-and-bounce/isn't-my-pink-armor-*cute* variety. Blech. Maybe I'm just getting old. :P On the other hand, I didn't find my own kit and garb inspiring and didn't teach outside of the Early Britain Conference, so I think I need to make some solid goals for myself for next year... I need to take my garb to the next level, I need to further improve my encampment and maybe instigate a mini-Pyxis camp, I need to devote a full day or two to offering some well-researched, solid classes with kick-ass handouts/bibliographies, I need to get a Pictish dorking website up...


Anyway, whining aside, War was pleasant and largely peaceful. I am now coming out of it inspired as I usually do, but rather determined.
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Kareinakareina on August 12th, 2008 06:29 am (UTC)
You are the second person I've seen who've LJ commented that shopping was uninspiring this year. The other wondered if perhaps it was that she's been often enough that she's already got one of everything. Was that your problem, or do you think that there were fewer merchants with really specky stuff this year than in previous years? (Asks one who in over 25 years active in the SCA has still never made it to Pennsic.)
mightyjessemightyjesse on August 12th, 2008 01:08 pm (UTC)
Most of the merchants who's merchandise I know well (as I stock them from one event to the next... Fiber merchants like Ursula, mostly...) didn't seem to bring any of their more complex high ticket items. In years past, I have seen a fair number of looms available at war, whereas this year I couldn't find anything more advanced than a few rigid heddles and a bunch of over-priced inkle looms. One merchant I talked to said the likelihood of selling one of the high ticket items over the cost to transport it didn't work out in my favor. So... yeah... Less spectacular this year than in years past.
judithsewstoojudithsewstoo on August 12th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
Rigid Heddles
I got to wondering, did any of the merchants who were selling rigid heddle looms have any 6" (or 4" for that matter) heddles for sale?

Yeah, I know I could make one with my wire heddles, but having one that is all wood would be so much closer to period. It's for an experiment on weaving a headband on the cloth for the warp-weighted loom I'm going to be building and weaving on... all part of my insanity. ;)
mightyjessemightyjesse on August 12th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Rigid Heddles
Ursula had 4 inch and 10 inch heddles for sale, but the heddles were plastic in a wooden frame. You might try the Spanish Peacock to see if he'd be able to make you a wooden heddle of the appropriate size... He seems to have the finest wooden weaving tools of any of the merchants I know.
mightyjessemightyjesse on August 12th, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC)
Re: Rigid Heddles
Wait... Wouldn't you use tablet weaving to create the header band for a warp-weighted loom? I saw ALL KINDS of wooden tablets at a wide variety of merchants, though I will admit to being rather attached to my completely non-period plastic-coated-playing-card-tablets.
judithsewstoo: Dolores for President!judithsewstoo on August 12th, 2008 03:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Rigid Heddles
That's the thing. I've found some possible evidence for both. Using the rigid heddle is a different technique.

Rigid heddle for the headband, tablet weaving for the selvage edges...

:)
judithsewstoojudithsewstoo on August 12th, 2008 03:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Rigid Heddles
To clarify, the rigid heddle is possibly used for the warping of the loom (one possible method).

Of course, at this point it's all conjecture on my part since there is no physical evidence (that we know of yet) of how a 7th century Pictish woman would have woven the cloth for her family/clan.
eithni: sofonisbaeithni on August 13th, 2008 05:51 am (UTC)
I think some of it is that I am a big fat snob and demand that my purchases meet a higher standard every year... As someone else here pointed out, a lot of merchants opted not to transport large or heavy items they were not certain they could sell because of the transportation costs.
Road Emuroad_emu on August 12th, 2008 12:43 pm (UTC)
Aside from the fact that attendance was down this year...
I found the war on the whole a bit flat. I didn't even get into the swing of the war until about Thursday, and then we started packing up Friday. The shopping was indeed the same-old same-old, there were very few classes I was even remotely interested in (for the second year in a row), and our encampment, down near the bog, noted the demise of a number of classic parties and a general reduction in the travelers after dark. Pennsic really had a very muted nature this year. We all noticed it.

For myself, one of the things I have been thinking about is how I can bring what I am interested in to the table, so that next year doesn't have that slightly-off feel to it. If I wait for everyone else to do it, I'll have another muted year. ;-)
eithni: greeneithni on August 12th, 2008 01:13 pm (UTC)
Re: Aside from the fact that attendance was down this year...
Exactly! Midnight Madness was the first time I felt really there, and that was all about the music, not the shopping. But I have the same plan to take proactive steps to a better Pennsic... Provided I don't decide I need a break and take that time to go abroad, of course.
(Anonymous) on August 12th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
Actually, once Zig got a chance to examine the damage in the light of day, he said he was far less upset about that than he was about the scratches on the tailgate from someone's knee-cops. We only messed up the plastic, and that won't rust, whereas the ding-dong who scratched the paint is gonna make Zig's baby RUST.
eithni: inferno eyeeithni on August 13th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC)
Well, that's good. Puncture wounds in trucks and people are never a happy thing... I'm glad it was not that bad. :P
judithsewstoojudithsewstoo on August 12th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
Pict me! Pict me! ;)
So, you inspire me and maybe I can inspire you, no? ;)

Crazy me is studying what little I can find (at this point) on the homes of the Picts and I'm trying to figure out the logistics of actually making a "portable" roundhouse. The walls aren't the toughest part, but that possibly thatched roof, well, that may be the challenge. ;)

Yay to period Pict encampments!!! ;) :D
eithni: Pictisheithni on August 13th, 2008 05:46 am (UTC)
Re: Pict me! Pict me! ;)
Indeed.

I've thought about the Roundhouse thing too... my best idea has been a Mongolian Ger with appropriate alterations. :)
judithsewstoo: Argent Phoenixjudithsewstoo on August 14th, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Pict me! Pict me! ;)
We think a lot alike in this....
raventhourne: ianukraventhourne on August 12th, 2008 02:37 pm (UTC)
It was very cool running into you during the "find the party" portion of the Attack Laurel Party. You're apprentices are awesome btw, very much enjoyed it.!

I also agree that the classes seemed 1) over crowded and 2)not enough variety or high level for classes. I think next time we go to pennsic (probably a few years) I'll need to put in to teach as well.

Edited at 2008-08-12 02:38 pm (UTC)
Saralostvirtue on August 12th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
Sounds a bit like my "vacation".... however, those classes all sound likes ones I'd really like to attend.

Maybe we'll make to Pensic next year - but I think my actual goal is the year after, depending on how much garb I can create this year!