These are moments when I muse on exactly what I’m using this blog for. Merely to present projects? Commentary and random thoughts? There’s approximately three people in the world who peek in now and then, so the reality of it is that I’m posting for me. My projects tend to be very long and slow, so if one is waiting for good progress pictures to post, or finished items, I’ll never post much of anything. Commentary and random thoughts, it is! Just scroll to the bottom if you’re here for project pictures.

Ealdormere had its Kingdom Arts & Sciences event this past weekend. It also happens to be my anniversary event. (I maintain that if I’d started at an event that wasn’t KA&S, where I didn’t walk into the room and pause and go ‘I have found my tribe’, I might not have stuck. I’m very grateful that I did.) I’ve entered pentathlon the last two years, and after winning last year, made a conscious and deliberate choice not to enter this year. (Then I had a miserable winter and didn’t get anything accomplished, so thanks Past Me for somehow knowing I wouldn’t have anything to enter anyhow.)

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HG Kitty and a still empty hall

We had 9 pentathlon entrants, which considering I was one of three and one of four adult entries in my two attempts seemed like a lot of pent entrants. This year each pent entrant was assigned a previous winner as a mentor to bounce questions off of (or in my case, to bother my entrant with questions about her progress). For some, it was probably entirely irrelevant if they were well familiar with pent and KA&S, I would think that for those entering for the first time, it would have been awesome. I know /I/ would have welcomed a mentor to keep me on track in that crazy last week or so when I was entering. There’s something far less intimidating about asking a single person who has agreed to be helpful stupid questions rather than posting stupid questions online. Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer to keep my stupid questions fairly well contained.

With that many pent entrants, the other entrants were a little thin on the ground numbers wise. As always, the quality of entries just blows me away. A&S is so often done at the kitchen table, in the work room, the basement. Some of us are fortunate to have portable projects (or forcibly make our projects portable), but the vast majority do not travel well at intermediate states, so there’s no preview of what folks are up to. (Other than, of course, some of us who overshare on social media. I’m pretty sure some folks out there know my projects better than I do.)

I will say that there was copious amounts of quality, but for me.. no one piece stood out as ‘wow, I can’t /even/ on how.. what.. I got nothing man’. Some of that is purely that I’ve now got a good handle of what to expect out of the artisans of this Kingdom, and I’m sorry to say, but you guys have set the ‘mind blowing’ bar really high. Some of that is that my own skills have evolved to where I can go ‘I see how that goes together. I mean, I cant /do/ it, but I know where to start (20 yrs ago would help), so I can admire your skill properly’. Which is WAY better for appreciation, but a little less on mind blowing. I prefer that, actually, if the truth be told. I would far rather appreciate the skill and talent with a level of comprehension rather than just be slack jawed mystified.

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Kitties hanging out on Magestra Nicolaa’s table

It did, however, have the usual effect that A&S events have upon me. It was more subtle this time (possibly the screaming my joints were doing drowned it out a bit), so I didnt feel the hum of creativity while I was there. Afterwards, however? The next day? Even now, four days later, The List is on fire, and the ‘omg, I wanna try!’ is strong. The plans for fian, or next year, or the year after are thick and plentiful. The glorious and delicious bit of project planning, when anything is yet possible, and there’s no ‘middle third’ slog yet weighing upon you. When you’re like ‘oh yeah, I can TOTALLY fit 5 yrs worth of projects into six months, and whip up a new late period outfit by the weekend!’. That is the magic of A&S events.

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Lace, totally in the slog portion

And then the reality of deadlines crashes down, and you sit at the lace pillow and count up the repeats left to go (118 as of posting) and you content yourself with just writing down all of those wonderful plans for /later/. June perhaps. Just in time to think of a QPT project.

Slow string

Most (some?) people have heard of the ‘slow food movement’, but I am pretty sure that I not only fall into that one, but also the slow string movement. (Also the just plain slow movement, but that’s a whole different conversation.)

Nearly all of what I’m actively working on currently are destined to be anywhere from dozens and dozens of hours, to hundreds of hours. Nothing in my life moves quickly, which is fine all in all, except when you have a deadline. (NB: I have no hard deadlines. No one is waiting on either of these, they are not destined for any specific competition. I have a soft deadline on one, but life will go on if it doesn’t make it.)

I’m working on a super simple bobbin lace pattern, which makes it ‘fast’. Fast being defined, in this instance as ‘almost an inch an hour!’. I only want about a yard and a half, so this one is more in the ‘dozen and dozens’ rather than hundreds of hours. 2017-03-14 13.47.02

I am INCHES further than that picture, but as it all largely looks the same, I didn’t think you’d mind an old photo. This one has a soft deadline in that it would be lovely to have some of my own lace somewhere on my outfit at my investiture. I am such a process person that my life is full of samples and tidbits and experiments and very little in the way of finished objects. Those tend to be for gifts and are, well, gifted away. I don’t really need much, and it’s not the end of the world if its not done, but it would be nice.

The other piece I’m working on is entirely self indulgent. The only reason (ha!) it tags along places is because it’s portable, and it was to be my ‘I get to work on whatever!’ piece of no A&S deadline celebration, and well.. I should be working on other things. It’s by no means a secret project, exactly, except that I am wholly and utterly shy about showing it to people. (Clearly posting it to the internet is fine though? Brains make no sense.) It’s as if I expect some sort of HA Embroidery police to be channeled through anyone I show it to who will find all of the (many many) flaws in it and tell me so in (another) episode of Embroidery Jeopardy. The thread is my own handspun silk singles, which has a bunch of quirks (and provides to me really clear understanding of how uneven my spinning is), and I bought the pattern for the coif at Pennsic last year. Still, the colour makes me happy, and I’m hoping once I’m further, some of the shy will wear off. (And if everyone else hates it? Well tough.)  I only work on it at lunch hours, so it isn’t going to be finished anytime soon. (Which is fine, I’ve nothing to wear with it anyhow.)


I clearly need to add something knit from bulky yarn (ha! Like I own bulky yarn) to offset these.


Wow, it’s been a long and crappy winter. Nothing dire, but generally a whole lot of nothing on the creative side of life while everything else got sorted out. If I’m going to be perfectly honest, there wasn’t a whole lot of good interesting work happening before that either. Some puttering, playing around, failed projects. All of which adds to base skill (and certainly to one’s humility when you fix yet another project with scissors), but doesn’t make for much in the way of blog posts.


Silk with weld, weld/indigo and indigo

Cue winter finally starting to give clues that it’s easing up. Cue some health issues settling themselves out. (Persistent pain is terrible for one’s creative brain. If you’re a chronic pain person, cut yourself some slack.) Cue the annual panic that comes about a month before Kingdom A&S.


I want this warp done!

But wait! I’m not entering this year! I’m last year’s A&S Champion, and I gave myself a year off. I can kick back and eat bonbons! (And judge ALL THE THINGS). Somehow, however, reading about everyone getting excited and posting their projects in progress reminded me about this final push and there was some conversation with friends about projects. And some acceptance that a big project was dead. (Fix it with scissors! The materials are salvagable, it was a big ‘now you know to never do that to a warp again’ lesson.) And Practicum. A&S focused events can’t HELP but inspire, the creative energy oozes through the whole building.


Brickwork experiment

So the dyepots came out. And the silk I bought in the fall got dug out (Silk! Untouched and ignored for months! A sure sign that winter had won.) A ‘I’d like to try’ embroidery project got started. The Big Scary Embroidery project took a Big Scary Step. I finished a hat that only needed ties, I decided I wanted to DO things again. It was lovely to DO things!


Big Scary Embroidery(tm)

Hello again, Muse. I’ve missed you. Please do stay a while this time. I hear you’ve been off with the bards, I hope you had a lovely time.