Jack of all trades

I joke often that focus is something that happens to other people, and it’s not wholly wrong. I mean, I do focus to some degree. I’m not much for things outside string. Except for brewing, and baking and soap. And dyework, which is at least basically brewing with string, so we’re back in the same neighbourhood at least.


Heddle string needing untangling

It’s a pretty big neighbourhood, however. Spinning and knitting and lace and weaving and embroidering.. any one of those could be a lifetime’s worth of research and projects. I lament periodically that I don’t pick one of those and devote myself to that lifetime of research and projects. If I did.. if I had, I’d be more of an expert in a single field these days. I’d probably have some toe dipped into the wider community of my choice and not just admire the potential in Convergence, and IOLI and various local textile initiatives doing more indepth research.

But I didn’t, and more importantly, I’m not that person. I don’t focus well. I leap off to whatever has caught my wandering eye right now. (Currently tiny lace knitting that has no basis in SCA period, but is making my heart sing even while I swear at it.) I’ll get back to weaving when the whim swings back that way, and well, spinning is eternal. The basis of everything, spinning never ends. Just like I’ll never be someone who runs marathons, I’m more of a 5K kinda gal. (Okay, right now I’m more of a ‘shuffle to the coffee maker’ kinda gal, but still.), it’s not who I am, that that’s.. that’s okay.


Current tiny project in progress

As I feel it needs to be stated outright, this has nothing to do with SCA award structure and everything to do with watching friends who /do/ focus their efforts have it richly rewarded (and rightfully so) with speaking engagements and wider research potential. I’m delighted for them, and a little wistful too. They are that person, and I am not. And both are alright. I live the ‘jack of all trades’ mantra. If you need me, I’ll be over here with my spinning. Or knitting. Possibly embroidery.


Phew. November was a month of many plates being kept spinning in the air, and valiantly attempting not to let any (or all) of them land on my head. But we made it! It’s December, and while that’s rarely the time that anyone pauses and thinks ‘oh good, this will be relaxing!’, it’s better.

Part of the whirlwind was mundane RL needing copious attention for some big transitions in my extended world, but much of the whirlwind was also capping off RL excitement with a whole lot of travel and teaching.


Stuffies waiting for me to come to bed at String Thing.

First up in the travel with String Thing, a weekend long focused event held at Upper Canada Village. Awesome location, if just a smidge tight quarters for some of us who struggle with such. Still, it was a hella good time of like minded string geekery squished into a weekend. I taught beginner bobbin lace there (handout available here), and it went well! I’ve taught this class a few times, and this time got a re-work of the handout (*cough* totally not because I lost the old one.. okay I lost the old one. Found it again when the new one was 90% written. Of course.), and it felt like class flowed better than the last time I taught it. Possibly we were just all high on nice weather and good company, but I was pleased. As is an eternal theme with me, I didn’t get any pictures of class itself, my life doesn’t just need theme music, it needs to come with photographic staff, but I digress.


Rug hooking at the NS Welcome Centre!

Next up was the big exciting adventure when we headed out East for East Kingdom University and Baronial Investiture! We broke the rule so bad! (The Rule ™ is that one should never spend more time in travel than you spend at the event. We break this rule routinely, but I’m going to say that 4 days in a car for a 1 day event is a pretty epic breaking of it.) Granted, we did not go out there /only/ for an event. We went out to spend time with friends, and see a bit of the city, and enjoy the road trip with friends. Mission accomplished on all fronts! The event was a lovely bonus on a fabulous trip.

And it was a lovely event, it’s always absolutely fascinating to go to other Kingdoms and watch how their A&S fits together, and meet teachers and students utterly new to you. It generally ends with a bazillion new ideas and plans and the to do list exploding in a haze, but it’s utterly worth it.


String class involves a lot of wood.

I taught beginner drop spindling there, to my one whole student! (And an Emelote who knows how to spin just fine, but a spindle refresher didn’t go amiss for her either.) We got string! The true exciting part of learning to spin is when you get string for the first time, it makes it all seem possible. After that, it’s just practice, practice, practice. Spinning is muscle memory more than any other handwork I do, and you do not gain muscle memory by trying really hard. You gain it by doing, preferably a little bit over a long period of time. Practice, practice, practice, practice. The mantra for most things, as irritating as that reality is. It was a delightful day of chatting with friends, making new friends and trying not to be toooo disruptive to other classes or the Athena’s Thimble panel. (Seriously, I noted on FB that it’s a good thing I can’t get to many panels, or I’d throw the to-do list in the fire and just embroider forever on the fumes of enthusiasm in that room. Clearly I need to go huff with weaving fumes a while.)


Head table stuffies at Wassail

The epic whirlwind ended with Wassail, an event close to home. It always feels like the start of the holiday season, and an event full of laughter and smiles and good cheer. I hosted the inaugural A&S show and tell! We got about 8 people’s worth of stuff (some folks couldn’t stay, but sent stuff to show! Which was great!) It was a lovely way to sit and spend some time admiring what we’d either only admired on social media, or projects that haven’t hit the internet yet! It was great fun, and I hope to do more of them at other events in the future. I love seeing what other artisans are working on, that’s the crux of how I find my inspiration, so thank you all for ensuring that my to-do list won’t be empty anytime soon.

There we go, mostly caught up I think! Now I have a whole swack of projects to organize!