Practice, practice, practice

We were at Gulf Wars this year (for those unaware, it’s a large SCA event in Mississippi, which is a heck of a drive from Ealdormere. We don’t get down there very often.) Because it’s very far away, it has a different collection of people who attend, and so we get to hang out with and learn with and meet all sorts of people that we might not normally. Which is, quite frankly, amazing.

I have long dabbled in bobbin lace, before the SCA even. It was part of what brought me to the SCA and I was sure that was going to be my Thing. (Spoilers: I still dabble, its not the thing I’m known for. Let yourself be open to trying new things. You may not even have met the thing that will be Your Thing yet.) Still, I was excited to find an intermediate bobbin lace class offered. You see, here’s the thing. Beginner classes abound, for everything. They are easier to teach and well received and it’s good to offer classes to new folks. They might find their Thing! Once you’re past the beginner stage, however, the class offerings get slim. Not only does it now require a more skilled instructor, but your student pool is tiny. I am not a beginner at bobbin lace, so the beginner classes aren’t much good to me (heck, I can teach the basics, and I have!), but there’s skills I’d love to have help with.

Like tallies. They are little leaf shapes and they are the bane of most lacemakers (tallies and picots.. they are a pain in the arse, both of them). And this intermediate class was offering to talk about both! I packed a pillow, grabbed a baggie of beginner bobbins, pre-wound with giant (for bobbin lace, size 10 cotton is giant) thread and packed them off to War.

I almost didn’t go to class, there was plenty of other things going on in that slot, but I figured I’d dragged my pillow to war, I was going to use it! Unsurprisingly, I was the only student in class, and there was more than a couple questions about if I realized it was an intermediate class. Once we confirmed that I really was hoping for not the basics, it was a lovely hour of sitting under a shade on a warm sunny day talking lace. When there’s just you and the teacher, there’s instruction, but just a lot of happily geeking out. Another joy of teaching intermediate classes, you already know that you’ve got someone else there who appreciates the subject.

As an added bonus, I even got a couple good looking tallies done! The plan was to come home and practice, but that plan hasn’t survived contact with the Headcold from Hell, nor the post-War busy, but there’s an adage that the first couple hundred tallies aren’t very good, so I’ve got about 198 to go before they really settle in.

Thank you to the intermediate bobbin lace teacher at Gulf Wars, whose name I’ve managed to misplace. I, at least, appreciated a non-beginner class!

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