Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Finished objects!

Having just finished my third project for the year, it occurred to me that perhaps I ought to post about them. Crazy, right? So, in order of finishing:

Garters for the Viscount. There came a point before the tournament where I realized that I could finish the handkerchief well or on time, but not both. Consequently, I made him a pair of garters to wear as a favour in the meantime.

PLAID! More than two yards of it, in fact. It would have been about a foot longer, but one of the warp threads frayed and was threatening to snap. I was so close to the end of the warp that it didn't really seem worth the effort of fixing it, so I cut it free and called it good. I'm really, really pleased with how this turned out. Admittedly one of the selvedges is a bit wonky, but I know exactly why and can fix it. (Turns out that putting paper in between the layers of warp to maintain even tension is REALLY IMPORTANT.)

Finally, a knuckle sandwich.

I mean, a pair of hobo gloves for my mother! :D The main part is the leftovers from the cardigan I knit for wee Ned more than a year ago now. I used every scrap I had left, and then knit the cuffs in some mystery yarn I received in a swap. It's hand-dyed and very soft and wool. Apart from that, no idea. For the record, both shades of yarn are a very orangey red/scarlet, not pink in the slightest.

Friday, 21 February 2014

The naming of Things

One of my more obscure hobbies (and yes, I realize how obscure that is) is researching the history of names. Specifically, names that are recorded in written documents from before 1600. The SCA has its own College of Heralds that registers names and devices, and I am one of them. A herald, that is, not a name or a device. Devices are fun, but names are the Best Ever. For example, did you know that there was a man named Daczibogius enrolled in the University of Kraków in the 15th century?

 The tricky part of creating an appropriate name is that it has to be something a medieval person could plausibly have been named, down to the original spelling. This means trawling through original documents to compile lists of such names, including dates and places of origin. Unsurprisingly, most people don't really get into it, although I think it's a tremendous amount of fun. To save them the effort, those of us who like names write summary articles that are then sorted by place of origin.

Mistress P set me the task of creating an index of all the articles I've written. And since I just finished a new one today, it seemed like the perfect time to get one with that. Consequently, you'll see there is a new widget in my sidebar. There are only five so far, but I'm working on several more...

Thursday, 13 February 2014


Sometimes I feel the uncontrollable urge to work on a particular project. Annoyingly, this urge often strikes when I'm supposed to be working on something else. Case in point - last night I abandoned my sock yarn scraps in favour of a weaving project, because PLAID.


How was I supposed to put that down? It's all stripey and colourful and quick!

Who knows? Maybe instead of an empty scrap bag I'll have an empty loom at the end of the Olympics.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A digression of Olympic proportions

 A post that has nothing to do with the SCA! Huzzah!

The Winter Olympics are taking place at the moment. That means attempting a project of some sort that will be a challenge to complete within that period of time. Usually I work like crazy on finishing as many WIPs as possible. This year, however, I want to make progress on my very oldest WIP - the sock yarn granny square blanket.

I started this blanket way back in December of 2010. It was never going to be finished quickly. The whole point of it was to give me a way to use up scraps of sock yarn so that they didn't overwhelm my stash.

Yeah. That's worked not so well. This is approximately 450g of sock yarn. In other words, enough to knit about 8 full pairs of socks.

So my challenge for these Olympic Games is to work through as much as possible of this yarn. Mostly that means making more blanket squares. The cobalt blue yarn is destined to become a pair of garters for a friend, and the lobster-coloured Jitterbug is going to be a pair of fingerless gloves for my mother. Finally, I'll be joining squares to the blanket as I go along, so that I don't end up making all these squares and not being able to attach them!

Done so far:
- 4 black squares (yarn used up)
- 5 yellow squares (yarn used up)
- 11 dark green squares (yarn used up)

Once I get the ends sewn in on this lot, I'll be attaching a row to the blanket.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

In which I indulge in a spot of navel-gazing

(No crafting content contained herein, so probably not worth reading if you're just here for the fiber porn.)

We didn't win Coronet tournament. Mistress P. asked me how I'd found the whole experience, and I realized that I was experiencing a great many conflicting emotions about it. Context first, though.

The Spouse doesn't do armoured combat. I did briefly, but health problems meant that I couldn't continue. Consequently, I had never anticipated entering a tournament, either as fighter or consort. I am the sort of person who needs a long time to get used to the idea of a thing before it becomes reality. November to February wasn't really long enough for me to get to grips with the thought of potentially being Princess.

Of course, there were two major things going on, one of which I hadn't really even considered. The first was obviously what it would mean to be Princess if we won. The second, and the one that turned out to be more important AND more difficult, was what it would mean to be the Viscount's consort.

The thing that I hadn't realized is that being a consort is an all-the-time deal. One is a consort at the tournament, of course, but also at events generally, and even outside of the Society. That's hard. Really hard. I'm very used to being able to just get on with things, either alone or with the people I usually spend time with. To suddenly have to rethink what I did at events to involve a new person was very strange. The Viscount is a dear friend, but we each have our own social circle. They don't overlap. Finding a balance between the two is challenging.

I also came to realize this weekend that, as close as we are, I don't actually know him all that well. I'm told that chiefest of the duties of the consort is to make sure that the fighter has his/her head in the game while fighting. I don't know how to do that. I'm sure that I'll learn in time, but I don't think I was able to give adequate support this weekend. It was the first time I'd ever seen him fight - even if I'd known him well enough, I couldn't have told whether he was fighting at his peak.

Practical support (food, water, things like that) was something I knew that I could do. Turned out, though, that consorts don't fetch and carry during tournaments. They sit. They watch.

(They freeze sitting outdoors in the snow, but that's another issue entirely!)

I am not a sit-and-watch sort of a person. Cold aside, the two hours I spent watching that tournament were among the most unpleasant I've ever endured in the Society. It was awful not being able to help. It was even worse having people fetching and carrying on my behalf, doing the jobs I felt I should have been doing.

I was disappointed to have lost, of course, but as the day moved forward I realized that all of that disappointment was on behalf of the Viscount. For myself, I felt relief. I didn't have to give up the Principality's newsletter. I didn't have to give up being a Kingdom Herald. I didn't have to stop cooking and serving feasts. I didn't have to postpone my plans to enter the Kingdom Artisan competition. I didn't have to spend the next nine months of my life abandoning all the things I love best about the SCA in order to have people wait on me.

And I know that that's not all there is to being Princess. A few hours later, I finally got to the point where I'd accepted what being a consort meant, what being Princess would have meant. Enough time had passed that I'd come to terms with it. And in November, I think I'll be disappointed for myself too if we lost. But this weekend, the outgoing Prince came to find me because the Coronet didn't fit the incoming Prince, and he just knew I'd be able to sort it out before Court. And you know what? I did. And as I did, standing behind the scenes, fixing crises to make the magic happen, I felt like I was in the right place.

I will learn to be a good consort. And I will stand beside the Viscount until I have served my Principality as its Princess. And then I think I'll be done with the whole business. It's not for me.