Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pennsic XXXIX

The most intimidating person I have ever met was my college Hebrew teacher. She stood all of 4'10", and was a sweet, grandmotherly woman with nothing but tender concern for her students. She was also utterly terrifying. One day I overslept and missed class - then skipped for another week because I was scared to go back. I'm not sure what would have happened, but a friend who was a year ahead of me realized exactly what I was doing, and told me I just need to jump in again.

The blog is a lot like that, without the terrifying part. I keep coming up with grand plans to catch up, but have realized that I should just jump in and pick up again. And so -

We went to Pennsic again this year. This was my ninth Pennsic - it seems like more, but I only had eight banners to hang on the tent.

Somehow, the preparations are getting easier. I've had these banners for years, but this was the first time I got them all finished so I could hang them. There weren't any seriously frantic last-minute projects. We had space left over in the car when we packed.

We even had time to make a stop on the way - at Grandpa's Cheese Barn in Ashland, Ohio. It was a tourist trap, but a tasty one - the provisions we picked up here nicely filled out our food supplies for the week. I think next year it will be a planned stop - maybe in both directions.

This was the first year I didn't see a single battle at Pennsic. In part, that was because I had to leave early to get home for a work meeting. In part, that was because it was really stinkin' hot and humid. But mostly, it was because there was too much fun stuff going on to spend time watching other people have fun.

One of the neatest textile things was this demonstration of silk reeling on Artisans' Row. This apparatus is based on a 16th-century silk reel, and the woman using it raises her own silkworms. She has a lovely blog devoted to all things buggy and silky.

This was the first time I'd been at a Pennsic with an Artisans' Row, and it was great. They had three tents set up as work space - each day, there was a vague theme for each tent, and people could come and teach and learn and work and show off and just have a good time. There were several fiber days, including one devoted to socks (lots of knitters here working on all sorts of things, not just socks).

I used the sock day as an excuse to start a pair of Pre-Literate Stockings. They don't look like much yet, but eventually I'll have a pair of toasty warm socks to wear at events. There was a great class on obscure knitting tools, and while I just caught the end of it I learned how to use a knitting pin to do Portuguese knitting. I've been switching back and forth on these stockings, and not getting any difference in tension. Right now, I seem to knit about as fast Portuguese-style as I do English-style, so I suspect that once I have some practice the Portuguese method will be considerably faster.

Artisans' Row also hosted a narrow-wares day, so after teaching two classes on fingerloop braids, I was able to share leftover handouts and supplies there. This is the absolute best site for learning about fingerloop braids. The authors have done all sorts of great research - although a lot of people say it's easier to learn hands-on. So I really liked having Artisans' Row.

The single coolest thing I bought - possibly from any Pennsic ever - was this set of veil pins from Acanthus Leaf Designs. These are perfect, spot-on copies of pins found in London. I was so excited when I saw them - and the maker was excited when she saw I was excited - so it was an exciting shopping trip!

I also bought a beautiful Turkish spindle from The Spanish Peacock,

And some dyed roving from Feeling Sheepish. It's going to be perfect for trying out my new spinning wheel.

"Spinning wheel? What? You have a spinning wheel?!?"

Yep. Aaron got me a spinning wheel for my birthday. So see, I have a lot of catching up to do.


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