Pennsic Recap

Let’s address the big sweaty elephant in the room first. The weather was sub-optimal. I’ve been at hot Pennsics before but I’ve never been to one that was hot and humid. (Someone cheekily described this year as Permadamp Pennsic.) I have never been damp for an entire week.

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Wiping the sweat off my face

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the first year that I had both a hotel room and a tent onsite with the Barony of Stierbach.

Baron and Baroness of Stierbach

Baron and Baroness of Stierbach

Neighbors Anastasiia and Oswin

Neighbors Anastasiia and Oswin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had an idea that I would sleep onsite sometimes. Ha-ha. Nope. I was able to last about 8 hours a day onsite and not even that towards the end of the week. I felt like a wimp but seriously, could not cope. I never made it Atlantian Royal to see the Artisans Easement. I didn’t make it to a single court. I barely had the stamina to shop, which is a shame because Pennsic shopping is awesome!

I did get around to buying stuff I could not make myself…socks and brooches. Also, a lovely plate from Eadric the Potter. Something that I could make but I don’t want to is a men’s Viking tunic from the Hooded Hare. I’d never been in the shop before and I can say that it’s some of the best value for the money at Pennsic. If you calculate the price for the linen and trim alone, it’s not worth the sewing time to make a Viking tunic for my husband. I bought fabric, too, but not nearly the amount I have in the past. 96 District got most of my money.

Alfrun Ketta's Class

Alfrun Ketta’s Class

I usually spend a lot of time at University taking classes but the heat was so unbearable that I could not endure an hour or two sitting under a canvas tent. I did make it to two classes on Viking garb. One was “Live Like a Viking to Dress Like a Viking,” taught by Vicountess Isgerdor Gulkarr, who had done a stint with some living history folks overseas. The other was “Deeper Look at Textiles & Trim of Viking Age Dress” taught by my friend Alfrun Ketta. It was her new class on how to choose the right fabrics for Viking garb. It went really well. It was Viking, so of course way more folks showed up than was anticipated…I counted 45. The class had to be moved to a larger tent. I’d never seen so many people care about choosing the right fabric. It gives me hope that people are caring more about authenticity.

 

Most of my university interaction was teaching three classes and hosting a roundtable. Two of my classes were on Viking purses. They were make-and-takes. I planned for 8 students per class. 48 people showed up for the first class!

First Viking Class

First Viking Class – photo by Amy Mcallister

Given the response on the Viking FB group that I’m part of, I had planned for this. I brought 100 sets of purse handles to Pennsic and I put all the directions online. So, even if folks didn’t get into the class, they went away with handles and access to instructions. My second Viking class was at Southwind. Fewer students made the trek to this class but it was still overbooked. (Southwind has a lovely setup for giving classes, BTW.) My friend, John, for whom this was his first Pennsic, showed up to take photos.

 

 

Viking Purse Class in Southwind

Viking Purse Class in Southwind

My third class was teaching the three pouchlet German bag. Though it was less popular than the Viking classes, there were still more people who showed up than I had kits for. My friend Claudia found some nice quality leather from an onsite vendor, so she went home with the real deal in materials. For the roundtable, only one person showed up but I imagine that was due to the heat.

 

My overall thoughts about University is that I signed up to teach too many classes. At this time, I think I’ll only teach one class next year, which will be a lecture on German dressing from the skin out, if there’s any interest. I’m done teaching make-and-takes for a while. The prep work is brutal.

The highlights of this Pennsic were Basil running (and finishing!) the half-marathon, Jenn Culler’s vigil, the A&S Display, and the A&S War Point. Basil running the half-marathon is pretty much self-explanatory. However, the circumstances that the runners overcame were tremendous. Brutal heat and oversized gravel on the roads made the race very difficult. Only 14 people finished. (I don’t know how many started.) To put that number into perspective, over 10,800 people attended Pennsic this year.

Basil runs the half marathon

Basil runs the half marathon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jenn Culler’s vigil was all kinds of awesome. Glynnis played the harp. Everyone took a turn at the loom weaving Jenn’s cloak. There was a nice buffet and drinks. The vigil tent was gorgeous inside.

Talking to Elf in the vigil tent

Talking to Elf in the vigil tent

The weather was somewhat cooler since it was in the evening. The lighting and decorations were amazing. And of course, Jenn’s elevation was way overdue so everyone was really happy to participate.

Me and Karin at the vigil

Me and Karin at the vigil

Signy weaving at the vigil

Signy weaving at the vigil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My small contribution to Jenn’s elevation was hemming Jenn’s wool apron dress and with help from Signy, finishing the seams.

Me and Signy working on the elevation dress

Me and Signy working on the elevation dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

The A&S Display on Sunday and the A&S War Point were two sides of the same coin. It’s all A&S! The A&S Display at Pennsic every year is the main draw for me. As Kaleeb says, it’s great to show your own projects, no matter how strange they are, because inevitably someone will come to the display and understand what you were trying to do. So many of us work away in relative isolation.

A&S Display on Sunday

A&S Display on Sunday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pennsic provides us the opportunity to meet others with the same interests and perhaps learn a thing or two. The A&S War Point was a subset of the A&S Display, with some additional entries added in. This is only the second year that there was an A&S War Point.

A&S War Point

Me at A&S War Point Set-Up – Photo by Barbara Stickley Miller

 

 

 

 

 

 

The A&S Champions for the Kingdoms and their allies displayed projects. There were about 30 of us and the level of quality was very high. My only disappointment is that there were very few garb projects this year at either the Display or the War Point. I know that the popularity of garb waxes and wanes from year to year. It seems that we are definitely in a fallow period right now. I do want to mention that the hands-down best display at the War Point was a person who showed their German woodcuts. Oh…my…lord! That was beautiful stuff.

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German Woodcuts

 

 

What regrets do I have this year? I never made it to the archery range. But there’s always next year!

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Baronial Birthday Hat Class and Largesse

Yesterday was Stierbach Baronial Birthday. It was a glorious day. Lots of A&S and Archery to be had. I taught a Tudor Bonnet Hat Class. Below is a photo of one of my students.

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Kate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got a little archery in.

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Archery in Landsknecht

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this was my entry into the Dirty Dozen Largesse Competition.

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12 Silk Bags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, I won the hat competition with a project I hand-sewed at Pennsic a few years ago but I’ve never worn or displayed.

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Landsknecht Hat – Wool, Silk, Maribou feathers

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The Underside

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Service Project for June – Largesse for Baronial Birthday

Today I’m working on silk purses for largesse for Baronial Birthday.

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Silk Pouches

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New Landsknecht Hosen

I made a pair of Landsknecht hosen today to wear on the archery field instead of having to wear a dress. I used Genoveva von Lübeck‘s directions. I used fustian for the unterhosen and fulled wool for the outside. The inspiration image is from Marion McNealy‘s German woodcut book. I love the bows! I probably won’t wear the big hat because it would interfere with pulling the bow. There are many things I will fix on the next pair. This pair was more or less a proof of concept.

Landsknecht Hosen - Front

Landsknecht Hosen – Front

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Tudor Bonnet Make-n-Take Class Posted

To find my new class, go to this link: https://amiesparrow.wordpress.com/articles-classes/tudor-bonnet/

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April 2016 Service Projects (Part 1) – Buttons and Teaching, Oh My!

Because of my job, I don’t have the bandwidth to organize activities anymore because I can be summoned at a moment’s notice to work on the weekend. So, most of my service work is done by teaching or making largesse (gifts that people can give other people). This month’s largesse was buttons! I know. Right now you’re thinking, “Buttons? Why are buttons a big deal?” If you’re not a re-enactor, this is a perfectly good question to ask. Just think of it in terms of the old formula, “Time = Money.” Handmade buttons take a lot of time to make. They lend authenticity to garments. When someone gives you handmade cloth buttons, they’re handing you hours of their time. And why are handmade buttons a good craft for a busy person? Because it’s a small, portable project that you can take out of your purse and work on in moments when you can’t do anything else…like when it takes your computer 20 minutes to boot up a work.

Handmade Buttons

Handmade Buttons for Coronation Largesse

My second service project this month was teaching a class on how to make a three-pouchlette German bag. This was a test teach at Isenfir’s Gemlutlichplaz event…where is snowed…in Charlottesville. Happily, the class was moved to an indoor location in a beautiful lodge with a roaring fire. There were five ladies and one gent in the class, which was a test-teach for Pennsic. Right now you’re thinking, “What’s a test teach?” If you’re not a teacher, this is a perfectly good question to ask. Generally, when a teacher is trying to work the bugs out of an arts & crafts class, she does a test teach. For mine, I try not to charge any money for these classes because I don’t know how they’re going to work out. It’s one thing to make something yourself. It’s another thing entirely to teach the skill to someone else. Most times, the classes work out. Sometimes they don’t. Fortunately, this class worked out just fine.

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Kendra, Azza

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Ragna, Tessa

The purses should be made in leather but the class was given using heavy felted wool, which is a good analogy. The added benefit of teaching with wool is that it’s a far less stabby proposition then trying to teach someone how to make an object in leather, which requires greater hand strength and sharper tools.

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Vanessa

The last photo is my latest clothing project for Pennsic. I’m going to try to wear German clothing every day. We’ll see how the weather goes.

Landskencht, April 2016

Italian-ish Landskencht, April 2016

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Defending the Gate 2016

Here are some photos from yesterday’s event. Left to right: Esperanza, Amie, Anastaasia, Genefe. We were trying to recreate a photo taken four years ago!

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Esperanza, Amie, Anastaasia, Genefe

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