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29 August 2015 @ 07:39 pm
Back when I first started doing hand-sewing and embroidery I always took my sewing to classes, meetings, bardic circles, parties, etc. As a result I am conditioned to sew while my brain is busy listening to things or participating in conversation, or something. Unless I am in a really difficult part of a project that takes 100% focus to figure out how to do what needs doing, I pretty much don't sew unless I have company.

My current major progress is a cloak for the Norrskensbard, and as such it needs to be done by mid November, when we hold Norrskensfest and the competition to choose the first Norrskensbard. This being a large project I have been doing the applique by standing* at the kitchen table, with the cloak spread out flat across it. However, this means that I have had to work on the project in solitude for much of the time, since if lord_kjar and I are both home and it is one of those rare occasions we aren't working on a project together, then he is likely at the computer in the office working on things there (often whilst watching cartoons or educational videos on youtube.

With smaller sewing projects I can sit next to him on the recliner while he works and make progress sewing, but the cloak is not a good lap-project if I want the applique to go well. Therefore this morning we made yet another raise-lower table by cutting down one of the large curved desk tops into a smaller rectangle and adding the legs. It is now just big enough to be in the area between the computers and the garb & fabric closets, so I can have company whilst I sew.

Not that we've had time to test this yet, as he is working on building a thing to compress cut grass from the field to make a better/larger archery target then the first prototype he did a few days ago. I helped, until I managed to fail an intelligence test and get hit in the head by a block of wood tossed by a circular saw, and decided to go harvest some more nettles for drying instead. They are now in the dehydrator, and I have updated the world on how things are going (pretty good over all, and the bump on my head doesn't even hurt, since the blood was able to get out, so it isn't bruised), so now I will go check to see how his project is coming...

*we got quite a few raise-lower desks when a local business was throwing them out, so we put one of the pairs of legs onto the kitchen table so that the work surface could be any height we want it to be at a given moment.
28 August 2015 @ 01:59 am
It is actually dark out there. It is 02:00, I am just home from a walk, and I can report that not only did the sun set, it did so completely enough to cause darkness...
Some weeks back I got a FB message from a lady in the Shire of Gyllangran (Sundsvall, Sweden) asking if I would like to teach an embroidery class at their Glöta event in October. They are only six hours drive south of us, yet, somehow I have never made it to an event in that shire, so, of course, I said yes. The event happens while my mother will be here, so it is also a good excuse to take her on a road trip to see the prettiest part of the Swedish coast, which is between Umeå and Sundsvall.

Today I got another message from her, asking if I would be interested in seeing the Högom find while I was in town--apparently it is at the museum there. YES! Of course I am. I first read the book about it back when I was still living in Fairbanks (late 1990's). At the time I was working on my Master's in Geology, and found it difficult to read the published geology papers I needed for my own research, as they always put me to sleep. This book, on the other hand, I read cover to cover when I took it out from the Uni library, because it was so fascinating.

That year the university offered a Medieval History class for the first time in ages, and I signed up for it, since I had already completed all of my required geology courses for my degree. The class, of course, required that we write a paper, so I did mine on clothing, and this book was one of my main sources. I was so fascinated by the really complicated seams (two rows each of tailor's stitch and blanket stitch) depicted in the book that I did a small example seam on some scrap fabric, and sewed it to one of the pages of my paper as a figure. My teacher liked the paper so much, she asked if she could keep it (I said yes).

So, today she writes to me and says that she knows one of the archaeologists at the museum, and she can ask if we can get a behind the scenes tour and actually look at the find. I so hope that the archaeologist says yes! Of course, even if they don't have time/energy to deal with textile geeks who want a closer look, even seeing the "for the public" display sounds really really cool. Now I need only convince lord_kjar that he wants to take that Friday off of work, so we can drive south on Thursday, so that we have Friday available for museum stuff without any stress or worry...

In other cool news--I have made a good start on the Norrskensbard Cloak, and lord_kjar cut some grass from our field with a scythe to make an archery target, because he thought we needed one.
Ok, so I am rounding by 1.5 years years yet, but the photo taken of me at the event this weekend doesn't look to my eyes that I am really as old as the calendar claims I am:


This, not surprisingly, pleases me.

I also like how the dress came out. Still needs a few more beads on the sleeves, but other than that it is done.

Photo credits: Uladzislau Iwanou, who bought a camera good enough to take photos of spiders, but it works well for people, too.
23 August 2015 @ 01:16 pm
This weekend we attend our first event in the Barony of Aarnimetsä, in the canton of Kaarnemaa (Oulu, Finland). The site was a lovely cabin in the forest, on a beach, and while the building is glaringly modern, it is the onlt modern thing in the area--the rest is trees, beach sand, and lightly salty water.

The event was much fun--there were somewhere around twenty of us on site, more than half locals, but a few travellers. We two were the only ones from Frostheim, but the Baron and Baroness and a few others came up from southern Sweden.

One of the guys on site is a boy from Belarus who is studying spider genetics at the Uni there. He had done lots of Medieval reenactment back home, and was glad to have found the local SCA, though he is still a bit skeptical about the "Kingdoms" thing, and about mixing time periods at one event. He taught some bransles, one of which (Hermits) I hadn't seen before.

Most of the people on site, but not all, were fluent in English, which is good as our Finnish course doesn't begin till October. Durring the feast I read aloud the story of the first SCA event, written by Dorthea, who was once (or more than once?) Bard of the Mists. The Herald did translation/interpretation for me. I let him read the text first, then I read out the story, with pauses every few sentences for him to say it in Finnish. The story was well received.

Many people expressed interest in my hammer dulcimer, and I learned that they happen to be the national instrument of Belarus.

All in all it was a fun event, and I will certainly travel over for their events again--it is only a three hour drive (four if you count the hour time change). Several of them expressed interest in coming over to Frostheim for Norrskenfest. I hope they do.
16 August 2015 @ 07:44 pm
There not being many airlines that fly to Luleå, we tend to fly the Swedish based SAS flights, which is how I got to Prague this weekend.

However, the Uni travel agent booked me with Norwegian for the return trip. When I went to check in for my flight last night I was a little skeptical--it took quite a bit of poking around on there wen page before I could figure out how to do it, and they hadn't sent an email or sms letting me know it was even possible, let alone how. (SAS always sends a message as soon as it becomes possible to check in, and their web page has a "check in" button prominently displayed on their home page).

However, now that I am on the plane, enjoying free wifi, I am rather pleased wirh the airline. If SAS has free wifi on their flights they haven't mentioned it in my hearing.

In other news, day two of the workshop wad very interesting and useful. This morning's rain, which took the edge off of the heat was very welcome, and I was amused to see one of my colleagues getting off this plane on her way to the conference as I waited to board.

Edited to add: They may not have sent me a message letting me know I could check in on line, but they did send an SMS welcoming me on board, letting me know which gate (well only for the second flight, the first sms said only to check the monitor for gate info), and the fact that I would find free wifi on board.
15 August 2015 @ 08:45 pm
The workshop for which I flew to Prague is a "how to" for the program iolite, which was created to take data with a time-stamp (like a laser-ablation ICP-MS system like I am now managing) and "reduce it". Today we learned how to manually look at the graphs of the data and tell the program which "peaks" are from analyses of standard reference materials (and which standard reference material), which are from analyses of the unknowns, and which bits of data are the "background" noise that exists when there is no sample flowing through the system at all.

Then he showed us how to automate these tasks for large data sets, and begun showing us how and when to use some of the many built-in "data reduction schemes", with hints as to how to develop our own. In theory I could have learned the same thing by reading the manual, but I also strongly suspect that attending this course is a MUCH faster way to learn the same information, so it is totally worth flying over here, even if it means missing out on a lovely summer weekend at home.

The class was scheduled to run to 17:00, but we wound up breaking a bit earlier than that, since most of us were looking pretty vacant that late in the day--it could have been only information overload, but I suspect that the heat, which had been building in the classroom all day, was also a factor.

Tomorrow we are scheduled to go only till 15:00, and I need to leave a bit before then no matter what, as my flight is at 16:55, and the taxi web page says I should be picked up two hours before my flight.

In other news: when I was a little kid I desperately wanted to sleep in a hammock, just like Gilligan and the others. However, in all these years an opportunity hasn't presented itself, till this trip. Here, the guest bed is a hammock. My child-self would be so pleased. I wish there was a way to tell her that she got her wish.
15 August 2015 @ 07:47 am
I am pleased to report that despite the heat here in Prague I still managed this morning to do day 23 of the 30 day fit app I downloaded (23 days ago). It is hard to voluntarily do something that makes me sweat in the first place, so doing it here, where the temps only cooled down to the mid-20's C makes me feel smug.

I am also wishing I was home, where the night time low was 6 C, which sounds ever so much nicer to me. Oh well, the workshop should be useful, and I fly home tomorrow directly after class. A couple of warm days shouldn't kill me.
14 August 2015 @ 08:25 pm
When I first got off the plane in Prague the heat didn't feel *that* bad. Sure, the guy in front of my said something like "holy shit!" when it hit him, but since I had dressed for the expected heat and didn't add any layers during the flight my body was kind of cold when we landed, so I coped just fine with the walk from the plane to the bus, from the bus to the terminal, and from the terminal to the airport bus to the city center (Note: one does need Czech cash to buy tickets on the bus--go ahead and stop at the ATM on your way out of the building, or you will need to go back in for it.)

Sadly, in my pre-trip research I failed to think about the all important question "on which side of the city is the airport?". Therefore, I didn't realize when I sat down on the right hand side of the bus that it would be the sunny side for the whole way in. I took my spare shirt and held it between me and the window for the whole drive, but still, 35 C is brutal hot when sitting in a hot bus with nothing for shade save a light weight cotton shirt.

By the time we got to town and I met up with clovis_t my shirt was quite wet from sweat. We met inside the metro station, where, being under ground, the temperature is much nicer, and bought me a three-day pass for all the buses, trams, and metro lines. Then we took a tram out to the Birkenstock shop, where the proprietor spoke nearly no English. She had just enough to explain that replacing my sandals (which are in rather bad shape from years of use) was possible, but not in black (what I had on me). I managed to convince her that I wanted a wider pair than last time (I have been wearing Birkenstock, size 40, for many, many years, but last time I needed some was right after moving to Sweden, and there is no Birkenstock shop here, so I ordered a pair on line, and accidentally wound up with a slightly different model, a "narrow" pair, which mostly fit my feet, but also caused an unpleasant ridge to form on my little toe from crowding it up against its neighbors. The "normal" width I found today feels *much* better already--width matters, even in sandals. Sadly, by "not black" she meant "dark brown straps with bright blue rubber sole under the cork. I am so not going to lose these, nor mistake them for any other pair of Birks I have ever seen in Sweden. But comfort matters more than looks, so I will cope.

After a hint of sight seeing we came back to his apartment and have been hanging out. I baked a Swedish oven pancake for dinner, and clovis_t agreed that it is, in fact, as yummy to him as I expected it would be. Now I have left over pancake to take with me to class tomorrow and Sunday.

I will be sleeping in the guest-hammock. I hope that it cools down enough to make it possible to get a good night's rest before heading to the workshop.