Monday, July 25, 2016

Archery and Ullr

I think I got my archery form better at practice yesterday, because today my triceps and rhomboids are screaming at me.  My hands are also less generically tender and more stiff and sore in that way that heralds the early formation of callouses, which is awesome.  I love the feeling of aching muscles and sore spots resulting from a good workout.

My aim was improved a bit, as well, from the previous week.  Only missed the big foam circle 3 times, got most of my arrows at least in the center line, instead of almost entirely in the top left quadrant, and even managed to get a number of scoring shots!  I'm inordinately pleased with myself for this.

Will be looking at a friend's bow to see if it will be a good fit for me.  Looking forward to having my own equipment to use, and not have to keep using loaner gear.  Having my own gear means that if I can locate a good place to do so, I can practice on my own, even when there isn't an official group practice.  (Also, if I can locate a good place to do so, Himself, who isn't involved in the SCA, can also practice with me, since he used to do archery.)

One of the other things I've been up to on this is looking into archery in early Scandinavia, and discovered references to Ullr.

Detail from the Böksta runestone in Sweden
Apparently the Vikings had a god of archery (and skiing, and probably a few other things, though the sagas and whatnot are rather supposedly sparse on information), which I'm obviously going to have to do a bit more research on.  Because reasons.  Most of them likely involving embroidery and possible carving.  I've only stumbled across a couple of references to him so far, so I can't confirm any of that yet, hence more research.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Archery, Day 1

"Gunnar strings his bow, and takes his arrows and throws them on the ground before him, and shoots as soon as ever they come within shot; by that Gunnar wounded many men, but some he slew."  The Saga of Burnt Njal  

I've been thinking about how to get this space going again for a while, but just couldn't decide how.  There's a rather ridiculous number of things I could talk about and I was having a terrible time narrowing it down.

     Until today, that is.

     Today, my friend Marietta convinced me to come to the archery practice over near me in Quintavia after this afternoon's business meeting.  I'd been thinking about checking out archery for a while, but with one thing or another I just hadn't gotten around to it.  So, sure. Why not?  I hadn't used a bow since high school, and even that was only a brief run, but I'd liked it enough back then that even my truly awful gym teacher couldn't dull my enjoyment of it.  Sadly, my family couldn't afford the cost of a bow and arrows of my own, so it got set aside as a "someday I'll pursue this further" thing.

     Sweet fishies, do I still love the feel of a bow in my hand.  My aim is tolerable (only missed the target altogether 5 or 6 times, though my ability to hit the actual bulls-eye part is... meh), even while my form is regrettable, and my muscle tone non-existent, but the sheer *joy* of shooting is still there.  The rest will come in time, because yeah, that'll be a regular thing in my life.  Now, I can afford my own equipment (and loaner gear is available while I work on acquiring my own), and great people to learn from and practice with.

     Bonus?  Archery is Period for me (Eydís Þorgrímsdóttir, or Thorgrímsdóttir when Anglicized, is a Norse woman from the early/mid-900s).  There are a few things that I do or am interested in doing, that are out of Period for me, so getting to work within my persona's actual time frame is a happy thing.

     Looking forward to getting starting down this particular road!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Weaver, Weaver, Weave Your Thread...

Continuing to learn to weave, and there's definitely improvement.

This one's about an inch or so wide (there's some minor width variation here and there) and ended up just shy of 8 feet (94 inches).  It also took about half the total time as the first band, even if I did have to rip it out and start over in the first two feet (what was supposed to be a staggered pattern somehow became a perfect checkerboard... nice looking, but not what I was going for).

Tomorrow I'm expecting a new pattern book to arrive from Amazon.  Next step to learn?  Picked up patterns.

As an amusing side thing, I signed up for the free trial thing on the other day, and discovered that my great-parents were apparently cloth dyers and weavers when they immigrated to the US from what appears to have been Galicia at the turn of the 1900's.  It would seem that weaving is in my DNA.  This amuses me.  As an extra historical bit of coolness on it?  It's very likely that they worked in the Lowell mills, which were in operation until the 1930's.  In the early 2000's, I shared an art studio with a good friend in what is now the Western Avenue Studios... one of the old textile mills that has been converted into an artist live/work location.  History cycles in interesting ways, sometimes...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My First Woven Thing!


I love that I can see how much better I got from one end to the other.

Things that have measurable progress make me exceptionally happy.  I only got one injury in the process, when I managed to cut my knuckle on the loom (clearly it required a blood-tithe), too!

Monday, February 17, 2014


Tried again, with the proper sized threads this time, and less plague-brain.  I figured I'd start with a simple striping pattern so that a.) I could clearly see where my mistakes were, and b.) to keep myself from going completely stir-crazy staring at something that didn't have some kind of pattern to it.

Learning any new thing has a learning curve, and dear gods was I fighting mine last night.  My tension was terrible.  I just could NOT figure out how to get it even and the side bumps were driving me mental.

I kept plugging, though (okay, it became personal; there may have been swearing and the occasional threat of fire), and  there was a little improvement before I threw in the proverbial towel and went to bed.

Today, though, I seem to have sorted it out and gotten then hang of it for a minute.

Definitely looking a lot better.  Also far more enjoyable, when I'm not wanting to pitch it into the river or set it on fire (or both).  I think I'm going to like this weaving thing, if I can keep up on the improvement.  :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Weaving's Easy, Right?

I decided that weaving should be A Thing.  Trim can be pricey, and let's face it, I'm picky about pattern and color.  It's just easier to learn to make my own.  At the Maker's Faire the other week, I took an inkle weaving class and fell in love.  So, I ordered my own loom.  

Of course, then I promptly got the plague, and was asleep on the couch when it showed up on Thursday.

It's very pretty, though.

It only took 5 attempts with my plague-addled brain to FINALLY get it warped...  (We will pretend that I did not manage to add three extra rows of open warping without any actual realization until I pulled the thread off when it wasn't working.)

Of course, than I discovered my next learning curve...  I now know what it looks like when it turns out that you were using two different size threads.  They *looked* the same at first!

Oh well.  All new skills require a learning curve.  I'd really rather make a lot of mistakes in the beginning, rather than start off with no problems and then be thrown for a loop later on.

Clearly, when I get over my plague, I need to take a trip to the craft store and get MATCHING thread to use.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

In Which Our Heroine Attempts To Remember How To Sew

The other week, when I finally decided that yes, I'm in fact going to rejoin the SCA, I mused on Twitter that I wanted to work on hand-sewing, but I needed an actual project.  A friend whom I hadn't realized was also my local Baroness sent me a link to a Jorvik cap (since I'd been making noises about Viking things), and suggested it might be a good starting point.

It being early enough in the day, I went shopping for some fabric.

I got extra just in case

I dug up instructions, measured and cut my cap out, did some research on period stitches, and started sewing.  Halfway through I realized that the measurements I used were too small for me, so I tracked down instructions that said how to make specific sizing.  Cut out a new one, and started sewing.

I'm starting to feel like Goldilocks, here.  This one is a bit too big.  

Third time's the charm, right?

Oh well, at least my stitches don't look that awful, considering that it's been mmph years since the last time I did any hand sewing...

Trial and error, right?

I swear, I'll get this right if it kills me.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Going Back...Again?

Back in the dusty halls of time (otherwise known as 1995 or so), a friend of mine kept bugging me and bugging me about going to this "medieval sword-fighting thing" that was held over at UNH, which was just a couple towns over from where I lived.  He'd been going off and on and thought I might be interested because I was interested in medieval stuff, and really, if we're being honest here, he was mainly trying to set me up with a friend of his.  Eventually, in the spring of '96, to shut him up, I finally went.

Conveniently, so did another person who'd also been being bugged by a friend of his, because "dammit, we need fencers over here on the Seacoast!".

Turns out, the practice was a group of SCA heavy list folks.  I'd never heard of the SCA, but hey, fencing!  (Also, I thought the fencing guy was kinda cute, and being 19 and single, well, the things we do for crushes...)

8 years and our divorce later, I left the Society to give him space and something of his own to do, while I took up larping, because I needed something to do now that I had voluntarily left my primary hobby.

It's been 10 years since than, and once again, I know a bunch of SCAadians who think I should come back.  Seeing as the reason I left is no longer in the East Kingdom, and neither of us are in our original Barony anymore, I may agree with them on this.

So, here I am, wandering my way back. The first time, my persona was Aoife, a woman from 10th century Ireland.  I don't really have any interest in dragging her back out of mothballs, but have lately been fascinated by the other side of the Irish story, as it were, that of the Vikings who began raiding Ireland's coastlines in the late 700's/early 800's.  So, I'm going viking this time around.

For here, I'm planning to actually keep a log of my projects and interests, and mainly have a place to track my progress as I relearn a few old skills I haven't used in a Very Long Time, and learn new ones.  Hooray for coming back to old friends!