Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My First Medieval Faire

In line with the last post about "Playing" I've been wanting to go to a medieval event. I had an opportunity in May, when the local SCA group's Faire event seemed perfectly in line. I had the day free, I had the ride, I had the money, the kids were interested. That time, I didn't have the garb! It was an event where everybody was supposed to dress up.
I asked about Gold Key (loaner garb), but that wouldn't be available until afternoon, and my only available window was first thing in the morning the first day.  Bummer. The Gold Key lady said not to worry about it, just wear regular clothes, nobody will mind.  That's not what others said though, and I didn't want to be the odd man out who's ruining the view. 
I spent that morning at home sewing instead, resolved to get SOMETHING together for next time. It only has to be "an attempt", the rules say so!

The Port Gamble event was two weeks later. I figured I would surely be able to get some basic garb sewn by that time.  Ha!
The Port Gamble thing wasn't the kind where you have to dress up.  It was sort of combined SCA and Renfaire, so the general public is admitted in their blue jeans. I was trying anyway, and I did take a few steps in a garby direction which no doubt I'll talk about in a separate post.
The day before the event, I dropped everything else and at least made the boys some tabards. These two little masterpieces were made from a chunk of green twill that I had, combined with fabrics from a white and a tan ladies' business skirts that I had meant to make into boys' pants back when the boys were small enough that there would have been enough fabric.
LOTS of zigzag right out where you can see it, but who cares, the idea is to get it done, right?
By seven p.m., when I realized the best I could crank out in a hurry the night before looked like the best I could crank out in a hurry the night before, I got so frustrated and disappointed with myself that I was actually sick to my stomach, and was using willpower not to end up in a corner crying because my life is a total waste of time and I can't get anything accomplished, etc.
The boys loved their tabards, fetched their plastic swords at once and got to yelling and whacking away at each other. They had the rest of their outfits planned out, the belts, long sleeve shirts, etc.
At least they finally had pants without holes in the knees! I've been watching their entire wardrobe of pants disintegrate while I've been failing to sew them any new ones, and the local one-shopping-option Wal-Mart continues to carry every size except theirs. But they had these two pair of tan ones, only $5 each, not bad.
(Patch the knees! suggested one friend, well I had, all of them, and then they'd ripped out again around the patches. What did Jesus say about that? Sure enough, the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse.)

And what to do about myself?  What will I wear?  The new jumper I just made is pretty long, and I have that dirndl-style blouse with big white sleeves.  If I put that on, it'll look semi-garby, and I won't feel too self-conscious UNLESS it looks like I did "make an attempt" and this was the best I could do, which would be worse than going in blue jeans (if I owned any).

When we first drove up on the crossing road, they stopped us to let a herd of faire-goers cross the street in front of us and I was immediately comforted.  Beautifully-garbed, authentic people mingled with a number of very odd, assorted characters in "costume", just a shockingly "motley crew" off to have fun, and I decided to stop worrying about what I was wearing.  I was gonna fit right in!  :-) 

Ya gotta love that fuzzy effect.  The darlings had borrowed my camera and put their fingers all over the lens, so there was a coating of some kind of snot that made that artistic, glowing aura around everything.  Cool.  In the bright sunlight, I couldn't tell the difference in the display. 
It was only $10 to get in!  I was even prepared to tell the truth, that Karen is sixteen and hence I must pay for her (15 and under were free) and I had understood that we get charged $5 extra for not being members.  But I said "two adults" and they said "ten bucks" and I can live with that.
Here's Karen in loaner garb.  They had a Gold Key booth right at the gate with all kinds of great clothes!  
I thought about it but after all I'd seen while parking and getting up to the gate (fairies, pirates, goths, yuppies) I decided I was fine with what I had on.
Only one person commented on my outfit.  She asked if we normally did black powder.  She said the fabric I'd used for the jumper was perfectly period for black powder.

A guy making woodcuts. This was the SCA Arts and Sciences section where they demonstrated how they made all kinds of stuff back then.  A lady was churning cream, another making cheese. 
I'm a bit less modern than some people already, since we didn't have electricity when I age 12 - 16, and I loved it.  I already know how to do some of these things.
Mom even got me an angora bunny once, and I was expected to brush it and make yarn of it, but I never did. I probably would have if it had been MY idea (funny about that) and now I'm suddenly wanting to get an angora bunny again! They are so fluffyyyy!!!! and Ed says he'll put up cages for bunnies if I want. Oh sure, I just totally need to devote all of my SPARE TIME to carding and spinning and the EXTRA SPACE in my house to a weaving loom, right? Don't worry, I'll think about that for a while first! 

I noticed the camera problem and cleaned the lens with my sleeve.  

Here's a guy showing me inkle weaving, because I asked. I've seen pictures before but I never quite got how the sheds were formed. Beautifully simple, once I see his hand actually doing it :-)

High point of Karen's day, the finding of a rhododendron bush three times as tall as herself. 

Some guy was selling wooden swords made "in the Orient!" he said when I asked, but I admit they were nicely made, and only $14. 

Dave was "Impressive!" at archery   :-)

This guy is a 1770s highwayman, which is several centuries forward from the goal, but I think he should get the award for best male costume anyway. 

Next to archery there was axe throwing!  That looked like such fun!  What keeps the axe from hitting handle-first?  Practice and a feel for the revolutions between you and the target.  Cool.  The guys were having semi-good luck hitting the target, and I was all set to go over and have a try too, but by the time we got there they had stopped giving out free tries because they were setting up for a tournament. 

Doesn't that look cozy?  

Snackies which we had brung in our pockets.  NOT getting in line for faire food, sorry.
There, you can see the zigzag.
The boonie hats are a nice touch, no?


They did a song about "The Road to Dublin" which was great fun and so catchy that I actually listened instead of just sitting on their hay bales to eat, and clapped!

At right is the Black Knight who had a gigantic name for himself, and in a gigantic voice told everybody the name along with a medieval-sounding challenge to any who dare.
A tiny little kid toddled out and took him on with a Nerf sword.  The black knight couldn't help but die in due course, to everybody's great approval.
The grown-up men who accepted his challenge weren't so fortunate! 

King Joshua challenged my boys and they had a wooden sword fight which made me very nervous.  I let them get in only one hit each, then they had to sit.  The boy had the shorter wooden sword which we'd seen in another booth and half the guard broke right off when it got hit.  It pushed back on again, and I think it can be glued nicely at home.
In Dave's hand is the little flute that he bought.  I think Dave has some musical talent that isn't being fostered.  I often hear him singing to himself while he plays with Legos.  

More pictures of general surround:

The parking lot.  How interesting, eh?  Well it was a big ride to get there, and it was a big day for me!!!

Nother one of me:  Hi. 

This is what I bought:  two little skeins of embroidery thread, and two pieces of trim.
I also bought two pairs of little silver earrings for only $5 each, one cruciform and one quadriform, kinda ancient-looking and very pretty.  Can't take a picture because my card reader just messed up my memory card AGAIN and swallowed some really cool pictures... I've been downloading various software to try to fix it for free.  No luck so far.
So, on we go  :-)

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