Archive for the ‘Hoggetowne med faire’ Category

In my last post, teased you with photos of the BC17 and a kitten “helping” me make a new doublet for the BC17 to wear at this year’s Hoggetowne Medieval Faire. To sum up, he needed it to be red, and he chose the gold lining fabric from my stash.

Here’s how it turned out, in a boring “hanging-on-a-door” shot:

Pardon the creases. They came out in the wash.

Pardon the creases. They came out in the wash.

And here’s posed picture of the boy wearing it, with some of his accessories.

Beware the uncoiled serpent - er, hose - at your feet, Red Undant!

Beware the uncoiled serpent – er, garden hose – at your feet, dread pirate Red Undant!

You may note a lack of boots, for example. In truth, he could wear this in warm weather with some sort of rope sandals, but it was far too cool during this year’s faire for that. He also had various bits and bobs that hung from his belt, and a black wool overcoat, but I didn’t get a photo of that. The Hubs did, and I’m hoping to get a shot of that (soon?) to share with you.

The BC17 and some other friends formed a comedy pirate crew, the Pirates of Impropriety, and charmed the patrons and spectators at the faire. They were so popular that they’ve been solicited about appearing at other faires in the area this spring! It was so fun to watch my son throwing himself into his character, Red Undant, and having fun with his friends. His theatrical bent? Let’s just say he comes by it honestly.

The medieval faire was held on the last weekend in January and the first weekend in February. I was lucky to be able to take off from work entirely around those weekends. I have hundreds of hours of leave accumulated, as I rarely take vacation, so it was a real pleasure to have the chance to rest for so many days. (I’ve completely swapped my sleep schedule over to accommodate my change to dayshift, a change that would have been much more difficult without the time off.)

Sadly, I got sick on Wednesday evening and am now struggling with a nasty case of the crud. Nasty enough that I had to call in sick today (which would have been my first day back after my vacation), but not nasty enough to require actual medical intervention (so far… knock on wood). I’m planning to work tomorrow and Sunday (my regular work days), provided I can sleep tonight. (Wish me luck, please? Thanks.)

So the faire itself? It was a blast! My singing comedy wench troupe, Just Desserts, was once again hired to perform, and our shows were packed. We performed 3 times a day each Saturday and Sunday, and we acted as street characters when not on stage. In addition, I emceed both Saturdays’ and Sundays’ end of day Closing Pub Sings, which are among my favorite things ever!

This year, we wenches were extra excited, because we also released our first ever album!*

That’s right, an album!

It’s called Just Desserts Live: Come Get Yours and it’s available on Bandcamp right now, soon to be available on iTunes, amazon.com, and other distributors.

Here’s what the front cover of the album (which is available only as a mp3 download) looks like:

I swear I did not actually bite Molly! Cupcake is just a tease. Promise!

I swear I did not actually bite Molly! Cupcake is just a tease. Promise!

And here’s what the back cover looks like:

Much more dignified here.

Much more dignified here.

If you want to hear any or all of the songs, you can click on the bandcamp link. There you can listen to each of the songs, in their entirety, without obligation. **

We’re currently running a push for FB page “likes” and have pledged to give away a free copy of our album when we reach 350 likes. As of 10 p.m. this very Friday night, we’re at 335. I’d love for you to like us and perhaps win a copy. This is the second giveaway we’ve run, and we plan to hold more in the near future.

Of course, you are always welcome to purchase the album, so you can get yours without delay.

* OK, so you’ve probably figured out that the mysterious and exciting “thing” I was doing (and hinting about) was recording this album. It took two live performances, plus a studio session for the bonus selections, to get the sound quality we wanted.

We also had a photo session with Allen Finley Photography, wherein many photos were taken to get the two on our cover art. He also took solo photos of us, which we may use for future endeavors.

Finally, some more of my off-work time was taken up in designing and creating the cover art for the album. In my old life as a magazine editor, I did a little layout and design, and it was pretty cool to have the chance to flex those muscles (unused for 8 years!) again. And I am, I must confess, quite pleased with the results.

That’s all for now, kittens. I must dose myself up with anti-crud meds and attempt to sleep, as 5:30 a.m. comes too damned early. G’nite!

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The last weekend of every January brings the start of the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, which means there will be a call for new costuming pieces chez moi. And this year is no exception.

My costume (as Cupcake, the singing tavern wench) is pretty much set, but the BC17 is playing a new character this year, so he needs an update to his costume to suit. His character is one of the Pirates of Impropriety. He’s named Red Undant, and the BC17 wanted a red top for him. I have, you may recall, made him a poet-style shirt before, so I didn’t think this would be a big challenge.

I was not, alas, taking the local fabric supply into account.

To start with, my own stash (which fits in a footlocker-sized Rubbermaid container) does not include any red cotton or polycotton.

To complicate matters, all three of my local Wallyworlds have miniscule crafting sections, and there was no red cotton to be found. (OK, there was some red cotton, but it was of the quilting variety and had the most adorable patterns against the red background… The BC17 was not amused.)

Even worse, my local Joanne’s is relocating, with the store that’s still open* in a state of depletion that one would expect when “final clearance – 75% off” is posted and advertised everywhere. How picked over was the stock? The entire fabric selection would fit on a double-layered 75-foot shelf… with room to spare.

I spent 20 minutes searching and scrutinizing and peering behind and between the bolts of fabric, and found exactly one piece of red cotton-based fabric. It was 2.25 yds of a lightweight, red, stretch denim. And with the 75$% discount, I got it for less than $6, including tax!

Even at that great price, there was no way this would be enough fabric to make a shirt, so we settled on making a doublet to wear over his white shirt. It’ll be a red and gold version of the doublet I made him a couple of years ago.

Tonight, the BC17 went back to my fabric stash and found a gold lining fabric, then pestered me relentlessly encouraged me a few times to get the fabric pieces cut out. He was willing to do the pinning and cutting himself, so I let him… with my assistance. He’d never laid out a pattern before, so I got to explain how to do it properly, showing him how the pattern pieces give you clues to help you do it properly, demonstrating how to maximize the fabric, pointing out the grain of the cloth and how it affects the drape and stretch capabilities of a woven fabric.

He took it very seriously:

Measure twice and cut once... making sure the pieces are straight first.

Measure twice and cut once… making sure the pieces are straight first.

It did my crafter’s heart good to see him learning how to do this for himself. And he says he wants to help me sew the doublet, too, so his crafting adventure continues Thursday. He has to wear it this weekend, so I’ll probably sew some of it. Either way, he’ll be learning, and I’ll be satisfied with that.

As usual, the kittens wanted to help. I caught one crappy photo of little Maggie “caught in the act” on my cellphone before the BC17 chased her off. She was up there a few times, but I was lame unprepared to take photos then.

She was interested in the pincushion:

"I'll just take this little red thingy out of your way."

“I’ll just take this little red thingy out of your way.”

Feisty kitty tried to get in on the act, too, but the BC17 snatched him up almost before his paws touched the table, much less the fabric.

Finally, the BC17 put the kitties behind a closed hall door, so he could work without feline interference help. And in fairness, that lining material is super slippery, a real bitch bit difficult to cut out under the best of conditions.

Now, I’ve a stack of cut-out fabric pieces at my elbow, with every intention of sewing a dashing doublet Thursday… which is today, actually, since the clock just clicked over to past midnight, and thus into Thursday itself.

That reminds me, it’s past my bedtime. G’night, my lovies!

* The new Joanne’s won’t open until after the faire’s over, so it was a non-option.

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Today is kids’ day at the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, when we start a half hour early and end 3 hours early. (Not a bad tradeoff, I must say.) Kids’ day is exactly what you might expect: crowded with minors. Some schools from surrounding counties send buses of students, calling it an educational field trip, I suppose, so we close shortly after they all return to their buses.

There are plenty of adults, too, as the entry fare on kids’ day is half that of the other days, and one of the ale/beer stands usually opens, but the overall underaged nature of the crowd means that my singing wench troupe, Just Desserts, will not be doing any stage shows. Don’t get me wrong, the kids love bawdiness, but some of them are highly hormonal, man-sized, teenaged boys with self-control issues. We wouldn’t want to stir those pots, now would we? No. No, we would not.

I could go into a feminist rant about how it’s not our job to control men’s baser impulses, no matter the ages of the men, but time is short and I needs must run now.

Later, kittens!


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… for January, anyway.

Sorry for the slackenbloggen, kittens. I’ve been occupied with the first weekend of the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire**, which was a blast, and just didn’t have the energy to post until now.

As usual, faire time means sewing time for Toni. In addition to the white shirt I made for the BC16 (see last post), I also made a pair of bloomers for Cherri Tart (my sister wench) and a pink eyelet chemise for Cupcake (moi!).

Here’s a very dark picture of the bloomers:

Might see more details if you click on the photo.

Might see it better if you click on the photo. (No promises.)

Here’s a closeup of the ruffle detail:

Pretty ruffle!

Pretty ruffle!

To make it easier for Cherri to figure out front from back, I put a little decorative button on the front center of the waist.


Sweet little butterfly among the cherries

Sweet little butterfly among the cherries.

I hope to get a good photo of them on Cherri when I see her this weekend. If I do, I’ll share it with you all.

As always, details are in the FO page for this project. (See sidebar on the right side of the screen.)

Before the first day of the faire, I had completed all but the sleeve casings and the neck treatment on a new pink eyelet chemise for Cupcake’s costume. Alas, I had been awake for 28 hours (transitioning from a nighshift-sleep schedule to a dayshift one) at that point and just couldn’t finish it then. I had all these wonderful intentions of finishing it Saturday night or Sunday morning (before the 2nd morning of the faire), but was too exhausted to attempt it. In fact, I spent all day yesterday recuperating, too, so it wasn’t until today that I had the want-to and the can-do at the same time.

It took me about 90 minutes, but I got it done!

Here’s my newest FO:

Not a nightgown, thankyouverymuch.

Not a nightgown, thankyouverymuch.

I really like the result and hope it looks good with the rest of Cupcake’s costume. We shall see this weekend, when the faire runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

As you’d expect, I had some help with the sewing.

Ninja kitty is... hard to see!

Ninja kitty is… hard to see!

I managed to keep her off the pink eyelet, but it wasn’t easy. That li’l Ninja is fast and sneaky!

** As I mentioned, the faire has been so much fun! My wench troupe, Just Desserts, performed three shows a day, plus one song at the closing pub sing, to raucous applause and laughter. Which is exactly the reaction you’d want a wench show to get. The truth is that we probably laugh at least as much as the audience, probably more. In fact, the audience sometimes just laughs at our laughter, which makes us laugh even more. (I did say it was a lot of fun, didn’t I?)

Our act is just a little too risqué for the kiddies, so we won’t be doing any stage shows on Friday, which is kids’ day. We will find a space (probably a closed-for-kids’-day ale booth) and we’ll do a little busking, singing pretty madrigal and traditional songs. And we’ll save our naughtier fare for Saturday and Sunday, when we’ll once again perform three shows a day (plus a song at the closing pub sing).

We may have some new youtube videos for your viewing pleasure. You can find them on our youtube channel. If you subscribe to the channel, you’ll get an email for ever new video we upload.

I hope to get some knitting on the needles soon, but I still need buttons for the pink ruffled baby cardi. And as I’m keeping daytime hours this week and not working until next week, after the faire, I hope to have a chance to get them and therefore to finish that sweater. And then I’ll have to pray the cardi fits the recipient and that we’ll have a cold snap, so she’ll have a chance to wear it.

I mention the weather because, well, it’s a factor.

That’s because spring has already sprung here in north central Florida. The pine pollen exploded everywhere about 2 weeks ago (which is 2 weeks earlier than “normal”), and the azaleas and camellias are in bloom. Hell, even the grass is green and will require cutting soon.

So who knows what I’ll knit next.

Any ideas?

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The BC16 is in the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire again this year, but playing a different character than he did in 2012. Thus he needed a shirt – a white, poet-style shirt – to wear under his tunic. As luck (if by luck, you mean my foresight in snapping up a crapload of patterns about 10 years ago at a Joann’s annual pattern sale, where all patterns were marked down to $1) would have it, I had exactly the pattern on hand:

Fits the bill nicely.

Simplicity 7761 fits the bill nicely.

I was pretty sure I had the white cloth on hand, in my room somewhere or in the Rubbermaid footlocker that holds my stash of fabric. (Don’t judge me! Surely everyone who sews more than the occasional hem has found himself or herself at the fabric clearance table, checking out the bargains and taking a few home for use later. Right? Right.)

In fact, I was so sure I had the stuff right at hand that I didn’t even look until around 10 p.m. last night. And by 10:30, I’d come to the conclusion that perhaps that particular procrastination had not been not my best idea, especially given that last night was my only full night off between now and the faire, and I really needed to sew the darned thing last night/this morning.

Why? Because I couldn’t find the fabric, of course.

I did find all sorts of other things I’d been missing or could use (my purple underdress, one of Cupcake’s long fingerless mitts, an unopened 20-pack of AA batteries, a “go bag” of OTC medicines, etc.), but the white fabric was nowhere to be found. At least not in my bedroom.

The hubs and I braved the dark and went to the storage room attached to the garage, wherein we found not only the fabric I’d originally wanted, but also a more suitable one… and some pink eyelet I want to use to make another Cupcake underdress (perhaps next week).

I started cutting the shirt pieces out around 1 a.m. and finished the shirt at 9:30. (I’d probably have finished it earlier, but I did take time out to eat, use the bathroom, do a load of laundry (note to self: get clothes out of dryer), and pet and feed the kitties. (Whew!)

Here’s the result:

Light and airy, for warm Florida afternoons.

Light and airy, for warm Florida afternoons.

He might want a button/loop combo for the collar and probably elastic for the sleeves bottoms, in which case I’ll oblige and rephotograph it for your pleasure. It will not happen this morning, however, as he is at school and I am soon headed to bed. (Yes, work tonight.)

Next up: a pair of bloomers for my sister wench Cherri Tart to wear this weekend… also at the faire. That way she can give Cupcake back the black ones she borrowed last year… and Cupcake can hike up her skirts like a “proper” faire wench (i.e., without flashing her nethers).

I’ll be cutting out Cherri’s bloomers tomorrow morning (after tonight’s work) and sewing them Friday, when I’ll be staying up late in the day to switch my sleep schedule, so I can work the faire without suffering too badly from sleep deprivation.

In the meantime, there’s been no knitting and, no, I haven’t finished the pink ruffled baby cardi. Truth is, I just don’t like the buttons I have, and I don’t want to dislike the result. Still, if I don’t get on with the gettin’ one, it’ll be too warm and/or the baby girl will be too big for the thing! Ah, the trials and tribulations of a picky knitter.

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Whew, right?

It’s been forever since I updated and I know you’ve all been worried about me. (Not!) In fact, I’ve been doing precious little knitting, quite a bit of singing* and even more reading**.

Here’s how far I’d made it with the pink ruffle-edged sweater as December 18th:

Progress... sort of.

Progress… sort of.

Lookin’ good, yes? Well, not so much.

If you take a closer look at the sleeve-to-sleeve cap areas, you may notice that the sleeves are not quite the right size. In fact, the measurement of the sleeves at the top: 8 inches around. And the measurement of the sleeve openings on the body of the sweater: 10 inches around. Ooops!

What happened? Well, it turns out that having the correct number of stitches and rows is not enough. No, you must also use the correct needle size… or you must do the appropriate measuring and adjusting of the number of stitches and rows to accommodate the changed needle size. (I know: Duh!) (Also: sigh.)

So, um, yeah.

I had switched from the size-4 circ with which I knit the pretty white ruffled sections to a size-3 circ, because it had a nice, long and flexible cable and I had dreams of knitting the two sleeves simultaneously (above the ruffle, of course). Alas, I did not need the nice, long, flexible cable, because I didn’t knit them simultaneously. I also didn’t notice the fabric was denser on the sleeves than on the body of the sweater. And so I didn’t measure or compare or, well, do anything a responsible knitter should do to prevent the result you see in the photo above.

The solution: obvious.

I ripped back both sleeves to three rows after the ruffles and put them on a size-4 circ. And now I am knitting them simultaneously (without the nice, long, flexible cord of the size 3). The pattern calls for 51 rows and I’ve finished half of them. (No new photo. Sorry.)

Once I pick up the needles again, I should finish them pretty quickly. Then it’s just a matter of attaching them to the sweater and weaving in the ends. Oh, and putting some buttons on it, of course. I anticipate finishing the sweater by Monday… if I can find suitable buttons.

Wish me luck? (Thanks!)

* My madrigal group, Singers of Reformation, was booked to sing at the city’s Tree Lighting Celebration on December 1st. And on December 13th, we sang at the madrigal dinner of a local retirement community. We had quite a few rehearsals up to those shows.

My wench troupe, Just Desserts, had our December rehearsal this past Wednesday night. We did as much laughing as we did singing, as usual, with a lot of the time spent on the men’s birthday ditty I wrote earlier this year. I can’t wait till we can serenade some poor victims fellas as dozens of laughing audience members watch! (The Hoggetowne Medieval Faire is January 26th and 27th, then February 1st, 2nd and 3rd. If you’re in range of the faire, please come see us!)

** You can find info – but no spoilers! – on the books I’ve been reading in the sidebar labelled “2012 Books Read.” I highly recommend the Stieg Larsson trilogy that starts with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, for example.

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I’ve been busy, unlike the rest of you, who no doubt have been lazing about and eating bonbons while planning a year-long cruise on a private yacht with a half-dozen of your closest friends. (Ahem.)

So I’ve been working… a lot… and had a music rehearsal or two… and caught up on some of my TV shows.. and, of course, laughed as often as possible. I’ve also been in a lot of pain for the last few days. Muscle spasms in my neck/shoulder led to a hellacious headache, one that is finally diminishing to a level at which I can ignore it.

In keeping with the theme of this this blog, I’ve written, knit, read a book or four(?), and petted some kitties.

As for the knitting, I finished one more of the “paler” boobie hats, pierced, which had the added benefit of finishing off a big (well, biggish) skein of yarn. I’d show you a picture of it, but that would mean I’d have to pull out my camera, take a photo, etc., etc. If you’re wondering what it looks like, you need only look at this year’s FO # 41, as this newest one is a clone.

As for the aforementioned purring, our family has been adopted by a neighborhood kitty. She looks almost exactly like Ninja Kitty did when we adopted her, except neighborhood kitty has yellow-green eyes and NK has green-green ones. Neighborhood kitty (whom we refuse to name, ’cause that would mean we’d have to keep her) has taken to sleeping on the former dining-room table that’s on our front landing. More precisely, she’s been climbing up inside the makeshift “flowerpots” that have been sitting there since the sun and weird bugs killed the tomato plants the Hubs attempted to grow this spring/summer.

I snapped a photo of her when I was out for a rare morning walk last week.

As Crissy said, “You grew a kitty!”

We’ve been feeding her, along with a teeny-tiny teenaged kitty-girl who occasionally visits, for a couple of weeks, and she is one loving cat! Definitely not feral, she loves being held and petted and, of course, fed. I don’t know how long she’ll be “not ours,” but we’re enjoying her company when we get it.

I’ve also been sewing, making a second pleated skirt for the my friend Crissy. She wanted a brown one to complete her Velma costume, by jinkies! To that end, she came over Monday night after our madrigal/Christmas singing rehearsal and we cut out the fabric and marked the circles, etc. As we had already worked out the peculiarities of fit (as you do) with the grey skirt, this one went much more smoothly.

Then last night I sewed it, starting at about 3 a.m. and finishing the handstitching-down of the waistband around 7 a.m.

All that remains is to put it on Crissy, mark the hem and then sew that final bit. Oh, and to take an official picture for posting. I’ll do that on Thursday night, after three of our wench troupe performs at a local club.

That’s right, Just Desserts will have a bedfull (our term for a quorum) to represent at the last-ever Nerd Nite at the Laboratory. (Last-ever because it’s closing at the end of the month… oh, no!) If any of you are here in Gainesville, Florida, around 9 p.m. Thursday, come on down!

Oh, and I wrote (see, there’s the “write” portion of the blog’s title) a song for the troupe to perform for birthday boys (well, men… ’cause it would be completely inappropriate for minors, trust me). I’d never written a song before, but we’ll need our own songs if the troupe is gonna have some original music to perform and perhaps record and sell, right? Right! At least that’s what I told the troupe at our last rehearsal.

You should have seen the deer-in-the-headlights looks they gave me! I think they were afraid I was gonna assign each of them a topic and set a deadline. No. In fact, to alleviate their fear and to get the ball rolling, I volunteered to write the first one. We haven’t recorded it yet and I have no idea how to post an mp3 here anyway, so I can’t post the actual song. I can, however, post the lyrics, which are subject to modification and ad-libbing ad nauseum… ’cause that’s how we roll!

Here are the lyrics:

Men’s Birthday Ditty

(wench 1)        Today is your day.
(wench 2)        You’re the man of the hour.
(wench 3)        Your swagger is strong.
(wench 4)        You exude manly power.
(wench 5)        Oh, what’s a wench to do…
(all)                   But to wish these things for you?
(wench 1)        May your cock only crow (cockadoodle-doo!)
                          When the timing is right.
(wench 2)        May your ass not get tired (hee-haw!)
                          From morning to night.
(wench 3)        May your ale at the pub
                         Come with plenty of head.
(wench 4)        And the pusses you pet (meow!)
                          Leave no fleas in your bed.
(wench 5)        In short, may your year
                         Bring you naught but good luck
(all)                  With a wench in your bed
                        When it’s time to get…
(all, slowly)     …. tucked… in!
(all, ad-libbed loudly) Happy birthday, love!
OK, that concludes the wrap-up. I apologize for the lack of amazing blogitude lately and thank you for your patience. Happy hump day and, always, happy knittin’, kittens!

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