Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Windy Hill

They told us that the Hill is always windy.  Maximum winds of 31 mph gusting to 44 mph is... well... a bit brisk.  Weaving in 31 mph winds is interesting.  Spinning in 31 mph winds is an adventure.  Drop spinning in 31 mph winds is an entirely new experience.  The lulls when the wind dropped to below 15 mph felt blessedly still.  Sadly, they were few and far between.  The St Francis Upon the Hill Renaissance Faire was fun this year!!

So what's with the weather??  The week before the fair was mild, sunny and truly spring-like. Saturday dawned grey, windy, cold and rainy.  Fortunately, there wasn't much rain and what there was cleared out by the opening.  However, we had to wait until the last possible minute to set up the loom and spinning wheel.

I'll say this for wrestling an 8-harness loom to an outdoor event.  Short of a hurricane or tornado, the thing isn't going anywhere.  The same could not be said for anything else!  We foolishly choose to take one of the antique spinning wheels.  The poor thing was knocked down by the wind twice before we figured out how to orient it (edge-on into the wind presenting the least profile possible).  Anything not anchored down simply blew away.  I figure the downwind neighbors had a small sheep's worth of wool by closing.  Bits of roving were constantly taking flight.

Having said all this, it was a good fair from our point of view.  We were constantly busy.  Cassandra had trouble with the drop spindles in the wind, so she switched to demonstrating the weaving most of the time.  I spelled her with weaving, but mostly worked the spinning wheel.  George, the brave, kept up his drop spinning school.

We had a few scares.  The harnesses on the loom wouldn't fall completely down as they were supposed to.  We think this was because the loom was on slightly uneven ground, which might have introduced some torque into the frame.  (Note to self:  Always put the loom on the most even ground possible.)  The driveband on the spinning wheel broke necessitating a quick repair. (Note to self:  Always take a spare driveband!)  Then the mother-of-all got misaligned with the wheel causing the driveband to throw.  Once we made a few quick adjustments, spinning on the wheel worked rather well.  I had to tear off small pieces of roving and frequently join, though, as long lengths of roving would quickly become windblown and matted.  George's drop spinning school was more of a challenge than usual.  With a lightweight spindle, the tussle between gravity and the wind was a draw.  The spindles would drop... at a 45-degree angle.  That and the wind kept them from spinning for very long.  (I don't think there's a note-to-self here.)

In spite of it all, we almost finished the pinwheel scarf.  I finished it up today and it's setting on the loom.  I'll wet-finish it tomorrow.  The more I look at it, the greater the temptation becomes to make it into a bodice or vest.  I managed to get quite a bit of pale pink bamboo spun.  If I have enough, it's destined to become an Atwater-Bronson shawl.  It'll be a scarf if I don't have enough.

The huge shawl is Wonderful!!  It's so big and warm and worth every minute of agony I went through making it.  Cassandra and I took turns wrapping up in it.  I did get one scare as somehow it got hooked on the spinning wheel flyer.  I don't think it suffered any permanent damage, though.

It's wonderful doing a fair at a church - especially St. Francis Episcopal Church.  Again this year, we were stationed by the labyrinth.  At the end of the fair last year, I took the time to walk it.  Cassandra wanted to walk it this year.

Walking the Labyrinth

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