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Birka-con

Yesterday was Birka.  It's not as much fun when you're unemployed, given that it's a shopping "event," but its nice to go see people.  the downside is that I dehydrate so badly in that hall that I'm always wiped out for twenty-four hours afterwards.

I didn't spend too much.  Another bowl and another pitcher from thatpotteryguy, because, well, that's why I go.  A strand of garnet beads to replace some that are missing from Charlotte's fancy sleeves.  A new bottle of Miniatum for gilding, because mine has gone bad, and some chain to hang the fabulous pomander ball that I bought last Pennsic.  That's it.

vynehorn rode up with us again - we do Birka as a surgical strike: we arrive when gate opens, change, and hit the merchants when the doors open.  We get in, get done, and get out.  The goal is to be home around 8:00pm, and we ususally do a pretty good job.  My husband is a real sport about Birka - it's basically a day that I spend with vynehorn, while sending him on errands and in recent years, he gets to be the parent.  To be fair, I *did* try to take my turn with Charlotte this year, but her sister was there - she wanted to spend time with her sister, her sister wanted to spend time with her dad, so... he spent the day with his girls, and I spent the day with friends.  Worked out for me, but I feel a wee bit guilty.

I got rid of some stuff: I took three bolts of "I'm never going to use this" fabric up to someone who *will* use it, took a couple of bags of Charlotte's outgrown SCA things up to a lady with a little girl who will appreciate them, and returned a scarf that's been living in my cabinet for a few weeks.  The car came home from Birka less full than it went.  Ironic, isn't it?

I was also very pleased with Charlotte.  At the beginning of the day, I gave her ten dollars for mad money.  I told her she could spend it on anything she wanted, and if she wanted something more expensive, she should talk to me about it.  Apparently she did con her sister into buying her a stuffed lamb, but other than that she bought one thing - and brought seven dollars home.  I was expecting her to spend just to spend, but she was very excited to bring it home and put it in her purse with her other two dollars (mind you - I'm not sure where they came from...)  That is a VERY good start.

Right now I'm in the process of *reading* "Textiles and Clothing: 1150-1450."  I won't lie - it's a slog.  But I've reached the point where I'm going to all this effort to improve my garb, cut and fit it correctly, use the right fibers, find the right accessories, etc., that I decided that I need to evaluate my stash for (God help me...) whether the weaves are appropriate.  I say that because I have some fantastic fabrics that I got very inexpensively that have strongly visual weaves.  Crowfoot goes into weave structures pretty thoroughly.  So thoroughly that even though I'm actually weaving myself, I have to read with Google open to translate.  I'm reminded of that old "Far Side" cartoon where the kid is asking to be excused from class because his brain is full.

So far, most of the stash looks okay.  Tabby weave linen is pretty much never wrong, and there's very little evidence for linen because it just didn't survive.  Mind you, some of the garments I'm making out of linen should be wool, but it's warmer now, so anyone with a problem can get stuffed.  I don't need to suffer for fashion.  My wools should be okay also, if I'm understanding what I'm reading correctly.  What I have is all pretty understated - mostly tabby woven, unexciting colors.  None of it is fulled, teased, and sheared, but that's okay.  I'm not that obsessive.  What I can't quite place are the silks.  I have a lot of silk noil from the huge sales at JoAnn's a couple of decades ago, and there's... speculation about that fabric.  I have lots of things I can do with that, so I'm not worried.  But what I'd really like to know about are the *gorgeous* herringbone silks that I got at Affordable Fabrics years ago.  They're lovely, and the drape is amazing.  But the only information I've been able to find on silks talks about damasks and figured silks - was that the only way that silk was woven?  Was it ever just twill?  I have no idea, and it's kind of frustrating.  Of course, I still have the forty-four pages on silk in Crowfoot to slog through, but I'm not feeling optimistic.

I guess I need to decide how much I care.  I just don't want to sew beautiful fabric I can't repurchase into clothes that I'll be unwilling to wear in another five years because I find out it's "wrong."  What I need is someone who's already done the research whom I can ask.  I don't really want to be an expert in fourteenth century weave patterns - I just want to know what to do with my fabric.  Eh - I'll figure it out.  Or something.