Potrero War is an event within the middle ages re-enactment group that I participate in. We go camping at a county park east of San Diego, practically near the international border. Weather in May can be variable — hot, humid, dry, cold, breezy, raining — different every year. This year, we had *marvelous* conditions. It was cool, even slightly cold, for the first couple of days. The last day was clear and warm without being too hot. And the nights were perfect for hanging out around the camp fires.
I had joked that this year, “I don’t plan to go do ANYTHING! I want to make coffee in the morning and tend the camp fire at night. I don’t want to have to walk any further than the bathrooms or the showers.” Now, while that turned out to be the case, I didn’t mean to fall down and get hurt on Sunday night to achieve that goal (more on that in a bit).
Most enjoyable was making my own artistic decisions all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I did not sign up to teach any classes. I did not sign up to take any classes. But I wanted to just “do whatever” when I felt like it. Two of our campers bring an RV every year and they usually set up a shaded pop-up at the end of their vehicle where we hang out to do weaving and other textiles crafts. I took advantage of our home “salon” and worked on a variety of projects.
I took some time to try and improve my fledgling skills at spinning from a distaff, which means tying the unspun wool to a stick and drawing from that source to make thread. I still find it awkward to control the distaff (stick) while trying to spin, so I set that aside after a couple of practice attempts. I had some “comfort spinning” with me when I felt like not thinking too hard anymore.
One friend came by each day to have her own relaxation time in our camp. Saturday she brought a few friends with her, and I held an impromptu “what is spinning?” demo. It wasn’t hands-on, but they seemed to really enjoy watching how spinning works, plus the nature of end-to-end plying (2-ply) as well as ply-on-the-fly three-ply technique on a spindle (the “black magic” of spinning and plying).
But the bulk of my time I spent working on my Andean Backstrap Weaving projects and skills. Last year at Ply Away 2, I measured out a warp “of four pairs” but never wove on it. Having finished my “three pairs” project in April this year, the “four pairs” project was the natural next one to learn to weave with.
I’ve come up with a seating solution for modern conveniences plus proper weaving technique. The “handle” you see clamped on to this portable table is half of a “Better Loom” from The Loomy Bin. It’s designed to be the end closest to the weaver for a warp-weight card weaving setup. But it’s perfect to be the tie-down far end for my Andean weaving setup. The table is just right to keep my weaving sword beaters from dropping, or nearby when I set them down to change the shed while weaving.
My view while I’m “tied” to my backstrap: I’m sitting in a folding chair, working on my folding table
I spent Friday speaking out loud, talking to my weaving, trying to ensure I knew what I was doing. I was still relying on the diagrams from my classes with Abby Franquemont (her website, her FB Page), but the intention was to understand what I was doing so that I could put the diagrams away and weave like “an intelligent teenager” raised in the weaving technique. We joked that I was an “audio book” that people just listened to in the background. By the end of the weekend, the most common phrase I would say was, “Is this what I want to weave? Yes, it is, so I will!” (I would check my pattern row by row, before committing the weft threads. This helped reduce the mistakes I had to unweave, and there were PLENTY of unwoven rows all weekend.)
Here are the key weaving designs I figured out over the three days.
this pattern is called “Mayo K’enko” – the start of one “cow eye” and a “meandering path”
my very first “kutij” pattern: the “double-ended hoe” farming implement
learning to reverse my “Kutij” pattern (the “double-ended hoe”) either left-facing or right-facing and in either color
this “Kutij” variation has a “double-column” in the handle of the hoe
By the end of the event, I finished my band and felt quite accomplished.
Sunday night, I was getting ready to head over to the enclosed structure we call the “closed ramada” to perform in the Bardic concerts. We’d sent a majority of the extra chairs from our camp down to the ramada, for the performers “backstage.” My friend was using his pickup truck to ferry equipment and performers so we didn’t all have to walk.
Here’s where the mishap happened.
I’m fairly short. Many trucks are not designed for people with short legs. They are most *definitely* not designed for short legs AND slippery-soled shoes.
As I was trying to climb into the cab, the foot I had on the running board slid out from under me. The leg that was in the air came crashing down on the shin and knee against the running board. Immediately, I returned to camp and sent everyone on ahead without me. My camp mates grabbed ice for my elevated leg. And when we needed a way to secure the ice against my leg, I was amused that I could grab my newly completed woven straps, which were hanging on my belt, and tie the ice to my leg.
This is why you weave “jákima” straps: Because you never know when you’ll need them!
My leg is merely bruised and technicolor, and I had a lovely night around the fire with friends as we made certain to ice 20-minutes-on, 20-minutes-off for a while.
The entire weekend was extremely relaxing, and it was nice to come home NOT so exhausted that I couldn’t function.
My Sweetie took many more photos, and I have a reminder on my calendar for tomorrow night to try and edit them into an album that can be shared. More images to come later.
You can see the full album of my Andean Backstrap weaving from Potrero 2018 here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/sYV7LP4UKPcLk8It2