It seems like I’ve been sick forever, although actually it’s been only two weeks. I came down with it the day I returned from Festival of Maidens 2018.

In fact, it was this illness that prevented me from going to an event that I was really looking forward to, because I was slated to play medieval harp and give a mini-class about that repertoire during Bardic Circle. See I’m not going to Regular Event, after all…

It turns out that I have a viral upper respiratory infection, compounded by a secondary bacterial sinus infection, for which I’m on antibiotics (for all the good that they have done me–so far, very little).

I’ve heard from other people that this particular virus often lasts three weeks–say it ain’t so! I REALLY don’t want to go through another week of this. 😦

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

I’m making slow but unsteady progress on the psaltery gig bag. See Ophelia helps me with the gig bag Update: gig bag starts to take form, and apron dresses up next…  and Making a gig bag.

I say ‘unsteady’ because I’m making lots of errors that have to be undone and then redone, often with less than stellar results. I think the mistakes are due to the fact that I’m working on this project these days while I’m so sick. About half the time I am running a fever while I’m working on it. 😛

It also doesn’t help that I had no pattern or instructions for making the gig bag. But if I ever make another one, there are definitely things that I will do differently!

So here’s what’s left to do: sew on half of the second Velcro fastener for the flap, and attach the webbing back-strap ends. That’s it! Here’s how it looks right now, with the psaltery inside it. It is NOT a work of beauty, sad to say… 😦


The straight line across the top of the psaltery (which is the right-hand side of the bag in what will be its position on my back) got corrupted when I decided that it was hard to insert the instrument into the bag in a speedy and efficacious manner.

In a frenzy I ripped out that straight seam (four layers of material–two of different types of upholstery fabric and two of polyester fiberfill), only to discover what had been hidden by the previous sewing of the layers: NO seam allowance! Yikes! 😦

So I patched in some additional fabric; yes, all four layers of it. But it doesn’t line up correctly with the rest of the seam. Oh well: it is indeed easier to get the psaltery into the bag now.

I also discovered that my initial design, which was to have an unlined and unpadded flap, was not going to work because it didn’t give enough padding to that side of the instrument. So I had to patch in the padding and the lining fabric.  Here’s a view of the padded flap, with the Velcro strip still half held in place by a big quilting safety pin:


And of course, both of these patching operations, like everything else in the bag, are done by hand, which is not something I’m great at. Actually I’m not great at any kind of sewing (yet!). 😉

Finally I will attach the webbing strap to the back sometime in the next few days. I have put webbing straps on my archery bow bag and its accessories bag, and I can tell you that they are also very tough to sew by hand! But my little Singer Simple machine can’t handle such heavy projects, alas. After much sitting, walking, and standing with the psaltery on my back in the bag, here’s where I’ve decided the strap will be attached (plus you get  a bonus shot of the tips of my socks!):



I’ll post a photo when the bag is finally finished. But that won’t be right away because working on these materials is absolutely killing my right hand. 😦 So I am only doing a little bit each day…

Meanwhile you may remember that I mentioned that Halle Snyder, the driver and organizer of Road trip! made an initial stop at a music store on our way out of town to buy ukelele strings. See Festival of Maidens 2018

At the music store I bought a little travel guitar on impulse, although it is something that I’ve been wanting to acquire for several years now. They had a great deal on a Yamaha, which luckily for me came with its own gig bag! 🙂 It is a pretty little thing, although I will be changing out the strings soon to a set of Ultra-Light D’Addario 80/20 Chromes for better action:



When Patrick Savelli, aka His Grace William of Fairhaven, the leader of the band Bardic Storm saw my little guitar, he said it reminded him of a 3/4 size guitar he got once for his wife.

It definitely takes up less room than either my folk/classical guitar or my big acoustic dreadnought, and it is a more compact fit against my body, too. But it has a full-size neck, and although my favorite necks belong to Gibson guitars, this Yamaha neck is pretty nice. I hope to take it along to Pennsic! 🙂

Speaking of Pennsic, I’ve been hatching plans, my own personal “Push for Pennsic” (there is an SCA event named that). In the midst of one of my fevers, I set up my 8′ x 10′ dome tent in the garage (except for the rain fly) and decided that it was too small for everything I want to have at Pennsic.

So then I ordered a 10′ x 15′ tent on Amazon, but when it came, it was too heavy for me to lift. It also differed significantly from the description on the site. Luckily Amazon provided a free pickup by UPS for me for its return–I don’t know how I would have gotten it to the UPS center otherwise.

Therefore, I’ve decided that I will make do with my current 8′ x 10′ dome tent, which has the great advantages of being already paid for and being one that I can set up.  I figured that whatever will fit into my tiny Honda Fit will also fit into the tent, and I cannot take more to Pennsic than will fit into my Fit. So during another episode of fever, I packed my car with all the empty storage containers and the cooler that I will be taking, and discovered that it all fits. This is a good thing to know. 🙂

Plus I’ve been trying out air mattresses to go on top of my Army cot. The first one is going back to Amazon tomorrow, because it has a leaky valve and also it is just way too narrow (it is a Coleman, called a Slim Twin, and they definitely meant it!). Today I got my replacement mattress, which is a Coleman All-Terrain Twin Single with puncture guard and a rating of 400 lbs., whereas most of them are rated only for 300. Not that I actually need to have that heavy a rating! 😛

But I do like the All-Terrain mattress. It is much more comfortable than the Slim Twin, and I can even imagine sleeping on it for a week at Pennsic. Hoo bah! 😛  I inflated both of them with a Coleman 4D battery-operated pump, which worked just fine.

Speaking of Pennsic, I’m signed up to teach two classes there. One is about the 12th century figures, Eleanor of Aquitaine (‘Queen of Her Age’) and William Marshal (‘The Greatest Knight’) and how they intersected. People in the class might be surprised to find that I will be talking much more about him than her! 😛

My second class, which comes right afterwards in the same classroom tent, is called ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.’ It’s about remarkable men in the Icelandic family sagas.

I have taught classes on women in the Viking Age, and specifically women in the family sagas, but I’ve decided to branch out and cover some of my most- and least-favorite men in them. I’ll be talking about a poet-warrior (who was incredibly ugly), an explorer, an outlaw (who was a good guy with a loyal, loving wife), a star-crossed lover, a sorceror, and others…

OK, now it’s back to bed. SOON I will be well again! I promise! ❤