Posted by on Monday, July 22nd, 2013

While I’ve been slacking as a blogger, I’ve been trying to play some catch-up with photography.  These are some of the things I’ve been working on.

Our dear friends Scott and Vivian had their first baby a couple of months ago, and I was very happy to have an excuse to make this for them.  The pattern is the Zig Zag Pram Blanket


I’ve been looking at this pattern for a while, and I love that it has great texture but no holes for a newborn to get digits stuck in or for an older baby to worry to the breaking point.  I used leftover sock yarns from my own projects and from friend’s stashes.  I love the way the blanket turned out.  I made it significantly larger than the pattern called for, figuring this size was more versatile for a growing baby.  Scott and Vivian loved it.  Baby Robbie hasn’t weighed in yet, but I’m hoping he’ll snuggle it to pieces.


I made these hedgerow knee socks months ago but had the hardest time photographing them.  The yarn is custom-dyed Spunky Eclectic  sock yarn.  I originally ordered to use as an edging on Chesapeake, but then couldn’t bear to consign it to a boring i-cord fate.  It’s perfect for these socks.  This is the second pair of knee-socks I’ve made to match the monumental calves that clogging built, and they’re excellent under boots or for camping.  I have more knee socks queued up for future projects and am basking in an excuse to buy even more sock yarn in large quantities.


I had this bracelet made last fall by a great Etsy seller called HauteKeys, and I adore it.  It makes me miss my typewriter.


We had an incredibly rainy, cool spring.  That combined with preparations for the trip to France kept me out of the garden the first few months of the year, so as soon as we got back I spent as much time as possible gardening.  The typical sweltering DC summer is in full swing now, so I’m stuck inside for a while.  It is good to see some of my efforts paying off, though. I particularly like some of the new lillies I’m growing, and I love to see the variety of butterflies I’m luring into our gardens.






That bedraggled tail on this swallowtail seems representative of me these days.  Still working away, a little worse for the wear, but well enough and safe enough.  I’ve been writing and caring for a relative and trying to remember to check on my own needs occasionally.  I hope you’re all well.  I’m looking forward to our camping vacation, and I’m sad to have had to skip the first week of it.  Counting the days to vacation, and then possibly Rhinebeck, and then the KR retreat . . . . Really, everything that doesn’t revolve around cancer is a relief.  I hate cancer.  I hate it like I hate poison.

Filed in gardening,knitting | 4 responses so far

Time gets away from me

Posted by on Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

So we went to France for the Battle of Nations in May, and it was an amazing experience.  The US team members and support staff were absolutely wonderful.  The people of France were wonderful.  The other teams were wonderful.  I didn’t want to come back.  I did take thousands of pictures, of course.  And then I told you not a damn thing about it, friends.  Let’s catch up a bit before I head off on another adventure.

The competition itself was in Aigues-Mortes, a small Medieval walled city in the Camargue. We had some time in the run-up to the competition to explore the region a bit and loved all of that part of France.

An adorable cat in the Necropolis in Arles, and the door into a chapel.



The statue of Mary on top of the Papal Palace in Avignon


Gordes, the most beautiful town I’ve ever seen.


A gargoyle in Carcassone




More pictures of France here:

And of the Battle of the Nations here:


Filed in blather,Celtic,Travel | No responses yet


Posted by on Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

I went to Mississippi again.  I had an excellent time teaching and promised to repeat the early period embroidery class this summer.  I adored camping and cooking with my friends.  I had a blast singing in the long hall and by the fireside, and finally performing a pair of companion pieces together, the way I should have been doing it for the last several years.

And then I got to watch my dear friend Cailleach receive her laurel–an award for excellence in scholarship and arts–and listen to a wonderful group of people speak words I’d written for her ceremony.  It was one of the finest, proudest moments of my life.  I wept openly, surrounded by friends who understood how touched I was.  They laughed at me for being a sap, but they held my hands and patted my back all the while.

And then my friend Gwen twisted my arm and made me participate in a performing arts contest.  I knew my friends would come along to cheer me.  I was not prepared for the amazing reception my work received from folks who didn’t know me.  I really, really wasn’t prepared for a couple of true luminaries to come to our camp to request a command performance and present me with an award in front of my people under the roof of our hall.  I’m gobsmacked, and humbled, and shocked.

Where’s my pen?  My voice is shredded, but oh, how I want to sing.

Filed in blather,Celtic,Travel | 3 responses so far


Posted by on Thursday, February 28th, 2013

I’m getting ready to head to Mississippi, and then I’ll be getting ready to head to Aigues Mortes, because my husband’s hobbies are even weirder than mine.  That’s saying something.  Also, I need to learn to speak French.  I can do that in a couple of months, right?  Errr.  Yeah.

Apparently I’ll also need some 12th C. costuming.  I am opposed to four-digit years.  Frinking journalism–I’m a historian, people!  Excuse me while I cry under the desk for a minute.

Here’s a recap of my last month or two: I did the research and wrote the class notes to teach a couple of classes at Gulf Wars, one on early period embroidery and one about the Bardic Arts from an academic perspective.  I hope both classes go well.  I’m excited to teach them, and feel the burden of my recent laziness about teaching lifting itself as I review the notes.  I miss teaching.  I missed research.

I also wrote a laurel ceremony for my friend Cailleach.  That was an adventure because, as a bit of an outsider in the SCA, I’ve never been to any sort of elevation ceremony. But why should that stop me?!  It didn’t.  So far, the people who’ve seen the ceremony love it.  My heart is full to bursting from their kindness.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time weaving in between all of that writing and research.  Here’s the piece I can show you.


I adore it.  I hope to have about seven yards once it’s done, but it’s not very wide.  I hope it will be enough to make something great.  I predict that I’ll be terrified to full it.  The brighter green was a gift from my friend Kendra, and the hand-dyed grey brown goodness is a Briar Rose yarn from the KR stash lounge from several years ago.  I love weaving with yarns with such happy memories.

Oh, and knitting.  I keep ripping out all of my knitting.  I have project ennui.  I must find an antidote before we make a 16 hour drive.

Filed in Celtic,Travel,weaving | 2 responses so far

A Silent Poetry Reading

Posted by on Friday, February 1st, 2013

I slack on posting and taking pictures, but oh, how I succeed at reading–and particularly reading and loving poetry.  Lest this tradition fall by the wayside, the most apt poem for Imbolc, this day, February first.  It’s my beloved Mom’s birthday, and we have a light dusting of snow, and I can’t get my mind off this piece in the Book of Leinster.  The book is in Trinity College Dublin, and I used to moon over its pages every few days.  This is on one of them. I’ve included Kuno Meyer’s classic translation  below.

Slán seiss a Brigit co mbuaid
for gruaid Lifi lir co tráig;
is tu banflaith buidnib sluaig
fil for clannaib Cathair Máir.

Ba móu epert in cach ré
airle Dé fri Herind uill.
indiu cid latt Liphe líg.
ropo thír caich ar n-uair.

O doréccu Cuirrech caín
assa tháeb na torc
dobeir macdath for cach meild
in cor foceird for cach ríg.

Ba rí Loegaire. co ler
Ailill Áne adbol cor
marid Currech cona lí
ní mair nach rí ro boí for.
Ni mair Labraid Longsech lán

iar tundsem a thríchait cáem.
i nDind Ríg ba hadba gnath.
o thuc bráth do Chobthach Cael.
Gabais Herind hua Luirc.
Oengus Roirend réim co sairc.

rolá flathi dara feirt
Maistiu munbrecc Moga Airt.
Ailend aurdairc álaind fál fuis.
fail mór flathi foa cnius .
ba mó foscnad tan atchess

Crimthan Coscrach ina crius.
Gáir a ínaig iar cech mbuaid.
im chúail claideb cumtaig drend
bríg a fían fri indna ngorm.
gloim a corn for cétaib cend.

Gles a hindeón comdad cúar.
clúas a duan do thengthaib bard;
bruth a fer fri comlund nglan.
cruth a ban fri óenach n-ard.
A hól meda for cech mbruig.

a graig allmar ilar tuath;
a seinm rond do rígaib fer
fo duilnib sleg cóicrind cruach.
A ceóil binni in cach thrath.
a fínbárc for tondgur fland;

a fross argait orddain máir.
a tuirc óir a tírib Gall.
Co muir nAlban amal chair
raith a orddan la cech ríg.
ru fer amaill im cech cain.

Alend alaind cona bríg.
Bressal ba rí for Eilgg.
Fiachra Fobrecc fein co ngairg.
Fergus Fairgge. Find mac Roith
carsat boith i nAlind aird.

Adrad lithu ni fiu clúas
solud na sén siabras bás.
is bréc uile iarna thur
indid Alend is dún fás.
Foglass a ngein tibes duit

a maigreid l tuaith cricha Cuirc.
di cech lín ro n-alt a húair
doringne luaith Liphi Luirc.
Currech Lifi lir co hor.
Currech Sétnai síth co ler.

is mor ríg fris rala cor.
Currech Corpri Nio Fer.
Cathair Már ba forgu delb.
reraig Herind ilar ndolb.
ce chutgáre oca ráith

ro scáich a ngal ilar fodb.
Fiachna Fomnae Bresal ran.
rerid sál co snigib sleg.
trichait ruirech réin cu cor
gabsat tír im Themair Breg.

Benna Iuchna álaind port
imma ndessid ilar fert.
fega latt i nAlmain aird
adba Thaidg meic Nuadat Necht.
Fodbae Feradaig fo mind.

immu nd-aigtís buidne bend.
a barr breglass a brat líg
is mór ríg rala dar cend.
Dunlang Fornacta ba fíal.
flaith fri Niall ro chathu cloí

ce adfeissed scel do neoch.
ni hé in bith ceta boi.
Brigaiss Illand im thuaith
tríchait catha fri cech ríg;
hua Ennai. ald fri nath.

nibu sluag cen rian ríg.
Ba rí Ailill ernad rath.
resi ndressed cath crodond cruaid.
Cormac mac Corpri. Colmán Mór
Brandub barc i mbatar sluaig.

Ba slicht flatha Faelan find.
Fiannamail fri forbud fland.
Bran mac Conaill co llín glond
ba si in tond dar cach n-ald.
A Brigit ‘s a tír atchiu.

is cach a úair immudrí
ro gab do chlú fora chlú
ind ríg is tu fordatá
Tathut bithlaith lasin Ríg
cen a tír i fail do rúaim.
a ue Bresail meic Déin.
i slan seiss a Brigit co mbuaid.

Kuno Meyer’s translation: 1912

Sit thou safely enthroned, triumphant Brigit, upon the side of Liffey far as the strand of the ebbing sea!

Thou art the sovereign lady with banded hosts that presides over the Children of Catháir the Great.

God’s counsel at every time concerning Virgin Erin is greater than can be told: though glittering Liffey is thine today, it has been the land of others in their turn.

When from its side I gaze upon the fair Curragh….The lot that has fallen to every king causes awe at each wreck

Logaire was king as far as the sea,–Ailill Áne, a mighty fate: the Curragh with its glitter remains–none of the kings remains that lived thereon.

Perfect Labraid Longsech lives no more, having trodden under foot his fair thirty years: since in Dinn Rig–`twas a wonted abode–he dealt doom to Cobthach the Slender.

Lore’s grandson, Oengus of Róiriu, seized the rule of Erin,….sway; Maistiu of the freckled neck, son of Mug Airt, through princes across their graves.

Fair-famed Alenn! Delightful knowledge! Many a prince is under its girth: it is greater than can be fathomed when Crimthan the Victorious was seen in its bosom.

The shout of triumph heard there after each victory around a shock of swords, a mettlesome mass; the strength of its warrior-bands against the dark blue battle-array; the sound of its horns above hundreds of heads.

The tuneful ring of its even-colored bent anvils, the sound of songs heard there from the tongues of bards; the ardour of its men at the glorious contest; the beauty of its women at the stately gathering.

Drinking of mead there in every home-stead; its noble steeds, many tribes; the jingle of chains unto kings of men under blades of five-edged bloody spears.

The sweet strains heard there at every hour, its wine-barque upon the purple flood; its shower of silver of great splendor; its torques of gold from the lands of the Gaul.

Far as the sea of Britain the high renown of each king has sped like a meteor: delightful Alenn with its might has made sport of every law.

Bresal Bree was king over Elg, Fiachra Fobree with a fierce band of warriors; Ferus of the Sea, Finn son of Roth they loved to dwell in lofty Alenn.

Worship of auguries is not worth listening to, nor of spells and auspices that betoken death; all is vain when it is probed, since Alenn is a deserted doom.

Brigit is the smile that smiles on you from the plain…of Core’s land; of each generation which it reared in turn Liffey of Lore has made ashes.

The Currah of Liffey to the brink of the main, the Curragh of Sétna, a land of peace as far as the sea,–many is the king whom the Curragh of Carbre Nia-fer has overthrown.

Catháir the Great– he was the choicest of shapes –ruled Erin of many hues: though you cry upon him at his rath, his prowess of many weapons has vanished.

Fiachna of Fomuin, glorious Bresal ruled the sea with showers of spears: thirty great kings to the edge of the sea seized land around Tara of Bregia.

The Peaks of Iuchna, delightful place, around which many graves have settled behold in lofty Allen the abode of Tadg, son of Nuada Necht!

The apparel of Feradach–a goodly diadem–around whom crested bands would move; his blue-speckled helmet, his shining mantle,–many a king he overthrew.

Dunlang of Fornochta, he was generous, a prince who routed battles against the sons of Niall: though one were to tell the tale to all, this is not the world that was once.

Illann with his tribe launched thirty battles against every king, Enna’s grandson, a rock against terror, it was not a host without a king’s rule.

Ailill was a king that would bestow favour, against whom a fierce blood-dark battle-host would rise: Cormac, Carbre, Colman the Great, Brandub, a barque in which were hosts.

Faelan the Fair was a track of princeship, Fianamail with….; Braiin, son of Conall with many deeds, he was the wave over every cliff.

Oh Brigit whose land I behold, on which each one in turn has moved about, thy fame has outshone the fame of the king–thou art over them all.

Thou hast everlasting rule with the king apart from the land wherein is thy cemetery. Grand-child of Bresal son of Dian, sit thou safely enthroned, triumphant Brigit!



Filed in Celtic,Eating Poetry | One response so far

Gearing up

Posted by on Monday, October 15th, 2012

I keep promising myself that I’ll cut back on unnecessary projects.  I mean, really, doesn’t everyone who wants a knitting wristlet already have one?  Why do I need to make hundreds more?  I don’t, do I?  But then I think of the eventual move, and how it would be best if I had less fabric to pack, and how making bags  uses up fabric.

And then things get blurry for a while, and I’ve suddenly cut out the pieces for 42 bags.  I even cut fabric that had previously been considered sacred and was sequestered away from the regular bag food.  I’ve gone mad, I tell you!  That bright turquoise on top is a Tula Pink print that’s out of production, and several other members of that line are in the pile too.  Now, to see if I can complete these all in time for Rhinebeck.


(yes, yes I can.  I already did.  Yay me.)

Before the head-swimming rotary-cut-athon, I made this.  I liked the string-pieced bags I made last autumn, but I felt like they were a bit too chaotic, and possibly not quite big enough for a big sweater project.  This is the new take on the same concept.  I love all of the orange, and that teal and orange batik–that was one of the first sacred pieces that would up on the cutting mat.  It opened the flood-gates, as it were.


I even took pictures of the outside. They’re . . . coming. Lightroom still feels foreign to me.

Also, our friends Anna and Sean had a beautiful baby girl this summer. I made her this:



I’m really enjoying the concept of a baby quilt preceding a full-sized bed quilt out of my studio. It’s a great way to test sashing, and it makes me want to finish the larger quilt, and it just keeps making space in the stash.  I quilted the bejeesus out of this one, and encouraged Anna and Sean to use it and wash it with abandon and just drag it back to me if it develops any holes.  We’ll see if they do.

This is the finished trim I made for Adon’s wedding:


I hope I’ll keep seeing it around for years and years, and I think I will. He did a beautiful job adding it to the tunic.

Back to the needles . . .


Filed in blather,Celtic,knitting,sewing,weaving | 4 responses so far


Posted by on Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Autumn kicks my ass. Every. Damn. Year. It’s my favorite season, but it also has far too much going on. Here are some snippets to serve as placeholders until I can spend some quality time with my camera and Lightroom.  (I broke down and bought Lightroom, by the way.  Setting it up finally killed my ailing laptop–but all is well.  I have a lovely desktop that I neglect, and it has the archives of all things.)

I wove some trim for my friend Adon’s wedding clothes. It started like this, but got much better.


The tans are silk from Webs, the white is cotton from my friend Kestrel, and the cream is a gorgeous Foxfire Cormo blend.  I’ve truly fallen for that Big Wave loom of mine, by the way.  We had an excellent time together this summer.  Um, there may be absolutely no photographic evidence of that yet, but that just means I get to stalk and photograph friends wearing the spoils of my labor–always fun, that.

I got back to work on the woolalong afghan a few weeks ago. I’d paused at 25 squares, trying to decide whether to add another round of squares, since that would require knitting 25 more squares. That’s a lot of squares.  But I’ve  truly loved hunting down the yarns, dyeing so many myself, and particularly working with other people’s handspun–that’s the best bit. I finally decided that since the 25 square blanket was too short to really cover an adult comfortably, and that one day I would live in a world without a cat that eats wool, and since I hadn’t gotten all of the breeds on the list into the blanket yet, I needed to keep going. And keep going I have. I’ve done another 10 squares. Here’s the 11th on the needles.  If I hurry, I may manage to finish the whole thing in time for the KR retreat.


The yarn is a lovely Corriedale from Windborne Farms in Pennsylvania. I found it and two other skeins in coordinating colors while Clara and I were wandering around Maryland Sheep and Wool. It’s beautifully stuff. I want a sweater’s worth.

Somewhere in the midst of the making, I got to visit with Purlewe, Sue, Martha, and Beth in Philadelphia.  I love wandering around friends’ home towns with them.  We dropped in on Lisa at Hidden River Yarns, and her new shop is gorgeous.

I also made a Color Affection shawl.  Several of us got to talking at MDSW about a Sunna version, and I caved.  I used Roman Bronze, Piney Woods, and, er, some teal I forget the name of.  It’s actually finished and blocked, but I haven’t gotten around to photographing it yet.  After I chose the colors, I realized I’d inadvertently matched one of my favorite skirts, so I’m looking forward to a chance to wear them together once it cools down.


Now, I’m off to ponder a ridiculous new sewing machine and make as many bags as I can to bring to Rhinebeck.

Filed in blather,knitting,Travel,weaving | 3 responses so far


Posted by on Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

When Tethera was in full swing, our performances at Celtic festivals tended to include question and answer sessions, because, well, we have an small, interesting and interested group of fans.  A question we got several times was: “What sort of creation myth did the Celts have.”  And the three of us would explain that while the characters are in place, there is no extant creation myth in any of the existing sources, though the invasion myths abound.  And then I’d joke about maybe, one day,  when I’d built up enough hubris, I’d write one myself.

And then I did just that—making sure to include enough signposts to make it clear that this is new work rather than a translation of an ancient text.  I haven’t been struck dead yet, so I guess that’s enough of an approval from whatever pantheon is holding on.  Here it is, particularly suited to Equinoxes, both because of the balance between feminine and masculine and old and new, but also the pairing of humor and sex. They are partners.  I wish I was telling it to you—it’s truly a performance piece, and I love telling it.


Sun came first.
This much we know.

Many many years ago
Vibrant Lugh sparked the light
That burned, one spot,
In blackest night

Brazen Lugh, an ember burning
Emblazoned on the raven orb
Recognized his wondrous rising,
As, well, something he’d not done before.
He cocked his head and puffed his chest
And crowed out to the formless dust
That he was all, and muckle, and much,
Creator of the blah blah blah and such.
—Not a poet yet, was Lugh, first met.

Arianrhod, bright wheel shining,
She so lithe and fulsome sweet
Glowed in the gloom, slowly turning
From fecund curve to ankle neat
Luscious rump to whittled waist
Sickle to orb, wrist to breast—yes
Pearly she and her snowy bed
Were there ere Lugh lit up his head.

She could not abide such prideful muck
Even spewing forth from such rich lips,
So bright a brow above them now
And shoulders broad and down below . . .
Where was I, yes, she had to go
And set him right,
That gorgeous thing that rose that night.

Creatrix, She, rose ages past,
Then slumbered much,
Finding Self-birth was a formidable task,
So close on the heels of self-conception.
“Don’t even get me started about being pregnant with my own divine ass.”
Such work demanded rest on a snowy bed
Whereupon she dreamed a ruddy stag
And he to mount an argent doe
oh, oh

And so,
She turned to him and gleamed
A mirror for his scorching beam
And thus her gaze redoubled their light
Those two who shone in endless night
She gave him chills, and he enflamed her
He warmed her through, she quenched his fever
And they came together then, those two
Whose rising warmed the black to blue
As those two Gods twined and twinned
And loved and fought,  did this begin—
Earth came
Water came
Air and land, stone and moss
Time and tide, and love and loss
And all they did gave us our place
Here below what once was waste

At least, so I dreamed it
on my snowy bed
one night, ere Lugh lit up his head
And chased away fair Arianrhod
His mother and lover, his shining God


© 2011 Amy Ripton

Filed in Celtic,Eating Poetry | 4 responses so far


Posted by on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

So I was here, and then I was visiting Asheville, and then I was here again, and then we went on vacation, and now I’m back, but drowning in projects.  And books.  But the book I really want is missing.  And Speedwell . . . . Speedwell has finally cracked.  I’ll try to catch you up.  Well, I’ll try to try.

I gave my friend Angus this . . .

And Johan got a similar one (which, yes, I neglected to photograph).  Angus’s may be the belt I’m fondest of, so far.  I love the level of contrast.  I used a variety of yarns, mostly wool with some silk and alpaca mixed in.  It’s about 4 1/2″ wide and about 12 feet long, which, yes, is ludicrous for an inkle.

And I’m wearing this .  . .

Which my talented friend Maggie made out of beautiful handmade silver luniks (or lunitsas, or whatever), Danish silver findings,  and ancient glass beads.  I fell for this when we saw Maggie and Scot this spring, and I finally cracked a couple of weeks ago.  The thought of some other weirdo wearing this made me violent–always a sign I need to hit the ATM and buy the thing already.

And knitting this . . .

A fingerless mitt, using some amazing Foxfire sock wool that I dyed last autumn.  Orange, how I love you.

And I made these for my friend Dami . . .
Dami's mitts

Which, um, I should put in the mail already.

I’ve also resurrected some old projects and am plotting a couple of new ones.  Let’s save that for later.

Filed in blather,Celtic,knitting,rug making,sewing,Travel,weaving | 4 responses so far

So, lemme ask you . . .

Posted by on Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

How the hell to get out of a photography slump.

I got a nice DSLR in 2009 and took literally thousands of pictures in Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Utah. I kept chugging along taking pictures, but the better the camera, the more I felt I needed to improve the pictures I took and the more it seemed like I needed to do a little color correction or other processing before posting them. And on and on.

And, here it is, almost three years later, and I’m terrible about taking and posting photos! I’ve done hundreds of hours of work in my garden this spring and planted thousands of plants and bulbs–and you’ve seen none of it. I’ve been sewing and knitting and camping and playing with our pets–and you’ve seen none of it. I took photos at a friend’s hand-fasting in late April–LATE APRIL–and those images are still in my camera. Ugh!

So, what’s a good jump-start, folks?  I want to really improve my photography and photo processing skills, but I also just want to keep a decent document of this here life I’m living.  Any tips?  Have any photography challenges kept you clicking away?  How do I get over the hump between taking the picture and getting the image out of the camera and up on the web, already?! (interrobang!)

Updated to add a photo!  Look, proof of knitting.  These are a gift for my friend Dami–I let her pick, and she opted for hedgerow mitts.  I’ve elongated the arm portion at her request.  These are flying, but they should, shouldn’t they?  Also, it is difficult to use an ipad to take a picture of one’s own hand.  Very difficult.

Dami's mitts

Filed in blather,knitting | 6 responses so far

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