The goings on

Posted by on Monday, April 4th, 2016

I bought a charming new old house.  We’ve been very busy working on the house, traveling, playing with a puppy, hosting visitors, and running about like crazy people.


The house went to closing a year and a day ago.  Since then we have added a pantry, which the house needed:


Installed some light fixtures–one of which was a gift:


And one I had been dragging around with me for ages:


We started work on a hideous powder room (yes, that is a mummified mouse we found behind the ugly 70s mirror):


Which is looking much better but still needs a new floor and a new old sink and toilet:


Ben pulled some vinyl flooring someone put over antique green tile:


And started hammering out plans for the weird abandoned well room:


We have focused on making this place look like it’s ours.






The to-do list is never-ending, but this has been an amazing place to live over the last year.  We’re burying some deep roots.  Also, puppy.

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Posted by on Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

I posted right after Imbolc.

Since then, I made a couple of dozen garments for Ben, a few for friends and a few things for me. We went to Gulf Wars, which was an interesting mixture of fun times with friends and some pretty horrible weather. We on the early work crew had such a bad storm it prevented much work on the Early Period Life structures. Once the event officially started, we had several days of brutally hot weather and then more serious storms. Apparently a tornado touched down a few miles away and was generous enough to send us some very high winds, which took out tents and a few trees. Thankfully there were relatively few injuries, but a large percentage of the attendees left. I had written a ceremony for a friend’s laurel–which is a high level arts and sciences award–but the storm cancelled the ceremony. I had a wonderful time singing with Maebh and seeing so many of our friends from far away. We stayed until the end and had fun, but it was a weird one. I never got the camera out, barely got to see any fighting, and my teaching schedule got preempted and ran into all sorts of weird.

We then returned home to host Ben’s Mother, Brother, and niece and nephews. Museums, zoo, cooking, puppy spoiling, etc.

And now we’re preparing for Celt Wars 19, which is astounding. After that, I am teaching a double class at a local event, which should be interesting.

And then writing and translating. And embroidery. And possibly some leather work–we just found a trove of hides in the attic. And also puppy. This guy never stops.

I will add photos if I can ever get Flickr to behave again.



Filed in bardic,Celtic | One response so far

Shelter, Sister

Posted by on Sunday, February 14th, 2016

A dear friend of mine has suffered far more than anyone should recently. I wrote this in her honor.  And then, because this is who we are, one friend turned it into some beautiful art, and many of us surrounded our beloved, hurting friend in the oak grove in my front garden and sang to her and spoke these words to her, all in attempt to help her remember that we will do our best to shield her from pain.  It seems a particularly apt thing to post on Valentine’s Day, which I choose to see as a celebration of all kinds of love.

Shelter, Sister

Shelter, Sister, in the arms of your tribe.
Let us drive off all those who harm you.
Let us hold you within our entwined embrace
And evermore shelter and guard you.

Heal, Sister, in the arms of your tribe.
Let us hold you and offer you succor.
Let us bandage your wounds with sacred salve
And evermore heal and protect you.

Rest, Sister, in the arms of your tribe.
Let us cover you and sing to you softly.
Let us sit by your bedside to ward off bad dreams
And evermore rest here beside you.

© 2016 Amy Ripton

I know I haven’t been posting, but oh have I been living.  We got a puppy, and we’ve done tons of work on our new old house, and I’ve been teaching and writing and making some things.  We are gearing up for our annual trip to Mississippi and a number of other fun events, and I am excited for what is in store.  I think, if I can stay motivated, this site will become more and more dedicated to a broader view of my research and writing and other pursuits and less about knitting.  It’s not that I knit any less–it’s just that I passed some sort of milestone a while back and most projects feel more comforting and less exciting.  I guess I’ve learned a lot of skills.  I know I have become more confident about my ability to teach knitting.  And since I adore teaching, that has been a boon.

Filed in bardic,Celtic | One response so far


Posted by on Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

This Friday, I go to closing on this charming little place.


It was build in 1895, and it’s on 3/4 of an acre. It’s also around the corner from a train station and outside one of the niftiest old neighborhoods in the greater DC area, so I’m very excited for the community I’ll be joining and the garden I’ll be building.  And the dogs I’ll be adopting.  Spending so long without a dog of my own has been difficult.

Filed in blather | 2 responses so far


Posted by on Thursday, March 26th, 2015

Years ago, a friend decided he wanted to change some things about his interactions in the world, and about his role in our tribe.  We jokingly came up with an idea to kill the old him and raise a new one.  And then things got serious.  I had a hand in it and needed to tell our stories of the event.  This is one of those stories.


On the Eoghanachta’s sacred Hill
We called out to the Fetter-God,
And our dauntless kin offered himself
To the Wanderer in sacrifice.

Amadeo died the triple death
Lashed between unblighted trees.
I cut his throat, stopped his breath,
And spilled his entrails at our feet.

Grave Chieftain on his sunward side,
Fore-mother beckoning from the West,
He bore the cut, the noose, the bonds
As though he lay at a lover’s breast.

Tir Thalor stood–bold sentinels
As Goldmund scattered sacred leaves;
We muttered prayers with gasping breath
And called the ravens to their feast.

Sacrifice for Odin’s furor
Blood-helmed man, crow-clan warrior.

Twin trees held him in their breadth
And where he fell Alherin rose.

Iron-brow, one night quickened.
Blood-helmed man, crow-clan warrior.

Red he came with knuckles white
Groping free of clutching night.

Bold he came all fury seething
With flashing eyes and sharp teeth gnashing.

Strong he came with sinews straining
Blessed by wolf-cry and black wings beating.

Swift he came, slick with blood,
Our grasping hands to raise him up.

Sacrifice for Odin’s furor
Blood-helmed man, crow-clan warrior.

Iron-brow, one night quickened.
Blood-helmed man, crow-clan warrior.


© 2013 Amy Ripton

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Posted by on Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

I  let this blog fall by the wayside while I became enmeshed in real world things.  I’ve gotten divorced–it was amicable but it was still hard.  I sold my house, watched my beloved dog reach the end of his days, helped care for my Aunt through the last months of her life, moved into my Aunt’s condo, found a new old house to buy, started a new relationship, made things, planted things, wrote things, traveled, danced, and on and on.  I’m happy.  I’m enmeshed in a loving community and family.  I’m well and healthier than I had been for a long time.  Life is for living, and I’ve been doing a lot of that. I’ll try to come back and visit here if possible.

Filed in Uncategorized | 2 responses so far


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.

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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:


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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

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