West Kingdom Golden Beltane – Part 1

At the beginning of 2014, March in fact, I wrote a blog about why I thought people should attend a “great war”. I talked about the wars that we have attended and why I personally think that everyone should try to attend one. Well, I have to add another event to my list of “the greats” – West Kingdom Golden Beltane.

So what made West Kingdom Golden Beltane amazing? Well the site was lovely – a broad grassy valley surrounded by high hills and rocky cliffs with patches of Live Oak Trees and Cottonwoods around the edges. And this certainly added to the ambience. But what really made it special was the people and what the people were doing. There were attendees from the original birthday party, people who had driven in from Canada to celebrate the anniversary of their beloved organization, local folks who only had an hour drive (mine was 14 hours), new folks who were still learning the ropes of camping and dressing in a period fashion on the weekends, old friends that I hadn’t seen in 10 years, others that I hadn’t seen in almost 17 years and lots more in between.

And what were we doing? All of the usual things that we do at big events, with a twist and maybe just a bit more enthusiasm than usual. There were the usual excellent collections of classes, demos, hardsuit, rapier, equestrian, and archery tourneys, all with a slight twist of course. How often does a newcomer get to fight a bout with someone who was at the first birthday party?

I was running my shop at the event, and unfortunately my hubby was only able to be there on the weekends, so that meant that teaching classes away from the shop was not a possibility. But I was determined to contribute in some small way to the enjoyment for people, so I taught “on demand” Knit Chain classes and I had my Indigo dye pot available for populace use.

Our neighbor’s generously allowed us to use the edge of their lot to set up the dye pot, and string up a clothesline. And just to get things rolling I pulled out some yarn that I had been wanting to dye, and did a first dip. Having done this sort of thing before at other events, and also advertised on the event site that I would be having the dye pot available for people to use, I expected that there would be some interest from the populace. Before I knew it I had several folks coming by to discuss their “problem clothing” – a tunic that had faded in the sun, white pants that wouldn’t stay clean, and several chemises that were either stained. And the result?

Indigo Clothes Line

My very own Indigo laundry line and a lot of happy people.

But least you think that only old fabric and some yarn received “a dip”, one of the merchants who was selling silk asked if she could try dyeing a yard. Of course I said yes, and the results were amazing.

Next time: West Kingdom Golden Beltane – Part 2 Lots More