A Psychadelic Viking Tunic

I am so far behind on blogging.  My husband and I closed on our house on May 7th, and we’ve been painting ever since.  I just got back from Costume College, and while I promise I’ll have a post on that soon, I feel like I need to wrap up my loose ends on my Historical Sew Monthly projects.  So without further ado, here is the Birka Viking Tunic I made for my husband!

Birka Viking Tunic

Birka Viking Tunic

And here are the Historical Sew Monthly Facts!

What the item is (and how it is a product of war or a lengthy period of peace): A Viking Tunic and Undertunic from the Swedish Trading Island of Birka. The Viking Age is often regarded as an era of war and conflict, but in the eastern Viking world, it was a time of peace and trading. Viking Traders often travelled to Constantinople to trade furs for silks and other goods. Many varied items from many cultures have been found at Birka, including Chinese silk, a Bhuddha figure, Christian crosses, and a ring with an Arabic inscription.

The Challenge: April: War and Peace.

Fabric: Overtunic: 100% linen in a pink and green herringbone. Undertunic: 100% linen.

Pattern: Widely accepted theorized Birka Tunic pattern, based on grave finds.

Year: 900’s.

Notions: Thread.

How historically accurate is it? Well, it is dyed linen. There are some finds of dyed linen from the Viking Age, but linen doesn’t survive well in graves. I know it is possible to get these colors on linen using Viking Age dyes, but it would be extremely expensive. As this is a tunic for a wealthy trader, I think that is acceptable. Really, I used the pink and green herringbone because WHO COULD PASS THAT UP? The cut is definitely right with what we know. About 70%.

Hours to complete: I cut this out last fall. Really only about 5 though. It still needs trim but I’m calling it wearable right now.

First worn: For pictures.

Total cost: $40? Ish? Can’t recall what the herringbone cost but it was not terribly expensive.

And here are a few other pictures.  I don’t have any construction pictures of this one because I didn’t think to take any.

Side View

Side View

He Made that Seax

He Made that Seax

Isn’t that a pretty seax?  He made it.  My husband is so talented!

Birka Pouch

Birka Pouch

He made that pouch too.  He’s very artistic.

So there you have it!  I just really love this fabric.  I have an apron dress made of the same fabric that I need to finish weaving trim for.  Hopefully I’ll get that done before Hostfest this year.  I’m currently working on some really complicated wool trim in pink and green for this tunic which should be done by then as well.

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Published in: on August 5, 2015 at 6:51 pm  Comments (2)  

Ravensborg Return of the Sun 2012!

The Edge of the Mead Hall

The Edge of the Mead Hall

This past Friday, I loaded up the car with my Viking chest and food and wool blankets and sewing stuff and Icelandic wool and my spinning basket and lots of weird shoes and a giant wooden bowl and apple cider and Dr. Pepper and a couple energy drinks and my friend Jessica and her bags and we went on a 6-hour drive to Knox City, Missouri and Ravensborg Viking Longphort.  (I thought it was a longfort, or a fortress, but nope, everyone is saying longphort this year.  It’s the cool thing to do.)  There were a lot of people there this year, but not as many as there have been other years.  I guess the high price of gas is getting to everyone.  I mean, really, only four people from all of Skjaldborg came.  Still, I can’t complain with 26-ish people.

Friday evening, we settled in and got our sleeping area set up, and met some new people and caught up with old friends.  Jessica was dead tired, having just gotten done working a temp job that also happened to be night shift, but I stayed up late, finishing a few sewing projects by candlelight.

Sleepy Jessica

Sleepy Jessica

Sewing Sewing Sewing

Sewing Sewing Sewing

This is my favorite shot of the weekend.

This is my favorite shot of the weekend. I'm sewing tablet weaving trim on the edge of my new apron dress.

The next morning, we got up fairly early to clean up the longhouse before the public started arriving to see the phort and the displays (us).  There was a Viking craft contest, and I entered several things– John’s caftan, a pair of hand-woven legbands, a piece of tablet-woven trim, my new apron dress, and the Viking belt pouch and belt I made a couple falls ago.  I also collaborated with John and Chris for the new Skjaldborg Boar Banner.  I made the windsock part, out of red silk.  The local art teacher judged all the entries, but we had no idea who won anything until the feast that night.  (More on that later.)

So Jessica and I sat and wove and spun for a while, then we heard the men were going to fight.  No sooner did we get over there and find a good spot to sit and watch, then they all clamored for us to join them.  So we changed into our fighting clothes, and joined the fray!

Valkyries!

Valkyries!

Yes, Jessica has a lavender tunic.  Also, yes, I haven’t yet put on my legbands in this picture. Shush. I realize that.

Jessica may possibly be the most amusing fighter I have yet seen.  She swings wildly, with a saex too heavy for her, hardly able to lift a shield, and shrieks and giggles and jumps away from her opponents the entire time she fights.  The crowd loves her!  I think a lot of the people watching sympathize with her in a way that they can’t with the expert warriors like John and Chris.  Jessica is an inexpert warrior, doing the best she can, and having a fun time with it.  They can put themselves in her shoes more easily than they can do so with John or Chris.  (Who are awesome.)

For the shield walls, we split up mostly into those wearing mail and those not.  Those of us without mail outnumbered those with, but we still lost a LOT.

Resting

Resting

The rest of the afternoon, I changed back into proper women’s clothes and worked alternately on my tablet weaving and spinning, since all my sewing was done.

This is Phil.  He took a lot of pictures this weekend.

This is Phil. He took a lot of pictures this weekend.

After a while, I asked Philip Patton, a phenomenal photographer with an awesome camera if I could get him to take some pictures of me in my Viking clothes, since, well, I don’t have any good recent pictures of my kit, due to a poor camera, poor camera people, and usually running my camera myself.  He was happy to oblige (or at least I hope he was) and I finally got some wonderful shots for my portfolio!

Swedish Work Dress

Swedish Work Dress

With Yrsa

With Yrsa

New Dress!

New Dress!

I made a new dress.  The underdress is white linen.  I plan to pleat it finely in the next few weeks.  The overdress is silk, and the apron dress is fine wool, edged with tablet weaving.  After all this time making good clothes for others, I finally have good clothing for myself!

Ready for the Feast!

Ready for the Feast!

Fight!  Fight!  Fight!

Fight! Fight! Fight!

Oh hej, I didn't see you there. . .

Oh hej, I didn't see you there. . .

Best Friends!

Best Friends!

She's the cutest!

She's the cutest!

Boar Banner Shot.  I am so in love with this series of photographs.

Boar Banner Shot. I am so in love with this series of photographs.

This is Where I Want to Be Right Now

This is Where I Want to Be Right Now

After photos, we had the feast!  We ate lots and lots of food, including the photogenic greens, and had an all-around good time which included folk dances and trophies. (!) Skjaldborg cleaned up the trophies, with Jessica, yes, Jessica, winning Best Warrior Showmanship, Chris winning Viking Craftsmanship for Category A (items completely from scratch), and I won Viking Craftsmanship for Category B, which was for items with some element not made by oneself.  My Viking Belt Pouch won.  Not surprised, actually.  It’s a good pouch.

I won a trophy!

This is Olaf.  He says I did a good job. He weighs 12 pounds.

This is Olaf. He says I did a good job. He weighs 12 pounds.

It was a wonderful weekend, but it was over far too quickly.  The next morning, I got up with a couple of the others far too early and just sat by the fire, warming my feet and wishing the weekend would go on forever.  But life is life, and time keeps moving, so all too soon I had to rouse Jessica from the bed and pack up our belongings and leave.  My bedroom smells like woodsmoke, and heaven only knows I do sleep better in my own bed, but there is such a sense of peace at Ravensborg, away from the modern world. . . Maybe heaven will be like that.  A good feast with friends, but without the sad morning afterwards, knowing you have to leave again now for a few months.

Group Shot!

Group Shot!

It was wonderful to see everyone, and I can’t wait til Tivoli!

Published in: on April 24, 2012 at 10:34 pm  Comments (1)  
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I’m Not Dead. . .

I’ve just been really busy.  My life has been crazy over the last few months, what with school and sewing and school and sewing and well, you get the idea.  See, when I have so much sewing and writing to do, I have very little time to post on this blog.  But, since I just complete my honors thesis for my undergraduate degree at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, I finally have time to show you what I have been doing lately!

First off, late last year I expanded my skills into some basic leather tooling and working, and created a belt and belt pouch for a class project.  I took the dragon design from this runestone in Uppsala:

Uppsala Runestone

Uppsala Runestone

As the stone was actually never completed, I completed the design as I felt it would have been, and came up with this design:

Finished Pouch

Finished Pouch

I tooled the design on the pouch with a variety of crazy tools and a mallet, and dyed the design red with watered-down acrylic paint.  I would have used madder for the red, but it tried to turn my vegetable-tanned leather green.  I did an intertwined dragon design for the belt, based on my brother Kyle’s design idea, which also turned out quite well.

I also started a new set of kit for Kyle, to go with my honors thesis but also as his birthday gift for this year.  (Every year for his birthday I make him new Viking kit according to his specifications for color and style.)  This year, his new kit consists of a linen undertunic, and dark blue wool over tunic, and baggy wool pants.  Unlike other pants I have made for him before, these are more tailored and consist of multiple pieces of wool in gussets and end at the knees.  From the knees down, there are footless stockings that hook to the cuffs of the baggy pants, over which the legbands are wrapped.  The new tunics are shorter than his old ones, in order to show off the baggyness of his pants.

Baggy Pants, Complete with Belt Loops

Baggy Pants, Complete with Belt Loops

With the New Tunics

With the New Tunics and Shoes

Soon I will be weaving some tablet weaving onto the edges of his good tunic, but until then this is as far as I have gotten.

My next project?  Kit for both me and Kyle from the time of the Second Crusade.  Skjaldborg is going to add some crusading to the group’s activities, and Kyle and I won’t be left behind!

Til next time!

Published in: on March 31, 2011 at 5:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ravensborg Fall 2010

This past weekend, I, Kyle, and my friend Karen made the five-hour drive down to Knox City, Missouri, to visit the Viking fort of Ravensborg.  The drive was, thankfully, an uneventful one, and we arrived at about seven in the evening.  Of course, little could be done that evening in the way of work or Viking things, so we unpacked, ate supper, and sat around and caught up with friends.  Karen and I hemmed her dress for the weekend, which was both relaxing and challenging, with only oil lamps and candles to light our work.

The next morning, the menfolk set to work on hanging the gates for the new gatehouse, and Karen and I began to dye cloth.  John had asked me to do something with a white lamb’s wool caftan he had, so I decided we would try our hand at dyeing it madder red.  That took all day.  (In fact, this process is still ongoing as of today!)  Since we needed a fire, and it was dark and smoky in the longhouse, Karen and I decided to work outside.  Good choice, since the weather was as nice as it was!

Our Work Area

Our Work Area

Madder roots are complicated to dye with.  As they contain two colors, a yellow and a red, and since the yellow dissolves more easily in water, one must often simmer the roots for nearly two hours, starting with fresh water each hour, to wash out the yellows and pull out the reds more clearly and avoid an orange color.  So we simmered and strained, and simmered and strained, and finally were able to put the caftan in the dye with the roots, after which it simmered all day, and sat all night, and still ended up a peach color.  (It was frustrating.)  I had to pour out the dye before we drove back home, but saved the roots and set the whole thing soaking again once I got home.  I am happy to say the caftan is more of a orange-ish red now than it was before, and steadily getting darker.

Karen Hard at Work

Karen Hard at Work

While we dyed, Kyle and Little John split wood and fixed John’s shoes (they ruined my needle!) and kept us company for a while.

Fixing Shoes and Checking the Fire

Fixing Shoes and Checking the Fire

Meanwhile, the men were working on hanging the gates on the gatehouse, which is quite impressive, aside from the part where there are not enough ladder rungs for a woman in a dress to easily get to the second floor.

The Gatehouse

The Gatehouse

The blacksmiths, who had made the hinges earlier, were busy forging rivets to attach the hinges to the gates, while others were hard at work cutting and putting together the gates themselves.  It was a lot of fun to watch, and very interesting.  When we could, Karen and I took breaks from the dyeing to watch the men work on the gatehouse, and also to climb up into the gatehouse itself and get a good view of the land.

Looking out the Window of the Gatehouse

Looking out the Window of the Gatehouse

Ground Level of the Gatehouse

Ground Level of the Gatehouse

Getting the Lay of the Land

Getting the Lay of the Land

The Longhouse and Cookhall from the Gatehouse Window

The Longhouse and Cookhall from the Gatehouse Window

Of course, as always, there were new pieces and details in my kit, and of course Karen’s kit was all new.  I had a new dark blue wool overdress, and have added tablet weaving to my blue apron dress since Viking Meet.  With a wool dress, I was finally warm enough at Ravensborg for a change!

Warm New Dress

Warm New Dress

I also had a new tablet weaving belt, which worked nicely with a dress that is otherwise rather shapeless.  I have woven a piece of tablet weaving to edge the dark blue dress, but didn’t have time to sew that on before this weekend.  One thing at a time.  I’ll get it sewn on eventually.

Karen had a simpler dress.  She was portraying a slave captured from Ireland (her idea, not mine, I swear!) and thus had what we would call Hiberno-Norse clothing.  It is a much simplified and much cheaper looking version of most of the women’s clothing I make, and does not have an apron dress to go with it, partially because the Irish didn’t often wear the apron dress, and partially because only free women could wear the apron dress.  Both the underdress and overdress were made the same, the underdress of a cheap off-white linen, the overdress a pale green, and just a little shorter.  She had a braided hemp belt and an apron, since she was working and didn’t want to wreck her dress.  (I wore an apron too for a while when we were dyeing.)  She wore my old Gillie Brogues, a type of Celtic shoe.

She also had manacles.  No joke.

Karen's Dress

Karen's Dress

Overall, it was a very functional and comfortable dress to wear, or so she said.  I think she was a little more mobile than I am in my tight apron dress, but we were both able to climb up into the gatehouse, so. . .  I think both styles of dress allow for about the same mobility and freedom.

All things considered, it was the about the best weekend I have spent down at Ravensborg so far, even though there was no fighting.  (We were too busy working on our individual projects.)  We had some kids come down to trick-or-treat Saturday night, and we all told stories and sang songs at the feast Saturday evening in the old Viking feast entertainment way.  Sunday morning found us packing up and going our separate ways, already looking forward to the Return of the Sun in April, the next time we will meet at Ravensborg.

And for once, this weekend, it didn’t rain.

Published in: on November 3, 2010 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tablet Weaving

Back in March, I picked up a book on tablet weaving and a bundle of fifty cards.  I got some wool and linen yarn, and intended to start weaving within the next couple of weeks, but I never got around to it.  The summer passed, I kept seeing my book, envisioning tablet woven edging for my Viking clothing, and wanting to weave, but it never happened.

Yesterday, I finally started weaving.

I picked out a pattern from my book and changed it just a bit so I could have three colors, instead of the two it showed.  Not content with the very basic patterns in the book, I picked one of the prettier ones further in.  Knowing my limits, I didn’t pick this pattern, but I did choose one in which half the cards are threaded to the right, and half to the left.  I had blue, green, and off-white yarn, and decided to use the off-white as my base, the blue as the pattern, and the green as the accent and the weft.

Tablet weaving is a warp-faced weave, so I had to measure out my warp in the colors for the pattern accordingly– 30 threads in the off-white, 16 threads in the blue, and 2 in the green.  Since the pattern I had chosen would show the weft thread at each reversal of the card-turning direction, I used the same green for the accent and for the weft.   This pattern uses twelve cards with four holes each.

Tablet Weaving Pattern

Tablet Weaving Pattern

Once my warp was measured, I combed the colors together, and threaded my cards.  Unknown to me at the time, I threaded them all backwards, so I ended up with a jagged-edge pattern instead of the smooth curvy pattern I had envisioned.  But I didn’t figure this out until I started weaving.

Since I have no loom, I literally tied myself into my work.  I sat on the bed, with my belt on, the warp and working end attached to the belt, and the end of the warp knotted and looped around my right foot.  This looked just a little ridiculous.

Modus Operendi

Modus Operendi

In no time at all, I was weaving. However, I soon noticed that my pattern wasn’t smooth.  For a while, I thought the book had a typo in the directions, but soon realized my cards were just threaded backwards.  Since the pattern was still pretty anyway, and I had learned from it, I continued for another few hours, until I ran out of warp, and finished a 6-foot length of tablet weaving.

Diamond Pattern

Diamond Pattern

After Weaving About Five Feet

After Weaving About Five Feet

I am certainly going to be tablet weaving more in the future, and will continue to post pictures of my work.

As for the nålbinding I kept mentioning a while back?  I have finished a hat and a sock, but I keep forgetting to take pictures.  I will have some soon, I promise.

Published in: on September 7, 2010 at 8:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Viking Meet 2010

So, I haven’t written in forever.  This is all to blame on a trip to Sweden, getting married, and not really having a ton of time to really sew or do anything that should go on this blog.  However, this weekend, I, my wonderful husband Cody, my brother Kyle, and best friend Jessica all went to Elk Horn, Iowa for Viking Meet!

Highlight of the weekend for me?  I cooked.  For twenty people on average.  I had a lot of help though, from Jessica, Kyle, and Sean, my “kitchen slave”.  (We called him that because he wasn’t wearing any weapons that morning and got recruited to help me cook.)

Peeling Parsnips

Peeling Parsnips

Moving On To Carrots.

Moving On To Carrots.

The menu consisted of, for most meals, some kind of meat, usually Icelandic lamb, bread, cheese, apples, pears, and dried fruit.  Breakfast had a lot of eggs and bacon.  Yes, this is Viking correct.

With all the cooking I was doing, I didn’t get a lot of sewing or nalbinding done.  However, I did manage to finish some projects right before the meet, including Tim’s Byzantine kit:

Byzantine Warrior!

Byzantine Warrior!

Really Fierce Byzantine Warrior

Really Fierce Byzantine Warrior

I also made fighting kit for Jessica, but managed to not get a picture of it.  I’ll have her bring it here some day and snap a shot of it.  It turned out very nice– Lavender tunic, edged with dark blue, and blue pants.  For her first time fighting and being such a tiny girl, she did pretty well, but got tired early on holding the shield.  Also, her helm was too large.  Next time will be better, I’m sure.

Kyle also made arrows with Develon’s help, for Archery Merit Badge.  (He’s in Boy Scouts.)  They turned out very well!

Kyle With One of His Arrows

Kyle With One of His Arrows

Although we didn’t get to do much fighting, it was a good weekend of working on crafts, practicing Viking cooking, and overall fun with the Skjaldborg Vikings.  It’s hard to believe it’s been a year and a half since Kyle and I joined, and it is hard to believe that a year ago, we had no shoes, no wool blankets to sleep under, no spoons or wooden bowls to eat with, and only one set of kit each.  Now, Cody and Jessica have also joined, we each have better kit (I have three sets, even), Kyle and I slept in just wool blankets and linen and sheepskins (warmer by far than sleeping bags, in my opinion), and we have come to realize that Skjaldborg is like a large, amazing, family.

Thanks to everyone who made this weekend so great!

Phil's Awesome Tent

Phil's Awesome Tent

Sitting and Talking

Sitting and Talking

The Forge

The Forge

Interior of the Hjem

Interior of the Hjem

Published in: on September 7, 2010 at 10:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tivoli 2010: The Vikings Have Returned!

Last weekend, the weekend of May 28-30, Kyle and I went to yet another Viking event in Elk Horn, Iowa.  This weekend marked one full year of our involvement in Skjaldborg, and this time we were joined by a new member, my old roommate and best friend, Jessica.

Jessica!

Jessica!

She portrays a Norwegian Viking Lady from about the 950’s, an herbalist to be exact.  (Jessica is part Norwegian, actually, so that is why she portrays a Norwegian, just as Kyle and I portray Swedes.)  This is her ‘finery’, and only kit so far.  Even in her finery, she is not that richly dressed, for a Viking.  Her underdress is linen, and her overdress is fine wool.  Her overdress is my first attempt at a more ‘fitted’ overdress, complete with gores in the sides to make the skirt more full and also make it easier to walk.  I gave her my old brooches, which are pewter, and she has a pewter pendant based off a brooch from 10th Century Norway, and necklace and pair of earrings made from blue glass beads.

A Norwegian Viking Girl

A Norwegian Viking Girl

I also had a new dress, which was a gift to me from a friend.  She gave it to me at Ravensborg this spring, and while I had to fix a few tears along the seams it fits well and looks quite nice.

My New Kit!

My New Kit!

This New Kit Definitely Fits Better Than my Old One!

This New Kit Definitely Fits Better Than my Old One!

It was nice to wear this kit for the weekend, as it was quite warm and both the underdress and apron dress are made of linen.  The underdress is very fitted, made of natural linen, and the apron dress, while not quite as fitted, is made of a finer linen hand-dyed with woad!  I also did a little chain-stitch embroidery on the edges of the overdress to make it a little nicer.  All of my bling goes just as well with this dress as my other, good thing, and it was fun to finally have something new to wear!  (Wear the same dress for five viking events in a row, and you’ll understand.)

On Friday evening, there was a Viking Wedding.  Everyone wore their finery, and a good time was had by all!  Kyle was the sword-bearer for the bride, as part of the ceremony, and did a wonderful job.  (Now, since he didn’t mess up for that wedding, he is terribly afraid he is going to mess something up in my wedding.  I told him not to worry.)

Passing on the Sword

Passing on the Sword

Of course, besides the normal crafts of spinning, weaving, and nålbinding, none of which I took pictures of, unfortunately, there was a lot of fighting.  It was so much fun, even though I only lived through one battle.  One, the whole weekend.  Oh well. . .

Pictures from fighting:

Warm-up Fight!

Warm-up Fight!

Shield Wall!

Shield Wall!

Dying

Dying

After the First Round of Fighting

After the First Round of Fighting

Dev also fought in the gambeson for the first time, and apparently it fights well, if a little warm!  Still, the report is that it is better than chain mail, on account of being lighter.

Fighting in the Gambeson

Fighting in the Gambeson

Sunday morning, we had more fighting.  I did a little better, but still kept losing and dying.  Really, I am a pretty terrible fighter– I just have too much fun to stop!

Trying to Flank and Failing

Trying to Flank and Failing

I am also a happy warrior, it would appear. . .

I am also a happy warrior, it would appear. . .

Dead Valkyrie

Dead Valkyrie

Kyle did well fighting as well, and looked quite sharp!

Kyle Ready to Fight!

Kyle Ready to Fight!

Of course, there was some time spent just hanging out as well, sitting and talking around the tents.

Get up and fight!

Get up and fight!

And then they all ganged up on Kyle. . .

And then they all ganged up on Kyle. . .

All in all, it was a wonderful weekend, and Kyle and I have a wonderful time.  Unfortunately, Jessica had to leave early, as she was just getting over the flu, but it was still nice to have her there!

Here’s to our second year of going Viking, and may it be as wonderful as the first!

The Fighters!

The Fighters!

Published in: on June 7, 2010 at 1:44 pm  Comments (2)  

Viking Shield

When does painting a shield begin to mesh with costuming?  Of course, we all know that a shield was often critical to identifying one on the field of battle, but how does a girl who primarily sews end up painting a Viking shield?

When she gets a blank shield and buys paint.

A while back, I traded Chris, one of the blacksmiths in Skjaldborg, a pair of hand-stitched wool pants for a couple of shields for myself and Kyle.  Of course, they were plain, and I needed to come up with a design to paint on mine.  Kyle announced almost immediately that his shield was going to be ‘plain green and yellow’.  I, being a woman, wanted something prettier than a plain shield and couldn’t decide on colors.  I had an Old Norse quote I wanted to put on my shield ever since I first found the quote, but other than that. . .  How to decorate?

I eventually decided I wanted to do some sort of a Norse serpent design, similar to those found on the many runestones throughout Scandinavia, and to put my runes with my quote in the main body of the snake.  So, I then researched the type of art common during the time I portray as a Viking, the Jellinge Style, and came up with several pictures of runestones, brooches, etc.  It was all very confusing.  So, I picked one, with a fairly common style of snake head, ignored the rest, and just went from there for my own design.  After all, most Vikings who carved runestones made their own designs according to the shape of the stone, and there were no set patterns for certain shapes, so why should it be that way for a shield?

Shield Design

Shield Design

Once I had this design figured out, which took me about an hour and a half, I copied it onto my blank shield.  That took about another hour.  I am definitely not good at drawing, so it takes a long time to draw things and get them to what I want them to look like.  Also, in the course of this day, (it was a Thursday), I bought paint for our shields– hunter green and pale yellow for Kyle’s shield, and a dark red and blank for mine, since I was also going to use the yellow.

Saturday, we decided to paint them:  (You can faintly see my drawn-out design.)

Ready to Paint

Ready to Paint

And after edging every single line with red:

Edged Out

Edged Out

This all took about two hours.  I had started out with a decent size brush, but ended up have to switch to a smaller art brush in order to not make a mess of every line on the shield.  So, I just used the little brush to edge things out and then painted in the larger areas with the larger brush.  (This is about the time Kyle finished painting his shield, actually, or about half an hour before I got done with the edging.  He stayed around and kept me company, though.)

Red Paint is Done

Red Paint is Done

(This was about the time I realized I would be out longer than I originally thought, being two and a half hours into painting, and went inside to change into a sleeveless shirt to avoid a farmer’s tan.  That didn’t work out quite like I thought it would.)

So now you can finally see the design in full, although the loops in the snake aren’t properly defined.  Next, I painted in the yellow:

The Snake is Yellow!

The Snake is Yellow!

The yellow paint kept getting a scum on the top, which Kyle had to fix for me by often closing the can of paint and shaking it.  Also, the scumminess made me have to go inside to wash my brush about every half hour.  So, I got done with the yellow about 5:30 in the evening.  I started the painting at 1:00.

Next step was to paint the black outline of the serpent and the runes.  I had to trace in the lines where the black paint should go where the loops intersected with a pencil, and I was ready.  This was the most tedious part of the whole project.

Black Outline is FINALLY Painted

Black Outline is FINALLY Painted

I started the black outline outside, but after a while I realized two things:  first, I was sunburned just on my right side, due to the positioning of the sun and the fact that I had not moved from that place by our front deck all afternoon.  Also, I was getting cold.  When an old sweatshirt still didn’t warm me up, and my hand locked up and wouldn’t move anymore, I figured I was too cold and hungry to keep going outside, so I packed everything up and went inside.  Kyle cooked supper, and I kept painting on the kitchen floor.  After supper, the outline was finally finished, and I penciled in the runes to check the spacing.  Then, I painted the runes, which took another hour.  I finally finished about 10:30 at night, when all was said and done.

Finally Done!

Finally Done!

The runes read:  “Munr ver harðri, hjarta bitari, hugr ríkari, síðan várr þrek minka.” and “Kristr em herra.”
“The mind must be the harder, the heart the keener, the spirit the greater, as our strength grows less.” and “Christ is Lord.”

Now that is done, I can continue with my other projects, and start hoping that the men of Skjaldborg don’t see fit to destroy my shield in the first battle it is in– not that battle scars are a bad thing by any means!

Oh, and Kyle’s shield:

This one only took a little over an hour. . .

This one only took a little over an hour. . .

Much easier, and still cool.  Maybe my next shield will look more like this. . .

Published in: on May 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm  Comments (8)  
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Project Updates!

No, I’m not going to talk about my Nalbinding this time.  Sorry.  I have a few other things I promised to show here, so here they are:

Remember the Gambeson?

Develon's Gambeson

Develon's Gambeson

If you remember, I entered this Gambeson in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies Paper and Project Competition.  It tied for first.  With an interpretive dance interpreting the history of civilization.  It was a silly dance.  BUT I GOT FIRST!!!

Me and Dr. Levin, Head of the Med-Ren Program

Me and Dr. Levin, Head of the Med-Ren Program

That was at the program, after it was announced that I had won.  I got a 75-Dollar gift card to the Nebraska Bookstore here on campus as a prize, which I have already spent on ordering in some awesome books on Norse Clothing.  Hopefully, I won’t read these books and find out I’ve been doing everything wrong!!!

Also, if you remember, I was working on a new underdress and apron dress for my friend Jessica to wear at this year’s Tivoli Fest.  I have finished it!

Jessica the Herbalist

Jessica the Herbalist

And a close-up:

Detail of Neckline, Etc.

Detail of Neckline, Etc.

Jessica is going to be portraying an herbalist from Norway, about the beginning of the tenth century.  There are a few details of her costume that are different from mine, namely, there is no dress proper in her kit– just the underdress and an apron dress.  That is a more Norwegian aspect than my dress, which is from about the same time in Sweden, and has three layers.  Also, she is poorer than I am, so the materials of her dress are a lot rougher, especially that of the underdress.  However, her dress is a lot more fitted than mine, particularly in the apron dress.  This is something that came about in Norway sooner than in Sweden, since Sweden had more contact with Eastern Europe and Norway had more contact with Western Europe.  The straps are also wider, and she has a bit of embroidery in plain raw linen thread along the top of her apron dress, which was actually used to hem the top edge– it took exactly the same amount of time hemming it normally would have, and looks much nicer.  Her underdress is unpleated, and the neckline is oval, rather than keyhole-shaped.

As she is poorer, she has my old pewter brooches, which are earlier than her persona in style, and Swedish to boot, but we will be doing our best to fix that at a later date.  However, her pendant, which is also pewter (or at least I think it it is) is Norwegian and from her time period.  Also, she has a nice string of beads, which pretty much everyone wore, but they are in the more common colors of blue and black, rather than bright reds and greens, which were more popular in Sweden.

Also, she has a silk cap– not correct at all for a poor herbalist, but first of all, I can’t wear it with my hair color, and secondly, we are going to explain it away as an heirloom or gift and have her only wear it on very nice occasions.

So there you have the updates on what I have been doing!  Later, when I finish my hat, I will show you my nalbinding, I promise.

Published in: on May 6, 2010 at 11:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Ravensborg: Return of the Sun 2010

On the weekend of April 22-25, my little brother Kyle and I went down to Ravensborg Viking Fortress in Missouri for the Viking Celebration of the return of spring.  It rained.  THE WHOLE WEEKEND.  So much for sunny spring weather!

Aside from that, however, it was a good weekend.  We spent the whole weekend living like Vikings, and got a better idea of what life would have really been like dodging leaks in the roof and mud puddles.  The hem of my good white underdress was about 6 inches deep in mud spatters by the time the weekend was over.

Of course, Kyle had a birthday the weekend after we went to Ravensborg, so he got new Viking kit a little early for his birthday:

Taking His Aim

Taking His Aim

Thinking Over the Archery

Thinking Over the Archery

So, as you can see, he is quite a rich Viking– bright red tunic with yellow embroidery, undertunic, baggy wool pants, leg bands, and all the other things that make a Viking respectable.  All of it is completely hand-sewn and embroidered, so it is almost one-hundred percent accurate!  I didn’t think the red would come out quite that bright, but I suppose it was inevitable.  I just hope it fades out a little bit, and if that fails, I know it won’t fit him this time next year, and I can make him something a bit more understated.  His undertunic is already a bit too small– I took his measurements a month before I made his kit, and while I made the overtunic big enough for him to grow into, I made the undertunic his size.  Big mistake.  He almost outgrew it, while the “too-big” overtunic is the right size.  I guess I know what I’ll be doing before the next Viking event!

As for myself, I just sewed a lot while I was there- there isn’t much to do while you are sitting inside.  First I worked on a Byzantine tunic, before any of the public got there.  It is a really bright saffron-colored cotton, and while colors like that did exist in the Viking age, I decided it would be best to keep it hidden when the public was there so as not to confuse them.

Sitting and Sewing

Sitting and Sewing

Later, when it stopped raining for a while, I sat outside and worked on an underdress for a friend of mine.  Notice my new bling!  (Yup, I got new brooches.  They’re pretty.)

Sewing Outside

Sewing Outside

I didn’t finish the underdress until this week, but I got a great start on it at Ravensborg!  Making something all hand-sewn is a bit of a new thing for me, something I hadn’t done much until the gambeson.  Granted, I knew how, and had done a few smaller projects like aprons completely by hand, but a dress?  A tunic?  A gambeson?  A pair of pants?  These are all things I had never done completely by hand before and now have.  I still don’t have the nice 16-stitches-to-the-inch standard that the pioneer women of 1800’s America held themselves to, but I do have a fine strong stitch, and I have actually found that making slightly larger stitches and back-stitching every few stitches holds just as well and is less likely to pucker.

Here is the list of my sewing projects finished in the month of April:  the gambeson, two pairs of Viking pants, two tunics, one undertunic, an underdress, a linen pillowcase, and a lot of mending– all by hand.  I never got my sewing machine out his month.  I feel accomplished!

Of course, it wasn’t all sewing down at Ravensborg.  Kyle and I also fought a bit.  It was fun.

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry

Fighting in the 'Circle of Honor'

(That’s not Kyle, just for the record.)  And then I ‘died’.

Dead Flicka

We also did some shield wall battles.

Guess which one I am?

I am not a very good fighter yet. . .  I need practice, and practice, and practice.  At least Kyle and I now both have saexes and shields, so we can practice a little at home.

Saturday morning, we got to ride around in the lake in the Yrsa, Sam’s Viking boat.  It was fun, except Kyle was afraid of falling in the water, since he can’t swim that well, so he didn’t go.  He sat on the bank and watched.

The Yrsa

All in all, it was a great weekend, and we made a lot of friends in the Jomsborg Vikings from Texas!

High Table at the Feast

Here are a few more favorite pictures from the weekend:

Kyle and Inga

Sunset

Surveying the Land

The Mead Hall

Later, I will tell you about my foray into Nalbinding. . .

Published in: on May 4, 2010 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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