Sunday, 30 August 2015

Norse Shenanigans

When I first set out to make myself a set of Norse garb, I said to myself that this would be a throw away project; I was going to make something that had the look, but I was not going to put time and effort and research into it, because damnit, I didn't have any... and here's what I found so far...
I didn't have time for original research, drawing my own conclusions from finds, but there's a hell of a lot of information available as it is. Firstly, and unsurprisingly, there are many different flavours of Norse wear. Between Hibernian-Norse, Saxon-Norse and the many flavours of Scandinavian Norse, each has it's own subtle differences that lends each a unique look, once you know what you're looking for. I already knew that with the fabrics I had available for this project, I wanted an underdress with apron dress arrangement, so I wanted to look for something that matched what I had in mind, and see how much project adjustment would be needed to get it right. 

This site came in very handy for that. Unfortunately many of the links on that site are broken, but if you have an idea of what you're looking for in Scandinavian Norse garb, it's still a very handy reference tool to compare the list of your ideas with the commonly worn garb from each settlement. From this, and from other sites I happened across, I initially thought I was leaning towards a Birka style garment, specifically the more fitted apron dresses of the 10th century. 

That was until I read this article from Tournaments Illuminated 186 about garments from Hedby, which seemingly had a much more fitted apron dress or smokkr through the use of tailoring, than the smokkr worn at other settlements. Another article,Viking Women: Aprondress By Hilde Thunem also compared the Birka and Hedby style smokkr's, while going into great detail regarding grave finds, so I was able to conclude I was on the right track for what I wanted to achieve. In mundane clothing I very much prefer clothing to be fitted, or at least not loose about my midriff, so a fully tailored apron-dress sounds ideal.

So I was decided, an underdress of exact pattern yet to be determined, and a tailored Hedby style apron dress. Now, I have seen a couple of references to a third layer, that or a tunic, short or long sleeved, which went over the linen underdress, and under the apron dress. However, due to fabric constraints, I've decided to just make the two layers for the moment. The third layer I can add in later on if I come across a nice fabric. 

When it comes to constructing the underdress, it comes down to personal preference of which particular tunic you want. A friend of mine has made great progress in research into and development of the Moy Bog Dress, but I want something fairly simple. I came across a couple of articles which have various methods of underdress construction, some with styles and patterns broken down by region or era, such as: 
When it comes to the apron dresses themselves, even though I've decided on my format, I thought I'd share a couple of the links that I came across along the way.
When it comes to my own construction attempts, I'll mostly likely try a combination of my own pattern drafting, draping and the old fashioned winging it. Even though this is a new project, I'm going to start on it in the spirit of the Drachenwald 30-day challenge, where you take 30 days to learn or improve on a skill. I've never attempted Norse clothing before, and I've an event in October I hope to attend, so I'm going to use the challenge to see how much of the look I can complete within the month. Though yes, I've already been working on the najlbound socks...

Friday, 21 August 2015

Barters and Shenanigans

I'm currently testing out the wi-fi at the airport, and while I can confirm it's pretty good, the airport makes for a  lousy place to take pictures of najlbinding; at least when one is trying to take them against a sunny outside world to try and get some plane into the shot. In short though, najlbinding makes the perfect in flight project; packs up nice and small and gave no hassle getting through security. Though ask me again how perfect it is when I'm getting funny looks for the other passengers for continually trying on my sock as I work on it.

While at Raglan, I collected my half of the barter exchange, and I'm able to share that with you now.

This is a custom made piece of tablet weave, made by the wonderfully talented Catherine Weaver. She designed the pattern specifically for me and the project I'm working on, and I'm chuffed to bits with it?

Oh the project? Oh, that'd be the shenanigans you may have heard me mention previously. This is the first clue as to what's it's about. A cookie to the person who figures it out first....

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Raglan XI review

I had meant to post another prep update before I left, but after I was laid low by a viral infection and and another matter of delicate nature which persisted throughout the holiday, I counted myself lucky to have gotten almost everything done.... and I still managed to leave a few non-essentials behind. 

My Raglan this year was a primarily A&S one, as my bow ended up coming along just for the road trip. As well as being the A&S co-ordinator, I taught two classes - a two part Italian flat cap class and a Viking Wire weaving class, and took as many classes as I was able. But the A&S didn't start there!

Because, really, who can endure a three hour boat trip without something to work on? The something for me was the start of a pair of red woollen socks, made to a just post period pattern. 

I travelled this year via Holyhead, and made a trip into Abakhan for their fabric bargains. Alas, it was not a good season for linen or wool, but I picked up a piece of printed knit and some satin back dupion, which are currently whispering to me of Edwardian and Victorian visions.The printed knit is a much richer, darker emerald than the picture shows, it's just quite difficult to get it to show up properly. 

The first full day of Raglan saw my hat class, of which I had two very dedicated students... even if one kept trying to put the cut fabric on his head and declare the job a good one. 

Thought I didn't attend any classes on the Sunday, that does not mean I was idle! Having left my earrings in my tent, laziness dictated that I make new ones rather than fetch the ones left behind. These are based on earrings in a portrait I've been unable to find since, but I'll post the link when I find it. Unfortunately, the ribbons from one earring fell apart by the end of the days wear, so when I revisit this style it'll have to be with some sort of glue to keep the ribbon knots in place, while also keeping the ribbons from sliding down the bar of the earring.

The first class I attended was Short Mead in Two Parts by Asbiorn inn Eyverski, with the product of the class being drunk at the Raglan farewell on Sunday night. Quite tasty it was too. I think the rose petals did come through a little, though maybe that was my imagination; my taste buds are not that well refined on non-chocolately substances.  

On Monday I also snuck in a brief, private lesson in sprang, something I've wanted to learn for quite some time. Having purchased a frame from Jahanarabanu Vivana, she offered me yarn and instructions and I set to work. In hindsight, I really should have taken a picture while it was still on the frame. But this way I get to show you a section of sprang without multiple design features. 

Tuesday's class was Njalbinding in the Roman style by Mistress Rogned Steingrimovna. My brain quickly interpreted this as so similar to a detached buttonhole stitch, one of my favourite embroidery stitches, that I found myself tearing away at it and am now contemplating making a pair of socks for an upcoming event. 


Wednesday's class was Crewelwork Embroidery 101, taught by Baronessa Lucrezia-Isabella di Freccia. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this one. I often find it hard to get embroidery projects to click, but I had the sampler of this done in only two days. I missed the Baronessa's gold-work class, but I purchased a kit from her later in the week to enjoy at home. 


Thursday was another quiet day, which allowed me to finish my personalisation of the cushion I'd been gifted with for my savonarola. I used a couple of different colours of cheap cotton yarn, as this was my first attempt at tassels, and I'm quite pleased with how they turned out... until someone pointed out that the lion head mouths on the arms are drilled through, so I really should make another two to hang there...     

Friday morning I gave my Viking Wire Weaving lesson to a full class, and managed to miss Catherine Weaver's tablet-weaving class yet again. 

However, to top off a week of A&S, I found myself interrupted at the MOAS meeting, by a summons from her highness. Court was begun before I was dismissed so I waited, confused, until I was summoned by the herald to receive my Order of the Silver Marlet, the principality A&S award. The calligraphy and illumination were done by Órlaith, the images based on a 16th century Venetian panegyric - but I shall leave it to Órlaith to give you all the detail, while I admire the token, the bell, already sewn into place on my saccoccia.

Saturday was taken up in its entirety by the Coronet Tourney, meetings, more meetings, and an almost missed Investiture Court, as the heat became a little too much for me. But I returned to the court in time to see the granting of the premier Order of Luna to a very, very deserving lady, and to take my oath to the new Prince and Princess as an officer of Insulae Draconis.

There were other random bits of A&S during the week, though perhaps not period appropriate. A gift of fabric from the most wonderful of champions (which, given that she's now gifted me with this *and* poetry, means I really need to get into gear to make her a favour). A 19th century knitting pattern book which will have to come along to my next Irish Historical Costumers meet up for perusal. And my own little ceramic pot, one of which was gifted to all of the teachers at Raglan, and was my great honour to deliver them to each one.