söndag 18 december 2011

A Cristmas gift; born a summers day.

Remember these? The test-dyes from the Battle of Wisby workshop in plant dyeing. We used madder and reseda and got shades of warm red, yellows and light green. I wanted to make a small Christmas gift out of them, and yesterday it was ready. But before I'll show you any pictures of how it turned out, I feel like losing myself among memories of this last summer.

Plant dyed with madder and reseda.

Today, snow falls outside my window and there is only a few more days before Christmas. But the colors and the faint smell of madder that still persists in my newly finished Christmas-gift makes me think back upon that workshopday in August. It was Friday, the day before the great battle outside the citywalls of Wisby. It was a really hot summers day, the air was completely still, not the slightest breeze. I came hurrying to the workshop straight from my last battletraining/rehearsal, sweaty and stinking and boyish-looking in my hose and helmet.

Messenger in a hurry.
The workshop has begun.

When I met the others in the camp they had already begun the workshop with some theory. When I saw how well dressed they all were, I felt that I had to go home and change. (To bad, since I then missed more of the workshop than I really had to.)

Plant-dyeing in the heat.

When I returned the dyeing had begun. I had changed into an old green dress with my new apron. I had also wisely changed the kettlehat for a nice strawhat, but still looked like I needed a shower.

Working with scandalously bare arms.

The madder cauldron.

Eventually, it was time to take the yarn up from the two cauldrons. First we took up half of the reseda yarn, and half of the madder. Those were bright yellow and red. Then we added some powdered iron salt in both of the pots. Instantly the dye-soups got much darker. The reseda turned a dramatic dark green color, the madder got a more brownish, bloody shade of red. The yarn was only in the iron mordant bath for a couple of minutes before we got them up to dry, as it makes the fibers fragile.

So many colors, out of only two dyes!

The day ended in a unusually quiet party gathering around the campfire, as none of the participants in the battle the next day was allowed to drink and a good nights sleep was recommended. I was so full of the experiences of the day that I didnt want to go to bed, but eventually I did.

And that was it. The next day changed everything. 
(But, when I think about it, every day changes everything.)
The end of a really good day.

Now all of this, daydreaming of a summer long past, begun when I felt the faint smell of madder still persisting in the yarn of the Christmas gift I finished yesterday.

I did it again, another silly needlebound cellphone cover. I had no clear idea about how I wanted it to look, but I made this cover striped as I find it more stimulating and fun to work with two needles/colors. And as I followed my own advice and keept a playful approach to the project, it ended up as a cheerful tiger with a tablet woven cord for a tail.

Cheerful tiger.

/ I.

måndag 12 december 2011

Dare to be playful!

I've got a new phone. I choosed one with a good camera in it and I hope that it will deliver nice pictures for my blog in the future. To protect my new companion from my general clumsiness and make it more comfortable in the winter weather, I've made it a needlebound cover in indigodyed yarn.

At first I had no plans for decorations of any other kind than a nice big button in mother of pearl, a simple, classic look for handmade stuff. But just as I was to sew on the button to the finished cover, I had a vison of the little lid of the cover looking a bit like a face. Maybe of some kind of animal? Hm.

Suddely the original plan of no decorations seemed extreemly boring and not so personal and intresting at all.
As I decided to go with the feeling the craftsdevil got me.

Mad bunny.

The little nose is a button coverd in black cloth, the "piercings" is chainmail rings and the handle is a leftover pice of my reconstructed tabletwoven London-finding in silk from late1400-something. (Yes, the ears haven't been fulled yet, maybe I'll do it later...) It all comes together very nicly, I think. I suppose it is a good lesson for me not to be so serious and planned out with everything. I realize now that sometimes it is best to let go and just go with the feeling, and dare to be a bit playful with your craft.

/ I.


The last couple of months I have been considering to abandon Swedish in my blog, in honor of the great bloggers out there who inspire me, and the readers who have encouraged me to develop both my writing and my craftsmanship. I wish to have contact with other reenacters and bloggers internationally, and this is a step in that direction. 

The greatest con about changing language is that I'll loose some of my edge, that I've so forth been taking pride in. But hopefully I'll learn and eventually get better at writing in English. I'm sorry to say that I have trouble to keep my texts short and since I don't have the time to write in both Swedish and English, this will have to do for now.

One of the bloggers who are inspiring me the most is Sarah; "A Most Peculiar Mademoiselle". In late September and then again in October she rewarded me with a couple of these "bloggers award's" that seems to be going around. Thank you, Sarah! :-) I was so honored by this, but I haven't had time to think about what to do with the awards or how to answer upon them. Only recently I realized that I'd better do it in English if there is to be a point with it, since all the bloggers I wish to award in my turn already write in English (and in Swedish).

The first award that I got was:

The goal of the award is to spotlight up and coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers.

I'm proud and happy to be one of Sarah's five picks for this one, but since she has put me in quite a situation by awarding me twice, I'll be disobedient to the rules of this first award and go by the second one... ;-) This is the one I will pass on, for "Exellence in Historical Costuming and Bloggery":

Sarahs motivation for me was as follows:

- Idas Hantverk – only in Swedish, (Ha! Inte längre! / Not any more! ;-P) but if you ever saw a person skilled in many areas, she’s one of them. Making mostly medieval outfits, she doesn’t limit herself to sewing or weaving, but does various kinds of metal work as well to complete her outfits. 

The coolest thing with this award, just as with the first, is to be mentioned together with other great bloggers and crafters such as Neulakko and Mikael with his Historisk dräkt och Hantverk

 Now, when receiving the award you must post:
  • Five things you love about historical costuming (That will have to wait a bit, for a post of its own.)
  •  A link back to the blogger who awarded you the Duchie
  •  List at least three blogs to pass the Duchie Award onto 

I'm proud to pass the Duchie Award onto....

Martina is one of my oldest friends in reenactment and also one of my first teachers in textile handcraft. She was the first person I met when I arrived at Bäckedal 2001 to study textile crafts. She was my classmate and neighbor. Martina must only have thought of me as a hopelessly restless and chocolate-stealing teenager back then, while I secretly admired her knowledge and skill about everything I wanted to know and learn. I was so proud and happy when she welcomed me to Carnis last spring! Today I discovered that she has been blogging since Battle Of Wisby, and I felt like a child on Christmas eve! I'm sure that any reader of my blog will enjoy hers, as much as I do.

It may seem a bit strange for an amateur like me to award someone who is an expert in his or her area, but I still want to mention Peter (who works as the editor of an Historical magazine, is an archeologist and one of the driving forces behind Battle of Wisby). Recently Peter has been blogging about breaking new ground, taking reenactment and living history to the next level for his group Albrehcts Bössor. I want to spread the word about his recent writings now when I have a chance. And as he's proven himself as a man of great projects, I cant help wondering what will come out of this? ;-) (BtW - If you check his blog out and like what he is writing about sociocultural reenactment, don't miss the comments on the posts, at the lest I myself find them super interesting!)

Fia-Li is a new friend of mine since this last summers adventures at BoW, and thanks to Facebook we've been able to stay in touch. She is also a professional in her field. Fia-Li works as an master embroiderer of church textiles with her own company and all. She held the popular gold-embroidery-workshop at BoW and as if that was not enough, she impresses me by working with many other techniques and materials, not only textile crafts. She is a member of an peasants-at-arms company in southern Sweden, Bondeuppbådet. Her blog is about her life in general and her crafting, reenactment and living history in particular.

Now, there are so many other bloggers worthy of mentioning here! But then I would have to stay up all night writing, so for this time these three will have to be enough.

/ I.