Saturday, 29 August 2015

Plant dyeing

The first time I tried plant dyeing, the result was somehow disappointing. During Easter, I tried to dye the same shirt a deeper red, with red beets. Didn't work that either.

But third time's the charm, so when I sat with large amounts of strawberries, I decided to try again. And having read more about dyeing, this time I used wool, since linen is one of the harder materials to dye.

One of my mistakes from last time was that I let the fabric lie in a cold dyebath. Now I let the yarn simmer lightly for an hour. Since this was berry dye, I used salt as a fixative.

When the strawberry dye worked out fine, I couldn't stop there. I gathered some fireweed and bought alum to use as a fixative. I didn't think the dye bath would smell very good, but it filled the house with the scent of rhubarb jam. A few people were disappointed when they realised what I was cooking wasn't edible. And the colour turned out an amazing neon yellow!

Look who finally caved and got instagram.
I am sewimpossible, for those who wanna stalk.

I did a lot of research, got a dye vat and biked out to the mountains to gather plants to use.

I  found a tiny friend sitting on the porch of our cabin.
Gah I love ferns.
Yellow:  ferns. Beige: birch bark.

So I used the ferns, and... wasn't this supposed to be reddish brown? And the birch bark ended up as a pale beige, maybe because I only used bark from dead trees. But the colour you end up with depends on the mordant used, so maybe I should have used an iron mordant to get the darker colours I'd seen online.

Dandelion roots.

I was a bit tired of yellow, so I did more research, focusing on plants I could find in Norway, that were easy to find and most importantly, don't yield yellow dye!

Pale yellow: spinach. Pale brownish beige: dandelion roots.

I got spinach from the store and ruthlessly dug up dandelion roots from the garden. The colours I expected were green and brown, but no. So I'm making an iron mordant with a few rusty nails in vinegar, and when it's finished brewing in a week or two, I'm trying again. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Loot from Lofoten

What I bought at this market differs a bit from previous purchases. This is the second market where I stay onsite, so there was need for period correct cutlery and such. I bought a wooden plate, a lovely ceramic cup, and a knife that will look quite amazing hanging in my belt when it isn't in use. The handle of the knife is antler, so I'm thinking of carving a design into it.

I bought a bit of wax for handsewing, as my hatred runs hot for the utterly useless commerical wax sold in stores around here, a horn spoon and an airtight birch box for spices. I got some food as well, raw honey and rose honey (amazing), and a few sausages.

Earlier this year I told myself no more viking jewellery. Luckily you forget such ridiculous notions after a few days at market...

The set of tortoise brooches I already had are nice, but they're an occasional aggravation, it takes so little for the left brooch to fall open. So I got a new, simpler pair without holes for pearl strings. Wearing pearls isn't practical at all times. I also got a twisted silver ring, a few glass pearls and a Pitney brooch. The logo of my viking group is based on the Pitney brooch, so most of us has a copy.

I planned to look for a bag and period correct shoes at this market. I didn't love any of the bags they had, but after two days without something to carry things around in I just caved and bought a plain one. Leatherworking is next on the list of viking things I want to try, so I can perhaps decorate it myself.

Having bought a belt and a bag, there's only one thing left on my must haves this season. Sadly, no one sold shoes at the market, so I bought a pair of ankle high shoes online.

I fell in love with Lofoten Wool, a company that makes the most magnificent yarn. It's local wool, all natural dye, it's super fluffy and strong. The one I bought is coloured with madder. They also sold books on plant dyes, and I've been experimenting with good results so far.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Lofotr Viking Festival

The pics of me (c) annethearcher. Follow the link for way more pictures.

My birka coat ended up being used quite a lot.
Water proof and warm <3

I didn't take a lot of pictures, because I forgot to bring my camera. But I got some - my phone survived for four days until the battery died.

One of the days I woke up at an ungodly hour and went for a walk, waiting for the rest of the camp to come to life. It was quite amazing to stroll around the museum by myself. 

Best. Shield. EVER.
Our chieftain's viking glitter.
One of the sellers, clad in slavic clothes.
She looks like a princess.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Viking sewing

I'm going to Lofotr/Borg viking market and since it's my first market this season, of course there's stuff that needs doing before I can go. It's usually cold in Lofoten, and this summer has been rainier and colder than usual so I'm preparing for the worst. (It's no fun to live in a tent for five days if you're freezing your arse off.)

The stripy and red fabrics are wool.
The off white is a silk noile/raw cotton blend.
When I was moving from Oslo about a month ago, I was suddenly faced with a tiny problem of 30 metres of fabric that suddenly materialized in one of my closets. (Strange how you buy a few metres of fabric here and there and it adds up to ... far too much.) Some of the fabric I had plans for, so I cut out the pieces I needed, gave the rest away, and wow, there was a lot less to pack.

I came home to the nicest postcard ever.
I was very lucky with the pattern,
 cause I forgot to check to make all the stripes go the same way..,. 
I made a woolen birka coat in a loosely wowen twill bought at Borre last year. Looking at the fabric now I'm not sure how period correct it is, so it will have to be a last minute resort this year and then transition to my modern wardrobe. I'll make a better one for the next season.

Since I knew it wasn't 100% period anyway, I decided not to waste time handsewing. It's machine sewn, with polyester, and lined with a blend of silk noile/raw cotton. Not period, but very warm, which might be needed. (That noise you're hearing might be period purists screaming somewhere in the distance. Extremely sorry.)

I did better on my next project. My half circle cloak made me feel like a failed larper who had stumbled into a viking market, so I cut it up and made a shirt. It's sewn in diagonally woven wool from Skaar Tekstil, and sewn by hand with woolen thread.

It's supposed to be male clothing, so this is the first viking project where I haven't fitted anything or snuck any shaping into the pattern. It'll be used to the shirt I dyed last year, but first I need to make pants. (I think I'll snuggle into this shirt outside markets as well, it's so comfy.)

The nalbound socks from last year have been darned so many times I just gave up on them, so I made a new pair. Woolen socks don't generally last long with me as I use them almost year round. In my eternal search of sock yarn that will last more than a few months use, I made a compromise with these socks... 20% of this "wool" comes from the nylon sheep...

Restringing the beads for a new season.

A few days ago I realised waltzing around a market in one serk for five days probably wouldn't be very good for anyone involved. (Looking like a viking doesn't mean you have to smell like one.)

So I started stitching together a new serk. The construction is a variation of the Eura find. I was amazed at the layout - barely any fabric is wasted!