Archive for June, 2010


The Norse shoes have been a rather frustrating project. I worked hard on them last week and managed to break about 5 needles. I finally figured out that I needed to reopen all the holes with an awl. I had happily stitched up the heel portion then read a note from someone else asking about the special stitch for that area. There’s a special stitch??? Sure enough, when I looked at my photos from the workshop, I had pictures of the stitch. I am still debating whether to pull out that section or just leave it alone and hope for the best. I’ll probably pull it out because it will always bug me if I don’t, even if it stays together just fine. Despite all this, I am nearly ready to turn my first shoe.


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I made a quick bone naalbinding needle for a friend and cut out another for myself. I need to bring several with me to l’Anse aux Meadows, so that will be a higher priority for the week. Besides, now that I have finally cut into the piece of bone, I want to get it used up and off my work bench.

I did up a quick bit of wool from yet another bag I found tucked away. It was from a failed dyeing project; I ended up with a splendid shade of beige. I will need a lot more, so the spinning wheel will be coming out most evenings.

My early morning project will be to finish my shoes now that I have more needles and thread. I desperately need to get them looking less than brand new before we head out to Newfoundland. I picked up an awl this week, just in case I need to re-pierce holes.

Depending on my mood and time available, I also want to re-dye my two newest apron dresses, and stitch up the grey plaid apron dress. I’m going to try throwing the finished dresses in a yellow bath with just a hint of blue-green. The linen dress is still too blue to make me happy, and the wool one is now such a rich black that it is as implausible as the old blue. There is an event next weekend and I want to wear one of the dresses to it so I can get them looking less “new”. Of course, my 15 year old apron dresses look new as I’m not hard on my clothes (I wear them a lot), so I’m not sure how much less “new” I can make them between now and August.

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I finally finished the mittens I started at the beginning of last hockey season. Pictures to follow. I also started my hemp fishing net.  The completed size will be almost 10 feet by 10 feet. I have about four rows done, and have used the slyng (whipcording) technique to make part of a rope. I think it is still a bit thin, so will do three more of the same length, then twist and ply two each to give me suitable top and bottom ropes.

The netting needle worked well, but now I want some I have made myself, and in different sizes.  I also need to make slyng weights that are a bit more finished than four hunks of firewood (although they worked well).

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I have been puttering away at various projects, though I haven’t gotten around to posting for a while. I believe I have now washed all but one of my many fleeces (yaay!)

I finished the bodies of two apron dresses but neither was a suitable colour for Greenland Norse, so I tried re-dyeing them. One had been an indigo linen and the other was indigo wool (or wool-like product). I used dye remover before trying to dye them brown with regular Rit dye, and had mixed success. The linen is now a brownish grey, but the wool is a rich dark black, which is also improbable. I will blame it on high quality black sheep. I have almost finished straps for both – these will be worn without brooches. The Linen will have wide white linen straps, while the black will have narrower herringbone brown wool (scraps from a piece I had that was just large enough for a cap, which is also sewn up now). 

I am now making another apron dress of a grey wool with a bit of blue and white threads in a plaid. This time I will pleat it a bit at the front, and I’ll sew the side gores in with straight edge to bias, similar to what is seen on later Greenland gowns. It will also have straps, probably of linen. I had just enough left over to make another cap; this time I cut it along the lines of one of the Dublin caps.

While commuting to work I have been busy at cording, and now have enough for laces on both caps and to re-hang all my bibs and bobs from my apron.

I have almost finished a soapstone spindle whorl (just need to finish the spindle), and have spun up a bit more wool (need lots more). This evening I cut out two bone needle blanks for naalbinding.

I am busy with all of this activity to prepare for a dry run of our visit to l’Anse aux Meadows this summer. I’ll be spending most of Saturday in garb and in persona, and probably do nothing but naalbinding the whole time. when we go to l’Anse aux Meadows I will need to do more activities because I can’t spend ten days making socks and mittens! The urgency to finish the spindle and make a deer bone lucet is increasing.

Before we go, I need to finish my shoes, put a handle and case around my Norse knife blade, and make another comb or two. The shoes have been stalled since I bent one of the needles. I bought a replacement almost two weeks ago, but just haven’t gotten back to it. Still, I have almost two months to get myself organized.

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