Posts Tagged ‘bone needles’

I have not been working very hard at my A&S 50 challenge for the last six weeks as I have been “recuperating” from surgery. In reality, I felt just fine after the first week, but my Mom decided that this was a perfect opportunity to teach me to knit and help me make up a large stack of fabric into work clothes. As a result, I was very busy being crafty, but did almost nothing on my challenge.

Today, however, a group of friends came over for a visit and I got busy again. While they did research, sewed, experimented with tablet weaving, and carved wax for jewelry, I felt compelled to work too. I made significant progress on carving the wax for my second fibula, and puttered a bit on another naalbinding needle. After they left, I started another batch of mead.

For this mead, I used some grape tannin, mixed acids, and a Campden tablet. These were all recommended in the book Honey Wines and Beers, by Clara Furness. I have had a copy of the book for ages, but found it difficult to follow when reading it in the past. For me, the problem was that Furness gives a lot of useful general information but few concrete recipes; I wasn’t brave enough to dive in without adult supervision. Therefore, for my first batch of mead, I used the Storm The Castle Guide to a successful first batch of mead (Will Kalif and StormTheCastle.com).  This was easier to follow, but I fear the resulting mead may not have the range of flavour that might be desired. After trying a batch though, I found the Furness book much easier to use. I have about 1 1/2 gallons on the go now, complete with tannins and acids.


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I have been falling a bit behind, due to recent surgery, but am starting to get back on track. My latest pair of mittens is almost done, but I need to spin more wool of just the right thickness, using the lovely new bronze reproduction Viking spindle. In the interim, I have started working on a pair of naalbinding construction socks. These are made with the simplest of stitches, nothing more than a blanket stitch. The white wool is hand spun by me, but the grey was purchased in Newfoundland. I have some red that was spun and dyed using madder, and given to me by Kadlin, for the red bands around the ankle. I have also cut our four bone needle blanks in preparation for a course I will teach on naalbinding in February.

My orange cloth socks are done, and I have made two fingerweaving braids. I find the chevron pattern difficult to pull out without beating the weft quite tightly. Also, I was working with a very basic pattern that didn’t have a border. The next piece will be wider, so I can experiment with borders (or even multiple chevrons). Depending on my schedule, I may offer to teach fingerweaving at Forward Into the Past, an annual event in Kitchener.

I also got the cider bottled up, thanks to my sister and her boyfriend. It had gone a bit longer than recommended, as I was in hospital, but I think we have salvaged it. It`s not bad, just not as sweet as I would like. I intend to repeat the experiment. They also did a second draining of the ham for me. It should be ready to hang by the end of next week. So far, it is looking just fine.

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I have put together a woolen apron dress, except for the shoulder straps. The insides of all the seams must be stitched down to prevent fraying, but it could be worn as is. I have also altered all my undertunics and redyed the linen apron dress. My knife handle is taking shape and I think I’ll try drilling it tomorrow. That leaves only the shoes and a sheath for my essential personal gear. I still need to make a comb each for Jorunn and Kadja (though Kadja’s can wait if needed). I would like a deer bone lucet. The underdrawers and yet another hat (I found the fabric all cut out when cleaning up today) can be sewn in the car on the drive to Newfoundland.

I did finish a naalbinding needle on Wednesday, along with a spindle and soapstone whorl. Another spindle is well on its way.

I should have done a lot more today, but got sidetracked with cooking.

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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 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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I hae started a soapstone spindle whorl patterned after one found in greenland. I have enough soapstone left for 7 more. I am using a bit of leftover dowel to make the spindle this time – I’ll look for suitable sticks for future spindles. I also dug out a bunch of small pieces of bone to see if any will work for needles. I am down to just one naalbinding needle and one sewing needle.

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