Posts Tagged ‘netting’

After a very long dry spell in terms of crafting, I have had a burst of enthusiasm. First I went to an event to beg the boon for my apprentice Alais. Four hours in the car, each way, was ample time to make serious progress on a long-abandoned lace project (even taking time out for drinking tea, napping and chatting). Added to what I accomplished this weekend, I think I may finally have enough to trim my silk chemise. That’s another post, though.

This post is all about my excitement at finally figuring out how to naalbind cow and horse tail hair. This is something I have been trying to master, off and on, for at least three years. Why? That’s a very good question. Odd Nordland, in his book Primitive Scandinavian Textiles in Knotless Netting (1963), had examples of naalbinding made of hair that were used as strainers for milk, and sometimes as pot scrubbers. They were very simple naalbinding, and the strainers hung in some sort of a frame (it usually looked like the rim of a bowl that was missing its bottom). There wasn’t any dating for these strainers, and no details on what kind of hair, but I was intrigued. Who wouldn’t want pot scrubbers made using a technique used by the Vikings? Over the years, I have tried single horse hairs and twisted/coarsely spun horse hair with minimal success. I was told that cow hair might work better, and then that soaking the hair might help it hold a twist.

This weekend, at the Upper Canada Medieval Festival with the Dark Ages Recreation Company, I finally managed to make it work! I started with some horse hair from my old lesson horse Mr. Tibbs, then switched to cow hair when I ran out. I snipped off a few locks at a time (the longer the better), then soaked the hair. I experimented a bit with how many hairs to use, and exactly what stitch to use. I haven’t quite decided what I like most,but it seems easiest to use at least a half-dozen to ten hairs. Here is the result, so far:



It doesn’t look like much, but it will be better once most of the loose hairs are trimmed, and it is full size.

Here’s another picture of me working on it:



On a completely unrelated note, I am very happy with my new hood. I did not get a sunburned neck,for once.

In the background, you can see my new net bag, with a drawstring made of slyng (whipcording using big bobbins – Eluned and I worked on it together, and it’s almost like a game when the bobbins start moving through the air at relatively high speed). I also made a small piece of slyng on my own, using some brown wool and a bit of the wool I dyed with Queen Anne’s lace a few years ago.


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Last week I taught a class on netting at Practicum, a local arts and sciences event in Caldrithig (Ottawa). I am inspired to get back to working on the net lace project I have on my challenge list. It is to replace a failed experiment begun over 20 years ago, using net loops that were too large to embroider. I’ll be teaching the class again in my local group. It turns out the best teaching aid for this is my fishing net, as people find the scale large enough to practise on. This is perfect, as I am getting some work done on the net in time to take it back to l’Anse aux Meadows this summer!

Today I gave a little lecture on how to plan and budget for a feast, and run a feast kitchen. I drew heavily on the article Dame enid and Dame Tsivia wrote for the 1985 edition of the Known World Handbook. It has stood me in good stead since I first got interested in cooking feasts. I’ll post a copy of my notes shortly.

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The tent got completed about 2 hours before I had to leave for the weekend. It rained. I stayed dry. It needs some adjustments, but overall I am very pleased.

It turns out that the draping method used for sewing doesn’t work quite so well for framing tents. Also, measuring tents when they are laying flat doesn’t always give perfectly accurate results. I need to trim off about 6″ on one side and at the back or front. I may fiddle with my peg holes a bit too, as the wood swelled in the rain and made it difficult to disassemble (keeping in mind the trade-off between too loose to be sturdy and too tight to take apart). I was given some twill tape so I can tie the tent to the frame next time; it’s one of the things I didn’t get a chance to deal with. I will also sew a strip of canvas all around the bottom to further limit rain coming in under the edge of the tent. That strip can be tucked underneath the frame. The only downside of my lovely new tent is the realization that I don’t have a good space to store all those 10′ long pieces of wood.

My other projects for the weekend involved netting. I had brought along my fishing net but it was too rainy to string out, so instead I made a vegetable bag.

I also taught my daughter’s friend to net, so she has started another bag I intend to give away as a gift.

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