Posts Tagged ‘spindle whorls’

This weekend I was given a large bag of walnuts. From a quick read at http://www.practicalprimitive.com/skillofthemonth/blackwalnutdye.html, I have enough walnuts for five gallons of dye. I have started hulling them, but without gloves it is messy (even using a plastic bag to protect my hands). I have done the first 15 walnuts and set the rest out to dry. I’ll keep working at them over the next few days.

I did several hours of drop spinning this weekend, and ended up with two nice skeins of plied wool. I talked with someone else who spinning dyed wool and she said she hadn’t had major problems with felting, so perhaps I will try dyeing some of my unspun wool, to compare with what I get using skeins. If nothing else, this would allow me to clear bags of prepared dye baths out of my freezer. Another friend admired my soapstone spindle whorl, so now I know what to do with another chunk of soapstone; that will only leave five more spindles to make up and give away….

Late last week, my friend the jeweller told me that I have more than enough work to do cleaning up one brooch and getting it cast before November 12. I have pondered her advice all weekend and decided she is right. I will aim to have one completed brooch, one mould as near to finished as I can make it, and one repaired mould for comparison purposes.

In other news, I am half-way through another netted vegetable bag; I had fun teaching my friend Sarah how to do net on the weekend. I also decided that one of my fleeces was too disgusting to do anything with and threw it in the trash this morning. I still have at least three fleeces to deal with, plus a huge amount of prepared wool and yarn, so I’m reasonably certain I will be able to complete 50 things towards my challenge.


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Not all at once! But I did want to report on a moderately productive weekend.

Last night I continued cleaning up my brooches. The first mold needed adjustments to the bow. I also removed a lot more wax from the second mold. It is about triple the required thickness now. My next step on the first mold is to file everything as smooth as possible before carving the design. I will continue cutting away wax on the second mold. I also want to try mending the broken molds, just to see how that will work.

I spent part of this afternoon drop spinning with my norse soapstone spindle. This is a reproduction and I love the weight of it. I find I can get a nice fine thread with little effort.

This evening I racked my blueberry melomel. It needs to sit for another 10 days. The instructions aren’t clear about whether it is to sit for 10 days and then cleared, or whether I should add a clearing agent now and let it sit for 10 days. I’ll ponder overnight and re-read the instructions tomorrow.

I’m finishing up the sour pickles. After three weeks in brine and then three weeks in vinegar and spices, they are definitely tangy! I have ended up with five quarts, though there wasn’t quite enough of the spiced vinegar that the pickles have been soaking in, so one jar had to be topped up with plain pickling vinegar. Unlike fresh pickles, the trimmed ends of these pickles look a bit discoloured. It doesn’t affect the flavour, but I can see why canning became an attractive alternative (in addition to the reduced likelihood of food poisoning).

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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 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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I spent about 25 minutes hand finishing a seam on the cotehardie this morning. It was incredibly relaxing after a very busy week. At least the school sewing is done, so I can go back to working on costumes while listening to the morning news.

The next two nights are bound to be complete write-offs as I need to do some food preservation before it rots on my counter, and take my son out to buy still more hockey gear.

However, I am bound and determined to travel up to my favourite camping event near North Bay this weekend. I can’t go until Sunday afternoon, thanks to a riding show on Saturday and riding lessons on Sunday morning, but at least I’ll get an evening and Monday morning with friends. One of our projects will be to go through equipment and critique it as a first step towards preparation for participation in a 10-day-long demonstration at L’Anse Aux Meadows, the Norse site in northern Newfoundland next summer. I am also a member of the Dark Ages Recreation Company, which is likely to be working up there as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the discovery of the site. I will need to bring my wood and boneworking tools, plus my textile items. I must find time in the next day or so to dig out samples of spindle whorls. I think the one I made of antler is okay, but I’m not convinced the profile on my soapstone spindle is right. Since more spindles are on my challenge list, this will be a good opportunity to get started.  You can read more about DARC at http://darkcompany.ca.

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