Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dyeing before Christmas

I have been collecting onion shells for a while now and decided last night that I had enough to try a little dyeing. I had seen the great results on Slingerbult´s page and have wanted to try it ever since. So I decides on dyeing small bundles of embroidery yarn which had been treated with alum. All three went in and and they took in the colour great. So I tried using ironsulfur for one of them (? - the danish word is jernvitriol). The colurs of the ones that had only been in onion shells went quite orange and the one treated with iron in the end went dark brown. I must say that I´m really happy about the result although the yarn is a bit spottet. I think this is due to the alum and that I didn´t move the yarn as much as I should have.

So filled with succes I wanted to try something else. My dear friend Christopher bought safran to me last time he was in Spain. It is much cheaper there than here in Denmark so he was so kind as to bring some home for me. It is said to be one of the most expensive/luxuary colours in the middle ages, next to indigo and kermes. I tried with a small bundle of yarn again and use about 4-5 grams of safran. It really doesn´t take much before it dyes and the colour is very strong so be careful not to make a mess with it.

The end result is SO beautiful! The colour is very yellow and very rich. So it is easy to understand that people wanted that colour. It was a great succes and I going to have Christopher to buy me some more safran in Spain next time he goes.

I put the yellow next to some of the other natual dyed colours that I have in my embroideri kit at the moment. On the to next to the safran it is madder. In the bottom it is indigo and an yellow that has been dipped in indigo.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pleated apron

I made a pleated apron for my brothers girlfriend this summer. I used some of the many great internet sites to find information about the projekt: Larsdatter - here you can find a lot of great pictures of different kinds of aprons from the Middle Ages. At the site you can also find a pdf-file on pleated aprons.
Here are blogs that shows how to make this type of apron:
Matrilda la Zouche´s Wardrobe - this one is really great and was the one that I got a lot of "how-to-do" information out off.

This is the end product - Louise (yes she has the same name as me :0)) is very happy with it and have worn it to two markets during the summer. She gets a lot of questions and "oh that is really nice" so that makes me want to make one during winter for myself. I think I might make the combes a bit smaller so that they don´t open quite as much.

Here are some pictures that show how I made the smock/pleat effect:

This picture shows how I made marks on the fabric (the blue dots) and have sewn it with a bight colour thread so that I can see it when I have sewn the combs together (the the next pictures)

Here the threads have been pulled together and the fabric is now ready to have the combes/the spuares sewn.

And this is the end result af the pleating.

Monday, December 8, 2008


I have wanted to make a drill for re-enactment purposes for at very long time now.
So last week, when i got an oppotunity to try some woodturning I desided that my first ever woorturning-project, was to be a so-called "pump-drill".

Although I don't have any sources of these drills being used in medieval times, I can only think that they must have had them...
The mecanism that rotates the drill is very simple and has been used for at least a couple of hundred years, by all sorts of craftsmen (namely goldsmiths).

I haven't made the drill-bits, for the pump-drill yet. But photos of these will follow as soon as I figure out how to make them... Along with a demonstration!

The drill is made from oak-wood and norwegian soapstone.

The soapstone fly-wheel makes the drill rotate steadily and wind up the cords that spins the shaft of the drill.

The cord is mounted on both ends of the "cross-bar" (?) by a knot tied to a small nail.

At the top of the shaft the cord passes through a hole. This makes sure that the cord is equally long on both ends of the "cross-bar".