Advent calendar December 16 2019

Spindle whorls are often found in archeological excavations. The once found in medieval contexts are often made of bone, stone, metal or ceramic. In most of the cases the spindel stick is gone. Why? One thought is that a broken stick have a secondary value as fire wood. And that it’s difficult to mend a stick. And quite easy to make a new one.

What about spindel whorls made of wood? It’s a lot easier to cut a disc from a piece of wood then to make one in all materials mentioned above. Stone takes time to work with, and demands tools that can take some beating. Metal whorls was most likely made by craftsmen in a guild. Bone needs a saw, a tool that not all persons had. Ceramic needs a kiln.

We find few or no whorls made in wood. And when a wooden disc is found- can we be sure that it is a whorl without the spindle stick?

Anyhow- in the Gothem church on Gotland, Sweden, some items was found under the 13th century floorboards. A broken disc and something that really look like a distaff. Is the disc a whorl? We don’t know. What do you say?

Advent calendar December 12 2019

Button up!

The 14th century is the buttoned century. Buttons are around even before. For one example the Vikings also had buttons in some clothes. But it was during the 14th century that suddenly “everyone” was wearing rows and rows of buttons.

In art buttons are almost always depicted in white, yellow or the same colour as the garment. White and yellow are interpreted as “silver/ pewter” and “gold/ brass”. The same colour are probably made of fabric.

When using reconstructed buttons in re-enactment garments, it’s always difficult to find small and light weight buttons. If you put many buttons in a row it tends to get very heavy.

Original buttons are very often hollow. Like the once on the picture. They are made in silver and can be found in the collections of the National museum in Copenhagen, Denmark. Dated 14th century
/ Amica and Maria
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Advent calendar December 11 2019

Sewing thread. All reenactors ask themselves how thick should it be? And how should it look?

All sewing threads for hand sewing, that we have seen on items from migration period up til 20th century have one thing in common. It’s 2-plied. Silks not included, it’s impossible to count.

Thickness? Some say that a sewing thread should be as thin as the threads in the fabric. That is not a rule that is usable on the older historical material. They used a lot thicker thread then both warp and weft combined sometimes.

Here we can see a bottom hem on an alba from Forsby church, Sweden. It is dated 1100-1350. Now in the collections of Historiska museet, Sweden.

So- don’t be afraid to use a thicker thread
/ Amica and Maria

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Advent calendar December 5 2019

A bit late for Sweden but it’s still the 5th!!

One really good thing that can preserve fabric is fire. Not burning down, but being turned into charcoal. Like this medieval fabric from Nyköping, Sweden.

/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

Advent calendar December 4 2019

The fourth advent calendar post is a collection of things, all found in Nyköping, Sweden. And they are all dated to 13-15th century,

The flat spindle whols are something called Marleka in Swedish. The Marleka is a concretion and that type is very unique for Nyköping. It is a hard, compact mass of matter formed by the precipitation of mineral cement within the spaces between particles, and is found in sedimentary rock or soil. The medieval craft person just drilled a hole in the middle of it, and got a perfect spindle whorl.

The scissor is made by a highly skilled black smith. It still looks like it could cut some fabric.

The bone needle is quite large and is probably for nålbinding.

The wool fabric is of very high quality and have many threads per cm. The reddish fabric on the left was probably dyed with madder. Madder dyed fabrics seems to stay red even after 600+ years in the ground.

All items can be found in the collection of Sörmlands museum and are exhibit in the medieval exhibition at Nyköpingshus / Nyköping castle. 

/ Amica and Maria
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Advent calendar December 2 2019

The second post in our advent calendar is a distaff found in Nyköping, Sweden.
Distaffs are rarely labeled as “distaffs” in the museum data bases. So is also the case with this one. The are often labeled as “wood fragment”. We understand if it’s difficult to tell one wood fragment from another, but the notch usually give them away.
This one is dated to 13-15th century.
It is broken and today it’s approx. 30cm long. The thickness is approx. 15-18mm wide.

Today it can be found in the collections of Sörmlands museum.

/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

Advent calendar December 1 2019

This years first calendar post is some lovely scissors and timbles from the medieval city of Nyköping, Sweden.

They are all found in the centre of the medieval city and are dated 13th-15th century.

Today the scissors can be found in the collection of Sörmlands museum and are exhibit in the medieval exhibition at Nyköpingshus / Nyköping castle. The castle have a very interesting history. Check it up if you wanna know where George R.R Martin got some inspiration when writing GoT.  

Here are the post in the data base. 
The one in the middle
The one to the right

/ Amica and Maria

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Medieval belt buckle from Kalmar, Sweden

Sometimes you find a find that you haven’t seen before, and you get really exited about it. This is one of them! This belt buckle is found in Kalmar, Sweden. It was found in the famous excavation Slottsfjärden, the castle bay, where the city of Kalmar emptied the bay of water during 1933-1934 and the bay got cleaned up. A pile of things were found but unfortunately a lot of the things are still very anonymous. And we don’t think they get the attention they deserve.

Today this lovely buckle is in the collections of Historiska Museet in Stockholm, Sweden.

According to the information the buckle, it’s dated to “medeltid” meaning Medieval 1100 – 1500AD . We guess that the dating could be a bit more narrow, we think it belongs in the time frame 1350-1500. Please share your thoughts on the subject too!

The metal is copper alloy. And the buckle measures:
Length- 6,4 cm
Width front- 6,7 cm
Width back- 5,8 cm

It still have some small pieces of leather, that probably was the belt, still attached to the metal. It has also a lightly ornamented decoration.

We really like it and hope that someone, that works with metal, would like to make a copy of it.

Happy weekend!
/ Amica and Maria

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A printed chasuble from Husaby church, Sweden

We would like to wish you all a happy weekend with a very rare object.
A block printed chasuble in linen from Husaby church, Västergötland, Sweden. Dated early 15th century.
The chasuble is in a remarkable condition considering it’s age. And it has kept it original medieval shape and have not been remade in any matter.

The chasuble consists of six different pieces sewn together and then printed on top of seams and everything. The fabric is woven in two shaft/ plain weave, and is a fairly even weave with high class spun threads. No lumps on the threads!

Originally it was printed with black paint, but it also show signs of being painted with a red, yellow and green paint on some places. The green paint have eaten the fabric and today the fabric is broken where it was painted.

The pattern bring to mind 14th century Italian silk weaves and it’s very easy to understand where the inspiration came from.

The print believes to be either Swedish or German. The print size is 44 x 15 cm.

Today the chasuble is to be found in the collections of The Swedish History Museum.

/ Amica and Maria

Photos by Historical Textiles and Historiska
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A glove from Kalmar

We would like to wish you all a happy weekend with a glove from medieval Kalmar, Sweden. It was found in Slottfjärden, the castle bay, during the cleaning of the bay in 1932-34.

The glove is made in nålbinding/ needlebinding technique. The yarn is wool and might be mixed with some fibres from cow or/ and goat. We can’t tell what stitch that have been used. And we are more then happy to take new close up photos if anyone might have a good eye for analyzing stitches.

The yarn is two plyed. The dating of the glove is “medieval”- possibly 13th- late 15th century. 

Today the glove is in the collections of Historiska museet in Stockholm.

Sorry for posting an old photo from the database, but we have misplaced our photos of the glove. We will add them when we find em again.

/ Amica and Maria