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

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

Advent calendar December 10 2019

” Aglets (aiglets)- These small handmade metal tubes were sewn, or attached with tiny metal rivets, to the end of leather, cord or ribbon laces. You can find their plastic descendants on shoelaces today. 
Aglets, also known as aigletts, throwes or pyntes, were most commonly used from the 15th to the 17th century, when fashion and necessity required people to be laced together. They were used to secure the shaping structures that were worn under women’s skirts, known as farthingales, to fasten jerkins and to tie sleeves and hose (short or long trousers) to doublets (fitted padded jackets). Since virtually everyone needed them, they were mass produced, often quite crudely, and cheap to buy at around 2-3 pennies per dozen, which is why they are found in such numbers.” – London Mudlark: Lara Maiklem

Today we leave Sweden for a quick visit to Italy. We have had the pleasure to analyze a medieval textile collection with several objects in it. The owner wants to be unknown and we can’t therefore tell you where to find the objects. The collection is dated 1470-1540.

In the collection a broken point is found. It’s a tabby rep woven silk band and an aiglet at the end. The colors are brown and purple. The aiglet is made out of some sort of copper alloy/ brass. The band measures approx. 10-11mm and the weft is purple silk. It is possibly woven in a rigid heddle.

/ Amica and Maria

Photo: Historical Textiles – please cred us if sharing.

Advent calendar December 9 2019

Wool needs to be processed before spinning if you would like to make a smooth and even thread.

This pair of wool combs have lost their handles and one have lost almost everything of it’s wood. But considering they are over 1000 years old we must say that they are on great condition.

They are a Norwegian find and dated to Viking age.

Now in the collections of Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo, Norway

If sharing photos, please give cred to Historical Textiles. 

Advent calendar December 8 2019

Putting pieces of fabric together to create a larger fabric. That seems to have been more rule then exception during the Middle Ages.

Matching a pattern in the fabric was possible a luxury not even the highest nobility and the church could afford.

Here is a Danish chasuble from 1470-80 with some piecing that gives us a bit of a headache but also a smile of relief. If they weren’t perfect then, we reenactors can take a deep breath and let go of our modern eye too. The chasuble is made in silk velvet.

It can be found in the collections of the National museum, Copenhagen, Denmark
/ Amica and Maria

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

Advent calendar December 6 2019

The 6th calendar post is applications on the Dalhem 2 embroidery. The M is in fine linen and the boarder is in a fairly thick wool.

Dating late 15th early 16th century.

In the collections of the Historical museum, Stockholm, 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
If sharing photos- please cred us at Historical Textiles

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

Photos: Historical Textiles- pease cred us if sharing

An unknow medieval lantern from Hälsingland

An unknown lantern from Järvsö in Hälsingland, Sweden.

In the Hälsinglandsmuseum collection there is a lantern in metal, HM5109. This lantern appeared in a search at DigtialtMuseum site, when Maria was looking for lanterns in October. It was not dated, but there was something about the shape that screamed “medieval” at her. The text “Help Maria Son” indicated that this had been produced before the Reformation. Our King Gustav Vasa split with the pope in 1524, and in 1527 the Riksdag in Västerås declared Protestantism and Catholicism as equivalent doctrines. 
 
Maria contacted the museum and they kindly sent some information to us. They had documents that indicated the lantern had a medieval dating. This made us excited and we booked a visit to the museum in order to look at this rarity. So, in the super cold of December we took the train to Hudiksvall to have a look at it.

The lantern is made of copper plate, possibly an alloy. The top is rounded and has a 25 small ventilation holes to release heat. The door is probably replaced as it does not follow the design or the material of the lantern. The door is made of iron and has an window opening. The door has metal strips riveted on the inside, sides and bottom. That creates a frame that allows a curved horn plate to be slid down and serve as a window. The door has remnants of an organic material at the bottom of the frame. Most likely, this is the remains of a horn plate. All rivets on the door are of iron. The hinges are of the same material as the rest of the lantern. The door also has a hasp for closing.

In the middle of the bottom of the lantern there is a hole, where the candle holder, the hollow, has probably been placed. However, it’s gone. The back of the lantern has nine holes where probably a handle has been attached. The two top holes still have rivets. The handle is missing.
 
The back of the lantern is richly decorated. In the middle of the back there is a foliage surrounded by a border. On the sides acanthus borders and text above and below. The top reads HELP MA, and the bottom RIA SON.
 
The lantern measures 23.5cm in height and 9,5 cm in diameter. The top is approx. 4-4.5 cm high. The door opening measures approx. 5.5-6 cm in width and the door is approx. 18-18.5cm high.
 
Dating. The lantern is interpreted, by Henrik Cornell, as a Swedish work from the end of the 15th century. We agree with the dating. Hand-held lanterns are quite often depicted in art and these seem to be common from the middle of the 15th century.

There are several pictures of lanterns of this design depicted in medieval art. We have chosen a small selection for illustration. We have not relied too much about the date of these pictures, but they all date to the latter part of the 15th century.

The lantern from Järvsö shows great similarities with the lantern from Källby, which today is to be found in the collections at Kulturen in Lund, Sweden. The model is quite similar, the decorations, the material and the separate top. This lantern is also interpreted as a Swedish work from the late 15th century.

We are, of course, incredibly happy that the medieval lantern has been rediscovered. And we are very happy that we have been involved in finding a somewhat forgotten medieval object.
/ Amica and Maria 
Pictures of the lantern: Historical textiles. CC-BY

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