Advent calendar 2021 – 13 December

Our thirteenth Advent calendar post 2021 is:

A selection of spindel whorls. All made out of lead. Lead spindle whorls are found all over Europe during the Middle ages. They seems to vary in style over time. Here you can see a number of spindle whorls from a private collection. All in lead. from 6 grams up to 42grams. Both flax and wool have been spun with spindled whorls like these.
Did they only use lead during the period? No. Spindel whorls comes in a number of different materials. Femoral heads, horn, ceramics, amber, tin, stone are even wood. The most durable materials are the ones that can withstand degradation best and therefore they are just common among the archaeological finds. Few of tin and wood have survived to our days. The whorls on the pictures are dated from the 800. 1400 AD. They are all found in Germany and England. The sticks are rare and have off course a secondary use as firewood.

We like to spin on spindles. But we are staying off the lead when making whorls ourself. The singel whorl on the picture have been measured and have been modelling for us when we have made a copy of that one, but in tin rater than lead. A stick is also needed when spinning. That can be a simple stick carved by yourself or you can get one fancy stick made by our friend Helena Åberg. The stick on the picture is a simple sushi stick…

/ Amica and Maria

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Advent calendar 2021 – 5 December

Our fifth Advent calendar post 2021 is:

A selection of glass spindle whorls. All from the city of Sigtuna, Sweden. The world are all dated to 11-10th century. The vary in shape and weight. But are still pretty small.

When spinning we like to have different sizes. When spinning a thin thread a light whorl is good.

The whorls can be found in the collections of Sigtuna museum.

/ Amica and Maria

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Advent calendar 2021 – 1 December

Our first Advent calendar post 2021 is:

A tablet found in Uppsala, Sweden. Dated to the late medieval period. It’s made of wood. We don’t know what kind of wood. It measures 6cm x 6 cm. The corners have been damaged over time and we guess it have been less round when it was new.

Today it can be found in the collections of the Swedish History museum.

We find this size very handy when weaving.

/ Amica and Maria



Advent calendar December 24 2020

Today we celebrate Christmas in Sweden. We call it Jul. A name that originate from the tradition we celebrated before people up in the north became Christians.

Therefor we would like to share some Viking age things.

Wool combs from Norway. Dated 800-950. For combing wool.

God Jul! /Amica and Maria

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Advent calendar December 18 2020

Today we have some items from the world famous Oseberg ship burial. Viking age. Norway.

The excavation is exceptional in many ways. It’s a woman’s grave and it contains a lot of items that she might need in her afterlife. Amongst some of the things a lot of textile tools.

Niddy noddy
Distaff and spindle sticks and whorl
Tablets for tablet weaving

Today in the collections of Vikingskipshuset, Olso.

/ Amica and Maria

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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 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

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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 3 2019

The third post in our advent calendar is a small spindle whorl from the city of Sigtuna, Sweden.

It’s made from a femoral head. The shape have been adjusted from the original shape and the whorl have now a cone shape. That shape is not so common with the whorls made out of femoral heads. So someone put some effort into this piece.

Right now we not 100% certain on the dating. But roughly it’s the same age as the other finds from Sigtuna. Approx. late 10th century – early 14th. Will update when we have the correct info.

Today it can be found in the collections of Sigtuna museum.
/ Amica and Maria

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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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