Today we celebrate Christmas in Sweden. And we would like to end this years Advent calendar with an old textile. This time we go back to Valsgärde grave 15 and one tablet woven band. This piece has got a silk fabric attached to it. The broaching is done with a gold/gilded metal tread, wrapped around a silk cord.
This piece dates to 10th century.
Another favorite of ours is this gorgeous pillow. Embroidered in long armed cross stitch. Silk and wool on linen Dated to the 15th century. Note the slightly offset pattern. The band is woven in wool and placed where the top and bottom part are meeting.
Thank you for hanging out with us during this Advent calendar! See you next year!
The Middle Ages is a time of “almost near is near enough”. What does that really mean, you might be wondering now? Well, it means nothing less than that you weren’t very careful back then. If one fabric ran out, another one was taken that had a similar color, as in this case with the gilt leather embroidery from Skokloster church.
Here, the intention was to use a surface with a blue wool fabric. BUT there hasn’t been enough so they’ve been forced to join several to get a piece big enough. As you can see, there are three blue fabrics. Quite different in both shape and appearance.
We get so happy when we see this embroidery. There is something very liberating about the fact that they didn’t feel limited by the lack of a blue fabric in the right size, but they solved it all in a simple and creative way. This in particular creates character and feeling for the entire embroidery and says a lot about the frugal and material-efficient work then. We hope to see more reconstructions made in the same spirit.
It’s dated 14th century.
Today we find the embroidery in the collections of the Swedish History museum.
Today, on the fourth Advent, we think there needs to be a post that is a little “extra everything”. That’s why we bring out this wonderful tablecloth from Hammarby church, Sweden. Dated first part of 16th century. It’s a white weave in a goose’s eye, linen or possibly hemp. The tablecloth is incomplete but still measures an impressive 94 x 553 cm.
In terms of pattern, it consists of scenes with people who, among other things, appear to be attending a banquet. There are also outdoor scenes with animals. Between the scenes there are floral motifs, acanthus vines and the tablecloth is framed by an approx. 18 cm wide border with, among other things, lions on it. It has also got a fringe in red and white, on one of the sides.
It is embroidered with stem stitch, chain stitch in silk and wool. It is assumed to be a work from northern Germany.
Today in the collections of Swedish History museum. You can see more pictures here
Today’s post is about dyes. Or in fact dyed wool fabrics that are from the beginning of the 14th century and STILL in great condition. Check out thees seal bags, protective bags in fabric for wax seals on legal documents, written 700 years ago.
They have been stored in archives from when they were written until today. And they are dated on the exact day they were created and is by far the best source we have come across when it comes to textiles.
Now in the collections of The Swedish National Archives. Please cred us if sharing photos!
Wanna learn something new? Have you ever tried plant dyeing? Then maybe our plant dyeing kits might be something for you? Red with madder, pink with cochineal or yellow and green with weld. Check this link out!
A mix of slightly different things with the common denominator “a thin two-plied wool thread”. First in our batch is a tablet woven band from Gotland. Dated 800-1100 AD. Today the band is exhibit in the new exhibition The viking world. The exhibition text says: “Tablet woven ribbon of wool with individual turns. Woven with a two-plied wool yarn where the thread’s high twist gives the pattern a certain depth. The ribbon is woven with twelve tablets. The two edge tablets on each side are threaded with four threads in each tablet, while the pattern tablets are only threaded with two threads in each. The lack of threads causes a relief pattern to occur during weaving. The pattern is obtained by turning the tablets individually so that the missing threads end up in a specific pattern. Width 0.8– 0.9 centimeters, preserved length 28 centimeters. This ribbon from Gotland differs from the ribbons found in Birka as the latter have silk in the warp and picked pattern elements in gold or silver thread. Part of depot finds “in pasture”, from Lilla Ringome, Alva parish, Gotland.”
The second find is a find that is interpreted as a cushion. Grave find from Birka, Bj739, Adelsö parish, Uppland. Hhere we can see something as unusual as clear colors on an archeological textile. Both red-purple, blue-black and yellow. The weaving technique is tapestry and soumak. Dating 800-1100 AD
The last picture is from Lödöse. Here we can see a small piece of a finger loop braid. Made with two different colours on the wool yarn. Dated to 13-14century.
The viking age finds are from the collections of the Swedish History museum.
The 20/2 wool thread is versatile and can be used in many projects such as, tablet weaving, embroidery, sewing, braiding and more. It dyes really good and we always try to have a range of colours when working. The pigments we use are madder, cochineal as a kermes substitut, indigo and woad, birch, weld, tansy, walnut, gall apple. Together with alum, cream of tartar, iron and pH-modifier we can produce countless nuances.
/ Amica and Maria
Photos by: Historical Textiles CC-by please cred if sharing the pictures
Long legged cross stitch in wool. From the embroideries Fogdö, Ramsele and Trönö, Sweden. They are all sewn with a 2-plied thread. Blue is almost always present in all medieval embroideries. Here we can see a backside from Fogdö and fronts on Trönö and the cute birds of Ramsele and a detail of their legs. They are all dated to 15th century. They bottom fabrics are a linen weave in basket weave.
All embroideries can be found in the collections of the Swedish History museum.
We love how often blue is represented and therefore we always dye blue in various shades. Both light and dark is needed. We use indigo and woad.
/ Amica and Maria
CC-by please cred us if sharing the pictures
Bonus- check out the diffrent style and directions of the stitches.
Gilt leather embroidery. These embroideries are as simple as they are ingenious. The same pattern shape is cut out of two different colored pieces of fabric. Most often, this is a mythological animal. Then the cut pieces change places and are sewn on with small whip stitches, edge to edge. A thin linen thread has been used for the medieval embroidery. A thin gilded leather strip is then sewn over the joining seam, also this one with whip stitches. Strips are also used for decorative elements on embroidery and of course applications, which we have already written about. Here ve can see two griffons from the Skepptuna coverlet. The animals are individually decorated.
The Skepptuna coverlet is C-14 dated to the latter part of the 15th century early 16th century. And can be found in the collections of the Swedish History museum.
When making embroideries you need to work with fulled wool fabrics to be able to make tiny stitches without fraying the edges since you work with basically 0 seam allowance. We like the Melton quality sold by Medeltidsmode. (scroll down) they offer a mix of colours. The white dyes very good if you are into plant dyeing. Even smaller pieces work good as a test piece. Why not make a fancy pin cushion or a purse when trying out the technique?
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