Advent calendar 2021- 4 December

Our forth Advent calendar post 2021 is:

A detail from the Ärentuna cushion embroidery. The embroidery contains wool yarn of many colors on a plain linen weave. Also a white 2-plied thread. Since the white yarn contained more lanolin than the dyed yarns, the moths have prioritized the undyed yarn when feasting on the wool. Therefore the white and the brown yarn are badly damaged on the embroidery.

The cushion is dated to 14-15th century. And the original is in the collections of the parish.

We are working on a reconstruction of the Ärentuna embroidery. And we use a natural white wool thread, 8/2 in our reconstruction. It’s very alike with the original.

/ Amica and Maria

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Advent calendar 2021- 2 December

Our second Advent calendar post 2021 is:

One wool fragment from the Viking age settlement of Birka, Sweden. The fragment is labelled as sprang by Agnes Geijer. The fragment is made out of a thin 2-plied wool thread. It measures 0,5 x 3 cm. It’s difficult to say if the fragment originally was dyed.

The chamber grave contains many interesting and costly items. The objects from the grave Bj660 can be found here. Dating is Viking period 800-1100 AD.

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

/ Amica and Maria

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Paper at Nesat XIV

This year we presented our paper at Nest XIV. “Colours in medieval textiles versus archeological textiles from Swedish cities” was the title of our abstract.
Nest XIV was supposed to take place in Oulo in Finland but was first postponed a couple of times and then became a digital version on Zoom. All participants sent in their paper presentation in advance and only the session discussion was a live talk. A lot of interesting papers were presented! We can’t wait for the publication!!!

Since our talk was pre recorded we decided to put it up on YouTube. Here is the link:

We are so happy that we finally can share some of our research that we have been working on the last couple of years, it has taken long due to the pandemic… But finally we can share the amazing colors and fine fabrics from the medieval seal bags from Riksarkivet / National archive


Best wishes,
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 22 2020

Fulled fabrics. The fabrics during the Middle Ages were often fulled. When fabrics from that time is found in the ground, the majority of the nap is often gone. That means the fabrics that we find give a different surface then the fabric originally had. Also fabrics other than archaeological, may have lost a lot of its fulled surface. Here we can see some evidence of that.

The examples are both from gilded leather coverlets, where the gilded strip ( or a twisted linen strip) has fallen off and exposes a fabric that has significantly more nap than the rest of the fabric.
Both fabrics are dated to 15th or 16th century.

The first fabric is from the Ilsbo embroidery. Now in Hälsinglands museums collections.

The second fabric is from Dalhem II embroidery. Enlarge photo to get a even better view of the nap. Now in the collections of The Swedish History Museum.

/ Amica & Maria

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Advent calendar December 21 2020

Today we would like to raise the idea of a perfect result. That seems to be a fairly modern approach. We see repeatedly during our analyses that the perfect result is a non existing thing during the Middle Ages. This embroidery from Ärentuna is a good example of that.

Check out the blue square with the yellow pattern in. During the sewing someone ran out of yellow yarn. And continued with a light orange yarn instead. That someone, was also a bit unfocused and turned one of the wings of the pattern upside down.

Misstakes happens all the time when people are doing crafts. But during the Middle Ages people seemed less interested in fixing them. We find this very heartwarming and would like to strike a blow for not correcting things too often. It’s a bit like live TV. Don’t mention it, then the audience will notice it, just move on and everything will be just fine.

The embroidery is dated 14-15th century.
/ Amica & Maria
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Advent calendar December 20 2020

Today we return to the Grödinge double weave.
But today we focus on the animals of the middle section. We got lions, eagles and the animal combined by the two, griffins. At first sight all animals looks the same, but at a closer look, all the animals have some small individual parts. That menas that the pattern have been picked by hand during the weaving.

The weave is made out of white and dark blue wool and is dated to the 15th century.

Today the double weave can be found in the collections of The Swedish History Museum.
/ Amica & Maria
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Advent calendar December 8 2020

Today we give you an old textile and it’s reconstructed younger cousin.
The Dalhem 1 coverlet, gilt leather and intarsia technique. Dated to 15th century.
Today in the collections od The Swedish History museum.

Reconstruction made by many people. Read more about the project here:
/ Amica & Maria
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Advent calendar December 1 2020

The last few years we have put together an Advent calendar during december. Out plan is to do the same this year. But since the new plague hit our world we have not been traveling at all. And we might lack a bunch of “new” historical textiles to show you. We are doing the best we can to show you hidden gems in our photo collections. It’s possible that we bring up new angles of a piece that we have shown you before. Hope you can find joy in a recycled textile too.

Our first post is an embroidery:
The peacock on the Masku coverlet, Finland. Intarsia technique.
Wool fabric in green ( now with a blue tint since the yellow dyestuff have faded), dark blue, white and red. Also thin cotton or linen fabrics as decoration on the top of the antennas. The silvred/gilded leather have fallen off in the majority of places. The stitching shows where they were placed.

The coverlet is in the collections of the National Museum of Finland.
Dated to 15th century.
/ Amica and Maria
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