Hands-On Research

Viking weaving threeChristina here. As we’ve mentioned before, authors take any chance they can to do a bit of hands-on research when it’s on offer, and a couple of weeks ago I did just that – I tried my hand at Viking weaving!

I’ve been a member of my local weaving guild for some years now, although I don’t attend very frequently as I don’t have time unfortunately. It all began with me doing a weekend course in Scandinavian band weaving, which of course sounded right up my street. Since one of my neighbours is Swedish as well, we decided to try it, and it was such fun we then signed up for a course in proper weaving. And … we were hooked.

LoomI ended up buying my own loom. It’s not huge, but I can make things up to 70cm wide, which is plenty for me. I mostly make table runners and scarves and they don’t need to be any wider than that. I never thought I’d be into that sort of handicrafts as I was the despair of my sewing teacher at school, but I wish she could see me now!

Anyway, my guild often gets sent notices from other guilds around the country with news about special events they are organising. When one came round saying the Cambridge guild were having an open day that included a demonstration of weaving on an upright Viking loom, I simply couldn’t resist. So I dragged my poor husband on a three-hour journey across the country and it was well worth it!

Varafeld loomJayne and Stephen Delarre, a husband and wife team who take part in Viking reenactment, had set up two Viking looms and were happy to let me have a go. Jayne was making a woollen twill cloth, while Stephen was working on something called a Varafeldur. This is a specific Icelandic technique where the weaver makes a basic plain weave while adding little tufts of untreated wool at intervals, creating a sort of rug effect. (See here for more information).

VarafeldIt looks shaggy and a bit coarse, but to the Vikings it could be a life-saving garment. Because the woollen tufts are unwashed, they retain the greasy lanolin, making it almost completely water-resistant. The Varafeldur would be woven as a rectangle that could be worn as a cloak, and when travelling across cold seas in all weathers it would have been perfect for keeping the wearer warm and dry. Being versatile, the cloak could also be worn inside out in cold weather, with the shaggy part keeping you even warmer. This is perfect for the hero of my next book!

Here is Stephen wearing one and dressed in full Viking gear – doesn't it look great?

Image5

Photo courtesy of Jayne Delarre

 

Viking loomBack to the loom itself – these were so called warp weighted looms and they weren’t invented by the Vikings. They are known to have been used as far back in time as by the Egyptians, probably long before then. But they work very well and in some cultures, like the Saami in northern Scandinavia, they were still in use up to the 20th century. Basically, it’s a simple construction that is meant to lean against a wall. There are two uprights with holes where you can put supports for the heddles (the bars that are moved by the weaver to create a pattern). The warp is attached at the top and weighed down by loom weights to create the necessary tension.

Loom weightsLoom weights could be made from any material, but clay is probably the easiest. When excavating Viking sites, archaeologists have found loads of these as more or less every house had a loom. A housewife needed to make cloth for the whole family – they all had to have clothes and bedding, and perhaps colourful wall hangings and things like linen sheets to use as towels. Weaving was a skill most women had to learn.

Weaving swordOnce the warp was set up, the weaving itself was fairly simple. You merely alternate the position of the heddles to create the desired pattern, and pass the wool through the warp threads, then beat them into position with something called a weaving sword. I was thrilled to be allowed to try this, as I’ve read a lot about it. Apart from having to memorise in which order the heddles were moved, it wasn’t difficult. The piece Jayne had set up was not very wide, but if you were working on a wider one it would be better to pair up with another person, passing the yarn between you. That would be a lot faster. The usual loom width was two ells. An ell is an old measurement that roughly equalled the length between a man’s elbow and the tip of his middle finger. Two ells is just under one metre. A normal cloak, for example, would be two ells wide and four long (ie. roughly 1 x 2 metres).

I was amazed at the different patterns a weaver can create with one of these looms, and what good quality cloth can be produced. Plain weave is the simplest, but twills like an ordinary herringbone design were common too. Wool was usually used, but there was also yarn made of linen (flax), hemp and nettles (!).

WeaveThe weaving was always done by women, and was seen as almost magical – creating something out of the mess that is raw wool. When my hero Ivar (in PROMISES OF THE RUNES) shows interest in what the women are doing and asks to have a go, his host is seriously suspicious. He can’t understand why a man would want to try his hand at weaving, or even know how. Ivar, of course, is an archaeologist from the 21st century, so to him every aspect of Viking life is fascinating and he wants to learn as much as possible. Writing that scene was fun!

Viking Weaving twoI wrote a post about dyeing a while back (see here) and I learned from Jayne that it was most likely cloth would be dyed after it was finished. If you dye the yarn beforehand, you might end up with too much or too little and the colour wouldn’t be the same throughout the material. Makes sense!

(You can find out more about Jayne and the lovely things she makes here.)

Do you do any handicrafts and, if so, what is your favourite thing to do? Or other hobbies?

130 thoughts on “Hands-On Research”

  1. That looks like so much fun! I used to do a lot more crafty things when I was younger, mainly making quilts and knitting, but I also had a go at silkscreen and dying fabrics. And I’ve always wanted to learn how to make paper.

    Reply
  2. That looks like so much fun! I used to do a lot more crafty things when I was younger, mainly making quilts and knitting, but I also had a go at silkscreen and dying fabrics. And I’ve always wanted to learn how to make paper.

    Reply
  3. That looks like so much fun! I used to do a lot more crafty things when I was younger, mainly making quilts and knitting, but I also had a go at silkscreen and dying fabrics. And I’ve always wanted to learn how to make paper.

    Reply
  4. That looks like so much fun! I used to do a lot more crafty things when I was younger, mainly making quilts and knitting, but I also had a go at silkscreen and dying fabrics. And I’ve always wanted to learn how to make paper.

    Reply
  5. That looks like so much fun! I used to do a lot more crafty things when I was younger, mainly making quilts and knitting, but I also had a go at silkscreen and dying fabrics. And I’ve always wanted to learn how to make paper.

    Reply
  6. Fascinating, Christina, and I love how hands on you are in your research! (I’m more into reading about this stuff and looking at YouTube. *G*) I did lots of craftsy little project until I transferred from liberal arts to university’s art college, and ever after design and then writing absorbed my creativity. I love reading about your projects, though!

    Reply
  7. Fascinating, Christina, and I love how hands on you are in your research! (I’m more into reading about this stuff and looking at YouTube. *G*) I did lots of craftsy little project until I transferred from liberal arts to university’s art college, and ever after design and then writing absorbed my creativity. I love reading about your projects, though!

    Reply
  8. Fascinating, Christina, and I love how hands on you are in your research! (I’m more into reading about this stuff and looking at YouTube. *G*) I did lots of craftsy little project until I transferred from liberal arts to university’s art college, and ever after design and then writing absorbed my creativity. I love reading about your projects, though!

    Reply
  9. Fascinating, Christina, and I love how hands on you are in your research! (I’m more into reading about this stuff and looking at YouTube. *G*) I did lots of craftsy little project until I transferred from liberal arts to university’s art college, and ever after design and then writing absorbed my creativity. I love reading about your projects, though!

    Reply
  10. Fascinating, Christina, and I love how hands on you are in your research! (I’m more into reading about this stuff and looking at YouTube. *G*) I did lots of craftsy little project until I transferred from liberal arts to university’s art college, and ever after design and then writing absorbed my creativity. I love reading about your projects, though!

    Reply
  11. Thank you! Sometimes it’s lovely to just read about these things and I love art and design too! I have way too many books on those subjects

    Reply
  12. Thank you! Sometimes it’s lovely to just read about these things and I love art and design too! I have way too many books on those subjects

    Reply
  13. Thank you! Sometimes it’s lovely to just read about these things and I love art and design too! I have way too many books on those subjects

    Reply
  14. Thank you! Sometimes it’s lovely to just read about these things and I love art and design too! I have way too many books on those subjects

    Reply
  15. Thank you! Sometimes it’s lovely to just read about these things and I love art and design too! I have way too many books on those subjects

    Reply
  16. Oh wow, Kareni, that looks like great fun! I’d never heard of that but what a good idea! Thank you for mentioning it and I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog post.

    Reply
  17. Oh wow, Kareni, that looks like great fun! I’d never heard of that but what a good idea! Thank you for mentioning it and I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog post.

    Reply
  18. Oh wow, Kareni, that looks like great fun! I’d never heard of that but what a good idea! Thank you for mentioning it and I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog post.

    Reply
  19. Oh wow, Kareni, that looks like great fun! I’d never heard of that but what a good idea! Thank you for mentioning it and I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog post.

    Reply
  20. Oh wow, Kareni, that looks like great fun! I’d never heard of that but what a good idea! Thank you for mentioning it and I’m so glad you enjoyed the blog post.

    Reply
  21. I always thought it must be fascinating to use a loom. Knowing me though I’d end up being stuck in the loom with the weave because I’m awkward! I knit and crochet with crochet being the favourite. I haven’t really made big things though, stuff like doll’s clothes when the girls were young or craft doll’s clothes. I’ve made numerous hats and scarves for the girls too. I haven’t done it in some time but reading this makes me want to start a project again.

    Reply
  22. I always thought it must be fascinating to use a loom. Knowing me though I’d end up being stuck in the loom with the weave because I’m awkward! I knit and crochet with crochet being the favourite. I haven’t really made big things though, stuff like doll’s clothes when the girls were young or craft doll’s clothes. I’ve made numerous hats and scarves for the girls too. I haven’t done it in some time but reading this makes me want to start a project again.

    Reply
  23. I always thought it must be fascinating to use a loom. Knowing me though I’d end up being stuck in the loom with the weave because I’m awkward! I knit and crochet with crochet being the favourite. I haven’t really made big things though, stuff like doll’s clothes when the girls were young or craft doll’s clothes. I’ve made numerous hats and scarves for the girls too. I haven’t done it in some time but reading this makes me want to start a project again.

    Reply
  24. I always thought it must be fascinating to use a loom. Knowing me though I’d end up being stuck in the loom with the weave because I’m awkward! I knit and crochet with crochet being the favourite. I haven’t really made big things though, stuff like doll’s clothes when the girls were young or craft doll’s clothes. I’ve made numerous hats and scarves for the girls too. I haven’t done it in some time but reading this makes me want to start a project again.

    Reply
  25. I always thought it must be fascinating to use a loom. Knowing me though I’d end up being stuck in the loom with the weave because I’m awkward! I knit and crochet with crochet being the favourite. I haven’t really made big things though, stuff like doll’s clothes when the girls were young or craft doll’s clothes. I’ve made numerous hats and scarves for the girls too. I haven’t done it in some time but reading this makes me want to start a project again.

    Reply
  26. I love crochet too, Teresa! It’s always seemed so much less complicated to me than knitting. Like you I’ve mostly made doilies but I did manage to create a bedspread once!

    Reply
  27. I love crochet too, Teresa! It’s always seemed so much less complicated to me than knitting. Like you I’ve mostly made doilies but I did manage to create a bedspread once!

    Reply
  28. I love crochet too, Teresa! It’s always seemed so much less complicated to me than knitting. Like you I’ve mostly made doilies but I did manage to create a bedspread once!

    Reply
  29. I love crochet too, Teresa! It’s always seemed so much less complicated to me than knitting. Like you I’ve mostly made doilies but I did manage to create a bedspread once!

    Reply
  30. I love crochet too, Teresa! It’s always seemed so much less complicated to me than knitting. Like you I’ve mostly made doilies but I did manage to create a bedspread once!

    Reply
  31. Shaggy rug/garment hybrids are fairly common across northern Europe; the Irish wore them, to the immense disgust of Georgian England. I think they were also common in the Shetlands, but I could be wrong. The great thing is, after a day wearing it, you can just reuse it as a blanket on your bed.
    Archaeologists, until recently, described loom weights as spindle whorls, because a large hole in the whorl is perfectly useful, and why wouldn’t you find a long row of spindle whorls?/sarcasm 😉
    As a spinner (and sometimes weaver), I am still amazed that Viking sails were all spindle-spun. Everyone must have pitched in and spun!

    Reply
  32. Shaggy rug/garment hybrids are fairly common across northern Europe; the Irish wore them, to the immense disgust of Georgian England. I think they were also common in the Shetlands, but I could be wrong. The great thing is, after a day wearing it, you can just reuse it as a blanket on your bed.
    Archaeologists, until recently, described loom weights as spindle whorls, because a large hole in the whorl is perfectly useful, and why wouldn’t you find a long row of spindle whorls?/sarcasm 😉
    As a spinner (and sometimes weaver), I am still amazed that Viking sails were all spindle-spun. Everyone must have pitched in and spun!

    Reply
  33. Shaggy rug/garment hybrids are fairly common across northern Europe; the Irish wore them, to the immense disgust of Georgian England. I think they were also common in the Shetlands, but I could be wrong. The great thing is, after a day wearing it, you can just reuse it as a blanket on your bed.
    Archaeologists, until recently, described loom weights as spindle whorls, because a large hole in the whorl is perfectly useful, and why wouldn’t you find a long row of spindle whorls?/sarcasm 😉
    As a spinner (and sometimes weaver), I am still amazed that Viking sails were all spindle-spun. Everyone must have pitched in and spun!

    Reply
  34. Shaggy rug/garment hybrids are fairly common across northern Europe; the Irish wore them, to the immense disgust of Georgian England. I think they were also common in the Shetlands, but I could be wrong. The great thing is, after a day wearing it, you can just reuse it as a blanket on your bed.
    Archaeologists, until recently, described loom weights as spindle whorls, because a large hole in the whorl is perfectly useful, and why wouldn’t you find a long row of spindle whorls?/sarcasm 😉
    As a spinner (and sometimes weaver), I am still amazed that Viking sails were all spindle-spun. Everyone must have pitched in and spun!

    Reply
  35. Shaggy rug/garment hybrids are fairly common across northern Europe; the Irish wore them, to the immense disgust of Georgian England. I think they were also common in the Shetlands, but I could be wrong. The great thing is, after a day wearing it, you can just reuse it as a blanket on your bed.
    Archaeologists, until recently, described loom weights as spindle whorls, because a large hole in the whorl is perfectly useful, and why wouldn’t you find a long row of spindle whorls?/sarcasm 😉
    As a spinner (and sometimes weaver), I am still amazed that Viking sails were all spindle-spun. Everyone must have pitched in and spun!

    Reply
  36. Yes those shaggy cloaks were definitely very useful! My next hero will benefit from his. Interesting about the Irish wearing them – I didn’t know that. And you’re right about the spindle whorls – don’t think you need as many of those!

    Reply
  37. Yes those shaggy cloaks were definitely very useful! My next hero will benefit from his. Interesting about the Irish wearing them – I didn’t know that. And you’re right about the spindle whorls – don’t think you need as many of those!

    Reply
  38. Yes those shaggy cloaks were definitely very useful! My next hero will benefit from his. Interesting about the Irish wearing them – I didn’t know that. And you’re right about the spindle whorls – don’t think you need as many of those!

    Reply
  39. Yes those shaggy cloaks were definitely very useful! My next hero will benefit from his. Interesting about the Irish wearing them – I didn’t know that. And you’re right about the spindle whorls – don’t think you need as many of those!

    Reply
  40. Yes those shaggy cloaks were definitely very useful! My next hero will benefit from his. Interesting about the Irish wearing them – I didn’t know that. And you’re right about the spindle whorls – don’t think you need as many of those!

    Reply
  41. I love them, Kareni! Thanks for showing us this. When I think of all the card catalog cards that we discarded when we automated & finally gave up the card catalog, and the blank checkout cards as we phased using them out–not to mention all the check out cards & slips in the actual books–dang, could have used them! and as a large academic library, you know there were a lot of those! My drawing wouldn’t be nearly so neat, but hey, pictures are always an option! Thanks!

    Reply
  42. I love them, Kareni! Thanks for showing us this. When I think of all the card catalog cards that we discarded when we automated & finally gave up the card catalog, and the blank checkout cards as we phased using them out–not to mention all the check out cards & slips in the actual books–dang, could have used them! and as a large academic library, you know there were a lot of those! My drawing wouldn’t be nearly so neat, but hey, pictures are always an option! Thanks!

    Reply
  43. I love them, Kareni! Thanks for showing us this. When I think of all the card catalog cards that we discarded when we automated & finally gave up the card catalog, and the blank checkout cards as we phased using them out–not to mention all the check out cards & slips in the actual books–dang, could have used them! and as a large academic library, you know there were a lot of those! My drawing wouldn’t be nearly so neat, but hey, pictures are always an option! Thanks!

    Reply
  44. I love them, Kareni! Thanks for showing us this. When I think of all the card catalog cards that we discarded when we automated & finally gave up the card catalog, and the blank checkout cards as we phased using them out–not to mention all the check out cards & slips in the actual books–dang, could have used them! and as a large academic library, you know there were a lot of those! My drawing wouldn’t be nearly so neat, but hey, pictures are always an option! Thanks!

    Reply
  45. I love them, Kareni! Thanks for showing us this. When I think of all the card catalog cards that we discarded when we automated & finally gave up the card catalog, and the blank checkout cards as we phased using them out–not to mention all the check out cards & slips in the actual books–dang, could have used them! and as a large academic library, you know there were a lot of those! My drawing wouldn’t be nearly so neat, but hey, pictures are always an option! Thanks!

    Reply
  46. Thank you, Christina, this is fascinating! I’ve done some weaving, mostly basic single heddle patterns on a small hand loom, and it’s been quite a while. But two things struck me immediately–they had to stand and either walk back & forth or hand the heddle back & forth the entire time they were working the loom! On what I think of as standard loom, I can sit down while working it! And 2nd: they’re beating the weft upwards! Again, standard loom, we beat towards us. I’m exhausted thinking about the whole thing! Between that, carrying water, kneading bread, etc, the arms must have looked like Dwayne Johnson’s! (The Rock)
    And as you pointed out–they had to do a lot of weaving. Probably, if multiple women in the household, someone was working the loom all the time, and dang, hope some of the gals stay there as they marry, otherwise, no one’s around to help after a while!
    Yes, I do needlepoint and counted cross stitch and have for decades. If I live to do all the patterns I’ve purchased and use up all the fabric & yarns–shoot, even just the patterns I’ve kitted, I’ll live well into at least a 2nd century! I’ve taken classes in weaving, dying, basket-weaving, beadwork, lacework, quilting, and various ethnic types of stitching but don’t do many of them–just don’t have the space for much of it and the needlework is what’s closest to the heart. I learned from my grandma & mom as I started, & a great-grandma on the quilting. When she visited, we always set up a quilt frame in front of a sunny window & worked a quilt, she, Mom & I. Good memories…I wish more folks had them these days.

    Reply
  47. Thank you, Christina, this is fascinating! I’ve done some weaving, mostly basic single heddle patterns on a small hand loom, and it’s been quite a while. But two things struck me immediately–they had to stand and either walk back & forth or hand the heddle back & forth the entire time they were working the loom! On what I think of as standard loom, I can sit down while working it! And 2nd: they’re beating the weft upwards! Again, standard loom, we beat towards us. I’m exhausted thinking about the whole thing! Between that, carrying water, kneading bread, etc, the arms must have looked like Dwayne Johnson’s! (The Rock)
    And as you pointed out–they had to do a lot of weaving. Probably, if multiple women in the household, someone was working the loom all the time, and dang, hope some of the gals stay there as they marry, otherwise, no one’s around to help after a while!
    Yes, I do needlepoint and counted cross stitch and have for decades. If I live to do all the patterns I’ve purchased and use up all the fabric & yarns–shoot, even just the patterns I’ve kitted, I’ll live well into at least a 2nd century! I’ve taken classes in weaving, dying, basket-weaving, beadwork, lacework, quilting, and various ethnic types of stitching but don’t do many of them–just don’t have the space for much of it and the needlework is what’s closest to the heart. I learned from my grandma & mom as I started, & a great-grandma on the quilting. When she visited, we always set up a quilt frame in front of a sunny window & worked a quilt, she, Mom & I. Good memories…I wish more folks had them these days.

    Reply
  48. Thank you, Christina, this is fascinating! I’ve done some weaving, mostly basic single heddle patterns on a small hand loom, and it’s been quite a while. But two things struck me immediately–they had to stand and either walk back & forth or hand the heddle back & forth the entire time they were working the loom! On what I think of as standard loom, I can sit down while working it! And 2nd: they’re beating the weft upwards! Again, standard loom, we beat towards us. I’m exhausted thinking about the whole thing! Between that, carrying water, kneading bread, etc, the arms must have looked like Dwayne Johnson’s! (The Rock)
    And as you pointed out–they had to do a lot of weaving. Probably, if multiple women in the household, someone was working the loom all the time, and dang, hope some of the gals stay there as they marry, otherwise, no one’s around to help after a while!
    Yes, I do needlepoint and counted cross stitch and have for decades. If I live to do all the patterns I’ve purchased and use up all the fabric & yarns–shoot, even just the patterns I’ve kitted, I’ll live well into at least a 2nd century! I’ve taken classes in weaving, dying, basket-weaving, beadwork, lacework, quilting, and various ethnic types of stitching but don’t do many of them–just don’t have the space for much of it and the needlework is what’s closest to the heart. I learned from my grandma & mom as I started, & a great-grandma on the quilting. When she visited, we always set up a quilt frame in front of a sunny window & worked a quilt, she, Mom & I. Good memories…I wish more folks had them these days.

    Reply
  49. Thank you, Christina, this is fascinating! I’ve done some weaving, mostly basic single heddle patterns on a small hand loom, and it’s been quite a while. But two things struck me immediately–they had to stand and either walk back & forth or hand the heddle back & forth the entire time they were working the loom! On what I think of as standard loom, I can sit down while working it! And 2nd: they’re beating the weft upwards! Again, standard loom, we beat towards us. I’m exhausted thinking about the whole thing! Between that, carrying water, kneading bread, etc, the arms must have looked like Dwayne Johnson’s! (The Rock)
    And as you pointed out–they had to do a lot of weaving. Probably, if multiple women in the household, someone was working the loom all the time, and dang, hope some of the gals stay there as they marry, otherwise, no one’s around to help after a while!
    Yes, I do needlepoint and counted cross stitch and have for decades. If I live to do all the patterns I’ve purchased and use up all the fabric & yarns–shoot, even just the patterns I’ve kitted, I’ll live well into at least a 2nd century! I’ve taken classes in weaving, dying, basket-weaving, beadwork, lacework, quilting, and various ethnic types of stitching but don’t do many of them–just don’t have the space for much of it and the needlework is what’s closest to the heart. I learned from my grandma & mom as I started, & a great-grandma on the quilting. When she visited, we always set up a quilt frame in front of a sunny window & worked a quilt, she, Mom & I. Good memories…I wish more folks had them these days.

    Reply
  50. Thank you, Christina, this is fascinating! I’ve done some weaving, mostly basic single heddle patterns on a small hand loom, and it’s been quite a while. But two things struck me immediately–they had to stand and either walk back & forth or hand the heddle back & forth the entire time they were working the loom! On what I think of as standard loom, I can sit down while working it! And 2nd: they’re beating the weft upwards! Again, standard loom, we beat towards us. I’m exhausted thinking about the whole thing! Between that, carrying water, kneading bread, etc, the arms must have looked like Dwayne Johnson’s! (The Rock)
    And as you pointed out–they had to do a lot of weaving. Probably, if multiple women in the household, someone was working the loom all the time, and dang, hope some of the gals stay there as they marry, otherwise, no one’s around to help after a while!
    Yes, I do needlepoint and counted cross stitch and have for decades. If I live to do all the patterns I’ve purchased and use up all the fabric & yarns–shoot, even just the patterns I’ve kitted, I’ll live well into at least a 2nd century! I’ve taken classes in weaving, dying, basket-weaving, beadwork, lacework, quilting, and various ethnic types of stitching but don’t do many of them–just don’t have the space for much of it and the needlework is what’s closest to the heart. I learned from my grandma & mom as I started, & a great-grandma on the quilting. When she visited, we always set up a quilt frame in front of a sunny window & worked a quilt, she, Mom & I. Good memories…I wish more folks had them these days.

    Reply
  51. That all sounds wonderful, Karen! And yes, weaving on a Viking loom must have been tiring but I guess they were used to hard work. It was very interesting try and beating upwards with the weaving sword was definitely a novelty. Hopefully with two people doing it together and lots of practice they were a lot quicker than I could ever be!

    Reply
  52. That all sounds wonderful, Karen! And yes, weaving on a Viking loom must have been tiring but I guess they were used to hard work. It was very interesting try and beating upwards with the weaving sword was definitely a novelty. Hopefully with two people doing it together and lots of practice they were a lot quicker than I could ever be!

    Reply
  53. That all sounds wonderful, Karen! And yes, weaving on a Viking loom must have been tiring but I guess they were used to hard work. It was very interesting try and beating upwards with the weaving sword was definitely a novelty. Hopefully with two people doing it together and lots of practice they were a lot quicker than I could ever be!

    Reply
  54. That all sounds wonderful, Karen! And yes, weaving on a Viking loom must have been tiring but I guess they were used to hard work. It was very interesting try and beating upwards with the weaving sword was definitely a novelty. Hopefully with two people doing it together and lots of practice they were a lot quicker than I could ever be!

    Reply
  55. That all sounds wonderful, Karen! And yes, weaving on a Viking loom must have been tiring but I guess they were used to hard work. It was very interesting try and beating upwards with the weaving sword was definitely a novelty. Hopefully with two people doing it together and lots of practice they were a lot quicker than I could ever be!

    Reply
  56. Would love to see your bookmarks, Kareni – bet they’re gorgeous! We attended a nephew’s wedding and reception held at the Boston Public Library’s main building. The place cards for the reception were bookmarks made from old library cards and vintage postcards of book covers, made by the bride’s mother. I still use mine, as well as a couple of others that less appreciative guests discarded!

    Reply
  57. Would love to see your bookmarks, Kareni – bet they’re gorgeous! We attended a nephew’s wedding and reception held at the Boston Public Library’s main building. The place cards for the reception were bookmarks made from old library cards and vintage postcards of book covers, made by the bride’s mother. I still use mine, as well as a couple of others that less appreciative guests discarded!

    Reply
  58. Would love to see your bookmarks, Kareni – bet they’re gorgeous! We attended a nephew’s wedding and reception held at the Boston Public Library’s main building. The place cards for the reception were bookmarks made from old library cards and vintage postcards of book covers, made by the bride’s mother. I still use mine, as well as a couple of others that less appreciative guests discarded!

    Reply
  59. Would love to see your bookmarks, Kareni – bet they’re gorgeous! We attended a nephew’s wedding and reception held at the Boston Public Library’s main building. The place cards for the reception were bookmarks made from old library cards and vintage postcards of book covers, made by the bride’s mother. I still use mine, as well as a couple of others that less appreciative guests discarded!

    Reply
  60. Would love to see your bookmarks, Kareni – bet they’re gorgeous! We attended a nephew’s wedding and reception held at the Boston Public Library’s main building. The place cards for the reception were bookmarks made from old library cards and vintage postcards of book covers, made by the bride’s mother. I still use mine, as well as a couple of others that less appreciative guests discarded!

    Reply
  61. Christina, many thanks for a fascinating post! I’ve seen drawings of Vikings wearing Varafeldur but must admit that I thought they were just wearing unsheared sheep or goatskins. Your description of the looms and weaving techniques was so clear – if you ever give up writing romance (please don’t!), you could definitely have a career in technical writing! Between Karen’s articulate comparisons and your post, I feel as if I’ve taken a course on weaving – thanks to you both!
    Many kinds of needlework have passed through my hands, but I always come back to embroidery which was the first type I learned, at age 6. Like Karen, I believe my kits and yarn stash will outlive me by several decades!

    Reply
  62. Christina, many thanks for a fascinating post! I’ve seen drawings of Vikings wearing Varafeldur but must admit that I thought they were just wearing unsheared sheep or goatskins. Your description of the looms and weaving techniques was so clear – if you ever give up writing romance (please don’t!), you could definitely have a career in technical writing! Between Karen’s articulate comparisons and your post, I feel as if I’ve taken a course on weaving – thanks to you both!
    Many kinds of needlework have passed through my hands, but I always come back to embroidery which was the first type I learned, at age 6. Like Karen, I believe my kits and yarn stash will outlive me by several decades!

    Reply
  63. Christina, many thanks for a fascinating post! I’ve seen drawings of Vikings wearing Varafeldur but must admit that I thought they were just wearing unsheared sheep or goatskins. Your description of the looms and weaving techniques was so clear – if you ever give up writing romance (please don’t!), you could definitely have a career in technical writing! Between Karen’s articulate comparisons and your post, I feel as if I’ve taken a course on weaving – thanks to you both!
    Many kinds of needlework have passed through my hands, but I always come back to embroidery which was the first type I learned, at age 6. Like Karen, I believe my kits and yarn stash will outlive me by several decades!

    Reply
  64. Christina, many thanks for a fascinating post! I’ve seen drawings of Vikings wearing Varafeldur but must admit that I thought they were just wearing unsheared sheep or goatskins. Your description of the looms and weaving techniques was so clear – if you ever give up writing romance (please don’t!), you could definitely have a career in technical writing! Between Karen’s articulate comparisons and your post, I feel as if I’ve taken a course on weaving – thanks to you both!
    Many kinds of needlework have passed through my hands, but I always come back to embroidery which was the first type I learned, at age 6. Like Karen, I believe my kits and yarn stash will outlive me by several decades!

    Reply
  65. Christina, many thanks for a fascinating post! I’ve seen drawings of Vikings wearing Varafeldur but must admit that I thought they were just wearing unsheared sheep or goatskins. Your description of the looms and weaving techniques was so clear – if you ever give up writing romance (please don’t!), you could definitely have a career in technical writing! Between Karen’s articulate comparisons and your post, I feel as if I’ve taken a course on weaving – thanks to you both!
    Many kinds of needlework have passed through my hands, but I always come back to embroidery which was the first type I learned, at age 6. Like Karen, I believe my kits and yarn stash will outlive me by several decades!

    Reply
  66. What a wonderful post. It is remarkable to hear about such wonderful skills and how useful they are. I know that weaving is a wonderful skill. And it can be both beautiful and useful. Thanks so much for sharing the post and explaining about the beautiful items created.

    Reply
  67. What a wonderful post. It is remarkable to hear about such wonderful skills and how useful they are. I know that weaving is a wonderful skill. And it can be both beautiful and useful. Thanks so much for sharing the post and explaining about the beautiful items created.

    Reply
  68. What a wonderful post. It is remarkable to hear about such wonderful skills and how useful they are. I know that weaving is a wonderful skill. And it can be both beautiful and useful. Thanks so much for sharing the post and explaining about the beautiful items created.

    Reply
  69. What a wonderful post. It is remarkable to hear about such wonderful skills and how useful they are. I know that weaving is a wonderful skill. And it can be both beautiful and useful. Thanks so much for sharing the post and explaining about the beautiful items created.

    Reply
  70. What a wonderful post. It is remarkable to hear about such wonderful skills and how useful they are. I know that weaving is a wonderful skill. And it can be both beautiful and useful. Thanks so much for sharing the post and explaining about the beautiful items created.

    Reply
  71. Thank you Constance, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I have to say I’m the same – so many kits and balls of yarn stashed away, there’s no way I’ll ever use them. But it’s fun to have some to choose from when starting a new project!

    Reply
  72. Thank you Constance, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I have to say I’m the same – so many kits and balls of yarn stashed away, there’s no way I’ll ever use them. But it’s fun to have some to choose from when starting a new project!

    Reply
  73. Thank you Constance, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I have to say I’m the same – so many kits and balls of yarn stashed away, there’s no way I’ll ever use them. But it’s fun to have some to choose from when starting a new project!

    Reply
  74. Thank you Constance, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I have to say I’m the same – so many kits and balls of yarn stashed away, there’s no way I’ll ever use them. But it’s fun to have some to choose from when starting a new project!

    Reply
  75. Thank you Constance, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! I have to say I’m the same – so many kits and balls of yarn stashed away, there’s no way I’ll ever use them. But it’s fun to have some to choose from when starting a new project!

    Reply
  76. Karen, my library used their old card catalog cards as scratch paper for years. I grabbed about twenty-five lately as they were running out.

    Reply
  77. Karen, my library used their old card catalog cards as scratch paper for years. I grabbed about twenty-five lately as they were running out.

    Reply
  78. Karen, my library used their old card catalog cards as scratch paper for years. I grabbed about twenty-five lately as they were running out.

    Reply
  79. Karen, my library used their old card catalog cards as scratch paper for years. I grabbed about twenty-five lately as they were running out.

    Reply
  80. Karen, my library used their old card catalog cards as scratch paper for years. I grabbed about twenty-five lately as they were running out.

    Reply
  81. Kareni, we all pulled large amounts of the cards to use for scratch, as well as the date slips but shoot, we had so many we still wound up sending huge amounts to be recycled, esp. when we finally dumped the shelf list! (a card for every book in the collection, filed by call number, placed in a huge number of card catalogs that formed a nice aisle in Technical Services–when a call number was changed on the book, it had to be changed on the relevant card in the shelf list as well–if a book was weeded or declared lost–card pulled. Yep, kept a staff member busy just maintaining the shelf list & regular card catalog–plus several students!)

    Reply
  82. Kareni, we all pulled large amounts of the cards to use for scratch, as well as the date slips but shoot, we had so many we still wound up sending huge amounts to be recycled, esp. when we finally dumped the shelf list! (a card for every book in the collection, filed by call number, placed in a huge number of card catalogs that formed a nice aisle in Technical Services–when a call number was changed on the book, it had to be changed on the relevant card in the shelf list as well–if a book was weeded or declared lost–card pulled. Yep, kept a staff member busy just maintaining the shelf list & regular card catalog–plus several students!)

    Reply
  83. Kareni, we all pulled large amounts of the cards to use for scratch, as well as the date slips but shoot, we had so many we still wound up sending huge amounts to be recycled, esp. when we finally dumped the shelf list! (a card for every book in the collection, filed by call number, placed in a huge number of card catalogs that formed a nice aisle in Technical Services–when a call number was changed on the book, it had to be changed on the relevant card in the shelf list as well–if a book was weeded or declared lost–card pulled. Yep, kept a staff member busy just maintaining the shelf list & regular card catalog–plus several students!)

    Reply
  84. Kareni, we all pulled large amounts of the cards to use for scratch, as well as the date slips but shoot, we had so many we still wound up sending huge amounts to be recycled, esp. when we finally dumped the shelf list! (a card for every book in the collection, filed by call number, placed in a huge number of card catalogs that formed a nice aisle in Technical Services–when a call number was changed on the book, it had to be changed on the relevant card in the shelf list as well–if a book was weeded or declared lost–card pulled. Yep, kept a staff member busy just maintaining the shelf list & regular card catalog–plus several students!)

    Reply
  85. Kareni, we all pulled large amounts of the cards to use for scratch, as well as the date slips but shoot, we had so many we still wound up sending huge amounts to be recycled, esp. when we finally dumped the shelf list! (a card for every book in the collection, filed by call number, placed in a huge number of card catalogs that formed a nice aisle in Technical Services–when a call number was changed on the book, it had to be changed on the relevant card in the shelf list as well–if a book was weeded or declared lost–card pulled. Yep, kept a staff member busy just maintaining the shelf list & regular card catalog–plus several students!)

    Reply
  86. Great post, Christina. When I was in primary school we had a craft room and a specialist teacher who taught us all kinds of fun and useful things, like basket weaving and weaving on small looms and hand-made cardboard looms as well as numerous other things. I think he started me off on a lifetime of craft. I’ve never woven on a large loom, but have always wanted to. In Greece I learned to spin wool (wonkily) with a hand-held spindle, and once we laid out the basic of a long mat out on the hillside. The structure was all set up, and then rolled up, so that the women could work on it, gradually unrollling it as they went.
    As for the Varafeldur, it’s not dissimilar to the Greek flokati rugs. I slept under them through a very bitter winter in the mountains and they were heavy but wonderfully warm. Also in Australia early settlers made rugs and cloaks by hooking clumps of wool through hessian wheat bags. They were called Lumra rugs, from memory, which might have been an Irish term. Not sure.

    Reply
  87. Great post, Christina. When I was in primary school we had a craft room and a specialist teacher who taught us all kinds of fun and useful things, like basket weaving and weaving on small looms and hand-made cardboard looms as well as numerous other things. I think he started me off on a lifetime of craft. I’ve never woven on a large loom, but have always wanted to. In Greece I learned to spin wool (wonkily) with a hand-held spindle, and once we laid out the basic of a long mat out on the hillside. The structure was all set up, and then rolled up, so that the women could work on it, gradually unrollling it as they went.
    As for the Varafeldur, it’s not dissimilar to the Greek flokati rugs. I slept under them through a very bitter winter in the mountains and they were heavy but wonderfully warm. Also in Australia early settlers made rugs and cloaks by hooking clumps of wool through hessian wheat bags. They were called Lumra rugs, from memory, which might have been an Irish term. Not sure.

    Reply
  88. Great post, Christina. When I was in primary school we had a craft room and a specialist teacher who taught us all kinds of fun and useful things, like basket weaving and weaving on small looms and hand-made cardboard looms as well as numerous other things. I think he started me off on a lifetime of craft. I’ve never woven on a large loom, but have always wanted to. In Greece I learned to spin wool (wonkily) with a hand-held spindle, and once we laid out the basic of a long mat out on the hillside. The structure was all set up, and then rolled up, so that the women could work on it, gradually unrollling it as they went.
    As for the Varafeldur, it’s not dissimilar to the Greek flokati rugs. I slept under them through a very bitter winter in the mountains and they were heavy but wonderfully warm. Also in Australia early settlers made rugs and cloaks by hooking clumps of wool through hessian wheat bags. They were called Lumra rugs, from memory, which might have been an Irish term. Not sure.

    Reply
  89. Great post, Christina. When I was in primary school we had a craft room and a specialist teacher who taught us all kinds of fun and useful things, like basket weaving and weaving on small looms and hand-made cardboard looms as well as numerous other things. I think he started me off on a lifetime of craft. I’ve never woven on a large loom, but have always wanted to. In Greece I learned to spin wool (wonkily) with a hand-held spindle, and once we laid out the basic of a long mat out on the hillside. The structure was all set up, and then rolled up, so that the women could work on it, gradually unrollling it as they went.
    As for the Varafeldur, it’s not dissimilar to the Greek flokati rugs. I slept under them through a very bitter winter in the mountains and they were heavy but wonderfully warm. Also in Australia early settlers made rugs and cloaks by hooking clumps of wool through hessian wheat bags. They were called Lumra rugs, from memory, which might have been an Irish term. Not sure.

    Reply
  90. Great post, Christina. When I was in primary school we had a craft room and a specialist teacher who taught us all kinds of fun and useful things, like basket weaving and weaving on small looms and hand-made cardboard looms as well as numerous other things. I think he started me off on a lifetime of craft. I’ve never woven on a large loom, but have always wanted to. In Greece I learned to spin wool (wonkily) with a hand-held spindle, and once we laid out the basic of a long mat out on the hillside. The structure was all set up, and then rolled up, so that the women could work on it, gradually unrollling it as they went.
    As for the Varafeldur, it’s not dissimilar to the Greek flokati rugs. I slept under them through a very bitter winter in the mountains and they were heavy but wonderfully warm. Also in Australia early settlers made rugs and cloaks by hooking clumps of wool through hessian wheat bags. They were called Lumra rugs, from memory, which might have been an Irish term. Not sure.

    Reply
  91. Thank you, Anne! Those flokati and Lumra rugs do sound very similar and it makes sense to use untreated wool to keep dry and warm. How wonderful that you got to try sleeping under one, and also learn spinning! I would love to learn that but it looks difficult. I’m also jealous of your school craft room – we only had sewing with a teacher who wasn’t very nice. Later, we got to try wood- and metal-working instead and I loved it!

    Reply
  92. Thank you, Anne! Those flokati and Lumra rugs do sound very similar and it makes sense to use untreated wool to keep dry and warm. How wonderful that you got to try sleeping under one, and also learn spinning! I would love to learn that but it looks difficult. I’m also jealous of your school craft room – we only had sewing with a teacher who wasn’t very nice. Later, we got to try wood- and metal-working instead and I loved it!

    Reply
  93. Thank you, Anne! Those flokati and Lumra rugs do sound very similar and it makes sense to use untreated wool to keep dry and warm. How wonderful that you got to try sleeping under one, and also learn spinning! I would love to learn that but it looks difficult. I’m also jealous of your school craft room – we only had sewing with a teacher who wasn’t very nice. Later, we got to try wood- and metal-working instead and I loved it!

    Reply
  94. Thank you, Anne! Those flokati and Lumra rugs do sound very similar and it makes sense to use untreated wool to keep dry and warm. How wonderful that you got to try sleeping under one, and also learn spinning! I would love to learn that but it looks difficult. I’m also jealous of your school craft room – we only had sewing with a teacher who wasn’t very nice. Later, we got to try wood- and metal-working instead and I loved it!

    Reply
  95. Thank you, Anne! Those flokati and Lumra rugs do sound very similar and it makes sense to use untreated wool to keep dry and warm. How wonderful that you got to try sleeping under one, and also learn spinning! I would love to learn that but it looks difficult. I’m also jealous of your school craft room – we only had sewing with a teacher who wasn’t very nice. Later, we got to try wood- and metal-working instead and I loved it!

    Reply

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