My bags are packed, tickets are bought and printed out and sit where I will not accidentally leave them, I have pens and paper and something to read and something to knit, and – the most important thing – my paper is done and polished and hopefully I will manage not to talk about too many extra things on the spur of the moment and in all the excitement and run over time. (It’s amazing, by the way, how much prep time a 20 minute presentation can take. I think it’s about the same amount of time as a one hour presentation, as you need to compress so much into so small a timeframe that every slide needs to be polished and scrutinised and polished again. And then sometimes cut after all…)

On Monday, it’s off to NESAT, and I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am. It’s so nice to get together with so many other textile archaeologists, meeting again and chatting and catching up and learning oh so many new things. With one of these glorious conferences only every three years, there’s also quite a lot to catch up on, and it’s always a rather long wait for the next one.

So I’ll be spending the next week in nerd heaven, and for me, the conference will even start earlier, as I’ll be travelling together with three more colleagues going there. Hooray!

For you, though, this means no blog posts during next week – I’ll be back blogging the Monday after, though. See you then!

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It’s neither medieval, nor the classical meaning of “straw to gold”, but it’s still utterly fascinating and really, really interesting: There’s an exhibition called “Stroh zu Gold” in Schloß Moritzburg, showing more than 200 examples of the art of straw plaiting and other straw craft, among them a straw wallpaper from the 18th century.

Plaiting with grass (or similar things) is one of the earliest textile techniques that we can trace, and probably how all this stuff with fuzzy things started out in the first place. So this is something I find incredibly cool – and the good news is that the special exhibition will run until 31.10. this year, and it is open daily.

You can find out more about it (and see some pictures) here. (The page is only available in German.)

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There’s a German proverb saying “Alles neu macht der Mai” (May makes everything new), and it looks like that is the case at least in some parts – because today I stumbled across the new, just-gone-online-a-few-days-ago version of the beloved image database IMAREAL.

Go check it out. It’s new, it’s shiny, it has more features and the usual breathtaking amount of pictures!


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There are a few workshop opportunities coming up in autumn – one of them is the spinning workshop that I’ll be giving in Bielefeld at the Ravelry meeting. Courses are online now, and can be booked via the website

There’s another workshop event, though, that I am very excited about – a while ago, I was contacted regarding a meet-up with workshop opportunities, and after a bit of calendar wrangling, Anja and I were able to fix a date, she managed to find a beautiful spot to run the event (it’s in a youth hostel in a castle, how fitting), and now we’re happy to announce that there will be a weekend of workshops on October 20 – 22:


I’m especially excited about the tablet weaving workshop, which is a concept I’ve been brooding about for quite a while.

If you’re interested, all booking is handled by Anja, who is organising the whole thing (and I’m very grateful she does this, it is lovely to not be on that end for a change). If you have questions regarding the workshops, you can either ask Anja or me!

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I’m still not finished with my homework from the fair, I have to cut down on the time I need for my NESAT presentation (aaaargh it is way, way too long still, there are about 7 minutes to cut from it), and there are still a few website issues to solve… though I hope I have most of them done now.

The shop should be running smoothly again now, and I have finally changed the slightly weird ordering for the linen bands (in units of 10 cm) to “normal” ordering per metre, with the possibility to enter decimal numbers, so you can now get, for instance, 1.6 metres. (As always, if you have feedback, or find something that does not work as expected, please do let me know. I’m really thankful for that – I try to test things, but it is so easy not to catch glitches, especially with all these different browsers and screen formats these days.)

I’ve also finally added an option on how customers would like to be addressed – formally or informally. This is more of an issue in German language, where there’s the informal “Du” with first name and the formal “Sie” with last name. In Living History circles, it’s rather usual to use the informal address, but not everybody ordering in my shop is a LH person, and you can annoy people either way when addressing them in the wrong way (or the unexpected way). It’s easy for me when someone goes “Hallo Frau Kania” in their mail, or “Hallo Katrin” – then I’ll just pick the same style. Many enquiries, however, have no such hint, and I know even less which way to pick when I have a question regarding an order.

So if you have a customer account, you can now pick whether you want formal or informal address, and I finally have a way to tell what people expect from me. Yay! (Provided it gets filled out – because it’s non-obligatory so as not to annoy people.)

Now there’s just a few smaller issues to solve, like the backup only working under php 5.x instead of the 7.x which I’d prefer to switch to. Probably due to some other thing throwing stuff into the gears, though I have not found the culprit yet.

I also had an issue with this blog today – I suddenly lacked all admin rights, which was rather annoying. (Imagine entering your blog space and finding you have no access to anything…) Fortunately (haha) I already had this issue once before, so I sort of knew what to do, and a quick google and a bit of mucking around in the phpMyAdmin database later, here I am, blogging happily at last, if a little later than intended…

And now for some dinner. And then for some deep thinking on how to slim down my presentation. Twenty minutes, folks. Twenty minutes is just sooooo short…

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Today’s morning was spent outside, catching guys. One of them ended up in my pocket for a while, and then got a number glued to his back.

Have I confused you yet?

I was off to the next practical lesson in how to keep bees – and today’s programme for our group was to check two hives for queen brood cells (to see if there’s danger of swarming) and to catch a drone or two, to learn how to grab and mark a bee (so you can handle the queen, if necessary, without damage to her).

The not-so-willing subjects for this were drones, because a) they have no stinger, and b) the hive can stand to lose a few of the drones, who are not doing any of the hive work (except helping to keep it warm). So each of us in the group got to catch a drone bee and put it into a little cage to keep it safe for a while. (The cage then went into a pocket to keep the little bee warm.) After we’d finished checking the hives, we went off to practice marking queens – on the drones.

When you have a hive queen, it gets a little sticker on the back of the thorax. The sticker colour marks the year the queen is from, so you can tell how old the Grande Dame of the bee-hive is (which is rather important, since they live only for so long). There’s special tools for holding the bee while you put a little bit of (special) glue on the thorax and then gently push the sticker onto the glue, which makes it much easier to do this (I’d have imagined it to be more difficult). Obviously you don’t want to damage a young queen when marking it, so it makes sense to practice with drones beforehand, just like with the gripping.

To my inordinate joy, when my turn came up to stick a little green plaque onto the back of my little furry drone, one very special number was still available:


Meet Mr. The Answer, with his shiny new plaque stuck smack dab to the middle of his thorax. (And yes, I’m easily amused.)


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Here is, again, a stack of things you might find interesting:

A 17th century manuscript tells you how to organise your land surveying journal. Or, if you’d like to read about something else, that site has a huge collection of Early English books!

Aarhus University Press has a new free ebook this month, and it is “Past Vulnerability. Vulcanic Eruptions and Human Vulnerability in Traditional Societies Past and Present”, edited by Felix Riede.

Ask the Past tells you how to improve your memory, 16th century style.

Semi-Rad talks about being new at the climbing gym and trying new stuff in general – and yes, I totally agree that being new at things is a wonderful opportunity, and has its own very nice and special delights!

Posted in and now for something completely different, Internet resources | Leave a comment