You might remember that I went to Belgium in January, to teach tablet weaving at the beautiful Merveille de Méry? This summer, there will be another workshop there. It’s a relatively modern form of embroidery, but since Tambour embroidery has tickled my interest for a few years now, I’m a little sad that it’s on a date where I will not be able to join in. (Since the reason for that is that I’ll be in Dublin on the WorldCon on that weekend, behind my table in the dealer’s hall, my sadness is not too bad, though.)

However, that should not keep you from considering a weekend’s worth of lessons in Tambour embroidery (unless, of course, you consider coming to Dublin as well). So here’s the info about the workshop, together with the contact information for booking:

Whatever you do on that weekend in August – I hope you will have fun!

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A while ago, I marked out two weekends for giving workshops… and then it took me a while to decide on what topics to offer. In the end, I had decided on making one of the weekends a two-day tablet-weaving workshop. And that’s where it got complicated.

For table-weaving, you need to tension your warp. Obvious, right? Well, for several people to have a nice setup where they can work with a nicely tensioned warp in appropriate length at an appropriate height, this very quickly means you need a system for the setup. Especially as every warp should be accessible without crawling on the floor to pass under other people’s warps, or hopping over them (which would be an admirable feat, by the way). After all, the weavers might want to get up and stretch once in a while, or have something to drink, or go to the toilet, or whatever.

(Fun fact: I might actually do a bit of crawling underneath things in such a workshop, even though it would not be necessary – but it would mean a longer way to walk. So.)

In consequence, this means I need a room that is large enough to accommodate my setup of several tables and chairs, which will then accommodate up to a dozen weavers. And finding a room that is close enough to my home base, affordable, and available on the weekend in question – well, that has turned out to be a challenge greater than expected.

But finally, I have found a room for the tablet-weaving course. So there will be a weaving weekend in Erlangen on August 31 and September 1, teaching a deep understanding of tablet-weaving and a system that will allow you to freestyle patterns. No pattern draft necessary. (If you’re interested, there is an Early Bird discount of 25 € with the code DerFrueheVogel – valid until May 31.)

With that course and weekend all settled, the two others were easier: I will be offering a filet netting workshop on June 22, and a “freestyle workshop” on June 23. The freestyle workshop is 3 to 4 people, we will chat beforehand on what you are interested in, and then everyone gets to work on their own project or issues – and can sneak peeks into the other participants’ projects as well.

So if you’re interested… check out the workshop links, and maybe I’ll see you in a month or three!

Posted in netting, tablet weaving, work-related, workshops | Leave a comment

It has taken a good while, but it’s finally all settled – the European Textile Forum 2019 has a venue, and it will take place November 4-10 as planned.

Our venue for this year is the Lauresham Laboratory for Experimental Archaeology, connected to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lorsch Abbey and a spectacular place to be. I have a lot of personal fond memories of Lorsch, having been on archaeological digs there several times, working together with lovely colleagues, and having some memorable moments. Like the one where one of the students found some coins right after the assistant prof promised a money prize for finding a coin. Like the one where I was staring so hard at the greenish-pinkish bands in the sand there, to find the line between an old trench and natural undisturbed soil, that I stopped seeing in colour and had to stare at a white wall for a while. Like assisting the technician in taking site measurements; he was a very, very special character, so working with him was sometimes quite exhausting (but I got treated to an ice cream sundae in the evening, which did make up for that). Best of all is that I was part of the student group that excavated in the so-called “Südosttor” area… and what had been thought to maybe have been the south-east gate turned out to have been the loo.

So I’m very happy to return to Lorsch, especially since I have not been there for years, and the whole Lauresham Laboratory is also new to me.

For the Forum, we are graciously given use of the Visitor Information Centre with several rooms, plus use of the facilities in the open-air laboratory itself. This includes houses and workspaces modelled after archaeological finds and ideal-typical monastery plans and descriptions from Carolingian times. Most important for our purposes, there is a dye house on the grounds, as well as a weaving house with three warp-weighted looms installed there plus one mobile warp-weighted loom. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am at how this all worked out, and I am so much looking forward to our conference!

I have also been promised that our group will get a tour of both the Abbey grounds and the Laboratory, which will surely include a visit to the 8th/9th century Gate Hall, the most famous building in Lorsch, and truly, truly spectacular.

So now, finally, it’s time to send out the Call for Papers. As every year, we will have a focus topic, and this time it’s “Shared Warps, Shared Wefts”. You can find the CfP on our website, or you can download the pdf version here.

Last details regarding the conference still need to be figured out, so registration is not open immediately, but will be possible from May 27 onward.

For now, please save the date if you’re planning to come, and spread the word about this conference if you know people who might be interested!

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If you’re interested in horses, horse breeding, or ancient DNA studies, here’s a paper posted on academia.edu about ancient horse DNA – discovering two now-extinct horse lineages, as well as proof that mules were already bred and used more than 2000 years ago. (Reading things on academia.edu is free, but you need to have a login.)

Medieval Clothing and Textiles, the annual journal, is out with vol. 15 and available directly via the publisher, Boydell & Brewer, or via the bookstore of your choice, priced at around 40 GBP.

Another interesting-sounding book, but, alas, for the typical prohibitive Brill price, is “Reassessing the Roles of Women as ‘Makers’ of Medieval Art and Architecture“, edited by Therese Martin. There are snippets of the chapters available on the Brill page as previews, but even though the book is more than a thousand pages – for 254 €, I will certainly buy neither the ebook nor the hardcover.

Also behind a paywall, but also sounding interesting – especially if you are researching medieval food and cooking: Giles E.M. Gasper, Faith Wallis, Salsamenta pictavensium: Gastronomy and Medicine in Twelfth-Century EnglandThe English Historical Review, Volume 131, Issue 553, 1 December 2016, Pages 1353–1385. This article is available via Oxford Academic (24-hr access costs 36 €), or you could try getting it via your library.

Finally, and for free for a change: A Faksimile and Transcript of “Nature Unbowelled”, a 17th century book with recipes for loopbraided laces.

Posted in archaeology, Internet resources | Leave a comment

There’s so much knowledge that we have lost about medieval crafting – but some of it has been re-discovered, or has been revived. Watching these old crafts come to life again is something utterly fascinating, and I always find it amazing how much time and effort goes into something that, at first glance, seems quite simple. Such as a rafter holding up a roof.

A Swedish museum has posted this video on Youtube, and if you have twenty minutes to spare, it’s amazing:

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If you’re a European citizen, please remember that the European Elections are coming up – and voting is a right and a privilege that we all should make use of.

If you’re not sure how this all works, you can have a look at the European Elections webpage, where you can also find country-specific information and instructions by selecting your language. If you cannot get to a voting place on the election date, it might still be early enough for you to request mail voting.

If you are a German citizen and you are not sure what to vote for, I find the Wahl-O-Mat incredibly helpful. It asks about your personal opinion on a number of topics, and then you can compare your stance with that of different parties. If the party has given a reason or explanation for their answer, it is also listed in the results. (By the way, reading the explanations given by “Die PARTEI” was hilarious. Also wonderfully sarcastic in some cases.)

While the Wahl-O-Mat is a purely German thing, it’s not the only voting advice application around – follow the link to find a wikipedia list of a number of them.

And whatever you choose – please go vote. Every vote counts.

Posted in and now for something completely different | 1 Comment

After showing you the dead whorls yesterday, it’s probably time to also show you the survivors – so here’s part of the yield, hanging out in a basket and feeling decorative:


By now, the whorls have all been weighed and are sorted in boxes – they range from below 8 g to almost 70 g in weight. The heavy ones are modeled after prehistoric whorl finds – and yes, it is astonishingly hard to match a given size and shape, as you can see here:

I find it really hard to make some shapes, among them the longish ones and the ones with a sort of T-profile. Roundish or double-conical is much easier for me, and I’m wondering if someone else would have a different experience, or if there’s some special technique to making these other shapes easily. You can see in the picture that I didn’t really match the original shape of whorl no. 14 – even though I tried really hard!

In some cases, with some shapes, I am quite happy with how close I got, though. Like with this one:

As a final note, it might amuse you that I managed to get only a few whorls within the weight range I was mostly aiming for – while I happened to (again) hit spot-on a few other ranges with a lot of whorls. If this continues, I might have to make a sale for these weight ranges!

Posted in all the gory details, spinning, textile techniques and tools, the market stall | 1 Comment