After two fantastic months on Iceland I’m now back in Sweden. The rest of the summer will be filled with a lot of work before my studies start again and I realised that I wouldn’t be able to go to any reenactment event this year because of me working full time all summer. The only weekend that I had available for reenacting was this last one, and it so happens that I was invited to an event at Glimmingehus here in southern Sweden. Happy Andrea!
The only “problem” was that it was a late 15th century event, and I had no 15th century clothes. On top of that I was on Iceland, with none of my fabrics or sewing things, so I had exactly one week to start on and finish a set of clothes for the event. I ordered my fabric when I was still on Iceland and it arrived the same day as me. Then pattern making, cutting, and sewing! It was done enough to wear at the event together with a new veil. It is completely hand sewn and I’m very happy since it turned out well. There are still some things that needs to be fixed on it, but it’s completely wearable as it is.
The event was amazing! I met both new and old friends, and we were blessed with good weather even though it was a bit toohot at times. I mostly stayed indoors to help in the kitchen, and for once it was cooler in the kitchen than outside! How often does that happen? At times I was also inside the castle, spinning while sitting in the window niches. I felt very much at home at the event and will definitely make more visits into the late 15th century. Until next time I will have to make an overdress as well, and hopefully I won’t have to stress it over just one week…
This year,one of my dearest friends – Cathrin who runs Katafalk – turned 30. For the longest time I was thinking about what I would make for her as a birthday present, since she always makes such beautiful things for me (like the painted boxes). Then I realised that I hade a project lying around, a part of a trade, that I thougt I would not only finish my part, but also embellish it. If only I had the time to finish it…
As you know, my lust for crafts has been lacking this past year, but I managed to gain some energy to actually finish the project. What was it then? It was a filet/headpiece. My part for the trade was to weave the base for a filet for Cathrin, but I did not only do that – I finished the whole piece as a gift for her.
The filet is constructed in basically the same way as my own piece, woven as the filet described in Textiles and Clothing. Check that post for more information about the weaving details, sources, and such. At Battle of Wisby 2016 I bought some belt pieces from Lorifactor that I intended for a tabletwoven silk belt, but I never got around to weave one (yet). That meant that I had some nice flowers and lady-heads to put on Cathrin’s filet, together with some garnet-beads and pearls. Fun fact – you know I am a geologist, and my favourite mineral is the garnet (group), so it was extra fitting that I could put some garnets on my gift.
Since the metal fittings are pushed through the filet and the ends bent over on the back, I didn’t want them to be bothering dear Cathrin when she was wearing the piece. Therefore I lined the back of the filet with blue, plant-dyed silk, which also covered up the stitches from when I attatchied the beads.
The finished piece came out very good in my opinion, and I think Cathrin was happy with it as well, which of course is the most important part. I delivered the gift at her 1930’s themed party, which was amazing as well!
Much later than I thought it would be… here comes part 2!
But first I would like to tell you something. I could start with a lot of excuses, like I’ve done many times before (e.g. too much at school, haven’t had time and so on), but this time I won’t. Just this morning I came to a realisation concerning this blog, and I will come to that in a moment. The last two years I’ve got a really bad conscience when I’ve been thinking of the blog. Not for my own sake, but for yours. I’ve been wanting to do so much better than I’ve done, I have set my standards so high that I’ve even refrained from blogging because I wan’t the product to be perfect.
Today, the first day up after being bedridden for a week with a high fever, I suddenly realised that the reason for me not blogging isn’t because I don’t have time. It is because I haven’t taken the time. And I have realised that it is time to stop lying to myself and pretend like it’s because of the former. I need to be honest with both myself and you readers and say that the reason that I haven’t taken the time to blog is because it’s not fun anymore. Researching is fun. Sewing is fun. Reenactment is fun! Blogging… not so much anymore.
I’m not saying that I will stop blogging. I will problably continue with the few posts a year that I have managed these last years, but I hope that now that I’ve come clean to myself that I will be able to start over and find the fun again. Because this is a big part of my identity – to share knowledge. I am still very passionate about that! So please bear with me until I find my spirit, and THANK YOU everyone who reads my blog everyday. I see you in the statistics, and I am so thankful for all of you (and I am surprised that you are so many that come to my place every day!).
Now to the post! 😀
Last time we took a look at my hair kit. Now the time has come for the rest of my boxes.
The sewing box
My sewing box is a plain bentwood box that I got as a part of a set. Anna Attiliani bought it for me in Italy.
The content of this box – as you could guess by the title – is my sewing stuff. Not all of it is period! I have some “modern” things like a pair of scissors that have an old look which I use for cutting fabric, as my period pair have dissapeared. Normally I try to hide the modern stuff under the lid when I’m at events, but here I thought I wouln’t ‘hide my flaws’ so to say. 😉
1 – A smoothing stone in green glass, bought from Åsa & Martin at http://www.textilverkstad.se/ I have a similar, antique, one as well, and they look a lot like this one from Kalmar, now at Historiska Museet in Stockholm. 2 – Thread reels with thread, both linen and worsted thread. One reel has filament silk from Devere Yarns. 3 – This reel I got as a gift, it is made by Francesco Betti. This one is filled with machine-made, real-silk gimp. 4 – A needle case based on a find from London, made by my friend Martin. In this case I have my modern needles that I don’t want tourists to see. 5 – Rosary that I made many years ago. I have a fancier one now, but this one I use for my lower class persona. 6 – Handmade snips, that I use for cutting threads and small pieces of fabric. 7 – My period needles and pins. Most of them are made from some kind of copper alloy, but a couple of the needles are made of iron. 8 – Thimble and thimble ring. 9 – Beeswax for the linen thread. One piece is the butt from a wax candle, the other one I have molded myself. 10 – A sandstone whetstone for sharpening the needles. I’m not sure if this is period for 14th century, and I have some slate that I’ve picked on a geology excursion that I might use instead… Need to reseach that ^_^ 11 – Those modern stuff… The scissors, linen thread, and worsted thread that I’ve bought from Historical Textiles a couple of years ago.
The Cathrin boxes
These are the boxes I got as gifts from Cathrin. They also contain things related to my hair, which isn’t surprising at all considering I have a lot of hair… 😉
Thi big box only contain a few things, and among them also the small box.
1 – A big, rectangular, silk veil. 2 – Flax braid, for using in different hairstyles, like in this post. 3 – A small wooden box containing the hair powder from the Trotula, which I have written about here.
4 – A very small ceramic jug bought at Middelaldercentret in which I keep rose water during events. 5 – The other Cathrin box. It contains my rings (made by Annie Rosén and Historiska Fynd), U-pins based on several finds from both Sweden and London made by Annie Rosén, Lisa Hjelmqvist, and myself. Decorative pins for my veils together with less fancy ones for the Birgitta cap that aren’t seen.
And that was the content of my boxes! I’m still interested to see the content of your boxes, so if you would like to share it with me with the hashtag #whatsinmyboxes I would be more than happy!
This summer I won’t have time or money to go to more than perhaps one reenactment event, as I’m going to Iceland two months for my Master’s thesis in Geology (happy, lucky me!). I still plan to make some garments, and to take photos of what I’ve made, and perhaps I’ll write about them here. I hope you hang around for the future!
This post is inspired by another internet community than the reenacting community, namely the fashion and beauty community. I’ve seen posts flashing by on Instagram, or on suggested videos on Youtube, so I decided to do my own take and reenactify it on the way. I noticed that the post got very long, so I divided it into parts. Here is part one!
The original idea…
What I saw was a trend of photos and videos with the title “What’s in my bag/purse/handbag?”, where the blogger went through the content of their handbags. You could find anything from make-up, jewellery and painkillers to books and even a time-turner in one case. For me it’s a glimpse into the persons life, showing something very personal. What you bring with you everyday, what you can’t be without, is very different from person to person.
I thought I would show you what my medieval persona can’t be without. It will both be a small glimpse into my personal life (after all, it is I that choose what to bring with me), but there is also a story told about my medieval counterpart – what does she bring with her to feel satisfied in a camp like the ones we have. In this case I have chosen the boxes of my noble persona, and I might do a smaller one for my soldier’s wife persona in a later stage.
To illustrate a medieval version of a handbag, I have chosen to show you the content of my wooden boxes. They are not as portable as a handbag, but they are in my tent at all times and they contain all my important “smaller” things.
Vad har jag i mina lådor? Här kommer en kort serie inlägg om vad jag har i mina lådor när jag är ute på event och porträtterar Märta, min riddarfru. Jag blev inspirerad av skönhetscommunityn på Youtube och Instagram där jag sett en trend med bilder och filmer där olika personer visar upp vad de har i sina handväskor. Det är rätt intressant, för man får en liten inblick i personens liv och vem den är. Därför bestämde jag mig för att göra en medeltidsversion på det hela och visa er vad jag har i mina lådor.
I have got four boxes to show you. They are all made of wood, but only one is plain. Three of them are painted and contain my hair kit and and hair accessories kit, and the plain one contains my sewing kit.
The first painted box is the one to the right in the picture above. I bought it in 2015, at the reenactment of the Battle of Azincourt, but I can’t remember from who. If you know, please tell me so I can credit the craft here! The maker’s mark is a L, which you can see in the photos below.
The other two boxes are both painted by my dear friend Cathrin, who runs the blog Katafalk. Both are birthday gifts, and I’m astonished by her work and happy to own them. The smaller box’s painting is based on a marginal creature from the Maastrich Hours (The Maastricht Hours, Liège 14th century British Library, Stowe 17, fol. 197v).
The bigger box has a lot of images on the side, but they are not really based on any manuscript – they are depictions of real life happenings. They are depicting me, Cathrin, Annette and some more of my friends, based on photos from events. On the lid you can see me and Cathrine. It’s a beautiful gift, well thought trough, and as I said – I am so grateful for this gift.
De lådor jag kommer visa er i den här lilla serien är fyra stycken ovala eller runda trälådor. Tre av dem är målade och den första av dem är inköpt i Azincourt 2015. Den innehåller mitt vanliga hårkit. Två av dem är målade av min kära vän Cathrin på Katafalk och är födelsedagspresenter. Den lilla är baserad på en marginalfigur från the Maastricht Hours, medan den stora är bilder på henne och mig, samt bilder på mig och mina vänner på event. En är ofärgad och enkel och innehåller mitt sykit.
The first box
So to the content of the first box, which is the painted box of unknown origin. This is my hair kit, which also contains some religous items.
1 – These are so-called “ear cushions”. They are an experiment, which comes from me wondering what the things between the braids and the chins are on many effigies. I have not come to any conclusion yet, but they still sit in my box, and they are used sometimes when I wan’t to look a bit “silly” (which is something I enjoy quite often – medieval hairstyles are very silly to modern eyes). 2 – This is a small, beautiful mirror, made by Lisa Hjelmqvist. I use it in lack of other mirrors in my kit, but in real it is a religous item, meant to capture and store the reflection of a relic or something like that. So I cheat with it, using it as a mirror when I’m in private, but for public events I keep it closed, to give the illusion of me having captured a reflecture that needs to be stored.
3 – Naalbinding needles for sewing braids to the head, and to make straight parts in the hair. 4 – A comb made of horn, bought from Bikkel en Been I think. 5 – This is something special. These are actual period pins from London. I don’t use them, but I keep them in my kit to show the public or other interested people. They are a treasure of mine, and even though all of them probably aren’t from the time I reenact, they are very similar to the style from the period.
6 & 7 – Linen and woolen thread to sew my braids into place or tie the ends of the braids off. 8 – Bees wax to increase friction on my hairpins (which you will see later), or even to wax my hair to stay better. 9 – A pilgrimmage token, for Santiago de Compostela. I figured that my persona most likely have done some pilgrimages, and these shells are common finds also here in Sweden. 10 – My filet, which I have written about here. 11 – A rose quarts rosary, which I have written about here. 12 – I also wanted to show you the pillow I have in the bottom of the box. It is made of plant dyed wool fabric, and filled with raw wool. Below it I keep a modern hair secret, which is thin plastic hair ties, which I actually use some time when I’m lazy. I’m not a perfect reenactor (even though I wish I was!). 😀
Den första lådan innehåller saker som jag använder när jag flätar och sätter upp mitt hår. Kam, nålbindningsnålar och garn för att sy upp flätorna, lintråd att binda om slutet på flätan, samt ett par “öronkuddar”. Dessa är ett experiment jag kanske kommer skriva om mer en annan gång. Lådan innehåller också några saker som kan kategoriseras som religiösa. Ett radband, en pilgrimsmussla och en spegel som Lisa Hjelmqvist gjort, till för att kapsla in spegelbilden av reliker. Jag fuskar och använder spegeln som en vanlig spegel, men har den stängd när det är publika event. Till sist vill jag nämna mina historiska nålar, som ligger i ett fodral. De är från Themsens botten i London, och jag använder dem för att visa hur nålarna faktiskt såg ut under historisk tid.
This was the first box! The other’s will be in one or more posts soon. Now I’m interested to see what’s in your boxes! Do a blogpost, a facebook post or upload a photo to Instagram and either link to in here in the comments. On Facebook or Instagram you can hashtag it with #whatsinmyboxes and tag me (@addelej on Instagram, Recreating History – by Andrea Håkansson on Facebook). I doesn’t matter if it’s medieval, 17th century, 19th century or viking or earlier – I wan’t to see all of your kits!
Nu vill jag gärna se innehållet i era lådor! Lägg upp på era bloggar, på Facebook eller Instagram och tagga mig, samt använd hastaggen #whatsinmyboxes
Det spelar ingen roll om det är medeltid, senare eller tidigare perioder!
A while ago I made a pair of regency mitts. They were intended for an event last spring which I didn’t manage to attend as I went to Florence with my Chamber Music Orchestra instead. The mitts were the only thing of the ensemble that I managed to get finished, but I’m well on my way to produce the rest of the regency outfit as it is now. My goal is to attend the same event this year instead.
They are known from several regions in Europe, as well as Sweden. According to Berit Eldvik (an expert in Swedish “folk” fashion), the style is sometimes called “klaffhandskar” in Sweden, and the term is known from at least 1759 (see link in first photo below). The style is more or less the same in the Regency period, which means that the mitts are functional for a wider time-span than the intended one.
Förra året var min plan att åka på ett empir-event i Skåne, men en kammarorkesterresa till Florens kom i vägen. Jag påbörjade en ny dräkt, men kom inte längre än till ett par halvvantar. Nu hoppas jag på att kunna åka på årets version och är i full gång med min dräkt. Halvvantar i stil med mina finns i mängder, både från Sverige och Europa. Enligt Berit Eldvik kallas de ibland klaffhandskar på svenska och var en vanlig fästegåva (se länken under första bilden).
My mitts are made of a reddish-brown woolen twill, cut on the bias to fit snugly. They are stitched with a backstitch for both elasticity and duration, and the seam has then been felled to one side for extra strength. At the elbow there is a slit to accomodate for more mobility.
The thumb is attached to the mitt with an overlapping seam to reduce bulk, and is whip-stitched on the reverse side, but sewn together with a more decorative herringbone stitch on the right side. All seams discussed this far are sewn with two different kinds of waxed linen thread – an unbleached thread for the non visible seams, and a thinner, bleached thread for the herringbone stitch.
The herringbone stitch
A closer look at the top
Here you can see the slit
Mina halvvantar är sydda med lintråd och efterstygn i en rödbrun yllekypert. Sömmarna har sedan fällts åt ett håll. De går upp över armbågen, och just vid armbågen är det en slits. Tummen har sytts omlott med huvudtyget, från avigsidan med fållstygn och från rätsidan med en dekorativ söm av fiskbensstygn.
The lining is made of a piece of gold-coloured silk taffeta. They are only lined at the very end, so the lining can be visible when you fold back the top. It is sewn with self-fabric thread and then stab-stitched to add neatness.
These mitts are based on both extant examples from Sweden and Europe, as well as paintings from the period and the social class I’m hoping to recreate. The main inspirations are the mitts shown here above as well as the Copenhagen Girls, which are portraits of a social class, girls and maids, close to what my plan for my costume is.
Fodret är av gyllene sidentaft som är fastsytt med tråd från tyget. Mina halvvantar är baserade på svenska och europeiska bevarade original, samt på koppartryck från Danmark som porträtterar kvinnor från ungefär samma folkliga mode som jag försöker efterspegla.
These three ladies have the mitts, and some very pretty dresses and accessories. They are, together with campfollowers from the period, my main inspiration for my costume.
Dessa tre kvinnor har halvvantar som ni kan se, och även mycket fina klänningar och accessoarer. De, tillsammans med kvinnlig tross från härläger är min främsta dräktinspiration.
En av anledningarna till att jag har varit dålig på att blogga det senaste året är för att jag tycker att det har tagit så mycket tid att skriva på både engelska och svenska. Nu har jag bestämt mig för att fokusera på den engelska texten och istället bara skriva kortare sammanfattningar på svenska. Detta för att majoriteten av de som läser min blogg inte har svenska eller andra nordiska språk som modersmål. Förhoppningsvis leder det till en ökad uppdatering från min sida. Vad tycker ni om denna förändring?
This is Recreating History in a new suit. How do you like it?
The content will be the same in time – I’m moving all the posts from the former place here. There are still some links that go to the old place, but I hope it doesn’t bother you too much
Why did I decide to move the blog? I’ve thought about it for a while, and when my friend Mervi had her blog removed several times, and people having other troubles, at the host I had before I was even more keen to move. The final push came when I got a memory update from Facebook that it was six years ago I moved my blog the last time. Why not do it again? As far as I’ve heard, WordPress is a really nice host.
A woman combing her hair.
Paris, circa 1400, from a pen and ink drawing in the Staatliche Museen, Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin.
I’ve been experimenting with some of the recipes in the Trotula for a while now. The Trotula is a manuscript on women’s medicine that originates from the 12th century, but was copied and used during the whole middle-ages. It contains recipes for make-up, anointments and other fun things concerning the female body and looks. One of my favourites is this one below (I think it was Cathrin that brought it to my attention):
“When she combs her hair, let her have this powder. Take some dried roses, clove, nutmeg, watercress, and galangal. Let all these, powdered, be mixed with rose water. With this water let her sprinkle her hair and comb it with a comb dipped in this same water so that [her hair] will smell better. And let her make furrows in her hair and sprinkle on the above-mentioned powder, and it will smell marvelously.”
– The Trotula
The spices can be found quite easily in Swedish stores, except for the galangal which I had to buy from a webshop. The watercress was the hardest thing to get a hold of – I actually had to buy seeds and grow it myself on my balcony. The watercress I have in my powder I grew last year, but I also have some growing right now for future use.
Part of my not so very well-kept watercress plant
The spices were already ground down to a fine powder when I bought them, but I had to dry and grind the roses and watercress myself. That didn’t turn out perfectly – they didn’t grind down to that fine powder I had wished for. I probably didn’t dry the leaves enough before grinding them. It still works fine when I use it in my hair, but the small bits of watercress and roses can be seen if you looks closely.
I use it as you would use a modern day dry-shampoo that isn’t in a spray bottle, parting the hair and sprinkling some of the powder, and then repeating the process in different parts. Then I massage the powder into the hair, and then sprinkling rose water all over the hair – both at the roots and over the lenghts. After this I comb through the hair and then it’s ready to be made into beautiful and/or funny hairstyles.
It’s not often I get the compliment that I smell nice during events, but when I’ve used this powder it’s a reoccurring comment. 😉
Doing Annette’s hair at my workshop at Battle of Wisby
When I got back to Sweden after visiting Middelaldercentret I felt very inspired and made my own rose water. As far as I’ve understood, actual rose water is derived from distilling rose petals, whereas mine was made by pouring boiling water over the petals and letting it sit for 24 hours and then straining it. It turned out fine, with a lovely colour and scent.
My own rose water
To end this short post – here is a way to get smooth and soft hair.
“If, needed, you wish to have hair soft and smooth and fine, wash it often with hot water in which there is powder of natron and vetch.”
– The Trotula
Green, M. H. (Ed.). (2001). The Trotula: a medieval compendium of women’s medicine. University of Pennsylvania Press