A quiet week and then a quiet Project Day, except for the storm outside! No one showed for Sewing Workshop and we had to cancel Herbs due to a conflict…. but projects and research are ongoing…..
No Herbs Workshop this week again. Conflicts. <sigh> Garden work still has to happen, though.
Project Day is now open for in-person meet-ups as well as in the Virtual Realm! Potluck this month will be Virtual and Real-World! Herbs Workshop and Sewing are ongoing. Masks required.
When will the rest of these open up in person? We’ll keep right on with the virtual ones side-by-side with the actual.
- Herb Bunch – At Ancient Light, Thursdays, 6am-9pm, starts this week!
- Sewing Time – At Ancient Light, Saturdays, 3-5pm
- Project Day – At Ancient Light, Sundays, 1 to 5pm
- Cheese and Wine happens irregularly, usually announced with little notice on our Facebook group.
- Next Potluck – 11/21, 12/19, 1/16
- Winter Feast LVI, Norse Theme. Page here – https://housecapuchin.com/winter-feast/winter-feast-norse-feast-as-lvi-february-2022/ More pages coming!
Here is the direct Portfolio link which has all the past Project Day reports and various projects, original here: https://housecapuchin.wordpress.com/portfolio/ and new one here: https://housecapuchin2.wordpress.com/portfolio/ and number three is here: https://housecapuchin3.wordpress.com/portfolio/
Misc – Yseult posted this:
Pam Perryman – Our ever-helpful Eugene Textile Center just sent a newsletter with the following information about how to determine what the fiber content of a fabric is:
How to Identify Fiber Content
Everyone has run into that mystery yarn where the label is missing (or wrong!) and no one knows quite what it is actually made of. We get asked to identify yarn all the time, so we’d like to pass along some of our techniques for sleuthing fiber content.
The Quick and Dirty Burn Test
Okay, I’ll be honest, I love lighting yarn on fire, so this is my favorite testing method. There are three major categories of fiber: protein, cellulose, and synthetic. Each of these broad categories has a distinct smell and residue so that you can at least determine the basic category of your mystery yarn.
Please be careful if you light anything on fire! Keep a glass of water nearby and don’t burn near anything else that is flammable. The smoke from some fibers can be quite unpleasant or might even be toxic, so keep the area well ventilated.
Protein / Animal Fibers
When you light protein fibers on fire, they tend to extinguish after you remove the flame and they smell a lot like burning hair or feathers. They create a crunchy bead of reside that easily crumbles into a coarse ash.
Some examples of protein fibers: wool, mohair, silk, and soy
A key indicator: the remains of vegetation in a wool yarn
Cellulose / Plant Fibers
Cotton and other plant fibers burn quickly and brightly, but they don’t leave behind very much ash. It smells a lot like paper burning in a campfire. These fibers can keep burning after you remove the flame, so be careful!
Some examples of cellulose fibers: cotton, linen, hemp, raime, rayons (tencel, bamboo, modal, lyocell), and other plant materials
Synthetic / Plastic Fibers
Any fiber made with plastic will have a chemical smell when it burns and leave behind a sticky, hard, or other melted plastic kind of residue when burned.
Some examples of synthetic plastic-based fibers: acrylic, polyester, nylon, acetate, spandex, orlon/orlec, olefin, and many more
Getting to the Details
Often, the burn test is all that is needed to determine the basic type of fiber you are dealing with but sometimes you need more information (what KIND of cellulose is it?), or the results are confusing and you need to come at the problem from another direction.
The trickiest yarns to identify are fiber blends. Yarn manufacturers LOVE to mix everything together, making a simple test difficult because you will get multiple results. One common mixture is added nylon in wool for sock yarn or a polyester core on art yarn – just because you get a small hard bead doesn’t mean that the entire yarn is made of a synthetic fiber.
One way to tease out the composition of a blended fiber is to try dissolving it. Unravel a short length of yarn, place in a glass jar with your chemical of choice (vinegar for acid, bleach for alkaline is nice and easy). Leave for a day or two and see what’s left over.
Alkaline (lye or bleach): dissolves protein fibers
hydrochloric acid | HCl: dissolves silk, but not wool (use cation!!!)
Acids (diluted!): dissolve cellulose fibers
By looking to see what remains in your jar after a day or two, you’ll have a better idea of what the yarn is composed of.
Fiber Length & Type
Looking at a fiber’s length, luster, or general composition can help determine between yarns in the same category (like cotton vs linen). I like to use a little USB microscope or a pick glass.
Unravel a piece of yarn and tease some of the fibers out to see how long they are. Make sure you are not fooled by a cut end – I usually unravel a few inches so that I can get a good idea of the true length. Linen, hemp, and raime are long and strong fibers that are straighter than cotton. Cotton is shorter and MUCH more tender (this is also what makes it soft).
Wools tend to have some amount of crimp or frizz to them where hairs like mohair are smooth (but can be curly, which is different than crimpy)
Silks can be hard to identify simply from fiber length or shine because they have a lot of variation. The quintessential silk is long, straight and lustrous – however, silk noils, wild silks, gummed silk, etc all have characteristics that don’t go along with this. Silk will often have a special feel and crunching sound when you squeeze it.
Yards per Pound, or Weight
One final clue is the weight of the fiber. Every type of fiber weighs differently. Linen is heavier than cotton, alpaca is heavier than wool, and silk is lighter than rayon. If you can figure out the yarn’s yards per pound (use a yarn balance), you can compare it to a similarly sized yarn of a known type.
Have fun testing all the mystery yarn in your stash!
James Coffman – Please excuse the little bit of hype I put into this yesterday, for something as small as a coin. But I think it is worth it. And after doing some reading you might well agree with me.
We stand ready to make these now if there is any interest out there. Also, I believe that these will make for a nice little gift for you friends.
Oh yeah, I did find someone making them online, but they are using only copper. Mine are silver.
I think unless asked for, we will be making the shields with a bale/loop for stringing as many were found that way historically.
As previously stated, I have been working on a historical piece of silver from the Viking Age.
A long time ago I ran across an academic article that I could not access. It dealt with what amounts to a miniature Viking shield in Silver, though sometimes in Bronze, and at least one example in Lead. There are also examples of Gilded-bronze, and at least one in Gold.
After purchasing the article, I was able to finally read in detail about this fascinating subject.
Here is a general summary and some personal thoughts. Any errors of detail and or misreading of elements from my sources are unintended and my fault. This summary was written rather quickly because of my excitement to share it.
I will note my sources at the end.
Miniature Viking Shields (Round Shields) have been found in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Finland. There has been a single find in England. The majority have been found in Denmark and Sweden. With the richest collection of finds occurring in and around Brika. To date at least 150 of this particular type have been found.
Most date to 900 to 1000 AD. (Possible some from the 800’s) And have been found as grave goods, in hoards, and single finds.
It is the context of the finds that help tease out the possible cultural meaning behind these little works of art. There are of course abundant theories from as far back as the 1940’s
Interestingly, there are Anglo-Saxon parallels of Bronze, and occasionally Silver. However, they date to an earlier era of 500-700 AD. Indications are that the context and usage of these shields are very much the same as found among the Vikings.
From some personal research I have found Late Viking era jewelry that is quite similar to the earlier shields. Though the design is often lacking whorls-other decorations are found, but still using punches. These pieces were found in a hoard containing a coin of William the Conquer. Thus, they can be dated to the late 11th Century. (Valbo Hoard)
Overall design consists of a raised boss and whorls of design around the boss to the edge of the piece. Most are repeatedly done with a punch design to create the edge and whorls. Sometimes just a pointed punch, sometimes a triangle/dotted punch. Some effort was made for a few to have a “handhold” on the reverse.
Average size is about 2-4 cm. Though I did see a confusing note about smaller ones. Many have bales or holes/perforations where a bale was or could be strung. Though a nearly similar number have no such attribute. This is an interesting note.
The finds include both burial inhumations and fragments from cremations. Intriguingly most have been found in the graves of women!
And despite the well-known issues of determining male/female Viking graves of late as part of the warrior women debate, the authors felt comfortable in stating this fact.
The authors writing the piece are passionate historians, one male and one female. With at least one of them a Viking reenactor. If memory serves.
A majority of the shields have been found as part of grave goods. Some as jewelry and attached to what appear to be strands of beads. Other seem to be laid on the body, perhaps sew onto clothing. Others were found in positions that indicate they were inside of pouches.
A few have been found in hoards. Though seldom more than just one. In one hoard two were found together with several other objects. And in at least one grave two were found on a single necklace. There was a greater assortment of jewelry included in this grave as well.
Often found side by side with other amulet like objects like Mjolnir or “Thor’s Hammers”. The shields have consistently been thought of as amulets of protection. A shield is a shield after all.
The attributes of the Norse pantheon are diverse with little to connect a shield directly to any particular deity, other than the obvious Valkyries.
Would the fact that the majority of shields found are placed with women have a specific meaning? We can’t say for sure.
Additionally, according to the material consulted, I would add that shields are sometimes part of female names in Viking mythos. Something is being indicated here, but we cannot reliably know for certain what it is.
Some have tried to connect the rise of Northern Christianity to the shields. As a level of protection for the deceased, but more subtle than a cross. Thus, not offending the pagan belief system or sensibilities. Save for a single shield find in Russia that has a very pronounced cross motif, I am of the opinion this is pure nonsense.
Incorporated into my sources is one that looks at shields in prose and poetry. And without delving too deeply it is sufficient to state that the lore is rife with everything from holding a “shield” over a cup as a blessing, to adding many “shields” to a grave as a salute of respect. Either symbolically or actually. Thus, honoring pledges made in life to accompanying the dead into the next world.
I did want to make some jokes about Viking Challenge coins, just could not find an in to do so.
Considering the affinity Vikings had for silver, seeing loose pieces of silver in any form makes we me think these shields especially the ones found in hoards also served as ready “cash”.
Or were they carried just in case for something ritualistic we are unaware of ? Did they have a function as a semi-votive offering?
Much is made of some of the lore to indicate the protection of the living from the dead. Full sized shields being placed over the body or head of the deceased. People are odd when it comes to death. And nearly all humanity has indulged in some form of ritual as concerns death.
This is some of my take on this subject. I intend to make MANY shields for the benefit of my customers. In the hopes that this will add to or at least enhance your persona/costume. And perhaps put a little cash in my coffers. Either way, reading and learning a bit more about Viking material culture is always exciting to me. I hope it is for you as well.
Miniature Shields in the Viking Age:
By Leszek Gardeła and Kerstin Odebäck
(Leszek is prolific as a writer, filmmaker)
Finding poetry in the ground – a kenning of silver from Neble, Zealand
By Peter Pentz
A medieval mother’s advice to her son // The Contessa’s Quickies #shorts – The Creative Contessa – A private letter from a medieval mother to her son offers a fascinating window into private life and parenting concerns in the 15th century.
1352: The Mystery Of The Black Death Woman | Medieval Dead | Chronicle – Chronicle – Medieval History Documentaries – During the 14th century, the bubonic plague ripped through Medieval Europe, killing over a third of the population of Britain. For the everyday medieval family, the epidemic was a ruthless terror for decades. So far, the only evidence of the dead in England is from London, but the team have come across some mysterious skeletons in a pit in Tadcaster, Yorkshire, that point towards a plague burial. What can the skeleton of one woman tell us about life during the worst epidemic in history?
Weave Along with Elewys, Ep. 22: Masku Humikkala 11th c. Finnish – Elewys of Finchingefeld – 11th century Finnish pattern from an Iron Age grave find in Humikkala. This pattern is more challenging, introducing weavers to half-turns in patterns. Special thanks to Mervi Pasanen for providing guidance and information about this piece. Their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/Lautanauhat. Her books with Maikki Karisto can be purchased here: https://www.salakirjat.com/. You my find them elsewhere, but they will be MORE EXPENSIVE.
Other book referenced: Sarkki, S. (1979). Suomen Ristiretkiaikaiset Nauhat. Arkeologian Laitos. Helsinki, Helsingin Yliopisto.
Blog link: http://ladyelewys.carpevinumpdx.com/2021/10/22/finnish-masku-humikkala/
Early Week – A lot of leftovers were eaten, and a care package made up for Sash who works Sundays. A chowder got started on Tuesday, plus some harvesting and garden work happened.
Cookery – The chowder has been most of supper this week.
Wheat’s Evil Twin Has Been Intoxicating Humans For Centuries – https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/wheats-evil-twin-has-been-intoxicating-humans-for-centuries
Chykens in Hocche (Chicken in Spiced broth) – Monk’s Modern Medieval Cuisine – Dr Monk brings to life another delicious recipe from Richard II’s cookery work, Forme of Cury (c.1390).
Why Vampires Hate Garlic – A Transylvanian Recipe from 1580 – Tasting History with Max Miller – Medieval Transylvanian Cookbook: http://www.fibergeek.com/leathernotebook/the-transylvanian-cookbook/
2-8. Ni amigo reconciliado, ni cordero dos veces asado – Fogones en la Historia – Receta de Pierna de cordero rellena asada, extraida de un tratado del sigloXVII – Neither friend reconciled nor lamb twice roasted – Stoves in History – Recipe for roasted stuffed leg of lamb, extracted from a seventeenth century treatise
Sewing – Mostly embroidery this week.
The last surviving sea silk seamstress – https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20170906-the-last-surviving-sea-silk-seamstress
Italian Renaissance Headdress // The Contessa’s Quickies – The Creative Contessa – Discover my reconstruction of the reta, the quintessential Florentine hairnet, made from silk fingerloop braids and worn heavily for over 12 years!
Sundials, etc. –
Worshipful Society of Apothecaries – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worshipful_Society_of_Apothecaries
The invention that saved a million ships (mostly OoP, but an interesting bit on a period lighthouse) – https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20190620-the-invention-that-saved-a-million-ships
Martin Rundkvist – A few weeks ago at Husby in Glanshammar we found a die for the making of waffled gold foil, used to catch and scatter the light inside the cells of garnet cloisonné work. Here’s the die, an example of what garnet cloisonné can look like, and two pictures of waffled gold foil. This latter find is from the West Barrow in Old Uppsala, c. AD 600. Note the millimeter scale! Thank you Thomas Eriksson!
Roofing In The Wilderness – Wood Shingles Log Cabin Roof – Townsends Wilderness Homestead – Townsends – OoP but valid
Herb Bunch – Harvest on Tuesday and then more work on Wednesday. A bunch of the harvest got used up right away. More pictures in cookery.
Project Day – The day was quiet. Loren and Anja both worked on projects and photos, culminating in a batch of potted cheddar, made with bacon, shallots, white sharp cheddar and dark beer.
Recipes – Note, cheddar is OoP, but there are “potted cheese” recipes very late in period.
Potted Cheddar with Bacon and Shallots (doubled the recipe this time and used sharp white cheddar and dark beer)
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: about 1 pint
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces bacon
- 2 medium shallots, sliced paper thin
- 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons dry or cream sherry or even dark beer (have done it with all of these)
- Melt butter in a pan and fry bacon over medium-high heat until cooked through and crispy.
- Remove the bacon from the pan, and set the strips on a rack to cool slightly and de-grease.
- Decrease the heat to medium-low.
- Toss the shallots into the hot fat, and sauté them until deeply fragrant and browned, about 15 minutes.
- Combine bacon and cheddar in a food processor and pulse until well-blended.
- Add the shallots and pulse until mixed, then the cream, then sherry to the bacon and cheddar, and continue to process them together until they form a smooth, spreadable paste.
- Spoon the cheese spread into a jar or into ramekins, and either serve right away or store, carefully covered, in the fridge for up to a month. Remember to bring the potted cheddar to room temperature before serving, and spread over crackers or bread as an appetizer or starter.
Music – Hymn to St Magnus “Nobilis humilis” – oxfordyouthchoirs OYC – members of Oxford Girls’ Choir with Richard Vendome (psaltery) sing “Nobilis, humilis”, (Uppsala Univ. Lib. Cod. C233 4°, 13th cent.) a hymn written in honour of St Magnus, Earl of Orkney, a Christian leader who was murdered in 1116 by his warrior cousin Hakon of Norway. This is an example of “gymel” (Latin “gemellus” = twin), two-part music, mainly in parallel thirds. The opening picture is based on a statue in the church of St Magnus the Martyr in the City of London.
Nobilis, humilis, Magne martyr stabilis,
Abilis, utilis, comes venerabilis,
Et tutor laudabilis, tuos subditos
Serva carnis fragilis mole positos.
Preditus celitis dono sancti spiritus,
vivere temere summo caves opere:
carnis motus premere studes penitus,
ut carnis in carcere regnet spiritus.
Turbidus, invidus, hostis Haco callidus
sternere, terere, tua sibi subdere
te cupit et perdere doli spiculo:
iuncto fraudis federe pacis osculo.
Gravia tedia ferens pro iusticia
raperis, traheris, demum ictu funeris
ab ymis extolleris ad celestia:
sic Christo coniungeris per supplicia.
Eya gloria signorum frequencia
canitur, agitur, Christus benedicitur
et tibi laus redditur in ecclesia:
O quam felix cernitur hinc Orchadia.
Omnibus laudibus tuis insistentibus
gratiam, veniam, et eternam gloriam
precum per instanciam pater optime,
hanc salvans familiam a discrimine.
𝔐𝔲𝔰𝔦𝔠𝔞 𝔐𝔢𝔡𝔦𝔢𝔳𝔞𝔩𝔢 – Ensemble: Sequentia
Album: Boethius: Songs of Consolation – Metra from 11th-century Canterbury
Video: Clm 15825, XIth cent. – MS Gg 5 35, XIth cent.
Imprisoned in Pavia in the early 520s, Boethius could not have anticipated that his final work would become one of the most widely read books of the Middle Ages. The Consolation of Philosophy portrays his struggle to reconcile himself to his fate by exploring the ways of man, the role of Fortune, and the major questions of good and evil. Evidence that the poems of the Consolation were sung in the early Middle Ages survives in the form of musical notation added to over thirty extant manuscripts dating from the ninth through to the beginning of the twelfth century. Through scholarly detective work, the members of Sequentia, together with a Cambridge eminence in the medieval melodic tradition linked to Boethius’ work, Sam Barrett, have been able to produce a convincing reconstruction of this lost repertory. Barrett himself signs the main booklet essay and provides some fascinating insights therein.
from: http://sequentia.org Evidence suggests that the laments in the sixth century work of Boethius were sung, and this is an attempt at reconstruction, with the help of scholar Sam Barrett. They are based primarily on a fragment from the Cambridge Songs (compiled c.1040), boosted by a rediscovered Canterbury source. The instrumental pieces are unrelated, “reconstructed from a contemporary Anglo-Saxon repertory from neaby Winchester.”
The earlier Sequentia program based largely on the same Cambridge Songs source, and featuring previous attempts at reconstructing the Boethius melodies “Lost Songs of the Rhineland Harper” ⤳ https://youtu.be/JMdeNgocNrk
1 Carmina qui quondam
2 Heu, quam praecipiti
3 Tunc me discussa
4 Quisquis composito
5 O stelliferi conditor
6 Cum Phoebi radiis
7 Nubibus atris
8 Stans a longe (instr.)
9 Si quantas rapidis
10 Tuba (instr.)
11 Bella bis quinis
12 Vaga (instr.)
13 Quid tantos iuvat
Benjamin Bagby, voice, harps & direction
Hanna Marti, voice & harp
Norbert Rodenkirchen, flutes
Video Links & Podcasts
The Last Duel: A Movie Review – Medievalists – The latest medieval movie has just dropped into theatres, and that means that Danièle was first in line with Peter Konieczny to bring you the goods. This week, they discuss Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel, starring Jodie Comer, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Adam Driver.
Would you buy this Iron Age hillfort for £100k? – Hidden History
Kate McNally – Okay, at the park with my grandsons. Ages 6 to 13, all boys. This random kid having his 6th day party is running around with his friends using toy guns to defend the climbing tower. My motley crew brought swords & shields and have taken in the kids sister as one of their own. They are steadily gaining ground and now have control of the monkey bridge.