Sunday, October 23, 2011

My old silverwork!

 I just realized that I've never shown you any of my silverwork! I haven't done much for the last two years or so, but before that I made quite a lot actually. Here are pictures of the pieces I still own (most were sold in the museum shop in Birka!): a silver necklace with an amber pendant, a pair of silver earrings with carnelion beads and a silver bracelet. Then, not in silver but in copper, is another necklace which unfortunately has gotten stained since I made it.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Textile find from Norway: complete tunic from 300 AD

Good morning! Cathy at Loose Threads posted a link to a Norwegian site, which was so interesting that I just had to pass it along. For those of you who don't speak Norwegian... This summer, an almost complete wool tunic was found in Breheimen. The tunic is interpreted as a man's outer garment, worn with a belt and reaching down to the knees. It was found just by the edge of the glacier, where the ice has recently melted.
Check it out HERE, there are both pictures and videos!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lingonberry syrup part II: bottling and tasting!

As some of you might remember from THIS post, I have had a bucket of lingonberry syrup on the way since the 4th of september. Today it was finally time to strain and pour the resulting liquid into bottles, yay! The smell was lovely, and reminiscent of glögg (Swedish traditional drink, similar to mulled wine), while the color was a rich nuance of red.

But what about the taste?! It says in the original recipe from 1873 that the lingonberry syrup is supposed to be mixed with drinking water. This had me thinking of sweet, modern lingonberry syrup that is too concentrated to drink as it is, and must be mixed with quite a lot of water. But this lingonberry syrup is nothing like it's modern counterpart!

First of all, mixing it with water just ruins the taste (at least that's what both me and my husband think). Drinking it as it is, however, is a real treat! The taste lies somewhere in between glögg and mead, spiked with lingonberries! And there is definitely alcohol in it, without having measured it we're guessing at some 6-8 %. The cardamom and cinnamon gives a sense of Christmas, and I think this will be very well suited for winter consumption. On the other hand, it would suit just as well during a warm summer evening, with the elegant taste of lingonberries and mead. Together with the lovely red color which makes the brain associate it with wine, the general impression is great. In other words, this was a recipe I'd be glad to use again, and would recommend to all! (The recipe is in the original blog post, linked at the top of this post!)

Wool dress finished - my own pattern!

I hope everyone is having a marvelous Sunday! Me, I am just about to tidy up at home before getting some company from a dear friend. Usually we do a whole lot of tidying up and cleaning at Saturdays, as to get Sundays completely stress free, but I wound up sewing all day yesterday. Yes, all day! And the result: a dark green wool dress! The pattern is my own (top half based on a waistcoat I bought a couple of weeks ago), done with a little help from my wonderful husband. 

The colors aren't perfect in the pictures below, you will just have to imagine the dress being a bit more green... almost dark olive! Underneath I am wearing a simple light pink shirt that looks almost white in the pictures and white wool tights. And, not to forget the real star of the photo shoot: Balthazar the Norwegian Forest Cat! 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Finished Wool Trousers

Good evening! My new pants are just finished and I thought I'd amuse you with a few pictures. Now I'm no model, so don't look at me, look at the pants.

As you might have guessed, these pants weren't made to be fancy. They were made to comfortable, and nice-looking enough to wear to work. As I explained previously, I used an old pair of linnen trousers as the pattern, though the new version I made of a lovely 100% wool fabric. However, I must have been a bit too generous with the margins because the new trousers are definitely a bit more loose than the originals.

Now the picture below shows a whole lot of creases in the front. In reality, I don't think it's as bad as it looks in the photo. Or maybe it is... I'm not sure. But still, I'm pretty happy with the result. And I'm glad to have learned how to make pants (first time!), and especially how to make the pockets. For next time I'll try to make the fit better

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Making More Mead!

Here we go again!

The mead we made this spring was such a success that we decided to start a new batch. Once again, we use Kalle Runristares recipe, described in this old blog post of mine. This time, however, we don't have to use a plastic bucket! (Which, by the way, will still hold the batch of lingonberry syrup for a month or so until that's done...) We got two old dame-jeannes from my very kind relatives, one of which we used today. Not only does it look a whole lot better than a plastic bucket, and feel way healthier since no nasty chemicals will be passed along from glass as can be from plastic... it also contains a whole lot more! So this time we could follow the recipe all together, not sizing it down in any way. Which meant 17 liters of water and 3,5 kg of honey. Which hopefully will turn into lots and lots of marvelous mead!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Textile Gallery with great pics of antique textiles

Good evening! Just today I came across this great webpage, and I immediately thought that I just have to share it with you all. Available in swedish and english, a textile gallery from Nordiska museet - Sweden's largest museum of cultural history. Especially those of you who are interested in 19th and 18th century textiles and embroidery... you have to check out the very detailed pictures in the textile gallery! Just type in a word such as "silk" or whatever and see what comes up. Have fun!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sewing a pair of trousers - considering practicalities, sentimentalities, and also sustainability!

For several years, my favorite trousers were a pair of rather loosely fitted, green linnen pants my mother once bought for me. I used them a lot. After a while, they started getting scruffy and were only fit to wear while working in the garden or just relaxing alone at home. At the end, the holes were so big they barely held together (I definitely couldn't leave the house with them, as my private parts were showing!), and this summer I decided to scrap them for good.

I tried long and hard to find a decent picture of these pants, to show you... all I could find was this one, of me working in the garden one really hot summer day. Not the prettiest, but you get the point.

Though these pants certainly weren't wasted (being in use for so long!) I still found myself hesitant to just throw them out. So I decided to take them apart, seam by seam, and make a pattern out of them to use for a new pair of trousers. So that's what I've done during the past few evenings, and all that's left to do at this point is sew on the zipper and the waistline. 

I love this little project for so many reasons! 1, I know the fit will be great since they're based on my old pants which fit perfectly. 2, the fabric (a very thin, dark grey wool) is lovely! And 3, actually using the scraps of an old garment to create new ones is one small step towards small scale sustainability! Of course I will also save the pattern together with the original pieces for future sewing, this probably wont be the last time I use them. 

Now if I can just figure out how to handle the zipper... I bought the smallest one they had in the store, which was 15 cm, but that still turned out to be about twice the length I needed. So I am wondering if it's actually possible to cut the zipper in half... some way... without it looking a mess. Do you have any idea? Any ideas are greatly appreciated!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Embroidered scene from Codex Manesse

After last week's adventures in modern dress making, I thought I'd show you my latest embroidery project. Since I first saw them, I've adored the love scenes from Codex Manesse, from the first half of the 14th century. Once again, I am using split stitches, each stitch splitting the one before it.
Yes, once again I'm doing the embroidery on a piece of pink linnen. Why? Well, that was the colour of the linnen I happened to have at home... and I think it's pretty! 

So far I've used colours similar to those in the original, though the purple is a bit too light. The eventually I will have to decide which is best; to keep the background as it is, or cover it in stitches as well... It might look good? Or it will just be a whole lot of work not worth the trouble. For now, I'm thinking I'll let it stay pink. What do you think?