3 April 2016

Natural dye colourchart

It's sometimes tricky to get a good idea of the range of colours that are available from natural dyes, particularly those natural dyes used by people in medieval Europe. Hence, I've made a list of some of the colours and dyestuffs available in Europe pre-discovery of the New World. Of course, note that not all of these dyestuffs were used (or obtainable) in all European countries historically (or even today!) and the expense of these dyestuffs was also variable.

These are listed by base colour (i.e. the colour obtained from a single dye, without using naturally coloured fibre, without using a colour-modifying mordant such as iron and without overdyeing) unless explicitly stated. At the bottom is a list of mordants and modifiers and a list of natural sheep/wool colours.

Note that many links appear multiple times (as they have multiple dyes mentioned in them) and some dyestuffs appear in multiple places, as it is possible to get multiple colours from them depending on the precise techniques, modifiers and mordants used.

If you have any recommendations for links to add to this list, please do comment. I will update this list periodically.

7 February 2016

Historical Sew Monthly: #1 Procrastination

In line with my previous attempts at the Historical Sew Fortnightly/Monthly challenge, I'm starting a new year with actually doing the challenge. Let's see how long it lasts this year... ;)

Procrastination was right up my street (*looks balefully at stack of UFOs*). For this challenge, I picked up a ball of delicious dk-ish weight Gotland yarn that's been sitting in my stash unused for approximately 7-8 years (!).




14 December 2015

Tutorial: Distaff spinning

Myself and other members of our reenactment group, the Cardiff Castle Garrison, have been going on a bit of a distaff spinning craze over the last few months. We set up The Evangelical Church of Distaff Spinning to spread the idea and to share hints, tips and information. However, this weekend we finally managed to get a video of what we've been up to.

15 November 2015

Medieval Textiles and Clothing: Contents

I thought it might be useful to collate the list of contents for the book series Medieval Textiles and Clothing. These are available on the individual book pages at the Boydell and Brewer website. However, they are not collated anywhere (that I know of). Also, note, they are usually cheaper elsewhere, e.g. Oxbow Books, Amazon, AbeBooks, etc.

1 November 2015

Tutorial: how to correctly reference manuscripts

I thought I might show you how to read that tangle of numbers and letters and often foreign-language words that might crop up in a book, article or blogpost that is referencing a manuscript and how to correctly generate that style of reference too. 

7 September 2015

The Evangelical Church of Distaff Spinning (!)

Hello, everyone. Long time, no posting! How is everyone?

Recently, I've been quite focused on hand spinning with the distaff and spindle after I found the hypothesis of Cathelina di Alessandri at 15th Century Spinning. With some gorgeous reproduction spindles from Katrin Kania (reviewed here), I've learnt Cathelina's method, experimented with some alterations, spread it to my reenactment group and now we appear to be corrupting fellow reenactors and modern crafters alike at a slightly terrifying rate...

Hence, we now have a FaceBook group for spreading the idea of distaff spinning in reenactment and crafting and for coming together and sharing ideas, hints, tips, new information, etc.

You can find us at The Evangelical Church of Distaff Spinning (yes, it has a silly name ^_^).

And I'll now leave you with a fascinating image: the only image of a top-whorl spindle I know of that's from medieval Western Europe. It even looks like it might have a little hook at the top.

Woman spinning flax (?) with distaff and spindle whilst on ducking stool (?).
Rutland Psalter (British Library, Add. MS 62925), f. 86r.
England (London?), c. 1260. Source.

What about you? What have you been focusing on this season? Have you tried spinning with distaff and reproduction spindles? Have you seen any other interesting medieval spinning images?