Wool in Medieval Britain Part 1: Sheep

“He would have preferred, I dare to say, to have all his sheep turn black if she could have had a ship to herself.”  The Miller’s Tale, Geoffrey Chaucer c. 1386 From the Viking era onwards, sheep, and more notably their wool became ever more significant in the economy of the British Isles, and by the middle ages […]

Wool in the Viking Era, Part 2: Spinning & Weaving

 “Mightily wove they the web of fate, While Bralund’s towns were trembling all; And there the golden threads they wove, And in the moon’s hall fast they made them.” Völsungakviða, Helgakviða Hundingsbana I, The Poetic Edda As we have mentioned in Part 1: Sheep, wool was as much a key to the success of the Viking […]

Making a 1660s Silk Bodice

Overview of the 1660’s BodiceIn the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is a rare example of a late seventeenth century silk satin boned bodice decorated with parchment lace. The bodice is typical of the 1660s with a long waist, shortened cartridge pleat sleeves and an off-the-shoulder neckline, and would have formed the upper part of […]

The Use of Nålebinding in the Viking Era

Nålebinding is one of the oldest forms of meshing yarns, and is a precursor to modern knitting and crochet. The naalbinding technique has been used as far back as the Paleolithic period. Nalbound items include a great variety of knitted fabrics from fishing nets have been found dating back to 6500BC, hats in the Tarim […]

Wool in the Viking Era, Part 1: Sheep

“I can hear the grass growing in the field and the wool on the sheep” Heimdal, Snorri’s Gylfaginning While little is mentioned of sheep in Norse mythology, we know sheep played an important role on the viking homestead. The settlement of Wetherby in Yorkshire was a Viking settlement which literally means ‘Sheep’s town’ in old […]