söndag 11 april 2021

The battle at Brunnbäcks färja

Gustav Vasa's War of Liberation, Gustav Vasa's uprising and the War of Liberation are some of the names of the war events that began in 1521 as an uprising against Christian II, King of Denmark and Norway who recently returned Sweden to the Kalmar Union. The war led to Sweden finally leaving the Kalmar Union and that Gustav Eriksson, later called Gustav Vasa, was elected King of Sweden in 1523. The battle at Brunnbäcks färja was one of the first larger battles. It happened in the beginning of april 1521. That is 500 years ago now. So yesterday my 16th century group made a visit to the location. We took a lot of pictures and had some swedish "fika" and later in the evening we had our ordinary guild´s meeting. The guild, Sankt Örjens Guild, is an association of people who try to recreate life in Dalecarlia during the first half of the 16th century, through clothing, food, drinks and weapons exercises.

As many of you know by now I mostly do 16th century German clothing. But yesterday I made a shot at Swedish 16th century, with clothes I already had. 

This is what I looked like yesterday.

Im wearing my two red dresses, the underklänning and överklänning in swedish, as usual. And a linen apron, a linen untergollar with a little ruffle and a thinn mantle in brown wool. And Im covering my hair with a linen cloth and a wool barrett.

There were also some Germans there...Most have come there together with the Danish army...those landsknechts...
And of course two Dalecarlian soldiers fighting for the man who was going to try to be king of Sweden. 
They obviously did a good job because they won this battle.

There were some commoners too. 

There is a memorial stone on the location, as you can see in the background here.   
And as brave Dalecarlian soldiers they fighted the invaders with all they had...

The guild at the memorial stone.

After our excursion we had food and drinks at the guilds meeting place, out in the woods close to Falun. 

onsdag 7 april 2021

The male hairnet

Today you dont see that many male reenactors with hairnets. They are mostly used by women. But while looking at 16th century inspiration in arts its quite clear that hairnet where very common also on men. 

They look a bit different from womens hairnets. A bit smaller, a bit pointed, with a very distinct shape. Me and a friend of mine had a disscussion about the shape, that it might have some kind of padding to create that special shape. Or did all of them have a lot of hair in some kind of weird hairdo? I didnt think so, but I wasnt sure, so I needed to try to make one. The woodcut above is made by Hans Buegkmair 1514. 

This is Jakob Fugger, painted by Albrecht Durer. Jakob semse to like hairnets, he is wearing them in a lot of paintings. 
This is him too...also by Durer. 

And again..

These types of nets has a very distinct shape. High at the front and at the back. And often a round shape in the front. Probably in the back too but its much more difficult to find a picture of this. 

Here you see the round shape very clearly.

It might be possible to make this shape with macramé too but I dont work in that technique, so I thought of sprang of course. If you make a squared net in sprang and pull the sides together, this type of round eye apears. So I wanted to try to make one, to see if would get the right shape on its own or if I needed to work with the net somehow. 

All of the men above might be wealty, at least Fugger was, very wealty. But the hairnets is also seen on men from other social classes. 
Like this guy, a crossbowman made by Holbein.

The same pointy shape with the eye in the front. The material might be linen in his net, and silk in Jakob Fuggers... The shape is the same but the cost of the material is the differens between the poor and the wealthy. But I have not yet seen a net on the head of a farmer. There are paintings of executioners with hairnets though. I have not tried making a silk net yet, but I have som at home, so, soon. 

And here is the result. I made a sprang hairnet in black linen. It has a wool binding all away around, in green wool. To make it stay on there is a fingerloop braid to knot it tight. 

It has no padding. The shape appears from the shape of the net, when pulling the sides together tightly, creating the round eye in the front. The string needs to lay on top of the binding, and not on the net, to not press it down and take away the shape. 

The warp was 40 cm long and made out of 56 loops. 

Here we can see that the front and the back has the same pointy shape. This net is a bit smaller than the female versions I have made before, where I want a wulst to fit underneath. This kind of male net seems to sit more on the top of the head than on the head. 

And with a hat!

I think it looks sooo 16th century Germany! Im really happy with it. Next time I might make the warp bigger but tighter, to see if the shape can be even more distinct. 
I think more men should wear hairnets!

onsdag 24 mars 2021

A one year anniversary

Today was the day, but one year ago. The day when I publiched the article on my embroidered haube. A year has past, and almost no one have seen it. To me it does not feel new anymore. But that might change when I have a chance to wear it in public for the first time. 

The haube was a project within a project so to speak. The society of the golden egg is a challenge household for the arts and sciences in the Kingdom of Drachenwald, within the Society for Creative Anachronism. The aim of the Society of the Golden Egg is to encourage artisans to increase their knowledge and skills through continuous challenges of at least intermediate difficulty, but which are a personal challenge to the person seeking to join the society. Challengers normally have up to one year to complete their challenge. 

My challenge was to recreate a german 16th century embroidered haube, from 1510-15.
The plan was to report on the project in mars 2020. But when corona came you all know what happened. But to be fair, I didnt do it to be approved to the society of the golden egg, that was just the framework. I did it to challenge myself. I did it because I love the painting its from, Portrait of a woman by Berhard Strigel. The golden egg gave me a chance to do all this, to challenge myself. To start dreaming of what project I could do. But of course, I wanted to show it of when it was done. Of course I did. Im proud of it. 

To read more about the project and the making of it, look here.

But there has been fun things happening during this period of plague. The haube have been in a magasin. That was an honour. A magasin about handicrafts, called Hemslöjd. 

And one day soon, we will all meet again and the haube will be used, a lot!
Happy one year anniversary! Maybe I should have worn it today...

söndag 7 mars 2021

Another try at a striped 16th century hairnet in sprang.

I made another try at the 16th century sprang striped hairnet. And this time I think it went better than the last time. I made more stripes and the threads for each stripe were not connected. In the last one they were. That ment I needed to put a binding on it to hide all the knots at the top. But a lot of 16th century nets has a binding, so that was not a thing. It took some time to attach all the loose ends to the binding in the end though, something you dont need to do if all the threads are connected. It took much longer to make the binding than to make the net.

Its made of 72 loops and a 46 cm warp.

This too is made in blue and gold linen. 6 loops of blue and two of gold. The goldcolour is actually called pumpkin when buying it. I need to buy some more of that, it has the right golden colour that was so popular during the 16th century in Germany.

Its wore with a wulst here but is possible to use without too of course.

Im in love with the back, it look so good! 
One end of the sprang fabric is collected, its the circle in the back you see in this picture, were the stripes meet. The rest is drawn together with the drawstring.

The binding is made of wool and the net has a fingerloop braid in blue linen to close it in the back. This net sold in under an hour, its probably the fastest I have ever sold anything. Another one is already in the making. Its a good thing its great fun.

tisdag 23 februari 2021

The sprang-hairnet journey continue.

I have been working on a new hairnet. In sprang-technique and linen thread. The same way I have been before when doing the other nets. But I still dont think I got the right shape. So the hairnet-journey continues. And this time I tried both a different shape and a new pattern. 

I have been looking at a few different ones. This for example, from 1507, Barbara Schellenberger, by Hans Burgkmair. The round part in the middle might say that its not sprang, but I think I can make the same look with the sprang-technique anyway. 

And this, from 1530. This could be sprang, no sign on knotted or sprang here. Or do I want to see sprang everywhere?

This one have the same look too, with stripes the way sprang would look if made with stripes. I dont see any meetingpoint though, that would be if there was a net made by the sprang-technique. Should they haft left it out, even if it where there?

All of the nets in the paintings above have the typical german 16th century look with the string crossed at the neck and around the head/wulst. 

I havent been doing sprang with stripes but I thought I would try it. And here is the result.

 Its 70 loops and the gold threads are two, every 8 thread of blue. I made the warp 38 cm.

 The stripes look a bit crooked here but I can pull them straight, move the net.

To match the paintings I think I need to make more stripes or broader stripes. But in a distance this might have the right look, right?!

Does the back look right? I dont know. There are so few paintings where the back of the head is visible.

This is what the net look like on its own, not on a head or with a wulst underneath. The nets I have done before have been squared. That left a lot of excess fabric back at the neck and did not give the typical flat 16th century German look. This shape give a flat backside. 

The previous nets also have a binding at the front, not just the fingerloop braid as this one. And many of the nets in paintings from 16th century Germany has that distinct band at the front. If I sew the net together, just for a couple of cm and pull the rest together, like in the back of this net, I might get the same look as in the portrait of Barbara. With the round part at the top or her head. I need to try this...
Oh well, the sprang hairnet-journey continues. Broader stripes next, time, or more of the yellow.

onsdag 17 februari 2021

A trossfrau tale

Marlein, little Mary, how was your life? Was life on campaign really better? What kind of life did you left behind? Are you leaving to join the armylife for money and wealth, for booty? Has the fools gold tricked you in to making these choices for yourself, or didn't you have any other choice?

Are you married to him? Or did you in May struck a deal? Is the May marriage what you wanted? Do you love him? How is he, your man? Does he show you affection when you feed him, nurse him, care for his clothing and put up his tent? Is there any affection or only need? He certainly need you for his survival. Together you and him, to faced the challenges of war. 

And what about life on campaign? Was it hard work, digging trenches, carrying all his stuff, mounting cannons, putting up tents, cooking? What little extra could you bring to the table? Did you sew, bake, sell small luxuries to the troops? Or did you dealing with strong drinks? We saw the other woman with the cradle full of it.. Or did you and your man have a trade together? You carried and had control of the money in the purse didn't you? And he just carried his weapons, looking spiffy, and you did all the hard work? A good thing of course, when he was at the front line, that the money were safe with you. What rank did he have? Did that help you climb in the world of the army? Did the wives look down on you, enjoying the higher status in camp than you, just because you where there in a may marriage? Where there fighting among you women, or did you all help each other cope? Had a good time around the fire at night? Protecting each other in this male dominated world? 


Didn't he get paid this time either? If you dreamed of pillaging, how are you handling the brutality of it now? That the people of the city despise you. The danger you face. Or is it such a necessity that you could not afford the luxury of doubt? A necessity or a chance of booty? Is it even a high? Or did you see your parents mirrored in the peasant or the towns people, in fact recognize the same circumstances in with you grew up? Any conflicted feelings in stealing? In seeing people from your camp stealing, raping, killing? Just turned a blind eye? Did you turn into the predator and they the prey? How hard is your mind? And where did the young woman dreaming of adventure go? How brave and how hard did this life force you to become? 


Where you scared? Was he? Did you give each other psychological support? Did your presents help him cope with the danger of war? Probably a support, an understanding, that no one in the outside world could provide. That only someone who has been on campaign could understand, the stress and the horror. The fear. Did he got injured? Did you run to the front line to try to save him? Did you got injured?

Did he gave you that beautiful brocade jacket? More fancy than anything you ever wore before. Were did he steal it? Or did he actually got paid this time? No, he took it from the tailor in the last town, right? What a beautiful creature you became. How does it feel to suddenly wear something you have never been able to before, back home, when brought up under sumptuary law? Wearing something that was forbidden for your social class. Feeling over-dressed? A little bit forbidden? Or just like you belong?

What if he dies? So vulnerable you became, so you might marry again. So soon? Maybe the only way to not became every man´s woman was to chose just one new. Where you afraid of rape? Did the masculine world of military life effect yours and other woman's relationships? Did men fought around you, about you? How much say did you have in it? Or did you make men fight for you, for your precedence in camp? Did you take part in fights with the other women?

And how was marching, life on the road? In the baggage train. Anyone ever raided the train? An enemy army maybe? Or maybe your own, when the hunger got to hard and no payment was in sight. Were you afraid of getting captured? If your army would loose...

Did you sleep out in the open? Or did you have the luxury of getting to sleep in a house that you happened to walk by? Did you have the opportunity to ride on a wagon or did you walk? What happened if you got pregnant? And after childbirth, could you afford a days rest or did you have to keep walking straight away? Such a power that lays in women, so much you needed to handle. 

Marlein, little Mary, how was your life?

Woodcut: Johannes Stumpf Schwytzer Chronica 1554

May marriage: A deal, a long-term relationship between a soldier and a woman, an arrangement for a campaign. But not married. 

Photos taken by Anders Ragnarsson och Linda Öhman.

Inspiration: Women, Armies, And Warfare in Early Modern Europe by John A. Lynn II

onsdag 3 februari 2021

How to make honeycomb smock

...or how to make a 16th century german apron with smock. 

Today I have been making another 16th century german apron with honeycomb smock. I took some picture while making it hoping that it could be of assistance to anyone. We see honeycomb smock in a lot of paintings and woodcuts from 16th century Germany. Mostly from the first half. From the paintings and woodcuts it seems like this type of apron in used by the peasant class, bauer in German, and woman of the tross. 

Here is Melancolia by Durer from 1514. She is wearing an apron with a smocked lining. 


I interpret the smock as honeycomb. The upper part is not a part of the smock. I think its a belt that she wears on top of her apron. Its also around this belt she has a string to her bag and keys.

Here we see a trossfrau with a smocked apron. It is also looking like honeycomb smock. She is probably having a smocked collar as well.

And here is another trossfrau, a seamstress, with smock both on her apron and on her sleeves.

And here is me in an apron with honeycomb smock. I have washed mine in a machine a couple of time and here is what it look like when doing so. 

I have made this apron in unbleached linen. White linen was fancy and not everyone could afford it. A white apron is not always that practial either. I cut a square piece of linen, 150 cm wide and 79 cm long. I started with sewing all the sides, except for the lining, by sewing machine. I do so to save some money for the buyer in the end. I already have two aprons and do not need another. I just like making them.

As many of you know when making smock its not uncommon to put little dots where the stitches should be. Im to lazy to do that... So here is my way, the lazy way, of making a smock. 

I start by folding the lining down to the right side, first by 8 mm.. 

...and than 4 cm.

The smock is going to be place on top of the folded part. It makes it more defined I think. I dont know how historically correct this is. I do this while making smocked shirts too. The folds does not need to be stitched, the drawstring will secure it until there is smockstitches is in place.

After I folded the upper part and ironed it down (important) I start making my three drawstrings. I dont measure. I just follow the threads in the fabric. And if it is not exact, it doesn't matter. I make my stitches about 0,8-1 cm long here. Im using a bright orange colour to be able to see it.

One drawstring.

And two..

And three..
And when all the drawstrings are in place, tighten them.
Its now time for the first stitch. You are working from the right side. Im using a waxed unbleached linen thread. Not to thin. 
The needle goes in from the reverse side of the first pleat. And through the second pleat, 2 mm down into the pleat. Mine are 6 mm from the top. Go back around the two pleats and secure the stitch twice. I did it twice, but that depends on the thickness of the thread. And you have made your first stitch!

 When making a new stitch you do that from the reverse side so we need to go through the fabric again, close to the stitch we just did. As you can see here I made some more, but that is just because I forgot to take a picture of where to put the needle down.

The needle is now going up again 1 cm under the first stitch, in pleat number two. You can see in this picture where the thread is coming up, and where the needle is placing the next stitch. Through pleat number three, 2 mm down into the pleat. And go back and secure the stitch twice. And then back up to the first row again...

So, up on pleat number two and through pleat number three. And tightened.
The needle help you get the stitches on the right level. In the picture below you see that the needle is leveled with the stitches in the same row. 

And now you keep working with these two stitches until the entire row is done. 
If you are unsure that your stitches are on the right height you can fold the smocked part and compare.

First two rows are done!
Time to start the next row, from the beginning. A new thread is going up in pleat number one. One cm under row number two. And make a stitch with pleat one and two. 

And down inside the fabric to row number four. And make a stitch with pleat number two and three. And then up inside pleat number three and make a stitch with pleat number three and four. 

Be sure that all the layers of the edge lay together. Its possible to pull a little under the edge like this to get all the layers tightened together. 

But just pull it with the needle, dont put the stitch down here...

Around, tightened, and back around twice. 
Follow the thread with your fingers, to make sure the ends up where you want them. Sometimes this happends...

Then I make another stitch on top of the two I already made. 
Make sure the drawstring is tightened now and then. Its easier to work if your pleats are tight. 
When all four rows are done it should look something like this from the right side.

And something like this on the reverse side.

Now you can take the drawstrings out. We are going to place a lining on the reversed side of the smock. This makes it more firm, helping the smock to hold its shape. And hide the reverse side. 

Cut a piece of the same linen. Mine is 4,5 cm widh and 46,5 cm long. Fold the sides and the top in like this.

If your smock is long and you are going to attach it to a shorter lining its a good idea to measure where the middle is, so that your smock is getting even when attached. Now we dont need to do that. The lining is attached to the smock with whip stitches. On stitch in a pleat, one stitch in the lining. But leave the sides open. We are going to put ties in here.

And the bottom.

I put the whip stitches in each pleat. This makes them stay in place. 

 And we have a lining!

The ties are put in and the side is sewn together. 

And this is how it look when this stage is done.

And the apron is done!

A just finished smock is among the most beautiful things I know.

Its not that easy to describe this as I thought. I think I have taken photos of all the steps and when sitting down at the computer to write pictures are still missing. If there is any step that you find difficult please contact me and I will try to help you. This apron will now be in my etsy-store.