In June and July 2017 I was in Finland again (along with a side-trip to Estonia!). One of the highlights of my trip was a visit to the Turku Medieval Market, (Keskiaikaiset markkinat) – apparently the largest medieval market in Finland.
With the encouragement of readers on my Facebook page, I decided to take one of my Viking Age costumes to go explore the market on it’s first day. Over the next few posts I’ll share some of the demonstrations and market stalls at the market. If you’re coming to my blog long after I’ve posted, you can see all of these posts by reading the Turku Medieval Market tag!
While my trip included fabric shopping at Finnish fabric store chain Eurokangas, I was excited to see some lovely fabrics for sale at the Medieval Market as well.
The first booth was along the river, in an area that transitioned from sort of an international food fair to craft show, to the medieval market… The seller had a set of large tables with various goods, and then this smaller tent with fabrics.
I did find some lovely blue-grey wool, and some grey twill of unknown fibre content (by feel I’d guess wool, but it might have been a blend, since sometimes that’s deceptive just by touch), but decided not to purchase right away. If I had more room in my suitcase I might have been less hesitant! The only thing I didn’t love about her booth was that none of the rolls of fabric were marked with fibre content or price. I don’t like asking the price of every item I’m interested in… it makes me less likely to move past the first or second thing that catches my eye.
The second stall I found was deep into the medieval market proper, and was very impressive indeed – they had a whole huge tent with wooden floors, and then side tables with even more merchandise.
They had a number of furs for sale – mostly sheep and alpaca, and I thought the prices were VERY good compared to what I’ve paid for sheepskins here in Calgary. Their linen was also very reasonable, ( 7.50€/meter, pictured at the top of this post) and they had some silk too – but what really caught my eye was the wool….
That’s right – not just twill wool, but DIAMOND TWILL – which I never find here in Calgary, and rarely see for a decent price online. At 24€/meter it wasn’t cheap, but it WAS affordable to get a few meters for an apron dress (plus I’ll use EVERY scrap for trim!) I really wish I had more room in my suitcase as well, because I was torn between a heavier weight tan/brown diamond twill and a lighter weight blue/navy diamond twill, and if I had more room in my suitcase I would have bought a few meters of each!
This booth also had a nice assortment of jewellery, baskets, pouches, and accessories along with other things, and I’ll share some of my other purchases in another post. Unfortunately, this stall didn’t have a business card or any way of ordering from them from a distance. There were a few possible vendors from the Market’s list of vendors, but the two I thought might have been them (Odin’s Spear / Krystian Szczepanski or Paulus Pirjo)- neither had websites or contact information. If I knew who they were – I’d share that for sure!
Unfortunately, both the Turku Medieval Market, (Keskiaikaiset markkinat) and Tuska Festival (a heavy metal festival in Helsinki) are huge attractions for me, and are both on the same weekend. This means that it’s only possible to visit the market on Thursday, before taking the train to Helsinki for the Friday-Saturday-Sunday metal festival. This is why I missed the market the last time I was in Finland in the summer. Next time I think I’ll make a point of saving more room in my suitcase for bringing home fabrics, and hope that they return with more diamond twill!