Jewellery purchases from the Turku Medieval Market

A pendant in the style of one of the Gotland Crystal pendants.

A pendant in the style of one of the Gotland Crystal pendants.

In my last blog post I mentioned some of the jewellery purchases I made at the Turku Medieval Market, (Keskiaikaiset markkinat), and today I’ll do my show-and-tell about what I ended up buying from the two vendors I mentioned.

Nordens Historiska Fynd

Most of the items I added to my Viking bling-kit are from Nordens Historiska Fynd. Their booth had an excellent clerk who was very helpful, and who let me know that many of their items were listed on their website with information about where the originals were from, inspiring their replicas.

Continue reading

Viking Age textiles

Drop spindle whorl decorated with runic letters

Drop spindle whorl decorated with runic letters

In a previous post I looked at some of the textile-related (and actual textiles!) from Iceland’s Viking / Settlement Age while discussing Needle Coiling / Nålbinding. This post will be about some of the other textile-related finds at the National Museum in Iceland.

The spindle whorl above is from Hruni in south Iceland. “It is inscribed with runes which read: I belong to þóra. In the early 13th century a certain þóra was mistress of Hruni; she is mentioned in Sturlunga saga”. Continue reading

Needle cases – museum finds

Needles and a needle case in the needle coiling display

Needles and a needle case in the needle coiling display

In a previous post I showed off a needle case and needles that were part of the needle coiling display at the Iceland National Museum in Reykjavik. Since I’m showing off a lot of my photos thematically (rather than in the order they were in at the museum) I wanted to take this time to look at a few of the other needle cases (and the displays that accompanied them).

Like the one with the needle coiling display, I was surprised to see how small the needle cases were. Continue reading

Viking Age Needle Coiling / Nålbinding

 

Textile fragment

Textile fragment

While I’m still posting photos from my trip to Iceland, I’ll now head back to the Iceland National Museum, and focus the topic on textiles.

First up, the photos above and below are of a mitten done by Needle Coiling, or Nålbinding / Naalbinding. (In the museum they described it as Needle Coiling, though generally it looks like people who are interested in the topic are comfortable with the term Nålbinding.)

I’ve actually had the chance to try this, and it was quite interesting – very different from knitting or crochet, but a similar kind of idea, using strands of yarn (or other materials) to create non-woven fabric. One of the nice features of Nålbinding is that if the fabric is cut, it won’t unravel easily. If done in wool, it can also be fulled or felted (which shrinks the garment) to make it even more dense, and subsequently more water/cold resistant. (Wool has excellent properties for wet and cold to begin with!)

Textile fragment

Textile fragment

The photo above is of a mitten made “with the needle coiling technique, of early medieval date. Unearthed in East Iceland” according to the write up by the display.

There were a few exhibits of needles and pins – the little needles on the lower right side are bronze (though modern Nålbinding enthusiasts use bone and wood as well, but these materials would be less likely to survive. The larger pins used for holding garments together are bone and bronze.

I also loved the bronze needle case – and was astonished how tiny it was – I made a ‘fake’ needle case to hang from my work-in-progress Viking brooches (which actually holds my lip gloss! – Photo in my Crafting Viking Brooches post) but this needle case diameter is about half as wide (not including the external rings) and just slightly shorter.  I think my temporary option works OK for the time being – but I would be interested in improving upon it with a nice replica! The display write up says that the needle holder is “from heathen times or early Middle Ages”.

Needles and a needle case

Needles and a needle case

Here’s a photo of the pins, needles, and needle case from above. You can see that the needle case is subtly decorated too.

There’s also a copper item on the right hand side, it’s “believed to be from a belt” according to the museum description, and is “engraved with a tendril or interlace”.

Needles and a needle case

Needles and a needle case

Below is another textile fragment, and the museum display describes it as a shoe made from woven (twill by the looks of things) cloth “found in a burnt deposit” at a monastic site in Northern Iceland. It’s believed “to date from a fire in the monastery in 1429” CE.

Textile fragment

Textile fragment

National Museum of Iceland
www.nationalmuseum.is
Suðurgata 41, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
+354 530 2200