stitchwhich: (Default)
This evening I taught/led a workshop on making camp blankets. Quilts, actually, with one side a cotton sheet and the other side flannel and a blanket as the fill. They are handy in that they can be washed & dried at home and two of them face to face make all that you need for a camp bedroll. Sleep with the sheet sides towards you on normal nights and the flannel sides on chillier ones. ^The bottom blanket takes care of the heat-saving padding needed for sleeping on an air mattress.

I was 10 minutes late for my class owing to an accident, I tripped on a very low curb (didn't see the edge) and fell with my hands poorly placed, hyper-extending the left hand's pinky and its neighboring finger while falling on it with all of my 300+lb weight. The pinky snapped like a dry twig just above the first knuckle. The break appears very clean and realigned itself somehow before we reached the Doc-in-a-box which was only two blocks away. It, the next finger, and my wrist, are stabilized now. I'm to call an orthopedic centre in the morning so it can be fully examined and set. Knitting back together will likely take 4-6 weeks... I will go crazy without the use of my dominate hand for so long!

AND I'll be in a cast during our SCA Kingdom's Crown Tourney (which my group is hosting and I am the Royalty Liaison for) as well as during the weekend of a Viking-era Norse reenactment I promised to attend since the focus is on the women's world of Norse life. That is going to be up in the air until I can figure out if I can plausibly hide the cast and more importantly do any kind of women's work one-handed with my non-dominate hand. while also forgoing my glasses. That might be too much for me, truly.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I am definitely slower about posting entries but aren't we all, pretty much?

Viking demo cooking stuff )
stitchwhich: (viking snob)
I'll probably write more about his weekend later but I'm wading through five days of email messages and this is just a quick break. Brought to you by a recent message from one of the guys who was a guest in our living history demo area and who went home with a recipe I gave him for a snack I'd brought to feed the group (I was the cook for the group this time. As pretty much normal.)

So... one of our guest groups told us that they had a guy who only had a Norman kit. We changed our timeline to the early 11th century in order to allow for a Norman to be interacting with Viking Norse. And we set it at a "thynge" in the Isle of Mann, just in case we had any other suprises from either of our two guest groups. In honor of our Norman, I made a little snack from a recipe found in a book I had not actually recorded (Drat. Darn. And I need to remember to go through the various source books and find that stupid provenance). All I had at the top of my entry was "from the Norman section", which leads me to think that it may be in Jaqui Wood's latest book. Wait. I couldn't stand it and I went looking. Yes, It is on page 36 of her "Tasting the Past" book. And I made an error with it as the recipe is supposed to be dated post-Crusade, which takes it out of our era by 40 years.


Everyone who ate it loved it. Except for me, actually. And I ended up sharing the recipe with five people during the event, including one visitor who snuck a bite of it while we conspicuously looked in the other direction, who fished for a piece of paper and a pen to get me to write it down for her. Another woman, a very sweet 18th century reenactor who came to us twice to share her shortbread (yum) did the same... over the last few hours the wonder of its popularity and the rather constant raves about it keep surfacing in my mind.

Take equal parts almonds, pistachios, and (one half) dates. Crush them separately then combine the just-larger-than-meal results. Cut in the same amount of butter as you had of chopped dates, then add enough breadcrumbs to gain a stiff dough. Shape the dough into small balls and if you wish, roll those balls through a bit of fine sugar. Ta-da! Very Expensive (for the times) Norman "powerballs".* Conjectural recipe only, of course.

And apparently very, very popular. I promised the Austlandr that I'd bring it back next year - now what am I going to do, knowing that it was based on later-period wartimes?

*And even more weird for me was that I mis-read the recipe, which had a rather large amount of breadcrumbs in the list of ingredients, and combined everything, including all those crumbs, before adding in the butter. Which was in no way sufficient to bind everything. Neither was doubling the amount of butter, which led to me cussing a moment and folding in two eggs then dumping the whole mess into a shallow baking pan and baking at 325 degrees for 20 minutes until it was just starting to separate from the sides of the pan. It was still moist enough two days later to be chewy but not too sticky. We just cut it into little 'cakes' sort of like Rice Crispy Treats and served it up.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
I have blistered one finger by doing too much hand-sewing intensely. We travelled yesterday from our area to the District of Colombia to attend a meeting (read: hang with our Horde Brothers) and while we travelled I sat in the backseat of the car and stitched away at some white linen that I am going to use as an apron-tie during my up-coming Viking demo next weekend. The linen is very nicely dense but that meant that I had to use a lot of pressure to work the needle out of the fabric. And man, are the roads awful in their dis-repair! Four and a half hours of sewing in the car followed by about 6 hours at the meeting. I had to stop and set it aside during the trip home. But by our return I had the apron-belt finished as well as 2/3 of the headwrap I will need. (Thanks, guys, for deciding that the Viking Camp will feature people from the early eleventh century so the only woman in camp, who by the way is your cook - might wanna think about keeping her happy, eh? - will have to give up her hangerroc and brooches, you know, the fun stuff to wear, and dress as a Good Christian Lady. Bor-rrr-RING!) Luckily for me, the day promises to be not-so-warm so I won't sweat to death with my head covered completely up by miles of linen.

Tonight while watching television with Da Boss for an hour, I pulled out my sewing and finished the head wrap. I thought that my finger felt a little more sore than it should and decided to stop for the rest of the evening. That was a good decision. A blister has now risen underneath what looks like a developing callus. No wonder it was sore. Oops. I should back down from any hand-sewing until it heals but there is still the apron itself which needs to be edged on all four sides. Thank goodness it's just a large rectangle. I guess I could hold off on finishing it until I got home from the demo and just wear it 'raw', but then I'd be afraid to wash the thing before I could complete the stitching. So that finger better heal quickly. I gots work to do!

I've been winnowing down my list of foods to prepare for the demo. I am to feed 14 Viking-era reenactors breakfast and lunch. They're on their own for dinner as most of them are hotelling it anyway at night. I won't be - I'll be sleeping in one of my tents. Our group leader promised sausages. I rolled my eyes at that one as he hadn't actually consulted me when he started making promises to our two guest groups - I don't even know if sausages were eaten by the Norse during that time! Yay, leader! (He also promised Scotch Eggs but I drew metaphoric blood from him on that one.) So far this is what I've got planned, keeping in mind that this is to be visible to the tourists:

Available during the day:
Dried cherries, plums, apricots (not many of those of course) and raisins
Walnuts & hazelnuts
hard-boiled eggs which are going to be SO COOL because I'm getting them from a guy who is raising heritage chickens and the eggs he has are white, tan, dark brown, light blue, darker blue, pinkish, and teal. No, really - teal!
Apples (Lady apples), cucumbers, and pears (Bosch? I'm not really sure which type to bring)
Breads, white cheeses, butter, lingonberry jam and honey

That should keep everyone going and show well to the tourists.

Breakfast, I think, will be mystron (barley cooked in beef broth) one day and oats cooked in water & blackberry juice with apples and honey the next. (I'm bringing canned balckberries since I won't have to keep them cold, and figured I might as well take advantage of the juice by putting it in with the sweet breakfast. I think some of the guys are going to balk about the mystron so I am planning on pre-cooking a lot of bacon and setting it out at the same time so the grumpy ones can snack on that while they get their courage up to eat a non-sweet morning dish. Or maybe I'll take pity on them and pack in a few raw eggs to be scrambled.

Lunch is going to be sausages (sigh) with stewed parsnips & carrots on Saturday followed by blackberries in cream. The next day will be meat pies (small ones, actually. I'm using empanada wrappers and filling them in advance. They should be easy for the cooks to fry in a bit of oil in the big pot. And we might try simply heating them on the frying pan since they are so small), celery stewed in chicken broth with onions, mushrooms, & young peas (or else bean soup - I haven't decided), griddle cakes made with walnut flour & fruit bits, followed by skyr mixed with berries or honey, as they'd like.

I think that should do it, both for combining protein & carbs, as well as being somewhat interesting to see by the tourists. I'm not doing any of the cooking over the fire, as it has been determined that I'm not safe without my glasses, so I have to make sure that the cooking will be easy to do by non-specialists. But I'm bringing a 'farby tent' and inside of that I'll have a coleman stove where I can do some of the cooking that my 'kitchen helpers' (everyone is tasked with 2 hours a day helping me) can't handle at the fire. Plus this time, for the first time, I can actually wash the dishes without having to wait for nightfall and the tourists to leave. That is going to be a huge relief! I'm bringing my normal camp kitchen's washing pans and can take care of all of that out of sight. Thank goodness.
stitchwhich: (Lego Viking Woman)
There is an Icelandic (Viking era) story about a serving woman who owns a wonderful set of bed linens and blankets and who makes everyone promise to honor her wish to have them buried with her when she dies... her mistress decided not to honor the servingwoman's wishes and keeps the linens, and a series of horrible things start to happen (the servingwoman's coffin won't mount on the horse they want to use to take it to her family's burial area, at one house along the route, the homeowner refuses to honor the burial party as he should with feasting and comfortable sleeping and is awakened by noise in his hall only to come out and find that the men are being served by an unknown woman, who is cooking food for them - it turns out to be the servantwoman. That wakes him slam up and he accedes to custom and honors the burial party as he should...

does any of this sound familiar? I'd like to brush up on the story so I can scare little kiddies with it at the demo Austlandr are doing next month.
stitchwhich: (Default)
"...a PhD student in archeology, Daniel Serra, who is conducting similar experiments this summer at the Lofoten Viking museum, and blogging them at "

Gunnvor (Viking Answer Lady) posted the message to the Norsefolk2 list and I don't want to lose the links.
stitchwhich: (viking snob)
I'm gearing up to attend a Vikings-era training session/demo in a couple of weeks* and thoughts of historical accuracy have been high on my mind. I'm going into a hostile environment, in a way, as some of the people who will be there and in charge hate, with a passion born of thwarted power-plays, the group I am a member of (Vikings North America) (yes, [ profile] penguininarmor, She Who Will Not Be Named But Whose Initials Are "LR" will be there as a primary resource/assessor) and (of course) they all despise the SCA**.

For the most part, barring politics, their hatred of other groups is expressed in terms of 'poor authenticity'. A fairly common tactic in the Re-enactment communities. You simple point at the folks in the target group doing the least-historically correct stuff and use them as your yardstick to measure the group as a whole while ignoring your own slackers/newcomers. I'm used to it, if not amused more often than indignant.

So why am I noodling about this now? I want to talk, philosophically, about carrots.

Yes, carrots. )
*Assuming I can motive myself somehow. The Little Season of allergies is kicking my hinney. I can't think worth a tinker's dam and the idea of driving 5 hours or more to get to what I've committed to is kicking my butt. I now understand why people move to other climes "for their health". Would that I could.

**Higly amusing since most of the expert reenactment sources they cite are from SCA folks doing exemplary work.

Read more... )
stitchwhich: (taking note)
I'm pretty sure, after getting worse as the day progressed, that I have the flu. Which I appreciate since it comes hard, yes, but like March, leaves easy. And much quicker than a cold does.

I've been whiling my hours of grumpiness/sleeplessness away online. I've found (and purchased after getting Arni's opinion) a new camping mattress. This one. It holds up to 450lbs and will fit inside my little Viking tent. Supposedly it's practically impervious to punctures and has no 'stretched plastic' sag. Amazon had it for about $90, which is a lovely low price and included free shipping. Who was I to argue? My only complaint is the patterning of the thing. Camo. Ugh. But as I plan on creating a linen slipcover for it, I won't have to see that for very long. I need it by the first weekend in April so I can camp at "The Battle of Clontarf" up in Havre de Grace, MD. I expect it will be a tad cold there during the night but between my tiny tent, my sheepskin cover and my handy-dandy Coleman propane heater I an gonna be snug as a bug in a rug.

I've been enjoying web-browsing in between bouts of playing catch-up with eLists gone too long ignored. Like what I can read here, a museum weblog that I learned about after reading of someone's search for Viking-era toys. One entry in the blog had a picture of two dolls in it and although those were not what I was looking for, well, there were all these other neat entries and then I was caught. It has been really fun to browse. Especially since so much of it has to do with their Egyptian collection.

And then there's This English-usage site with tests and fun stories about the uses and antecedents of English words.

That should keep me silent ('cause my throat really hurts) and happy (don't come near me, I'm a really grumpy sore meanie right now) until this flu passes.

[edit] This is prety darn handy too:

[more editing] And thanks to [ profile] pearl my new screen saver is this:

stitchwhich: (viking snob)

A guide to Old Norse grammer on one sheet of paper - rather like a page out of those nifty "501 verbs in _____" books I used for German and Spanish.
stitchwhich: (trampoline elephant)
Right now I'm in a serious state of YouTube appreciation...

naalbinding video:

That seems pretty clear to me. I think I can do it. (I'm all excited. Yeah, it doesn't take much.)
stitchwhich: (penguin)
This weekend I went to a Viking reenactment demo... and sunburned my hands. Yup. Isn't that weird? I sunburned my face the next day... bad enough that I can't really move my chin without some pain but not so bad that it won't fade in a day or two. I hope. The burns on my hands are worse and look very, very strange. At least I can't see my freckles there anymore. Too bad that will change after the fading. :)

Danrr and Isabel made it to the demo. We were in a not-very-well-thought-out area - the central picnic area of a private permanent RV park. So the grass was very green and very thick, the bathrooms clean and with lovely hot water in the showers (not that I cared, I had a hotel room) and the place was practically unfindable by festival-goers, who were at the main site a half a mile away. So those of us who did not do battle-work stayed in our little Viking Quad (we had a good number of tents) and geeked with each other all weekend. Linda cooked for all of us at the fire pit (wow) and put out a huge spread of nibbles. Roasted pig and chicken, scotch eggs, barley soup with lamb and bear meat (!?)... all sorts of protein to balance the greens and fruits. Me, I embroidered (see "burned my hands") in the sun. We had occassional clumps of visitors but not enough to go from 'laid back' to 'on stage'. A reporter came by in the early hours and took pictures - Isabel and I made the front page in a big ole color photo. I could have been happier if it had just been her. :(

Dannr did chasework by the fire and wire-weaving when the piece he was working on was actually in the fire (something about the pattern needing to be burned off). The folks who came from Toronto were a hoot. Linda tried to teach Kelly (fm Toronto) how to naalbind and the screams had the rest of us being extremely silly. I believe once I yelled back "don't push! It's not time yet!". She, ah, enjoyed vocalising. Yeah, I think that's a good way to put it. Our visitor/fighting instructor from England, Thorbiorn, was a very pleasant man who seemed to be surprised every time we said something that didn't show we were ignorant savages. That was amusing. And the standards of the Hasting-focussed groups did surprise me - they were our 'authenticity arbitrators' yet were still wearing tunics with gores made of other colors... and only one layer of clothing. Yet insisted that every piece of clothing have a bit of embroidery on it. Very strange. But then - that's what is fun about getting together with other folks. Comparing their conclusions to your own and learning from each other.

It was fun. Watching the Brit go through the sampler-pack of "American Microbrewery beers" was VERY fun. So was watching the Canadians escape to the ocean every evening (it was on the other side of the bathhouse).
stitchwhich: (Default)
It's 3am. I don't care. I have achieved leather Viking(sort of) handsewn boots. Granted, they look like Jorvik boots as interpreted by Dr. Denton (I have to suppress the urge to attach pajamas to them) but still, they're sewn, fit my feet, and are presently tight enough that I'm a tad worried about getting them over the naalbinded socks when I really wear them (as opposed to commercial socks when I tried them on). This is good. Maybe they won't slid off my feet during the weekend.

I have shoes. I can't say, "I'll never do this again" because I have the parts for a *real* pair all cut out, thanks to Aldis, so I'll be sewing at least one more pair. But I can guarentee it won't be anytime soon.

For that matter, I won't be sewing anything any time soon. I figure it will take the popped blisters about a week, maybe a week and a half, to heal well enough for me to be sewing. Better stick with that 'week and a half' since I'll be doing embroidery all during the demo on Saturday - women who wear glasses don't get up and mix with the masses. Really. (Hey! I saw you wince! Did I *ever* say I was a poet?) So anyway, sitting still for 10 hours and sewing. Hum. For this, I'm leaving home? *grin* You betcha. It's gonna be fun.

Dang. Bet if I have to take my glasses off, I'm going to have to take the bandaids off my finger tips too. I need to pack replacements. (All of Arni's are latex ones. I can't use those. Damned allergy.)(Store Trip!) (Sleep first?) (Good idea. Glad you thought of it. It's darn dark out there right now!)

Arni is a God - he repaired all the mold/mildew damage on Finnr's tent poles... they look almost brand new. If they can't be stored inside when I go to return the tent, I'm going to ask if I can store them for the Camp. Arn worked three days on cleaning that mess up.

I have shoes! isn't that cool?

I gotta ask

Jan. 9th, 2006 11:04 am
stitchwhich: (Default)
What the heck is this thing with folks wearing their coronets on top of a coif while wearing their finery, some of them *women*???? WHAT is with that?

And while I'm having a grumpy moment... I'm gonna kill whoever it is that is teaching Viking-women garb makers to make those big honking straps as if they're wearing OshKoshB'Gosh overalls. Phooey. If straps were that wide (none have shown up yet), there'd be no need for the brooch!

Okay. Thank you for letting me get that off my chest. I'm far enough down the purist path that it just jars me as bad as seeing a Tuchux at 12thNight would. (now THAT would be cold, cold, cold - especially if they were smokers!)
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