Wednesday, November 3, 2010

New Project--Vendel Garb!

Amalie, who is responsible for the wonderful blog Adventures in Tablet Weaving, recently wove a band based on Snartemo V as part of a demonstration of use of continuous warp technique. The band did not meet her exacting standards, and she said in her blog:

I don't really know what I'm going to do with this band. It has quite a few mistakes in it in the section I did first. I don't know if it's known what the Snartemo V fragments or any of the related finds were used for. If anyone out there can convince me that they're making 7th century Norwegian Viking garb, you can have it.

Since my tablet weaving is nowhere near as skillful as hers, I commented on Amalie's blog, saying that though I've never made 7th century Norwegian garb before, I've made plenty of Viking era garb, and I'd be willing to take a crack at making a 7th century outfit if I had the band. So she agreed to send it to me! (Thanks again, Amalie!)

Now I'm looking forward to seeing a wonderful band, woven of wool in a period design, and thinking about what to do with it.  The band is about 60 cm long, enough to trim the neckline and sleeves of a tunic, so I will make a wool tunic (I think it needs to be wool, since the band is wool)  as the foundation of my outfit.  For the past few days, I've been thinking about what color of wool I should use for the tunic. I can buy periwinkle blue wool flannel (a web company I've patronized has some on sale right now) but that color doesn't seem appropriate. I see this tunic as a best tunic for a noble of not quite royal quality, so in my opinion a deep or vibrant color is called for. I can also get yellow or deep orange wool flannel on sale, but I don't look good in yellow and orange also doesn't seem right (especially because the band has true red in it.) I have some dark blue wool that I've been saving for my (proposed) Birka outfit, but I don't want the two tunics to be of the same fabric even if I have enough of the blue for both. I can also obtain light gray flannel, but am wondering whether that color would be special enough for this project.  Maybe it would be a reasonable compromise.

In addition to the tunic, I think there is justification for an overdress.  Martin Rundkvist's article indicates that tortoise-shaped brooches were already worn in the Vendel period, though they tended to be smaller and either plain or featured incised decoration, often in the form of a crouching animal. His article does not say whether any textile fragments (loops or otherwise) were associated with any of the Vendel era brooches, but I can contact him through his blog and see whether he will answer that question for me. If no loops or fragments were found, I could wear the new tunic with a simple peplos and fasten that peplos with featureless tortoise brooches--I know of two metal workers who sell such items. That, with simple turnshoes (my existing ones are sufficiently generic that they would do) and a shawl (ditto) would complete the costume.

Yes, I know that I have a ton of non-progressing projects already, but this idea is more exciting! I will of course report on my progress.

EDIT:  I have since learned that a sword was found in Snartemo grave V, suggesting that the bits of tablet weaving found in that grave belonged to a man's clothing.  No matter.  It seems likely that high-ranking women used similar bands on their clothing.

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