Sunday, September 11, 2016

Starting Over

It's no secret that I haven't managed to complete a historical costuming project yet this year.  Part of that is that this winter and spring were rough on me--I spent six weeks being sick, and nearly two weeks straight dealing with taxes (which took place while I was recovering from being sick), and then preparing for, and enjoying, our summer vacation. 

My first nalbinding project from years ago; a hat!  
Part of the problem was that at the time I got sick I didn't have a pending project that I could easily pick up and work on a bit at a time (which is how most of my costuming work, historically, has gotten done). So, in the hopes that something Brand New would inspire me, I decided to start a simple project, namely, a hairnet to be made using sprang, a textile art I'd never tried before.

Unfortunately, my attempt to learn and work sprang occurred in late February/early March, and shortly thereafter was when I got sick.  

This  weekend, I finally decided to attack my costuming malaise by making a fresh start on something I find less intimidating--nalbinding. The motivation here was to be able to use a new booklet by Susanna Broome and Iduna Sundarp I have just ordered that contains instructions on how to nalbind your own version of three Viking Age nalbinded finds.  This would allow me (I hope) to eventually make my own Viking socks, something I've wanted to do for a long time now.  In fact, that was why I picked up nalbinding in the first place.  

Years ago (long before I started this blog), I mastered enough basic nalbinding to do a passable Mammen stitch, make a slightly wonky beret with a ton of mistakes, and attempt a pair of mittens.  When I picked up my needle again, I discovered that it was pretty simple for me to relearn how to start and how to do the stitch, but I ended up wrestling with the fine art of pivoting (turning your stitch around so that you can start connecting to the first set of stitches you've done).  Fortunately, the tangled mess of yarns from my sprang experiment is useful for attempting nalbinding, since nalbinding is done with pieces of yarn, not a continuous thread.

I think I've finally re-learned pivoting well enough that I can make some sense of instructions about how to construct a sock or mitten, and my stitching is more even than it was the first time around.   In the spirit of new beginnings, I've ordered some yarn for my new project.  Though I haven't decided whether I'm going to try to make mittens or socks, I found some lovely colored yarn that was on sale cheap at an on-line yarn store, and couldn't resist getting some.

I still intend to go back to my sprang project (especially if business continues to be slow for me), but I would like to finally complete my learning of nalbinding and celebrate it with a lovely project.  


  1. "that was on sale cheap at an on-line yarn store, and couldn't resist getting some...."

    In 2008, friends of mine and I drove down to Illinois for an estate sale. Beautiful Victorian house, three stories. The woman who'd lived in it lived in four rooms on the first floor. With two rooms in addition for her craft projects.

    Every room on the second and third floor was filled with shelved and cataloged yarn. My friends were ecstatic, because apparently there was cashmere and alpaca and other Very Good Stuff. And it was all being liquidated by the estate sale company at 50 cents per skein.

    I suggested that it might be cheaper -- even at 50 cents a skein -- to just make an offer on the house and all its contents...

    They weren't really going to drop me off at a Greyhound Station to have more volume in their Prius to drive back.

    I think.

  2. This wasn't 50 cents a skein, it was more like $2.70 a skein, but still a good price.

    And anyway, I'm looking for basic 100% wool, not cashmere or alpaca. The Vikings didn't have alpaca or cashmere. :-)