I’m not entering a title, though. I’m not. Because today is somehow… weird. I did manage to get a stack of stuff done, most of it in preparation for the next fairs, but I’m still feeling way behind, and would have liked to be much, much faster. Story of my life.

Parts of that stack of stuff done today include:

Updating and printing my spinning instructions. (While the downloadable version is available for free through my shop, you get the printed-out instructions in the spinning kit, so I need to print some more from time to time).

Getting together with Gillian for a chat – we’re planning a crossover blog interview in celebration of the Beast’s release as paperback, and it was my turn to get interviewed. I’ll have the pleasure of pestering Gillian with questions next week, and you will see the results here on the blog.

Taking photos of the oil lights in action. I’m still totally in love with these things – they have been produced for ages (the three-bladed swimmer has been made, unchanged, since 1808) and they are just so incredibly nice to use, both for atmospheric lighting and for keeping your tea hot. However, the concept of using these swimmers is rather forgotten today, so people often stand in front of the swimmers at my table, looking puzzled. So I obviously need some explanatory thing to sit around on my stall table at a fair – and this, also obviously, needs photographs.


Atmospheric lighting. With a wineglass, a bit of water and some oil… and the swimmer, of course.


Keeping tea hot. Because life is better with tea, and tea is better when hot. Obviously, right?

Actually that was the main bits I did today, as these things all tend to eat up more time than you’d guess at first. (Photos, in particular. Never underestimate the amount of time needed to take good photos – especially if they involve tricky lighting conditions. Or gold embroidery.) The rest was eaten up by the usual day-to-day things such as sorting out emails and working on the current paper/presentation projects. And having coffee. Plus tea. Tea was obligatory since I had to take teapot warmer pictures!

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Links for you on this sunny monday!

The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists has issued a statement about the EU referendum and its outcome. Apart from this statement, the whole page is an interesting place to have a look around, if you are interested in archaeology or an archaeologist.

If you are looking for a really, really old tattoo business, you will get lucky in Jerusalem’s Old City, where Razzouk Ink has been doing pilgrim’s tattoos for about 700 years.

Matthäus Schwarz’ Trachtenbuch, showing 16th century dress and fashion as worn by Matthäus, has been published in an English version by Bloomsbury. Read more about it in the NY Review of books or directly at the publisher’s website.


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The 10th Experimental Archaeology Conference will be held in Leiden, Netherlands, on April 20-22 2017. The Call for Papers is still open until September 1, so if you’d like to offer a presentation, you should do so soon.

The Virtual Library for Art, arthistoricum.net, has a full-text server called ART-Dok, made available by Heidelberg University Library. It offers members of the academic community worldwide the opportunity to publish their texts in electronic format on the internet at no charge. As for now, it provides free full-text access to 4,194 publications. You can also do fulltext searches through the texts. Intrigued? Go here to find the publications archive.

Textilis has a blog post about transferring embroidery designs in the 18th century.

The paper about the dyeing experiments done at the European Textile Forum in relation to the Pompeii lead vats, published in EXARC, has now gone open access: Investigating the Influence of the Kettle Material on Dyeing in the Industry of Pompeii.

And finally, totally unrelated and only here because of its sheer weirdness – did you know that there was a trend to dye armpit hair in bright colours, a while ago? I didn’t, until this morning…

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There’s been a nice surprise in the garden – suddenly, a red-blooming flower appeared:


We didn’t plant this, and we certainly didn’t expect it – but it is very welcome in its beauty. It’s also blooming at a time when there is not so much else colourfully flowering around, so it is doubly welcome. Looking at the leaves, it might also have brought some friends in the same bed, though they are still a little shy and not showing any signs of a flower stem… yet. Maybe next year.

It’s not looking quite as lovely and happiness-inducing on the peach tree: Of all the flowers and subsequent tiny little peaches, there is only one single peach left.


So I’m hoping that this one will continue going strong – that would mean a harvest of one peach, at last, some time later this year. Which would delight me no end!

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I did mention that I did some knitting on the evenings after the fair, right?

I have now progressed into the last of the charts, and everything is lining up nicely – I’m quite happy with how the two-colour version looks. There are similar stitch patterns with passed-over stitches and yarnover holes in the first part of the shawl and in this last part, so the colour change kind of reflects the change in pattern.

The last chart. Yaaay! If only the rows weren't so long...

The last chart. Yaaay! If only the rows weren’t so long…

As usual with lace, it all sits rather tightly on the needles, and as the rows have grown, it is now becoming hard to stretch it out, even partly, to admire the look it will have when blocked.


A few more rows to go, and then the crochet bind-off. And then… I will have a new, lovely, orange shawl to wrap around me when the days get cooler.

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Fellow archaeologist (among other things) Gertrude Bell, a very adventurous lady, might finally get her own museum.

The Fitzwilliam museum has a new exhibition called “Colour: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts“.

Satima Flavell has mentioned The Middle Ages Unlocked in an interview. Actually, she has praised it – it’s always so good to hear that this little book is doing its job!

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I’m back home from the forum lanarum, which was lovely – there were lots of very nice visitors, the organisers were incredibly well-organised and nice and helpful, the workshop room had plenty of tables and was light and spacious, and there was a coffee source just a few metres from the stall. Margit and I also got to have delicious food in the evening and enjoy wonderful, sunny and summery weather, plus relaxing knitting time – so there was absolutely nothing to complain about, and plenty of things to make us happy.


My booth at the forum lanarum, with the tables crammed full of stuff – as usual…

I even got to have a corner table. I like corner tables – especially as people look at one part, then think they have seen it all, move on and – surprise! – there is even more around the corner. Makes me grin every time.

Another reason to be happy: Today is release date for The Middle Ages Unlocked in its paperback incarnation. The hardcover book has done well enough to get a paperback sister – so my and Gillian’s thanks to all of you who bought a copy of The Beast and made this possible!

And now… I am going to go celebrate!

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