Somehow, the start of a new year is always special – even though it’s just an arbitrary change in the number at the end of the date. I usually get a surge of motivation to clear out old things and take care of a few overdue projects, and try fresh starts on things that somehow petered out over time.

Which means that I am trying to get a bit more of a semblance of order in the cupboard that holds tools and materials, and trying to clear the desk at least partly again. There’s a few more nooks and crannies that could use a going through and a throwing out, too. I’ve also gone back to tracking what I eat for a while, as all the travelling in the last few months has somehow whacked my sense of how many things to eat at what time out of alignment, and now I’m getting that back, too. Also, all the coffee (with milk, of course!) and a few more of a small thing here or there, in combination with travelling and stress and probably also way too much wheat have resulted in a weight slightly above what I like, so that is getting under control again at the same time. Whew.

Getting things back as they should be and being more orderly is not, by the way, my new year’s resolution. I’m not doing the “I will do X in the next year” thing, actually – instead, I like to use the allover feeling of a possibility for a fresh start that the new year brings to try something new, or to do something better than before. That is sort of tied in with said motivational surge, and sometimes things did stick and sometimes they did not, but I am not beating myself up about them if the latter was the case.

I’m curious to find out how far the motivational surge will get me this year, as it, too, invariably peters out after a while. But then, I’m used to that, and I am determined to make the most out of it while it lasts!

Do you have a surge like this, too? Or do you do the classic New Year Resolution thing?

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Not only is the sweater coming along and almost finished, the Bernuthsfeld tunic is, too!

The last reconstructed patches have gone in (or on, depending), and the only things left to take care of are the still not completely clear finish of the neck area as well as the hems at the bottom and at the sleeves. Otherwise, it is finally done – and most of the bits that looked dodgy or not quite as they should at some stage did fit together beautifully at the end.

That was a lot of rough stitching with wool yarn, I can tell you! The result, though – I find it rather nice. It definitely is something way, way out of the ordinary way people dressed in the Early Middle Ages.

Here’s the reconstructed tunic from the front, as it looks now, with the yet unfinished hems and neck:

tunic_front

And this is the view from the back:

tunic_back

So that is as good as done, too. Whew!

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Over the last weeks, I’v finally gotten around to get some more knitting done, too, taking the needles into hand in the evenings. So after working on it on what feels like ages, my Moyen Age sweater is finally nearing completion – yay!

moyen_age_almost_done

With the shorter sleeves that I opted for and the rather large neck opening (which is part of the pattern), it will be a summer sweater more than a winter thing. It is a pleasantly written pattern, and it was nice-ish to knit. Nice-ish only because I did discover that I don’t care much for sweaters knit all in one piece; I find the huge chunk of stuff it becomes towards the end fairly cumbersome and annoying on the needles. So the next ones will definitely be knit in pieces again; I’ll take the bit of seaming them up over handling a gazillion tons of wool on each round any day.

 

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Well, yes, at some point in time I manage to crawl out from under my comfy rock and actually do things that war the things to do at the moment… like go and watch The Last Jedi. We’d been planning to do that all the while, but first there was this and then that and now we finally managed.

I won’t spoiler sthings, in case you have not seen it yet, but I can tell you I absolutely loved it, and that I found many, many interesting aspects and things in the dialogue. The film brings closure to some open questions, and it also opens up the way for a new beginning, and I do hope the filmmkers will go on in a similar way. I really liked how the characters were portrayed, and that there was not so much black-and-whilte as many subtle hints at things being grey, squishy, and not cut-and-dried at all. Some acts would be fine in some circumstances but not in others. Sometimes it is better to retreat than to fight. And the force… belongs to everyone.

There were a few spots where I found it a little overdone for my taste – the comic relief, in some cases, seemed a little much for me. But that’s just a minor flaw, and I’d happily watch the film again.

Also… I’m looking forward t the next one in the sequence. I have hopes for exciting things to happen. Probably also soome sad things… but that’s how the universe rolls, right?

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Aarhus Press is offering “Warfare and Society ” as the free e-book of the month, looking at the connections between war and society. This is a complex topic, and the book looks at the connections from anthropological, historical, philosophical and political aspects. You can download the book here.

Ask the Past gives you a 1798 recipe for Snowballs – which seem to be baked apples glazed with a baiser-like concoction. It does sound interesting, though the recipe is a bit short on details.

EXAR is having a Call for Papers for the next conference, which will take place in Unteruldingen, September 27-30. You can find the CfP here; the conference used to be rather heavy on the German side regarding the papers, but it has been several years since I was last able to attend due to time conflicts, so that may have changed.

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Work on the shirt is progressing – it’s a rather simple one, oriented in measurements on the tunic reconstruction, and sewn from hand-woven linen. The cloth has a charmingly large number of weaving faults, which is rather nice for a shirt to fit a probably quite poor man, though my stitching is the usual – I realised too late that I might have done larger, sloppier stitches.

It’s fun and a nice feeling, though, to do “proper” seams and hems for a bit after all the many very coarse seams on the tunic itself – which means I’m quite enjoyng myself.

There was a slight, um, complication while cutting, though, in form of not very helpful furry help:

cat_helping

Usually Madame doesn’t care very much about my textile shenanigans, apart from having to sit on every bit of fabric that happens to lie on the floor, but she was especially enthusiastic today, and actually attacked the dangerous moving cloth…It did lose its attraction enough after a while, though, so I could go on and finish my work. Everything is lined up for assembly now, and seams will be kept as simple as possible, so it should be finished soon.

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Did I say back to the usual stuff yesterday? Well, this year is starting off with exciting things only; for one thing, getting the Bernuthsfeld stuff to a close. (There’s just a few more patches to decide upon and to sew in, and the shirt to make. I’ve already cut most of it, and the rest will be done once I get confirmation on the measurements so it will actually fit the figurine. Nothing worse than sewing something and then finding out it won’t go onto the body it is supposed to dress!)

But wait, there’s more!

When I was at NESAT last year, Eva Andersson Strand gave a presentation about one of the current projects at the CTR, called “Capturing our intangible past”. You can read a bit of an introduction on the CTR website.

One of the aims is to get a better idea of craft knowledge and how to capture it. If you’ve ever tried to learn a craft skill from a description in a book, you will know that this can be rather difficult – and the motion capture might be helpful in isolating relevant motions without having too much data. If this works, it might also be a good method to record practical knowledge. There’s still more, though – plans are to combine the motion capture with an EEG to get an idea of brain activity while doing the craft.

The research group is currently focusing on spinning as a craft, and you can imagine my delight on being asked if I’d like to participate in their study. So I’ll be travelling to Lund later this month, to get lots of recording bitsies stuck onto me and to do some spinning. I’m beyond excited, and still can’t believe something this cool is coming my way!

 

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