It’s a bit colder again outside, even though there was more sunshine to make up for it. I’m a little tired and a lot busy with all kinds of writing-related work, which sucks all the creativity out of my brain, so instead of a nice proper blogpost, you are getting today:

One gratuitous Cat Picture.

Here you go:


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There are quite a few things in the works here right now, behind the scenes. For instance, I’ve sent off a huge package of wool to be carded, and I hope that the outcome will be wonderful, and that I will hear about it soon.

When I’m saying huge, by the way, I do mean huge. German post is rather generous in what it lets you send as a parcel in the higher ranges of weight and size, and I did make the most of it. This is the maximum size allowed – 120 by 60 by 60 cm – and I stuffed it chock full with wool. So much wool that I needed a lashing belt to help close it. So much that it was much, much easier to handle with my husband’s help (which he was so nice as to give, as you can see from the picture).


I’m also conspiring with a metalworker to get some more, and some different, pins and needles into my stock. This is still in the starting phase, and we’re working on prototypes and figuring out things, but it already looks promising, and I’m quite excited about this, too.

Finally, my colleague and I are waiting for the last bits to fall into place for the Bernuthsfeld tunic project. As soon as this has happened, we’ll be able to set a date for handing over the tunic and its accompanying bits and pieces – something that I am also looking forward to very much!


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There’s a number of conferences coming up, and I thought you might be interested, so here they come:

African Experimental Archaeology Conference, March 20-22, Johannesburg. More info and registration here.

The 12th North American Textile Conservation Conference will take place in Canada, September 23-29, 2019. Their CfP is now open, and the topic is “Lessons Learned: Textile Conservation – Then and Now”.

There’s a conference on experimental Music Archaeology, April 12-14, in Brandenburg; more info and contact information here.

The CTR in Copenhagen is running a Saxo Summer School programme: “Textiles and Fashion in Theory and Practice through 3000 Years”. It’s a 10-day programme, more info on the CTR homepage.

The Dombauhütte Paderborn will have a bell founding event June 23-29, where a bell of 11th century style will be cast using 1th century methods. More info can be found on the facebook event page and on the Dombauhütte website.


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After the conference is before the conference, or so it is said… I think. Well, it’s true, after all, and planning for the next European Textile Forum has started – we do have a date fixed for the conference, which will be November 5-11, 2018. There is no focus topic fixed yet, though (suggestions are welcome).

We’re also thinking about making a few changes to the conference structure to make it easier for people to attend. As we’d much prefer making things better by knowing exactly what to do, we’ve drawn up a survey to get a better idea of what you like and don’t like, and what you would prefer to see unchanged. If you are interested in the conference, you can help us a lot by going here and filling out the survey. We want to get people together to network – both from the academic and from the practical side. Connecting craft experience with academic research is immensely helpful for both sides, and we’d like to do an even better job at this in the future.

While drawing up the survey, I’ve also finally managed to give the website a long-due overhaul. It now has a nicer, cleaner design; there’s a section with result summaries added, with the first ones already in, and hopefully more to come in the nearer future, and it is now a secure site, using https.

So. Some work done, more to come – and I’m very curious to find out what the survey results will be. The first ones are already in, with some very helpful remarks to think about!

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The inner bag is made from a bright green fleece fabric, consisting of a bottom circle and a fabric tube.


The upper rim of the tube has a stiff black band sewn onto it to keep it open. That whole thing was then stuck into the lion inside the foamed rubber tube, and secured to the bottom of the lion skin in the front and the back.

Then, a bit of the polywool filling went back in, at the front and at the sides of the little guy, to get him back into his rotundish shape.


As a final step, I sewed a band to the sides of the opening for easy carrying, and then stitched the fleece to the outer fabric in the front and to the pocket lining in the back. Two press buttons to close the top of the head when not in use as a bouldering bag, a bit of rubber string that helps the pocket lining to fold when closing the bag, and voilà – a very unique chalkbag:



When closed, it almost looks like before; the only difference is that the forehead is more receding now than it was originally – but that cannot be helped.

Can you tell I had a lot of fun making this?

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Some scrounging around, and I got hold of a flexible strip of plastic that was large enough to bend into a ring – there was the necessary stiffener. After temporarily fixing it with tape, a few drilled holes and some kevlar sewing thread (yes, we have kevlar sewing thread, and it’s really nifty!) make sure it will not fall apart in the future.


The ring is attached to the top of the tube with linen yarn and whipstitch. Of course I ran out of yarn three stitches before the round was closed…

Then it was almost done. Almost… but not quite. There’s some nice, bright green colour missing, I think!

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So the first thing the little limp lion now needed was some sort of lightweight stiffener for the chalkbag itself. Coincidentally, we had some foamed rubber lying around, so that got conscripted, cut into a fitting wide strip, and sewn together to make a tube.


You can see the lion is so excited about this that it has turned itself inside out! It was a very nicely made toy, by the way, with neat and sturdy seams all around.

The inner tube needed to be fixed to the inside of the lion to make sure it stayed in place. Some of that fixing was achieved with a few stitches right at the befginning, the rest was done by stitching the fleece liner to the bottom of the lion skin.

Next step was sewing and attaching a pocket to the inside of the lion’s back. This also serves as lining for the inner back. The pocket is big enough to hold a phone, which is important as our friend likes to take his phone along and snap a pic or two when he’s bouldering.


While mucking about with the lining, it quickly became clear that the foamed rubber will provide enough stiffness vertically, but that the opening would deform too easily… so some stiffening for the upper rim was needed, too.

You’ll see that one attached… in the next post!

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