It’s time for a winter break – 2018 was a crazy busy year, and overall I’m really happy with all the things that happened, or that finally got into gear. The second proceedings of the Textile Forum finally got finished, there’s workshops planned for next year, one in Rothenfels and one in Belgium (still some spaces left for the latter! Come tablet weaving in Méry with me!).

Of course, there were a lot more things that did not come to fruition this year – I wanted to be a lot further along in the tablet weaving video, and a lot further with the book translation thing, and there should have been some more things for the shop, but plans met reality, and there you go. 2019 may be the year for these things, though.

So now I’m taking some time off for the usual end-of-year stuff – hanging out with friends and family, enjoying some quiet time and some nice leisurely chats and boardgames, good food and lots of tea, and recharging those batteries to get a good start into the new year.


I’ll be back here on the blog on January 8. Until then, have a good time, enjoy your favourite seasonal delights, and “Guten Rutsch” – see you on the flip side!


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By chance, I stumbled across the advent calendar being done over at Historical Textiles – featuring a nice textile every day, such as finds from the Oseberg burial or Swedish church textiles, with lovely close-up pictures. Go check it out – I definitely will enjoy this for the rest of the advent, having caught up on the previous posts now!

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The 60th issue of the Archaeological Textiles Review is due out soon, and this issue is focussing on the study of Early Modern knitted items. It includes articles on two 16th century caps (including the earliest known example of Danish knitwork), 16th century wool stockings, 17th century silk stockings, shipwrecked items including mittens from the Netherlands and Sweden, and a proposal for a new protocol for recording evidence for knitting.

The volume contains 99 pages devoted to knitted fragments and garments with many colour photographs and detailed specifications such as gauge, yarn and fibre for each item. It is available through subscription to the ATR friends and costs 250 DKK (which is about 34€ or 38 USD or 30 GBP).

The Uni of Copenhagen will decide on how many issues to print depending on the number of subscriptions, so you might want to put in your subscription as soon as possible if you want one – copies will be sent out early in the next year, according to my information.

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It’s the time of year that the oven sees lots of action – this year, it’s extra exciting as the new oven seems to have quite different ideas about temperatures than the old one had. Things turn out slightly… differently than I’m used to, with baking times for the cookies being significantly longer now. Seems like the old one tended to run a bit hot in the temperature range that is needed for cookies!

So, anyway, for your delight this year: Spitzbuben. These are a rather new addition to our assortment of Weihnachtsplätzchen, though they are a firm staple in German Xmas baking traditions, more or less all over Germany, though they do come under different names. Apart from Spitzbuben (which would be rascals or rogues), they can be called Linzer Augen, Linzer Plätzchen, or Hildabrötchen (literally: Hilda bread rolls). In the town where I grew up, something similar, only larger than a Plätzchen, was sold in the bakery close to my school under the moniker “Pfauenauge” (peacock’s eye, the one on the tail feather). Why those names? I have no clue at all. I can tell you, though, that these things are… delicious.

It’s a pastry dough, stuck together with red currant jelly, and traditionally  their shape is small and round with a peep-hole in the top layer, so you can see the jelly. Like this, for instance:

You might notice that there is both red and yellow stuff filling these. The yellow is apricot jam, because I happen to like that a lot as well.

So here you go, the recipe:

200 g butter
200 g flour
100 g powdered sugar
100 g almonds, peeled and ground fine
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla sugar

Beat the soft butter together with the sugar until fluffy, then beat in egg yolks. Mix in the remaining ingredients; the resulting dough is very soft and sticky and will need cooling for minimum of one hour.

Roll the dough to a thickness of about 2 mm, and cut out cookies. If you want to do the traditional German thing, they are circles, half of them with a hole in the middle (here you can get special cookie cutters with integrated hole-cutting-thing and even with a stamper to throw out the cookie, and of course with different shapes for the holes).

Bake in a fan oven for about 8-10 min at 160°C. After the cookies have cooled, spread jam on the complete circles and cover with the circles with a hole. The traditional stuff for this is, as stated above, red currant jelly (not jam!).

Makes about 70 cookies, so it’s enough to try out both kinds of filling!

The other seasonal recipes that I blogged in the past are:

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Things going on here? I’m still catching up, though it is sort of getting slowly, slightly, better. Or at least that is what I tell myself…

There’s preparation for the next workshops (getting the tools together, and fine-tuning plans); there’s sending out of orders that come in via the shop; and there’s some general end-of-year attempt at getting things into a better order.

I’m still woefully behind on the Textile Forum homework, and even more woefully behind on the Tablet Weaving Video Project, and I hope that tomorrow will actually see that change.

And on a completely unrelated aside – here’s a link to an article that I found by following some random links (as you do) – my spinning experiment article is actually cited in’s “Dictionary of Archaeology”. How cool is that?

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Well, technically my blogiversary is not today, but was on Saturday. Which means that normally I would more or less ignore that, and just go on with things like nothing has happened, but…


This year sees my tenth blogging anniversary. The tenth! I have a hard time wrapping my mind around this. It’s been close to two thousand posts and more than one and a half thousand comments. Ten freaking years.

So… here’s to the next years. I don’t know if I will make it another ten – but there will be at least one more…

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Just in case you’re looking for something delightfully weird to bake this season, here’s a lovely long blog post about how to make cuneiform gingerbread. The post is from last year, but hey, what’s a year more or less when talking about ancient cuneiform scripts?

And in case you don’t want to copy an existing text, there’s alternatives to this. First of all, an online transcribing gadget that will give out your own text in cuneiform script. Or you can check out the twitter feed of Team Cooleiform, a group of students from Helsinki who have fun doing cuneiform scripts. (I met some of them at the WorldCon in Helsinki, where they made clay tablets… not transliterated, but actually translated the things you asked for into ancient Sumerian. Which, it turned out, meant a good bit of discussion and checking and thinking when I got my tablet inscribed with “keep flying”…)

So maybe, if you ask nicely, they might even translate something like “this is a cookie” for scribing that onto your gingerbread… who knows?

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