Saturday, November 23, 2013

a nalbinding project

First, I would like to thank my son for working his computer magic so that I can post again. He makes it look so easy.

So, once upon a time, in medieval Ribe, Denmark, a person lost a mitten as they were walking down Gronnegade, a street in the middle of the city. Had the day turned warm so they had taken their mittens off? I can picture their distress (or perhaps their wife or mother's distress) when they got home and discovered they had only one mitten. Did they go back to look for it, to no avail? In any case, it sank into the mud where it lay for many years, waiting to be dug up by archaeologists in 1955.

It has been safely kept in the Sydvestjyske Museer since then. Now, I have been studying the mitten and am attempting to make a similar one. I've made measurements and drawn a scale pattern; I've examined the deteriorated sections to try to determine the stitch; I've made several "test mittens" to work out parts of the overall pattern; I've spun enough thread to make a pair of mittens.

 I've used combed Jacob wool, spun on 38 gram whorl.

I've spun a total of 103 grams (3 5/8 oz.). The plied thread is 7 wpc.

How much of a commitment is it to make a pair of mittens? First, the wool would have been washed. I'm sure no one washed less than a fleece at a time, so that would have readied enough wool for at least several projects, depending on what it was going to be used for. But, I'll allow a half day for washing the wool. Once the wool dried, it had to be combed. While this wool was commercially combed, I know from past experience that it would take me about 6 hours to comb this much wool (I'm rather slow at combing). It took me 8 hours to spin this 103 grams of wool, and another 2 hours and 40 minutes to ply it. So, almost 15 hours of work would go into these mittens before even beginning to stitch. 

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