The Heiðabý (Haithabu) bag 🌲🌰  7


Last weekend's creation was this "Heiðabý bag", based on findings of wooden handles found in Heiðabý (now known as Haithabu or Hedeby) which was one of the largest Norse towns and trading centers during the Viking Age. While the fabric fragments found during the excavations are no longer preserved, it is believed that they used to be bag handles, and similar findings were recently made in Birka (Sweden) as well :)

The Haithabu area was Danish during the Viking Age, and is now a part of Western Germany. A few of my apron dresses are designed based on fabric fragments found in the same place, and I was inspired to make this bag as well, using wool leftover fabrics from previous sewing projects. The drawings below, by Florian Westphal, show the four different types of wooden handles found in Haithabu. I decided to go for the third one from the top, and asked a local craftsman to make two copies for me!



The handles are complete with the assymmetries of the original, but that the jagged parts on the top are made more rounded. They are waxed in order to prevent drying and cracking, as well as to get a bit of a darker shade. The original findings were in ash and maple and measured from 18.1 up to 49.6 cm in length, quite large, but I went for a length of 30 cm which I think is a more practical size for my use, and these are made in Norwegian birch.



I used green diagnoal weave and grey herringbone weave wool on the outside, and lined the bag with brown linen on the inside. The leather strap used to be an old belt with a broken clasp, and the tablet woven band was custom made by Liljekonvall tablet weaving. ^^



The finished product:






Can't wait to bring it with me on new Viking adventures!





Sources and more information:
Bag handles, by Tomáš Vlasatý
Haithabu bag, by Kristine Risberg
Viking Wooden-Handled Purse, by Amie Sparrow
The purse frames from Birka, by Nina Eklöf

Music:
Einar Selvik - Snake Pit Poetry (Scaldic Mode)

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