So, I made a thing..
I'ts inspired by the Medieval bingo made by @missjoss that popped up in my story feed on Instagram a couple of years ago. Good fun!
Which of the things below have you done? Share your answers in any social media you feel like, and make sure to share an empty version if you want your friends to try.
I need to try plant dyeing and tablet weaving ASAP 🧐
Yule is approaching, and we've had beautiful frost and heavy snowfall in the past weeks 🤍
Time for some red and white in my feed, and for an update from life in the "ammetåke" (an elegant Norwegian term translating literally to breastfeeding fog...the somewhat lightheaded, sleep deprived and forgetful state of a new mom).
As you, dear reader, may have noticed, this years' blog posts have been few and far between. The annual market calendar that I managed to put together at the beginning of the year was not updated throughout the season as promised, and there have been too few history-related events to write much about. There are several reasons for my absence. One year ago, having barely recovered from the severe blood loss that I suffered immediately after a day and a night in labor, I was hit hard with mastitis which put me in hospital last Yule. That was followed by the loss of my beloved four-legged furry friend Embla on New Year's Eve, a loss I have not yet had time to grieve or truly accept. And the new year kicked off with the start of our baby's infantile colic that would last for five months straight, without a single night's sleep. I would have thought that I knew the meaning behind the word exhaustion, but I realized that we had never truly experienced it before.
Why am I writing this today? You see, the other night, my dear boy slept through the whole night for the first time. Hugging him this morning—my beautiful, strong and happy one-year-old—I cannot help feeling immensely proud. We have come such a long way, and the past years' blood and tears have bound us so so close together. A mother's love, that's made of the strongest stuff on this earth, I'm sure.
While stirring the "Samdal stew" I was cooking for dinner, I thought of the Viking reenactment society, and my dear friends in Folkvangr. I hope the new year will bring us more chances to get together, and to make new adventures.
Thank you 2022, you have been tough, but I certainly wouldn't want to be without you.
Some glimpses of December below.
Til árs ok friðar ❤️
Music: Sarah Schachner - Frozen Lands
As a child, I went to Icelandic classes to learn more about my mother tongue after the regular Norwegian school was over. During elementary school the classes were within walking distance, and during lower secondary school I had to take the bus to the city centre. I never gave it much thought at the time, but thinking back I am so grateful for having had the chance to receive this privilege for free—which has since been restricted. Icelandic kids living here in Norway nowadays will not learn the somewhat complicated Icelandic grammar in school, and may not be able to speak and write it correctly. Such a shame, considering how mother tongue education is connected to development of identity and personality—something I feel very strongly in my own case.
I am lucky in the sense that my Norwegian father studied in Iceland when he met my mother and thus speaks the language fluently, so that it was always what we used in our home. To this day, it is the language I mainly think and dream in.
During these classes, we did everything from dissecting fish and learning the Icelandic terms for each part of it, to drawing the creation of the world in Norse Mythology. We read the saga literature in Old Icelandic, those precious treasures meticulously written with ink of vellum by medieval authors and poets with such eye for detail and beauty.
One of those authors is believed to have been Snorri Sturluson, my 22nd great grandfather on my maternal grandfathers’ side, who supposedly wrote the Younger Edda and Heimskringla (which I am holding in the photo below).
No doubt these classes sparked my interest in Norse cultural history, and my enjoyment in historical reenactment and recreation.
And today I am passing the Icelandic language on to my child!
Music: Ursprung ft. Sigurboði - Uruz
I'd like to share some glimpses of our recent meeting, in the forest in the outskirts of Bergen. My sister took care of our baby for us so that Christian and I could both go and spend the night, and we had such a fun time!
By a happy chance, our campsite had lots and lots of blueberries... 🫐🌿
When we formed our little group six years ago we chose the name Folkvangr, which is the name of Freyja's home in Ásgarðr in Norse mythology. Our color is blue, and I designed our logo as a circular bind-rune with each of the letters in the name, using the long-branch runes of the Younger Futhark.
I had it embroidered on this dark blue linen canvas. Isn't it pretty? 💙
Enjoying cured meat, cheese, beer and mead (and Silje's delicious warm soup for supper).
What do you like to do for fun on a Saturday night?
Would you choose doing something like this over spending it in the city?
Music: Skald - Galdurkonst Och Tusenskrönor
This market has been one of my regulars since the first time I visited back in 2015. It was such a pleasure to be back! Hafrsfjord is a historical place, and the battle at Hafrsfjord took place here about 1150 years ago. It was the final battle on Harald Fairhairs' mission to become the first king of the whole of Norway. The anniversary of the unification was celebrated by the municipality, which made this summer's market especially big and crowded during the opening hours.
This was Einars' very first experience with Viking market life, and he was busy taking in all these new impressions—wanting to smell and taste everything from wool socks to jewellery, haha. ^^ He was of course very preoccupied fiddling with all of my bling as I carried him around, and I bet he finds my modern clothes pretty boring after this!
My friend Anja's beadrows also had to be inspected...
Beautiful Viking Age aesthetics... 🍎🍃🕯🔥✨
Anna, displaying examples of her lovely tablet weave 🧶
...and Iselin posing like something straight out of the Hobbit films!
No less than nine Viking ships had sailed to Hafrsfjord for the occasion. Isn't that amazing? 🐉✨ This is the stemhead of the ship "Gyda".
I always want to get one of these historical glasses, but then a voice inside my head reminds me that it would probably break during the next feast... 🤭
Making glass beads...
Peter Merrett, the bone carver, gave Einar this pretty bone pin. :)
The weather was shifty as only west-coast weather can be, and we had blazing sunshine as well as pouring, mud slushing rain. The latter made me a little bit less sad about not sleeping in a tent this time, as we stayed at Christians' parents' house for the weekend. The baby & historical tent camp-combo will have to wait until next year, but I'm already looking forward to it!
I'm so happy to have been able to visit. Thanks for having us Hafrsfjordvikingene!
Until next time ♥
Music: Otava Yo - Pro Ivana Groove
My sweet and big little boy had his first meeting with Viking market life this summer. And I found it fitting that he would make an appearance here as well. ^^
His name is Einar, and he is my love, my everything!
Because I want to shelter his childhood from social media, I will not be sharing much more of him here on the blog, though there certainly will be a photo of us from time to time.
The text at the top of this post is an excerpt from the Wardruna song "Andvevarljod", and I will tell you why I relate to it on a personal level. An hour after giving birth, I had a severe loss of blood. But I pulled through, and I like to consider it a blood offering that I made for his life and wellbeing.
Music and lyrics: Wardruna - Andvevarljod
This brown boat-neck underdress is the very first one I made, many years ago. I think the dark earthy color goes so well with the deep blue of my most recent apron dress.
Don't you agree?
This little photo session was however cut short because my baby boy woke up and wanted to breastfeed — and I had to take off almost all of my clothes in order to do that. Haha! I am definitely going to make a long slit keyhole neckline for my next Viking event, for more convenient boob-access. ^^
Music: Kalandra - Mørke Skoger
I find myself in a Tolkien's Middle Earth state of mind. I've been spending a lot of time there lately, so to speak, listening to the new audiobooks narrated by Andy Serkis while out on the daily walks with my son. ^^
The wordsmithery above this post is an example of why I enjoy Tolkiens' works so much. It's not some famous quote—just a sentence in the midst of others in one of the chapters of FotR—but so beautiful and lifelike, stirring... It's early dawn, and the hobbits are stealing out of the house into the foggy morning, to take the route through the Old Forest. I felt inspired to post this photo series with cold hues, wearing my handsewn blue cloak in the woods above our house.
My son was with me in when those photos were taken as well, though still inside my belly!
Music: Forest Ambience (Nature Sounds) by Relaxing Sounds of Nature
Baby clothes: What a perfectly cute way to make use of small pieces of leftover fabric!
This is the second addition to my little boy's Viking wardrobe. ♥ While the red tunic posted about a couple of months ago was made using the fabric left over from one of my apron dresses, this blue one is made of fabric from one of his father's tunics.
It's handsewn with wool thread, decorated with braids along the neckline, wrists and waist.
I went for a keyhole neckline again, and since I was working with fabric scraps I had to add little darts on the wrists to make them wide enough. I also made side slits at the bottom — all of which allows for easier dressing and undressing!
I made this when I was still pregnant, although I haven't had the chance to post it until now. And now the "fourth trimester" is over and my son will soon be four months old! Where did the time go?
Music: GROUPA - Sólblóm
Dear craftsfolk and artisans, merchants and musicians; gentry and peasants, kings and beggars; jesters and guards, jousters and bards; medieval munks and viking drunks; pragmatics and purists, history buffs and tourists...
As always, it lists Viking & Medieval markets, festivals and similar events planned across Scandinvia. I only add dates to those who have announced the specific dates for this year, others are listed as TBA (to be announced). Updates are added as they come, but if you have questions or are in doubt about whether an event might be cancelled, contact the respective organizers using the links to the relevant pages.
If you'd like your market or event to be listed, please leave a comment with the name, date and link here.
The photos above are from last summer, when I was four monhs pregnant. So this years' market experiences will be very special for sure!
Music: Emian - Chêne Blanc
The Mammen-style ornament used in the top image was made by Jonas Lau Markussen
It shouldn't come as a surprise that our little boy will be introduced to the Viking reenactment life... And, at the age of one month, his first pieces of Viking clothing and gear are already in place.
The first garment I've sewn for him is this red tunic! 🍎🍃
The fabric is 100% wool handsewn with wool thread, made using the leftovers from one of my apron dresses. It has side slits and a keyhole neckline. 🪡
The bottom is hemmed so that the tunic can be lengthened as he grows, and the back of the neck has a hidden slit closed with little buttons to allow for that large baby head to fit through more easily. ;)
The tablet weave was custom-made by the talented Anna at Liljekonvall Tablet Weaving.
Our friend Lars Christian, the shoemaker in our Viking group Folkvangr, surprised us by making him these adorable leather turnshoes based on the Oseberg finding.
How cute are they? Pretty damn cute.
Such a precious and thoughtful gift. ♥
Through my ten-or-so years of attending Viking markets and events, I've recognized how incredibly much fun the whole reenactment scene seems to be for the children attending with their families. The days are spent living, eating and sleeping outside with adults who are there in the moment and not disturbed by modern gadgets or commitments; and running around and playing freely with children from other towns and countries whom they meet again every year. While some grow tired or take a break from the Viking life by the time they reach their teens, others find close friends and purpose there and are still actively engaged as teenagers and adults.
I'm excited to be able to offer these experiences and this opportunity to my child. 🏹🍃🤎
Music: Gåte - Kjærleik