Til árs ok friðar (For a good year and peace)!
I look forward to keep in touch with you in the new year! Hopefully there will be more offline interaction as well. The content on my blog has relied heavily on historical markets and happenings throughout the years, and this has truly been an annulus horribilis for such events. But I'd like to thank you for still following me (here, as well as on social media) throughout this dry-spell that has been the year of 2020.
I've spent the last few days at my parents' house with my family, and now I'm back home. I've got a fire going, watching old movies in my red Yule-PJ's, generally just basking in holiday laziness, and might play some video games (some of you will recognize what that'll be, based on the song in this blog post). ^^
Music: Keith Deuser - The Bannered Mare
Midt i den lyse Verden staaer der et underfuldt Træ.
Alt hvad der røres og aander, nyder af Grenene Læ.
Det vifter i Ætherens Vinde om Stjernen paa Himlens Bugt.
Alle levende Væsner bide dets Løv og Frugt.
Sært i dets brede Skygger færdes Menneskets Æt,
Øver den Nid og Stordaad, elsker og hader sig træt.
Af trende mægtige Rødder Stammen skyder sig frem,
Trende adstilte Verdener gjennemslynges af dem.
En gaaer til Rimthusseriget med Fjeldenes rullende Drøn.
Mimer, den kløgtige Jætte, væder den af sin Brønd.
En gaaer til gode Asers og evige Norners Land.
Urdas hellige Kilde kvæger den med sit Vand.
Over den breder sig Træet iøvrigt, saftigt og skjønt;
Over den hvælve dets Grene sig med et friskere Grønt.
En gaaer til Niflheims kolde, taagede Afgrunds Dyb.
Der, hvor Brønden Hvergelmer mylrer med giftigt Kryb.
Tolv eddersvulmende Strømme risle ud fra dens Væld.
Her mellem Dødens Skygger troner den skumle Hel.
Her ligger Slangen Nidhugger, gnaver paa Roden glad.
Engang skal Træet raadne, smuldre hver Green og Blad.
Engang saa skal det raadne, og alt dets Liv vorde kvalt:
Det volder den onde Slange — Alfader raader i Alt.
Yggdrasil by P. L. Møller
Bronze fibula and belt from Klesarven. Both in Borre-style, and based on Viking Age findings in Norway.
Birka/Rösta-pouch made by my friend Bjørn. The dress is pure wool, handsewn with wool thread. I made it earlier this year, but sadly I haven't been able to wear it to any markets yet. Hopefully, it will finally be immersed in the scent of bonfire smoke and historical food in the new year.
Photography and editing: Valkyrja.com
Music: Jesper Kyd - The Well of Wyrd
...hversu þar var háttat, at Vigdís var meiri skǫrungr í skapi en Þórðr, bóndi hennar.
Ok þegar um kveldit, er Þórólfr var þar kominn, gengr hann til fundar við Vigdísi ok segir
henni til sinna vandræða ok biðr hana ásjá.
Laxdæla sagaAt the feast following my thesis defense last year, my father gave a toast where he mentioned the origin of my name and its meaning—a valkyrie, or valkyrja—which is what you know me by on this blog.
My given name is Vigdís, from the Old Norse víg (battle, war) and dís (goddess). I'm not sure whether this was more influenced by the Icelandic custom of giving children traditional and sometimes rather harsh names; or by the large, dark haired and screaming baby that was handed to my parents that day!
This name is no longer that common in Norway where I live, although name registries (and even a lewd medieval runic inscription here in Bergen!) testify that Vigdís was a more prevalent name in the past. ^^ It is also commonly found in our old saga literature, such as in the example at the top of this post. The quote is from the Laxdæla saga, concerning the people of Laxárdalr from the late 9th century to the early 11th. This saga mentions several namesakes of mine, and the quote concerns one of them who is described as being more of a skǫrungr than her husband. I had to look up this word, which means a high-minded person, a paragon. I was confused because the word is also used for the type of instrument you use to poke a fire, a fire iron. I suppose that is also appropriate, as Vigdís ends up punching a man in the nose with a purse full of money in the following chapter and later divorces her husband.
Developed from the Proto-Norse language, the language spoken among people in the Nordic countries during the Viking Age evolved into different dialects of Old Norse. The Old East Norse was spoken in what is roughly Denmark and Sweden today, and Old West Norse in Iceland and Norway. Today these have all developed into separate languages, which each have different dialects, much like the branches and needles on the spruce in the photo above.
I am very interested in etymology, and I ponder over the differences and similarities across languages, how one language may have a word that is missing or means something different in the other, and the origin and meaning of people's names.
Music: Anilah - Warrior (revisited)
My mother came back home once again from Iceland this summer with a suitcase full of my favorite "lopi", the yarn that I use for my needlebinding. ♥
And I've made good use of it!
This is pure wool from the Icelandic sheep breed, which was brought with the settlers during the Viking Age. Their dual-layered and exceptionally warm wool comes in a range of beautiful natural colors (albeit not blue—haha, wouldn't that be marvelous though). But this is the color I feel like this season, and I have been spending many evenings needlebinding in wonderful shades of deep blue.
I'm grateful to have a lot of it, because my own planned trips to Iceland for conferences as well as family visits this spring, summer and fall have all been cancelled due to this nasty plague, cutting my usually direct supply of yarn short.
Socks in the shades "dökkblár" and "geimblár". Needlebound socks are great for padding inside turnshoes during Viking/Medieval reenactment. Or e.g. to wear as slippers at home during the winter half-year (they are very durable and keep their shape well). I've given away four pairs of these as presents this summer, so it was time to make more.
I like to think about the person I am making garments for while sewing and needlebinding for others, and these will soon have owners that do not know about it yet. ^^
A few hats, in various sizes...
I bought these neat little scissors at the Lofotr Vikingmuseum this summer.
I'm thinking of making another tutorial for my YouTube channel, on how to make hats like these. I really appreciate all of your comments on my current videos, it is so motivating to know that more people out there are learning this red-listed technique and keeping history alive!
Music: Vàli - Nordavindens Klagesang
Ever since my first Viking market nine years ago, I have spent every summer enjoying the market life. Waking up on soft sheepskins in a linen tent, eating hearty breakfasts outside with friends from near and far, discussing, watching, learning, and making things, wearing beautiful historical clothing to days on end, and spending evenings around the fire before going to sleep, only to enjoy the same things over again the next day...
As we all know—and with a certain historically accurate irony—a plague has put a stopper to these events this year. Nevertheless, the village of Njardarheimr in Gudvangen opened their doors for us as guest Vikings, as they can host a limited number of people at a time while keeping up with the necessary rules and regulations. A compromise to the annual market where the village is usually teeming with life and activity, but still a much-appreciated boost to feed our longing reenactor-hearts before autumn sets in...
Silje, Christian and I spent a few wonderful days there. It was a rainy week, but luckily we had chosen to rent a cabin this year rather than to bring our tent, so that worked out nicely!
People were mostly gathered inside the various houses in the village due to the weather, creating a lovely phenomenon where you could go window-browsing throughout the day: Just pick a window and stick your head in to see who's there, and have a chat. ^^ While I was sitting by the windowsill in Anja & Claus's house doing needlebinding, we had several hour-long conversations with people who came up to say hi...or was it just to sample our strawberries and beer? I guess we'll never know!
Sweet Georg, such a wise and kind man. It seems I never leave him without having learned something new! He told us lots about the techniques and materials used when making the various buildings in the village. The details and amount of work that went into it are simply amazing. For instance, the intensely blue pigment in the ornament on the chieftains' hall rooftop (second photo below) is called lapis lazuli. It's a semi-precious stone found in Afghanistan, that has been mined for over 6000 years. The trade of lapis to Europe is likely to have followed the Silk Road, and it has been found on e.g. various Medieval sculptures in Norway.
Silje by the fjord ♥
There were couple of dry evenings where we could gather around the big campfire on the hill, enjoying songs, dancing and mead into the wee hours. 🔥
I am sure we will have some Folkvangr-gatherings and evenings around the fire in the fall, but I am so glad to have gotten the chance to spend some summer days in Gudvangen. Big thanks to Njardarheimr for hosting us, I look forward to our next visit!
These past few weeks have been so warm, and everything around us is green and beautiful. The lavender and roses here are just about to bloom, and it looks like we will have a lot of wild raspberries in the little hill behind our house this year.
Which feels sort of weird and belated this year, without the first markets to mark the beginning of the season. Nevertheless, I'm enjoying the clear skies, spending time reading and needlebinding in the shade, swimming, gardening and playing about outside. ^^
A new brown set (pure Icelandic wool as always).
We will spend this years' summer vacation here in Norway, and are currently making plans for what will be the longest vacation I have had in years, the whole month of July. I will delay my yearly trip to Iceland to later this fall, and travel to the Northern Norway this summer instead. Christian and I will be driving all the way up there, and stay in my fathers' childhood home in Lofoten where I haven't been in a long time now. A visit there is long overdue. ♥
We also have plans to go to Gudvangen—even though there is no regular market there this year. We have signed up as "Guest Vikings", a new concept where we can visit and spend time in the Viking village of Njardarheimr with a limited amount of other visitors. So, it looks like we will still be able to enjoy some social market life and late night bonfires with friends, although it will be a bit different this year! I think this is a wonderful initiative by the team behind Njardarheimr, and it gives us the opportunity to support the village through these tough financial times.
What are your plans for this summer? 🍃
Music: Helisir - Brisingamen
Our local Bjørgvin Viking and Medieval Market, which was supposed to take place soon, is cancelled this year. But the green grounds of the Horda Museum are still there, so we put on our dresses and packed a couple of baskets with food and drinks, and took a day trip there the other day. ^^
Beauiful Silje ♥
Eggs, cured ham, chicken, grapes, strawberries, cheese, kale, flatbread, pancakes, apple juice and non-alcoholic beer... A perfect lunch!
We had the whole place to ourselves 🍃
My Birka/Rösta-pouch should really have been hanging from my handmade Birka-belt, but it seems I've lost it! I always take such good care of my things, but for some reason I haven't been able to find it for the last couple of years.
But now is a good opportunity to support our craftsmen and women who are losing income due to the cancelled markets this year, and I feel like shopping! Do you have any good ideas about where to buy quality reconstructions of such belts, or other pretty handmade historical eqipment, accessories, jewellery, etc. online? Please let me know and I will add them to my list!
Summer is unfolding...
Music: Virelai - Frejas Store Kraft
Are you tired of my needlebinding yet? ;-)
There will be some other content up on the blog and other channels very soon! But after making a lot of hats and wrist warmers I've been up to making socks lately.
I've been told by a few of you that you've learned to master this technique from my last video-tutorial, and that makes me so happy. Our ancestors have been passing needlebinding on for hundreds and thousands of years, but this technique is now on the red list of endangered crafts, at risk of disappearing.
Now that so many of us are cooped up at home more than usual, and most of this summers' historical markets have been cancelled, what's better that unleashing our creativity and learning how to do something new?
I was inspired to make another step by step video tutorial, this time showing you how to make a pair of socks for yourself or a loved one. I do however warn you—when people see that you can make these, you are likely to be asked to make a lot more of them as presents...
(The stitch I am using is the so-called Oslo-stitch, which is not all that complicated. But if you have never tried to needlebind before, it might still be good to start by making wrist warmers, which is easier to do when you're learning the basics of the technique because it doesn't require increasing and decreasing.)
I was recently asked whether I could make Norwegian versions of the videos for the organizer of a historical event here in Norway. So I went ahead and uploaded versions of both tutorials with Norwegian voiceover as well, you will find them here and here.
Have you been up to some handicraft lately, perhaps learning something new?
I've been up to some needlebinding again, and made another new hat the other day. The yarn is thick 100% Icelandic wool as usual, this time in a shade called "amber heather".
It is so warm you won't believe it! I had to open the window when taking the photo below.. ^^ These hats definitely come in useful during winter, or when sleeping outside on cold nights. For those of you not familiar with this technique, needlebound garments are much thicker and more dense than knitted ones.
I love how well this color goes with my ochre dress and the natural colors of linen, leather and bronze.
I guess I should also add some amber pearls to my shopping list for the next historical markets. 🧡
I wonder when that will be! I keep getting notifications about cancelled markets due the pandemic... If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that I've been posting some throwback photos from previous markets, a telltale sign of it being too long since last time.
Meanwhile, let's just keep sewing, needlebinding, repairing and preparing our equipment and clothing for the upcoming season (whenever it may come)!
So, like most of you out there, I am spending my days inside my home as part of this collective effort to keep eachother safe. These are such strange times! I am sending my thoughts to you who are in the risk groups or have loved ones who are, and those who may be struggling with loneliness and isolation these days. ♥
I am lucky enough to be able to do all my work from my home office, trying to keep a regular schedule, and enjoying walks in the woods, photographing, spending my evenings sewing and listening to music and books.
I've finished two new tunics, both 100% wool and with each stitch meticulously hand sewn with wool thread. I actually had to use pliers for some stitches because the fabric is so densely woven that my fingers were getting bruised, ouch!
The bottle green one is from the same fabric as my dress in the previous post, and then there is this lovely greyish "dove blue". Both of these are actually colors that I have painted on a few walls in our livingroom, bedroom and guest room. I am beginning to see why people tease me for having slight OCD-tendencies when it comes to color-coordination. But I just love them and they make me happy. ;)
Luckily there are still no restrictions on going for walks in the forest, as long as we keep distance from others. The spring equinox has just marked the changing of the seasons, and the birds are singing ^^
(I imagine this is a suitable place to hide if you should run into a black rider) ☟
I really hope we will get to attend markets this summer, but it's hard to say how the situation will be in a few months. If these events need to be cancelled I suppose we will just have to find a nice spot to set up our tent by ourselves, because I am craving for late night bonfires and the Viking market mood...
Music: Forndom - Yggdrasil
Happy weekend everyone, long time no see!
This weekend is an especially good one—because my schedule is wide open, the snow is blowing outside, and I have lots of fun projects to attend to...
A few weeks ago I received this light 100% wool fabric in the mail. I love this deep bottle green color, the type of green that has little yellow in it, but rather a dark blueish type of green. And I found the perfect pure spælsau wool thread to match.
There is enough fabric for several projects, but I started by making a long dress, which I finally had the chance to finish yesterday. ^^
Square underarm gussets, and side gores...
And a keyhole neckline 🗝
It fits pretty well, is wide enough to wear layers underneath, and I made the sleeves very long the way I like them (which is hard to come by for me unless I sew my own clothing)!
Excuse the mess in the background, fixing up our little garden will be another project for spring! 🌱
Up next: A tunic for Christian!
Do you have any sewing projects planned before the upcoming Viking market season? Please let me know, I would love to exchange ideas and experiences. 🧶🧵✂️
**MARKETS IN 2020 MAY BE CANCELLED OR POSTPONED**
(contact the respective organizers for information)
Til árs ok friðar! The new year is here, and so is the annual Viking market calendar of 2020.
As always, the list covers Medieval and Viking Age events in Scandinavia. Soon it will be time for us to travel from near and far to meet up again, to share summer days and nights with old and new friends.
I can't wait for this year's market season 🍃🔥🏕
Some markets are biennial and/or will not be arranged this year (N/A), and since it's still early at the time when I'm writing this post some dates have not been set or confirmed yet (TBA)—but the list will be updated continuously.
If your market or event is not listed, please let me know and I'll make sure to add it!
The direct link to this post is http://valkyrja.com/070120.html.
Feel free to share this post http://valkyrja.com/070120 or its contents with credit to Valkyrja.com.
Music: Gealdýr - Myrkviðr