Tag Archives: Swedish rigid heddle

Homage to a Viking woman’s dresses

In Edmonton, Alberta, in deep bitter cold mid-winter, there is a festival that is appropriately called, ‘Deep Freeze’.

It’s a celebration of the arts, food, music and the many cultures that have met and melded to become the very arts oriented city of Edmonton.

Part of the Deep Freeze festival is an artisan’s market, and I am going to be one of the vendors (January 11 and 12, 2014).

The theme of this year’s festival is: The Vikings are Coming – and they are!

A fabulous team of ice and snow carvers from Scandinavia is here already,  carving huge icy statues of Odin and Thor.

The festival organizers really like it if the artisans get into the spirit of the theme, so I got inspired and researched Viking women’s clothing.

Knowing that the Vikings were magnificent weavers made me want to see what I could come up with for my days at the artisan’s market.

I found lots of images on Google and Pinterest, so I set to work:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

Archeologists have learned that Viking women wore under dresses woven in wool or linen.

Then, on top, there’s an apron over dress that was embellished with woven bands that were also the shoulder straps.

Sometimes, they wore underskirts or trousers.

Don’t forget that they rode sturdy horses, so pants are  a very good idea.

They also wore over coats, called kaftans, that were also embellished with woven bands.

The wove their bands using tablet looms, which I really don’t like.

Instead, I warped up my Swedish double slot rigid heddle, (which I love) and wove 9 yards of narrow bands, using sock yarn.

(Note: I bought my Swedish double slot rigid heddle from Vavstuga: LINK)

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

The short supplementary slots hold the pattern threads.

To weave the pattern, you pick up the threads from the pattern group of threads that match the pattern on a gridded graph.

It’s rather slow, but deliciously contemplative and incredibly satisfying to weave these bands.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

I was going to make the tunic, but then I remembered that I had found the perfect soft green linen tunic in my fave thrift shop last fall. Yay!

And, then, miracle of miracles, I found a linen skirt in the thrift shop – and wowsa… it was perfect to convert into the apron over dress! (Oops… it’s too big, and I should have taken it in, so will have to do that at some point).

And…. there was also a green cotton flounced skirt that works perfectly for the underskirt. YAY!!!!

I planned on sewing the coat, but then discovered that the pattern that I was going to use to make it was missing the sleeve pattern. erg…..  I ordered another pattern from Club BMV, but it’s not going to get here in time.

Ah well, c’est la vie!

I stitched the bands onto the overdress by hand, but stitched the straps on by machine to really secure them to the dress.

The bands were usually pinned in place on the front of the overdress with Celtic interlace brooches.

But, in one of the photos on Pinterest, the over dress is embellished with 2 golden hands.

I LOVED this, so I used a pair of hand charms that I had used in a doll making book that I wrote many years ago.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

It  was a lot of work to make, but I love it, and will wear it over a t shirt and leggings,  (after taking it in a little to make it more comfortable and less tent like).

Viking women also wore belts with tools hanging from them, and pouches for their cellphones and lip gloss.

All right, they  weren’t tweeting, but I am willing to bet that they made and used lip gloss in some form or another.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

Their pouches were usually leather, but I prefer to weave mine :o) using yarn that my clever daughter in love spins for me.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay http://www.crone-findlay.com

Viking women wore a fair schwack of jewelry, so I decided to that I would join in the spirit of things and put on a few more pieces than I would normally wear.

Yesterday, there was a press conference for the Deep Freeze festival, and I was invited to come to represent the artisan’s market.

I took along my Norwegian Cradle loom (these are hand made for the Vesterheim museum, and are available online at: LINK

and wove some bands while mummers mummed and singers sang and film crews filmed.

Weaving at the Deep Freeze press conference

Weaving at the Deep Freeze press conference

Since most of North America is freezing cold right now, we really need to find something to light up the deep mid winter, right?

Yes, indeed!

So, I shall weave to warm my heart and hands….. and I will  join with other artisans in making beauty!


Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, weaving & handwoven