The Gathering of the Hunters – Saint Eustace Celebration

12049267_1041899552521974_4214658516203275861_nLast Sunday we saw what might have been the very last day of summer this year. Sun and clear skies, but with that fresh crispy air autumn brings. A perfect day to spend outside and in a medieval setting celebrate all hunters patron saint Eustace.

IMAG8490The 20th of September was the old feast day for Eustace. It felt good and proper to celebrate him on the right day, just like last year. We had chosen a beautiful place for the hunters to meet, as it is described in the hunt books.

Cloth was laid out in the grass. Everyone brought a little something to eat and share with the others. Some ate standing, some sitting and some laying on the ground, leaning on their elbows. The four dogs present mostly ate running, with a mischievous look about them and their prey of stolen food clasped between their jaws.

12039520_1041899892521940_2162597831576072395_nJohan claims that this must have been a problem experienced by the hunters back in the 14th century and that we therefore must not omit to reenact the ordeal of having food stealing dogs around. I’m sure his wolfhound Boudica agrees heartily, satisfied with her catch of my very expensive piece of Gruyère cheese.

Johan had made his first attempt on a classic medieval “standing crust” pie, filled with liver of deer as a traditional hunters “umble pie” or “humble pie”. The story behind the name and how humble pie is connected to hunters need a post of it’s own. I hope Johan will also share his experience of making and tasting it, as well as the recipe.

12002215_1041899862521943_4068076764154090393_n

The umble pie and the cheese.

12036679_10153124076587322_559967973233173151_n

Boiling sausages in beer before grilling them.

Even with the loss of my chunk of cheese (which I ought to have guarded better) I needn’t starve. The hunters had brought plenty of food and shared generously. We had sausages boiled in beer and then grilled over open fire, sweet pastry’s spiced with cinnamon and several different types of pie.

In the afternoon when all the hunters were properly gathered and fed, we went on to our playful competition in more or less hunting related games. We began with explaining the purpose of the actual gathering of the hunters as it is described in the huntbooks.

12036851_1042561565762050_3340999427372141262_n

Searching for fumes.

The hunters gather up to plan the hunt in detail, it is basicly like a early brunch meeting before the actual hunt. Some hunters who have been tracking interesting prey in the nearby woods now return and report their findings to the master of the hunt. They were expected to gather “fumes” along with a stick broken in such a way that it could be used as measure of an individual animals track.

12038537_1042561499095390_3992273138659462672_n

Karin and Sannah found fumes of fox.

New readers of our blog might not know what “fumes” are and neither did some of the participants of our hunting feast. Fumes are animal dung. The hunters gather fumes in their hunting horns, carefully stuffed with grass so that the fumes won’t fall out.

The fumes must be presented to the master of the hunt. He will then analyse their quality, shape and texture along with the size of the matching footprint before making a decision on which prey the hunting party should go for.

To us this might sound strange, but the judging of the fumes was a crucial part of the preparations before a hunt. Now when you know this and look at the pictures below you’ll see what most overlook . On all of them there is a man showing a handful of little brown balls to the huntsmaster, the most important part of the picture. (Click on the them to enlarge)

Jägarna rastarc38_616Namnlös

12002813_1041899449188651_443008766278012161_n

Hunters getting ready.

We sent our hunters out divided in two teams to search for fumes. It didn’t take very long before they came back to present them to Johan and me as masters of the hunt. Both teams demonstrated true commitment to the cause and the spirit of the competition. But I must admit that I was surprised by the diversity and amount of strangely shaped shit brought back to us!

The first team presented a pile of something that looked like horse dung, claiming that it was from a very big deer or possibly some kind of unicorn. But unicorns only poop rainbows and medieval Christians didn’t eat horse (and definitely should not hunt them). Therefore the other team presenting fumes from what might have been a fox was deemed winner.

IMAG8502So much for the reenactment, the rest of our games was mostly for fun. We had a quiz with tricky questions about the medieval hunt, a horn blowing competition and my favourite – a philosophical feud on which hunt that’d be the nobler one – the one with dogs or the one with birds of prey. Find out the correct answer in this post: Flea pickers and dogturds!

For grand finale we had the two leading participants Karin and Sannah choose one of the dogs and compete against each other in a search for a hidden sausage. (It must count as some kind of hunt, don’t you think?) Bets were placed on the dogs and then the competitors were off.

IMAG8534

Sannah – the proud winner of this years hunting games

The race was over in seconds and far from even. I’m proud to say that it was my Basilard that led Sannah the final steps towards to her glorious victory in this years hunting games. Her price will be delivered as soon as it is ready, a custom made T-shirt with our blogs’ logo on it.

After the games we returned to our feast to have some more pie, wine and cheese. In an attempt to make our merry picnic relate to our patron saint, I asked Johan to tell the story of saint Eustace. I would have done it myself if I’d only remembered it, but that is exactly why you have feasts in remembrance of saints – to refresh ones memory of their martyrdom. 😉

For next year, I think it could be fun to do some sort of simple play to act out the story of the saint. It is a nice medieval tradition and I’m sure that’d make it easier to remember.IMAG8473

This was our second feast of St Eustace and even if the event was not as big as last year, those who came had a good time.

We must have done something right because I’ve heard that some of our friends in St Huberts Rangers housed their own celebration in rural central New York, inspired by us. Inspiring is the best we can hope to be and I already have plans for next years celebration.

/ Emil

(See more pictures in our Facebook album from the event!)

12047070_1041899775855285_6405072165615790009_n

 

Advertisements

The second feast of St Eustace

Foto 2014-09-20 15 56 57Summer is singing on it’s last verse. If you feel that you haven’t seen much activity from us this season, we hope to come to terms with that before it’s over. We have a few articles coming up and in a month from now we will be celebrating all hunters patron saint Eustace, just like last year. On his feast day the 20th September we invite our friends to a hunters picnic with fun and games in a medieval setting.

Foto 2014-09-20 15 54 50The concept of our St Eustace celebration is basicly the same as last year (more about that here). We will be having a feast for hunters outside, resembling “The gathering of the hunters” before a Great Hunt.

The Great Hunt was a big affair. To me it seems to have been highly regarded both as a sport and social event. It is this kind of hunt that most of the period huntbooks are concerned with. Many people and dogs were involved in a Great Hunt, so it had to be prepared the day before, if not several days ahead. “The gathering of the hunters” takes place where the hunters meet to coordinate and do the final preparatory work before the actual chase.

In the books we see this gathering described as a feast, and this is also how it is depicted:

Edward of Norwich, Master of game

[…] And also they that come from home should bring thither all that they need, every one in his office, well and plenteously, and should lay broad clothes all about upon the green grass, and set divers meats upon a great platters after the lord’s power.

And some should eat sitting, and some standing, and some leaning upon their elbows, some should drink, some laugh, some jangle, some joke and some play — in short do all manner of disports of gladness […]

c38_616Now, this was what we want! People eating, drinking and having fun! Encouraging others to get out, use their gear and have some fun is always on the agenda for us.

Foto 2014-09-20 16 34 38If you read our blog because you are in to medieval clothes or crafts but new to reenachtment and living history, our hunting picnic is a good place to start. It will probably never be quite this uncomplicated again: Instead of a crowd with curious tourists there will be other reenactors welcoming any novice. There will be no need to bring lots of heavy gear, no sleeping outdoors, no walking for miles in thin leather shoes. No fighting or actual hunting will happen, so no weapons needed. And weather is hopefully kind on us, at the least no snow expected this time of year. In other words – if you don’t know us to well but still read this, you are extra welcome!

An important ingredient of reenactment besides eating, drinking and having fun is the element of education. Learning new things about the subject at hand for reenactment, or sometimes passing your knowledge on to others. This is why we will be presenting our Hunting Games, a playful competition where knowledge about the medieval hunt is rewarded and hopefully also conveyed.

IMAG2527The competitors of last years Hunting Games was put to many a test as we in accordance with the medieval huntbooks sent them of in search of “fumes”,  fresh dung from animals in the area who might be interesting to hunt (more about that here). We also had them do a simple quiz on medieval hunting and divided into teams debate the question “Why do we hunt?”. The best use of classic rhetoric and medieval reasoning was deemed as a winner. For grand finale, the best of the best was set to challenge each other in sounding the hunters horn.10635871_10152625159850708_1425179991131912415_n But I must not reveal to much of our plans for this years celebration. So without further ado – I welcome you to celebrate the feast day of St Eustace, all hunters patron saint!

/ Emil

For further information, please check the Facebook-page for the event.

Foto 2014-09-20 16 33 14

Hunting for signs of spring

20150308_150535

This year spring is unusually early in Sweden. The meteorological definition of spring here is that the average temperature must be rising and lie between 0 and 10 degrees Celsius for seven whole days in a row. This happened in mid February where we live, more than a month earlier than expected.

My personal definition of spring is different, it craves a close inspection of the signs in nature that the season brings with it. When I see it, I believe it. That is why our first spring outing is so important and it was about time we got out in the forest this weekend. Johan and I was also extra glad that our friend Helena joined us, bringing her energetic boarbaiter Bullen.

20150308_143905

Early spring outings in medieval gear means that you will have to deal with a lot of melting snow and expose yourself to a serious risk of getting very cold and soggy feet. It will take at the least another month before the forest dries up and the melting water is just above freezing temperature.

But few things are as medieval as cold and soggy feet due to walking in thin leather shoes or as effective to make you toughen up a little. At the least I suppose that is why Johan insisted that this was the perfect time to cross a bog flooded with icy water from the melting snow. He also claims that it is a lot of fun to make your way where there is no paths and the more challenging, the more fun. I will definitely agree on that point. (More about dressing for the season here.)
IMAG5224

Brave bogtrotters.

But I don’t expect that the “toughening” effect is measurable after only occasional events of uncomfortable experiences, just like I very much doubt the validity of single attempts on experimental archaeology when taken out of context. To gather valid knowledge based on experience is a long time project, it takes years. But every outing we do makes a little difference, we always learn something new.

For me, this outing was not about handling getting cold and wet, even if I did that as well. Instead I mostly focused on observing and bonding with my dog, Basilard. He came to me only five months ago and I haven’t had him off the leash much, worrying that he would go off hunting and get in some kind of trouble or another.
20150308_151148_Richtone(HDR)
Now I watched him run happily with the other dogs and he was never out of sight for long. He only reacted to the scent of game once or twice, as when we found massive boar-marks in the ground. I learnt that I had to take a chance more and trust him a bit to see the result of all the training we have done.
11036082_932758556769408_8295063830220953872_n
After walking through the marches all of us had achieved the expected status of wet shoes and cold soggy hose-feet, but with a varying degrees of experienced discomfort. However I think we all equally enjoyed our little sit-down as we made up a fire and had a light meal including wine, cheese and some extraordinary tasty sausages.
Göra eldstad

Making a fireplace by folding up the moss.

The subject of fire makes me think of our next project. This year we have decided to make an effort to better ourselves as fire-makers. We will practice to use traditional tools and methods to a further extent than we have done so far. I used to be proficient at using flint and steel but that was a very long time ago and I am looking forward to pick it up again. I imagine I’ll do a short video or an article about our progress with this project.
IMAG5245
As for signs of spring except for wet feet on wanderers in the woods, there was birdsong, budding leaves and little rivulets flooded with water. There still was occasional heaps of snow and the moss crackled with frost on some places, but also sprouting tufts of green on the ground. Most importantly, there was a few extra hours of daylight available for us now compared to when we did our last outing. All in all, what I saw was well enough for me to decide that spring is truly here.
/ Emil
You can see all the pictures from our outing in our Facebook-album here.
20150308_152403

Winter is upon us.

10922461_903329519712312_2446594680176877832_nYesterday I woke up to a snow white landscape. I knew it would be one of those precious winter outings, my favourite. All seasons in the woods have their charm and beauty, but I have come to especially like cold weather because of how snow and ice really puts my kit and my skills to the test. I like to use my gear in different weather conditions to see if my craft and gear hold water, sometimes quite literally.

This was not only our first outing in snow for a long good while and Basilards first one ever. It was also première for our new grey kirtles, the winter clothing for hunters as recommended by Gaston Phoebus.

IMAG4615We had a heavy snowfall the day before but it was not very cold, just about -5°C/23°F. That means cold enough for nice dry snow, but not so cold it hurts if you dress accordingly. Dry snow is lovely to be out in, but wet snow can be difficult. Thaw is soon absorbed by our thin leather shoes and becomes freezing water. It makes your hose soggy and your feet hurt with cold until they numb. After some time walking in this state of misery, the damp permanently damages the shoes as well.

10933790_10152570925872765_4834269746989438523_n

Dry feet in dry snow.

You can never know if the weather will change when you are out, so I always grease my boots the day before a planned outing and it helps a little. As long as you keep moving it is usually alright, but even in dry snow our shoes absorb some water after a while. The thin leather sole is then half frozen, constantly warmed by the foot and cooled by contact with the ground. This gives you a better grip than you might expect if you are used to walking in rubber soled shoes on ice.

Boots with many buckles like mine are not the most common ones in period pictures. When they appear they seem to be worn only by the most wealthy in society. I had mine made for me three years ago after archaeological findings of shoes from 14th century Stockholm. I too feel that they are a bit luxurious, but usually I’m very happy with them.

1601377_10153119135222926_4031028429678390447_n

Before.

IMAG4076

After!

However, on previous winter outings I’ve sometimes had trouble with snow getting trapped in the shaft and slowly melting there to my discomfort. It happens when the shaft is too low or not tight enough around the ankle. Recently I had a friend who is a really good shoemaker help me put on an extra pair of buckles to solve the problem. It worked out very well, kept the snow at bay and I think it looks great. Thank you Sofia!

I had been looking forward to this outing for some time, longing for snow. Now I plunged my way through it with childish delight and Basilard seemed to enjoy it as well. He was on his best behaivour all day, but I doubt he has ever seen so much snow. This was really good training for him and I’m glad that he goes so well together with Johans Boudica.

10917330_902327219812542_6400472687767569062_nThe forest was so heavy with snow on some places that young trees arched down over the track just like the ceiling in a gothic cathedral. Stunningly beautiful, but also treacherous as the forest dropped little icy surprices over us when you expect it the least…

10342887_902345159810748_4192485646855221344_n

Fur lined hood makes one happy hunter.

Both Johan and I had put on our hoods lined with rabbit fur for this occasion and agreed that it is the best winter garment you can get. It is easy to regulate the warmth by pulling the hood up or down and it protects your neck from snow dropping from the trees. The fur gives you that instant warm fuzzy feeling that makes you all glad when your ears are nippy.

Except for my hood for warmth I also wore fur lined mittens and three layers of wool kyrtils. The most thin and soft one closest to the skin to keep me dry and then increasingly more thick and coarse fabrics on top to keep the snow out. The new grey kirtle got heavily felted when I dyed it and turned out almost water-proof. The massive width makes it drape nicely and the folds of the fabric make little pockets of air, soon warmed by the body. I didn’t freeze one bit.

IMAG4598_1Johan was happy with the extra long sleeves on his new kirtle. Gloves and mittens are sometimes a bother when you are out and about, holding horns and spears and dogs and whatnot. But folded down, the sleeves keep the warmth around the hands even without gloves, and you will not likely loose them in the snow.

We stopped for a light meal as usual, but this time we skipped making10354590_10152571715607765_3887943407287273709_n a fire.  We were both warm enough anyway and most wood was deep frozen. If there had been a need for it, we could probably have found usable branches up under firtrees, but we didn’t feel the need to scavenge half an hour for it. Instead we gave the sausages meant for cooking to two very happy dogs and just had the wine and cheese for ourselves.

The tracks we saw told us that we were alone in the woods that day, apart from its inhabitants of wild boar, hare and roe deer. All in all, it was a lovely day out.

Want to see more? Check out our FB-album.

/ Emil

10922805_902291566482774_2892145659664135614_n

 

 

 

A new hunter!

As followers of our Facebook-page already know, our pack has been reinforced with another hunter. Our new companions name is Basilard, he is a one and a half year old Irish wolfhound and was adopted by Emil.

PicsArt_1414072295330

Basilard trying out his new medieval-style collar.

Basilard is not fully grown and much thinner than we want him, but already a big boy with his 56 kilos. Just like Johans Boudica and most other sighthounds, he is a bit reserved towards strangers at first. But as soon as he gets to know someone, he wants to get close and cuddle up, offers a big tummy to rub or a wet kiss – he is possibly the biggest lap dog in the world!

Basilard was “rescued” from a home where he did not get the love and care he should have had. Because of that, he came to Emil as a youngster and has a lot to learn. A calm, brave and warm personality, he is eager to please. When he spots a hare, you can tell Basilard wants to be a great hunter, but he is yet to early in his training to be allowed to run free.

Currently Basilard is busy making friends with Boudica and getting used to his new family, but he is settling in just fine and we have great hopes for him.

/ Emil

About the name – a basilard is a medieval type of dagger, almost a short sword characterized by its wide blade and H-shaped handle. It is both a good tool and a powerful weapon of some status, but one you keep close to you. I guess I’ll have to make one for myself now, for reference.

Using the hunters horn.

The sound of the horns and the barking of the dogs, the excitement of that experience, is often described as the most joyful thing in hunting. 1176193_10152147330522926_384463484_n

Communication with the other hunters is most important use of the hunters horn. In the medieval huntbooks different signals are described that should be sounded in different phases of the hunt. You blow a certain signal when you are going out on a hunt and another when you are riding back home. There is a signal for when the game is sighted or the hounds are to be released or to call them back and finally after a kill you blow the “mort”.

What not everybody knows is that the horn also plays an important role before the hunt, used in a way that may seem strange to us today. The huntbooks describe how some hunters are sent out in advance to track up animals and suggest appropriate game.

NamnlösThey return to the merry gathering of the hunters and report their findings to the Master of the Hunt, informing him about where the animals are, what their tracks look like and bring back fumes for him to judge them by.

When found, the fumes are stuffed into the hunters horn and he seals it with some grass to keep the fumes from falling out.

Here the hunters are seen pouring “fumes” out of their hunting horns. Judging by the shape, size and quality of the fumes from different animals, the master of Hunt decides for the most appropriate game.

10385300_10152160196587765_5947767721368674630_n

Hunter pouring fumes out of his horn.

Edward of Norwich teaches us in his book Master of Hunt from early 15th century, how a to know a Great Hart by the Fumes:

“I shall teach you to know a great hart by the fumes of the hart, for sometimes they crotey in wreaths, sometimes flat and sometimes formed. Sometimes sharp at both ends and sometimes pressed together.

If he find the fumes that are formed and not holding together as it is from the beginning of July into the end of August, if they are great and black and long and are not sharp at the ends, and are heavy and dry without slime, it is a token that it is a hart chaceable.

If the fumes are faint and light and full of slime, or sharp at both ends, or at one end, these are the tokens that he is no deer chaceable. If they be slimy it is a token that he has suffered some disease.”

Edward elaborates quite a bit on the subject of fumes so I took the liberty of shortening his advice slightly. Read more about our hunting horns and how Edward of Norwich thinks they should be made here. Johan is as always one step ahead and provides an informative video about the use of the hunters horn.

/ Emil

Making a hunters horn.

Rolands horn

Rolands horn Olifant as seen in Santiago de Compostella

How should a hunters horn look like?  A great hunters horn was traditionally made in ivory, carved decoratively and they are called “olifant’s”, just like Rolands horn Olifant in La Chanson de Roland.

In the late Norse 13th century Karlamagnussaga it is said that Olifant actually was the horn of a unicorn.

If you’d like to see it, you can either visit the famous pilgrim site of Santiago de Compostella in Spain or the Vitus cathedral in Prague who both claim to be in possession of it.

Namnlös

Hunters with their hunting horns in wide baldrics. Livre de chasse 1407.

My horn is not ivory, nor is it from a unicorn. But it is sort of monumental, none the less. 10635871_10152625159850708_1425179991131912415_n

Johan has carved it beautifully for me and today I finished a new pompous baldric in the style of Livre de chasse. A baldric is the sholder strap in which the horn is carried.

The baldrics in Livre de chasse are often very wide, mostly of a straight cut but sometimes dagged in the edges (as seen above). Both coloured and undyed baldrics appear. Typical for this manuscript is that they often are decorated with what looks like little round-ish metal mounts.

I choose to interpret them as little brass flowers on my baldric. Then I filled up the space between the mounts with a floral pattern inspired by what I’ve seen in period illuminations, picking up the shape of the leafs that Johan carved in to my horn. I’m happy with how it turned out, especially the brass fittings I’ve made myself, stepping slightly outside my comfort zone as a craftsman.

IMAG2450

IMAG2457IMAG2452

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Johan made his own horn over 10 years ago and has been wearing it on events in Sweden and around Europe since then. IMAG2398The age and patina adds to its beauty, but his baldric is new. The brass letters on it says “venator”, meaning hunter, and “veltrahus” is one in charge of greyhounds.10430477_819255604786371_4273931695073881414_n

10505376_832170526828212_8484417598505684701_n

 

 

 

10603563_832170480161550_3325916715314553240_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edward of Norwich teaches us about hunting horns in his book Master of Hunt from early 15th century:

“There are diverse kinds of horns, that is to say bugles, great Abbots, hunters horns, ruets (trumpets) and meaner horns of two kinds. That one kind is waxed waxed with green wax and greater of sound, and they be best for good hunters, therefore I will devise how and in what fashion they should be driven.

First a good hunters horn should be driven of two spans in length, and not much more nor much less, and not too crooked neither too straight, but that the flute be three or four fingers upper more than the head, that unlearned hunters call the great end of the horn.

And also that it be as great and hollow driven as it can for the length, and and that it be shorter on the side of the baldric than at the nether end. And that the head be as wide as it can be, and always driven smaller and smaller to the flue, and that it be well waxed thicker or thinner according as the hunter thinks that it will sound will sound best.

 And that it be the length of the horn from the flute to the binding, and also that it be not too small driven from the binding to the flute, for if it be the horn will be too mean of sound. As for feweterers and woodsmen, I speak not for every small horn and other mean horn unwaxed be good enough for them.”

I’ve also written a short article about the medieval hunters use of his or her horn. Johan is as always one step ahead and provides an informative video.

/ Emil

 

The Manuscript Challenge: A boar hunters outfit.

This post is about the making of my new outfit, my answer to The Manuscript Challenge. I’ve done an interpretation of the dog-handler in a boar hunting scene from “Les livres du roi Modus et de la reine Ratio”, the King Modus manuscript from ca 1370.

I admit that this outfit is well within my comfort zone and not very different from what I already have in terms of gear. But I like how it looks, it fills a gap in my wardrobe and I thought that it could be fun to interpret something exactly from a picture in my favourite medieval hunting book. In this way I can be sure that what I’m wearing are things that are meant to go together and hopefully well suitable for the activity depicted.

1797515_10152160197582765_4688588845508775182_nAs you can see, this hunter is wearing a tight liripipe hood (the making of it is described in detail here) and matching hoses with fashionably pointy toes. Like many hunters on foot during this period, he is not wearing any shoes. That might lead us to suspect the hoses being soled with leather. Tiny stripes on the horn suggest that it could be carved decoratively and the thin baldric is crossed below the waist. He is also wearing a thin black belt.

The hunters blue kirtle is very well fitted and buttons down the front, probably also on the sleeves. It has a generous cut over the chest to achieve the masculine Gothic ideal, a muscular “dove-chest” contrasting the narrow waist and straight fit over the hips. The kirtle on my manuscript picture reaches to mid thigh where it ends with a softly dagged edge.

IMAG2007

To short and to tight!

I made the pattern myself, fitting my toille in front of the mirror. Being a bit to eager to get started, I made two stupid mistakes. Firstly, I didn’t take any pictures of this step of the making. Secondly, when I had stitched the kirtle together and dagged the bottom edge, all by hand, I realised that I had cut it to short and a bit to tight to begin with. I looked stupid with my breeches (linnen underwear) showing to much and it would be hard to do any hunting with dignity in such a tight kirtle. (Admittedly, I have no ambitions of really doing any real hunting or anything requiring dignity at all. But I’d prefer if it didn’t show to much. 😉 )

I had to insert a gore in the middle back to expand the fit over the hips. The first dagged edge was sacrificed. I cut it off so that I could add an extra piece of fabric, following the lines of the pattern and lengthening the whole garment about 25 cm. When that was done, I had to re-do the dagged edge, now wider. All this was about three extra days of work, re-doing things I knew I should have done from the start. In the end I had a kirtle that was a slight bit longer than I had planned in the first place, but it looked very much like my original picture.IMAG2278IMAG2279It is bitter and tedious work, mending up a mess you’ve made yourself. But once I got the length right, I celebrated my victory by turning my attention to things I actually enjoy doing: details like buttons, buttonholes and pretty edges. The thin woad blue twill was a dream to work with and I hand stitched everything with silk or waxed linnen thread.

IMAG2300IMAG2281

IMAG2286

Curvy cut over the chest and a pretty tablet woven edge in silk.

A strip of linnen lining the inside and a tablet woven edge on the outside strengthens the buttonhole edges. I used silk yarn in the same woad-blue for the weft and ended up with 63 buttonholes all in all. 10 in each sleeve and 43 down the front. The buttons themselves look like little blueberries…

IMAG2288

Slowly getting there, still a few more buttons to go…

The kirtle is deliberately cut with a light curve over the chest and has medium size “grand assiette”-sleeves with a gore inserted over the shoulder in the back. This allows for maximum freedom of movement in arms and shoulders but still gives a nice tight fit. I also added a small standing collar because I like how it looks. It doesn’t show on my manuscript-picture because of the hood, but low collars like this one are seen on other pictures in King Modus.

Egen1I finished the whole kit just in time for an event this past weekend. I’m so happy with how it turned out, but also surprised by the princely 10479940_10152625157110708_7587428764304000842_olook it gives me. The kirtle look so much more glamorous than I expected! But as I’ve worn and torn it during this weekends adventures, it starts to feel more like me.

Johan carved the horn that I carried with the rest of the outfit. I love how it is decorated with winding bands of wine leafs, happy hares and playful greyhounds. It has got a characteristic smell of tar, beeswax and gunpowder that I wouldn’t mind having as a personal signature scent.

I made a simple thin baldric for my horn but have already started to work on a larger and wider one to be more elaborately decorated, in the style of Livre de Chasse. (More on hunting horns is hopefully coming in a later post.)

10547855_10152625159630708_2827456825857376384_o

Photo: Annie Rosén

1973527_10152625158810708_4295313694744994988_o

Photo: Annie Rosén

So this is it for my first manuscript challenge. It was fun and intense to make the outfit, all hand stitched and with extreme attention to every detail. Slightly challenging to correct my mistakes by enlarging the pattern for the kirtle at such a late stage and lots of extra work, but not very difficult.

I find it stimulating to work towards a tight deadline with a very clear picture of where you are going, so the manuscript challenge suits me very well. But now when I’m done with it, I think I’ll want to start over again with a new picture of a hunter in another manuscript and go for something harder for my next attempt…

Rather close, don’t you think? If you like my work, please let me know. If you like the dog or her chain-mail collar more, do tell Johan who let me pose with her, and not me. 😉

1797515_10152160197582765_4688588845508775182_n20140827_163242_Richtone(HDR)/ Emil

  • Estimated time to make this hand sewn kirtle: + 80 h
  • Material needed: Blue twill wool, ca 1,70 meters, plus scraps of unbleached linnen. Sewing thread in silk and linnen, beeswax. The 63 buttons was made of leftover cloth. I had all the material at home when I started.
  • Total cost to make: ca 400 sek / 40 eur

A square hood.

Yesterday I finished the last item in a whole new outfit and I’m so pleased IMAG2068with how it turned out. My new kit consists of hoses, a tightly buttoned blue kirtle, a dashing hood and a hunters horn. All of it will come to good use this weekend when Johan and I have new kinds of awesome planned.

I will tell you all about my new outfit in devious detail, every piece of it, but I’ll start from the top and from the beginning. My new kit began with my love for the look of this hood.

IMAG2103

All the illustrations for today’s post are from one of the first copies of one particular manuscript (ca 1370), “Les livres du roi Modus et de la reine Ratio”, meaning roughly “The book of the hunt according to King Experience and Queen Theory”.

It is my favourite among the medieval hunting books I’ve studied so far and that is why I turned to it for inspiration when I needed a new outfit for our upcoming event, The Feast of St Eustace.

10385300_10152160196587765_5947767721368674630_n

The gathering of the hunters, just like we will do for the Feast of St Eustace.

 

“King Modus” show hunters and falconers in very late 14th century fashion. I especially like the cut and the colour of the hunters clothes.  I think everyone looks very sporty and smart in their tight buttoned kirtles. And then there is this unusually petite buttoned hood… 10513429_10152160197552765_2504682716337842305_n

The hoods in King Modus are very small and buttoned down the front. The cut of the “collar”-part is usually is more square than round-ish and it has crescent-shaped take outs for the shoulders. That means that the hood leaves parts of the shoulder bare. This arrangement locks the hood in place while it also allows for freedom of movement for the wearer.

If riding fast while hunting, I’d not like to have my hoods collar be flapping about up in my face. Because of the narrow cut, these sporty hoods are not so easily caught by the wind. And they sometimes even have small straps under the arms, to secure it further which also makes it possible to wear the hood opened and unbuttoned.

One picture that especially caught my eye features a riding man wearing a brown hood with some kind of edging in a contrasting colour. I have a thing for details, such as extra well worked edges. I immediately decided that I needed to make one exactly like it.

Les livres du roi Modus et de la reine Ratio (1354–1376)

Brown buttoned hood with edges in a contrasting colour.

There is something about the design that appeals to me. 10334440_10152915768687926_3643521291128983755_nThe extra tight fit, the straps and the neat cut over the shoulders helps to keep the hood in place when hunting, running or carrying stuff over your shoulder.

I interpret it as something very much like medieval sportswear and I love the idea of it.  It didn’t take me long to make one for myself and soon found that it works extremely well in action.

1607093_10152912185057926_1529879692656500492_nJohanAmong other things I’ve tried running and jumping, throwing spears, building barricades, loading and firing a handgun. You can do basicly anything without being disturbed by a hood turning round your neck, trying to choke you.

I cannot claim it to be a hunters hood exclusively, it does appear in other contexts and other manuscripts as well. But I think it fair to call it a King Modus hood, since it is so commonly seen in this manuscript.

To make it I used the mock-up pattern of another hood I’ve made before, but I made it much smaller and tighter. Hunters hood EMIL I also cut away crescent-shaped bits for my shoulders to fit in and added the optional straps.

I used a heavy brown wool twill, the leftovers from making the hoses you see above. This hood doesn’t take much fabric at all. As it is supposed to fit real snug around my face and neck, I added a thin soft wool lining. (And don’t you even think of using linnen for lining a hood. Even if it is soft to touch, it gets cold and wet because the flax fibers keep water.)

10296594_10152898353712926_2307864755972564125_n

Tablet weaving the edge that joins the outer fabric with the lining.

 

After fitting everything properly together and making sure the lining wasn’t bulging or creasing anywhere, I backstitched it all together with waxed linnen thread by hand, the way I usually do things. Buttons are made by leftover cloth and I did not put them closer together than strictly necessary, as I want the hood to be real fast to put on.

I used a period method for lining that is as beautiful as it is simple. You only get a glimpse of it here where the seam allowance of the outer fabric is folded over the lining. Then it is sewn down over filler threads to make the seam more durable.

Lastly I finished off the edges all around the hood with a tablet woven edge, just like some of the hoods from Herjolfsnes are done. It means in this case that the outer fabric and the lining of the hood is joined with a woven edge. It is sewn on to the hood while weaving, with weft for sewing thread.

My friend Bertus Brokamp made a hood like this some years ago and recently wrote about it here. Check it out for further references, he has done some genuine research!

But what about the rest of my new outfit?

1797515_10152160197582765_4688588845508775182_n

Once I’d gotten as far as finishing a King Modus-style hood in the same fabric as my hoses I had to change my target picture. I realised that for several reasons, this picture of a hunter on foot with a horn over his shoulder and a dog in leash suits me and my reenacting much better. And the brown hood and hoses are still game!

I only needed a buttoned blue kirtle and a horn. I had all the fabric I needed. So, there I was, contemplating a thin woad blue twill that had been warming space in my fabric storage for years. I had just started to cut out the pieces for my new kirtle when Maria came out and challenged me and the rest of internet to take on “The Manuscript Challenge”.

The manuscript Challenge rules, in short:

  •  Choose one picture from a medieval manuscript, and choose wisely.
  • Publish your picture, stating that you take on the challenge and describe the outfit.
  • Create your outfit according to the wearer’s outfit, as shown in the picture.
  • Let others in on your progress! Upload pictures of how you proceed, blog about it!
  • Ask for help, tips and advice if you feel the need and wish to do so.
  • Use whatever materials or techniques you wish. The idea is to recreate a visual copy of your chosen image.
  • You have one year to finish.

If you’ve followed me so far, you’ll see how well the project suits me and how close I was to finish already when I picked up the challenge. I sure got a head start!

But the glorious goal for me is to re-create not only the clothes but also the picture I used for inspiration, the one with the dog. I’m not properly done until that picture with me as doghandler is published here. The gear is done. I only need a large white dog of the right type and a cooperative photographer. I hope to be able to make the photo shoot happen sometime this week.

Until then, stay tuned and I’ll give you a sneak-peak of my kit…

10556473_819684194743512_3115680874457994783_nIMAG2286IMAG2290

/ Emil

Feast of St: Eustace

INVITATION

We hereby invite you all, hunters, nobles, lords and ladies, dog-keepers and local farmers to gather and make remembrance of St: Eustace’s martyrium. In honour of St: Eustace, the patron Saint of hunters, we celebrate his feast day on the 20th of September with a 14th century picnic in the woods outside Uppsala.

This will be done as a reenactment of a scene that take place before a great hunt, the joyful gathering of the hunters. How the gathering of the hunters should be done is carefully described in both period illuminations and texts from medieval hunting books.

c38_616

The gathering of hunters.

Here according to Edward of Norwich’s The Master of Game:

The gathering of the hunters

And the place where the gathering shall be made should be in a fair mead well green, where fair trees grow all about, the one far from the other, and a clear well or beside some running brook. […]

 

And also they that come from home should bring thither all that they need, every one in his office, well and plenteously, and should lay board clothes all about upon the green grass, and set divers meats upon a great platters after the lord’s power.

 

And some should eat sitting, and some standing, and some leaning upon their elbows, some should drink, some laugh, some jangle, some joke and some play — in short do all manner of disports of gladness […]

 

IMAG1929

 

 

 

 

 

This event is a reenactment of the gathering of the huntsmen before going out on a great hunt. It means that it is a social event and no hunting will be done. However it is a most suitable opportunity to eat and drink together or perhaps engage in playful games on a medieval style picknick. More info about activities during the event will be added later on as participants confirm their partaking.

The celebration of St:Eustace will take place in a beautiful groove of old oaks in Hågadalen wildlife reserve just outside Uppsala (Sweden) on the 20th of September, 15:00.

10590491_10152226647917765_8180709113665583240_nTo partake you will need an outfit probable for late 14th century (1350 – 1420). Our definition of “probable” is not necessarily an entirely hand-made outfit, but of period cut, materials and colours. Modern personal items such as glasses are not allowed, we ask you to wear period equipment instead. Modern haircuts, visible piercings or tattoos must be hidden. Bring your own food and drinks. If you have any questions or are uncertain about the appropriateness of your kit, please feel free to contact us on our Facebook- page and send us a picture.

Confirm your application on the event-page on Facebook. We are looking forward to seeing you in September, very welcome!

/ Emil and Johan