Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

hand-crafts-lnks – 9/24/05


A set of web links to information on medieval “Little” arts for idle hands by Dame Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon. Transportable arts which can be done anywhere you are.


NOTE: See also the files: craft-supplies-msg, lucet-cord-msg, 8-P-Stitches-art, cross-stitch-msg, knitting-lnks, spinning-msg, chainmail-msg, med-letters-msg, naalbinding-msg, sprang-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.


Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: aoife at scatoday.net

Subject: [Aoife-Links] Escaping the Devil's Workshop: "Little" Arts for Idle Hands

Date: June 22, 2005 9:48:31 PM CDT

To: aoife-links at scatoday.net


Greetings my Faithful readers.


When I first joined the SCA, about mumblty-teen too years ago, It was the norm for the ladies to sit around and gossip, with their hand-work firmly in hand, while the men went off to bash their friends over the head with big sticks. Nowadays, things have changed. The non-fighters sit around and gossip while watching and the fighters, both male and female, go off to bash each other over the heads with big sticks. And a good time is had by all.


Fighting is good fun, after all, and a well-rounded SCAdian should try some sort of combat during their years in the SCA. But wait! What about that other thing, that "Hand Work" thing. You know, that thing that some folks do while watching fighting, that others do while at a demo, and that still others do just for fun? What's all that about?


I firmly believe that our Medieval counterparts were quite industrious, and what with "Idle Hands being the Devil's Workshop" it seems to me that it's still a good idea to find something to do to keep the hands busy. I hesitate to call them 'little" arts, since big results can be obtained by a little work here and there, but none the less, these are certainly transportable arts. And working on any handcraft is good for you! It not only builds your skills and dexterity base, it also occupies the mind, provides a source of conversation and knowledge sharing ("What's that? Can you teach me how to do it? I know someone who's really good at that..."), and historical crafts look a lot more medieval then doing nothing at all....


Therefore, this links list is all about "little" arts and sciences you can carry with you wherever you go, be it in court, alongside the tourney field, at the demo table, whilst sitting in class, while up at night, whilst sleepless, at the Office on your lunch hour, or simply while sitting and gossiping at an event.






Dame Aoife Fin of Ynos Mon, CL, CP

m/k/a Lisbeth Herr-Gelatt


Endless Hills



Stefan's Florilegium


Let's face it, it's a gold-mine of information no matter where you look. However, these files caught my eye:

Embroidery: 8 Period Stitches

by Mistress Ealasaid nic Shuibhne

(click Textile Arts, the 8-P-Stitches-art)

Making Quills

(click Scribal Arts, then quills-msg)

Herb Uses

(click plants, Herbs, and Spices, then Herbs-Uses-msg)

Period Favors




Twill Beadwork


(Site Excerpt) Twill beadwork is sometimes mistaken for woven beadwork, but it differs in distinct ways. While woven beadwork aligns the beads in horizontal and vertical rows, twill beadwork arranges the beads in an offset pattern, like bricks. Because of the strong diagonal 'grain' lines formed in twill beadwork (hence its name) the resulting 'fabric' is much more flexible


Hurstwick: Games and Sports of the Viking Era


(Site Excerpt) Game boards and playing pieces are common finds in grave goods. The game boards that have been found have playing surfaces ranging from 7x7 squares (right) up to 19x19 squares. Playing pieces have been found made from a wide variety of material: glass; bone (left); antler; amber; bronze; and wood.


Making Medieval Shoes by Eleanora


(Site Excerpt) Another way to make a pattern is by careful measuring. The Carlson web site offers instructions on making patterns by this method. The good news is that once you have the pattern to fit your foot, stylistic details can be added at will. Therefore you should not have to re-size your pattern each time you want to try a different style- just make adjustments to you standard pattern.


Kim's Website: Make 4-panel Juggling Balls


(Site Excerpt) I suggest taking your pattern paper and folding it neatly into quarters, the measure up half your long side length (plus seam allowance) along one fold from the folded center, half the short side length (plus seam allowance) along the other center fold, then cutting one nice curve from one measured end to the other. Then your curve will be even on all sides of your pattern piece when you unfold it.


Medieval Letter-writing


(Site Excerpt) Letter-writing was not restricted by class, gender or occupation. The treatises examined by Austin contain examples appropriate to all walks of life, and actual letters survive from people of many different types. Minimal education would have been required, but certainly many who had not had the benefit of a university education were expected and able to use the treatise examples in composing their own correspondence.


Arachne's Webserver: Lace-maker's Homepage



Viking-Style Tablet Weaving: Birka Strapwork Motif by  Þóra's Sharptooth


(Site Excerpt) The motif for this tablet-weaving "recipe" is based on a Viking Age brocaded tablet-weaving pattern found on Bands 22 and 23 at Birka, Sweden. Based on both the number of finds of brocaded tablet-weaving finds and the total weight of metal brocading weft found at Birka, this was the trim pattern most commonly represented in Birka's Viking Age burials...


Phiala's String Page: Fingerloop Braiding


(Site Excerpt) This type of braid was very common in medieval London (Crowfoot et al. 1992). They were used as edging on mesh hairnets, purse strings, and for fastening clothing. Examples of 5, 7, 10, 14, and 20 loops have been found. All were of silk, mostly monochrome, but one used 2 colors. Fingerloop braids of 3 and 4 colors are known from elsewhere.





Celtic Artwork and Illumination



Chain Mail Connection



Medieval Games and Past-times (an OLD Aoife-Links List)


(Site Excerpt) This list is perfect for those planning amusements at events.

There's information on: Bocce, Quoits (a horse shoe like game), Croquet,

Tennis, Battledore/Shuttlecock, Bowling (Ninepins, etc.), Shove-penny,

skittles, and a couple bonus curiosity games.


15th century girdle book for note taking and other uses

by Cynthia Virtue aka Baroness Cynthia du Pré Argent


(Site Excerpt) To wear it, the knot slips under your belt from below, until the knot is over your belt, which keeps it from falling out.  To use mine for taking notes, I can either leave it in the belt, and just pick it up and start writing (I write in it "upside down") or I can take it out of my belt easily and write.  I've used it to remember names, allegedly bright ideas I have at events, interesting clothes or art, my lines in a play, class notes, and other little things.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org