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This is only a short post, but I realised it was two weeks since my last post and I don’t want to slip out of the habit of posting again. Hopefully things should pick up again soon as I am awaiting a delivery of some new materials to make some more new goodies, I have a couple of other posts in the pipeline and at the end of May is  the first show of the year that I will be attending so that should produced some good photos and interesting anecdotes 😀

Spindles whorls and weaving tablets

Unfortunately I haven’t had time to make anything terribly exciting recently, though I have finally got around to cutting down some and the antler pedicles I have lying about and started turning them into whorls. None are based specific finds, but they are decorated in the style of many Early Medieval whorls that have been found. The weights are;

A: 20gr with a 6mm hole
B: 22gr with a 9.5mm hole
C: 12gr with a 6mm hole

spindle whorls


As well as the spindle whorls, I have made yet more textile tools (I sometimes feel I only ever make pins and textile tools ^^), this time square weaving tablets of bone and horn. Horn tablets have not been found, but it is an obvious material to use for making them. Bone (or antler) tablets are relatively common and have been found as far back as the Iron Age. The decorated tablet in the top left of the photo is based on a 7th C find from Kingston Down.

weaving tablets

Experimenting with dyeing bone and antler

A number of finds from the Chalcolithic (Copper Age) onwards have been dyed various colours, often green. There have been a number of recipes suggested for how to do this (which I will cover in more detail when I post the results of my own trials) but a common one for green is to use verdigris.

So, before I start my experiments in dyeing bone and antler, I need the dyestuff. That means that one of my little jobs over the last weekend was to set up the means of producing verdigris. This isn’t too difficult, as verdigris is the product of copper being exposed to acidic fumes, so all it involved was a jar full of copper, sat inside another jar with some vinegar in the bottom and the lid screwed on. It will be kept in a warm place and “harvested” whenever the plates are fuzzy with verdigris (I expect once every week to 10 days). See the excellent drawing below for how I set it up.

making verdigris

The key points when doing this are;

  • The copper must be exposed to the fumes not the liquid, so do not sit the copper in the vinegar
  • The whole set up must be kept warm (mine lives in the greenhouse)
  • Keep the lid on so that the fumes are contained and react with the copper.

Hopefully in a few weeks I will have gathered enough verdigris to move onto the next stage – making green dyed Viking buckles and Roman pins!