The Vikings Are Coming!

Those of you who know me well will know that I am a big fan of costume drama.  I particularly like it if they get the details right.  The story is often secondary to my enjoyment of the programme as I can sometimes spend the entire episode trying to work out how a lace collar was made or where the seams or darts are in a gown I particularly like.  A couple of years ago I got hooked on Vikings....

Need I say more?  Well perhaps.  Its a series based on the story of Ragnar Lothbrok and begins with the raid on Lindisfarne in 793.  The truth of the whole Ragnar story is lost in the mists of time and many of the events are not verifiable in actual history but are related in Norse mythology... some of it is actual events and as you would expect from a production financed by the History Channel, a lot of it has been written to encompass the latest archaeological discoveries from Viking sites in Scandinavia and around the world.  So it is accurate enough in lots of areas to make me curious about the rest of it.  (Well done the history channel - I have spent hours trawling the web for research to confirm or deny certain aspects of this series!)

Vikings Series 3 has just begun and OMG the clothes and the hairstyles have just gone mad!  Super cool mad of course!

I doubt the hairstyles are accurate and in the series you never see anyone doing their hair... I mean it must take hours and a lot of help to get your hair to look like this.  Those are tiny little plaits looped around the edge of her shaved bit.  I did a lot of reading and it would seem that in many respects the fashions aren't too far off the mark, although I do think the hair is overly elaborate for people going into battle - would have been a hindrance I think.  

But in the course of my research I came across a thing called Nalbinding (say it in your head with a Scandinavian accent).  Its basically Viking needle knitting (it has been found all over the world but in great quantities in Scandinavia... hence the attribution to the Vikings, which isn't necessarily true).  Why haven't I ever come across this before?

The traditional thing to make would be mittens but I have very little call for mittens and anyway I just wanted to see if I could do it....

All you need is a blunt ended needle big enough to thread wool and your thumb!  I started with making quite a nice braid.

Which I then spoiled by trying to make it into a ring and doing it wrong.  You can't unravel this stuff like knitting or crochet.

Then I started another braid which I did manage to join into a circle and then decided it would be a hat...

It grows slowly and I have now found out that it is too small to fit my head.  A common mistake for beginners apparently... I will finish it (because I am enjoying doing it so much) and it might fit someone.  

I need a new hobby as much as I need a hole in my head but I class this one under general knitting and it would make a fabulous braid trim for a jumper or cardigan. 

Next episode of Vikings I shall have to watch out for knitted items!  If I can take my eyes off Ragnar Lothbrok!  Hubba Hubba!


  1. I'm sorry...Vikings with american accents or even dodgy mid European Norse accets...? Why not pay Icelanders or Norwegians, Danes etc to make something much more authetic in Norwegian, Danish, icelandic with subs? this is just another mockery of someone elses ancient heritage... as a national culure not merel as an ethnic cmty within the US...


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