Muirenn’s 50 for 50

Elizabeth has already posted talking about her plans for the 50 for 50 challenge (, and like her my primary challenge is a depth challenge, “50 of any one type of thing, in order to push your skills and knowledge to new levels.”

I have always loved fiber, and what can be created with it; I love to spin it, and weave it, I love the feel, and the smell and the substance of it.  But one thing that absolutely drives me batty is how quickly people assume “well, if it is a natural fiber, it must be period for all personas and places.”  Obviously, this is not true.  There are breeds of sheep that are creations of the last several hundred years, there are animals that may be fiber producers, but which were not available in certain places at certain times.   I hope to create a source for Scadians to find out what WAS available for their personas, so that decisions about fiber projects can be made with an eye towards more accuracy.  I am also always looking for more excuses to play with fiber and buy spindles.

With that in mind, my 50 for 50 project has two sides.  One is strictly research, what fibers WERE available, and where and when were they available (I am aiming for researching 50 different fibers); the other side of this is less research, and more practical.  I will be hand spinning 2 ounces of each fiber on a culturally, and where possible temporally, appropriate spindle.

Obviously my primary area of interest is in those fibers that would have been available in 15th century England/Wales, as these are the fibers that my persona would have had access to, and that I would be spinning as I worked around the home.. Having said that, my hope is that this will be a resource for other scadians as well, and plan on drawing on fibers available in Eastern Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Northern Africa.. If I find myself really running out of fibers to reach my 50, I’m not above dipping into North American options if needed, though I will stick with those that were in use between 600 and 1600.

I haven’t decided if this will be simply a collection of research material and photos in PDFs, or a functional database that can be searched at this point, but it will be made available for research purposes.  There is currently nothing there, but as I start to build the site, more information can be found here:

The odds are good that I will also teach a class at war on this topic when this is all said and done (if there is interest).

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4 Responses to Muirenn’s 50 for 50

  1. Mistress Deonorea Ridenow says:

    I don’t know if you’ve found this source, but I think you will find it extremely helpful in researching & creating a source for Scadians to find out what fibers were available for their personas. I came across it while researching the textiles trade between England and France in the 16th century, and was blown away by the depth and breadth of the information about sheep breeds & where they were raised; the spinning methodologies utilized locally with the different types of wool; weaving techniques, loom types, and types of fabric produced; how the fibers were dyed, the predominant colors produced & dyestuffs used (including period names for those colors); and where the fabrics produced were sold and what they were used for, including what socio-economic class of people they were marketed to locally & abroad. And all this info was in the intro & first chapter!!!

    The book is Textile Manufactures in Early Modern England by Eric Kerridge. It’s available on Google Books in extended preview (where I read the intro & first chapter, minus the few missing pages here and there). You are very fortunate – Philadelphia University (where you teach, I think) has it in their library, as does U of P, Temple & Swarthmore. No library that I have access to in Boston had it, so I ordered an expensive used copy from England (the cheapest price I could find on the internet).

    I think this book will be a goldmine for your researches, and I hope you find this info helpful. Good luck with your work!


  2. Muirenn says:

    If Liz were the one who wrote this, she would be very lucky to have the access to Philadelphia.. As it turns out, it’s me (Muirenn, Liz’s evil twin sister & sometimes co-author on afashionableexcuse), but thankfully I am *also* employed by an institution of higher learning and have access to shiny shiny libraries, and also a very large collection of electronically available books through said libraries.

    Thank you so much for this book reference, this is FANTASTIC! 🙂 I look forward to browsing through it! 😀

  3. I might own it. I’ll check before coming up.

  4. Muirenn says:

    Spiffing, because it’s currently out at the library up here.. I have a hold on it for when it comes back in, but.. not sure when that will be.

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