Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Cobblers of the Sea

We're Vikings, the Cobblers of the Sea
We're Vikings, shoe-making happily
Let there be no ambiguity
The Cobblers of the Sea!*

I'm afraid I don't have any socks to show off today.

But I made this. It's a shoe.

A real shoe, which I can really wear, and I really made it myself (with a lot of help from Egil the Shoe-making Viking). I went to a party and I learned how to make shoes - how cool is that?

Egil and his buddies are members of Vikings North America, a re-enactment group that's significantly more historically specific and accurate than the SCA. They do a lot of educational/interpretive programs, and we're hoping to get more involved with them.

Egil's wife, Iona, is the one who taught me to do the naalbound socks (which are still in progress - but now I have great incentive to finish!)

This is the inside of the shoe. You can see the stitches that sew the sole to the upper. That's kind of the funky part - you put the shoe together sewing through the top and side of the sole, and then turn the whole thing inside out. "Sewing," in this case, means shoving a needle through an already-pierced hole using a scrap of leather with a thimble, then tugging the needle through the hole with a pair of pliers and a lot of swear words. Just in case there's any confusion there.

And here's the sole of the shoe. That extra strip of leather all around the sole helps protect the upper from wear - although it makes the sewing part a lot more challenging.

The shoe design is based on this one, from Jorvik.

Want to see some really cool Viking stuff? There's a group that's building a functional Viking farmstead out in Missouri.

And this is the second shoe. Basically, you sew the upper to the sole, then sew across the top of your foot and cut away anything that doesn't look like part of the shoe. A few slits for ties around the top, and I'm done. I hope Second Shoe Syndrome isn't a danger.

In keeping with the Viking theme, I'm about to start a new pair of socks for Sock Club - the "Traditional Norwegian Socks" from the Dale of Norway "Sock Class" leaflet. According to the leaflet, I really will need all of this yarn. I want leftovers, or these had better be some toasty warm socks.


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