Paint Job!

Oct. 23rd, 2016 06:11 pm
anarra: (VinlandJanet1)
We had some extra demos this year and so could afford to have the Skogar Þrostur professionally painted. LOOK at her! So pretty!

We hired Chrisholm Marina to do the work. They did some repairs and painted her to our specifications. We bought the exterior paint and they provided the interior and the black. The price was excellent and they did a wonderful job. We recommend them.

Janet researched the color scheme. In addition to the Bayeux Tapestry, which shows Viking style ships where the strakes are different colors, she also found a reference to 'colored ships' sailing up the Seine to sack Paris, and some illuminated manuscripts with different colored strakes. So we've taken the plunge and painted her in the same vein.

Here she is with no rigging.

It was SO WINDY today so here she is with the sail only partway up. We couldn't get the sail all the way up at all. We'll try again the next time we have her at a Demo.

And here's one with just the rigging and no sail.
anarra: (Default)
The Skogar Þrostur will be in Windsor, CT on Sunday May 15, 2011 from 2 to 5 pm. The Hartford Lodge of the Sons of Norway is celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day at the Hayatt Summerfield Suites Hotel.  Here is the flier (1 page .pdf). Come see us there!

On May 21st we will be setting up a Viking encampment with friends at the Daily Life Schola at Holcomb Farm in West Granby, CT. This is an all-day event filled with classes of every day activities of medieval life, from the daily use of Viking ships (that's us!) to baking in a bee-hive oven. If you're interested, come on by!  We will have medieval clothing to loan for you to wear. Site fee is $8 (plus $5 if you are not a member of the SCA). The classes are mostly free, though some have a modest materials fee.

We will also be at the Roundhill Highland Games at Cranbury Park in Norwalk, CT on Saturday July 2, 2011 from 8am to 6pm. We'll be talking all about Vikings in Scotland.

Speaking of which, here's an article about a Viking archeology site on the Isle of Skye. This is so very, very cool.

Aerial surveys are being carried out over Skye to help archaeologists
investigate a 12th Century Viking shipbuilding site.

Boat timbers, a stone-built quay and a canal have already been
uncovered at Loch na h-Airde on Skye's Rubh an Dunain peninsula.

The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of
Scotland (RCAHMS) has launched the air surveys.

Staff hope to pinpoint new sites for investigation.

Working with marine archaeologists, RCAHMS also hope to find
potential dive sites for searches for the remains of ships and other artefacts.

Archaeologists now believe the loch was the focus for maritime activity
for many centuries, from the Vikings to the MacAskill and Macleod clans of Skye.

We've spent some time working on the boat.  We've scraped and scraped and will scrape again tomorrow. We plan, probably in June, to paint it in stripes!  See this illustration from an 11th century Anglo-Saxon manuscript. (Part of this article about a Viking Grave in Oxford, England in the Smithsonian Magazine.)

Also the longships on the Bayeux Embroidery are striped and there are contemporary descriptions of "colorful" Viking ships sailing up the Seine. So we decided to be colorful ourselves!  You'll see the results at the Roundhill Highland Games.

We hope to see you all!
anarra: (Default)
We will be teaching a class in How to Rig a Viking Faering Boat at the Novice Schola SCA event in Springfield, MA on March 5, 2011.  Our friend Jeff Krug will join us.

Here is the class description:  The anatomy and rigging of a Viking or Norman ship. The Skogar Þrostur is a Viking Faering (four-oared boat) based on the Gokstad faering buried in Norway in the 9th century.  We will demonstrate standing and running rigging, explain construction techniques, steering and navigation.  Class outside (rain or shine - bring an umbrella if it looks like rain, one hour, no class limit.

We will also be teaching the Bayeux Embroidery Technique class I talk about below. 
A combination of lecture on the political and social events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the embroidered tapestry that illustrates it, plus a hands-on lesson in the stem stitch and laid couching embroidery stitches used. Embroider one of the ships from the tapestry. Two hours. Materials fee $1 plus another $1 if you want to buy the wooden embroidery hoop. Class limit 8 for the hands on embroidery portion. Unlimited people can come and listen to the talk.

Novice Schola is put on by the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) group in Springfield, MA. It's a day long series of classes in Medieval Arts, Crafts, Sciences and History. There is no fee to be on site and attend the classes, though there may be a materials fee for individual classes. 

There is a "Day Board" for no additional fee (though donations are welcome) which just means a medieval-themed buffet style lunch.  Bring your own plates and silverware.

There is also a medieval feast that evening for $8.00 but only if you pay in advance by February 25th.

The SCA is a participatory group.  All participants are required to wear a "reasonable attempt" at pre-1600 clothing.  The group in Springfield has a lot of medieval clothing available to loan for the day.  There are tubs of loaner clothing available at the check-in desk.  Just ask to borrow some!

As soon as they post a class schedule, I'll update this entry.  Classes in the past have ranged from how to make a book to beginning calligraphy to an overview of Viking Clothing.  I love this event and all it's classes.  And you really don't have to know anything about the SCA or medieval stuff to enjoy it.


Sep. 8th, 2010 01:54 pm
anarra: (Default)

Labor Day Sunday we took the Skogar Þrostur to Scanfest, held at the Vasa Park in Budd Lake, New Jersey.  We used to live in  Hackettstown, just down the road from Budd Lake, so we told friends we were going to be there and Bron and her daughter Rowan and Gudrun and her son PJ came and helped us with the boat.  PJ was great!  He taught a several boys to spin wool.

Scanfest is a really fun festival.  There are a lot of Scandinavian food booths, selling things to eat that day and also food imported from Scandinavia. There are many vendors that sell Scandinavian crafts and Nordic themed clothing.  We left the boat to our friends for 45 minutes and did a bit of shopping.  We found a birch bark box for Janet to use as a sewing kit in her work basket, straw Christmas Tree decorations sewn with red thread and some laser cut wooden Christmas tree decorations.  We ate Swedish pancakes with lingon berries and had some almond and raspberry tart that I'd never had before but was wonderfully delicious.

And they had a wife carrying competition--their first.  The winner got his "wife's" weight in beer.  Contestants didn't have to carry their own wives, they could borrow anyone's or even a woman who wasn't a wife.  We had a ring-side seat and oh, boy was it fun to watch!
Wife Carrying at Scanfest 2010

But mostly we talked to people.  Which can get repetitive in a blog since the main thing we talk about is the Skogar Þrostur and the Gokstad ship and Viking ship building techniques.  We love doing Scandinavian festivals.  Lots of people at these festivals have been to the Oslo or Danish ship museums and know about boats.  They ask the most interesting questions.

Afterwords the six of us went to dinner at Janet's favorite Italian restaurant in Hackettstown.  (My favorite Indian restaurant was closed due to a fire back in March.  Sob!)  We talked and had a great time. Rowan was five when we left Hackettstown and now she's almost 13 so getting to know her more grown up was fun.

We've penciled in the date for next year--always the Sunday of Labor Day.  If you can go, go!  It's great fun.
anarra: (Default)


Back around the year 900 anno domini, a very wealthy Norse man was buried with a full panoply of grave goods. These included the Gokstad ship—79 feet long, 17 feet wide, and could hold a maximum crew of 70 people—and also included three smaller boats: a 6-oared boat (seksring), a 4-oared boat (faering) and another boat which is rarely described in the literature because it was not as well preserved as the other two.

The Skogar Þrostur is based on the Gokstad faering boat.

 Along with his own small armada, the man in the Gokstad grave was buried with many more goods to see him into the next world:

  • Three iron fishhooks
  • What might be a back pack—possibly for hunting.
  • A two-sided game board made of oak with playing pieces made of horn.
  • Pieces of horse harness
  • Six cups and a plate made of wood
  • Twelve horses
  • Six dogs
  • The earliest known Peacock found in Northern Europe

What wasn’t found:

  • No sword
  • No jewelry
  • No gold
  • No silver

The grave was robbed of such things long before archeologists excavated the ship.

So what can we deduce from this? The man in the grave was probably a King. Maybe Olaf Gudrødsson from Vestfold who, according to the Heimskringla, died about then.

The Norse had portable, knock-down beds. And tents. They used sledges to get around on the snow, with horses to pull them. Even very wealthy men liked to fish and play board games. He might even have liked to cook, though most people think the cooking gear was part of the camping goods. The Norse may have liked to hunt for sport—-the possible back pack has a drawing of what may be a deer and is certainly a dog on the lid.  Not to mention the 6 dogs sacrificed to follow him into death. They imported things, probably even live peacocks, from vast distances.

And most stunningly of all, they built breathtakingly beautiful ships. The lines of the Gokstad Ship are the most beautiful, classic, simple, and proportioned I have ever seen. Vast numbers of stylized representation of not only Viking ships, but of ships in general, use the Gokstad prow as a model.  Stunning.

anarra: (Default)
We went to the Viking Festival at the Scandinavian Club in Fairfield, CT and I want to post just a little bit before we collapse in damp puddles of exhaustion. 

It RAINED just before we packed up. I don't think the back of the van has ever been this wet. It's full of wet sail, wet sheep skins, wet bedding, wet table cover, wet cloak and I brought the wet Viking clothes in and they are running through the washing machine now.  Janet's feet are wrinkled still.

But we had a GREAT time.  We talked to a lot of people and they asked wonderful, interesting questions.  Carol Skog, the event coordinator, did some great publicity and now we're all over the web.  Below are two articles announcing the festival and we were interviewed several times so there will undoubtedly be articles later reporting on it.

Article on the festival with a photo of Janet and the faering boat.  Photo taken by Jeff Krug at an SCA event on May 22, 2010 called The Daily Life Schola.

Another article with the same photo by Jeff.   Note that although we are members of The Longship Company we were not at the Viking Festival in that capacity. We were there as just us, Vinland Longships.  But sometimes news gets reported oddly.

A story written on Saturday about the festival.

Anyway we had a great time. We hope they do it again next year.  They liked us a lot.  We liked them and the site and the people who came to the festival. 
anarra: (Default)

The Skogar Þrostur will be at the Scandinavian Festival at VasaPark in Budd Lake, New Jersey on September 5, 2010.


There will be music and dancing and vendors, exhibits, lectures and FOOD!


There will also be demonstrations of Hardanger embroidery, paper cutting, woodcarving, hand weaving, and bobbin lace.  Gosh, if we weren't going to be busy all day demonstrating with the Skogar Þrostur we’d be watching all of this.


The Leif Ericsson Society’s ship, the Norseman will be there, too.


Come see us both!

anarra: (Default)

The Skogar Þrostur will be featured at the Scandinavian Club in Fairfield, CT on August 21 and 22, 2010.  We will be running an educational demonstration of Viking Faerings, history, ocean going capabilities of longships, material culture and much more from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and from Noon to 4pm on Sunday. 

1352 South Pine Creek Road, Fairfield, CT 06824
Entrance Fee $10 Adult, $5 Senior, $5 Teens 13-19, Children 12 & under Free.

Also demonstrating will be the Gladsheim group of Vikings North America with their Viking encampment, Lynn E Noel, interpreting Icelandic sagas, and there will be food, games, horses and bagpipes! (Yes, Vikings were in Scotland and Ireland!)

Come by and see us.


May. 15th, 2010 11:08 am
anarra: (Default)
The sail that came with our Viking Faering boat, Skogar Þrostur, has a lovely blackbird (her original name) painted on it.  But the paint is very stiff and makes the sail hard to handle.  So we bought another piece of canvas to make into a plain white sail which will take very little time to do except that the sewing machine no longer works!  ARGH!

It's an older, more-rugged-than-these-youngsters sewing machine and has worked well for donkey's years.  It's sewed all my nephews' Christmas stockings and many, many, many childhood outfits for my stepdaughter.  The machine seems to be OK but the pedal no longer works and now we'll have to find a sewing machine repair person and find out how much.  Sigh.

I realize a boat is a hole in the water into which one throws money; but we haven't actually spent any money on the boat.  We've bought a plastic portable garage, and ground anchors after the garage blew into the back yard, had the trailer re-wired, the front of the trailer re-welded and the tires on the trailer replaced and now the sewing machine.  It's ridiculous.

Just wait until we get around to re-painting the boat!

It's a good thing we LOVE doing demos so much it's all worth it!
  The demo in Blak Rose was so much fun we can't wait for next weekend at the Daily Life Schola and to find more venues.
anarra: (Default)
On May 8th we, alas! had to miss The Workshop In The Other Room field trip to visit goats and nurseries, because we went to the Vinland Games event in the Shire of Blak Rose.  We brought our Viking Faering boat and spent the day talking about Viking boats, Viking history, Viking culture and Viking boats.
We had a fantastic time.  There were many other classes besides our Viking Faering class and we attended the “Diet and Nutrition among Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Viking” class by Lady Ragnveig Snorradottir which was thorough, fascinating, and packed a very dense amount of information into an hour. 
Nutritional information from middens, fecal waste, pond pollen, skeletal and dental remains.  Fascinating!  And some of it has relevance even today.  Dental structure changes in developing teeth as babies are weaned from breast milk to cereals with fewer protiens happened back then just as they happen today. She got through all her material clearly and boy did we have to pay attention to so much information in an hour!  Wonderful class.
Carowyn Silveroak taught a glass bead class that I couldn't attend, alas. But I saw the beads she made and brought as examples for the students to look at, and what a dizzying variety she's made since I taught a glass bead class in Silver Rylle years ago!  They run the gammut of time periods and techniques.  Lovely work.  She's even been making her own miliflori.
I handed out some fliers with the class schedule for the Daily Life Schola next week ( We may get a few people from down there to come--they sounded very interested.
The feast and dayboard were delicious!  What a splendid spread.  I was told this was Ketterlyn der Wilde's first feast as head cook and she did a wonderful job.  Day board, the main feast and even a special feast for the "Odin's Table" where spaces were auctioned off to raise money.  Everything was delicious and it all looked well researched for a Viking feast.  And hot, too, despite a problem with the electricity in the kitchen.
The site was lovely.  I think it would make a great site for a Crown Tourney or Archery Championship. There are acres of space, an archery range, a playground.  There's an ampheteatre where court can be held.  The hall can hold a feast for about 75 people.  There are even shower stalls.  Parking is a bit tight but I'm sure that can be worked around.  The kitchen is not industrial; but I think Ketterlyn proved that a delicious and hearty feast and dayboard can be made in that space.
The people in Blak Rose are friendly and hospitable.  We felt very welcome.  Friderich Swartzwalder autocratted a fun and informative event with great food and lots of activities for everyone.  Huzzah!


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