Nearly Nalebound Socks?

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sally
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Nearly Nalebound Socks?

Postby sally » Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:58 am

Got an idea that I wanted to run past a few people, especially those in the broadly Early Medieval category of kit wearers.

On several occasions people have asked whether I'd make nalebound socks to order, and its always been totally impractical as they take so long to do. However, I'm now the proud owner of an antique hand cranked sock knitting machine which means I could do some where the foot and lower ankle are cranked out in an appropriate natural coloured 100% wool- but a modern knit with fitted heel and toe, then nalebind in the same wool the bit that shows above the ankle, resulting in an affordable 'looks the part as long as you don't take your shoes off' sock which would hopefully be an option for those who really need nalebound socks but havent the inclination to make their own.

What do people think? Any earthly use or another step on the road to authenti-damnation? They are a cheat, but surely they must be better than white towelling socks peeping out between shoes and leg bindings?



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Postby Nigel » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:19 pm

sounds ok to me I'll ave a pair if you wnat to make a sample


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

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Postby m300572 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:54 pm

antique hand cranked sock


How do these differ from ordinary socks - apart from being older and more cranky?

Seriously, it does sound like a good compromise - I have never had to remove my footwear to display underlying foot coverings so as long as you can explain naalbinding as opposed to knitting to the Mops then it should be an OK way of presenting the Viking sock.



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Postby Tuppence » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:56 pm

Sounds like a brilliant idea to me.

I've had the same problem with naalbinding - it just takes so long to do that to make it for sale you either have to pay yourself 5p per hour, or charge about six hundred quid!

There'll always be people who'll say you should be sent straight to hell for even suggesting it, but I'd say ignore them :lol:

Debs

(ps - the only time I've ever known anybody take their shoes off in front of the public (apart from the odd injury, when authenticity is hardly the point), was when somebody asked Nige if they could se his horsehair insoles....)


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Postby sally » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:59 pm

They generally look and feel much closer to handknit socks, especially in the structure of heel and toe, and I have a bit more flexibility to use wool in a sensible weight. Will probably be doing these in various shades of undyed shetland, so nice and hardwearing, and I'll have to experiment but it may look even better at arms length if I work them so the purl side is on the outside of the sock, should foil all but the closest inspection even if the wearer is briefly glimpsed changing shoes.

I'll do a couple of test examples and maybe see if anyone want a pair half price to test run them for me. I'm hoping to be able to bring the finished version in for maybe £12 so they should fit that entry level niche with luck



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Postby nathan » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:00 pm

It's an idea, and probably not a bad one.

Guess my answer would be influenced heavily by how much? They are an obvious compromise so your high end market may be limited. They would have to be an improvement on the hiking socks i occasionally see peeking out from under trousers.

One suggestion i would have is you might want to use something like wensleydale, as it will felt fairly quickly anyway (and is gorgeous stuff for socks).

N.


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Postby m300572 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:09 pm

you might want to use something like wensleydale


Wouldn't socks made of cheese smell a bit?



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Postby Albert Ball » Tue Jun 20, 2006 1:41 pm

surely if people want a naalbind sock then that's what they want, not a cobble together/that's almost but not quite one.

If they take a long time to do, then they should cost to reflect that and if people can't afford it then they'll have to save up.

You don't hear armourers suggesting making the bits you can't see out of cardbord to make it cheaper for people do you, so why do this with clothing.

Also a chimera is the last thing reenactment needs as it'll only take a few years to become a historical fact!!!



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Postby Tod » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:13 pm

Sally, whats a nalebind sock. Sorry for the ignorance :oops:



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Postby Nigel » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:31 pm

Todd

its a very complicated sock and very expensive would be nice to ahve but not an essential


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

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Postby m300572 » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:56 pm

naalbinding is a sort of knitting, practiced by the Vikings (on the basis that there are a couple of socks made in the technique in the archaeological record - it may have been more widespread as a technique) - I think only one needle is used and its slower to produce an item than using conventional two needle knitting - hence the problem of naalbinding items being expensive.



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Postby sally » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:15 pm

Albert Ball wrote:surely if people want a naalbind sock then that's what they want, not a cobble together/that's almost but not quite one.

If they take a long time to do, then they should cost to reflect that and if people can't afford it then they'll have to save up.

You don't hear armourers suggesting making the bits you can't see out of cardbord to make it cheaper for people do you, so why do this with clothing.

Also a chimera is the last thing reenactment needs as it'll only take a few years to become a historical fact!!!


All perfectly valid points, and most people know that I'm a great believer in striving to constantly improve ones kit towards greater accuracy. These would be aimed at filling that gap between someone deciding they want to put together an early medieval outfit and having the time, skills or money to aquire fully nalebound socks. I wouldnt imagine for one moment that people who have reached that happy state would want these, the aim would be to offer an alternative to obviously modern socks to see people through their first season or two. Your comment about the blurring of distinctions is particularly important though, I think these would probably be packaged with a short leaflet explaining the basics on nalebinding and how to go about making a whole sock, so that a)hopefully some people will go ahead and get on with it, or b)at the very least they will have the facts available so that if they need to explain the difference between whats on their feet and whats in the museums, they can.

The line I'm taking with these is that its exactly the same as the 'no visible machine stitching' rule, we'd never tell a new re-enactor to hand sew every last internal seam on a tunic, so why would we insist that the non visible bits of their socks are 100% hand nalebound? As long as they know that its not how it was made back then, and the visible bits pass close inspection, then its no different at all.

Some nalebinding stitches are visually indistinguishable from stockinette knitting (see Richard Rutt's book on the History of Knitting for some good diagrams of this), so the foot of the sock could, conceivably, be made by nalebinding anyway, and without being disassembled by a textile conservator, no-one would ever know the difference. The visible bit I was going to do in the same stitch as the Coppergate sock as its the best known British example of nalebinding, the most often used method in re-enactment and has a distinct visual difference from knitting, which is the whole point of offering an alternative to hiking socks



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Postby DomT » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:45 pm

Acid question:-

How much?

I'd quite like a pair or two.


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Postby sally » Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:51 pm

DomT wrote:Acid question:-

How much?

I'd quite like a pair or two.


I have a tester all lined up, so I will be timing how long it takes me to make those, and that will then determine the price. Definately under £20, hopefully well under £15 at current guesstimates. If things go well I'm aiming for £12 though.

Watch this space!



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Postby GinaB » Tue Jun 20, 2006 8:22 pm

I think these would probably be packaged with a short leaflet explaining the basics on nalebinding and how to go about making a whole sock, so that a)hopefully some people will go ahead and get on with it, or b)at the very least they will have the facts available so that if they need to explain the difference between whats on their feet and whats in the museums, they can.


I think this is a great idea Sally. It is a good way of explaining why you are doing it.

You don't hear armourers suggesting making the bits you can't see out of cardbord to make it cheaper for people do you, so why do this with clothing.


Actually, I have found that it is very easy for people to imagine that something like armour will be expensive. That's why so few men wear it. And I suspect that many who spend alot on armour will compromise where it doesn't show ;-)

Clothing and other textiles however, have a perception that it should be less expensive, so most people will compromise somewhat with it. (machine sewn seams for instance).

For some reason, most people just do not imagine any hand textile work to be difficult or time-consuming. We have been spoilt - thats why we all have so many clothes, and throw them away when we're bored.

I don't think there's an easy answer. In your case Sally, I think you need to 'go with the market demands'. By including information you're not misleading anyone into thinking that its anything other than a compromise, so why not?

For anyone interested in having a look -

From: http://www.diu-minnezit.de/
go to 1350, click on 'die umsetzung' and than on 'aktuelle projekte'. Scroll down the page, the last project is one of needlebound gloves.

This is taken from a thread over at the Soper Lane site discussing nalebinding in silk.



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Postby nutmeg_bec » Tue Jun 20, 2006 10:29 pm

Hi Sally (and sorry if the answer to this is posted elsewhere), have you had a thought on how much you'd charge for a pair of stockings made entirely by the machine? (ie no naalbinding upper)
Thanks, Bec.



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Postby sally » Wed Jun 21, 2006 6:20 am

nutmeg_bec wrote:Hi Sally (and sorry if the answer to this is posted elsewhere), have you had a thought on how much you'd charge for a pair of stockings made entirely by the machine? (ie no naalbinding upper)
Thanks, Bec.


Not yet, I'm still learning how to use it effectively, but plain hem top long stockings are also on my list. Pricing for me on this particular project is going to be calculated on minimum wage per hour plus materials, so I'll have a bash and we'll see how things come out.



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Postby Tuppence » Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:27 am

Albert Ball wrote:surely if people want a naalbind sock then that's what they want, not a cobble together/that's almost but not quite one.

If they take a long time to do, then they should cost to reflect that and if people can't afford it then they'll have to save up.

You don't hear armourers suggesting making the bits you can't see out of cardbord to make it cheaper for people do you, so why do this with clothing.

Also a chimera is the last thing reenactment needs as it'll only take a few years to become a historical fact!!!



I know Sally's already replied to this (and very well), but the sheer naiivety, and lack of awareness of reality annoyed me, so:

1. Presumabley if people want a tunic than that's what they wnat, not something cobbled together using a combination of hand and machine stitching.

2. I really wasn't joking when I said that a pair of naalbound socks should cost hundreds of pounds. The last pair I made took approx. 40 hours, making the price around 570 (not that they were for sale).

I don't know a re-enactor in the country who would spend that on a pair of socks - saving up or not.

3. No, you don't get armourers makng things out of cardboard - but most of them make plenty of other compromises on hidden aspects - re-enactors make even more with the under layers, and many armourers seriously undercharge anyway.

4. historical fact - what, like the idea that late medieval women only wore laced front kirtles, or that all medieval men wore coifs??


whats a nalebind sock. Sorry for the ignorance


just to clarify - naalbinding is a bit like knitting (it looks a lot like double stitched knitting, and stretches and reacts in the same sort of way), but it's done with a single blunt needle.
It's not just used for socks (you can do all sorts of things with it).
There are other stitches, and it gets quite complicated, but at it's simplest(for socks), it's basically a blanket stitch worked round and round in circles.


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Postby Alan E » Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:58 am

Albert Ball wrote:surely if people want a naalbind sock then that's what they want, not a cobble together/that's almost but not quite one.

If they take a long time to do, then they should cost to reflect that and if people can't afford it then they'll have to save up.

You don't hear armourers suggesting making the bits you can't see out of cardbord to make it cheaper for people do you, so why do this with clothing.

Also a chimera is the last thing reenactment needs as it'll only take a few years to become a historical fact!!!


Armourers tend to start from a sheet of modern steel instead of a billet of medieval iron.

Armourers don't tend to imitate the variations in thickness that much medieval armour exhibits (usually thicker where the threat is), because their customers want all-round safety, don't use micrometers to check this and wouldn't (usually) pay the price for the extra work.

Armourers often make the linings out of period-incorrect materials (because they are the parts people can't see).

Generally, armourers do exactly the equivalent of what is being suggested here, because the expense of producing exactly period-correct armour would be prohibitive for most of their customers (i.e. for exactly the reason it is being suggested here).


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Postby Tuppence » Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:55 pm

sadly - nutmeg bec has also hit the problem with clothing in general.

people compare historical clothing prices with modern clothing prices (ie that linen 17th c shirt's not that much different from this modern one, so how can the historical one be 40 quid, when the modern one's 15?)

people don't take into account things like chinese and indian wages being lower etc.

you also have the fact that for generations, sewing and knitting have been seen as 'women's work', and undervalued as such.

all that's coupled with the fact that we no longer make our own everyday clothes, and most people (re-enactors incl., although the proprtion of sewres is obv higher) can no longer sew or knit.
meaning that people have forgotten just how hard making stuff actually is.

people forget that to learn to sew or knit anything to the highest standard takes longer than learning to become a doctor.

and that's just technical ability - with historical stuff you have to learn to be a historian as well.

even the people I'm closest to don't understand just how much effort my work takes - so why should a punter walking past a stall at a market??


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Postby Drachelis » Wed Jun 21, 2006 1:50 pm

They don't know how much the actual cost of fabric is either - silks are exhorbitant and very good wools are not far behind.

Oh Tuppence! - the front laced kirtle!!!! - almost as much a uniform as current day jeans.


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Postby JC Milwr » Wed Jun 21, 2006 4:38 pm

At the risk of wandering off topic (I'm sure Sally won't mind), what's the issue with front laced kirtles?

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Postby Drachelis » Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:40 pm

the front laced kirtle was an underdress - and usually had a surcote, gown, or houppelande worn over it - so folk are going round in their underslips so to speak. There were many more styles of garment but folk seem to have followed others until it has become more and more like a uniform.

I invite others who may have done much deeper research than I have to elucidate
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Postby Tuppence » Thu Jun 22, 2006 1:52 pm

apologies for above rant(s)

bad day....

and there isn't any real problem with front laced kirtles, other than that re-enactors seem to wear them to the exclusion of all else. there were other types around, as well as other ways of lacing them (side, for example).

admittedly, that's probably partly the fault of costumers, for not offering the other variations.

there are plenty of illos of women wearing front lacing kirtles, and wearing them without another layer (often while working), but as cheryl says, it seems to have become as much of a uniform as cloak bag breeches in the 17th century.

so to summarise - they're not wrong - it's just that there are other styes about that you hardly ever see, because everybody has the front laced version.

Debbie


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Postby Drachelis » Thu Jun 22, 2006 6:22 pm

A front laced kirtle also is able to give the "wench" appearance that a lot of ladies go for - open laced with the shift showing and often copious amounts of bosoms - it is again the 21 st century influence over the style and fit.

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Postby JC Milwr » Fri Jun 23, 2006 9:36 am

Fair enough, the open front thing irritates me too.

My personal opinion is that front-opening would be fairly universal amongst poorer women of childbearing age, simply because it's impossible (or at least incredibly fiddly) to breast-feed with any other type (voice of experience), and poorer women would presumably not be able to afford one for when they had a babe in arms and another for when they didn't...

Unmarried women and older women have no such excuse...

A thought, anyway.

Incidentally, this is the only reason I wear front-laced, I much prefer my side-laced stuff, but have had to put it away for a few years!



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Postby Albert Ball » Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:24 am

Whilst i fully appreciate that for reenactors whose hobby this is, comprimises are inevitable and necessary due to cost, there are times when comprimise should not take place, and IMO this is one of them.

All the examples given may well be acceptable comprimises eg: machine stitching instead of hand sewing or indeed Alan, modern sheet steel instead of hand wrought from billet. However, with all these examples, the end result is not in question; a doublet that has hidden machine sewing is still a doublet, a breastplate made from sheet steel is still a breastplate, it is only the level of accuracy that is in question; a naalbind sock that is half made on a modern sock frame is NOT a naalbind sock- here the construction technique is INTEGRAL to the item being produced.

Perhaps a better couple of examples (as opposed to the armour one i used) to illustrate my point are: a shoe marked as 100% leather upper where the tongue is polyester, or a silk shirt where all parts that were covered by a suit jacket were made of cotton because they couldn't be seen. These would IMO not be acceptable comprimises.

I stand by my original statement and possibly clarify a little- If as a 'dark age' reenactor you are serious enough about your kit to want a pair of naalbind socks, then you'll want a pair of naalbind socks. They will almost certainly be wanted to show off the fact that you have them, not just to keep warm.

If they take 40 hours to make, then charge for 40 hours- assuming (definitely NO offence intended here) that that is how long they will always take and that the customer isn't paying the cost of learning to make the item, then that is entirely fair. There are many things in life that cost a lot and need saving for; you have all pointed out in this and other threads that people undervalue clothes and clothes making, so why pander to this by selling things too cheaply. By apreciating the cost of the item, then perhaps they would get an idea of the labour involved, which in turn would only add to their knowledge to pass on to the public. If the cost is indeede too high to sell any, then so be it, just don't make them.



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Postby Nigel » Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:39 am

So Albert which group do you belong to ?

I am happy with them and am getting debs to measure the feet for sally to make a trial pair.

I will say you are entitled to your opinion but you are obviousely not of this world


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.

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Postby sally » Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:40 am

Would you therefore prefer to have a new re-enactor with no immediate recourse to nalebound socks running round with modern socks showing? Of course some do go without socks, or wrap legbindings to allow some cushioning under the foot, but many people simply do not want to go sockless inside shoes, and the aim is just to improve the illusion by offering an alternative to hiking socks, which you must admit do tend to look 'modern' when they become noticable.



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Postby Nigel » Fri Jun 23, 2006 11:58 am

sorry sally got a bit annoyed at Mr A


There’s a country in Europe where they treat their ex soldiers with pride no waits for medical treatment after injuries received during service, no amensia from the government. Cant for the life of me recall where it is but I know exactly where it is not.


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