10 Jan 2018

ursulas_alcove: 19th century engraving of a woman using a drop spindle (Default)
Chapter One
An Ancient Beginning

In the priveledged days of my youth, I ran across a random book while studying at university. Playing hooky from the arduous mathematics of my major, this book enticed me as a diversion. Somewhere there exist many notes I took from that unknown book, suffice it to say, it was my introduction to what is known as the "migratory period" and what happened thereafter. If you are a curious soul, you could find out much more about that time in history than I ever learned. I'm sure scholars have new theories, more archeological evidence, and so on. For myself, a student of math and physics, it was a whole new world.

There were early Frankish rulers, called the Merovingian line of kings. They were the very first to use futhark to keep records. Futhark are the first six letters in the runic alphabet. (th is one letter) Keeping in mind that paper is not a commonplace thing in this time and age. Parchment is made from taking a goat hide, stretching it upon a frame, and scraping it until it is almost translucent. That gets you one sheet to write upon. To write things down on parchment, well, they must be important. This particular book was a discussion of what could be learned about the early court of Clovis (481-511 AD). And what was written down that was so important? It was an early Domesday report.

For those of you who don't know what a Domesday is, it is an accounting record. Not of money but a complete inventory of the castle! How many linens are there? Plates? Eating utensils? Etc. Why would they do this? Each steward within the castle had to give an accounting of his section to his lord as to what new goods must be purchased to replace old things, what items needed repair, what had gone missing, and so on. Today businesses are required to do the same for tax purposes. At the moment, I am deep in the process of my own domesday report. Without the report, scholars would never have learned about this court and what life was like. So I like to imagine that this arduous task of counting and weighing each and every bit of yarn I have in stock may someday give greater meaning to what life was like in the here and now.

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ursula. By trade, I am a dyer and a purveyor of yarn and fiber tools. I travel to many markets far and wide. This is my journey.

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