Moseying Around

The ladies of the Fiberguild are ALWAYS up to something, aren’t they?

I got out yesterday with them for some fresh air and some fiber demonstrating at Colonist’s Day at the Old Swedes Historic Site, the only surviving structure of the first Swedish settlement, in Wilmington, Delaware.

This National Historic landmark is actually sacred ground.

I kept trying to find the oldest one while I was there…but, I don’t think I did, lol. There were references to the past everywhere though.

Look at this map on parchment paper.

The artist in me wanted to take a piece of that map and paste it into a journal somewhere…I’m telling you, Delaware gets more and more interesting whenever I hang out with these ladies!

Where else am I going to see people dressed up like this?

As cold as it was, I could see why the ladies wore so much! Brrr…

Now, I’ve never really been a history buff. But, when I go to places with them, history seems to come to life in way more interesting ways than it does just reading about it. Much of this day centered around a ship called the Kalmar Nyckel.

Okay. That’s not the real Kalmar Nyckel, lol. They couldn’t bring the real one to the site. It’s pretty tall. 🙂 But, replicas did abound.

The Kalmar Nyckel brought the first European settlers, which were Swedes, to settle along the Christina River in 1638.

While the Kalmar Nyckel wasn’t there, it’s shallop, The Little Key, a boat used to help settle the colony, was there.

This boat would’ve travelled aboard the Kalmar Nyckel on its voyages.

There were a few people in their crew working to get the sail up when I arrived.

The others that were around waiting gave me a few tidbits to chew on regarding how life has changed over the centuries. The pace itself is just so different.

For instance, this crew is made up of neuroscientists, doctors, housewives, and people from all walks of life that just enjoy history and sailing…and dressing up. 🙂 But in their everyday lives, they do some phenomenal things. They get things done.

I got a little lost looking at the sail they were attempting to rig up.

Look at the stitching there.

And here.

The lady crew member in the above photo stitched those.

One of the crew members noticed me looking. He said, “If you’re wondering if you’re looking at history, you are.”

One of the other ladies of the crew told me how difficult it was for her to just get used to standing around waiting while the work was being done. Our society urges a lot of busy-ness that one begins to feel like something is wrong when you’re not doing something. But, back then, much of the day was spent waiting to do something. And it took a crew relying upon one another to get it done. Everyone was important. That’s a strong contrast to our individualist society, I think. I believe this idea of teamwork is something they want to use to educate the youth in our state using the Kalmar Nyckel. As an educator, I found this to be a very worthy (and fun) endeavor, indeed!

As I moseyed around, I found some other fellas in blue.

These are the governor’s guard and the good reverend. 🙂 Here they are enjoying their pay.

Lol! Yup, the governor’s guard got paid in alcoholic beverages!

This guard is actually a judge. He says that back then money as we know it wasn’t in existence the way we have it set up now. He explained, the alcohol they got in return for their services could be bartered to help care for their families.

Or just enjoyed! 🙂

As it was a brisk day, Linda, Sjon, and I were happy to go back into the building every so often for coffee and cookies.

Lynda wears that costume well doesn’t she?

I also saw “Black Anthony”!

While the Native Americans were here first, “Black Anthony”, or Antoni Swart, was the first permanent citizen in the first colony of the first state. How do you like that?! Anthony’s story is told by Abdullah Muhammad, author of AFRICANS IN NEW SWEDEN: THE UNTOLD STORY. He was the first freed black, I’m told, because Swedish law did not allow slavery. Slavery, obviously eventually came to be here. But at the time Anthony was there, there may have been a time where it wasn’t allowed. I like how the stories of history unfolds sometimes.

I went into other buildings too.

I heard a bit about the history of Delaware in the church. The oldest, regularly used church in the first state, I believe.

This lady is baking a period bread with replicas of the tools that would have been in a Swedish kitchen.

Next door to her was a gift shop.

And look what I found in the corner!

This, of course, is where the Fiberguild shines the brightest.

Linda brought her loom and some yarn.

So, Linda wove.

I’m trying to figure out what Gerry didn’t bring, lol.

Let’s see. Gerry combed.

Gerry wound.

Gerry spun…

…and educated folks about her Great Wheel.

You have to spin long draw on a Great Wheel. While I’m not accustomed to it at all, Linda feels she can’t spin long draw any other way. Hearher let me try it a couple minutes once before on hers, but I didn’t catch on to spinning the wheel and drafting right away. And I think the wheel kept coming off it’s track.

All I know though, is it produces beautiful yarn! I think I want another try!

Sjon unwound yarn vomit 🙂 and told people about Fiberguild.

I spun too. But mostly I just moseyed. 😉


  1. This is such a great post! I enjoyed the pictures and information about the Swedish settlers very much, so thank you! 🙂

  2. Wow great post. I Love the old spinning wheels. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Very interesting. I love this sort of “living” history. My grandfather was a glass blower, and after he retired, he worked at Jamestown, VA, for 9 months. I was only 6 at the the time, but I remember watching him, dressed in his colonial get-up and wig, blowing the red-hot molten glass, hitting it with hammers, cutting it with big snips, shaping it, making the most beautiful items. I have two of the pieces he made. I remember being told that the glass was green because of the minerals in the local sand. I also remember touring the Apollo Tavern and learning that gin was in square bottles so that the barkeep could tell gin from whisky by touch in the dimly lit tavern. That’s an important lesson for a 6-year-old, eh?

    • ROFL!! Yes, it was of the utmost importance, lol. Your grandfather sounds so cool! I’ve seen glass blowing once and an exhibition by Dale Chihuly. I’m sure the intent was not the same, of course. But I loved it!

  4. Growing up around here I’ve been spoiled by the proliferation of re-enactors. Probably also helps that I went to a college with a good archaeology program. Posts like this are my favorite – I love this stuff!

    • You’re pretty lucky! The only times I get to see it is during Greenbank Mill special events and Fiberguild outings on occasion. So jealous! I really think I would’ve paid better attention in history at places like the mill.

      • History really is a lot more interesting when you see it as stories about real people. It’s one of the reasons I love living history sites like your Mill.

  5. Looks like a great place to mosey… 🙂

  6. knitfinity2013 says:

    Great post. Looks like it was a great day and a very informative as well!

  7. That looks so wonderful…. wish we had things like that here in Arizona 🙂

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