So when I saw this FQ of Michael Miller quilting fabric with Vikings and sea monsters on at the Knitting and Stitching Show, I had to have it. (I got it from Fiddlesticks Fabrics – they don’t have an online store, but the Remnant House have some at time of writing if you want your own.)
This is because Vikings are awesome. This is an opinion I have held since learning about them at primary school – I went to primary school in West Yorkshire, which is Viking country, and I still have fond memories of the Living History day we did when I was about seven – and have continued to hold to the present day.
Mostly what I was/am such a fan of, in the way of these things, was the idea of Vikings, which is much more exciting and much less sordidly nasty than the real thing because that’s what mythologisation/fictionalisation does. (See also: the continuing belief that pirates are jolly fun and a suitable theme for small children’s costume parties.) The credit for teaching me a meaningful amount about actual Vikings goes to my third-year undergrad module on women in Norse literature (which to my eternal shame I’ve forgotten the exact title of).
SPOILER: there are actually loads of prominent women in Viking literature, and they’re far more diverse than a simplified, uber-macho idea of Viking-ity would suggest. I’m a particular fan of Hervör Angantyrsdottir, heroine of Hervarar saga – now there is a woman who knew her own mind – and of Aud the Deep-Minded, a canny politician and diplomat who gets additional awesome points for actually being a real person.
Anyway! Vikings! This fabric is not any sort of sensible representation of Vikings, which would probably be a bit much to expect from a charmingly stylised quilting cotton. No, this is idea-of-Vikings all the way down: horned helmets, striped sails on dragon-headed ships, huge beards and sea monsters.
I made a cushion out of it! Here it is, with pride of place on my sofa.
Rather than just put a back on the FQ and call it a day, I cut it into strips and interspersed the Viking print with scraps of other quilting cottons that seemed to go with it: stripes, to go with the sails on the little longships, and a rougher blue/orange stripe that’s reminiscent of planks; and a beautiful blue-red-gold design based on key patterns (similar to Celtic knotwork).
I put in a zip as I had one spare, and not quite enough fabric to make an envelope back. The cushion back is some very basic cotton I’ve had in the stash forever, that started life as an old bedsheet, was dyed purple with only partial success and was briefly a wizard robe before being dismantled again.
I piped the edges for that proper cushiony look, although I don’t know if it counts as piping as there’s no cord in there. It’s just a sort of flappy edge:
I also put in a “made by …” label! I got these from one of those places that sells you batches of cheapo woven nametapes to put in school uniform, with customised wording, and have been sticking them in everything. There’s something rather fun about your projects literally having your name on.
IF YOU LIKE VIKINGS YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
- The Vikings, which is terrible but also great in that way that awful adventure films sometimes are. Features Ernest Borgnine leaping into a pit of wolves.
- Bernard Cornwell’s Uhtred books, which are proper bloody historical fiction. He does great battle scenes but is to be avoided if you have a particular aversion to the run-on sentence.
- Tattúinardaela Saga, which is Star Wars reimagined as Icelandic family saga, and is every bit as nerdy/fantastic as that sounds. Also home to the Cowboy Hávamál.
- This Horrible Histories sketch
- Also this one
- The Viking Store
(What do you mean you don’t read Icelandic? It means “cushion with Vikings”)