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The NVG Miklagard is the Sydney garrison of an Australian group who re-enact life and combat of the cultures serving in the Varangian Guard from 9c-11cAD

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  • Snapped a bootlace?
    Fix it authentically without a knot, using this ‘slit and pull’ technique: Cut small slits near the ends of the pieces to be joined, then thread them through each other and pull tight. This repair is documented in medieval (6-9th cent. AD) Egyptian sandals [1]. Multiple ‘slit and pulls’ were also used for interweaving thongs…
  • Yellow leather using a historical dye (safflower)
    Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) is a thistle-like plant that was widely grown from the Mediterranean across to China, as its flowers yield an attractive red dye*. It is still cropped in modern times, but for cooking oil. The flowers are also very rich in yellow pigment – amusingly this is a contaminant which has to be…
  • Red leather using historical dye (madder)
    Madder from powdered roots of Rubia tinctorum was the powerhouse red dye throughout medieval Europe and the Middle East. Madder has well-known affinity for protein fibres (wool, silk) and turns out to be great for leather too. This is a two stage process: mordanting then dyeing. Pretreating with a mordant – a metal salt –…

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