Friday, 27 February 2009

Hairnets, part III - Lacis basics

Let's say you could not resist the temptation and started netting yesterday. Now you'll need to know how to do the embroidery, right?

The stitch used for the bird motifs is called linen stitch, because it emulates the binding most commonly found in linen cloth: tabby. It is simple darning, first filling in threads in one direction. Then, in a 90° angle to that, you weave the thread in with your needle, alternately going over and under the threads already in (including the threads of the meshwork).

In case you have never tried darning in this way before, you can have a look at Thérèse de Dillmont's instructions, straight out of her wonderful book "Encyclopedia of Needlework". And if you don't know her book yet, consider getting a copy - either an old one, or one of the reprints. Or go for the online version at In any case, don't miss out on this book: If I could choose only a single book for textile crafts to keep, it would be this one.

Bonus pic: The netting needle tip, without thread on.

Clickable for larger view

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Hairnets, part II

Hairnets. Yes.
Should you feel that the actual netting of rather large mesh is just not enough, even when combined with a bit of embroidery on cloth to sew on later - you can always do some embroidery straight on the mesh. Lacis, or filet lace, or however you want to call it, has a rather long history. The even ground made by the meshes of the net is a good groundwork for embroidery and allows for a nice contrast between open mesh and filled-in mesh.

A nice example for this is this fragmented net from the 13th or 14th century, with origin in West-Europe. There are two larger fragments and some smaller fragments preserved, with the largest piece measuring 13.5 by 43.5 cm. It is made from red silk for the knotted ground and embroidered with yellow and white silk.
picture clickable for larger version

On the bottom right side the large fragment has larger loops of thread, measuring 1.1 cm. The regular mesh size is 4 mm. If I read correctly, the red silk is dyed with madder, yellow was done with weld (Reseda luteola). The embroidered motif consists of alternating white birds and flower motifs, maybe fleurs-de-lis. Embroidery was done in rows, and three rows are still preserved. The flowers are embroidered by stitches around the mesh threads, while the bird motifs fill in the open mesh squares, using linen stitch.

With rather sparse embroidery, on a mesh that is a whopping 4 mm size, this would be a nice starter for your medieval hairnet collection, don't you think?

By the way, medieval silk nets really have small mesh sizes in comparison to later ones. A pattern book for lacis by Therèse de Dillmont is available on the net (German version of "Filet Guipure": Part 1 and Part 2), and she offers thread weight advice for mesh sizes between 7 and 11 mm.

Source for text and pictures:
DECONINCK, E., GEORGE, PH., DE JONGHE, D., Y., VAN STRYDONCK M. J., WOUTERS, J., VYNCKIER, J. und DE BOECK, J.: Stof uit de Kist: De Middeleeuwse Textielschat uit de Abdij van Sint-Truiden. Leuven 1991. Catalog Nr. 107, page 354.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Come on, you must be hungry!

At least after you read your way through the recipes listed on Medieval Cookery. And there's even a blog to go with the site.

If you are at all interested in medieval cooking, go check it out (but have something to snack on ready). There's even a forum, so you can connect to other cooking enthusiasts, should you be one. (Yes, kuechenmeyster. I know where you will spend the next hours. Like they said over at phd comics, in the now defunct blog: "We're not working, so why should you?")

Monday, 23 February 2009

Netting Needles, part II

These days, I am in netting needle heaven. I have gotten the most wonderful, enormously gorgeous needle for my birthday, and it is breathtakingly beautiful craftswomanship.
I'm sorry that I can only give you a picture with the needle wound with thread, and thus you won't be able (yet) to see the wonderful finish of the passage from shank to tips - but this is my "no brains needed" craft, and I could not keep from winding it again the evening before taking the photos, when it had run empty.

It is made from brass, after one of the London finds given in "Textiles and Clothing", and it works like a breeze for my normal mesh size of about 4 mm. I'd like to try my hand at smaller mesh sizes one day, but first I will enjoy this utterly wonderful netting needle with the fast-to-work larger meshes, currently on a net that was inspired by the twocoloured one I blogged about here.

Here you can see the mesh size. I tried a new version of casting on, but I had a few problems with it, so there are some irregularities in the net especially in the first few rows. After the long cast-on loops, there are five rows of normal-sized mesh, then one row for doubling the number of meshes. After that I am now continuing with red thread (madder) for a while - I still have to get a feeling for how much thread on the needle will last for how many rounds.
In the picture below, you can also see my normal gauge, which is a shashlik stick shortened and smoothed with fine sandpaper, resulting in the 4mm mesh size.

I have a free day tomorrow (hooray), so the next blog post will be on Wednesday - have a good time until then!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Netting Needles, part I

AnyZM7 craftsperson will tell you that tools are important. In fact, if you are reading this blog, I'd be surprised if you did not know yourself that a good needle makes for better stitching than a bad and crooked one, and that a smooth-running spindles, scissors, shears or what-have-you will help you have more fun and less stress when working.

While getting pins and needles made from copper alloy is very easy today, compared to the situation only a few years ago, there are more problems waiting for the unsuspecting dabbler in textile arts who ventures into lesser known territories. Like netting. It can be incredibly hard to get a proper netting needle nowadays.

When I first started learning how to net, I searched and searched for a netting needle. The results? Zero, nil, zip. But I wanted to net!

So first of all, I tried with a needle. You can use very little thread with a normal sewing needle, plus the chance of pricking yourself is very high. Not good at all. Even nastier, because a pricked finger will heal: There was a good chance of hitting a thread with the tip of the needle (I was really stupid and used a sharp sewing needle), thus sewing into the net and not knotting.

The next step was trying to make a simple makeshift netting needle by winding two pieces of wire together, forming the ends into netting needle shaped ends. This was better, but not much: The thread kept inserting itself between the two wires, and the makeshift thing had a tendency to bend, twist, and fall apart. I needed a proper netting needle.

So I whined and begged until I got a netting needle made from a hobby metalworker, made of thick copper wire. I had to twitch it a little, and it would only serve for rather large mesh sizes, but I had a netting needle that was actually useable. Hooray! It was much too short for significant lengths of thread, though, and rather hard to wind on and off. But at least it worked. Some time later, I tried to make one myself, which was also of the rather-crude-but-working sort.

Imagine my happiness when I found out that a proper modern company still manufactures netting needles, sells them via normal sewing shops (though they had to order it) and cheap, too! And with three gauges thrown into the packet! I ordered one at once.

Believe me: it is a good thing this was so cheap. You do not want to buy this. It is so crudely made that I laugh about myself every time I see it. I actually did try the "needles" once. Here is pictorial evidence for you:

Frankly, they are a bad joke if you are going for medieval-style netting. The material is very cheap and you can see that they are also cheaply made - no wonder, since they have a retail price of about 7 Euros. The shanks at the ends bend easily, they are much, much too thick and will catch the threads of the net much better than sliding through the mesh. If bent together too much, winding and unwinding is hard and abrasive on the thread; if there is a gap between them wide enough for easy winding, the tip is even wider and bulkier. Well, maybe they work if used with the "gauges" that accompany them (plastic sticks), which will result in mesh sizes of approximately 8 to 15 millimetres. Which is rather... huge. I would not recommend buying them, unless you have no other choice whatsoever (read: unless there is nobody at all in your acquaintance that you could beg until he makes you a crude-but-workable netting needle).

... to be continued tomorrow on Monday. (This is what happens when you don't keep track of what weekday it is.)

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Kruseler and Hairdos, Part IV

Before this gets buried too deep in the stack of posts that have yet to be finished, here is part IV of the Kruseler and Hairdo series. My original plan was to illustrate the description with photos, but I'm not very good at taking pictures of my own back of head, and I won't get around to have some taken soon enough.
Should you try to follow these instructions and keep getting utterly lost, you can tell me in the comment section, and I will try to provide some crude illustration.

The updo I used as the kruseler foundation is commonly called a "log roll", or at least I only know it under this name.

To make a log roll, you do the following:
  • Grow hair. You will probably need mid-back hair or bottom-length hair at least. Fine hairs can usually do it with hair on the shorter end, thick-haired ladies (or guys, of course) need more length.
  • Gather hair together in a low ponytail, and hold the ponytail with one hand.
  • With the free hand, grasp the hanging end of the tail and wrap it upwards and towards your head over the hand holding the tail. Your first hand should now have hair looped around it.
  • Open the hand in the loop slightly, keeping the base of the loop together with the other hand. Now you twist the hand in the loop - this will form a sort of twine underneath the loop. While twisting, pull the hand gently and slowly away from your head, to elongate the twist below the loop.
  • Stop pulling and twisting when the twisted section is as long as the back of your head or only slightly longer. You should now have the twisted section, coming from the base of your starting ponytail, and a free-hanging tail of hair coming out of the twist.
  • With one hand, hold the twisted section up by the loop so there is some space between the twist and your head. With the free hand, wrap the tail of hair still free around the twist, covering it gradually from bottom to top. That is why you need the length.
  • Tuck ends underneath to hide them. Settle finished log roll on your head, going straight up the middle, and secure with your method of choice. Until the roll is firmly secured on your head, always keep hold of the loop, or the roll will uncoil, and you have to start over.

This is one of my staple updos, since it is fast and well-balanced and does not look bad. But for modern living, I do it only as a single bun worn on the back of the head, not with parted hair and put up on the temples. It is also possible to logroll a braid, something I also do pretty often, but this will not give the sleek look of the "hair horns" that can be seen on the Arnolfini wedding picture, and that was my model for this try.

My main problem is getting the two humps symmetrical and then fixing them securely. They must be firm enough not only to support themselves, but also the (admittedly light) veil, which I pin to the lumps.
I know I'm not the only person wearing or trying to wear a kruseler - so what are your experiences? Have you had problems with the symmetrical arrangement? How do you fix your fabric to the head? How long does it keep in shape?

And most importantly: If you had one single question to ask a medieval kruseler-wearing lady, what would you ask her?

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Blog Carnival!

I got stuck reading a gazillion of medieval and medievalism-themed blogs yesterday evening by following the link to the last s.

In case you do not know it yet, Carnivalesque is a blog carnival (something like a showcase for interesting blog posts), alternating between early modern (from 1500 to 1800) and ancient & medieval (until 1500).

The next Carnivalesque is due for February, 21, and it is hosted by Notorious Ph.D. Now I'm off to look for my favourite medieval-themed post to nominate, before it is too late.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Hairnets, part I

I like hairnets. I also like making them - it is a nice thing to do with the hands, without much thinking. My nets, however, are a far cry from some of those medieval ones that are still extant.
A lot of people know the nets found in London - with mesh sizes between 3 and 9 mm, depending on the net. But they are really simple.

Now take this one, as one of the not-too-elaborate nets. We don't know where it comes from, unfortunately, since it was bought via art trade, but it has been dated to the last quarter of the 13th century. Nowadays, it is in the Art Museum in Düsseldorf.

(picture clickable for larger version)

Diameter is 33 cm, and it has been worked in green and white silk. I had to tune up the colours on the scan, and now it should be easy to see where the green and where the white silk was used. I would have expected the small, embroidered shields-with-arms on a white background. Shame on my modern mind - green it is. The arms are embroidered in spun silk and gilded silver wrapped around a textile core. The ground for embroidering was coarsely woven linen. Some of the arms have been identified: there's six times Sayn and eight times Geldern, pointing to the Middle or Lower Rhine region. The net might have served for a wedding or proposal ceremony. In addition to the 38 arms, there's a little six-petaled rosette in the middle of the net.

The netting should not be too hard to do, using two different-size gauges for the long white and the small green meshes. My rough estimate is 3-4 mm for the small green mesh and about 1.5 cm length for the long white mesh - which is "not very small" for green and "exceptionally large" for white. It would be very interesting to see it close up, and in good detail, to see whether it was worked in spirals or in rounds, and whether the colour thread not in use was cut off or just led down for the next colour change. Any odd joints caused by this could be covered up easily with the embroidery bits sewn on later.

Source for the net picture and information: FANSA, MAMOUN (Hrsg.): der sassen speyghel. Sachsenspiegel - Recht - Alltag. Beiträge und Katalog zur Ausstellung "Aus dem Leben gegriffen - Ein Rechtsbuch spiegelt seine Zeit". Bd. Beiheft 10, Band 2, Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Nordwestdeutschland. Oldenburg 1995.

Monday, 16 February 2009

How is that with timing?

Somehow, work with due dates seems to attract other work with similar due dates. While I was not exactly ahead of schedule, I was not too much behind either - until last week, when some additional writing work with a due date came up. Yes, I got a good start on the addition already, which helps.
Still, now I am behind schedule - so no long, elaborate blog post for today!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Grocery Box

A few weeks ago, we made an order for something that feels like an everyday adventure to me: We subscribed for an organic produce box. A smallish company in our region offers home delivery every week, with an assortment of fruits and vegetables, organically produced - and you can even opt for regional vegetables only, which leaves you with truly seasonal food.

I love this box. First of all, there's less grocery shopping to be done: We still buy the few things we use in larger quantities, potatoes and occasionally onions, at our normal grocery store. But the big deal about shopping for fruit and vegetables, for me, was always choosing. Having to decide between produce that was grown locally or imported in - or between buying imported food or nothing at all, in some cases. Then choosing what to get. The things well-known, with the preparation down pat? Or something else for a different taste (that might not please)? Since I am one lazy bugger, I ended up on the familiar grounds most of the time.

That is now a problem of the past.

While you can opt out for some of veggies or fruits you don't like, the subscription box will arrive, and there's probably something new in it from time to time - just what I had wished for. They even add a sheet of paper with information and a recipe suggestion for the more exotic things. Before the box, I was looking for recipes in the internet to get inspiration on what to buy. Nowadays, I'm just googling the main vegetable ingredient I want to use and browse through the hits until I find something that sounds appealing. Which has added a touch of adventure to cooking - exactly what I had hoped for. And there is much difference between "not buying something" and "canceling an order for something" - though I usually check a week before what we will get. (Because I'm also very, very curious.)

Is it cheap? No. Our grocery bill has gone up significantly with the box - but so has the amount of fruit and vegetables consumed. And the quality of the foods way surpasses what we can usually get, each and every single piece. There's even a refund should something have gone bad inside, unnoticed by the handlers.

Is it convenient? Well, yes and no. Yes, because the time spent in grocery stores, produce aisles or farmers' markets is cut down to or close to zero. On the other hand, you have to be there when they deliver or have an arrangement, perhaps with a neighbor to receive the box for you (and hand back the empty one).

Is it worth it? In my opinion: Totally. Which is why I write about it here (instead of about medieval garments like I'm supposed to).

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Word Count vs. Character Count

I've been wondering a long time now about the differences in the writing guidelines in Germany versus those in other (English language) countries.

Did it ever strike you as curious that in the English language, the length of texts (maximum or minimum) is given in words - as in "this novel is complete at 100,000 words", while German regulations for submission are given in characters - as in "no more than 40,000 characters"*.

And so I find myself writing a short and a long text with character count "not more than" in both cases and I wonder why there is that difference. After all, there are long and short words in both languages, and I'd suspect that when the difficulty level of the text rises, so does the average word length. So why count words? Is this better possible in English than in German? Or is it some "historical reason"? Or do the Germans just want it that much more exact?** And why does MS Word include a character count, but not a (complete) word count when that is needed much more often (since there are much more English language writers than German)?***

And, the most important question of them all: Why did I not manage to get my characters counted properly yesterday, in spite of having used "Extras - Word Count" so often before?

*I'm not using the proper German 40.000 here, to avoid confusion - but I think it is funny that 40.000 and 40,000 mean different things in English and German. Talk about confusing.

** Yes, I know, that is so cliché. But did you know that because listing these huge numbers of characters for a text can be daunting, there's a conversion into "Normseiten", standard pages, that are usually worth about 1.500 characters. Which makes those figures much, much smaller.

*** You can of course download and install an add-in for MS Word. It might be useful for you (I only have it for fun - well, mostly). You can find "Complete WordCount" at Shauna Kelly's site - together with a lot of hints for using Word efficiently.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Book & Newsletter News

I am spending way too much time staring at my newsletter program (it's Birdigee's Newsletter Manager, by the way). The newsletter campaign I started exactly one week ago is coming along extremely well, and my webpage has never before seen so many people - you are all really amazing!

I have received additional mails with helpful hints, and I have also gotten requests for the table of contents. I'm looking into all of them, and I am happy to announce that I have just uploaded not only the "Inhaltsverzeichnis" (TOC), but also a snippet of the text as preview. So if you would like to have a peek into my (German language) book about medieval garments and tailoring techniques, click over to my webpage and see for yourself if you might want a copy once it is out. And if you do so, please subscribe to the newsletter to let me know!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Kruseler and Hairdos, Part III

Now as promised, the problems I have with this version.

First of all, the kruseler. It consists of multiple layers (I think eight layers) of fine silk fabric, woven in tabby. It's the thin quality you can buy for painting scarves, Pongé 05. The "ruflles" consists of the selvedges of the fabric. All cut edges are sealed with beeswax.
The ruffle, to me, does not look voluminous enough. This might be due to not enough layers, or it could be possible to seal/impregnate the edges in the ruffle with (bleached) beeswax and form it, still warm, into the characteristic wavy form. The next one will be better, I hope.

Then, the hairdo. I am pretty content with how it looks on the photos (though the right "horn" has uncoiled slightly), and it is actually comfortable to wear once it is arranged symmetrically and fixed securely. And that is the snag. I find it enormously difficult to do the two lumps of hair, both securely, both similarly tight and starting from the right spot. Then these two horns have to be pinned to the head. I have a lot of experience nowadays with the simple, u-shaped pins that have been used in the middle ages (and are still available today, thanks to the powers that be), but while the first one is always more or less agreeable, the second horn invariably droops. Or wanders. Or uncoils, if it is really cross.

So while putting up the hair in this way is technically no problem for me - the motions for making the horns are easy, and the single-roll-on-back-of-the-head version of the updo is one of my staples (and I wear my hair up all days, all the time, with only a handful of exceptions a year) - it is still a problem to get it symmetrical, and both twin horns secured firmly. That is probably something to come with practice, but the updo without the veil looks pretty... hmm... let us settle for weird, and the same is true for modern eyes when worn with the veil. And that is the reason why I am not running around with this updo every day. (Plus it won't fit under a bicycle helmet.)

And last of all problems, the pinning. Kruselers worn on the pictures are shown either with a rounded look or with an angular look (the one I'm aiming for). While both can be achieved with changing the hairdo, I haven't yet found any pins shown on the kruseler paintings. Some way of holding the veil to the head must have been used, and I'll assume it was not hot glue straight out of the glue gun. So the big question is: Where and how was the veil fixed (pinned, probably) to the hair? Or was there some other solution? I have had lots of problems, and I always need several tries, to find the right place and right angle for the (bronze) pins to really hold the veil, and for more than some seconds. And it's not only holding it down: the veil should cover the hairline on the forehead, show some of the hair bump beneath and then fall down in a nice, straight line.

I'll happily try out suggestions the next time I wear this, so please shoot!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Kruseler and Hairdos, Part II

Finally, I have those photos I promised to you, wearing the kruseler. Here it is:

And another one, with the demure looking-down-look:

There are a few problems left to tackle in one of the next tries - business as usual, you could say. I have listed the issues I have, but will not post them before tomorrow, to give you the chance of looking without getting biased by my evaluation first. Please feel free to comment!

Friday, 6 February 2009

Picture Heaven

Yesterday evening was very pleasantly spent at a friend's apartment, where he took photos of two medieval outfits, for the flyer and for other promotional purposes. Now I have about 250 photos to sift through: I have to choose the best pictures for the flyer and related things and then wield the photo tools necessary to get them printable.

Which means today is also the time for me to find out how I can best handle raw photo data files. Which is what will fill the next bit of the day - and I hope I can find a good program for me fast.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Writing Day

Today is set apart for Current Writing Project - I need to make a little progress on that, plus three of the books I checked out of the library are due back next week, so I need to finish reading them. Since the alternative to writing on CWP is "sorting through paperwork and filing", I'm really keen on getting my nose into these books.

On an unrelated note, thanks to all of you who subscribed to the newsletter from yesterday's post!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

I'm plugging now. Shamelessly.

I have fulfilled a dream by continuing research after my master's degree at Uni Bamberg. And, of course, I chose medieval garments as my topic. It took me a while, but I am very happy with the outcome (and eternally grateful to my parents, who were incredibly helpful when any obstacles turned up).

I have since successfully finished and defended my phd thesis "Konstruktion und Nähtechnik mittelalterlicher weltlicher Kleidung" (Construction and sewing techniques of secular medieval garments) in Summer 2008. The thesis is a comprehensive survey of extant medieval garments with analysis of cutting, construction development and sewing techniques.

It is written in German with an English summary; you can get more information (in German too) about the volume and the topics covered on my website. I have already found a wonderful publisher for the book, and publication is being prepared. However, two obstacles are left to overcome: Get funding for the costs of the print run, and determining the right number of copies to print.

Since it will take at least eight months until the book can be released - a long wait for you and me - and it is very hard to evaluate how many people will be interested - a problem for the publishing house and me - I am offering subscription to a newsletter that will hopefully help us all (and me even twice):
I will be sending a short newsflash whenever a step in the publishing process is finished, keeping you up to date.
You will know at once when the book can be pre-ordered, which means no delay for you in getting the book delivered.

In return, having a number of seriously interested people on the newsletter list will help me negotiating with the publishing house and my editor and me in determining the number of copies to print. We are aiming for the price range 60-80 Euro for the book (hardcover with b/w illustration and coloured plates).

If you are interested in getting this book, please subscribe to my newsletter by sending an e-mail with the subject "subscribe" to

And if you are not interested in the book, but know somebody who might be, you can do me a huge favor by telling them!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Diamonds are for Helmets

I read about the very special helmet in Parzival, and now I'm wondering about it.

Gahmuret comes by a helmet of "adamas" ("dô schouwet er den adamas: daz was ein helm"). I have the middle high german - modern German version by Reclam, and the translation of "adamas" there is always "diamond".
In Lexer's dictionary, "adamas" is translated as a gemstone, especially diamond, but might also mean a magnet. Originally, the word seems to come from greek αδάμας, adámas, „impregnable“ (says German Wikipedia, sounding plausible enough for me). Which would mean a very hard thing - a very hard stone, in our modern interpretation of "diamond".

Now when I hear "diamond", my association is a small, sparkly, clear, expensive gemstone. Usually set in a ring of some sort. Not suitable for making into a helmet. At all. And I'm wondering about the associations expected from the medieval reader when hearing "adamas" and "helmet" in one breath.

Was the word so firmly linked to the one special gemstone? Lexer mentioning magnets suggests it was not so. And "adamas" is not so far removed, sound-wise, from "damasch" which would mean damascus steel (and that material, also called wootz, was a very good steel, and extremely hard).

On the other hand, making a helmet out of gemstones would not have been very practical - and making it out of real diamond more or less impossible. How far from reality would the author of such a story want to go? Is the audience expected to think of the helmet as an impossible fantasy, the invincible helmet of sparkling stone? A sparkle or even a strong gleam, however, is never mentioned in context with the helmet - though it is at length described when Wolfram talks about a garment made of gold cloth. Maybe "adamas" in this context was alluding to, or even meaning, damascus steel? Perhaps the closeness of the two words for damascus steel and diamond were a delightful play on words for Wolfram von Eschenbach and his audience? It is delightful to my own personal taste, when reading "adamas" and thinking "damascus steel" (which is also a beautiful thing).

I am very glad I can wonder about this only for my own private pleasure, and I do not need to prove anything. But it tickles my brain in a very enjoyable way.

If you have thoughts about the possible interpretations of this helmet, please share them - I'd love to know what you think!

Monday, 2 February 2009

Medieval February

We spent most of yesterday playing life-sized Sokoban in our apartment, sorting through old paper and rearranging books in the shelves. It really is amazing how much paper amasses in just a few years, even when we both try to discard old sheets and slips of whatever paper that are not needed anymore.

There is one exception for me when throwing away paper, though: Any artwork I made myself stays. Period. In some cases, even the preparatory sheets for the final thing.

And in addition to that, I admit I'm a bit reluctant to throw away old bills from computer parts, because I kind of like to rediscover them after some years.
Do you know this feeling of utter amazement (paired with relief that these times are past) when you read what you paid for, say, a 128 MB USB-stick back in the early 2000s or for 128 MB of RAM (simple RAM for a desktop PC) back in 2001? Blimey, those things were expensive! Yet they were needed, and we paid for them.

And now? 50 Euros for a 32 GB USB-Stick. 512 MB sticks given out as freebies on job fairs.

And then I think of the one Gigabyte RAM happily working away in my slightly elderly laptop (and 1 GB is all it will take) and how long some necessary procedures take... and I imagine doing this on 128 MB of RAM because what that cost 2001 is approximately what I paid for my GB in 2006 or 2007.

Oh, by the way, culling old paper or books is so fitting into the medieval calendar. As Got Medieval tells us, February is the month to trim back dead bits from the trees. Paper = made from wood pulp. Therefore paper = trees, dead bits of trees = paper stuff not needed anymore.
(And since there is an archaeologist in this household, and there are small bits of real wood around as well from past projects, we even managed the get-some-firewood part. Neat, huh?)