Sunday, June 28, 2009

Neuper #29

Warp: Purple silk
Weft: Purple silk
Brocade: White silk
Pattern: Anna Neuper #29
Cards: 29
Length: Approx. 1.2 metres
What's new: Tiedowns under 1 thread

I just got a copy of Anna Neuper's Modelbuch (as published by Nancy Spies and Ute Bargmann). This is a book of brocaded tablet weaving patterns as recorded by Anna Neuper, a nun from Nuremberg, in 1517, at the time when tablet weaving was dying out in favour of other decorative fibre techqiques such as lacemaking. The patterns are all pretty obvious and geometrical. They're all pretty similar to the pattern I used on my garters back in my first brocaded tablet weaving experiment.

I was going to start the Mammen bands next but it's taking a while to get the silk. So I thought I'd make one of the patterns from this book. I don't have an immediate use for it so I may donate it as a prize for the Fighter Auction Tourney at Crescent Fence in August.
For this band I am using a double thickness of white silk for the brocade, and (for the first time) tiedowns under one thread only- except for the card at each edge, since this makes it look neater. I'm making the pickups as suggested in Peter Collingwood's Techniques of Tablet Weaving which I've also just got. The cards are rotated a 1/8 turn after passing the ground weft, so that one thread in each card is higher than all the others, and then pickups are made from there (plus some stuffing around to deal with the edge cards).

Birka 22

Warp: White wool
Weft: DMC linen
Brocade: Wool
Pattern: Birka 22
Cards: 21
Length: Approx. 0.4 metres
What's new: Wool

Birka 22 is the only pattern from Birka found with both silver and gold brocade (the rest are all silver). Next to the simple 8-card threaded in chevron pattern, it seems to be the most common tablet weaving pattern for re-enactors to follow (at least in this corner of the world). However most people don't seem to do it as a brocade pattern. Þora Sharptooth has created a "recipe" for Birka 22 that uses Egyptian diagonals to create the pattern and it seems to have taken on a life of its own. I doubt all the people that have woven it are aware the original Birka bands were brocaded. No slight intended to Þora Sharptooth, whose website is an excellent resource and who is quite clear on the fact that this isn't actually the original form of the pattern.

The wool I used for the warp is from Anna Gratton Ltd. The brocade is wool from Strand New Zealand. This was my first brocaded band woven in wool and it took a little while to adjust. With the silk I've been using (and the linen as far as I recall), you can just use the beater to shove the warp threads apart to create each new shed. With the wool, you actually have to pull the upper and lower threads apart- bashing them with the beater just makes a mess. Coverage is great with the fluffy wool.

This band is going on my linen apron dress.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Dogs and Flowers" Cingulum

Warp: Red silk
Weft: DMC Cotton
Brocade: Spun gold
Pattern: "Dogs and flowers", 13th/14th century cingulum, Halberstadt
Cards: 46
Length: Approx. 1.4 metres
What's new: higher number of cards. Intermittent brocade.The warp runs left to right in the pattern above. Also, I have stretched it out so it appears about in proportion to the real thing. This pattern is on page 138 of EPAC. I modified it slightly. I removed 4 picks from the flower, so that it turned out circular when I wove it (as usual I can't get my weft density up as high as the original band). The original had the dog's collar in a contrasting thread, which I couldn't be bothered with, so I also altered it to be gold brocade right through.

I used gold Kreinik jap #7 for the brocade. For the brocaded regions I used polyester thread for the ground weft so I could make the brocade as dense as possible. Between each dog/flower is a region of 20 picks with no brocade. For these regions I used the same silk as the warp for the ground weft. I thought using a thicker thread might make the transitions between the brocaded and non-brocaded regions a bit less jarring. It didn't really work very well. The band was still much thicker (not wider- well, actually the width was a bit all over the place) in the brocaded regions.

Now I'm done I've realised I don't know how to finish a double-wrapped belt so this piece is in limbo until I work that out :(

Update: you can see the finished clingulum here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Beanie Cap Trim

Warp: Blue silk
Weft: DMC Cotton
Brocade: Spun gold
Pattern: "Scrolling vine", 13th century cingulum
Cards: 17
Length: Approx. 1.2 metres
What's new: Twill

Beanie caps are one of the distinctive clothing articles of the Germanic region in the 12th century. They can be small and dishlike (kinda like Jewish skullcaps) or more hemispherical. The pictures on the left are from Katherine Barich's picture gallery which has some really awesome pictures, but they aren't well referenced so I'm not sure of their exact source.

I made a beanie cap a while ago but it fit my head pretty poorly so I decided the make another one that was stiff enough to retain its shape when it is worn. This is the first item of clothing I have made specifically to have tablet weaving on it. There are no extant women's beanie caps that I know of but EPAC lists a French 11th/12th century ecclesiastical skullcap with thin tablet-woven bands down the middle of wider bands, which is what I'm doing.

The pattern is a "Scrolling vine" motif from a cingulum (belt) attributed to St Edmund, Archbishop of Canterbury, 13th century. The pattern can be found on page 132 of EPAC.

All the previous bands I've woven had alternating S- and Z-threaded cards but for this one I tried doing a twill band which means having all the bands threaded the same way. Threading all the cards the same way causes the band to spiral when it's not under tension so it's recommended you have one or two threaded in the other direction at one edge, so the band has 15 Z-threaded tablets and 2 S-threaded ones. Warping your band up in a twill configuration lets you do all sorts of exciting things like 3/1 broken twill, but for this band I'm just doing the unexciting all-cards-turn-at-once thing I've been doing with previous bands. The main difference I've observed with weaving a twill band is that reversing the turn direction is much more obvious on the front of the band than with an alternating S and Z setup so you can't just go changing the direction whenever you feel like it.

This is a picture comparing the three ground weaves I've used so far (showing the reverse of the bands). The top one is the regular alternating S and Z 4-hole weave. The middle is the twill weave of this band and the bottom is the 2-hole of the Birka 7 band. I'm assuming the reason that on the top band the S and the Z warps do not look equally tightly wound is due to the the ply of the silk.

The spun gold I'm using for this project is Madeira Metallic No. 10 which is similar to the anchor lame but I think might actually be even thinner. Coverage is not great, but the simplicity of the pattern means this is not a huge issue.The magic of the internet has made the brocade in this pciture look silver. It's gold, I promise (And the top band above is more orangey than the bottom one, too!)