Sunday, May 30, 2010

Knotwork belt

Warp: Red silk
Weft: Really thin red silk
Brocade weft: 3x Anchor lame gold
Pattern: Knotwork brocade, based on 11th century Swiss pattern
Cards: 67
Width: 3.5cm
Length: 2m

This band is a belt for Sinech, a local SCAdian who does beautiful embroidery. Her persona is 8th century Irish but lacking documentation for tablet weaving going on around there we decided on a knotwork pattern based on a band from 11th century Riggisberg, Switzerland. It's on page 170 of EPAC. The original had 146 tablets but I created a dumbed down version with only 67.

I wove this band on the inkle loom, like the last one. Here's a picture of it in progress. Brocade weft coverage is not great but the pattern is still quite striking. Since this is a belt I put slits in the blank areas of the pattern in the middle section of the band. This worked a lot better than it did on the "Anglo-Saxon" belt from last year- the slits are pretty much invisible. This is more an artefact of the weaving technique and materials (much denser warp) than any improvement in my weaving I think.

It occurred to me recently that since we have a scanner I should really be scanning my bands with that rather than bugging my flatmate with the fancy camera to photograph them all the time. So here's a scan of this band. Obviously the downside of this plan is you can only see 30cm of it. You can get it in quite high resolution if you click on it though.

Hopefully I'll eventually get a picture of the finished belt- I'm leaving the sorting out of the buckle (and belt tip if she wants one) in Sinech's hands.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hello my Polish friends

I turned on Google Analytics recently and have discovered that Poland is right up there with New Zealand (where I live) and the US in terms of number of visits to this blog, over 3x more than Australia and Denmark which are tying for 4th place. Additionally, Poland makes up over 40% of my worldwide direct traffic! Not that it isn't great to have you around but I am curious as to what led you here. Would anyone like to offer an explanation in the comments?

A bonus fun fact is that over 80% of all my visitors are on Windows but only 12% are using Internet Explorer :-)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wooden Bobbins

Here are the different types of wooden bobbin I have been using recently. All three are made by local artisans. The top one is made by Ronan Mac Brian and is inspired by the reel in The Medieval Household- the same one pictured in this post in Haandkraft. This bobbin wasn't designed for tablet weaving and the wide section is just a little top wide for passing through the shed. It works very nicely for reeling thread onto, which is handy for when you want to do a continuous warp and need to have the same colour on more than one reel.

The second one is one of three is by Lowrans Wilyamson and along with the warp spreader he made me was payment for the bands I made for his Lady earlier this year. He made them after a discussion we had about the bobbins in the Hours of Catherine of Cleves although as you can see they aren't that similar. Lowrans wasn't at all sold on the bifurcation- partly because I couldn't think of a good reason for it, and partly because it would have been a pain to turn on his lathe.

These bobbins are a bit painstaking to reel because of the narrow stem so Lowrans has made me some more of the third type above. These ones were inspired by finds detailed in Craft, Industry and Everyday Life: Wood and Woodworking in Anglo- Scandinavian and Medieval York" by Carole A. Morris (right). The point makes it easier to find the shed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Evebo Animal Frieze

I recently noticed that I am the #1 hit on Google for 'evebo pattern' (and second for 'evebo "tablet weaving') which has made me feel a little guilty since there's no such pattern to be found here.

However, there is a pattern to be found on the web- you need to join the SCA-Card-Weaving yahoo group to access it, but the group has all sorts of interesting discussions and if you're keen enough on tablet weaving to be into 3/1 broken twill, you'll probably enjoy being on it anyway. If not, you can set the group to not send you any emails, or join it just long enough to get the file. The pattern is in the Files section, in a file called "Evebo". It is in GTT format. You can download GTT from here.

Hopefully that will alleviate my guilt!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

"Middle Eastern" band

Warp: Dark green and yellow silk
Pattern: Egyptian diagonals, based on middle-eastern emboridery
Cards: 56
Width: 4.5cm
Length: 65cm

Lacking any actual tabletwoven bands to base the pattern I was weaving for my friend Maheshti on, we ended up deciding on a pattern from a medieval middle-eastern embroidery sampler. Unfortunately I forgot to note down the name of the book or any more specific information- I will ask Maheshti and see if she remembers!

The pattern is very diagonal-centric, so I decided to use Egyptian diagonals for it. As mentioned in my previous post, this is even less documentable than other techniques such as doubleface and brocade, but it fits the pattern well, Maheshti didn't seem bothered, and I'll be honest, it's not like I have much excuse to make Egyptian diagonal bands for my own uses so I may as well take what chances I get.

This is the first band where I have created the pattern myself. Luckily it's pretty easy to do with this technique.

I decided to weave this band on my flatemate's inkle loom. Although I love my Oseberg loom (which I will blog about soon, promise!) a six foot loom isn't really practical for using in front of the TV in the living room, which is where I like to do most of my weaving. The inkle loom is not period, but it is very portable and doesn't dominate the room.

The reversals in this pattern are not too frequent so the weaving went quite quickly. As with the Finnish S-motif band I did earlier in the year, I flipped the cards rather than dividing them into forward- and backward-turning packs. And as with that band, this was really hard on the cards! As the band progressed, the cards began to fall apart (mostly by having the holes rip out) and I kept having to sellotape them back together. By the end, almost all the corners (except for the border cards, which were never flipped) were taped up, and the tape was catching on things, and the whole thing was a bit of a nightmare. You might think this was an argument against using playing cards with this technique, but I think actually it would have been a lot harder to flip more rigid cards. I think if I was doing it again I would stop halfway through and re-thread with a new set of cards.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

(Flimsy) Evidence for Tablet Weaving in the Medieval Middle East

Happy AS 45, everone.

A friend of mine recently asked me to do some Middle Eastern tablet weaving for her. I set to work, looking to see what I could document. Result? Nothing. I don't know whether they weren't doing tablet weaving in period, they were but the evidence doesn't survive or isn't widely available in English, or if I'm just looking in the wrong places. My friend wasn't going to let that get in the way of some pretty trim, so I changed my focus from "What tablet weaving did they do in the Middle East?" to "What is the least implausible technique to use for tablet weaving in the Middle East?" The answer I came up with was brocaded or doubleface. Please note that I am NOT suggesting that I have evidence that these techniques were practised in the Middle East in period. All the examples I could come up with were a) created either outside the Middle East or out of period and b) made by Christians (My friend's persona is Arab). It's just the best guess I could make with the information I have.

There are 2 brocaded bands from Israel mentioned in EPAC: a piece of 7th century trim from Coptic Egypt, and a medieval fragment from a Crusader church. A doubleface band from Coptic Egypt (10th century) features on p. 172 of Collingwood. There are also the Jerusalem Garters, which date from the mid-17th century onward, pictured on p. 169 of Collingwood.

If anyone out there knows of any tabletwoven bands from the Medieval Middle East, I would love to heard about them. Meanwhile, what technique did I use for my friend's band? Egyptian diagonals. Well, the pattern she wanted was just crying out for them, and it's not as though I'll have much opportunity to make Egyptian diagonal bands documentable to my own persona. The writeup of that band will follow shortly.