Showing posts from 2009

"Anglo-Saxon" Belt

UPDATE: it seems this pattern probably isn't Anglo-Saxon after all, but medieval.

Warp: Red, green and white silk
Weft: Green silk
Pattern: Woven in diamonds
Cards: 32
Width: 1 - 2.5 cm
Length: 140cm
What's new: not brocade

OK, so this isn't a brocaded pattern. I'm getting more and more keen to try the various non-brocaded techniques and sometime next year I expect I'll drop the "brocaded" from the blog title. Not yet though because I have 3 brocaded bands queued up after this already.

This pattern comes from a belt from Anglo-Saxon Cambridge. It is described on page 122 of Collingwood (2002 edition), page 53 of Hansen and on 's site. Reproductions by and Shelagh Lewins can be seen online.

This pattern was calling out to me at this particular time because like the Mammen band it involves quarter-turning alternating left and right cards. It is the only non-brocaded piece I've done so far other than the basic eight-card che…

Medieval Archaeology (journal)

For anyone else that didn't know, the first fifty issues of Medieval Archaeology are available for free online, including among many other interesting articles Early Anglo-Saxon Gold Braids by Elisabeth Crowfoot and Sonia Chadwick Hawkes.

Mammen Band Mk II

This is my second go at the Mammen cuffs after my first was lost in the mail. For the specs see the Mammen band Mk I.

This time through I decided to do away with the whole "edge tablets turn every pick" thing by dropping one tablet (Under the stave on the left side). This means there are an even number and as long as you're throwing the ground weft in the right direction one of the threads of the edge tablet is caught up every pass. Additionally it (theoretically) means that the two twines on the outside of the stave border looks symmetrical- although to be fair I'm not neat enough for it to be an issue.

Additionally I wanted to see whether I could encourage the band to be wider by using thicker tablets- the idea being that if the warp splays slightly outwards rather than inwards as it leaves the weaving the band will be more likely to widen than narrow. Since I still don't have any proper tablets yet I achieved this by gluing multiple playing cards together. …

Narrow Mammen band

Warp: Lilac silk
Weft: Lilac linen
Brocade: Spun gold + silver (Kreinik jap)
Pattern: Wide Mammen band
Cards: 17
Width: 1cm
Length: 70cm
What's new: 2 different brocades, turning alternating cards

This one was executed just the same as the wide mammen band. The pattern is from Egon Hansen's Tabletweaving but I had to take a stab at the location of the silver bits myself based on the Danish National Museum's photos. I didn't take any photos of this one before sending it up to Iarnulfr so I guess it lives only in my memory :(

What's going on?

I recently returned from a 7-week holiday which is why there have been no posts. Actually since then I completed the thin Mammen band to go with the wide one in the previous post. I forgot to photograph it before I posted it up to Iarnulfr with the wide one. Unfortunately, on Wednesday Iarnulfr received the envelope I posted them in- still sealed, empty! My bands have either been lost or stolen on their journey. Neither makes a whole lot of sense.

The bands have been reported missing and I will take on another small project while waiting to see of anything comes of that (I doubt it). If they haven't turned up by the time that's done, I will weave the wide one again, incorporating a couple of changes I thought of while weaving it the first time. It's more about the process than the finished result after all.

I'll post a short entry on the narrow band, which I doubt I'll be motivated enough to re-do since it was not as challenging.

I won't be sending bands throug…

Mammen band

Warp: Lilac silk
Weft: Lilac linen
Brocade: Spun gold + silver (Kreinik jap)
Pattern: Wide Mammen band
Cards: 35
Width: 1.5cm
Length: 2 x 30cm
What's new: 2 different brocades, turning alternating cards

A couple of months ago I came across the Danish National Museum's page on the Mammen textile finds. It lets you zoom right in and look at the detail. The arm bands are gorgeous and I decided I wanted to give them a go. They differ in 2 major ways from any of the bands I've woven previously:

1. The cards aren't all turned at once. Peter Collingwood describes this band as having the cards threaded in 2 holes and turned as a pack but EPAC says they were threaded in 4 holes and the odd and even cards were turned in alternate picks (The edge cards are still turned every pick). I decided to go with EPAC's interpretation since I've already tried the 2-hole thing. Turning the cards half as often means you can get a higher weft density.

2. There are two brocading wefts: sil…

Kentish band

Warp: Purple silk
Weft: White linen
Brocade: Gold strip
Pattern: "Sarre 94" - Kentish pattern
Cards: 9
Length: Approx. 1.2 metres
What's new: Metal strip brocade, brocade on both sides (in places)

I wanted to do a band using metal strips and the Kentish bands seemed most appropriate. The pattern is one from 's site (It's also on Ælfflæd's Saxon Rabbit which has a wider variety of Kentish patterns). I altered it slightly to make it symmetrical to my eye. I used a white linen weft because I wanted to see what it looked like- linen was often used as a weft but it probably wasn't dyed to match the warp-not always anyway. The contrasting weft shows up at the edges and looks alright if the weaving is perfect, but is very unforgiving of aberrations.

The metal strip I used was uncoiled Rajmahal Sadi thread. It makes for a very thin strip. I used it double. It didn't seem very annoying to use but I seemed to be going a lot slower than …

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 …

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…

"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 use…

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 wh…

Birka 7 (for tunic?)

Warp: Red silk
Weft: DMC Cotton
Brocade: Spun silver
Pattern: Birka 7
Cards: 17
Length: Approx. 1 metre
What's new: 2 holes per card threaded

This is my second project for Iarnulfr, who is now making me a bed. It is very similar to the first band I did for him, except that I have actual red silk now so don't have to dye it myself (with poor results), and I've persuaded him to let me try with only two holes in each card threaded (alternating positions on each card). There are Viking bands where this may have been done (it's also possible that they were threaded with linen and it has completely disappeared).

Iarnulfr isn't sure what this band will be going on yet but it will probably be something tunic-like.

Weaving a band with only two holes threaded per card requires a slightly different technique to 4-hole bands. With 4-hole bands, the warp threads are packed densely and you can pretty much walk away from the weaving without any fear that the cards will slip ou…

Pouch Trim

Warp: Perle cotton
Weft: DMC embroidery cotton
Brocade: Kreinik jap
Pattern: 15ht century chasuble neckine, Braunschweig (EPAC p. 137)
Cards: 15
Width: 1.3mm
Length: Approx. 40 cm
What's new: Cotton ground, Kreinik jap brocade. No reversal of card turn direction.

This was just a "filler" project while I waited for the materials for my next plans to arrive. The pouch is of green wool with perle cotton lucet cord strings. Perle cotton is not a period material for brocaded tablet weaving but it is a good stand-in for silk for the cheap of heart (actually, the silk I'm using is cheaper by the metre than the perle cotton, but you have to buy twenty times as much). I used the leftovers from the lucet cord for the warp. I think it is DMC perle cotton #8, which is quite a thick thread. The brocade is Kreinik jap. For most of it I used a double thickness of #5, which is pretty thin, but near the end I ran out and switched to a single thickness of #12, which has a pretty simila…

Cuffs on Linen Tunic

Warp: Linen
Weft: Linen
Brocade: Spun silver
Pattern: Birka 21
Cards: 17
Width: 1cm
Length: Approx. 70cm
What's new: Linen warp

Coloured linen tunics are pretty iffy for the 12th century, but they're cool, so I wear them anyway. Likewise it's probably a bit early for linen tabletweaving, but I wanted to give weaving with a linen warp a go. I had a light brown linen tunic that was as yet unadorned.

The pattern I used was another one from Egon Hansen's Tabletweaving. It is a simplified version of Birka 21. The fylfots are omitted, although honestly I don't think anyone would have noticed if I'd included them, and there are only two scrolly things between each repeat of the tooth motif.

The ground warp and weft are both green DMC embroidery linen. The brocade weft is (again) Anchor silver lame.(The pattern doesn't exactly leap out at you on the band but this photo isn't helping)

I'd been reliably informed it wouldn't be a pleasant experience, because li…

Birka 2

Warp: Silk
Weft: Linen
Brocade: Spun silver
Pattern: Birka 2
Cards: 17
Width: 10mm
Length: 114cm
What's new: Doubled-up spun silver brocade, linen weft

This project is for my friend Iarnulfr, in return for a chest he made at Canterbury Faire. Originally it was for the cuffs and collar of his brown Russ coat, but when coat and trim were finally in the same place it was determined that the colours clashed so its final purpose is now unknown.

The pattern is Birka 2 (chosen by Iarnulfr). I got it out of "Tablet Weaving" by Egon Hansen. Iarnulf wanted the ground to be red, so I dyed some of my white silk red with Dylon- unsurprisingly it turned out sort of orange. The brocade weft is two strands of Anchor lame silver thread, which is basically a very fine jap. The original Birka bands used drawn silver, but I don't have any, so the jap will have to do.

The weaving went very smoothly although again there was a fair bit of variation in the band width.

Hose Trim and Garters

Warp: Silk
Weft: Silk
Brocade: Silk
Pattern: 15th century chasuble. Munich (EPAC p. 144)
Cards: 9/21
Width: 6mm/12mm
Length: 60cm/60cm

For my first band I picked the pattern in EPAC which used the fewest cards. It is from a linen band from a 15th century chasuble. The design is a simple geometric consisting of diamonds and diagonal bars and I think it would not be out of place on 12th century garb.

The purpose of this project was to make garters for my dark blue woolen hose. We have extant hose from the 12th century with garters sewn on at either the front or the back of the hose. This is most excellent, since I've had several garters fall off during events without me noticing until it's too late to recover them. Unfortunately I don't know of any garters that were definitely tabletwoven (in pictures they mostly look like ribbons) but it doesn't sound like the most out there idea ever.

The warp, ground weft and brocade weft are all of Schappe silk from fibreholics. The war…

Ecclesiastical Pomp and Aristocratic Circumstance

I'm probably going to refer frequently to this book in this blog. It's great. The first half covers the social context of tabletwoven bands, historical uses for them, and the materials and tools used. The second half starts by giving a bunch of patterns of extent bands, and then goes on to list details (but not patterns) on all the extant bands the author, Nancy Spies, could find. Apparently all the cool kids are abbreviating the book's title as EPAC, so I will do the same.

Hello There

I'm Amalie von Brisache, resident in the Barony of Southron Gaard in Lochac (or Amy, from Christchurch, New Zealand, if you prefer). I'm from 12th century Swabia but can occasinally be spotted in Viking garb. In the past I've mostly decorated my garb with embroidery, but have decided this year to branch out into brocaded tablet weaving, since it's a) quicker and b) easier to end up with something very similar to extant articles.

I don't have any experience with "real" weaving and the only tablet weaving I've done before is the simple 8-card chevron/diamond shape that most people cut their teeth on in the SCA.

I've decided to blog about the bands I weave in the hopes that this will guilt me into making steady progress- but at the moment I have plenty of ideas and motivation.