Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Dead End on Durham Warp Transposition

A particularly intriguing section in Collingwood (page 278 in the 2002 edition) concerns warp transposition (swapping the positions of tablets so their warp threads completely cross over).  It reads:

The controlling tablets are lifted from their place, passed over one or more tablets to the right or left and then re-inserted in the pack... the earliest example of the technique is a seal tag from Durham Cathedral, dated between 1189 and 1197 (Henshall, 1964)

Henshall, 1964 is 'Five Tablet Woven Seal Tags' in Archaeological Journal, Vol. CXXI.  I finally got my hands on this article last week.  It may blow nobody's mind to learn it details five different tablet woven bands.  They are:
  1. Braid in double-faced plain weave with geometric pattern 1194-1215
    Thora Sharptooth has written about this band.
  2. Braid in double-faced plain weave with chequer pattern 1165-1174
  3. Braid in double-faced diagonal weave with animal patterns 1189-1196
  4. Brocaded band in plain tablet weave 1371
  5. Multicoloured tablet-woven cord 1294
    Teffania has written about this band.
None of these seems to concern warp transposition.  From the dates and from the colours of the warp threads described, it seems Collingwood was referring to the third band.  This band does, in addition to its animal weave section, have a long "tail" whose pattern is described as "broken chevrons".  But again, this is definitely not described as warp transposition.  Each tablet has 2 threads in each colour, and all cards are just turned as a pack for a long distance.

Did Collingwood's imagination run away with him when he was reading this article?  Did he have information beyond what is present in the article?  Right now I don't see any evidence that warp transposition was in use in the medieval period. And I'm kinda sad about it!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Random Brocaded bands

Hi folks, long time no post, I've been having a bit of upheaval in my professional life this year and have been pouring a lot of time into my professional development rather than weaving. I've just started a new job and have a lot to learn there but hopefully things will start to settle down soon. 

Anyway, I didn't stop weaving entirely. Here are some photos of some bands I've woven in the last 6 months. 

The green one which is a cut-down Anna Neuper pattern was an experiment using the same materials as for the Chasuble of St Wolfgang, seeing if on a simpler band I could manage to use the nice fine silk without it getting eaten to pieces.  Conclusion: no. What a pity, because the effect is lovely. Photograph doesn't really do it justice.

The purple one is a Birka 22 I strung up for a talk on Viking tablet weaving to let people have a go, as per usual at these things people wove about a cm and then I went home and finished it myself.  Fibreholics silk and tambour thread from Hedgehog.

And here is a photo of a caul made by Anna de Wilde for Queen Eva's stepdown outfit, with a band I made edging it. Anna Neuper again, fibreholics silk and tambour thread.

Hopefully it won't be another 6 months before I post again, but um, right now I'm a little distracted by Italian shirring.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Crowdsourced Band

I've just got back from Canterbury Faire which is the big SCA event of the year around these parts. During the event I was elevated to the Order of the Laurel.  Since I knew about it in advance I thought it would be nice to plan something to celebrate the occasion- and celebrate tablet weaving at the same time! What I came up with was a band to be woven by the populace, with a brocaded inscription relating to the occasion.

Baron Steffan ap Kennydd provided a Latin transcription for the band.  It reads:

Populus Lochacis in Mercatu Cantuar. m.f. A.S. XLVII reg. Fel. Evaq. RR. ut induct. Dom. Hon. Amaliae Brisachensis in Ord. Laur. annotet.

Which translates roughly as:

The people of Lochac at the Canterbury Fair made me in the 47th year of the Society during the reign of Felix the King and Eva the Queen that the induction of the Honorable Lady Amalie of Brisache
into the Order of the Laurel might be recorded

Of course I never expected we could get through so much weaving in the 6 "official" days of Canterbury Faire, but this is approximately the right length of text to fill a belt.

I used the font from the Girdle of Witgarius as a model although the band does not emulate this band in other respects.  It has 30 cards and both the warp and brocade weft are a relatively thick spun silk bought from Swarog.

I set the band up on my Oseberg loom last Monday, and asked a few experienced weavers to be available to help first-time tablet weavers contribute to the band. By the end of the Saturday 44 people had woven 30 letters.  About half had never done any tablet weaving before and most of the ones who had had only been though my introductory class in previous years. I was very impressed with people's willingness to give it a go.

Teaching people how to do brocade over and over again, and watching the other experienced weavers do the same, was a very interesting experience and made me a lot more aware of my own process when weaving.

I plan to finish off the rest of the band in the coming weeks.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Shoe planning

Almost 2 months since last post and not a lot to report.  I've just started a new project but it's not going to be a quick one.  I'm going to make 12th century "Pontifical shoes" with tablet woven bands on them.  The bands and their layout will be inspired by the shoes of Philipp von Schwaben and the construction of the shoes will be similar to a number of other pairs from around the same time or slightly earlier.  Some of these shoes are pretty bling, with silk coverings, tablet weaving, embroidery (mostly chain stitch and wire embroidery), gilt leather, decorative rivets, precious stones and cutouts (I don't think any of them have *all* of those things but some have most).  Here are some links if you're interested:

Photo of shoes of Bishop Bernhard of Hildesheim (d. 1153)

Fabulous beasts—leather, silk and gold: recent research on and conservation of 12th century footwear from the episcopal tombs in Trèves Cathedral 2005 article on restoration of one of the blingiest pairs

Geschichte der liturgischen Gewänder des Mittelalters  - book from 1859 with a lot of detail on this style of shoe on pages 400-416.

Deadline on this project is Canterbury Faire at the end of January; by then I hope to have a pair of shoes with tablet weaving on them, which can accrete additional decoration over time.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Chasuble of St Wolfgang Motif 5

 Yes, I have completely given up on naming these things.  Maybe it's a flower?  Anyway, here it is, the last of the 5 motifs.

I took the photo below, which unusually for me managed to be in focus, and straight away noticed the knot (centre right, in red).  The knot is gone now but I'm glad nobody but the camera is looking that closely! 

 Here's another photo I thought I'd share.  When I finished the first of the two bands, the cards were a wreck, and when I swapped them all out for new ones I thought I'd try to improve the situation by making the cards a bit stiffer, so I painted nail polish around the edges of all of them.  Well, that worked, as far as making the cards stiffer went.  Not a one of them gave out. On the other hand, it didn't have a great effect on the warp.  This picture is of what greeted me when I moved the cards down about 10cm into the second band.  Threads dying all over the place.  Over the following 10cm I replaced almost all the warp threads.  Again. After just doing between the first and second band.
 And here's a photo of the entire two bands.  You can see the lion in the second band looks a bit hairy, well, that's a byproduct of all those warp threads getting replaced, unfortunately.
So what now?  At the moment I'm making a practice run at the Germanic Bliaut these bands are going on, to make sure I get the fit right before I cut into that pretty, pretty fabric.  Then I'll make the real deal. So probably no weaving at least through October- if I can help myself!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chasuble of Wolfgang motif... umm... 2? 4?

 This is the second motif I wove, but the first time I did it it was about 40% longer than this and I wasn't very happy with the outcome.  So here's my second attempt.

I don't really have much more to say at this point other than that I'm about ready to finish this project and am very glad to have only about 5cm to go!

Oh! and also, I bought brocade for the bliaut these bands will be going on and it is very pretty.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chasuble of St Wolfgang Candlestick

Here's another figure from the Chasuble of St Wolfgang: the candlestick. I assume.  It might be a flower, I guess.

This is the first figure after I re-strung all the cards.  Most of the many, many knots I tied in my warp threads are hidden on the back of the cards, but some of them slipped into the front while I wasn't looking.

For this figure I tried doing as the original seems to have done and making some of the pattern in the ground colour (the blue parts).  It looks OK here, but from many angles the blue rather fades into the background.