Thursday, April 16, 2009

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 linen breaks very easily under tension. And yep, it isn't much fun. The first thread broke when I was about 4cm in and then they just kept breaking. Here's a picture showing all the broken warp threads sticking out the sides (it's especially bad on the left there, which is where I stopped):It isn't too hard to replace a broken thread. The part of the thread closest to the weaving I draw through the shed and out to the side. Then I thread a new length of the thread through the appropriate card and (using a needle) up into the weaving about where the original thread came out, and through the band a way and out the back where I tie it off. Then I peg the cards up and untie the other end of the warp, pull out the other end of the broken thread, add the new thread and tie it back up.

It does really cut into your progress when it starts happening regularly. Also, the newly added thread doesn't have the same twist in it that the ones that have been there all along have, so you can't just turn the cards the same number of times forward as back to end up with the warp untwisted. After a while you can start re-using the broken warp threads again (they almost always break between the cards and the weaving) but nevertheless you go through the thread you're using for the warp pretty quickly, which is more depressing than actually having to replace the broken threads.

In the end I had to stop sooner than I wanted too, just because I ran out of linen for the warp. I had been intending to do collar trim for the tunic as well as cuffs but in the end there wasn't enough.

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