Sunday, June 28, 2009

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.


  1. Wonderfull bands you make:)

    Do you know what materials the original band was made with? You write gold and silver, but used silk yourself, so I guess this isn't a true copy of the original, no?

  2. The original Birka 22 had a silk warp and different fragments had drawn gold and drawn silver as the brocade. I've made Birka bands with silk ground and gold and silver brocade, but sadly not drawn gold/silver because I haven't found a wire thin/flexible enough (And probably the silk was not very similar to the originals, either!)