Friday, November 12, 2010

Kirkkomäki-Inspired Motifs

Warp: Dark green and white wool (fibreholics)
Weft: same as above (varying colour)
Pattern: I made it up
Cards: 15
Width: 8mm
Length: ~60cm

I had a band all strung up on my Oseberg loom that I had been using at String Day to demonstrate doubleface techniques. Most of it was still unused at the end of the day so I needed to find something to use it for.

I'd recently been reading Silja Penna-Haverinen's article in NESAT X: Patterned Tablet-Woven Band - In Search of the 11th Century Textile Professional, in which she hypothesises that bands from medieval Finland employed 180-degree turns. Her article focuses on a band found in the Kirkkomäki burial ground in Turku, but she mentions that the Masku Humikkala band uses the same techniques, and I think that the Kaukola band in Hansen falls into the same category.

According to the article, 180-degree turns occur in pairs on either side of a reversal, giving the appearance of a tighter corner. There is also mention of a 180-degree turn in conjunction with two cards actually swapping position, but for the life of me I can't work out how to execute that without making a mess.

Penna-Haverinen also mentions another technique found on the Kirkkomäki band: a tubular selvedge. My sample band had a border 2 tablets wide which isn't really sufficient to form a tube, but it was sufficient to hide the white weft I was using on the reverse of the band, so that was something. The tubular selvedge meant I had to pull the weft very tight which made for a higher warp density than my bands usually have. I don't think the half-turns would have worked nearly as well if it were looser.

The motifs I chose we not copied straight from the band since I had far fewer cards. They were designed to show off the half-turns to best effect. Penna-Haverinen specifically mentions its use in zigzag motifs where quarter-turns would mean the card at the centre of the zigzag just shows a straight line, rather than incorportating the corners.

You can see this to the left. On top is the band woven without half-turns. Beneath is the band executed with half-turns. You can see the more angular turns in the zigzag on the left half of the band. The tooth motif at right also looks a bit squarer.

I never know how to finish bands. I tried something a bit different with this one: I divided the warp threads into three groups and formed each one into a tube. It worked pretty nicely. No evidence that this is period though.


  1. Hi Amalie!

    It was so nice to find your blog entry! You have executed the techniques with a great skill, your bands are very beautiful...

    -Silja P-H.

  2. Oh wow, I am very flattered to hear you say that! Would you mind if I asked you a few questions?

  3. Sure! If you have the book, you'll find my e-mail address from the list of contributors.