Thursday, October 28, 2010

String Day

OK, so it was almost a month ago, but I said I would mention String Day, so here we go. 4 weeks ago my flatmate Thordis and I hosted a fibrecraft-themed collegium type thingy at our house. There was weaving, tablet weaving, inkle weaving, bobbin lace, knitting, naalbinding, spinning and dyeing, all going on in an ad hoc manner. We got a great turnout, including a couple of people who flew down from Ildhafn to attend, and because it was hosted at our house, the event was free. I recommend the format.

Mistress Katharina, one of the Ildhafners, took quite a few photos, which can be seen here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

An Updated Kaukola Pattern


Someone asked earlier today on the SCA-Card-Weaving list whether anyone had a pattern for the Kaukola band in Hansen. This prompted me to re-visit my pattern and check it against Hansen, since I've recently found instructions on how to read his mysterious patterns. It turns out the pattern I reconstructed by looking at his band was slightly off, so I've re-jigged my pattern to reflect that. The difference to the appearance of the finished band is pretty trivial. There are just a few extra reversals in column 4. They don't change what colour is up at any point, just the direction of twist.

I did have this pattern marked up for half-turns but I've been informed this is incorrect so I've removed them.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Snartemo - Phiala's demo pattern

Warp: Red, yellow, green and blue wool (fibreholics)
Weft: same as above (varying colour)
Pattern: Phiala's demo Snartemo pattern
Cards: 18
Width: 1.6cm
Length: 60cm

The name "Snartemo" is given to a technique where each hole in a tablet is threaded with a different colour, and tablets are offset a quarter turn from each other so that turning them as a pack produces diagonal lines. Sometimes a card is turned repreatedly backward and forward, forming "floats" where a single colour appears on the top for several passes of the weft. The canonical Snartemo band is Snartemo V, from 7th century Snartemo, Norway. Hansen lists three other bands in a similar technique.

This is the band I warped up while demonstrating how to do a Continuous Warp. It is the demonstration pattern (Excel format) Phiala gives showing how to construct a Snartemo pattern, with the green and blue warps swapped because that's how I absentmindedly warped it up. I've also marked the reversals on the pattern because I find that helpful. I made a mistake swapping the blue and the green in the pattern and spent several repeats of the pattern wondering why I kept making the same mistake every time.

Due to the aforementioned absentmindedness, I failed to start weaving at the same point in the warp as where I tied the ends of the warps together, and therefore had to deal with knots in my warp partway through the process. I found that if you just cheerfully keep weaving, it's easy to make sure the tails of the knot end up on the back of the band rather than the front. It helps if the tails are long enough to grab hold of, but not long enough to tangle around adjacent warp threads. 1-2cm is good.

I don't really know what I'm going to do with this band. It has quite a few mistakes in it in the section I did first. I don't know if it's known what the Snartemo V fragments or any of the related finds were used for. If anyone out there can convince me that they're making 7th century Norwegian Viking garb, you can have it.

I will have a go at Snartemo V soon.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Continuous Warp

At String Day one of the things I wanted to demonstrate was a continuous warp. If you haven't seen Linda Hedrickson's video on making a continuous warp, you should really go watch it now. She explains the concept beautifully. I will take issue with one thing she says:

It doesn't really matter which colours go in which holes

I'm sure this was accurate within the wider context of her DVD and this is probably obvious to most of you, but it can matter. If you're doing a doubleface pattern, the two warps of the same colour need to be in adjacent holes. If you're doing a snartemo pattern red-green-blue-yellow, you can't thread the cards up red-blue-green-yellow.

I demonstrated the continuous warp on an inkle loom. Instead of the clamp arrangement in Linda Hendrickson's video (which works equally well warping directly onto an oseberg-style loom) where the warps pass from clamp A to clamp B and then back to clamp A, and you drop a card on each side, my warp took a loop route and cards were dropped only once per circuit. This works just as well. You tie the start of the warp to one of the dowels on the inkle loom, and when you have dropped off all the cards you untie it, and tie the end of the warp to the start. That way you can rotate the whole warp so the area you are working on is always in the same place.

There are a few situations in which a continuous warp is not appropriate:
  1. All four of your warps need to be on their own spools so if this is impractical you're out of luck
  2. If you are using rectangular tablets (eg playing cards) and your pattern is formed by offsetting each card by a quarter turn from the one before it, and the cards turn as a pack or in blocks, this is not the technique for you. Adjacent cards will end up a quarter turn off from each other making them impossible to turn together
  3. If you're doing a pattern where not all cards are threaded with the same colours, this method isn't going to work. You can get around this though, by warping up however many cards use threading pattern A, then cutting off the warp threads, and tying to the end of each one a new warp thread of the appropriate colour for threading pattern B etc. When all the cards are warped up you can reorder them into the right places if necessary.
  4. You can't use a warp spreader with this technique, unless it's one you can fit onto your warp after it's all set up.
  5. If you're warping directly onto your loom, you can't untie your warp and comb out the twist in it, so a band where twist builds up in is no good, unless you have enough warp that you don't need to worry about the twist. If you're using a warping frame and then cutting the ends of the warp before fitting it to the loom, this isn't a problem. There can also be an exception if you're warping directly onto an Oseberg-style loom - if the twist builds up symmetrically, eg a chevron pattern, and you make sure that the cards build up from inside to outside (so on an 8-card pattern you drop them so they end up in the order 75312468), then pairs will untwist each other (eg the S twist on card one is undone by the Z twist on card two) and you can keep going in the same direction right along the warp. I hope that made sense!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Warp Twine Direction vs Ply Direction

While I was weaving the "satin" band, I considered that the poor result might be due to the warp twining going in the same direction as the ply of the silk, so I tried reversing the direction to improve things. Unfortunately it turned out the warp twining was already going in the reverse direction to the ply, so this did nothing to help things! Later on once I'd given up on the card idling I also tried weaving in both directions.Above is a picture of the four different combinations:
  1. Warp twining opposite to ply twining, card idling
  2. Warp twining same as ply twining, card idling
  3. Warp twining opposite to ply twining, no card idling
  4. Warp twining same as ply twining, no card idling
In retrospect the other one does look best, I think, and the last one definitely the worst.