Humikkala H31:18

Warp: Red, white and blue wool (fibreholics)
Weft: blue wool (the original was a plant fibre)
Pattern: Humikkala H31:18 -3/1 broken twill
Cards: 33
Width: 2.8
Length: 14cm

OK, here is my best effort at Humikkala H31:18. This band is covered in Hansen, and Hansen's pattern is converted into something that actually works by Guido (I think he tried to reconstruct the band based on the photo of the reconstructed band in Hansen, which differs from the actual pattern given). However after hearing from Silja Penna-Haverinen that there were some problems with Hansen's reconstruction, I really wanted to have a go at this band using other sources. Silja put me in contact with Maikki Karisto, who is working on a book which covers this band and many others, and who has examined the band closely.

Maikki is understandably a little cagey about sharing all her information, since a) it is still evolving as she researches, b) she would like people to buy her book when it comes out and c) the Finnish National Museum won't let her distribute photos of the original band anyway. So I had neither photos of the original band, nor an actual pattern to work from. She provided detailed textual information, some diagrams of the motifs, and a photo of an early attempt of her own at the band (although many elements of her analysis have changed since then). Although this is all still rather indirect, I'm optimistic that the result is closer to the original band than Hansen's pattern.

Maikki has asked me to include the following facts about the original band:
  • The finding place is Humikkala in Masku parish church yard in Finland. The find is dated to 1000-1100. Masku (nowadays a town) lies near Turku on the south-western part of Finland
  • The code is KM 8656: H31:18 which means KM is Kansallismuseo = National museum, the number 8656 has been given to the Humikkala finding, H means hauta = grave, 31 is the number of the grave, and 18 is the object number in the grave
  • The band was found near the waist on a woolen apron in a female grave. On the band there was hanging a knife sheath (due to the metal parts small pieces of the band had been preserved)
  • There are three pieces of the band, total length 26 cm. They are very badly preserved, because of the sour soil in Finland
  • The warp is wool, s-plied, thickness about tex 55x2 (1000m=110g) or a little thinner, weft is plant fiber, could be linen or nettle, of which only little had been preserved
  • The warp has three colors: natural white (or some pale color), blue and green – this is what you can guess/see with your eyes [Note: in more recent communication Maikki indicated that the colours were white, blue and red, as seen in Hansen]
  • The width of the band is 28 mm
  • The band has been woven with 33 tablets: pattern part had 25 tablets and edges 4+4 tablets. On both edges there is a tubular selvedge (this is a real speciality)
The picture on this post represents my effort at reproducing the band incorporating all the information about it I have. I also wove over a metre of band based on a pattern with several deviations from this pattern (some deliberate and some discovered after the fact) which I will write about separately.

Here's a rundown on the differences between this pattern and Hansen's (this gets a bit confusing, since Hansen's pattern and the photo of the reconstructed band in Hansen are different)
  • I suppose the biggest one is that Hansen's pattern is 27 tablets wide (it does not include the border) whereas Maikki's is 25.
  • The information Maikki has given me about the tooth motif indicates that it is a lot less regular than Hansen's pattern suggests (He does mention that this motif in particular has a lot of guesswork in it)
  • In the interlocking diamond section, Hansen's pattern made a fairly weird decision to make the twist of the warp go aganst the grain of the pattern (making jagged lines). I think this might be an error in the pattern since the reconstructed band photo doesn't have this issue Also, Maikki tells me all the internal coloured diamonds are actually the same size (true in Guido's pattern, but not the photo in Hansen or the pattern) and the pattern is asymmetrical along the weft axis (true in the pattern but not the photo)
  • Maikki's reconstruction of the toothed swastika motif is quite different to Hansen's (where it is not toothed), and much prettier I think.
  • There are some differences in the border motifs as well
  • Hansen does not mention the tubular selvedge (he indicates that each border contains 2 tablets not 4) or the use of the half-turns (Which I have cheerfully inserted everywhere they could possibly go- this may be overenthusiastic!)


  1. Wow. That is impressive, and lovely.

    Is Maikki's book going to be in Finnish? If so, will it have an English summary? I may be interested in buying it myself, when it comes out.

  2. I don't know, sorry. I don't think it's very close to being published yet.

    I think I will be buying it regardless :-)

  3. That's fine. I'll have to see if I can find out more over the Internet.

  4. Maikki has done a great job with our iron age braids and I had the honour of seeing her studies... There will be awesome braids in her book! She is magnificent!

  5. Looked down through. All ara lovely.

  6. I'm very pleased you got in contact with Maikki - she really knows her craft... Let's hope she'll publish in English for a wider audience! :D


  7. I've had trouble with Hansen too, I never could get my head round any of his patterns. Ive done several of the patterns in his books, but always by back engineering them from the pics and fuddling out the pattern as I went along.

    I think I'm having more probs than most as I do have trouble understanding patterns anyway (any kind of pattern) but the impression I got from hansen, before I lost my temper and gave up on the text, was that it had been translated by someone who didn't weave - dont know if thats the case or not, but thats how I read it

  8. Any news on when or if the book may be published? I have a few students drooling at the bit, and for an SCA A&S contest, the book would be excellent documentation.

  9. I have no further information, sorry.

  10. Hello there: I am happy to tell that I have the honour of making that book with Maikki (life is strange <3)
    Our first pattern book will be published june 2012 and we already have plans for the next one.
    This first book will have patterns from simple ones to finnish iron age ( Kaukolan Kekomäki braids) AND new designs based on our traditional motifs, and also half turns.
    After that.... all the goodies , I hope!
    I am very happy and exited about this too :D
    ps. with english summary

  11. Very exciting news! Even though I think you mean June 2013 ;-)


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