Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Masku Humikkala, 8658:H17

Warp: Red, yellow and blue wool (fibreholics)
Weft: blue
Pattern: Masku Humikkala, 8658:H17
Cards: 14
Width: 7mm
Length: 110cm

Don't get too excited, this is not the well-known Masku Humikkala band covered by Hansen, but a simpler band from the same site. My information on this band comes from Maikki Karisto who is a weaving teacher from Finland. Her information comes from Seija Sarkki's 1979 thesis "Suomen ristiretkiaikaiset nauhat" which covers bands from the Finnish crusade period.

The diagram above is from Maikki but doctored by me. The original diagram was missing the outer tablet on each side. Sarkki was unaware of these tablets because the band has a tubular selvedge and as a result the outer warps were hidden on the reverse of the band.

The technique of the band is very similar to Snartemo II. The border tablets contain 4 threads of the same colour while the pattern tablets have two threads, diagonally opposite and alternating positions and threading (S vs Z) in each tablet. The cards are turned as a pack and if you reverse at the right stage the reversals are hard to spot.

The band started out narrow and grew to about 7.5mm over the course of the weaving. I think it looked neater when it was more like 5mm. The picture below shows the start and end of my weaving so you can make up your own mind.

This band also puts me in mind of the "Anglo-Saxon" band although that one used card idling rather than tablets threaded in two holes to achieve the effect. Since there are tablets in that one with three colours, the two-hole technique would not work there.

This band is very cute and as far as I'm aware about as close as one can get (along with other bands in a similar technique like Snartemo II) to a period threaded-in design more complicated than plain stripes.. It would be a good pattern to teach beginners who are afraid that period patterns have to be complicated.

The only thing to watch out for is that tablets threaded in two holes only are quite unstable- it's ok when they are at rest under tension but if you bump them or are fiddling with them to clear out the shed they will easily fall out of position. They need to be held or tied up.