Thursday, February 24, 2011

Still here

Hi, just a quick note to say that I and everyone I know is fine after the quake on Tuesday. Our house is in a bad way and it may not be getting water again for some time so I am staying at my parents' right now and my work will be flying me up to Auckland for a couple of weeks when they can get me a seat. Blogging unlikely in the near future.

28 Feb: Enjoy some photos taken by my flatmate of our house:
http://insanitylooms.blogspot.com/2011/02/and-there-are-pictures.html

Sunday, February 20, 2011

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!)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Snartemo II

Warp: Red and yellow wool (fibreholics)
Weft: red wool
Pattern: Snartemo II
Cards: 16
Width: 1cm
Length: 110cm

I haven't had much time to post recently; most of my time has been going into organising the meal plan for Canterbury Faire. But the event is now over (and went very well!) so back to blogging...

I wanted to have a simple-but-period band warped up for demonstration/teaching, and having just recently done Masku Humikkala, 8658:H17 I thought that Snartemo II would be good, since patterns where the cards turn as a pack are much easier for people to get their head around.

I finally got the band warped up on the Thursday, halfway through the event. As usual, a lot of people came over and opined that the band looked lovely, but they couldn't possibly do anything like that themselves. In fact the majority of the people brave enough to give it a go were children!

The band took form ridiculously quickly compared to other bands I've been doing recently. Strung up on the Oseberg loom there were not a lot of problems with the cards being threaded in 2 holes only. Remembering to do the reversals was the biggest issue!

Lacking any migration era garb (or knowledge thereof) I don't have any use for this band at present- although it is the sort of thing I wouldn't feel *too* guilty about putting on later garb, especially since there were very similar bands being made in Finland over 500 years later.