Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chasuble of St Wolfgang Lion

 Right.  Here are some pictures of my lion from the Chasuble of St Wolfgang.  This is the pattern from pages 120-121 of EPAC. The pattern in EPAC is 125 tablets wide, although the description of the band says it has 132 tablets.  Not sure if any "lost" tablets are in the border or the pattern.

There's one obvious way that this pattern differs from regular 3/1 broken twill: The vertical (lengthways) cross-sections of the regions where the red is up are not multiples of 2 passes long.  In fact to counteract the difference in warp density and weft density, the lines across the band are usually 1 weft pass wide while the lines down the band are usually 2 tablets (8 warp threads) wide.  When I started, I wasn't sure how to approach this- maybe there should be half turns to bring the red up and down at the right point? Or maybe the red should be brought up early or down late, with the brocade obscuring the jagged edges?  I couldn't tell from the photos of the original band (not even the one where the brocade is worn away).  So I tried both.

The half-turns plan was not successful.  The areas not covered by brocade did not end up solid blocks of red.  However Plan B, with the red coming up early and hiding behind the brocade where necessary, worked fine.  The brocade hides the extra red very effectively. For example, if you look at the picture of the back of the band at right, you can see that the regions of the band showing the lion's toes are solid blue (ie red on the front), but you can't tell this by looking at the front of the band.

Of course you might then be asking the question "Why don't you just turn the cards as a pack for the ground section if you won't be able to tell that red is up?  Well, one reason is that the band would develop twist. But that's not that important, because I'm going to be sewing this band onto fabric.  The "real" reason is that. I can tell from that picture where the brocade is worn away that the original didn't do that.

I arranged the tablets so that at every line, the brocade tiedowns were under the blue thread on a tablet whose upwards holes show blue nearest me and red further away.  This gives an easy way to double-check you've turned the cards the right way.  Nevertheless this first pattern is full of tiedown errors.  The border pattern got out of sync with the central pattern and for the whole lion the the tiedowns did not line up with where they are in the EPAC pattern. Turned out to be more of a hassle than I expected :( I made sure they were lining up when I moved onto the next pattern.

There are also "errors" in the pattern but since the lions on the original don't exactly look identical, I'm fine with that.

You can see on the photo of the back of the band that it has a bit of a fluff problem.  OK, not just a bit. The threads I am using are so delicate that they leave bits of themselves behind at every opportunity.  They snag on everything, including the sides of the cards, and rough spots on my fingers. Picking the worst of the fluff off is no big deal, but there is quite a bit of woven-in fuzz over the whole thing.  I'm leaving the decision of how meticulously I try to fix it until I'm finished.  The worst of the fluff problem comes down where the threads touch and twist at the opposite end to the pattern (especially in the borders since the other cards aren't building up much twist). Each card ends up with a fluff-ball that stops the warps from untwisting once the card reverses.  I attack them periodically with a sharp needle and try to break them up, but fairly often I end up breaking a warp thread instead. The situation doesn't quite seem to be sliding into an incremental mess of doom, fortunately.