Monthly Archives: April 2016

Skjoldehamn Garb – Finding the Right Yarns

I am not a spinner.  Even if I was I haven’t had the time to learn to do it well – certainly not well enough to even contemplate it for a project of this magnitude.  So, one of the first steps I will need to tackle is finding a commercial supplier of a ‘close enough’ yarn for the project.  So, lets talk about what who know about the yarns used in the extant pieces that I plan (for sure) on weaving – the coloured striped fabric, and the kirtle fabric.

All fabrics used in the garments, with the exception of breast flap and the collar of the shirt (the coloured striped bits), is 2/2 twill weave wool.  The coloured striped fabric is a weft-faced 2/1 twill weave wool.  Both have a Z-spun warp and a S-spun weft.


  • On the body and the back gore there is a strip of lighter-coloured weft.
  • Woven with two shuttles, except in the lighter weft stripe.
  • Warp contain highly pigmented wools.  Would likely have been dark grey.
  • Weft contains from white to medium pigmented wool.Would likely have been from grey to light grey.
  • EPI (main): 9.4/cm =~ 24
  • EPI (front/back gores): 10.5 & 10/cm =~ 26
  • PPI (main): 6.9/cm =~ 17.5
  • PPI (front/back gores): 7.3 & 7.5 /cm =~ 19
  • Warp diameter: 0.8 mm
  • Weft diameter: 1-1.2 mm


  • Two warp yarns, one lighter/thinner.  Dark warp contains come white wool blended with much darker fibres.  Lighter warp is white wool to white mixed with darker fibres.  The colour difference is believed to have been obscured by light felting and appearing light grey in colour.
  • Two weft yarns, with significant variation in size. Weft is white to medium pigmented wool (light grey to grey).
  • Pigment source is unknown, likely natural to the wool.
  • EPI (main – light warp): 10 – 10.9/cm =~ 25-27
  • EPI (main – dark warp): 6.5-6.7/cm =~ 16.7-17
  • EPI (sleeves/gores – light warp): 10.2 – 12/cm =~ 25-30
  • EPI (sleeves/gores – dark warp): 10.8-12.4/cm =~ 27-31
  • EPI (red collar): 11/cm =~ 28
  • PPI: 6-7.4/cm =~ 15-19
  • PPI (red collar): 7.2/cm =~18
  • Warp diameter (light): 0.80 mm
  • Warp diameter (dark): 0.72 mm
  • Weft diameter: 0.9mm / 1.37 mm

Striped Fabric

  • Weave: 2/1 (weft-dominant) twill
  • EPI: 14.5/cm =~ 37
  • PPI (red/green): 8.2/cm =~ 21
  • PPI (gold): 21.3/cm =~ 54
  • PPI (green): 27.2/cm =~ 69
  • Warp diameter (warp is green): 0.56 mm
  • Weft diameter (red): 0.73 mm
  • Weft diameter (green in green-red): 0.90 mm
  • Weft diameter (green): 0.46 mm
  • Weft diameter (gold): 0.64 mm

Unfortunately, I don’t think I will be able to find this much variety in commercial yarns.  Over the next while I’ll be ordering some samples to test with.

Categories: Research, Weaving | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Next Big Project – Skjoldehamn Garb

For someone who sews a lot of 16th century clothing, I sure do seem to like to weave earlier Scandinavian stuff.

For those who are not familiar with the Skjoldehamn find, a body was found in 1936 in a peat bog in northern Norway (near Skjoldehamn, which is how it got its name). For a long while it was interpreted to be late 15th or early 16th century.  Carbon dating changed all that, marking it as most likely 11th century.  The body is believed to be that of a Sami male or female, or a Norwegian female.

The body was dressed in  hood, undertunic, kirtle, trousers, socks, ankle wraps and bands, shoes, and a cord belt.

You can read more about the find here.

I’ve been thinking about this find for some time now.  Though wildly inaccurate, I’ve affectionately nicknamed it the ‘Rainbow Viking Pantsuit’.  I love the use of colour in the cuffs, collar, etc.

The garments are unusual in their tailoring.  The individual pattern pieces are not symmetrical or even.  For example, on the one side of the kirtle has been cut on the straight (it uses the selvedge) while the other is cut angled, and then the sleeves are made in different lengths to compensate.  It’s maddening.

My current plan is to handweave at least all of the custom-coloured parts of the garment, so the striped fabrics (including the kirtle body and possibly the hood).  The remaining fabric will be handwoven or bought, depending on how my budget fares.  Since this is an outfit I intend to wear, I will be evening out the worst of the asymmetry to make something that won’t drive me crazy.  I think I will also make a ‘wonky’ copy in less expensive materials.  Should be fun to compare the two.

Any ways, my goal is to have this finished by Spring of 2018 for our Kingdom Arts & Sciences Championship.  Wish me luck!


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