Author Archives: cate

New Teatowels

Since the doggo ate a number (all) of my tea towels, it’s time to make more.

DraftKeep it Simple Towel (x 11-12 towels)
(From Handwoven’s Top Ten Towels on Four Shafts)
Sett20 epi
Ends460 ends
Length44″ per towel + loom waste = 16.5 yards
Warp7590 yards = 2.6 lbs total
Weft8096 yards total, 1350 yards per set = approx 1/2 lb per set

Warp: White

Weft: Assorted colours

Starting on towel #2


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Has it really been three years?

I guess it’s time I start posting again.

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Back to the Garden

This year I’ve decided to get back out to my very neglected veggie garden.  I took a few years away from it to focus on other things, and now it needs a lot of TLC.

One thing I’ve wanted to do was change over the pathways to stone. I was using cedar mulch before, but the weeds grew into that like it was soil, making a mess.  Last fall I removed all of that, and now that the weather has warmed up I’m moving on to the next steps.

Garden makeover

What I started with this Spring

So far I have dug up the pathway weeds, lay new barrier fabric, and placed a border of stones.

Garden makeover


Tomorrow the peastone arrives and I can start carting that from the driveway to the garden.

Categories: Gardening | 1 Comment

Mass Emmelines

I decided to do a batch of aprons as Hogswatch gifts. The pattern is Emmeline by Sew Liberated – my favourite apron pattern.

Emmeline apron

Sheep Love

Emmeline apron

Apples and Hearts

Emmeline apron


Emmeline apron


Emmeline apron


Emmeline apron


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Adventures in Stretch Fabric: Swimsuit Edition

This summer we were gifted a free ‘just take it away’ hot tub.  It needed some parts so we ended up putting some money in, but not nearly what it would cost to buy one new (or even used in working order).

Of course, I don’t own a swimsuit that fits comfortably.  After looking at the prices those ‘cute swimsuit’ stores placed on teensy fabric pieces, I decided this would be an opportunity to learn to work with stretch fabrics.

My goal, an attractive swimsuit with good bottom coverage.  Enter – The Bombshell Swimsuit.

All in all, this was a good project.  The steps are well explained and the sew-along blog is very helpful.  I found working with gathers in stretch fabric to be the most challenging part – and getting the top-stitching nice and even.  I used fabric I bought at half-price for an inexpensive test run.

All in all, I am very pleased with the result.

Bombshell Swimsuit

My Bombshell Swimsuit

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Weave Sample: Weft-Faced Compound Twill

Usually referred to as samite (or sometimes samitum).

In this sample I tested several styles of samite. From the bottom up, we have:

  • Plain (unfigured) samite
  • Duochrome figured samite (1-2-2-1 weft order)
  • Duochrome figured samite (1-2-1-2 weft order)
  • Monochrome figured samite (1-2-2-1 weft order)
  • Monochrome figured samite (1-2-1-2 weft order)


Weft-Faced Compound Twill

When and where can this textile be found?

  • Roman-Era Egypt (1st century to mid-3rd century) in wool [1].
  • 9th – early 10th century Pomerania in silk [3].
  • Late 9th – 10th century England in silk [2].

[1] Taqueté and Damask from Mons Claudianus: A Discussion of Roman Looms for Patterned Textiles by Martin Ciszuk (in Purpureae Vestes)
[2] Late Saxon Textiles from the City of London by Frances Pritchard
[3] Fabrics in Medieval Dress in Pomerania by Ann Rybarczyk





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Space Dress

I took a break from my medieval sewing to make myself a cute summer dress.


Space Dress!

Pattern is McCalls M3750 (view D).
Fabric is from Spoonflower.


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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.

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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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Weave Sample: Float Patterned Twill #1

This sample is based on a float-patterned twill found in Jorvik (no. 1336).  It is worked on a 2/1 base, but with a floating warp/weft* at every third passage. These floating wefts occur in two different arrangements, three picks of one and then three picks of the other.

* It is undetermined if this is actually a warp-float or a weft-float patterned textile.  Penelope Walton Rogers drafted this textile with weft-floats, pointing out that as a weft-float patterned twill the weave would require only four sheds, assuming that each shed is tied to a heddle rod.  If instead each thread was only tied to a single heddle rod, and multiple rods were lifted, then a warp-float textile becomes more likely, as there is no evidence of warp-weighted looms with five heddle rods.

Regardless, I’ve chosen to weave this with warp floats, for the convenience of threading four shafts instead of five.


Float Patterned Twill (Jorvik 1336)

Weaving Draft


Float Patterned Twill (Jorvik 1336) draft

When and where can this textile be found?

  • 10th century (Anglo-Scandinavian) England in linen [1].

[1] Textiles, Cordage and Raw Fibre from 16-22 Coppergate by Penelope Walton

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