Research

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)
Samite

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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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.

Hood

  • 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

Kirtle

  • 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.

WarpFloatJorvik1336

Float Patterned Twill (Jorvik 1336)


Weaving Draft

Jorvik1336

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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Jorvik 1336 Towels

Towels based on a 10th century Anglo-Scandanavian 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.

Jorvik 1336

The completed towels

Jorvik 1336

Front close up

Jorvik 1336

Back Close up

 

Yarn 8/2 unmercerized cotton
Draft Jorvik 1336
Sett 20 epi
Ends 440
Length 3.6 yds
Warp 1584 yards (7.5 ounces)
Weft 1039.5 yards (5 ounces)

 

 

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Weaving for a Queen

I’ve been asked to do a small weaving project for our Queen for her step-down. I haven’t been asked to do any projects for royalty before, and it’s an exciting prospect.

This project is a front panel for an apron dress, appropriate for a 9th century Norsewoman in England.

Doing some digging, I found a draft from excavations in London dating to the late 9th/early 10th century for a wool broken lozenge twill with narrow reversals in the warp, and longer reversals in the weft. The original was undyed white sheep with 11 threads/cm in the warp, and 10 threads/cm. in the weft. I tried to find a yarn that would give me close to these results, but I’ve chosen to do it in ‘brown sheep’ and ‘white sheep’ to make the pattern stand out. This is woven out of some 2/8 Jaggerspun Heather I had set aside (edelweiss and brindle). While uncommon, textiles with contrasting warp/weft yarns have been found in Scandinavian (or Scandinavian-occupied) sited during this era. The extant textile had a reversal every 10 warp threads and every 41/33 weft picks. My weaving does the same.

Draft 2/2 broken lozenge twill
Sett 20 epi
Ends 390
Length 2.5 yds
Warp 975 yds (7 oz)
Weft 500.5 yds (3.6 oz)
Broken Lozenge Twill

Computer-generated drawdown

Untitled

Completed fabric

Once completed, I added a tabletwoven border using the warp as weft to one end to mimic the starting band on a warp weighted loom.

Tablet woven end

Tabletweaving

The selvedges didn’t turn out well on this piece. I had been futzing with a tubular selvedge that didn’t work, and the wool was very grabby. To reinforce the edges I did a small rolled hem along the selvedge instead, and then hemmed the bottom.

And here it is all finished.

After finishing, I ended up with a thread count of 10 threads/cm. in the warp, and 9 threads/cm. in the weft. So, pretty close to the original.

Panel

Full panel

Panel_detail

Detail showing tabletwoven top and brooch loops.

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Weave Sample: Damask (5-shaft Satin)

Oh look, I’m weaving my samples out of order. This is damask on a 5-shaft satin, which is the most common type of damask from the 15th century onwards1.

Damask

5-shaft satin damask


[1] Pattern and Loom, by John Becker

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Damask Research

What is Damask?

Silk; damask weave. Italy ca. 1550.

Damask  weave as defined by CIETA vocabulary is a figured textile with one warp and one weft in which the pattern is formed by a contrast of binding systems. In its classic form, it is reversible, and the contrast is produced by the use of the warp and weft faces of the same weave. By extension, two distinct binding systems may also be employed.

Where/When was Damask Produced?

It is debated whether damask originated in China or Syria.  Wherever it originated, the earliest extant damask textiles were from Palmyra and were woven before 276 C.E.  They are believed to be of Chinese origin.  Examples of  3/1 – 1/3 twill block damasks have been found throughout second to fourth century Europe, and is believed to be of Roman origin.  Damask was considered to be one of the five main weaves of Byzantine and Islamic centres.  Damask weaving was becoming scarce by the 8th or 9th centuries, except for Islamic Spain, but was revived in some places in the 13th century.  By the 14th century, damask weaving was found in Italy.  Damask linen tablecloths and napkins were very popular in the 16th century in northern Europe

Silk damask. China, 200-400 C.E.

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Sampler Planning: Compound Harness Weaves

For the compound harness samples I’ll be doing things a bit differently.  Rather than keep the same sett the same for each weave, I will be using the sett that works best for the textile in question (or should I say, my best guess).  The fabrics just won’t look right if I use the same sett I used before.  And I’d really like the fabrics to look right, so people can get a better idea of what they are supposed to look like.  To start I will still be using the same 8/2 unmercerized cotton. It’s readily available and inexpensive enough I won’t feel terrible if it all goes haywire.

I’ll be using these samples as a way to learn how to use my drawloom, so I expect there will be a fair amount of trial and error.

First off, I need to pick a relatively simple pattern that I can re-use to show the differences in weave.  As there are multiple wefts, the concept of dividing the sample into halves using different weft colours doesn’t work.  My plan is to divide the sample into thirds, instead.  The first third will be two colours plainweave (to show the ground fabrics without figuring, the second will be figured but monochrome to shoe the contrast of the figuring, and the third will be figured and ducochrome showing the full effect.

I’ll use the same pattern for the first batch of samples, and the same thread, and that should hopefully better show the difference in the weave.

I’ve decided to use an all-over design from Il Burato (Paganino, c. 1527), which is probably for lace but it will work.  Looking at it, it appears that this repeat of the pattern is 17 high and 10 wide, which seems a good small repeat for a learning exercise.

Burato1

Planned design, from Il Burato (Paganino, c. 1527)

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Weave Sample: 2/1 Lozenge Twill

Lozenge twill is produced when the treadling direction is reversed as well as the warp threading. This produced alternate reversals in the twill direction and created diamond patterns in the textile.

2-1-Lozenge-Twill

2/1 lozenge twill


Weaving Draft

2-1-Lozenge-Twill

2/1 lozenge twill draft


When and where can this textile be found?

  • Commonly associated with 10th century Birka (Sweden)
  • 10th – 12th century Ireland in wool [2].
  • English textiles from the 10th century until the 13th century
  • Late 11th – 12th century in England in wool [3].
  • 12th – mid-14th century Sweden [1].

[1] Textile appearance and visual impression – Craft knowledge applied to archaeological textiles by Lena Hammarlund, Kathrine Vestergaard Pedersen (in NESAT IX)
[2] Aspects of the wool textiles from Viking Age Dublin by Frances Pritchard (in NESAT IV)
[3] Late Saxon Textiles from the City of London by Frances Pritchard

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