Posts Tagged With: White Wolf Fian 2012

Norse Garb – Documentation

So, the Norse garb went over well.  I forgot to take a picture, so I’ll have to get one later.  But for those who are interested, here’s a link to my documentation.

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Wool Aprondress Finished

The aprondress is finished!

dress

Finished aprondress

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Linen Underdress Finished

I know I haven’t posted in quite a while, but I have been busily sewing.  And now, the linen underdress is finished!

This gives me just under two weeks to finish the aprondress, coif, and fine tune my documentation.  Good grief!

Dress

Finished underdress

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Sewing the Linen Underdress

I realized that I haven’t updated about my Norse garb in a while.

I was almost out of my usual linen sewing thread.  Rather than wait for more I’ve decided to sew the dress in the same linen thread I used to weave it, waxed with beeswax.  The neck opening is finished, the sleeves are ready to go on, and I am in the process of adding the gores. So far, so good.

A friend has offered to pick up brooches to go with the dress while at Pennsic, so that’s taken care of.   I’m debating buying some beads to hang off the front as well as well but I’m not sure if that’s necessary.

I’m still trying to decide what to sew the apron dress with.  I read somewhere that for Norse, linen should be sewn with linen and wool with wool.  I don’t have any wool sewing thread, and I don’t want to use knitting yarn.  I have some perfect yellow linen sewing thread.  Another option is to buy silk thread – but would silk thread have been used on wool, or would the linen be okay.

Back to the books!

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Underdress Fabric

The underdress fabric is cut and ready to sew. It softened up a bit more with my poor attempt at mangling.
I’ll be sewing the dress with the same linen thread I used to weave it, waxed with beeswax.

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Weaving With Linen: What I’ve Learned

The linen is off the loom and finished.  Final measurements, 9 yards at 25 inches wide.

Unfinished_Linen

Before finishing

Finished_Linen

After finishing (but not ironed)

This project is the first time I had done any weaving with linen.  For those of you that warned me it would be a different experience, boy were you right!

  • Sizing really helps.  I haven’t had the fraying issues I expected.  In fact, so far my only broken warp threads have been caused by teeth (see photo below).
  • Linen is inelastic.  Once stretched it will not go back to its original shape.  This made keeping tension difficult, especially due to my unusual, but not unexpected, stretching issues.  I found that leaving the lease sticks in helped even out the tension.  If I do another long linen yardage, I will order a second set of lease sticks and use all four instead of just the two I have.  I also ended up dangling weights on individual  threads that stretched.
Kitty Terror

No matter how hard you plan, something unexpected will occur.

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Linen Warped

The linen is warped!

So far, I’ve found the sizing made a tremendous difference. The string was much more manageable that it was unsized.

I have high hopes.

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Sizing the Linen Warp

Because of the troubles I had with the wool fraying more than expected I am very sure that I am going to have problems with the linen, which is notorious for it.  To help combat this, I am sizing the warp to increase it’s strength.

I haven’t been able to find any hard evidence of what sizing would have been used in period, I’ve opted to go with linseed.  My assumption is that if they had access to the flax fibre, they would probably also have access to the seeds.

After searching around on the internet it seems a common formula is eight parts water to one part seeds, heated until the mixture has a consistency between coffee cream and egg white.  After 30 minutes, I had what was closer to a very runny hair gel, and stopped there.

Sizing

The sizing mixture. The dark colour is from the brown flaxseeds in the bottom.

After straining I dipped my warp chains in the mixture.  Boy oh boy what a goopy mess!  I wrung them out as best I could and hung them up to dry.

Drying

The warp chains hanging to dry.

Once dry I will warp up the loom as usual, and weave using a temple to help even out the draw in.

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Resampling the Linen

After mostly winding my linen warp, I’m rethinking my plans to do a 2/2 twill.  I’m thinking this yarn might look better as plain weave.  Also, with the twill overdress, another twill might be a bit much.

I wound a smaller sample warp, and have been weaving up new samples to test the look of the tabby.

This sample uses the same #10 Belgian linen yarn at 25 epi.  I also did a sample at 30 epi, but it was too heavy – more like canvas

I really do prefer it, so my plans have changed again.

Linen (Finished)

Linen (Finished)

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Wool Fabric Finished

The wool fabric is done! 6.17 yards at 23″ wide.

Before Washing

Before washing

To finish the fabric before cutting, I ran it though the washer/dryer on the delicate cycle. It now measures 5.31 yards at 20″ wide, meaning approximately 16% shrinkage in length and 15% in width. I estimated 13% and 15% respectively, which means I’m right on target for the width. A bit shorter won’t matter.

After Washing

After washing - the wool has fulled and is thicker.

What I have learned so far in this project

I didn’t have any fraying issues on my sample, but I definitely did on my actual yardage. I think part of the issue was weaknesses in the yarn itself (there were some finer/looser spun patches), and part of the issue was the increased width meaning more take up. I had more tension on the warp, too, because I couldn’t just pass the shuttle through and therefore had to support its weight. I’ve never woven with wool before, so I’m not sure if this is common problem or just a deficiency of this yarn. I think this might be more a problem with this yarn than anything else since I am using cheap knitting yarn.

I am attributing the root cause of all of my problems in this project so far as inexperience with the materials. I’ve never woven with wool before, let alone this wool. If I had, I might have anticipated my problems and taken steps to prevent them.

I chose this yarn because when I ordered the yarn for my samples the price was much cheaper than that of Harrisville Shetland. Unfortunately, Knitpicks raised their prices (almost doubled them!) before I ordered the yarn for the project itself. It was still cheaper, but not by nearly as much (around $50 less, compared to the over $100 less when I was planning the project). I’d like to try another project in the palette yarn but soaking the warp in sizing first and using a temple. After all, it comes in over 100 shades, the finished fabric turns out nicely, and it still is cheaper. If it behaves well with these extra steps it might still be worthwhile to use it again. I haven’t worked with the Harrisville Shetland before either, so I’d like to try a project in that as well to compare. If it behaves much better and I like the finished fabric it may be worth the extra cost just to save myself the frustration.

All in all I am satisfied with the end result. The problems are all in the selvedges so it won’t show in the finished garment (unless you check my seams).

I also learned that some of my odd warp stretching problems can be solved by keeping the door to the craft room closed.

William

Horrible beastie!

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