Stick-Weaving-art - 12/14/09
"Weft Faced (aka Stick) Weaving" by Lady AElfgifu Falkenglen.
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author or translator.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris...AKA:..Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
Weft Faced ( aka Stick ) Weaving
by Lady AElfgifu Falkenglen
Weft Faced weaving has been around since pre-historic times. Most often it was used in making floor coverings. It is a matter of experimental archaeology that the method could have or would have been adapted to other purposes based on need and material availability.
While I have no specific documentation (yet) as to the origin of the weaving method, I strongly believe it to be possible and even probable. Some of the reasons for this are as follows:
People of the time and place which this piece represents would not necessarily have been inclined to waste materials.
While there has yet to be found an actual set of weaving sticks per se, there have been artifacts whose function is unclear which could be interpreted as just such a tool. Since the sticks were potentially made of wood, they would only have survived under very specific and ideal conditions. There is a part of the Skar boat find which presents partial wooden sticks with a small amount of textile remaining under what appear to be "end caps", which textile appears to be woven in a manner consistent with this method.
There are partial textiles on display whose selvages could be interpreted as having been stick woven, most notably one from the Oseberg find.
This was a portable weaving format which required very little to create and with a little thought and ingenuity could be used to create many different types and styles of textile.
There is evidence that on arrival in North America the Vikings traversed the Northwest Passage repeatedly over a great number of years and as such, inland waterways, by Viking nature, would have beckoned them southward possibly into what is now the United States Southwest Region. Since Vikings tended to interact, either favorably or not, with the indigenous people, it is possible to theorize that the Stick Weaving still practiced today by Native Americans may have been influenced by or even introduced by the Vikings.
I strongly believe that there are no new ideas under the sun and if I have thought of it, I'm certain someone (or several someones) down through the ages found different uses for the method.
Some of the items I believe this method was used to create beyond floor coverings are:
Harnesses for farm animals
Girth straps for horses
Blankets for horses
Cloaks or blankets for travelers/warriors/traders
Blankets for home especially in colder climates/seasons
Decorative trim in many widths and patterns (again only limited by imagination and materials)
Cords for various uses including, but not limited to, Viking tool cords for women's dresses, securing of bundles, securing/field repair of armor.
Insulation quilted between layers of material
That having been said, I have included a set of written instructions so that you have something to which you can refer
Stick Weaving Instructions
Cut your warp (lengthwise) yarn at least twice the length needed for your weaving plus the ends desired (tassels, braids, etc.) Draw the end of your warp yarn through the hole in the end of the stick to the mid point of these strands. Pull the ends even and tie the ends of the doubled warp yarns into a knot. Repeat this step on each stick you will use. The warp will not be seen unless it is used for fringe on the ends of your project
Line up your sticks side by side in your hand. Tie one end of the weft (the crosswise weaving) yarn to the first stick. (The one farthest from the ends of the fingers holding the sticks) Start wrapping yarn (the weft) over stick 1, under stick 2, over stick 3, and so on in a over/under process. Wrap the weft around the last stick, then under and over (the opposite of the previous row) until you are back at the starting point. Pull the yarn (snug but do not over tighten) at the end of each row.
As the weaving gets to the pointed end of the stick, don't try to push the material off the end of the stick with the warp. Take each stick and twist it gently, while pulling it forward. Do this about 1/2" at a time. In the process the beginning of your weaving will slide onto the warp threads.
Continue weaving, until you reach the length you need for the project. To finish, tie the end around the last stick.
Gently twist each stick, while pulling it forward, until all of the weaving is on the warp threads and you have enough warp thread for to finish the ends. Tie the warp threads to one another across each of the weaving. Finish off the ends by braiding, tying, making tassels, or weaving the warp back into the weave. You can also attach this to a buckle of some like item if you like.
Lady Aelfgifu of the Glen
Chatelaine, Shire of Riversedge
Kingdom of Aethelmearc
Copyright 2009 by Gretchen Falkenburg, 26118 Smith Heath Road, Cochranton, PA 16314. <l_elfgiva at yahoo.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited. Addresses change, but a reasonable attempt should be made to ensure that the author is notified of the publication and if possible receives a copy.
If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.