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sprang-msg - 7/19/10


Sprang is a type of twisting of warp done on a frame that builds a stretchy fabric from both the upper and lower part of the fabric.


NOTE: See also the files: knitting-msg, p-knitting-bib, naalbinding-msg, lace-msg, beadwork-msg, netting-msg, spinning-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



Date: Thu, 09 Oct 1997 09:58:37 -0700

From: Brett and Karen Williams <brettwi at ix.netcom.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Weaving With Wooden Dowels


John or Fraya Davis wrote:

> A couple of the ladies in our group has learned to weave using short,

> sharpened wooden dowels; about six of them about six inches long.  What this

> makes is a double-sided strip that can be sewn together.  I haven't been

> able to find any documentation as the the name of this method or when is

> first came about.  Can anyone help?


> Gillian Fhlaitheamhail

> MoAS for the Incipient Shire of Ard Ruadh


Might that be sprang?  Peter Collingwood has an out of print book on

sprang that is probably just as comprehensive and definitive as his book

on tablet weaving-- I don't know, as I haven't looked at it. Sprang is a

type of twisting of warp done on a frame that builds a stretchy fabric

from both the upper and lower part of the fabric. There's a description

of the technique linked to the main page at:



which is Phiala's String Page.


Incidentally, _Textiles, 5,000 Years_, a book I was touting a little

while ago, has a marvelous sprang cap reproduction on page 48, plate 46.

Then there's a much simple example of a Bronze Age sprang hairnet found

in Denmark as figure 3.36, in Barber's _Prehistoric Textiles_. And IIRC,

there's also a pair of modern examples of a hair-net consisting of a

tablet-woven band with a sprang-worked hairnet worked from weft-loops

towards the back of Candace Crockett's _Card Weaving_.





Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 15:26:28 -0400 (EDT)

From: SNSpies at aol.com

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Weaving With Wooden Dowels


A fun thing about sprang is that it is still alive and well.  The Hatteras

Hammock offered by L. L. Bean is worked in sprang!


Cheers.  Nancy (Ingvild)



Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 14:45:48 -0500

From: Gwen Morse <goldmoon at northeast.net>


Subject: Just tried sprang [SCA]


I sat down last night and tried sprang for the first time.


I had bought 2 stretcher frames (one rather large, about 30" each side, and

a smaller one about 16" or 18" each side), and 100 skewers (bamboo, or

something like it). Then I printed out a web handout and went to work:



Wow...was this FUN! I didn't keep track of what size bag I made, but, I

made it on the smaller frame. One of the best things I liked about sprang

was how fast it was. It took me an hour to warp it, figure out how to

follow the interlinking directions, and finish it off! I thought for sure I

would be making this little bag over the course of days (because tablet

weaving takes me that long).


I made a bag and a long, narrow strap length (it was supposed to be a belt,

but, it's too "twisty") while my husband watched football. One of the most

satisfying things was for him to look up from one set of commercials and

say "What are you doing", and listen to my explanation - and THEN look up a

few commercials later, and have him say "Are you done???". He's usually

playfully complaining because my half-completed projects litter the house

(tablet weaving, drop spinning, cordial brewing, etc)


I had considered sprang, because someone suggested it as a way to use up

the linen cord I'm spinning from flax (and, I still have about six of the

eight ounces I started with still left to spin). I decided to experiment

with acrylic yarn till I can get the interlinking perfect (I dropped links

a couple times), and then I plan on making myself a nice sprang bag. I

think I'll be saving sprang projects for those times when I get need some

"instant gratification" from a SCA hobby!


I just wrote all this to let the lurkers out there who may not have taken

up sprang that it really is EASY to do. I always looked at the complex

patterns I had seen in books and thought "I don't have the time to learn

how to do that". It really takes no time at all to master the basic

interlinking method, and the fancy patterns can be learned from there!


One question for any "sprang masters" - as I mentioned, I made a long,

narrow length that I had planned to use as a belt. It is all warped and

twisty looking after I took it off the frame. Is sprang NOT recommended for

strap/narrow width items? Does it not have the necessary "stretch" in those



Gwen Morse



Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 14:47:35 -0500 (EST)

From: Jenne Heise <jenne at tulgey.browser.net>

To: Gwen Morse <goldmoon at northeast.net>


Subject: Re: Just tried sprang [SCA]


FYI for sprang workers: Veronica Gervers' _The Influence of Ottoman

Textiles..._ shows a sprang-worked ottoman sash that was apparently a

speciality item...


Jadwiga Zajaczkowa (Shire of Eisental; HERMS Cyclonus), mka Jennifer Heise

jenne at tulgey.browser.net



Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 18:55:26 EST

From: <SNSpies at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Just tried sprang [SCA]


Gwen asked:

<< One question for any "sprang masters" - as I mentioned, I made a long,

narrow length that I had planned to use as a belt. It is all warped and

twisty looking after I took it off the frame. Is sprang NOT recommended for

strap/narrow width items? Does it not have the necessary "stretch" in those

shapes? >>


The reason it is twisty off the loom is that all your manipulations twisted

the threads all in the same direction.  It would be like if you warped ALL

your tablets Z in tablet weaving and then turned the pack only in one

direction.  The band would twist when taken off the loom.  Same reason for the

twisty sprang.  To stop that, you need to reverse the twist.  However, I've

had pretty good luck with really twisty sprang by soaking the finished textile

in warm, soapy water, blocking it until dry, then ironing it.  It didn't

calm all the twist but did make it much better.


Nancy (Ingvild)



Date: Mon, 14 Dec 1998 23:00:15 -0600

From: froggestow at juno.com (Roberta R Comstock)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Just tried sprang [SCA]


One way to reduce the twistiness of your sprang project is to make it

from two (or more) plyed thread.  That way, the plies, going in opposite

directions 'cancel' each other's twist in the drape of the finished

piece.  it may still twist if your looping was all done in the same

direction - hence the advantage of doing some sprang patterning that has

some of the crossovers going the opposite direction.  The patterns are

functional as well as decorative!


This same twist problem is also common in knits, and there, too, can be

alleviated by plying your yarn before using it.


Setting the twist in your yarn before using it can also be helpful.





Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 14:14:42 EST

From: <SNSpies at aol.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Just tried Sprang [SCA]


Gwen asked:

<< what books or articles on sprang can I find that are actually useful?  >>


Melinda has already mentioned the little booklet by Jules Kliot which is

very good.


There is also a very '70s book by Hella Skowronski and Mary Reddy, "Sprang:

Thread Twisting, A Creative Textile Technique" (London:  Studio Vista, 1974)


Chapter VIII, "Braiding and Sprang", in Margrethe Hald's book, "Ancient Danish

Textiles from Bogs and Burials" (Copenhagen: National Museum, 1980) is

mainly archaeological but does show some technique.


There is a chapter on sprang by Peter in Constance Howard's book, "Textile

Crafts" (NY:  Charles Schreibner's Sons, 1978).  It has technical

instructions, but what is most interesting to me is two photographs: one shows

a 3-story high sprang work by Jules and Kaethe Kliot and the other shows a

woolen glove done from sprang by Peter.  Now, how did he do those five



There are also many small articles on sprang, but they deal almost exclusively

with existing textiles, historical looms, etc., rather than with any



Nancy (Ingvild)



Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 08:41:32 -0500

From: Barbara Trow <trow at hopper.unh.edu>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Sprang - one more book


The University of New Hampshire has a book called THe Techniques of

Sprang  Plaiting on Stretched Threads by Peter Collingwood, US publication

by Watson-Guptill Publications, a division of Billboard Publications, Inc.

1 Astor Plaza, NY,NY 10036  ISBN 0-8230-5220-6   1974.


   I have no idea if it is still in print. It is quite detailed, about 300

pages with pictures of George Washington's military shash which is made of

red silk and is 8 feet by 28 inches with a nice filagree design.  Word is

that such sashes collapse down and make a nice decorative belt until they

are needed to be used as a stretcher to carry a body off the field, hence

the red color so the blood won't scare the other soldiers.


Aine Callaghan



Date: Sat, 4 Mar 2000 12:27:24 ESTFrom: <SNSpies at aol.com>To: h-costume at indra.com, h-needlework at ansteorra.org,        braidsandbands at braidsociety.org, sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.eduSubject: two new sprang textiles  In the recent collection of papers from the ICOM Textiles Working Group edited by Rosalia Varoli-Piazza, "Interdisciplinary Approach about Studies and Conservation of Medieval Textiles (Rome:  Il Mondo 3 Edizioni, 1998), there are two papers that talk about sprang textiles."The restoration of fragments of cloth from the tomb of Archbishop De Tabiatis of the Cathedral of Messina" by Domenica Digilio, pp. 155-157, has a sprang "net" that the author presumes to be a cincture (belt/cingulum). Unfortunately, the paper deals only with the conservation methods used and does not give any specifics about either the textile itself or even its date! The second article, "The little net bonnet in Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan" by Annalisa Zanni, p. 196, does give a date for the sprang textile -- 9th century -- but the provenance is unknown.  The net bonnet is made of beige linen threads with red and ochre wool threads.  The wool threads had been worked in "the tapestry technique."  The shape of the net is triangular, made of two triangular parts sewn together.  (From the drawing, it seems more likely that the two triangular parts were not separate but were the top and bottom of a piece of sprang with the center portion drawn narrowly together.)  The longest side is finished with a red wool thread. Nancy/Ingvild


Off Norselist:

25 Sep 2000 14:03:02 -0400

From: Carolyn Priest-Dorman <capriest at cs.vassar.edu>

Subject: Sprang Bibliography URL


I have posted the following new annotated bibliography at my website.  



"Old World Sprang through the Early Middle Ages: A Brief Bibliography"


Concurrently, I've fixed the link from Viking Resources to the new ceremony

article, and I've added some internal links on both VikResource and

TextileRes for ease of navigation.


Carolyn Priest-Dorman              Þóra Sharptooth

capriest  at  cs. vassar. edu         Frostahlid, Austmork



<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org