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weaving-msg - 4/15/09


Weaving, types of cloth. Weaving techniques.


NOTE: See also the files: looms-msg, card-weaving-msg, tapestries-msg, spinning-msg, knitting-msg, quilting-msg, textiles-msg, Cloth-of-Gold-art, color-a-fab-bib, weavng-sizing-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



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: ilaine at panix.com (Liz Stokes)

Subject: Re: Dog Hair?

Organization: Panix Public Access Internet & Unix, NYC

Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1993 10:48:48 GMT


patmoore at acs.ucalgary.ca (Patricia Lynn Moore) writes:

>btw: despite the pun, it is not woof, but weft, as in weave.

>(same declension as leave/left)

        er, warp and weft are the two directions of thread on a loom. The

warp is stretched out between the beams and the weft is the side to side

threads that get filled in as you weave. Woof is another word for weft




Liz Stokes         |       Ilaine's E-Z Garb Workshop

Ilaine de Cameron  |       We're going to try an experiment now. Instead of using

                   |       a loom, we're going to wind all the yarn into balls

ilaine at panix.com   |    and adopt an infinite number of kittens...



From: jab2 at stl.stc.co.uk (Jennifer Ann Bray)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: tablet woven borders

Date: 26 Aug 93 12:19:40

Organization: STC Technology Ltd., London Road, Harlow, UK.


I don't know if anyone else has tried this, but tablet weaving was

once used as a starting border for loom weaving. the warp of the main

cloth is the weft of the tablet weaving. you produce a piece of tablet

weaving with the weft pulled out on one side around a couple of short

posts (the posts are hammered into the ground or fixed to one side of

a frame you are tablet weaving on) Marta Hoffman gives an excellent

description in her book on the warp weighted loom.


I tried this as a starting border for a warp weighted loom and it

worked fine, but I find the loom excrutiatingly slow to work on.

having just restored a 1930s frame loom I tried using a tablet woven

header on that. I was told by an expert it couldn't be done, but I

didn't really have any problems. I just sewd the tablet weaving to the

rod I would have tied the end of the warp to. I suspect I threaded the

loom up back to front as I had to do a lot of winding to get the warp

even on the back beam, but I wove a couple of inches last night and it



the loom will weave up to 40" so I fancy trying a square viking cape

on it. The next stage is to figure out how to do tablet woven sides

as well. I think if I stick to two threads per card I might be able to

fit them through the reed, but I won't get any really fancy patterns

that way unless I use brocading.


Has anyone else out there tried tablet weaving in association with

loom weaving? Has anyone got any suggestions?


I think from my reading that most bands that were integral with the

cloth and not sewn on were pretty plain, (though the Thorsbjerg

cloaks had very wide borders they don't seem to have been patterned)

does anyone know if this was the general rule, or know of any

exceptions to it?



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: kreyling at lds.loral.com (Ed Kreyling 6966)

Subject: Re: Weaving question

Organization: Loral Data Systems

Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1993 01:50:54 GMT


Syr.Bennen.Mactire at p12.f1066.n374.z1.fidonet.org (Syr Bennen Mactire) writes:


>I am in the process of building one of those big Viking looms, you know

>the kind that lean up against the wall. I have two pictures to work from

>but need more to work out the details .

>Any ideas on books or points of reference that I can turn to?


>Also, how fine a weave can be accomplished on just such a loom?

>How much tension is involved?


>I figured you and Brigit might get me pointed in the right direction.


>Earl Benen


Subj:  Re: Weaving question

Date: Mon, 4 Oct 93 18:45:15 EDT

From: Andrea Longo <longo at eggo.csee.usf.edu>

Subject: Re: Weaving question

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: University of South Florida, Department of Computer Science and Engineering


Could you post this for me?  I can't post anything again because they won't

allow the news software to have enough disk space.  It could be days before

someone fixes it.



Warp weighted loom??  Yippie!  Somehow I missed the original post, but no

big problem.  


There is a book I have looked thru but do not own, "The Warp Weighted Loom" by

Marta Hoffman.  It is considered one of the best sources on warp-weighted

weaving in English.  From what I saw, however, the practical information on

constructing and weaving is based on modern Scandinavian use.  There is an

article on constructing and weaving in Early Period (issues 2&3) that I used

to build mine.  


Most of the information I have on actual weaving techniques come from

extant fragments and experimentation.  There are a few archaeological reports

with enough detail to guess at weaving techniques.  


I had aa lot of problems finding photographs of loom weights and finally ended

up making some Anglo-Roman ones from descriptions and some line drawings.  I

don't know how many of these things were used, because I didn't make near

enough to put what I felt was enough tension on the warp.


Experimentation answered a lot of questions but brought up many, many more.

any fragments from the period appear to have the warp closer than the weft but

I had terrible problems with my 35 epi piece -- sticky warp, bad sheds, just a

nightmare.  I think part of the problem is using larger yarn for the same sett

(based on my modern concept of what fabric should look like.)  Lots of sources

give sett but few talk about what kind or size of yarn was used.  


I just finished a long discussion on warp weighted looms on

rec.crafts.textiles with a woman who does dark-ages recreation named Jennifer

<somethingorother>.  I know of a handful of people who work with warp

weighteds, but I am the only person I know here who does. There is another

lady in this kingdom who has used a slightly more advanced loom, a variant of

the vertical two-beam (similar to the Navajo rug loom.)  



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: kreyling at lds.loral.com (Ed Kreyling 6966)

Subject: Re: Weaving question

Organization: Loral Data Systems

Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1993 02:16:44 GMT


Syr.Bennen.Mactire at p12.f1066.n374.z1.fidonet.org (Syr Bennen Mactire) writes:

>I am in the process of building one of those big Viking looms, you know

>the kind that lean up against the wall. I have two pictures to work from

>but need more to work out the details .

>Any ideas on books or points of reference that I can turn to?


"The Viking World" by James Graham-Campbell (Ticknor & Fields, New Haven,1980)

has a good diagram (p. 120) of a warp weighted loom. I think I have an exploded

diagram in another book but can't lay my hands on it right now. (Oh, the trials

of an SCA library). We'll send you a copy. "The Viking" published by Crescent

Books, New York (ISBN 0-51744.553-0) has drawings of all of the weaving tools

as well.

>Also, how fine a weave can be accomplished on just such a loom?

>How much tension is involved?


I assure you the limit of how fine the weave is will be my skill, not the type

of loom. Shouldn't be a problem to do 50 epi (threads per inch, Benen), which

is what the Pennsic place mats were, once I get the hang of weaving UP. I have

a photo of a scrap dug up at York that must be about 100 epi. The tension isn't

a problem since you tie bundles of threads to the loom weights. The finer the

thread, the more you tie to the weight. Of course, I will be much more

knowledgable after I've had a chance to play, swear, and weave on it for a while.                                           Brigit


Ed Kreyling                 | Master Erik of Telemark O.L.,O.P.

kreyling at world.lds.loral.com | Shire of Brineside Moor

Sarasota,Fl. USA           | Kingdom of Trimaris, SCA




From: jab2 at stl.stc.co.uk (Jennifer Ann Bray)

Newsgroups: rec.crafts.textiles,rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Weaving a rain cloak

Date: 2 Nov 93 10:05:44

Organization: STC Technology Ltd., London Road, Harlow, UK.


I have a few woolen cloaks, some are dark age square types and some

more modern tailored designs. I have found that a heavy fulled wool

will keep the rain off almost indefinately. I have not found seams a

problem, but I used run and fell type seams, (the sort you get on the

outside legs of jeans) Maybe this is a particularly waterproof type of

seam as it has many layers of cloth.


I have a viking style tent (An A frame design with the poles made of

wooden beams), this tent has a woolen cover and has stood up to a

force seven gale, with accompanying rain. It was pitched inside

Harlech castle, in a particularly dumb location: the rain and wind

whipped off the sea, hit the front wall of the castle, came over it, and

was funnelled into the area by the castle gate. Guess where we pitched

the tent? that's right bang in the middle of the wind tunnel by the

castle gate. The relevance of all this to cloaks is that the tent

cover was heavy wool which was fulled (felted) on one side. Inside the

tent was completely dry. The gale carried on overnight and got through

some of the modern tents to soak their occupants.

It looked as though the wool might have been acting as a wick, drawing

the water to ground, you could touch the inside of the tent without

water coming through.


The woolen cloth the tent was made of had never been washed so it

probably had some oil left from the cloths production, but it

certainly wasn't dripping in oil. A friend of mine has a guernsey

jumper which is oiled wool. The jumper doesn't smell or shed oil, but

he claims it is waterproof. I don't know what the oil used is. One of

my square capes has been washed often enough to lose any traces of oil

the wool may have contained and is still up to an hour in the rain, (I

haven't tried it for longer) so I suspect that heavy wool is so

waterproof on its own that you don't need to add much oil (unlike

cotton which needs to be almost  dripping in oil or wax to be proofed)


I would definately recommend twill weaves not plain tabby as twill

gives you a denser weave. If you are contemplating a seperate hood I

would suggest trying to weave that first so that you can make your

first learning mistakes on a smaller piece and waste less time and



The irish cloaks with locks of wool woven in are still worn by

shepherds in other areas of Europe, Apparently you can stay out as

long as the sheep do and stay dry. locks of wool are taken from the

raw fleece and threaded into the warp along with the weft. On designs

I have seen they are not threaded into every single row. there was a

poster on this group who had woven a sample like this. Apparently it

is incredibly slow and probably not good as a first project.



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: maclure at eos.arc.nasa.gov (IanMaclure)

Subject: Re: fulling

Organization: NASA Ames Research Center

Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1993 01:06:18 GMT


Fulling, if I remember correctly was the process by which woolen

garments were dry cleaned prior to the chemical era. It involved

Fuller's Earth ( Diatomaceous Earth ) and a great deal of heaving

and thumping. Diatomaceous Earth by the way is composed of the

skeletons of microscopic prehistoric beasties.

If you are discussing making of cloth ( wool ) perhaps you mean

"Milling" rather than "Fulling". Tweed is "milled" or used to be

in days past. Milling basically involves thumping the cloth back

and forth across a sturdy table for hours at a time.



################ No Times Like The Maritimes, Eh! ######################

# IBM   aka      #    ian_maclure at QMGATE.arc.nasa.gov           (desk) #

# Ian B MacLure  #    maclure at (remulac/eos).arc.nasa.gov   (currently) #

########## Opinions expressed here are mine, mine, mine. ###############



From: Sheri.Stanley at p911.f1066.n374.z1.fidonet.org (Sheri Stanley)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Fulling

Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1993 18:50:01 -0500


MB> Fulling is done to woven wool cloth, and causes the fibers to felt

MB> together, increasing the strength, thickness, and warmth of the cloth.


Felting and fulling are not the same thing, though they can both be acheived

through the same process. Felt is what you get if you full a piece of wool too

long! :) Fulling "fluffs" the fibers, causing them to loosen and become softer,

and more full. This often hides inconsistencies in weaving which would stand out

in a an unfulled piece.


MB> Felting is done to wool fibers, and some others (under special

MB> circumtances), producing cloth in the process, which is not woven, and

MB> is referred to as felt.  Felt does not usually have a grain, as woven

MB> goods do.  Felt is generally not as strong as an equal thickness of

MB> woven fabric, but you can do odd things to it, such as stretching it to

MB> make hats, which you cannot do with woven fabric.


Felting is done to unwoven fibers...fulling to woven pieces.


Any animal fiber will full out nicely...and cotton also tends to "bloom" when

fulled. Linen is a lost cause - it doesn't full at all - so any mistakes or

inconsistencies stay exactly where you put them!


Using a washing machine is a scary proposition! It's terribly easy to over-full

an item in it - and once fulled, you can't "un-full" it!





From: jab2 at stl.stc.co.uk (Jennifer Ann Bray)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: 14th C textiles & clothing book

Date: 11 Jan 94 15:30:14

Organization: STC Technology Ltd., London Road, Harlow, UK.


I just got a book that might interest someone else out there:


Medieval finds from excavations in London: 4

Textiles and Clothing c.1150 - c.1450

Elizabeth Crowfoot, Frances Pritchard and Kay Staniland

Published HMSO 1992

copyright of the Board of Governors of the Museum of London

ISBN 0 11 290445 9


Price 29.95 pounds sterling


Most of the stuff is fourteenth century, though as the books title

says the range is from c.1150-c.1450


The book begins with details of sources and where the textiles were

found, then there is a short chapter on techniques used in textile

production. This has some very dodgy looking drawings of looms, there

seems to be no way to move the beaters on them, either They've missed

something or medieval looms were wierder than I thought.


Then the book goes into details on weaves and structures with chapters

on wool, goathair, linen, silk and mixed cloths.

The wool chapter even includes a couple of pages on knitting and one

on felt.

The chapter on silk is a masterpiece of deduction, by hunting around

ancient silks the authors have reproduced patterns of whole pieces of

cloth from tiny scraps and offcuts.


A whole chapter is devoted to narrow wares including tablet woven

braids, fingerloop braids, plaited braids, garters and hairnets.

This was my favourite, as I'm a tablet weaving freak, there was a good

description of a method of sewing braid onto edges by simultaneously

weaving and sewing, using the weft of the braid as the sewing thread.

I'm dying to find something to try this out on.


There is also a chapter on sewing with lots of detail on stuff like how

seams were sewn, how cloth buttons were made, how the buttonholes were

stitched, how to edge necks you name it, it's there. Anyone like me

who spends hours fiddling about with fiddle about with period details

that hardly anyone appreciates will love this section.


There is not so much on patterns of clothing as mostly the stuff found

was very fragmentary, but there are pictures of hoods and hose that

are complete enough to work out a pattern from. There is also a well

preserved buttoned sleeve which might interest someone with a

masochistic inclination to make buttonholes by the dozen!


The illustrations are great with lots of colour plates and close ups,

so you can see every detail of the textiles. The text puts everything

into context and cites just about every other relevant find there is.


This is definately not a beginners book, and it's quite expensive, but

if you're looking for something to add to a 14th century English

costume and you've run out of sources, this is the book for you.


I don't even do 14th century stuff and I got it anyway, I can never

resist a good book on textiles, maybe that's why I never have enough

money left over to buy the bookshelves I need to put them all on!



Vanaheim Vikings



From: Gregory Young <kyrke at MBnet.MB.CA>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: CRAFT : Inkle Looms and Yarn...

Date: Sat, 19 Nov 1994 18:41:14 -0600

Organization: The University of Manitoba


I read your message concerning yarns for an inkle loom.  I have done a

lot of weaving, and some the materials that I use are: the cotton

knitting yarns - these are made from cotton fibres and do not matt like

the various wool and rayon/acrylic yarns; embroidery cotton, skeins,

perle No 8 and perle No.5; crochet cotton (which I really like for

weaving belts).  There is also weaving yarn that is spun for people who

use frame looms. It comes in various weights and is available at weaving

and craft stores.  Where I live (Winnipeg, Manitoba) there is a knitting

and weaving store that caters to the 4 harness loom people, they also

carry yarns for us inkle weavers.  (I have even seen people use 'rat's

tail' cord in weaving, also butcher twine).  I like to use my imagination

and experiment with as many different types of thread/yarn possible.  

Hope this is of some use.  Enjoy!


Mistress Hermina Matilda de Ainesleah of Meredene

(just call me Ainesleah)



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: CRAFT : Inkle Looms and Yarn...  

From: (ssgt miller m.s.)

Date: 21 Nov 94 16:56:12 CST


In message <3ahagh$sm3 at delphinium.cig.mot.com>, garvey at poohbear.cig.mot.com

(Heather L. Garvey) writes:


>       I picked up an inkle loom at Pennsic and I've made a couple

>lengths of trim on it. I want to start getting serious, but I'm having

>a hard time find good material - smooth, not-too-thin 'yarn'.


I use 10/2 or 5/2 mercerized cotton for inkle projects. Any local yarn store

should be willing to order it for  you.

They also should be able to give you a contact number for your local

weaving/spinning guild.





From: bridave at MCS.COM (Janice Skaggs)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Craft: Inkle Looms and Yarn..

Date: 20 Nov 1994 10:27:46 -0600

Organization: MCSNet Subscriber Account, Chicago's First Public-Access Internet!


Buy a cheap can of spray net, it washes out and keeps the thread from

"Mating" although you do get fuzz balls. See me at 12th night or call and

I'll give you some sources in Chicago for yarns and stuff. I also sell

looms and loom supplies to renies SCA people.



(312) 262-8915



From: sapalmer at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Sharon A Palmer)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: CRAFT : Inkle Looms and Yarn...

Date: 15 Dec 1994 19:37:26 GMT

Organization: The Ohio State University


In article <97f_9412110453 at blkcat.fidonet.org>,

Sheri Stanley <Sheri.Stanley at p1.f1.n107.z180.fidonet.org>

quotes someone not identified:

> >> I picked up an inkle loom at Pennsic and I've made a couple

> >> lengths of trim on it. I want to start getting serious, but I'm having

> >> a hard time find good material - smooth, not-too-thin 'yarn'.


I usually use crochet cotton. It is strong and smooth, easily available

in many colors and is a nice weight for trim.  I use a metallic gold

or silver in narrow stripes with it.

The colors are usually too bright, so I put in some darker warps also.

I put garb with this trim in the washer and dryer.

There is a store here in Columbus Ohio that sells 'seconds' balls that

got mashed or broke off at the factory at 20 cents an ounce.





Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: lhorvath at badlands.NoDak.edu (Lorine S Horvath)

Subject: tablet weaving patterns

Date: Fri, 26 May 1995 22:11:21 GMT

Organization: North Dakota Higher Education Computing Network


The techniques of tablet weaving, by Peter Collingwood is a marvelous

source.  He lists archaeological finds, and discusses their patterns and

how to achieve them, along with lots of other information.


Fiona ni Cai



From: vinwaluf2 at aol.com (VINWALUF2)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: tablet weaving patterns

Date: 31 May 1995 21:32:42 -0400

Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)


Another book you may want to find is "Tablet Weaving" by Egon Hansen. (I

got my copy from Unicorn Textile Books).  It's a bit of a bear to read, as

it was evidently (poorly) translated from the original Finnish, but the

bulk of the items he covers are from archaeological textiles.  


Hope this is of help.  

Gwennan ferch Gwydion O'Ddyved

Barony of AnCrosaire




Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Scots Scholarship Needed

From: una at bregeuf.stonemarche.org (Honour Horne-Jaruk)

Date: Mon, 10 Jul 95 07:51:32 EDT


China <Laurie_kovaleski at ncsu.edu> writes:


> If this date is true, why was one of the punishments of the Jacobite

> Revolution, by the King of England, was to outlaw wearing of tartans.

> (Remember that the two main uprising were in the 1700's.)  


        Respected Friend:

        Please note that the (incredibly nit-picky) wording of 18th cent.

laws did not, in that case, include either the word "clan" or any legally

equivalent phrase, and didn't even include "scottish" or any legally

equivalent modifier. The law just outlawed "tartan". All tartan. Any tartan.

Tartan was well known as THE Scots cloth long before any clan had been

pounded into the Sobieski's rather-too-small molds.


        After Prince Charlie's unsuccsessful uprising, many "relics" from

the battlefields were lovingly preserved. It is interesting to note that

_not one_ of these relics matches _any_ Sobieski "Clan tartan". It is

also- at least to a weaver- interesting to note that some of them weren't

even twill weave. (To a weaver, that opens the possibility that parts of the

fighting force may have come from places where the ancient upright loom was

still in use. While it's possible to weave twill on an upright loom, it isn't

anything resembling easy.)


        ...Ain't science wunnerful?


                                Yours in service to the Society-

                                (Friend) Honour Horne-Jaruk R.S.F.

                                Alizaunde, Demoiselle de Bregeuf C.O.L. SCA

                                Una Wicca (That Pict)



From: deporodh at aol.com (Deporodh)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Scots Scholarship Needed

Date: 14 Jul 1995 00:19:06 -0400


bjm10 at cornell.edu (Bryan Maloney) writes:

> Clan tartans were invented after AD1800.


MODERN clan tartans were invented after 1800 CE.  Roman descriptions of

many years before attempt to define the "checked" patterns you get when

you weave the same pattern in warp and weft.


Alizaunde, Demoiselle de Bregeuf, writes in response:


> Three factors:

> Weavers are creatures of habit. Plaids make this worse. Working with

>a horizontal stripe or a plaid, it's easy to tell how much you've woven  at

>the end of the day; weavers like that. They also like having such an easy

>way to tell good work from bad...

>Cloth can't be dyed with plants that don't exist. Each area of

>Scotland is very much stuck with its native dyeplants, and thus with colors

>those dyeplants can produce. This means that each region has a set of

>"Common" colors which the experienced can peg evey time.

>Setting up a loom is a very wasteful process, and used to be more so.

>Nobody did it more often than was absolutely unavoidable. This means

>that a man ordering plaid for a group is going to have the same plaid for the

>whole group, so that the loom only gets dressed once, and the waste is


>Result: Each weaver has plaids he weaves, each region has colors it

>uses, each lord has his men dressed in the same plaid for long periods of



This fellow fiber-fan has reached my own conclusions and added a few fine

insights of her own (from experience, I suspect), thus cutting down my

need to point these things out.


From my readings 20 years ago on the subject, Scottish weavers before the

Acts of Proscription recorded their patterns on "sett sticks," which

displayed the thread colors and counts in order (an easy way to record the

quadrilaterally or bilaterally symmetrical patterns used). Since the very

weaving of tartan was prohibited by those acts for more than a generation

(enacted 1746, repealed 1782 or 83) and (like all other things in the

acts) made a transportable or hanging offense (only two strikes and you're

out!), such small items as little colored sticks were pretty thoroughly

lost.  If *I* wanted to try to investigate pre-'45 tartan patterns AND had

a nice, juicy grant to support me, I'd spend a year or three talking to

the oldest families in the remote NC and TN and WV Appalachian hill

communities and just see whether any of g'g'g'g'g'-granny's old weaving

junk came this-a-way with her and survived in some fiber-traditional



Mistress Deporodh of Rannoch, O.L., called Dis Stigandi




From: wildgoose at gateway.ecn.com (Keith Cunningham)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Family tartan

Date: 19 Jul 1995 17:44:06 -0700

Organization: West Coast Computer Products


A long series of modern myth repetitions concerning Tartans has again



Some of them are true, some are just myths, and some are outright saxon lies.


The saxons lies

1] that family tartans are a modern invention.

2] that sett sticks are lost

3] that you can't produce the same color from one year to the next or

that you can't produce a dyestock with out the right materials grown locally.


Gael truth

1] family and district tartans go back hundreds of years. The

registration and publication is a modern affectation.

2] Sett sticks are lost.  There is a musuem in the Striling area that has

huge numbers of these sett sticks on display.

3] The was/is a thriving cross channel trade in dye stock.


I have heard these and others till I am sick of them and would just like

to drive a stick thru their heart before they rise from the dead again.



Keith Cunningham



From: priest at vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Weaving and the SCA

Date: 11 May 1996 00:19:38 GMT

Organization: Vassar College


Greeting from Thora Sharptooth!


Tamar the Gypsy (dickeney at access1.digex.net) wrote:

>>I was thinking more about what kind of looms are available, what they

>>cost, how to construct them, what yarns were available/period for use,



>Period yarns include wool.  With a possibility of goat hair (Kashmir,

>other goat herding areas) and cow hair (I believe a pair of cow-hair socks

>were found, but they were needle-knotted rather than knitted or woven) and

>perhaps other animal hairs in isolated circumstances. IIRC the surviving

>woolen materials are fairly coarse -- the thinnest cloak found in an

>oak-tree burial was woven of the equivalent of modern knitted worsted.


That may be true for the Bronze Age hewn-oak coffin burials from

northern Europe, but it is definitely not true for wool textiles in the

centuries that most SCA personae inhabit.  Many surviving woolen materials

from northern Europe in the so-called Dark Ages, for example, are

significantly finer than this suggests.  Some sample thread counts from

Viking Age finds follow.  For each pair of numbers, the first number

represents the number of warp threads per centimeter, the second the number

of weft threads per centimeter.


        Birka           18x9, 30x16


        Hedeby          33x18, 24x15


        Jorvik          14x10, 14x11


        Kaupang         36x15, 19x10, 15x11, 19x13


        Oseberg         30x14, 27x23, 19x13


In order to weave any one of these particular wools, you'd have needed to

start with a singles warp yarn that is significantly thinner than 1mm in

diameter.  Anything thicker than 1mm will yield you a warp thread count in

the single digits per centimeter.


Period yarns also included linen, hemp, silk, and even some ramie and cotton (in specific times and places).


One of these days I hope to find the time to web up a bunch of my

bibliographical materials on early period textiles.  For now, contact me if

you need a reference for the above.


Carolyn Priest-Dorman                   Thora Sharptooth

priest at vassar.edu                       Frostahlid, Austrrik

          Gules, three square weaver's tablets in bend Or




From: wiltshir at sover.net (S. Wiltshire)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: New hobby- weaving

Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 05:37:16 GMT

Organization: SoVerNet, Inc.


Lord Whoever wrote:

> I am considering learning a new skill, weaving (yes, everyone in my

> household, especially my lady, thinks I've finally lost it, but...). I

> don't plan on anything too elaborate, just some 24" wide tartan. The

> question is, where to get the loom (or plans to build it). I should be

> able to live with a simple fixed heddle loom,


Well, as you've already been informed, you'll need at least a 4

harness loom to do a proper tartan.   Plans do exist, a source in

general of good textile books is Unicorn books in Petaluma California

1-800-BUY YARN,     and I think they may have a book or two with



BUT... this is quite the undertaking,  and you may care to hang out a

bit, or post a note over in rec.crafts.textiles.marketplace, that

you're looking for a cheap, used 4 harness loom.   Also put word out

locally, in your papers, and check with any local weaving guilds.  If

you need to find a local weaving guild,  try picking Handwoven

magazine from a Barnes and Noble.  They often keep listings.  I have

stumbled onto many the cheap (and even free!) loom,  often when not

really looking too hard, and most often in my own backyard.


Oh, and lastly, if you do hook up with a local weaving guild they may

even have a loom you can borrow! :-)


Good luck!




From: foxd at ezinfo.ucs.indiana.edu (Daniel Boyd Fox)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: New hobby- weaving

Date: 14 Jan 1997 06:06:22 GMT

Organization: Indiana University, Bloomington


Mary Shafer <shafer at spdcc.com> wrote:

>In article <5bah62$hs2$3 at gryphon.phoenix.net>,

>Lord Whoever <deadpool at phoenix.net> wrote:

>>I am considering learning a new skill, weaving (yes, everyone in my

>>household, especially my lady, thinks I've finally lost it, but...). I

>>don't plan on anything too elaborate, just some 24" wide tartan. The

>>question is, where to get the loom (or plans to build it). I should be

>>able to live with a simple fixed heddle loom, but if I knew I probably

>>wouldn't be asking. I need to be able to do 24" by a minimum of 5

>>yards. Is there a good way to learn about this stuff?


>Pick up the latest issue of "Handweaving", put out by Interweave

>Press.  Between the Interweave Press books and the ads in the

>magazine, you'll find everything you need to select a loom, buy or

>build one, find your threads, and weave your tartan.


>My local Waldenbook sells the magazine, so it's not hard to find.


>Mary Shafer  DoD #0362 KotFR  shafer at ursa-major.spdcc.com

>URL http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/People/Shafer/mary.html


Good plug except the magazine is called _Handwoven_. Their address is:


Interweave Press

201 East Fourth Street

Loveland, Colorado 80537


(800) 645-3675.


Ask for a catalog of books.  I especially recommend _Learning to Weave_

by Deborah Chandler.  It's a good, easly to follow guide for beginning



Audelindis de Rheims



From: dalton at ea.net (Nancy Dalton)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: New hobby- weaving

Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 13:06:21 GMT


deadpool at phoenix.net (Lord Whoever) wrote:


>I am considering learning a new skill, weaving


>Is there a good way to learn about this stuff?



At the risk of repeating other's good information here are my



Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler is a good beginner's weaving

book that covers everything from planning to warping to weaving to

finishing.  Unfortunately I have no recommendations for books on

weaving tartans, but they do exist and can probably be found either in

the library or a bookstore.


Guilds are good sources of information as has already been mentioned,

but there is also a weaving list.  To subscribe send an email to

majordomo at quilt.net with subscribe weaving in the body of the email.

Until just recently Peter Collingwood was on the list and even though

he's taking a weaving break there are very knowledgeable and helpful

people still subscribed.


Nancy Dalton

ska Earnwynn van Zwaluwenburg



From: theducks at greenduck.com (Steve Urbach)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: New hobby- weaving

Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 18:09:16 GMT

Organization: Green Duck Designs


foxd at ezinfo.ucs.indiana.edu (Daniel Boyd Fox) wrote:



>Good plug except the magazine is called _Handwoven_. Their address is:


>Interweave Press

>201 East Fourth Street

>Loveland, Colorado 80537


>(800) 645-3675.


You folks are giving us all the fun.


Green Duck Stocks the below mentiond book:

Stock No   IP03  $21.95


>Ask for a catalog of books.  I especially recommend _Learning to Weave_

>by Deborah Chandler.  It's a good, easly to follow guide for beginning



>Audelindis de Rheims




       | \                           Steve Urbach

       |  )erek

   ____|_/ragonsclaw                 theducks at greenduck.com

  / / /                             http://www.greenduck.com



From: theducks at greenduck.com (Steve Urbach)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: New hobby- weaving

Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 18:12:39 GMT

Organization: Green Duck Designs


dalton at ea.net (Nancy Dalton) wrote:


>deadpool at phoenix.net (Lord Whoever) wrote:

>>I am considering learning a new skill, weaving


>>Is there a good way to learn about this stuff?


>At the risk of repeating other's good information here are my



>Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler is a good beginner's weaving

>book that covers everything from planning to warping to weaving to

>finishing.  Unfortunately I have no recommendations for books on

>weaving tartans, but they do exist and can probably be found either in

>the library or a bookstore.


The Green Duck here again: We have a book Published by Robin & Russ Handweavers

Scarlettt - Tartan weavers Guide (hb) 228 Designs  $16.95 Stock code





       | \                           Steve Urbach

       |  )erek

   ____|_/ragonsclaw                 theducks at greenduck.com

  / / /                             http://www.greenduck.com



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

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Hoerning grave (Danish ca 1000)

Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 21:15:46 -0800


Dorothy J Heydt wrote:

> Maggie Mulvaney <mulvanem at fp.co.nz> wrote:

> >

> >...According to the source it was a woman buried on

> >a cart, in an early Christian burial. The interesting thing is the

> >remains of her garment. All that remains is a rather wide band of

> >silverworked tabletwoven braid, which lies loose on her left side and

> >is wrapped around her right arm. ....


> Based on what I've read, I suspect the woman was wearing a common

> Germanic early-period  garment sometimes called a "tube dress" or

> "Haengerock."  This resembled (to some extent) a Greek peplos,

> and consisted of a tube of fabric (apparently fabric could be

> woven in a continuous tube on a warp-weighted loom, don't ask

> *me* how they did it), say four feet in length and maybe four

> or five feet in circumference.


Yes, it's possible-- double-cloth is, to my knowledge, a four-harness

structure, and would be extremely tiresome to execute on a warp-weighted

loom due to the vertical orientation of the warp together with the

typical lack of a reed. (For non-weavers, warp-weighted cloth is done

from the height of the weaver's reach down to the floor, pushing weft up

into the newly formed cloth).  The Hallstadt graves have some stunning

twills done with multiple-shaft techniques-- see the cover of the

paperback edition of Professor Barber's "Prehistoric Textiles", for



This is a threading draft for double-cloth, which assumes a pair of

selvedges along one side of the loom. To read the graph, I've used a *

for a spacer. This assumes a straight draw double-sleyed through the

reed (translation for non-weavers: two warp strings through each space

in the reed/beater of the horizontal loom, then threaded 1-2-3-4 in

sequential order through the heddles hanging from the shafts or








I believe you'd treadle 1&3, 2&4, 1&3, 2&4 etc., as you wove. A would be

the top layer, B is the lower layer; you'd have to make sure that you

caught the warp correctly along the fold edge before turning back. The

cloth would be formed in the shape of a sideways "U". So, harnesses or

shafts 1 and 3 weave one layer, harnesses or shafts 2 and 4 weave the



<<more snippage>>

> Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin                         Dorothy J. Heydt

> Mists/Mists/West                               Albany, California

> PRO DEO ET REGE                                     djheydt at uclink


And before someone gets the bright idea that weaving two separate

lengths of cloth warped on the loom simultaneously is practical with

either a new-fangled horizontal loom or a warp-weighted loom :)  :


"I remember thinking how clever it would be to weave two sets of

placemats at one time, sone set on each layer.  And while it would seem

as though I was weaving one, when it came off I'd really have two sets.

I thought about that for a little while, and I began to realize

potential problems.  First, errors are more likely in the bottom layer

because you can't see it.  Therefore, my bottom placemats mibht need a

lot of repair work.  Then there's the matter of speed. While weaving

two sets off at once might seem efficient, the contant shuttle exchange

consumes more time than you might possibly save.  Using one shuttle and

weaving off a warp twice as long would be faster.  And finally, a warp

twice as long would have one set of loom waste*, whereas a double-weave

warp, with twice as many warp ends, would have twice the loom waste.

About that point in my pondering, I abandoned the idea of weaving off a

double-weave warp as two entirely separate layers, for placemats or

anything else."

        Deborah Chandler, _Learning to Weave_, revised edition, Interweave

Press ISBN 1-883010-03-9


*loom waste is the inevitable parts of warp that cannot be woven due to

position of the warp on the loom. By its nature a warp-weighted loom has

less loom waste than a horizontal loom-- there's no restriction on the

position of the fell line (translation: where the actual cloth is formed

by the insertion of weft) due to presence of a reed. For example, my

loom has about 20" of loom waste, no matter how long my warp is, due to

the fact that I have to tie the warp to both the back beam and the cloth

beam. I have to start weaving at a particular point away from the

initial knots on the cloth beam, then there's only so far I can advance

the warp onto the cloth beam before running out of travel space. A

warp-weighted loom has weights tied to warp bundles instead of a back



I hope this explanation makes sense!



(by no means anything near an expert weaver...I like card weaving the

best right now!)



From: foxd at ezinfo.ucs.indiana.edu (Daniel Boyd Fox)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Hoerning grave (Danish ca 1000)

Date: 25 Jan 1997 00:45:56 GMT

Organization: Indiana University, Bloomington


If I remember correctly Margrethe Hald, in _Old Danish Textiles_ is of

the opinion that the Huldermose garment (The "bog dress" which is the

only extant tubular dress we have--haengarock's being _wrapped_ not

tubular) was not woven on a 4-harness loom (which didn't arrive in Europe

until much later) or a warp-weighted loom.  It was woven on a special

type of loom with a tubular warp.


Geijer shows how these looms work in her _A History of Textile Art_.


Audelindis de Rheims



From: priest at vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Weaving URLs

Date: 19 Feb 1997 21:04:20 GMT

Organization: Vassar College


Greeting from Thora Sharptooth!


Today I have posted two bibliographies on my website.


"Bibliography of Sources for Information on Period Tablet Weaves"

(http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/tweavebib.html) is an annotated

bibliography of print resources that deal with tablet weaving during

the period of the SCA.


"Just What Exactly is "Whyt Samyt" Anyway?"

(http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/textilebiblio.html) is an

annotated bibliography of technical information for handweavers on

divers weaves and setts of the Roman Empire, Middle Ages, and



Both are available from my Textile Resources page,



This notice has been posted to the Rialto and the East Kingdom

list; I will also be sending a separate notice to the CARDS e-list.

Please feel free to share this notice more widely.


Carolyn Priest-Dorman                    Thora Sharptooth

priest at vassar.edu                        Frostahlid, Austrriki

          Gules, three square weaver's tablets in bend Or




From: Don Humberson <dhumbers at sunlink.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period looms and weaving?

Date: Tue, 25 Mar 1997 22:48:27 -0500


Iain mac Griogair wrote:

> If any one as any information of period looms and weavings I would be

> appreciative.  I would like to attempt to make a plaid.


Milord mac Grogair,


Any 4 shaft loom should allow you to weave plaids.  The Scots' clan

tartans are basically plaids woven with the same design in the warp and



Go back far enough and the loom was a stick at the roof and a bunch of

weights tied to bundles of warp threads.  


If you live close to the Manning's, or can get access to a modern

4-shaft loom some other way, try a simple 2/2 twill for a few feet. A

plaid or tartan needs multiple shuttles loaded with different colors,

and will go better if you are already making good even selveges and are

comfortable weaving a smooth twill.


If you would like citations for actual setts, books on weaving tartans,

or just general info on weaving, let me know.


Ragnar Ketilsson,

East, Aethelmearc, Endless Hills



Date: Thu, 14 May 1998 08:26:04 -0700

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

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

Subject: Re: Fraying


Irene leNoir wrote:

> Mel commented:

> > only very open weave linen behaves this way


> I have to disagree here.  I have some very high threadcount fine linen garb that is slowly fraying itself apart at the seams. (made before I got my serger BTW.)  The looser weaves will fray more quickly and obviously, but I've found that they will all fray over time.


And I will add that a fraying fabric is primarily caused by the way the

weft was inserted into the warp by the machine that wove the cloth.

Fiber composition is pretty much irrelevant most of the time. Even

loosely woven cottons, wools and silks will fray.


With a hand loom, the weaver pulls the reed, a slotted device, firmly

back towards the cloth to force the weft into the warp, which in

weaver's terminology is called 'beating' (or in the case of a two-beam

or warp-weighted loom, the weaver uses a fork-device, a tapestry beater

or a weaving sword to beat the weft into the warp). Literally. The

overwhelming majority of modern cloth is woven on high speed machines

that do not beat weft into the warp the way a hand loom would.

(Incidentally, see the trade-off for cheap, vast quanties of cloth? and

highly beaten cloth takes more raw goods, the thread to weave, meaning

more expense for the manufacturer...) The firmer the beat, the less of a

tendency for fraying and raveling.


All fabrics will ravel to some extent, unless there's been some

finishing applied to prevent it-- for example, wool cloths that have

been fulled or even partially felted. The trick is anticipating how that

cloth is going to behave, and head it off at the pass before it starts

to self-destruct.





Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 00:35:32 -0700

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

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

Subject: Re: Looms & weaving


Miesje Devogel wrote:

> Does anyone have any references for constructing an authentic loom, or

> even for how to weave different patterns/ appropriate cloth?


> miesje


Grump, grump, grump. I had spent an hour composing this really cool

reply with links and fun stuff, but Netscape crashed. I'll try again.



Miesje, you're in Australia. I'm limited in my references to sites and

citations I've found here in the United States, nonetheless I hope this

will give you some pointers-- and I hope you won't find my reply too

ethno-centric on USA/Europe.


I haven't done a whole lot of active research into these topics, but I

am a web-wanderer and avid reader and have wended my way through

information you might find of interest.  


Firstly, you have three very broad requests there, the last one is

relatively easy to give a link.  Mistress Thora Sharptooth (Carolyn

Priest-Dorman) is a weaver interested in period fabric construction

(though admittedly primarily tablet weaving...). She's found at:




and her textile bibliographies are very extensive!!


Interweave Press has a book called A Weaver's Book of Eight Shaft

Weaving Patterns, ISBN 0-934026-67-, edited by Carol Strickler, that

contains a lot of undocumented-though-conjecturally-period drafts and

drawdowns for gorgeous twills, perfect for the Society handweaver. Check

out samples 270 and 271!!


Your second request involves information on building a loom.  If you've

been reading the discussion earlier on warp-weighted looms vs.

horizontal looms, primarily you want to decide what kind of fabric you

want as an end product.


With respect to constructing a warp-weighted loom, a good illustration

of a simple warp-weighted loom in business is located at Master Gerekr's





and another, encyclopedic page (Ullarbladid) showing several pictures of

more elaborate warp-weighted looms with explanatory parts listed in

Icelandic and English at:




a weaver's source page is maintained by Ruthe Stowe at:




with links to Ullarbladid, Robin and Russ, Halcyon and many more sources

of yarns, entire pre-made looms and parts. This cryptic remark will make

sense in a moment. While we're on the subject o warp-wieighted looms, a

Navaho-style loom could be easily modified to a warp-weighted loom by

omitting the lower apron rod. I mention this as my late step-mother, a

professional weaver by trade, built herself a big one out of metal

plumbing pipe and lumber, on which she wove (amongst other things) an

incredible 5' by 8' tapestry of hand-spun and -dyed wool.


I do not have a handy link showing a 'modern' floor loom with all the

parts labelled, alas, so if my following answer is too technical, let me

know and I'll gladly translate.


I am not a particularly experienced weaver, however I've enough that I

have already formed definite opinions about what I want in a horizontal

loom-- and what I don't want.  Building a horizontal loom would be a

more massive undertaking than a warp-weighted loom due to the simple

fact that as a piece of machinery, it is a more complicated device than

the warp-weighted loom.  At a minimum, the hard parts to construct would

be the pulley system in the castle, foot pedals, shafts and

heddle-races, and the reed-- which parts are crucial to the operation of

a horizontal loom and to some extent, define the horizontal loom.  At a

minimum one needs two shafts/harnesses to form a shed (that's the

opening in the warp threads used to insert the weft, thus forming fabric

at a point called the fell line). I've seen commercial looms advertized

for 2-, 4-, 8-, 12-, 16- and even 24-shafts/harnesses. Mine own loom

hath eight-- and ten pedals (this allows one to tie up plain cloth, or

tabby, in addition to an eight-shaft draw-down, or in the alternative, a

ten-shaft pattern and no tabby. I digress.) and it weaves 21" cloth. *I*

think it's perfect, for now. :)


Then there's the reed. On a commercially-made horizontal loom, the reed

is the metal dingus that beats the weft into the shed. It also serves as

an alignment device for the warp as it travels from the back beam,

throught the heddles to the fell line. In period it was constructed out

of, well, reeds, which I presume were probably the same reeds used in

period corsetry, called bents. In the eastern United States it is

possible to luck out and buy a barn with the ancient barn loom still

contained therein (usually in questionable condition)-- and its reed, or

find a barn loom for sale as an antique. I have personally never

examined an antique reed, so I cannot comment with any authority theron,

other than to say that I once read an article by a production weaver who

did use a barn loom with antique reed to weave American

Revolutionary-style cloth; she preferred the vegetable reed for this

type of cloth over a modern steel reed for reasons I don't remember at

this point other than the recollection that her reasoning made perfect

sense at the time.


Robin and Russ Handweavers, Inc., sell loom parts.


I personally have two stainless steel reeds for my loom (no rust!), 6-

and 12-dents to the inch, and I'm currently lusting after a 10- or

20-dent as I really want to weave some fine linen, like 40 or 60 ppi.

Eventually. :)  My current project is a wool/silk blend that after one

inch of weaving has already suffered two broken warps out of 199 total;

the yarn is relatively hairy and is hanging up in the heddles and reed.

This goes back to my earlier comment on knowing what you want to produce

as a final product-- a warp-weighted loom would be easier on wool due to

its lack of reed and string heddles; bast and cotton are easier on a

horizontal loom. My silk/wool is double sleyed 24 picks per inch in a

12-dent reed, which is easier on wool warp, but...


At any rate, I need to get to bed, so I will stop yacking! I hope this

helps, though it's very general, as I said.





Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 11:45:42 -0500

From: Wendy Robertson <wcrobert at blue.weeg.uiowa.edu>

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

Subject: Re: 16C  Irish Looms & Leine


There is an interesting article about early Christian Irish loom widths.

This is much earlier than the 16th century, but I thought it might be of

interest anyway.


Hodkinson, Brian. "A reappraisal of the archaeological evidence for weaving

in Ireland in the early Christian period."  Ulster journal of archaeology,

3rd ser., v.50 (1987):47-53.


The article states that there is a noticeable lack of looms weights from

Ireland, so the warp weighted loom was probably not heavily used.  "The 120

sites which are included in this survey (and which probably represent over

90% of the settlement sites published up to and including 1985) have

produced a miximum of 20 loom weights." (p.47)


Instead of warp weighted looms, the author suggests two beam vertical looms

were used (introduced from Romans) and backstrap looms were used.

Backstrap looms would produce a very narrow cloth. "There are few

surviving Early Christian textiles with both selvedges; the only examples

known to the writer are single pieces from Lagore and Balinderry 2, both of

which are narrow, with widths of 34.5 cms (13 1/2 inches) and 25 cms (10

inches) respectively. . . . The simple tabby weaves of the Lagore textiles

are perfectly possible on this type of loom" (p.48)


The author suggests that later use of narrow cloth in Irish garments may

come from this weaving tradition.


Ailene nic Aedain

Shire of Shadowdale, Calontir

wcrobert at blue.weeg.uiowa.edu



Date: Wed, 13 Aug 1997 10:07:38 -0600 (CST)

From: "Donna Holsten" <holsten at nature.Berkeley.EDU>

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

Subject: RE: inkle weaving & warp faced band weaving


I remembered to look at my books last night!  I found a bunch of examples of

garters, belts, and otherwise unidentified tapes, in _Textiles_, some

costume/textile books I have, as well as in several jewelery books my

husband has.  (They have close-up pictures of buckles, many of which still

have some fabric attached.)  The items ranged from early AD to 16th Century.


(Just to make sure we're working from the same vocabulary, because a couple

times I've gotten the feeling that maybe we aren't quite, <G> "tabby"

simply means over-one, under-one.  It's a weave structure, not necessarily

an end result.  Tabby can be "weft-faced", like in tapestry, or 50/50, or

"warp-faced", or anywhere in between. _Textiles_ uses the term "tabby" to

differentiate the items from "cardwoven" or otherwise produced--not

necessarily as a description of how the piece ends up looking.)


All the pictures of *patterned* items (except the tapestry-woven

Coptic/Byzantine strips) look to be card-woven.  In fact, the only

non-card-woven tapes/belts/garters I saw were in _Textiles_ and a

Viking (?) belt that was leather with a loose 50/50 tabby silk over

the leather.


There are a couple pieces in _Textiles_ that are 50/50 tabby silk

strips--but I'm not really sure if they're tapes, or strips cut from a

larger piece of fabric.  The pieces shown on page 142 are warp-faced.

In fact, if you look at the chart on page 141, the tapes they found

range from (threads per cm, warp/weft) a 30/30 evenweave to a 48/13

*very* warp-faced fabric.


While it is possible to do elaborate finger-manipulated weaves based on a

rigid-heddle tabby, you're right in that it's a bit easier to do it with

card-weaving.  (Which, I imagine, is why most/all the extant pieces with

elaborate patterning are card-woven...  That, and the fact that you get a

somewhat sturdier fabric.)  _Textiles_ says that the examples

they have seem to be of all one color, although "similar silk ribbons

stitched to vestments show that many were made with multi-colored stripes."

(Page 142)  And then, on page 144, it talks about garters made with "a long

warp...set up on a narrow band loom", one of which has red and black

stripes, in a slightly-more-complicated-than-tabby weave. (I can't tell

from the picture, though, whether it's 50/50 or warp-faced.)


I think, as a safe general statement, if an item was to be very patterned,

or used as a belt, it would have been card-woven.  50/50 *and* warp-faced

tabby strips were used as facings, garters, trim, or maybe tie-ribbons.

Most of the tabby strips would have been monocolor, but some were striped or



> ...I was wondering if there was any evidence for bands of the type that could

> be made on an inkle loom.  It would be nice to be able to say that such

> weaving was actually period.


I would certainly say, yes, used for the appropriate purpose, it was.

(The finished product is, even if the loom used maybe isn't... <G>)

And, something I have to keep reminding myself, is that even though

_Textiles_ is exhaustive and a wonderful resource, it only covers London

from about 1100-1400.  It doesn't even *touch* other times or places.


Actually, IMHO the *biggest* problem I see with most of the inkle/card

weaving people do, is that the yarn is *way* too coarse and/or

overplied.  Now, granted, for the first few projects people

aren't exactly going to be able to use embroidery thread or reeled silk,

but a heavy crochet-cotton cord just doesn't quite give the right

results.  ;-)  If you look at the chart in _Textiles_ on page 141, the

coarsest tabby-woven braid they have is 28/12 warp/weft threads *per

centimeter*.  (And that also happens to be the only wool tape listed.)

Which means about 70/30 threads *per inch*.  Quite frankly, if you

manage to inkle-weave a tape that fine, probably less than one percent

of the people who see it are even going to be able to tell whether it

was inkle- or card-woven!  ;-)


I hope this helped a little...


Joanna Melissa Ronsivalle



Date: Wed, 08 Oct 1997 08:37:31 -0700

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

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

Subject: Re: Inkle Weaving


Laurie Luczyk wrote:

> I have been inkle weaving for a while now and have a question on the

> best methods to finish the ends after a piece is removed from the loom.

> Currently I am just braiding the fringe, but am very unhappy with the

> way it looks.  Also, if I decide to us it as trim this method will not

> work.


> Any suggestions/comments?

> -Lady Anisah Sahar


I tend to think that a finishing method I would recommend for use as

fabric trim would be dependent on what fiber you're using in your inkle

bands. Is it wool? Cotton? Linen? Slippery silk? How thick is the band

(which is not to say, how wide or long...)?


As an example, my one and only inkle length to date is of fairly thick

wool (tablet weaving appeals more to my sensibilities... personal

preference. Besides, the design possibilities are greater! ;) ). I

haven't bothered finishing the long ends yet as it doesn't seem to have

any raveling going on. If I were to use it for trim (leine bands for

sleeves seem to be its destination), then I'd hand stitch the long edges

on, I'd knot the band's raw edge off using a lot of little knots to

avoid bulk, carefully turn under the raw edge of the band, perhaps give

it a light glob of Fray Check where no sins would be seen between the

fabric and the band and hand-stitch the opening shut. Some variation of

this idea would most likely work.





Date: Wed, 8 Oct 1997 11:42:24 -0400 (EDT)

From: "Charles J. Cohen" <charles at eecs.umich.edu>

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

Subject: Re: Inkle Weaving


>From a friend of mine - Midair


From: TLBougher at aol.com

Date: Wed, 8 Oct 1997 11:18:39 -0400 (EDT)


<< I have been inkle weaving for a while now and have a question on the best

methods to finish the ends after a piece is removed from the loom.  Currently

I am just braiding the fringe, but am very unhappy with the way it looks.

Also, if I decide to us it as trim this method will not work.  


Macrame is an option for finishing ends when using as a belt.


If the inkle is to be used as trim, there is no need to finish the ends at

all (unless you just want to prevent unraveling in storage -- in which case,

you might just tie the loose warp threads into a knot or run the ends of the

woven section through the sewing machine).


Another option for finishing the end of the woven section is to cut the weft

about a foot from the finished piece. Place a tapestry needle onto the weft

and thread the weft back through the last three picks of weaving. Doing this

at the beginning of the weaving is a good idea as well. This will secure the

weaving and prevent unraveling. I learned this trick from Mistress Alexis.

Either of us could demonstrate it for you if my explanation is insufficient.


Anne Marie de Garmeaulx

(avid inkle weaver)



Date: Wed, 8 Oct 1997 12:50:30 -0400 (EDT)

From: SNSpies at aol.com

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

Subject: Re: Inkle Weaving


Remember that with tabletwoven bands, you just do not have the problem of

fraying at the ends.  The weft might loosen for a row or two, but you won't

lose the whole weave.  Just tucking under the cut ends and sewing it all down

will hold everything nicely.


Nancy (Ingvild)



Date: Wed, 8 Oct 1997 14:12:39 -0400 (EDT)

From: SNSpies at aol.com

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

Subject: Re: Inkle Weaving


<< I have been inkle weaving for a while now and have a question on the

best methods to finish the ends after a piece is removed from the loom.  >>


I can tell you how at least tabletwoven bands historically were finished, if

that helps.

If used as belts or cingulums, they were either left fringed, sometimes with

another small band across the end to cover the space where the weaving ends

and the fringe begins, or the end warp threads could be knotted and/or

tasseled.  I actually don't remember seeing any braided bands, but then I've

only really looked at tabletwoven bands.  If sewn to another textile, then

the ends were turned under and the whole band sewn down.


Nancy (Ingvild)



Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 07:25:27 +0930

From: "Melinda Shoop" <mediknit at nwinfo.net>

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

Subject: Re: Inkle Weaving


Greeting, good lady!  I was browsing last night on the web and found a site

which describes (and has a photo of) a pretty method of finishing ends of

tablet and inkle weaving with small beads.  the site is


I hope this helps.



Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 10:25:34 -0500

From: caroline at netusa1.net (mystarwin/Moira)

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

Subject: Re: Warp Dress for fine singles wool


>One of the things that's obvious, to my eye, when looking at photographs

>of migration era wool fabrics (usually a four-harness twill type woven

>from singles), is the quality and evenness of the spinning. The person

>who spun the wool consistently knew what the end result was going to be

>and selected her wool accordingly for the cloth she had in mind. The

>wool was then processed with a consistency I, as a fairly new spinner,

>can at this point only envy.



>(who has had to replace about twelve selvedge threads in her current

>project due to shredding from the reed-- and will try the beeswax trick

>suggested when she gets back to the loom tomorrow morning)


The beeswax does work.... you may try taking some very fine (0000) steel

wool to the reed, and then waxing it....  my reed needs replacing, it's too

rusty to use right now...


Moira Breabadair, MoAS

Shire of Narrental



Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 09:01:30 -0800 (PST)

From: Catherine Harper <tylik at eskimo.com>

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

Subject: Re: Warp Dress for fine singles wool


A bit ago I experimented with using flax seed lotion to shore up some hand

spun singles that weren't quite holding up to the beating I was putting

them through.  It seemed to work fairly well.  (No, I don't know if this

is a period method -- I just had a lot of flax seeds on hand.)


To produce flax seed lotion, put two tablespoons of flax seeds in a cup of

water, and simmer until about the consistency of egg whites.  You can

apply it with a sponge -- or even spin it in.  (I used to use it when

spinning flax, mostly because it was a little easier on my hands.)  It

washes right out.





Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 19:23:45 GMT

From: mmy at fp.co.nz (Maggie.Mulvaney)

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

Subject: Re: Warp Dress for fine singles wool


>A bit ago I experimented with using flax seed lotion to shore up some hand

>spun singles that weren't quite holding up to the beating I was putting

>them through.  It seemed to work fairly well.  (No, I don't know if this

>is a period method -- I just had a lot of flax seeds on hand.)


I've rattled on about this before; but when I translated the article

about the Viborg shirt, the author speculated over the sheer mass of

linseed found in scandinavian archaeological digs. She suggested

(purely as an aside) that perhaps linseed oil was produced as much as

linen - both for eating and other purposes. Since then I've

experimented with weaving on the warp-weighted loom, and applying

linseed oil to the weaving helped no end with the problem of the

sticky shed. It also changed the hand of the fabric - even when






Date: Tue, 13 Jan 1998 13:52:34 -0800

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

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

Subject: Re: Warp Dress for fine singles wool


>>I made some tartan scarves last year with larger singles and ran into huge

>>problems with that until I dressed it. They clung to each other, I couldn't

>>get a good shed-worse than mohair. When I advanced the warp, they would grab

>>each other and pull their neighbors through the wrong heddle eyes, and snapped

>>all over the place, What a mess, had to start over. I'm wanting to avoid the

>>same problems.


You might also want to check your heddle positions in the shafts. If

they are out of alignment (i.e., the eyes don't face a consistent

direction in the same shaft) then they will tend to aggravate

advancement of the warp by drag. I spent one evening going through 8 x

90 steel heddles (on rusty heddle bars, ick!), marking every tenth one

with bright pink for easy counting, and making sure that every last

blasted one was facing the same direction. I was thoroughly tired of

having to count each shaft's heddles for centering every time I

threaded-- now I only have one number to remember (90, eventually 100

heddles per shaft) and since they're consistently marked by tens, I can

count 'em by pink flashes instead of one by one.





Date: Mon, 25 May 1998 18:52:09 -0700

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

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

Subject: Re: Tablet Weaving to edge garments [SCA]


Gwen Morse wrote:


> I didn't realize what they meant at first, until I read through Candace

> Crockett's book a second time. It mentions that tablet weaving was used to

> attach the warp threads for some sort of weaving technique (not a weaver,

> and don't have the book in front of me...maybe warp-weighted looms?).


Yes. A common way to prepare a warp for a warp-weighted loom was to

execute a tablet-woven band with either an extended fringe on one side,

which, voila, magically turned into warp when 'stitched' to the cloth

beam of a w-w loom, or interlock a supplementary warp into one side of

the band's weft as one wove the header/tablet-woven band.


If you can get a hand on Marta Hoffman's "Warp Weighted Loom", there are

pictures scattered throughout of the Tegle Find, which, amongst other

things, shows a tablet-woven warp prepared in this fashion. The Tegle

warp find apparently was deposited exactly at the point where the

weaver's next step would have been to attach the band to the top of the

loom. The warp has been divided into two sheds by that favorite weaver's

knot-to-hold-tangled-messes, the overhand.


> I was considering how to add fringes to tablet woven bands when I

> "realized" how this would be done. What I'm curious about is this...


> What was the purpose of going to all the trouble of weaving a tablet-woven

> band just to use it to weave a whole length of cloth? Were these bands

> woven simply (simple = without ornamentation) in order to get on with the

> weaving, or, would they be decorated in their own right? Was this a

> "weakness" of this specific type of loom...that it needed a guide for the

> warp threads to be strung through?


All of your purposes, except for decorative function-- and that could be

done, too, on very high-end luxury cloths (if memory serves, NESAT II

discusses a decorated band that was stitched onto a cloth post-weaving).


> If bands of cloth were narrower than they are today, does that mean that

> the tablet weaving would end up a vertical line somewhere on the garment? I

> assumed even if if was used as edging it would be turned sideways. But,

> people keep mentioning the smaller widths of woven fabric. Or, was this the

> type of loom that allowed wider widths?


The tablet-woven header band would be one selvedge; one could also carry

a pack of cards down either side of one's warp-weighted weaving project

to make firm, long-wearing selveges down the sides of one's cloth, and

then finish the bottom edge by tablet-weaving across, using the cloth's

warp as tablet-woven weft, and fringing off the short ends of the

warp/tablet weft at the very end. Thorsberg Prachtmantel I was made this



If I were attempting this on a warp-weighted loom, I'd have each shed on

its own separate weights, and the decks of cards on either side on their

own weights, too.


> Would they be woven out of the same "thread" the cloth was woven out of

> (would linen bands be the warp guide for linen cloth and wool bands the

> warp guide for wool cloth)?


I think it's safe to say 'yes'.


> I *still* don't have access to "Ancient Danish Textiles" (which apparently

> has a whole chapter dedicated to this sort of info), although the

> librarians assure me they put the ILL request through properly this time.

> So, any information would be appreciated in the meantime!


I got Cal State Fullerton's copy of Hald from my local library via ILL

day before yesterday. ;) I read it Saturday night for dessert, and I'm

back for snacking already.


> This is really more of a generic weaving than tablet-weaving set of

> question, which is why I ask here instead of on CARDS-L. Oh, yes, and I

> realize there's the whole "No extant examples of clothing from 5th century

> Ireland". I'm speaking more in generalities right now, of when tablet

> weaving would be an integral part of the weaving process. I'm sure it's the

> same the world over, once people understand what I'm trying to ask (unless,

> of course, it ISN'T the same, which is just as possible).


> Gwen Morse


Well, that I'll leave up to you and your level of comfort/discomfort

when faced with an absence of concrete evidence either way. ;) Using

tablet-woven header bands was pretty much SOP for warp-weighted loom

dressing, and even the two ladies who dressed a warp-weighted loom and

wove a blanket for the benefit of Marta Hoffman in the (um) fifties

(from knowledge passed down in generations of their family) used a

header band made with a rigid heddle. I can assert with some confidence

that starting off a warp-weighted loom textile with some type of narrow

band and extended fringe that turned into warp is a technique used for a

Very Long Time all across northern Europe. I do not know when

tablet-woven header bands turned into heddle-woven bands, though, and

early period textiles are, to my knowledge, made universally with

tablet-woven headers rather than rigid-heddle (tabby) headers. There's

even an example of a sprang cap made with a tablet-woven band with a

weft fringe that turned into the sprang body of the cap (Crockett has a

reproduction of one towards the back of the book; check out Barber's

"Prehistoric Textiles" for the actual find, plus Hald, once you lay

hands on it). And, there's a theory out there that the neat looking

longish cap thingies with, sometimes a tassel, shown so commonly on

women's heads on Greek vases are really sprang.





Subject: Re: Card Weaving

Date: Wed, 3 Mar 1999 10:24:45 EST

From: SNSpies at aol.com

To: stefan at texas.net


Hello, Stefan.


<<  Could you send me the list again by email? >>


Certainly.  It would be my pleasure.  Actually, I had found one error, so this

will be a corrected list.  Your Florilegium site is a goldmine of wonderful

stuff, by the way.  I hope that others will enjoy this list of suppliers as

much as our tablet weavers have.  Sometimes it's really difficult to find good

sources for fine silks or appropriate metallic threads when all you know

about is JoAnns, so I am very pleased to be able to help. Thanks for asking!







1.  Aurora Silk, 5806 North Vancouver Avenue, Portland, OR 97217  (503)

286-4149 -  silk threads

2.  BeggarÕs Lace, P.O. Box 481223, Denver, CO 80248 (303) 722-5557

lacelady at rmii.com - silk, linen, cotton threads

3.  Bob Patterson, P.O. Box 424, Orinda, CA  94563  (925) 943-5243 - silk,

linen, and cotton threads

4.  Books in Transit, 2830 Case Way, Turlock, CA 95382 (209) 632-6984 -

out-of-print  books

5.  Carolina Homespun, 190 Eastridge Rd., Ridgeway, VA 24148  (800) 450-7786

homespun at kimbanet.com - tablets, shuttles, belt tablet-weaving holder, looms, warping pegs, books

6.  Daisy Chain, P.O. Box 1258, Parkersburg, WV 26102 (304) 428-9500 -

silk, metallic, real gold and silver threads

7.  Earth Guild, 33 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC 28801 (800) 327-8448

inform at earthguild.com or        catalog.earthguild.com - square cardboard

tablets, belt shuttles, books, linen, cotton, and wool threads

8.  Fiber Hut, 2316 Crestwood Rd., SE, Calgary, Alberta T2C 0C6 Canada

(403) 279-2658 - square cardboard tablets, books, silk, linen, cotton, and wool threads

9.  Fibrecrafts, Style Cottage, Lower Eashing, Godalming, Surrey GU7 2QD

England (48) 342-1853) - square cardboard tablets, warping pegs with clamps, shuttles, books

10.  Halcyon Yarns, 12 School Street, Bath, ME 04530 (800) 341-0282 -

square cardboard tablets, warping pegs, books, silk, linen, cotton, wool, and metallic threads

11.  Handweavers Studio and Gallery, 29 Haroldstone Road, London E17 7AN

England  (81) 521-2281 - square and     hexagonal cardboard tablets, warping

pegs with clamps, shuttles, silk, linen, cotton, wool, and metallic threads

12.  Hedgehog Handworks, P.O. Box 45384, Westchester, CA 90045 (888)

670-6040 - silk, linen, cotton, metallic threads

13.  Linda Hendrickson, 140 SE 39th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214  (503)

239-5016  lindahendrickson at cnnw.net - square cardboard tablets, shuttles, kits, books, video

14. Heritage Looms, Route 6, Box 731-E, Alvin, TX 77511 (409) 925-4161 -

tabletop looms, square cardboard tablets

15. Frank Herring & Sons, 27 High West Street, Dorchester, Dorset DT1 1UP

England  (30) 524-4449 - square plastic tablets, warping pegs with clamps, shuttles

16. HowellÕs Weaving Emporium, 4832 Salmon Drive, Paradise, CA 95969  (503)

877-4539 - tabletop looms, shuttles

17. Klotz Country Crafts, 908 E. Eloika Rd., Deer Park, WA 99006  (888)

447-7675 - card weaverÕs surf-board loom

18 LACIS, 3163 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA 94703  (510) 843-7178

staff at lacis.com - silk, linen, cotton, and metallic threads, including GŸtermann silks and color card

19 Lou‘t, P.O. Box 267, Ogdensburg, NY 13669  (613) 925-4502 - square wooden


20. Laura Morgan, 1633 Stoney Creek Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22902  (804)

984-0537 - handmade wooden tablets

21. Needle Arts, Inc., 2211 Monroe, Dearborn, MI 48124 (313) 278-6266 -

silk, linen, cotton, metallic, real gold threads

22. Nordic Needle, 1314 Gateway Drive, Fargo, ND 58103 (800) 433-4321

needle at corpcomm.com - silk, cotton, and metallic threads

23. Bob Patterson, P.O. Box 424, Orinda, CA  94563  (925) 943-5243

Bob at threadshop.com, www.threadshop.com - silk, linen, cotton threads

24. Robin and Russ Handweavers, 533 North Adams Street, McMinnville, OR

97128  (800) 932-8391   robin&russ at onlinemac.com - square and hexagonal

cardboard tablets. shuttles, books, videos

25.  The Silk Tree, 20297 Stanton Ave., Maple Ridge, BC V2X 9A5 Canada

(604)465-9816  aurum at axionet.com - silk threads

26. Otfried Staudigel, Hšppnerstrasse 108, D - 47809 Krefeld, Germany -

floor-standing looms

27. Textile Reproductions, Box 48, West Chesterfield, MA 01084  (413)

296-4437  - silk, linen, cotton, and wool  threads (early vegetable dyes used)

28. Things Japanese, 9805 NE 116th Street, Suite 7160, Kirkland, WA 98034

(206) 821-2287 - silk and metallic threads

29. Treenway Crafts, 725 Caledonia Avenue, Victoria, BC V8T 1E4 Canada

(604) 383-1661 treenway at coastnet.com - silk threads

30. Unicorn Books and Crafts, 1338 Ross Street, Petaluma, CA 94954  (800)

289-9276 - square cardboard tablets, belt shuttles, belt tablet weaving holder, books, videos

31. The Weaving Works, 4717 Brooklyn Ave., NE, Seattle, WA 98105  (206)

524-1221 - square cardboard tablets,    shuttles, warping pegs, belt tablet

weaving holder, books, videos

32. WEBS, P.O. Box 147, Northampton, MA 01061-0147  (413) 584-2225

webs at yarn.com - silk threads

33. Yarn Barn, P.O. Box 334, Lawrence, KS 66044  (800) 468-0035 - square

cardboard tablets, shuttles, warping pegs, books



Date: Mon, 19 Apr 1999 07:23:55 -0400

From: Honour Horne-Jaruk <honour at banet.net>

Organization: Maison Rive Historic Clothing

To: Lissa McCollum <lissamc at primenet.com>

Subject: Re: a question for the weavers


Lissa McCollum wrote:

> I have a question for the weavers in the group...


> I found a Pendleton 4 heddle 40" floor loom at a

> garage sale today, that seems to be in quite good

> shape. For $20 (don't hurt me) I wasn't going to

> pass it up, even though I know next to nothing

> (yet) about weaving.


> So...what are some good basic introduction to

> weaving texts? And what are some good historical

> research books on weaving to keep my eyes out for?

> Are there any web sites I should know about?


> Gwendolen Wold


    Respected friend:

    Get a copy of _Warping all by Yourself_, by Cay Garrett.

ISBN 0-930670-01-9, it's available from Interweave Press. I have no idea

if the technique is period, but it really does make it possible for you

to put a smooth, even-tensioned warp on the loom all alone.


Honour Horne-Jaruk

Maison Rive Historic Clothing



Subject: ANST - Weavers

Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2000 13:48:11 MST

From: "Russell Husted" <husted at hotmail.com>

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org


Here is an absolutely wonderful site on beduin weaving.





<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