Today I finished weaving a 6 m long band. Nice and colourful, isn’t it? I will use it for decorating a re-enactment Viking coat. Two of the three colours I dyed myself with plant material: red with madder roots and yellow with onion skins. I really enjoyed the dying process, it is so much fun to see beautiful colours appearing from simple plant material.
I especially liked dying with onion skins, they are easy to collect during daily cooking and give wonderful colours. This golden yellow was obtained by heating the wool in water with 100% of the wool’s weight in onion skins, dyed for only 30 minutes at maximum 90°C (the wool was first mordanted with 15% alum). After that I felt sorry to throw away the onion skin ‘soup’ that still had so much colour, so I threw in a second skein of wool. This one was not pre-treated with alum, and I heated it for about two hours (at max. 90°C) and let it cool in the dye pot until the next day. It turned out more orange-brownish compared to the first one.
Onion skins – madder roots – onion skins:
I am planning to buy an inkle loom, but for now I simply weave by tying one end of the warp threads to a fixed point and the other end to my belt, with the heddle in between. I do look forward to buying an inkle loom though, as it is hard to keep the tension right, especially of the outermost warp threads.
For this specific band, I needed warp threads of 7.5 m long. I cut them, wound each on a paper roll, and hang them on a stick, so that I could slowly pull and make a braid. This braid was untied bit by bit as I wove.
The weaving pattern was designed with help of the pattern generator that I’ve linked to before. These graphs show the order of the warp threads and the final pattern:
I hope to show pictures of the end result soon, when the band is sewed onto my coat.