Archive for the ‘Weaving’ Category

Just finished another band on my inkle loom. This one was also ordered by a re-enactor; I’ve sold three bands now and earned the same amount the loom cost me.

Inkle loom bandInkle loom band

It resembles much the first band I ever wove, but this one has an extra stripe of dark brown along the edge. When I look at the pictures of my first band I’ve definitely improved my weaving! My goodness, the edges of that first one are so wonky.
This is the exact pattern I used (made here). It has 33 warp threads and is 23 mm wide.

Inkle loom patternInkle loom pattern


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Inkle band warp float pick-up patternInspired by the fantastic blog Backstrap weaving, I continued weaving bands, this time trying my hand at a simple but nice technique that allows for a bit  more complicated patterning: warp floats. There is a good tutorial on the abovementioned website. My first try was much appreciated by some of my fellow Viking age re-enactors and two people even ordered a band. I haven’t had a hobby before that pays for itself actually, so that was nice.

Two inkle bands pick-up pattern
On the backside you see the colour of the weft coming through, which gives a funny effect as well. Perhaps I will try to do more with this another time, it’s an easy way of bringing in an extra colour:

Inkle band warp float pick-up pattern

Two inkle bands
The trouble with this technique is that the threads are pulled in a bit more than with plain weave, so that the band becomes narrower. Hence you need more warp threads so achieve the same width, and that wasn’t really working out on the small ‘loom’ I had. That’s when I decided to buy myself a proper inkle loom. It came by mail this weekend, and I’m so happy with it!

Ashford inkle loom
Setting up the warp was SO much easier and it’s also very nice to not be tied to your weaving. I also found it less tiring for my arms and shoulders. On the picture above you see the shortest possible warp: 1.3 m giving a band of a little more than 1 m. The longest possible warp is 3.4 m, a little shorter than what I would have wished for, but I couldn’t find a larger loom available in my country. This one is an Ashford, they have a smaller model available also.

Inkle band

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In the last post I talked about a band I was weaving to decorate my Viking age coat or kaftan. Here are some pictures of the finished coat.

Viking coat with woven band

The coat was made of wool in a very dark shade of grey, almost black, which contrasts nicely with the colourful band. I also like how the colours of the band match the glass and amber beads. Fashion at that time was to have strands of beads hanging from the two brooches that fasten the straps of the apron dress (the green one) at the chest/shoulder (brooches are not visible on the pictures).

Viking coat with woven band

Last weekend there was a re-enactment event at a castle where I wore my new coat, and it served its purpose of keeping me comfortably warm. The only thing I still need are a pair of clasps to fasten the coat at the front.

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     Inkle loom woven bandToday 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.

Wool dyed with onion skins

Onion skins – madder roots – onion skins:

Wool dyed with plants

I am planning to buy an inkle Inkle weavingloom, 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.

Warp threads inkle loom weaving

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:

Inkle loom patternInkle loom pattern

Inkle loom weaving band

I hope to show pictures of the end result soon, when the band is sewed onto my coat.

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Since a few months, I have a new hobby and I’m pretty thrilled about it. It feels like a lot of things come together: my love of crafts and craft history, my fascination for how common people lived their lives in earlier times, and my desire of the last year or so to meet new people outside the university world. And where did I find all this? In re-enactment of the middle ages!

Always when I saw re-enactors in open air museums or at festivals, I thought how cool it would be to do such a thing, but it never crossed my mind that I could simply join a group. Over the past years I read books on local history, I dyed wool with plants that I found outside, I tried card weaving and learned needle binding (both methods going back to at least early medieval times). Now that I joined the re-enactors group I have not only found a purpose for those crafts, but even people to share my interests with.

The first thing I’m working on now is to create a viking age dress, as one of the subgroups I joined brings to live 9th century European tribes such as the Frisians, Francs and Vikings. A nice thing about the Vikings is that they seemed to have been quite fond of jewelry and other decoration, such as woven band. Therefore I started weaving band on an inkle loom, which is fun to do and goes very quick as well. On this website, I found a great pattern generator.

This is the inkle loom with the warp threads before I started weaving. In the following graphs, you can see the different colours of the warp threads, the resulting pattern (generated by the above-mentioned website) and the end result. Although this band is quite plain and simple, I will perhaps use it for my dress.

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