Weave Along with Elewys, Ep. 12: 10th Century Mammen

In the mid 1800s, in the town of Mammen, just outside of Viborg, Denmark, a farmer discovered a grave from the 10th century. Inside was a treasure trove of rich textiles and weapons, laid there to honor a man who was in the service of King Harold Bluetooth. Among the many finds, which included wax candles, silver axes, and silks, was this lovely piece of tablet weaving.

My middle kid, Cam, asked for a piece of weaving for Christmas, and sent me a photo (from Pinterest) with this pattern on it. I recognized it as a period pattern, and knew that I had to share it all with you. She chose the colors–so it’s not part of the Laurel Kingdoms project. And it’s not exactly like the period piece–apparently the original had 17 cards, was made from both wool and a vegetable fiber (probably linen) that degraded, and the pattern was likely done in a brocade technique. However, this double-sided, skip-hole weave is so lovely, I think you’re going to enjoy it!

Because the black threads in this piece were threaded ABBA, it made me think of music from my very young childhood…and I named this piece Mamman Mia. I know…terrible joke, but I’ve been spending a lot of time indoors….the weather is dreary and the endless months of virus lockdowns have taken their toll.

Despite 2020 being the dumpster fire that it is, I have a lot to be grateful for–my family, my friends, YouTube, and my faithful viewers. Here’s to a much better 2021. Thanks for a terrific year!

Elewys

Christmas Spirit

It is mid-December and the holidays draw near
I found it imperative that I spread good cheer.

You’ll find here below a pattern for you.
Its turns are complex, I admit that is true.

But with the skills you have learned here so far,
You will do just fine and earn a gold star.

I’ve changed just a few things to make it more merry.
Now I’m going to get me a big class of sherry.

(OK, I don’t actually drink sherry–maybe a bottle of hard cider instead.)

I was asked this morning by a viewer about the red, yellow and black piece in the opening sequence of the video, and where that pattern could be found. The answer is that the original is on Pinterest, but it’s written in a rather hard-to-read format, so I set out to “translate” it into the TDD (Bazzalisk) (jamesba.github.io/tabletweave) charting system.

However, the original pattern has a little hidden swastika in the middle of it, which always gave me a level of consternation. For those who are outside of North America, the swastika–although used extensively in the Medieval period–is still very much a symbol used in hate crimes and the sight of it causes distress to some people in minority communities. It wasn’t really IN YOUR FACE, but still…it was there, so I hesitated in including it in some displays or teaching the pattern. Today, I set about altering the middle of the design to remove the symbol while maintaining the amazing movement and color that so many people remark on with this piece.

I hope you enjoy weaving it!

With much love and appreciation, and wishing you all a very happy holiday season and a fantastic, healthy and happy new year!

Elewys

Weave Along with Elewys, Ep. 11: Estonian Virunuka

Here’s the big one, folks…hold onto your hats!

This is the recreation based on the three extant pieces that were found dating from the 12-14th centuries in Estonia. The fragments are housed in the University of History in Tallinn.

Many thanks to Julia Christie Amor for her draft from which I drew heavily for information: http://www.yrmegard.net/ee/tablets/patterns/tw_artefact_pattern_02

Due to the size of the image, I had to paste it in here in three parts or it would be blurry. I tried a couple different ways and neither of them worked…so three chunks it is.

Parte the Firste: picks 1 to 60.

Note that card #3 should be S threaded, not Z; I had completed it, saved it and started a new project and much later discovered that error. The only way to correct it now is to re-draft the entire thing, which took hours the first time….SO that’s not happening just yet. Just make card #3 S threaded, K?

Parte the Seconde: picks 61 to 120.

Middle bit of the pattern.

Parte the thirde: picks 121 to 184. I discovered that the pattern was missing the last two picks (somehow I didn’t clue in that 182 was not divisible by 4, so the cards would not be back in the ‘home’ position at the end). Oops…not sure if that was my error or that of the original that I was translating from. So, I created two extra picks that I added on afterwards and while they’re not perfect, it creates pattern continuity.

You’ll note the last couple of picks in the above pattern–what should be 183 and 184–were added when I discovered it was missing from the pattern.

Print out all three parts for the complete pattern. I have them on separate sheets of paper so they’re large enough to read easily.

This piece celebrates my Kingdom, An Tir! It was created in 1982, formerly a principality of the Kingdom of the West, it covers the states of Washington, Oregon, Northern Idaho, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia*, Yukon and Northern Territories. Our colors are black, white and yellow.

*A small chunk of BC is actually part of the Kingdom of Avacal…geographical distance and topography being what it is…you know…

This piece is not any more *difficult* than any of the other pieces we’ve done, but there are a lot more picks to complete for each repeat (184, to be exact), but if you take your time, be patient, and follow the directions, you should do just fine.

Good luck, and have fun!

Elewys

Weave Along with Elewys, Ep. 10: Estonian Siksala Snail Motif

Ok, it might not *actually* be a snail, but it looks a little snail-like to me.

The “right” side of the pattern…
…and the “wrong” side! I think I like this side better.

I had asked on the community page what kind of weaving you all would like to see next, and about half of you said something different and more challenging.  And I thought I found one…but I think I’ll put it off til next time.  That one has 38 cards; a very random, meandering pattern; and seems to go on for days…and days…and days…  In all, 182 picks to this repeat…  If you want to do that weave with me, and you don’t have that many cards, this is your fair warning to stock up!

So I looked around some more and found one that I think is much more do-able, but still a bit different because it isn’t Norse and not geometric.  I don’t have a lot of history on this one because, while there are some papers written on the subject… I don’t read Estonian.  Sure, I could rely on Google Translate to help, but many times, as many of you may have experienced, the translations leave a lot to be desired. 

The motif that I have chosen comes from a 13th or 14th century grave find in Estonia, the Siksala shawl, found in grave 200.  It is currently housed in the archaeological collection at the Tallinn University Institute of History. There are more than a dozen different motifs around this woven and beaded edge, where the weaver did two or three repeats of a design, then moved onto the next one, a bit like a skip hole weaving sampler.

The shawl’s edging is largely complete—almost the entire edge remains, but the body of the shawl has mostly disintegrated. 

Rather than try to chart out the entire thing (there is a book available on Ebay for under $8 US that does just that), I have chosen one very pretty motif, and its mirror image, to show you for this video.  It’s got really cute snail-like curls—and I love snails! 

I hunted around for a new and different piece of tablet weaving and came across a photo of a re-created piece and I absolutely fell in love with it. Unfortunately, the person who posted the image on Pinterest didn’t credit the maker (ALWAYS credit the maker!), I dug around some more and found that these photos actually belonged to my favorite weaver to stalk, Mervi Pasanen.  https://hibernaatio.blogspot.com/2012/01/lautanauhaa-virosta-tablet-weaving-from.html

The next kingdom in our Laurel Kingdoms project is the Kingdom of Atlantia, created in 1981 whose borders encompass Maryland; Virginia; North and South Carolina; Augusta, Georgia & Washington DC.  Their colors are blue and white.  Given the oceanic theme of that region, the snail-like motifs will be a perfect fit for that Kingdom.

Don’t be afraid of the length of this pattern! It’s got the same techniques that you have already done–skip hole, turning cards forwards & backwards–it’s just a lot longer. However, you don’t have to worry about twist build up in the cards–this is a zero-twist pattern. You will need to flip your border cards every couple of repeats.

The long and skinny…
…or the double-wide. This one prints on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet easier.

Thanks so much for joining me again! Happy weaving, a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving to all my US viewers, and hope all your lockdowns are swift and comfortable. Check on your neighbors…we all need to look out for each other.

My Inkle Loom: Woodworker Episode

I’ve had a number of folks asking me about my loom, how it was made, where I bought it, etc. The answers are: it’s an Inkle loom–a 19th century invention (so…not medieval at all), unknown maker, and I bought it second hand more than 20 years ago. I think I bought it before I had kids…and my eldest is 23 now.

However, I am here to give you plans, dimensions, photos, and all the suggestions for improvement if I were to make it again. The discussion will be in the video, but this is where I wanted to post all the drawings (for what they’re worth–it’s been many a year since I took drafting, and I am not a proficient woodworker, so your mileage may vary).

This is a view of the back of the loom. If I were to make it again, I would make the slot for the tension peg at least an inch longer–maybe two.
This is a view of the forward end–the weaver’s end–but still the back view of the loom. I have omitted the tension peg in this drawing for simplicity. Note that this drawing is not to scale…I wasn’t sure how to do that at an angle, but I think it makes sense.
This is the view from the forward end–the weaver’s end–of the loom. Again, not to scale, and clearly, not the best drawing ever. The pegs don’t even come close to lining up…sigh.
A simple diagram of the tension peg. The threaded screw fits into the narrow slot on the base, and into the tapped end. The wooden peg pinches the base as you tighten the screw.
The front of the loom. From this angle, you can see how close together the pegs are on the left (weaver’s) end and the three pegs in the middle. If you are using this exclusively as a tablet weaving loom, those pegs can be spread out further to accommodate the warping. I might also add an additional peg on the base between the right-most peg and the one to its left, just above and to the left of the stabilizing foot.
Top view of the loom.
The back of the loom. Note that the pegs are all wedged into place. The stability foot was added later by me, but I strongly recommend it.
The end of the loom–the weaver’s end.
Here’s the loom warped up–now you can see how the pegs have been placed to accommodate the weaving. The peg at the lower right is lower than the pegs in the middle of the base, and the large gap between the top peg on the first upright and its second peg leaves room for a string to go directly from the front peg to the back peg if you are using it for inkle weaving.
Inkle loom, warped, for reference. Note how half of the strings go directly from the front peg to the back peg. The other half go through string heddles, then up to the top peg on the first upright, then to the back peg. If you are making your loom for only tablet weaving, you don’t need to worry about that gap.

I hope you are able to translate these images and drawings into a loom of your own!

And when you find that this little guy isn’t enough for you…

Weave Along with Elewys, Episode 9: Easy Peasy Applesies

Kaukola Kekomaki #379

If you were to ask me for book recommendations, and you have!, one of the books that I will recommend to every historic tablet weaver is Applesies and Fox Noses, Finnish Tabletwoven Bands from Maikki Karisto and Mervi Pasanen.

Applesies–the Finnish Tablet Weaving Bible

This is a collection of 30 patterns ranging from very easy to difficult, and includes period motifs from tablet weaving fragments found from the Finnish Iron Age, which ranges from 500 BC to 1300 AD.

The other comments I’ve gotten from the Tablet Weaving for Absolute Beginners is that the pattern was too complex. If you want to start your first tablet woven band and want a very easy pattern to start with–this is it!

Kaukola Kekomäki drawing of the book from Theodor Schwint: Tietoja Karjalan  rautakaudestan from 1893 | Tissage tablettes, Archéologie, Carte
Theodor Schwindt’s drawing of fragment #379.

This pattern comes from a fragment found in the Kaukola Kekomaki graveyard dating from the Karelian Iron Age–as mentioned above. This three-color fragment was found on a dress, a detailed drawing of this 14 mm wide band (slightly over 1/2″) is in Theodor Schwindt’s book, Tietoja Karjalan rautakaudesta (“About the Karelian Age”), published in 1893. The item is labeled as #379.

A variation of Colorful Small Applesies from Applesies and Fox Noses, Finnish Tabletwoven Bands by Maikki Karisto and Mervi Pasanen, ISBN 978-952-5774-49-8.

Some of you may have seen this pattern or similar ones on Pinterest or come across it in Google searches. The web site for these two amazing weavers is https://hibernaatio.blogspot.com where they have several other patterns. You may panic for a moment because there are quite a lot of words you don’t recognize…yes, it’s written in Finnish. But DON’T PANIC–if you look carefully, you’ll see there is also English written in there! Not this pattern, of course, but on the web site. It’s OK.

You’ll notice that this pattern doesn’t have S and Z written under the pattern, and you’ll also see that the pattern is labeled DCBA…upside down! And the card is COUNTERCLOCKWISE! AAAAAHHHHH!

No, don’t panic. Let’s plug that into the tablet weaving draft designer: https://jamesba.github.io/tabletweave/ and make the bubbles look the same as the image.

There we go! Now, if you’ve watched my previous weaving videos, or if you’re familiar with this notation, you should be able to warp this one up! And if you’re not familiar with the Applesies charting system, you also now have the key for how their notations will translate into warping your loom.

Ansteorra where the wind comes sweeping down the plain…

This next piece in the Laurel Kingdoms project is honoring the Kingdom of Ansteorra (which means “one star”–totally appropriate for the Lone Star State!), which was elevated from a Principality to a Kingdom in 1979, which encompasses Oklahoma and Texas. Their colors are red, black and yellow.

The progress of my woven piece. Looks pretty sharp! The finished size of this piece is 17 mm, just slightly larger than the original (14 mm).

10 Things to do With Your Tablet Woven Bands

In this video, I took a little side step to answer the question: “What do you do with all those tablet woven bands?!” (Besides drop them into a box and shove them into a closet…)

Sure, I do have a bunch that I keep as my “portfolio” for Arts & Sciences displays and for teaching, but I do occasionally use them for reenactment events and my everyday life. You don’t have to be into Medieval or Norse reenactment events to make use of your tablet weaving–you can use them in many modern applications as well. But to give you an idea what you can use them for, I came up with a short list!

  1. Belts
  2. Bag straps
  3. Guitar straps
  4. Clothing trim
  5. Dog leashes
  6. Winnegas
  7. Headbands
  8. Purses
  9. Keychains
  10. Lanyards
  11. Decoration for pillowcases
  12. Quilts and comforters
  13. Wrapping gifts
  14. Decorating Christmas trees
  15. Holiday centerpieces
  16. Gifts
  17. AND SO MUCH MORE!

Yes, that’s quite a few more than 10, but those are just a few ideas for how you can use tablet weaving for both costumes and everyday wear.

And, as promised, here is the pattern for the lanyard (keychain-dog leash-purse strap-holiday centerpiece…). This one is about as easy as it gets–thread it according to the directions and it’s simply four turns forward and four turns back. Repeat.

Super simple–four forward and four back of all cards (except borders…where I accidentally included card 29 in the forward and back–that should just turn forward…oops.)

Thanks for checking out the video and the blog, and I will see you next time on Weave Along with Elewys!

And if you are so inclined, I recently set up a Ko-Fi account: https://ko-fi.com/elewys.

Weave Along with Elewys, Episode 8: St. Bertille of Chelles Abbey

Edit! Updated pattern!! After looking at the extant piece and my pattern, I decided that the little blue <> on the sides didn’t belong, so I adjusted it and came up with this!

Border cards are now the 4 cards on each side which will need to be flipped every few repeats to deal with the twist build up.

As the weather cools in the northern hemisphere (and life begins anew in the southern lands) we are minded of the upcoming holidays and thinking ahead for gift ideas for those we love.  If you have a Medieval enthusiast on your list, I may have an idea for you!  Have you been shopping for reliquaries and coming up empty handed?  Vendors all out of slivers of the one true cross?  Finger bones of Saints on back order?  Well, never fear, fellow weavers—you can create your own relics–the sleeve of St. Bertille!

Born in the early years of the 7th century, Bertille was born to a prominant family in Soissons, France, about 60 miles/100 km northeast of Paris.  As a child, she spent her time in prayer and doing “serious duties”, not wanting to spend time doing frivolous things, and as she grew up, she found the world to be tempestuous and despised it.  She found comfort in prayer and conversations with God.  About the year 630, shortly after it opened, her parents brought her to the Jouarre Abbey in the city of Brie, about 20 mi/30 km SE of Paris.  We don’t know how old she was when she arrived, but I would guess between 15 and 20 years.

She was educated by the Abbess Thelchildis and was known for her humility and self-denial.  She was committed to aiding the sick and caring for the children being educated at the monastery.  When Chelles Abbey was founded, with tremendous support from Queen Bathilde in 646, Bertille was chosen to be its first Abbess.   20 years later, that Queen retired from Royal service, as her son took the throne, and moved to Chelles Abbey, where she lived until her death in 680.  The Abbess died 12 years later, in 692.  Both were buried at the Abbey and about 200 years later, both had been canonised as saints.  Her feast day is November 5th.

The sleeve and tablet woven trim from St. Bertille, late 7th century.

Among the textiles, at least three tablet woven pieces were found there—although, their garments were moved in the late 9th century, and displayed as saint relics for passing Pilgrims, then later moved again during the French Revolution to spare them from destruction, so we’re not really sure which woven piece belonged to which woman.  Despite the rough handling, the fragments held up remarkably well, and so much detail can be seen on them.  The pattern I’m going to share with you today is a bit of tablet weaving on what is presumed to be the Abbess’s sleeve. The extant piece is 9 mm wide, made from silk in red, yellow and dark brown.  2/3 of that width is border cards, so this center design is a very fine 3 mm wide. 

Kingdom of Caid, created in 1978, comprises the regions of Southern CA, Southern Nevada (including Las Vegas) and Hawaii.  Sounds like a party!  Their colors are blue and white, but looking at their banner, it also has yellow in the laurel wreath and crown, so I’m adding a third color because this pattern lends itself well to using three colors…so let’s do that!  Grab your looms and let’s get to work!

St. Bertille weaving pattern

Weave Along with Elewys, Episode 7: Snartemo II

The last video for the Hallstatt 152 skip hole may have been a bit too advanced for a beginner, so here is a very easy skip hole pattern for beginners!

The original band was found in Hægebostad in the southern part of Norway and dates to about 500 A.D. The tablets in the central area were threaded with only two threads per tablet, the border tablets with four.

The three graves at the Snartemo farm were excavated over an 85 year period, between 1847 and 1933, which uncovered a number of fantastic pieces, including a sword, glass beakers, gold rings and more, dating to about 500 AD. Grave II (excavated in 1878) and Grave V appeared to be those of a warrior nobleman, both containing remarkable textiles, including the bands we know as Snartemo II and Snartemo V, the latter being significantly more complex than the former. The simpler band from grave II was woven with 17 tablets in two colors of fine wool using the skip hole technique. It measures 0.9 cm, but colors have not been determined as no dye analysis has been done. Lisa Raeder Knudsen did a study of the extant piece and said, “In Bjørn Hougen’s book “Snartemofunnene” 1935 a drawing is shown, but the analysis is not correct.” More recent in-depth studies have been done very recently; the link is below.

As part of my Laurel Kingdoms project, this piece is celebrating the Kingdom of Meridies, which was created in 1978 from the Kingdom of Atenveldt in the Southeast United States. Its borders currently encompass the entirety of Alabama; almost all of Georgia; a sizeable chunk of Tennessee; a bit of Florida; and small portion of Kentucky. Their colors are black and white.

This pattern is completed by simply turning all the cards forward, throwing the shuttle after each quarter-turn. When the threads become over-twisted or after a chosen number of repeats–often I switch after 12 or 16 repeats–turn all cards backwards, throwing the shuttle after each quarter-turn. Easy as that!

Now, there is the new technique that was found in a recent discovery of a rolled hem. I could type up all the directions and details, but all of that can be found at their web site here: https://www.vestagdermuseet.no/snartemo-ii-narrow-band.

I hope you’re all enjoying this series and learning a lot in your weaving escapades! Let me know if there are more patterns you want to learn!

Elewys

Weave Along With Elewys, Episode 5 & 6: Hallstatt 3 / HallTex 152

This piece is one of my favorites, not just because it’s attractive and easy to weave, but it’s one of the oldest ones on record!

New research on Hallstatt 3 tablet woven band (HallTex152)
photo by Mervi Pasanen

It was found in 1991 in the Kernverwasserungswerk part of the salt mine in Austria. The salty environment kills single-celled bacteria that would cause the decomposition of organic materials. It is currently housed at the National History Museum in Vienna.

The archaeologists determined that the date for the piece is somewhere between 800 and 400 BCE (before current era). You read that right–FOUR HUNDRED BC! So sometime between the beginning of the Etruscan civilization and the Egyptians overthrowing Persian rule, some iron age miner dropped some woven fragments in a salt mine in Austria. Or really, one of several miners who left behind at least six pieces of tablet weaving. The oldest of the woven pieces, HallTex 288, a band of simple blue stripes, dates back to 1500-1200 BCE, which is about the time of the super-awesome rule of Queen Hatshepsut in Egypt. Objects 43 and 136 are also made with simple stripes. The other pieces, 123, 152, and 186 have more intricate patterns with meandering lines, solid triangles, and diamonds.

After the piece was found in 1991, a pattern was designed to recreate this piece, which is called HallTex 152, and is an easy beginner pattern.

I will create it for you today in the colors to celebrate the Kingdom of Atenveldt! This one is the pattern I’m using–I’ll call it option 1:

This is option 2:

This piece was woven using Option 2.

About 25 years after this piece was found, Maikki Karisto and Karina Gromer did a deep dive into researching the piece to see if the pattern was accurate. Looking at photos of the front and back of the extant piece, the weavers determined that this was more likely a skip-hole woven piece and did a number of test weaves before coming up with a new-and-improved pattern.

They determined that the yarns used are .4 mm, both Z and S plied wool. The extant piece is 12.5 cm long and 1.2 cm wide. The original colors may have changed a bit, but the salt in the mine helped preserve the colors quite well. They appear to be yellow-tan, brown and olive green.

New research on Hallstatt 3 tablet woven band (HallTex152 ...
For consistency, this is the pattern drawn up on the pattern drafter I use.

Bibliography

M. Karisto, K. Grömer. “Different solutions for a simple design: New experiments on tablet weave HallTex 152 from the salt mine Hallstatt.” Academia.edu. 2017. https://www.academia.edu/35616012/Different_solutions_for_a_simple_design_New_experiments_on_tablet_weave_HallTex_152_from_the_salt_mine_Hallstatt_M._Karisto_K._Gr%C3%B6mer_

Pasanen, Mervi. New research on Hallstatt 3 tablet woven band (HallTex152). . https://hibernaatio.blogspot.com/2016/09/new-research-on-hallstatt-3-tablet.html