Teaching and Weaving

The last few weeks have been a flurry of research for teaching a class at An Tir Collegium on A Brief Survey of Tablet Woven Bands, being an overview of extant tablet weaving pieces and patterns to reproduce them. It was a few weeks of preparation prior to the class, but I was able to put together a 50+ slide PowerPoint presentation. It had pieces from 500 BC Austria to 14th century Germany, and from countries all over Europe from Scandinavia to France. I arrived in the classroom a few minutes early, but spent several more struggling to get the computer to work properly.  Once we made the magic of technology cooperate with me, I looked up and realized that the classroom was not just well-attended, but standing-room-only! I thought I’d have a small handful of students and it was more than 25. No worries. I’ll just panic a little.  AAAAAHHHHHHH!

After we finally got the computer working, it went well! Most of the students were either novice or beginning weavers; only a couple were intermediate or advanced. The feedback I got was mostly excellent, which was very encouraging. I even was pulled aside by a couple of students later and told that they really enjoyed the class and that a few things that I mentioned were particularly helpful.  😀

A few days later, I sent a copy of the slide show to a prominent tablet weaver in Germany who gave me some really good feedback–just a couple of minor corrections and marking some images that I had missed–but she said, “It is one of the best summaries I’ve read.” That is high praise from such an esteemed source! (Giddiness ensued!)

My goal for teaching the class was to have as many pieces done in my own hand as possible.  The more slides I added, the fewer examples I had…so I needed to get some work done.  In preparation for this class, I made a few woven pieces to pass around. They are:

14th Century German piece.  Original was brocade (of course), but this is a very close facsimile in a threaded-in version.  This one was still on the loom, which was great for students to see all set up with all the cards needed for it…all 28 cards.

Dublin Dragons.  Original was also brocaded.  I think this is even prettier than the original.  It’s great fun to weave, too!

Hallstat 3, Austria, 500 BCE.  This was found in a salt mine with several other woven pieces.  The colors were remarkably well preserved due to the salt.  This one was fast and lovely to work, and I find it so remarkable how complex the pattern is, and this in 500 BCE…the technique was already very advanced at this time.  In Mistress Madrun’s class, she mentioned how much our weaving skills have declined in the last few centuries compared to what it was back then.

Right now I’m working on a piece that has a repeating motif from the Merovingian Queen Bathilde in Chelles, France (above).  I’m not as impressed with this selection of colors (below), but I wanted to choose something from my badge/arms.  I think the blue and green are too similar in tone, or maybe there is too much contrast with the green and white.  I’m not entirely sure, but I have a taker for it when I finish the other 3 yards of it.  It’s kind of slow going and the twist is building up on it rather quickly.  This would work much better in a warp-weighted version, if I had something set up to work on.

I have a list of about 20 other pieces in a binder, ready to go, that I’m looking forward to making, and a few patterns that I plan to make more than one length of, in various colors.

While I was getting ready to teach, I also had a commitment to make beads for the Lampworkers Guild.  These are for Aethelmarc, Northshield and Avacal.  Each grouping has one bead for An Tir’s sitting Queen and the others are gifts to the Queens of other Kingdoms, which I believe are sent to them at events in February and August.

Now that all that is done….I need a long sleep.

Midwife Apron

Originally posted Sep 4, 2015

15th Century Apron - Eme's Compendium: 15th Century Apron - Eme's Compendium

This simple apron looked ideal for the messy, clumsy person I am.  I routinely ruin shirts by dripping and spattering all over them–usually something oily that never comes out–and I have realized the great importance of aprons.  I have a couple at home that I usually forget to use while making spaghetti and frying hamburger.  While camping, I get distressed trying to figure out how to prevent similar accidents from ruining my garb.

Aprons that tie at the waist are just not enough to protect my clothes.  Most people wouldn’t find this to be the case since most people are a lot taller than me.  The spatter zone is just below the waistline.  For me, however, the waistline is often below the cooking surface, so the apron serves only to wipe my hands after washing, or perhaps to aid in picking up hot things.  What I needed was something that extended higher than my waist.

I began doing searches and I found quite a few images of these types of aprons:

More of the odd "midwife" apron from a Saxon lineage book. Das Sächsische Stammbuch' [subtitled as:] 'Sammlung von Bildnissen sächsischer Fürsten, mit gereimtem Text; aus der Zeit von 1500 - 1546' is available online from the State University Library in Dresden: More of the odd "midwife" apron from a Saxon lineage book. Das Sächsische Stammbuch' [subtitled as:] 'Sammlung von Bildnissen sächsischer Fürsten, mit gereimtem Text; aus der Zeit von 1500 - 1546' is available online from the State University Library in Dresden

Das Sächsische Stammbuch’ [subtitled as:] ‘Sammlung von Bildnissen sächsischer Fürsten, mit gereimtem Text; aus der Zeit von 1500 – 1546’ is available online from the State University Library in Dresden

Apron. Late Middle Ages on the upper Rhine. I've made this apron for myself for event camping.: Apron. Late Middle Ages on the upper Rhine. I've made this apron for myself for event camping.

(Note only said:  Late Middle Ages on the upper Rhine)

Zwei Wunder aus der Kindheit des hl. Nikolaus Hans Traut Nurnberg, Ende 15.Jhr BNM-Munich Inv.NR MA 2789: Zwei Wunder aus der Kindheit des hl. Nikolaus Hans Traut Nurnberg, Ende 15.Jhr BNM-Munich Inv.NR MA 2789

Zwei Wunder aus der Kindheit des hl. Nikolaus Hans Traut Nurnberg, Ende 15.Jhr BNM-Munich Inv.NR MA 2789

c 1488 Century Apron, Detail of the birth of Mary. - Eme's Compendium: c 1488 Century Apron, Detail of the birth of Mary. - Eme's Compendium

15th Century Apron - Eme's Compendium... back view: 15th Century Apron - Eme's Compendium... back view

What I realized, after doing a little reading and observing similarities between images, is that all the women wearing these aprons are attending a woman giving birth.  Yep.  Midwife aprons.

Geburt Mariens Dieses Bild: 000400 Kunstwerk: Temperamalerei-Holz ; Einrichtung sakral ; Flügelaltar ; Frueauf Rueland der Jüngere Dokumentation: 1488 ; 1488 ; Wels ; Österreich ; Oberösterreich ; Stadtmuseum: Geburt Mariens Dieses Bild: 000400 Kunstwerk: Temperamalerei-Holz ; Einrichtung sakral ; Flügelaltar ; Frueauf Rueland der Jüngere Dokumentation: 1488 ; 1488 ; Wels ; Österreich ; Oberösterreich ; Stadtmuseum

Geburt Mariens Dieses Bild: 000078 Kunstwerk: Temperamalerei-Holz ; Einrichtung sakral ; Flügelaltar ; Meister von Mariapfarr ; Salzburg Dokumentation: 1495 ; 1505 ; Mariapfarr ; Österreich ; Salzburg ; Pfarrkirche: Geburt Mariens Dieses Bild: 000078 Kunstwerk: Temperamalerei-Holz ; Einrichtung sakral ; Flügelaltar ; Meister von Mariapfarr ; Salzburg Dokumentation: 1495 ; 1505 ; Mariapfarr ; Österreich ; Salzburg ; Pfarrkirche

Well, when you have a need…you make it work.

This is a terrible selfie…I can’t take full-body selfies.  I don’t have a full-length mirror or ridiculously long arms, so the bathroom mirror will have to do.  After doing some experimentation, I found that the width of fabric was not quite loose enough around my ample hips. I tried using just rectangles to add girth, but it just didn’t look right, so I added gores to the sides.   Now it looks very similar to the images I found.

This was a fun experiment and is almost ready to wear this weekend…just a little hemming at the bottom and it’s ready to go!

So how did I construct this?  Super EASY!  I had some yardage of medium weight linen–super soft and fairly thick (some of the images look like they might have been made from a fine linen, but I used what I had lying around).

I measured from my chest–just above the Girls–down to just below my knees or mid-shin.  (Keep in mind that I’m super-short, not just regular-short, and stand a whole whopping 60″ tall), and came up with 36″ as a good length.  You should measure yourself to get a number to fit your physique.

I lopped off a yard of the fabric–36″ x 60″ (width of fabric, or “WOF”).  I cut that piece down the fold, so I had two pieces of 36″ x 30″.  These will be the front and back panels of the apron.

Recall that I said that I was having difficulty with fitting this around my hips, so I added more fabric.  If you’re a particularly thin person, you may not require this next step.  To gain that extra fullness, I cut another piece of fabric 36″ x 28″, and cut that in half to make two 36″ x 14″ rectangles.  Each of those had to be cut in half *diagonally* to make four triangles.  These will be the gores on the sides.

Assembly is pretty straight forward:  sew a gore to each side of the two panels with the *bias edge* of the triangle on the straight of grain of the apron body.

This will prevent stretching of that bias edge.  Here’s a great illustration, in case you aren’t familiar with some fabric terms:

Once you have all the gores sewn onto the apron body, you will sew the sides together.  Put front and back panels facing right sides together and sew up from the bottom about 20″.  Your measurement may vary, but it should connect together from the bottom hem to just below your hips.

Make a casing at the top of each panel and thread a lacing through the casings and tie the ends.  Then you just have to finish the seams and hem the bottom and you’re done!

2015 Arts Unframed 2 (2) 2015 Arts Unframed (2)