Weave Along with Elewys: Ep 16, Dublin Dragons of Drachenwald

I was very excited to show you all a piece from something other than the Norse or Baltic countries, but it turns out that during the 10th century, from when this piece was made, Ireland–especially the coastal cities like Dublin–were occupied by the Vikings.

However, this is such a well-loved design and I had gotten several requests for it, so here it is!

The extant fragment, c 950 AD

The pattern:

This is a double-sided pattern, so if you have golden dragons on a fire-red sky, on the other side will be fire dragons in a golden sky.

Weave Along with Elewys, Ep 15: Zaltys 10th century Lithuanian

Archaeologists have produced a few tablet weaving pieces in their searches, including this one that was found in the 10th century grave of a woman from Paragaudis.  In a book called North European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles X (edited by Eva B. Andersson Strand, Margarita Gleba, Ulla Mannering, Cherine Munkholt) there is a mention of this textile fragment that was found in grave 59.  It’s a colorful wool band of red, grey and brown, although they are unsure what dye stuffs were used.  The pattern of the stylized S motif is known as the ‘serpent’ pattern, which is found frequently in western Baltic countries; known as a žaltys in Lithuanian mythology, it is a sacred animal of the sun goddess Saulė, the guardian of the home and a symbol of fertility. Killing žaltys was said to bring great misfortunes upon the household, so people would find them in the fields, give it milk to befriend the creatures and sometimes even bring it home to keep as a pet, as it promised good harvests and wealth.  Snakes in the house.  That’s a nope.

I came across this archaeological image a few years ago, but I couldn’t find a pattern with it, so I had to figure it out on my own based on experience…but I’m always up for a challenge!  Looking at the drawings, I guessed that it was probably a skip hole weave, based on the little dots on the edges between the S motifs.  It looks very similar to a couple other patterns I had seen, so I was pretty sure that’s what I was looking at.

Drawing these sorts of things on paper is not easy…and doing physical experiments would be time consuming and use up a lot of materials, so I needed a better option.  Luckily, I had just discovered the TDD!  If you haven’t checked out the Tablet Weaving Draft Designer site, you should do that!  It’s a very easy to use program, and Catherine and her husband James just did some updates recently, and Catherine made a YouTube video that walks you through how to use it. 

So after tinkering with the pattern a bit, I came up with this…and warped it up to see how it looked…and it was a match! 

SNAKES!

Today’s Laurel Kingdom is the Kingdom of the Outlands! It was created in 1986 and encompasses New Mexico and Colorado, parts of Wyoming, the Nebraska panhandle, El Paso County and the Hudspeth County in Texas. Their colors are green and yellow.  My favorite part is their heraldic banner, which has the same deer on it as the Deer Xing signs.  Of course, the banners for An Tir has the Lowenbrau lion.

The original piece appears that it started with 16 picks of diagonal lines, but then follows with 56 picks to the sequence.  If you want to weave the diagonal stripes into your piece, you can do that, or you can use one of the other options that I’ve included:  a 56 pick pattern (without the diagonal stripes) or a 24 pick simplified pattern.  I’ve also included options to untwist the pattern by weaving S motifs instead of Z. Dealer’s choice!

56 Pick sequence, no diagonal lines
Simplified 24 pick sequence

In the video, I erroneously identified this as a twist-neutral pattern, but discovered after doing several repeats that the twist was, in fact, building up. I modified the pattern to create a twist-neutral version, which is below:

Twist Neutral Serpents, simplified (24 picks x 2)

For this pattern, you can weave as-is, or you can weave picks 1-24 until it’s over-twisted, then weave picks 25-48 until it’s over-twisted in the opposite direction.

If you want to do the long version, here are the two parts to make it twist neutral.

56 pick version, Part I
56 pick version, Part II (reverse)

Enjoy!

Elewys

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

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.

April Update

I’ve been doing a bit more weaving lately. Risking repeating myself (although, duh, I can edit it later), here’s what I’ve done recently.

Back in February, I finished the green “bees feet” weave that I did in really fine thread. It took me about two years to finish all of it.  What was I thinking? I dunno, but it turned out really great!

Then I warped up a couple pieces in blue and yellow in the Snartemo II pattern.  This is the period skip-hole weave that goes together really fast and is beginner-level EASY!  I really like this one.

After that, I did a woven piece for Baron Evrard in the Birka 22 pattern. I still need to get that to him.  This one is a more advanced level piece that requires following a particular order of turning cards in opposite directions.  It’s easy to get yourself turned around (get it…turned around?)

And I did another piece in WSU Cougar colorway…

Then I warped up a new piece (after I found my Applesies book again!), pattern #11.  This is listed as “challenging”.  This one has 50 steps to the repeat.

Fifty steps.

Fifty.

I’m not memorizing this ever.

The one thing I really need to do is make new kirtles for the camping season.  I need someone to measure me because doing it yourself is difficult/nigh impossible.

 

Recapping Weaving

OK…now we are at a current post.  For the moment, I’m going to stop going back and adding posts that are 2-3 (or more) years old.  So many of the photos are missing now that I don’t know what it was I was doing at the time when it says “Saxon weave” since I did a half dozen of them.  So what I’m going to do is post pictures of stuff I’ve done without all the blah-blah-blah that went with it them, but just grouping them together into styles with a brief description.  Now that I look at it, I did a lot of weaving in the last five years.

Skip hole weave

tablet-skip-hole-3

I really like this one.  I believe that it’s period (I’ll have to find the documentation again).  Super easy and looks great.  It was a test piece so it’s only a couple yards.

Threaded in Weaves

 

tablet-2c

This one I did as a commission in 2012.  Unfortunately, she never picked it up and never paid me for it.

2012-bunnies

BUNNIES!  I made this for the Shire of Shittimwoode to put in their prize box.  This was from the Robin & Russ Handweavers’ book.

tablet-7b

This pattern I think I found on the Loomy Bin.

tablet-8b  Variation of the Loomy Bin pattern

tablet-12a  From EQoS on Deviant Art

I love this pattern.  tablet-15a

I’m not kidding.  tablet-5b

Seriously.  tablet-4a

I really love this pattern.  tablet-12b

Really…really….  tablet-14a

tablet-11b Gorgeous in RED!

I love it even more with really fine thread.

tablet-21a

Simplified version

tablet-17d

And another one…

tablet-18a

And another…

tablet-20a

Yet another version…

tablet-1b

tablet-13a  I think I made this one up.  Meh.

tablet-anchor-b

Anchors Aweigh!  This was for a high school buddy to be made into suspenders.

010

I drafted this “Tyr” pattern for Tyrssen of the Midrealm.  He was a middle school friend who I discovered was also in the SCA. 😀

tablet-molly-m

Super wide band for Molly McGurn!  This was also my design, although to be honest, I kind of strung this up at random.

tablet-aq-an-tir-3

I think this one got donated to the Barony…An Tir and Aquaterra colors.

tablet-aq-2  A better pattern of An Tir and AQ colors.

an-tir-weave-1  Another with An Tir colors only

surfboard-loom

Prototype of a surfboard loom for teaching a class.  Mostly worked.

surfboard-looms

So I made a whole stack of surfboards for the class!

6-hole-cards

Got some six-hole cards.  Mostly didn’t work on the inkle loom.  I bet they’d work fine on a backstrap or Osburg type loom with a much longer working space.  I’ll have to try that sometime.

Egyptian Diagonals

2012-crazy-egyptian-diagonals

This was assigned to me as a challenge by Master Fiacha.  This is super ugly, but I learned how the colors moved with the cards.

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This piece was what I worked on after a failed attempt at a Dragon Head weave.  I gave up on the dragon heads and made more Egyptian Diagonals instead.  I love the dark blue and silver-grey together.

Ram’s Horn Pattern

tablet-10b 20141206_844

Not a period design, but very cool-looking and popular among the Historic Tablet Weaving folks!

20141206_773  Small test piece….just a bookmark.

Brocade Card Weaving

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Didn’t like doing it.  That’s as far as I got before I decided it wasn’t for me.

Saxon Weaves

This next group has a few documentable pieces and are all double-sided patterns.  I want to get back to making more of these now that I have translated the GTT patterns onto a more easily-accessible Excel spreadsheet.

Saxon weave, 5-6th century, Cambridge.

tablet-16a

Anglo-Saxon #8

weaving-anglo-saxon-8

Anglo Saxon 6a:  anglo-saxon-2

weaving-anglo-saxon-6b  Anglo-Saxon 6d

anglo-saxon-3a

Tried using fishing spinners….with little success.

Snartemo weave

snartemo-iic

6th century Norwegian and really easy to make.  25 turns forward, 25 turns back.

Birka weaves

birka-22

birka-23

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Birka 6 end-of-nov-2015-353

Applesies & Fox Noses

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tablet-30

tablet-22a

Still working on this one.  It’s also made of really fine thread and I’ve been working on it for about a year.

January Beads, Weaving & Other Stuff

(Originally posted 28 Jan 2014)

The end of January is nigh upon us and I have several things to show…at least in beads and a bit of weaving.

First, there’s me…I set up a table at Ursulmas where I made beads for the weekend.  While there was a demo display booth contest, there were significant limitations as to what I could do given that I was going to be actively demonstrating beadmaking.  Where the booth was located (unknown prior to set-up)?  What I can display that isn’t flammable?  Is there a banner and how do I hang it?  I can’t bring a tent or pop-up with a roof, so what can I bring for ambiance?  So many questions.  I brought the color copies of Callmer’s beads and brought all the old beads I could find that I store in a small treasure box.  Unfortunately, there’s a lot of old & ugly beads from my first months of bead making; I had strung them on dental floss and hung them over the treasure chest on the table.  I need to pull those aside and keep them somewhere else…like decorating the garden or something.  Some of my later beads were loose in the box, and the newest ones were strung on mandrels on the table.

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File:An Tir Lampworkers Guild.jpg

I was told there was a banner for the Kingdom Lampworkers Guild, and it would be delivered Saturday morning.  I found the current banner design posted on the Lampworker’s web site; the banner was made for a previous event, but the design was not fully vetted by the Heralds, so it is currently an unofficial banner (not passable, apparently).  Since the Lampworker’s Guild does not have a device registered with the College of Heralds, I had some discussions with a couple of them at the event to come up with a new passable design.

In any case, the banner might not be understood by the public, so just to make it clear to passers-by, I made a lettered banner that simply reads:  “Lampworkers Guild” in a font called King Harold, matching the lettering from the Bayeux Tapestry.  I hung it using the packaging tape I had with me on the exposed pipes in the frigid hall.  It ended up being the only banner, as the Lampworker’s banner ended up not arriving after all.

Although I didn’t mean to be the exclusive lampworker working the booth, I was the only one there for more than half of the weekend; Aenor joined me for a while on Sunday, making a few beads in the frigid hall.  It was so cold on Sunday that the bead release was not drying and we walked around with our plastic buckets of vermiculite looking for a heat source.  The portable heaters outside were turned off to save fuel; they said they were only heating the building at night (which didn’t make any sense–no one was in the building at night).  I dipped the mandrils and more than 90 minutes later, the bead release was still wet.  If you heat them using the flame, the stuff dries too quickly and either cracks or explodes off the mandril.

Because I had more than 16 hours of uninterrupted time to make beads, I was able to finish almost 40 beads over the weekend, using just under two tanks of propane–I was able to make several more after returning home.  I finished all the beads I needed for the Kingdom gifts to Caid and Glen Abhann–they’re not due until July Coronation, so I got the Gold Star from the Guild head. 🙂  There are more than I need here, so I will send on the best 20 of each colorway.

Here are a few that I made over the weekend, in addition to the Caid and Glen Abhann beads…I also made a few as part of a commission for Jadwiga.  She chose six others that I failed to photograph before she came to pick them up.

I am also doing a little card weaving. I finished the weaving for Tyrssen of Middle Kingdom and warped up a new one on the loom.

I brought the loom with me to the event, but didn’t do any during the weekend.  The booth next to mine was occupied by Demo Winners, Emma and Nigel, who covered their table with weaving and leatherworking items.  I placed my loom on the edge of the table, next to hers, to add to her display.  This one is strung up with Perle cotton, using just over four balls of strings–one yellow, one black, and two red–in #8 floss.  I had quite a time finding extra red floss, and ended up having to replace it with a readily-available color.  Red 666 was available during the holidays, apparently, but not later, but everyone was carrying Red 321.  I had to un-warp six cards, and I’ll use those threads in a later project, I suppose.  While this is more expensive than using the cotton warp, the cost of materials is still under $20, it comes out lovely and shiny, and the cards turn smoothly.  I have a couple other projects in mind that I might try, using these threads as a substitute for silk.

A&S and Plans Set in Motion

I’ve made quite a few beads!  Some are really nice!

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And some are pretty ugly…they are rather experimental, so don’t abuse the artist too much.  I was trying to make some Islamic Folded Beads, but found that they are tediously long to build and don’t always turn out right. In other words, my skill level is not yet up to that standard.

I started another technique that involves using a pointy tool, much like a dental scraper, but thicker and stronger.  I made the core of the bead then added stripes and dragged the tool over the surface of the glass, deforming the stripes, which looked very much like the folded beads, and took a fraction of the time.  Many of these turned out pretty cool, but others didn’t do as well…a bit lumpy and coarse.  One had a fatal flaw that caused…well…

…sudden bead death.  I didn’t get this one into the vermiculite fast enough, so it cooled down too quickly, causing stress fractures.  I could glue it back together, but there’s no telling if other fractures might appear later.

021

The perle cotton tablet weaving is coming along.  I have about a yard done so far on this particular piece.  The threads are pretty fine (#8 DMC perle cotton, found at any fabric or craft store) and slick, which makes the cards turn so smoothly…like buttah!  The cost of materials is a bit higher, but not astronomically high.  We’re talking about $12-15 spent for this project so far…maybe more if I need to use another $3 skein of thread for weft…instead of $5 for an entire project.  Yeah, it’s about triple or quadruple, but still cheap for what it is.

My plans in the not-too-distant-future (say, summer) is to build something like this:
warp-weighted loom
It goes with my sheep-to-shawl plan.  You know…take the fleece from the sheep and turn it into a wearable garment.
1.  Make loom.
2.  Spin fibers.
3.  Weave into cloth.
4.  Full cloth.
5.  Make something from cloth, like a 10th century Danish apron dress.
If I can finish all that by next January, I can enter things into Kingdom Arts & Sciences.  I was told (by a supportive Laurel friend) to enter three things:  loom, woven stuff and beads.  I think I can do it…but I’m going to have to do some serious work over the summer.

This goes well with the advise I received from *another* Laurel friend, who said to stay within a particular scope of time/culture when you enter Kingdom-level contests.  In her experience, being “all over the map” doesn’t show as well as being a bit more focused.

I’m thinking I should build a prototype of the loom first; try to build it out of really cheap materials, like 2″ x 4″ and 1″ x 2″, then make a more ‘natural’ product out of cut trees.  I can’t even imagine what I’d need to do to cull trees from the neighborhood or out in the wilderness somewhere.  Maybe someone in the SCA has a piece of property they’re willing to let me cut a tree from.  First things first…build the prototype.

Beads & Weaving (3/10/2014)

I’ve made a bunch of beads lately.  This set of 10 (11) were made for my dear friend, Heide, who wanted to make bracelets for her sister and mom.  Heide grew up on a cranberry farm near Aberdeen, so when she saw the first bead I made, she said “CRANBERRIES!” and commissioned 10.  I was happy to make them for her and threw in the 11th bead free!  OK, technically it was the first bead, and it wasn’t the prettiest, but she loves them anyway.

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Then I was messing around with different colors and techniques, tools, and trying out some stuff with clear glass.  I don’t particularly care for working with the clear stuff–it seems to need a lot more heat and takes longer to melt, but it can create some really cool effects.

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This one I call the Diversity Bead.  🙂

end-of-nov-2015-1785end-of-nov-2015-1783Portrait: Experimenting with color combinations. .. Then doing a tried-and-true red, white and black combo.

I love the chemical reaction I had with these two colors–I need to get more turquoise.

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I finally got the weave done–it’s so lovely!  I don’t know what I’m going to do with it…although I think it’ll end up on an apron dress.

Since the loom was now free…I warped up some yarn on the inkle loom to make the band for Frigga the Loom.  I’m thinking I need to get it on the rail and start attempting to weave.  I need to figure out where to set it up in the house–probably the front room, but I need to rearrange some furniture first.