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.

Ladoga Parte the Seconde

Continuing discussion on object #6…

Every once in a while, you’ll present a woven bit with documentation and someone will say, “Uhhh…that’s not quite right.”

So that just happened.

Luckily, it was presented in a very respectful manner by an influential tablet weaver that I admire…so it’s all good! Thank you, Aisling!

The Ladoga bands appear to be *skip hole* woven, not 4 threads per card. Despite the archaeological sketches and patterns provided in the research, the pattern that was provided doesn’t match the findings. You can see in the text of the Academia.edu paper that it was woven on twelve 4-hole cards with 27 warp threads total. Yeah, 12 times 4 is not 27…. so clearly something was amiss from the beginning. However, unless you add a third thread to one of the cards, you’re not going to come up with an odd number… 12 x 2 is 24; the extra four threads are for border cards; each get 4 threads, which results in 28 warp threads. Perhaps the archaeologists miscounted, or there was some other error in transcription.

So I got back on the tablet weaving generator and worked up a pattern. I warped up my loom (while my German tablet weaving friend slept) and had the pattern and weaving underway by the time she was up and checking her email. She confirmed that I got the pattern right and I was delighted! (Although I later was dissatisfied with it and made a few more alterations…) The result is this new pattern:

Skip hole technique means exactly what you think it does–some of the holes are skipped, that is, left empty, in the threading. If the box is empty, so is that hole.
Now it looks correct!

The result is a very dainty band that measures just under 1 cm wide, even with this 8/4 cotton carpet warp.

Are you confused? Overwhelmed? Not ready for this pattern?

Don’t be cast down, dear weaver; the 4-threads-per-card pattern *works* and gets approximately the right design, but the technique is not period-correct. As a beginner, this is FINE…you get the same look while learning the ropes, but now you know that the period technique is slightly different…and more difficult, so don’t fret if you’re not ready for skip hole. You’ll get there…in this series, even!

The first episode of the YouTube video is in the final stages of editing (it was very long and complex for the Getting Started video–the next ones should come out much more quickly).