Monday, November 28, 2016

One Afternoon Tutorials-Headwear

I've gotten stalled on my costuming projects (again!) and it's near the end of the month, so I figured I'd do another collection of quick tutorial projects.  All of these are headwear, from a number of different periods.
  • Medieval.  From Maniacal Medievalist comes a tutorial on making a simple, unpadded coif/arming cap.  
  • 1200s.  From Cité d'Antan comes a tutorial on how to make a touret, one of those "piecrust" type women's headpieces.  The tutorial is in French, but Google Translate and the pictures should make it usable for a non-French speaker.
  • Late 1400s.  I've shown patterns for late medieval wrapped caps before, but this one on Imgur gives good illustrations of how to put on and secure such a cap as well as directions for making one. The cap pattern itself was designed by the costumer who writes sevenstarwheel.  This pattern is different from the winged cap pattern I featured in a previous tutorial post. 
  • Late 1400s/early 1500s.  From Tece's Trials and Tribulations comes a number of tutorials for a number of wool German Renaissance hats:  a slashed hat; a simple squarish-crowned hat; a "schlappe" hat; and a floppy, broad-brimmed hat, among others.
  • 1600s.  How to make a man's "Cavalier" style hat from a purchased un-formed hat blank.  The tutorial can be found here
  • Early 1800s.  Here's a good tutorial on how to make a Braided Regency Hairpiece, from Katherine's blog, The Fashionable Past.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Change in Projects

Now it's November, and although I've slowed down on the nalbinding project, I've finally gotten two mitten cuff edges that are tolerable in appearance. Not perfect, just tolerable, as you'll see from the picture.  I may yet re-do the one on the right, which has more mistakes, and more obvious mistakes, in it.

The beginnings of two mittens!
I finally decided to deal with the issue of changing threads (piece of yarn, actually) this way.  I work each thread until the working thread is too small to take a stitch without falling out of the needle.  At that point, I pull the needle off of the piece of yarn, thread a new piece onto the needle, and start my next stitch without taking the last loop off of my thumb.  After I have completed the stitch, I pull the thread through until only a short piece is left outside the body of the work (about 2-3 inches/5-7.5 cm). Then I take a second stitch, in the same place as before, and in doing so drop the loop off of my thumb in the normal manner.  My new working thread is now anchored in the work, and forms the new thumb loop.  From that point, I go on working as usual. This leaves a pair of 2-3 inch pieces of yarn sticking out of the work for each new piece of yarn I use, but they can be clipped off later without significant ill-effect, so far as I can tell.  

The next step is to change yarn color and begin working the appropriate rounds, decreases, and increases, as specified in the mitten pattern, but I prefer not to push on too far too fast--that usually results, for me, in a bad mistake and a re-start.  I will give it a day or two before taking the next step.

The next time I start a nalbinding project, though, I'm going to take more care to make certain that I have 100% wool that is not "superwash".  My local Jo-Ann's fabric store carries a few nice colors of 100% wool yarn of the Patons brand, and even though it costs about twice as much as the yarn I bought for the mittens, it may be a better choice for nalbinding.

In the meantime, it's now November, and the current Historical Sew Monthly theme is "Red."  Since my sprang yarn is pink, this may be a good time to re-start that project, especially since work is very slow for me right now.  The good news about sprang is that, once I have a sufficiently good sense of what I'm doing, it should go very quickly.  With luck, I'll have at least a progress photograph for this blog before the end of the weekend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Oseberg Silk Reconstruction

The video embedded in this post shows Åse Eriksen weaving a reproduction of one of the silk textiles found in the Oseberg ship on a modern loom.  Judging by page, Ms. Eriksen normally specializes in weaving ornamental panels for modern ecclesiastical vestments. 

The only really surprising thing about the textile is how bold the color scheme is.  Red, green, white, yellow--all in the same textile.  Such a combination is not one that is commonly used in clothing, or even interior decoration, today.

Other YouTube videos by Ms. Eriksen show the weaving of samite (otherwise known as weft-faced compound twill) and warp-faced compound twill (used in early silk textiles by the Chinese), two types of weave that are rarely made today.   Ms. Eriksen describes her samite weaving project, and talks about the upright loom she built to weave samite, here.  I do not know enough about the weaving process to properly appreciate Ms. Eriksen's experiments, but I think it wonderful that she has explored these weaves, and thus I am making them more easily available to other costumers with a weaving background.

Although Ms. Erickson's website is written in Danish, it is worthwhile to explore it even if you are not a Danish speaker (perhaps with the aid of Google Translate), because it contains information about other early silk textile weaves.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October Treat

Today, I received an e-mail notice from Casemate Academic (Oxbow Books's American affiliate, which used to be called David Brown Book Company), advising that a number of Casemate's books on textiles and weaving are being discounted 20% from now until October 31, via this code: 781-16. 
I have not checked the Oxbow Books site, but I suspect similar discounts would apply.

Affected titles (with their USD prices) include:

Stella Spantidaki.  Textile Production in Classical Athens.  Was $55.00, now (i.e., with the discount) $44.00.

Henrietta Harich-Schwarzbauer.  Weben und Gewebe in der Antike/Texts and Textiles in the Ancient World.  Was $49.99, now $39.99.

Marie-Louise Nosch & C. Gillis. Ancient Textiles.  Was $48.00, now $38.40.

Karina Gromer & Frances Pritchard.  Aspects of the Design, Production and Use of Textiles and Clothing from the Bronze Age to the Early Modern Era (NESAT XII).  Was $78.00, now $62.40.

Marie-Louise Nosch & Zhao Feng.  Global Textile Encounters.  Was $12.00, now $9.60.

Mary Harlow, Cécile Michel & Marie-Louise Nosch (eds.). Prehistoric, Ancient Near Eastern and Aegean Textiles and Dress.  Was $55.00, now $44.00.

If you've wanted any of these books and the price drop brings them within your budget, here's your chance for a Halloween treat.

Friday, October 14, 2016

A Bit More About Skoldehamn

Today, I found yet another Skoldehamn hood tutorial.  This one is geared toward people interested in attempting to make their hood as faithful a copy of the original as possible.  The tutorial was prepared by Eleanor Deyeson, an SCA member.  Her tutorial may be found here

Eleanor's tutorial is specifically geared to people who are not only planning to use the pattern of the original but are also prepared to use the correct types of handstitching that the original employs. (Note that Eleanor makes hood "kits" with pre-cut fabric pieces for making your own hood; they are available here; however, the ones available at present do not include wool fabric, which the original used.) She sees the particular stitches used in the original hood as eminently practical, as is clear from this comment from her tutorial:
I hope you enjoy learning about these various finishing techniques. Each has a functional effect, with any decoration as a bonus secondary effect. The stitching on the gore and back seams helps the hood lay flatter and the hood just looks better. The cord that is couched along the face opening helps stiffen the opening, and prevents friction from affecting the cut/folded hood edge. The “mohawk” on the top stiffens the hood, and possibly provides some comfort benefits while wearing in a cold, windy environment. Remember that the original location is on the same latitude as Point Lay, Alaska or Murmansk, Russia. 
The last point made in the above quote is particularly relevant, as many Viking reenactors and SCA participants are making clothing to wear in areas much warmer than Skoldehamn, which is located inside the Arctic Circle.  There is nothing wrong with making clothing for historical events based upon original finds, but it can be important to keep in mind that the conditions you will face at your event may differ radically from the conditions in which the original item was used.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Nalbinding in Unexpected Places

"Tailor's" buttonhole stitch.
Original graphic by Grace Christie,
"Embroidery and Tapestry Weaving",
 downloaded from Wikimedia Commons
Open buttonhole stitch.
From "Ancient Danish Textiles", p. 284 
Now it's October, and I'm still working on nalbinding at odd moments.  I have no news to report on that project, but while looking for more information about nalbinding I learned a few interesting facts that relate to nalbinding and that may not be commonly known.  In particular, simple nalbinding turns up in textile finds where I did not suspect it existed.

The one that surprised me most is that the neckline of the Skyrdstrup blouse is decorated with a few lines of nalbinding.  I learned that from Susanna Broome's booklet, Nalbinding from Finds. The stitching is what we know of today as "buttonhole stitch."* However, if you work buttonhole stitch along a line of previously worked buttonhole stitch, or along a loop of thread, instead of through fabric, the result is a very simple form of nalbinding.  Ulrike Claßen-Büttner, in her recent book "Nalbinding - What in the World Is That?: History and Technique of an Almost Forgotten Handicraft," (Books on Demand 2015), calls this technique "simple looping"(page 21) and classifies it as a simple nalbinding stitch.
Twisted buttonhole stitch.
From "Ancient Danish Textiles," p. 284

In "Ancient Textiles from Bogs and Burials", Margrethe Hald discusses the Skrydstrup blouse and other instances of buttonhole stitch that were used as ornamentation.  One might deduce from this that the humble "buttonhole" stitch had many decorative uses in antiquity and the early medieval period.  Hald notes that at least one find of a cap worked in open buttonhole stitch has been found.  More interestingly, a scrap of textile worked in twisted buttonhole stitch, a variation of buttonhole stitch, was found at Ordrup Mose and has been dated to the New Stone Age (Hald, p. 283).

Another interesting use for buttonhole stitch involves using it to create loops for a button, toggle, or similar fastener.  On her blog, "Research Dumping Grounds", Mistress Sylvie la chardonnière discusses Penelope Walton Rogers' analysis of 6th century CE Kentish finds" which indicate that Kentish women fastened their long coats with a brooch though such loops, worked in linen thread.

The lesson here, as is so often the case in examining archaeological textile finds, is not to import one's assumptions into the examination.  Many of us do not think of buttonhole stitch as embroidery, let alone an art that can create a textile, but it's clear from early finds that it has been used that way, and that use of needle looping (which is what the term "nalbinding" means) goes way back into the distant past.  Clothing technologies change, and any study of pre-modern costume must remain alert to that fact.

* Some people equate "buttonhole stitch" with "blanket stitch", but the two stitches, though very similar, are not the same. This site has a good explanation of the difference.  By the definition provided on the Nordic Needle, Hald's diagram of buttonhole stitch on p. 284 of "Ancient Danish Textiles" is actually blanket stitch, which is why I have not reproduced it here.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Random Insight

After wasting some more of my precious green yarn, I have succeeded in starting my second round on a green starting chain with reasonably even stitches.  The chain is kind of twisty-looking, but I think I can straighten it out.  This is fortunate for me, since I have yet to find the tapestry needle I could swear I've seen no more than six months ago.

Here's a more interesting nalbinding tidbit about nalbinding.  This costume blogger suggests that nalbinding may have come about as a way to use up loom waste--odd bits of thread cut from a loom during the cloth weaving process.  Her suggestion may not be provable, but if one considers it in light of the importance in early times of carefully using every bit of handspun thread possible it makes a certain amount of sense.  I intend to think about it some more.