Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Long Overdue Diamond Twill Wool Update

About eight years ago, I looked on the Internet for sources of diamond/lozenge twill wool fabric, hoping to find a vendor selling some at affordable rates.  My problem with the available choices at the time was that the weave wasn't quite right, and the thread count was far too coarse to be desirable for apron dresses--the type of garment which I would be most likely to want to make from diamond twill wool. I checked out a number of potential sources, and reported on what I learned here, here, here, here, and here.

It recently occurred to me that it might be useful to look for diamond/lozenge twill vendors again, to see whether the availability, authenticity and/or cost have improved since my last posts on this subject.  It turns out that while new and in some cases more satisfactory fabrics have entered the market, some of the diamond twill sources I found in 2009 and 2010 no longer sell such fabric or are otherwise defunct.

For example, although the German vendor Naturtuche is still in business, and still sells fabric, its current diamond twill offerings are limited to a large diamond twill in natural linen and a bicolor wool diamond twill in brown.  Judging from pictures on the site, each diamond motif appears to be about 1-inch (2.5 cm) across.  The linen costs 23 Euros per meter and the wool costs 30 Euros per meter.  There are also lovely wools, not of a diamond twill weave but dyed with vegetable dyes (including madder and weld) that sell for 30 Euros per meter. Best of all (for someone who doesn't want to use a credit card to make fabric purchases across international borders), Naturtuche now accepts Paypal.

Handelsgillet, a Swedish vendor whose wools I discussed at some length, no longer sells diamond twill at all. Instead they sell what they call a Lodose diamond check, which is a reproduction of a later medieval fabric from Lodose where the stripes of a plaid, and only the stripes, are woven in broken twill and form a diamond twill motif where the stripes intersect.  It is an interesting and striking fabric, but not useful for my (Viking age) purposes.

I also wrote about Ardalanish Farm, a wool mill in the Hebrides, back in 2010.  They will sell you up to 4 meters of diamond twill wool tweed in two-toned, undyed wools, for £ 75.00 per meter, which is still well beyond what I'm prepared to pay, particularly as the fabric is fairly coarse in texture, which isn't right for the Viking age garments in which I am interested.

Regarding the other sources of usable diamond twill that I found, Sagnlandet Lejre in Denmark no longer seems to be selling diamond twill fabric, and Wollstoff is rebuilding its website, so I don't know what it may be selling. Wollstoff did not formerly sell to customers outside the European Community, and I have no reason at this point to believe that has changed.

Now, for some newer sources.

A vendor known as Elspeth on Etsy is selling bi-colored diamond twill for 385 SEK ($40 USD) a meter. That doesn't sound excessively expensive until one learns that the fabric is only 24 inches wide.  At that width, I would need at least three meters of fabric to make myself an apron dress, which adds up pretty fast.

Blue Wool Studio, a Lithuania-based seller also on Etsy, had for sale a  ready-made cloak plus several pieces of diamond twill fabrics dyed with natural dyes for a total of 2,880.70 SEK ($306.24 USD); her fabric is 36 inches wide.  The pictures of these fabrics are gorgeous, but the prices--though likely appropriate given the amount of skilled work involved--are still far beyond what I can hope to pay. Blue Wool Studio has sold those items since I began writing this post, though the site indicates that negotiating an order for a piece of fabric with specific characteristics (of size, fineness, and color) is possible.

One new source I found that I might actually be able to afford (soon) is a German site called Faserhaus. Faserhaus sells several different diamond and broken diamond twills. There are a diamond twill and a broken diamond twill fabric in undyed, untreated white wool.  The diamond twill costs 26.40 Euros per meter and is 147 cm (about 57 inches) wide.  Their broken diamond twill costs 23.20 Euros per meter and is 158 cm (about 62 inches) wide.  That's more than enough for an apron dress for me.  Faserhaus also sells a light weight, pale brown diamond twill wool (and two other neutral-ish colors also), 160 cm wide (about 63 inches), for 22.80 Euros. Some of the photographs include a marked ruler, and the diamonds appear to be about 0.8 cm tall by about 1.8 cm wide--a good size for an apron dress in my opinion.  I'm bad at doing fiber counts from photographs, but the diamond twills appear to be about 20 threads per cm and the broken diamond twill is finer--maybe 25 per cm.  That's a good quality for an apron dress, too.

Faserhaus accepts Paypal, and doesn't charge for samples (though they do charge 6.50 Euros for postage/shipping of samples to the U.S.)  I may well order some samples to assess the quality of the fabric. If I do, I will post scans of the samples and my observations on this blog.

EDIT:  (1/20/2017)  Note the comments by Marled (a reader of this blog who will weave diamond twill wool among other fabrics to order) and by Bruce Lee about a Swedish on-line vendor, Medeltidsmode.

4 comments:

  1. You may want to look at
    http://www.medeltidsmode.se/
    In wool they have a wide range of 150cm wide diamond pattern twill as well as herring bone and plain. Not on their web site is an amazingly fine wool that is like the stuff sold as 'Swiss cotton'.

    Each fabric that is in stock has a note of how many metres of fabric is in stock - 'lager'. Quite a bit of the diamond twill is awaiting a new production run - unless you like yellow. (some of that is my fault :-) )

    Have a tab open with Google Translate as the site is Swedish with English hints.
    Plus they have other heavy wools, linen and stuff.

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    1. Sounds great, Bruce! Thanks for the link. I'm not wild about yellow, but by the time I'm getting ready to buy fabric again, they may have restocked the other colors anyway. No worries. :-)

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  2. May I kindly point out here that I take orders for handwoven diamond and herringbone twill? The fabrics start from 45 € 10 threads/cm, up to 80 cm wide, wider will cost more but I can weave to your special needs. I only use 100% woolen and plant dyed yarn or in natural sheep colours to your choice. ne has to order usually half a year in advance as my books is often well filled.
    In the future I can also offer fabric made from historical correct fibres when the mini mill of my icelandic friend Hulda will start working. Here you can find information about the project.
    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/uppspuni
    I hope this note doesn't bother you, otherwise please delete it because I don't want to be obtrusively.
    If not please don't hesitate to take a look at my work on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/textileflaeche
    Marled

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    1. Hi, Marled! I don't mind it that you pointed out that you are taking orders to sell diamond twill, even if I cannot afford your prices as yet. Thanks for commenting, and good luck with your Indiegogo!

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