In case anyone wondered how my weekend is going….
more of real life (TM) has intruded into my week a bit, so, less progress on this weekend than I’d hoped for, but, my loom is in the process of warping, so I’m ok with that. We’ll find out if I guessed right on sett early this week (Yes, I know, one CAN weave samples. I like living dangerously when I’m planning on fulling anyhow). Sett is at 24 EPI with a WPI of 32. I’m pretty comfortable with that guess. if it’s a bit on the sleazy side I’m fulling anyhow. Flax sizing was the right consistency and amount of ferment this time, it’s holding well and isn’t flaking off, which means it’s penetrating the threads, not just coating. I’m reminded that although I like string heddles for fine threads, texsolv heddles are so. much. nicer than knotted cotton heddles. I may upgrade this loom after this process. This is a small table loom that was built by my father for my mother. For recreation purposes it’s functionally very different than a viking loom. Although we believe that later in the viking period they did have horizontal looms for linen weaving (what appears to be loom gears have been found) they appeared to continue preferring the warp weighted loom for woolen weaving right through the end of the viking ascendancy over the area. Indeed, those looms were still in use for certain kinds of woolen weaving right until the second world war.
In other news, my wool for my overgown came this week! so I’m ready to cut that when I get there. it’s a little lighter than I’d ideally like, but I’m happy with the thread count, and, for SCA purposes, so light it’s almost sheer is a plus, we spend a lot of time inside, a heavier wool gown won’ get much wear from me (or at least my heavier wool tunic doesn’t often make it into rotation)….. it tags in at 32 EPI. which is pretty good. It’s definitely finer than the haithabu find I am going to use for patterning, (Haithabu h72C, and H723, H55A, and H57 are bodice pieces, skirt gores, and a sleeve respectively) which is noted as being coarse, but not out of range for viking fabrics. the Haithabu find was dyed dark with black walnut, and this fabric is very close to that color, particularly if mordanted with iron.
as far as the lightness of the fabric, vikings could weave fabric of exceptional fineness. Hagg notes Hedeby grave find S27 had 96 warp ends per inch. Hedeby harbor #84 is so fine as to be tranclucent. My fabric is in range of viking capabilities and fabrics we know were used for garments of some sort. I am happy with the fact that it is a tabby as Hilde Thnumen, in her excellent compendium of articles suggests that viking reenactors very likely vastly over use twill fabrics. She postulates based on identified garments that likely twill was primarily (although not universally) used for overgarments, therefore I was particularly looking for a tabby weave for the woolen gown.
Hopefully I can make a little better progress over the next few days. My experience is that weaving generally goes a great deal faster than warping does.