Thursday, August 24, 2017

Thursday 24th August - Weaving

The weft and the warp are the basic constituents of all fabrics.

Weaving has been with us for thousands of years, I tried it once but the tedious work laying down the warp (or is it the weft?) put me off, you need a large table to get the length right.  But even so the whole creative act is beleaguered by the initial setup, look at any weaving video.  I had been watching the Scottish Isles trade and work in this, their tweeds and plaids are beautifully coloured reflecting the landscape around but on the whole it is the man who weaves, and in the olden days it was the women who spun. Something I do now and then for its smooth rhythm and quietness.
But looking through my photos the other day, I came across our time in Germany, when we went to take some hanging scrolls that Paul had cleaned up and that had been in the studio for several years.  It was quite an adventure, arriving at midnight in a snowy Germany but we were to have a marvellous time with our hosts. One of the highlights was to go to the Hochdorf museum, another was to see the marvellous Celtic exhibition at the Stuttgart Museum.
The museum with the I/A village of Hochdorf on the right

But it was in the Hochdorf Museum that I took a photo of a vertical Iron Age loom, so much simpler, one of the fascinating things on I/A sites is the finding of loom weights where they have dropped in a straight line from the loom.  There is something incredibly humbling coming across a craft that was practised thousands of years ago and thinking of the women who plied the yarn as we do today.  What dyes did they use? how did they set up the loom, how did they hand sew garments into shape?  And when did knitting start? it seems in the medieval age in Europe.

loom weights

As for the following photo, the trappings on this pony showed a respect for the animal and of course a moment to show off wealth.

Talk of all this has bought on an urge to spin, I have no white wool to dye so must order some, bluefaced Leicester is normally my choice though merino is soft as well.  Someone was dyeing with golden rod the other day, which is just flowering in the garden, but I suspect the colour will be either green or yellow.


  1. Ancient crafting techniques make us slow down and think. Fascinating.

    1. Sometimes when I think about the great length of time it takes to weave a length of cloth by hand, my mind sees people without much clothing, wearing the same clothes day in, day out. There is a fringed I/A skirt or top, obviously worn by a teenager, very upmarket.

  2. Lovely idea Thelma. I think Golden Rod produces a yellow dye.

    1. Trouble is I hate robbing the garden of flowers but have bought myself a dyeing saucepan, the next thing is to find the mordants.