Saturday, 18 October 2014

A late entry

This is the kind of project you do when you're avoiding something else - in this case setting sleeves.  I hate setting sleeves, especially those two-part 19th century jobs where the sleeve head is never the same shape as the armhole.  So instead of spending at most half an hour setting sleeves, I spent four hours making a piece of Neolithic linen textile.

I'm entering this one for HSF Challenge 13: Under $10, which I didn't manage to make anything for at the time.  Of course, Challenge 13 was due in July, but better late than never, right?  I did actually start a piece of twined cloth for Challenge 13, but the timing didn't work out.

Fragments of textile like this were found at Nahal Hemar in Israel, in 1983.  They date from the Neolithic, before the invention of pottery, and they are not woven the way cloth is woven today.  Instead, the linen warp and weft threads are twined together; the people who made these 8500-year-old textiles had not yet invented weaving as we know it today.  However, there was nothing coarse or primitive about the Nahal Hemar textiles.  This tiny scrap of fabric is only 5.5 by 7.5 cm.

פיסה אריג
 צלם:עמית קלרה
Scrap of fabric from Nahal Hemar.  Picture found here.

In Prehistoric Textiles, Elizabeth Barber has a section on the Nahal Hemar textiles and diagrams showing how they were made.  The weft threads are twisted around each individual warp thread, and the result is a sturdy, net-like fabric.  I've made the selvage by wrapping the warp ends in thread, which seems to have been how the Nahal Hemar pieces were finished.

Here is my piece in close up:

The Challenge: Under $10.

Fabric: It is fabric.

Pattern: N/A.

Year: Around 6500 BCE.

Notions: None.

How historically accurate is it?  The technique is fine, and the original Nahar Hemal textiles are made of linen.  While my fabric is not as fine as the example I included in this post, I think it's within the general ballpark in terms of thread diameter.  So maybe 9/10.

Hours to complete: About 4.

First worn: N/A.

Total cost: Virtually none.  I don't remember how much I originally paid for the big spool of linen warp I used to make the piece, but the few meters of linen would cost only a few cents.

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