Thursday, 6 November 2014

Supplementary warp band

For HSF Challenge 10 I made a woven band based on a fresco from Tyrins, and it damn near killed me.  So naturally I'm doing another one for Challenge 21: Re-do.  But this time it will be different, because I've chosen a simpler design and a different construction method.  Last time I used supplementary weft.  This time it's supplementary warp and in only two colours.

What made my last attempt at Bronze Age band weaving so particularly hellish was that I had to juggle five colours of supplementary yarn.  Here, however, I only have one.  I learned that lesson.

When I made the Tyrins band a couple of people on the Historical Sew Fortnightly Facebook group asked if I took photos of the construction process, but unfortunately I didn't have this blog at the time and hadn't taken any pictures.  Well folks, prepare to laugh yourselves silly as I show you the dodgiest warp weighted loom set up you will ever see.

This loom has everything.  Cardboard tubes I fished out of the recycling bag, parts of a rigid heddle loom (the rigid heddle may or may not be period), teacups used as weights, a chair back, and of course lots of string.

The skein of red wool hanging over the chair back is the supplementary warp, which will create the design on the finished cloth.  In this next photo, the supplementary warp is woven into the fabric.  Supplementary warp is the most likely method for making the decorative bands that adorned Minoan and Mycenaean clothes, although based on my experience with the Tyrins band I'm pretty sure that design couldn't be done just with supplementary warp.  Because it has thin horizontal lines it would need supplementary wefts as well.  I'm not game to find out.

The blue and red look nicer together than I thought they would.

This band is based on examples from Knossos and Mycenae.  It's easy to make, and the pattern is even reversible.  I think of it as a fishing net pattern, though I have no idea if that's what it was supposed to represent.

Warp weighted looms are a fairly complicated concept, but as I've demonstrated they're extremely simple to make.  The Greek term is a histon, and the looms used in the Bronze Age were probably just like the ones pictured on later Greek vases.  My loom obviously uses modern materials, but it works in just the same way as an ancient loom and it makes the same type of cloth.

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