Saturday, January 21, 2012

A&S 50: 43 MOL band 142

The original band fragment was found attached to a plaited hair piece and would have been used in styling the hair.  The silk band shows evidence of having had metal plaques or other ornaments sewn on to it on intervals.  The band would have been worn with the artificial hair hanging down the sides of the face in looped braids, a fashion popular in the 1340s.

The structure of the band closely resembles plain tabby weave.  This effect is achieved by threading the tables through two holes diagonally opposite each other and turning the cards ¼ turn, alternately turning the cards forward and backward  The original was 26 tables wide, with two edge tables on either side threaded through all four hole S-direction.  These edge tables were turned continuously forward.  The band was woven in plied silk and measures 10 mm in width with 46 weft picks per centimeter.

My first attempt at this band was done in purl cotton using 26 tablets.  The turning pattern is quite simple however I found the thread to be quite difficult to work with.  I was never able to get an even selvedge or anything close to the dense weft pack seen in the original band.  After much wringing of hands of gnashing of teeth, and some consultation with more experienced tablet weavers, I determined that the difficulty lay in my choice of fibers.  The cotton is simply too sticky to work well with this particular weave.  I was able to weave enough of the band to get a general idea of what the weave looks like, but will need to use silk or something with a softer hand if I wish to make any useable length of this band.

Crowfoot, Elizabeth.  Textiles and Clothing, c.1150-1450 (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London).  Boydell Press, 2001.

Crocket, Candace.  Card Weaving.  Interweave Press, 1991.

Lewins, Shelagh.  The Ancient Craft of Tablet Weaving:  Getting Started (  Last accessed Nov. 18, 2010.

Gaslee, Sarah.  Basic Tabletweaving.  ( Last accessed Nov. 18, 2010.

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