We’re obviously into spring now, and softly nearing Easter – the flowers in the garden tell me this:


Snowdrops are through – now coming up for their turn: two-leaf squill…


…viola (and I’m especially happy that there are more of them in the lawn this year)…


… and you can see the tulips preparing for their part of the show already, too – just beside the white ones whose name I don’t remember just now.

I hope the weather during the weekend will be nice enough to enjoy some gardening – there’s quite a bit of garden that is in dire need of some attention, and there’s seeds waiting to be tossed out!

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If you are into Living History or the Middle Ages and you’re looking for an event to go to in August, here’s one that might be interesting to you: Medieval World Convention. It will take place in a lovely spot in Germany (which promises to be quite warm at that time of year) from August 10 to August 20.

One of my market-trading colleagues is in the team planning this, and they want to establish the convention as a place to meet other people from all over the world, and take part in all kinds of different lectures, presentations, and workshops. All this is bookable via an app – which is a nice mixture of the modern stuff to help learn things about the past… and quite geeky, too.

If you are interested, go ahead and register – the event will only take place if enough people register for a start. (The fee for participation will only be payable if that is the case, you lose no money if it doesn’t work out.) Or if you know somebody who might be interested, do spread the word! Sadly, I won’t be able to take part, as I’m already somewhere else during that time – but if the Convent works out, there will be a second one in the future…

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Here’s a few links for you:

The new issue of Knitty is up, and among the things featured is a pair of socks with a really fancy heel. Hm. Maybe I have space for one more pair of socks in my drawer?

Going bouldering is still totally delightful for me, and recently I stumbled across a bouldering comic called Betamonkeys. It’s really funny if you climb (and probably not so much if you don’t).

The current Humble Book Bundle, where you pay what you want and part of it goes to charity, is featuring Women of SFF – among the books, some by Octavia Butler, who is a Grande Dame of the genre. It will be up for another week, so if you have an e-book itch to scratch…

And finally, if you enjoy reading news about archaeology, paleontology and related subjects from all around the world, you might want to check out the Archaeology News Network blog, which is serving up all this and more.

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There is a new project coming up (I have hinted at it), and today was full of planning for it – it involves hand-woven fabric again, a whole stack of pieces in different weaves and from different yarns and in different densities, so there’s quite a lot of figuring out to do.

And that was my job today – making a ginormous list of fabrics, going through a huge stack of documentation from the conservation work done on most of the fabrics and scratching my head and cursing fate for those pieces that were not conserved – and are thus not very well documented… which is utterly unhelpful for making a reconstruction.

Anyway, the list is now almost finished – and I really enjoyed this bit of planning work. It just is nice to see how varied those textiles are, and how much work went into them, and how they were used. It’s also nice to have so much good, detailed documentation to work off from! After a whole day sitting at the computer and going through stacks of paper, though, I’m also looking forward to doing things with my hands again: I need to make new distaffs, and that’s the plan for tomorrow!

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Well, what do you do once you have made a box loom? Try it out, of course. So I’ve been test-weaving some more, again with silk and gold… and by now, it’s become a fairly long band:


…so long that I have wound it up and tied it together with the white cord. (That band will probably show up in my online shop, eventually.)

The boxloom, of course, has also evolved a bit during all this weaving:


My original plan to make a sort of reel from acrylic has not stood the test of time – or rather, the glue I used was not strong enough. So the construction (you can see the leftover parts behind the loom, half-hidden by the sandpaper to smooth out any remaining catchy edges) got replaced by a cardboard tube. To keep the warp from unreeling, I have a suitable gear and stopdog, but haven’t taken time to install them yet (they are on the far side in the photo), so for now, a clamp is taking on the stopping duty for the warp reel. (I love those clamps. We have a gazillion of them, and they are just. so. handy.) There’s an old iron providing the heft that the lightweight materials do not give, so I can beat in the weft without beating the loom towards me.

It always fascinates me to see how tools, and even those that seem so simple, have a lot of details that turn out to be more important, or less important, than you would have supposed them to be – even if you know the textile technique in question, and how those tools get changed and evolve when you work with them…

Posted in rigid heddle weaving, textile techniques and tools | 1 Comment

Here’s one of the things I played around with regarding spinnning angles – an overlay of several measurements by several people on the same yarn picture.


It’s hard to see, but you’ll hopefully be able to make out the angles drawn onto the thread. I find it fascinating that about nobody picked the same spot, and that the results are so mixed (which is probably due to my spinning).

I’m also fascinated by another comparison – two threads, one of which was spun quite a bit firmer than the other one. Measuring the angles, though, gave almost the same result for both. Was that a fluke of my measuring? (I’ll probably do a few more measurements to find out…)

Anyway – it stays interesting. And it makes me wonder how reliable the spinning angle is… though I’m quite convinced that there is not a better thing to be found for the archaeological or historical textiles. Sigh.

Posted in spinning, textile techniques and tools, work-related | 2 Comments

There’s been some more weaving yesterday, and some more preparing for an upcoming course I’ll be giving at the Uni of Paderborn. I’m all excited about it – it will be a three-day seminar regarding old and forgotten textile techniques and reconstruction, ranging from a look at spinning to the reconstruction of historical tailoring techniques.

As usual, though, it means that I need to prepare a slew of slides in Powerpoint – which is a time-consuming task even if you have a lot of practice at it (which I do). Part of this is because I’ll be integrating some of my new-found knowledge about the changes in twist from spinning to woven cloth, and that means sitting down and measuring out things (which I’d need to do anyways for my own documentation plus the upcoming other talk about spinning at NESAT, but the course in early April means I have to do it right now).

Also as usual, going into a new(ish) direction of research means the opportunity to get sidetracked… in the current case, that is me looking for a good software for measuring out and marking down angles in spun threads. I know that the Dinolite microscope software can do that, but I’ve tried it and it refuses to open my pictures, so no joy for me there. There’s a measurement function in my (ancient) CorelDraw, but it needs a lot of prodding and tweaking to look nice, and even worse, it doesn’t always leave the measures where I made them. ImageJ lets me do the measurements and lists the results in a table, but I haven’t made the drawn angles stick on the image yet. So I’m still looking – and hopefully I’ll find something suitable soon!

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