I see I have been mistaken. Good stuff. The pendulum goes too far in the
other direction. And yes, horned helmets, ugh. I've even had to explain to
adults at some points that the horned helmet thing was just the christian's
way of depicting them as devils due to their habit of burning churches,
being heathens and generally holding all of england to ransom for ages. I
imagine they were very bitter about it, it's all so much propaganda.
In terms of economy, frugality and simple common sense, I wonder how much
use they would have made of secondary dyeing using the same liquor, or
discharge as i've heard it called. It should give a lighter or weaker
shade. I imagine this could be used to create a checked cloth in two shades
of one colour with little extra cost. This would add interest to a garment
and I'd think that'd be desirable. I imagine such a technique would also be
undetectable by chemical analysis.
I have seen pictures of Greenlandic finds of undyed garments that use 2
different shades of naturally coloured wools to create a checked effect,
which indicates a desire for colour and pattern without breaking the bank.
Oh, and as far as tablet weaving goes, it might only be trim, but it's my
main technique. My tablet-woven borders I fully intend to be glorious
affairs. I guess it's difficult to know how exactly they distributed
pattern on these bands, but I'd imagine they'd weave individual motifs
seperated by bands of plain colour or chevroned patterning, depending on
the skill level of the weaver in question. I am currently developing
double-face patterning and enjoying myself thouroughly, and will probably
be onto brocade next, as it's an excellent way to spend a great deal of
time making a good effect with a very small amount of stupidly expensive
yarn so I imagine it was often used for this. Soumak as well, as from the
Oseberg ship burial, is a fascinating technique.
I am coming up with striped and checked and striped/checked patterns. I
don't want to fill everyone's email up with JPEGS, so I put them on my
A wee tiny bit of red can be very effective if it's placed next to green.
Too much and it's kinda painful to look at. It works the other way as well,
but I'm considering the expensiveness of red here.
I also wonder how much cloth would be woven at once on one of these warp
weighted looms, in terms of warp length. It seems likely that there'd be
two levels of textile production, personal and trade. I have read in
Ewing's book that it's likely that a lot of the small-scale textile
production in Birka was possibly for use as gifts to one's social equals to
reinforce loyalty in a fragmented society and then there's also the
tradition of a wife making a shirt as a wedding gift for her husband, which
indicates that at a certain social level creating individual artifacts was
perhaps the order of the day.
The question is how centralised and developed was the weaving of trade
cloth? At a certain level it becomes more economical to dress the lower
orders of society in "mass-produced" cloth which would probably be either
self-coloured or uncoloured and either piece dyed or left as is. That level
of production however I tend to doubt that vikings had, as well as the
ability to hold stock, which also seems somewhat unlikely.
My speculation is that for everyday dress, a household may have woven all
the cloth they needed for tunics and other woollen goods on long,
self-coloured warps, or in standard checks of various self-coloured cloth.
Stripes could be added in the weft of course. On the other hand, it seems
likely to me that a high-class garment that was going to be worn to the
Thing or other public occasions would likely be made specially and be
carefully planned and executed and perhaps be woven with a dedicated warp.
Another thing concerning warp length is it's simply more economical to
weave a longer warp, both in terms of the setting-up time and the fact that
there's always a bit of waste at the end of the warp when the unwoven warp
becomes too short for the loom to be able to weave it. I'd expect that this
would be woven in by hand with a needle to minimise waste, but it's still
an extremely laborious process. On the other hand, they may have found use
for the "loom waste", by recycling it as sewing thread. In terms of the
maximum warp length I think the only limitation is the length of hank that
can be spun, and that gives a person plenty leeway.
All these things introduce practical and economic limitations which I need
to consider and which become even more important when there's a significant
part of my brain that's telling me I really should spin my own wool for
this project. I'm trying to ignore that bit, it's mental.
At some point I think I'm going to have to zero in on a particular region
and era that interests me and consider the known level of social and
economic development for the period and work from there