I have had the honor over the past little while, of working with some amazing people. I met Dr Beatrix Nutz at textile conferences in Europe. She spoke about textile finds from the 15th century in a castle in Tyrol ... textiles containing sprang. I have since derived the patterns from these pieces. Recently she published the work. The article is titled Enigmatic Beauty _ Headwear of Lengberg Castle, and has been published on academia.edu.
Another project was the work I did with the German Archaeology Institute in Berlin. They were working to reconstruct clothing from a burial site in the NorthWest of China dating back 3000 years, that is 1000BC. The individual was wearing the oldest known pair of pants. My role was to recreate the belt, and several straps. The work of the project is now a 45 minute video titled Die Erfingung der Hose (The discovery of pants). Yes, the original language is German, but you can select the English soundtrack for the video. It is both entertaining and informative. You can order the book-and-DVD from Amazon.
I set out to make a new sprang top. In the past I'd say the choices are a V-neck, a boat-neck, or you cut out a hole for the neck. Last spring I made a shirt comprised of ten separate pieces of sprang. I was using 'estate yarn' (yarn of an unknown age and unknown fibre content).
While I like the shirt, some of the threads are shattering ... the shirt is not standing up to wear. So I need another one. I purchased new yarn, nine skeins of Berroco Mixer, and made up nine pieces for this new shirt.
Although it might seem overwhelming to set out to make nine pieces, it's no worse than knitting a sweater. I made a center-front piece and a center-back piece. These pieces start at neckline and hem, and work to a place somewhere near the waist. There are two pieces that go over the shoulder, working from hem to hem, and meeting at the shoulder. I also made two pieces, one to go under each armpit ... worked from armpit and hem towards the waist. These pieces were all flat warp.
There are three circular warp pieces, two sleeves and a collar.
Assembled together, they make a shirt.
The basic stitch is a 2-2 twill, it has a comfortable amount of stretch. The Berroco is a mix of cotton, polyester, viscose and nylon, so I'm hoping it will stand up to washing and wearing.
No need to hem this material. The pieces have selvedges all around.
The South East Fiber Arts Alliance of Chamblee, Georgia, had me come give a lecture and to teach a two-day sprang class.
We explored flat warp, circular warp, and lace patterns. Thanks to Suzi for organizing everything.
On to California, and the Mendocino Arts Center, where I am teaching a 4-day sprang class
October 11-13, I attended Mississinewa 2018. The event recreates activities from the year 1812, including a battle that happened near Marion, Indiana. I spent most of my time in the "Ladies Salon" a tent reserved for women re-enactors to visit and enrich each other's knowledge. Yes, I brought my sprang frame, and samples of sprang: bags, pockets, coin purses, sashes, shawls.
Taking seriously a tip given to me in August at the Grand Portage Rendezvous, I drove to Henderson, Kentucky, to have a look at a sash. According to his family, James Audubon collected a fingerwoven sash while at Ft Union in 1843. I had to go and have a look at it myself (since I was in the neighborhood).
The sash features five strips sewn together. Each strip has an arrow on a red background. Each arrow is outlined with white beads. The backside of the sash has been reinforced with patches of red cloth, to stabilize damaged areas.
On to Colorado. The Denver Handweavers asked me to come and talk at their monthly meeting. I was also to teach fingerweaving and sprang.
I always learn things from my students. This woman brought along her sprang frame ... a very versatile collection of PVC pipes ... can be altered to be a warp weighted loom, an inkle loom, a tapestry loom...
The base of the frame is held together using elastic cord. She attaches the lower edge of her warp to a piece of pipe that 'floats' along the sides of her frame (fits to bits of pipe that are a larger diameter than the sides of her frame). Tension is provided by metal rings that she hangs onto this 'floating' pipe. set around a larger piece of pipe. She says she can switch it around to also serve as a warp weighted loom or tapestry loom ... a very clever design.
The students learned lots, and produced some lovely pieces.
I was also treated to a visit to the back rooms of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The anthropology department has a lovely collection of sashes.
Since my last blog entry, I’ve been busy. The last few weeks of August and first part of September were given to making a set of bonnets to replicate the collection of Coptic bonnets in the German Textile Museum in Krefeld, Germany. This was in preparation for a paper that I gave at the Textile Society of America Conference in Vancouver, BC in Mid September.
I find these bonnets fascinating. For one thing, they are rather representative of the variety found in Coptic bonnets in general. For another thing, each time I’ve learned a great deal in making replicas. I look at a bonnet, and then set up a warp, and start working, and then I get to a point where I check back with the original, and find, wait a minute, there is something else going on here. The details in these bonnets are a testament to the mastery of the technique.
Once I had an ‘acceptable’ set of nine replica bonnets, I set to another project. A colleague of mine has been working on the Spiral Textile project. Check out the website.
Julia has been encouraging me to make a contribution, some sprang samples. If you are working with sufficiently fine threads, you can get a spiral using the lace technique. Plot out a series of holes in a spiral shape, and you’ve got your sprang spiral.
S and Z work provides a different challenge. As Peter Collingwood notes, A design worked in, say, S, will not completely ‘stand out’ in front of a Z background. Collingwood does offer a kind of a ‘fix’ for this. You must divide the background into 4 quadrants, and then place the design onto this quadrant.
People have been telling me about Pennsic for years. I finally took the plunge and attended.
I stayed with my friend Tracy, who lives near the site. Diane of Clan Yama Kaminari offered me a place to stay on site, or at least a place to stash my things. Fabric and yarn merchant Miriam offered her tent as a place where I could sit and chat with people about things sprang. She also organized that I give a talk in her stall on Saturday evening. I brought my powerpoint presentation and several samples. Thanks again, Miriam.
I got to meet the woodworker behind Egill's Woodstuffs. He now makes sprang frames. Ursula's and White Wolf will also be selling my books, look for them at diverse events.
I also met with several people who are quite keen for sprang. Rachel Case who has been working with Beatrix Nutz was there. So was Elspeth from my Vesterheim class ... with her now complete sprang bonnet. Well done Elspeth (I should have taken a photo). And I met many others interested in sprang. Glenna had an exhibit at the Arts and Sciences Display.
Many thanks to my daughter, my most excellent assistant.
There were knights in shining armor, and kings and queens.
I am now confident that a few more SCA-ers will help me in my mission to spread the word about the amazing textile technique that is sprang.
This just in: one of my students sent a photo of work that she's done since the class in Reno last week. She's been working on sprang lace. She's followed some of the patterns in my sprang lace book, and then started to add to the patterns. Excellent work, Rose!!!!
Arrived in Reno, Nevada, and ready to teach sprang. I've got my frames all set up, and a display table full of examples. A surprisingly wide variety of garments, and a wide variety of patterns are possible with sprang.
It is so lovely to meet with others who are excited about sprang.
In Reno at the HGA Convergence, I taught a beginner class, and then a sprang lace class. The students were top notch every one.
Eileen had taken a class from me before. She returned to learn more, but brought along a beautiful sprang hat she had made .... and decorated with a crocheted flower.
The students all worked very hard. Such a joy to see a piece of cloth emerge on the frame ... and lace patterns to boot!
The thing about teaching a non-beginner class is that everyone brings their frame. Some of them have great innovations .... like Rose whose frame came with a stand.
HGA always has a fashion show, and several exhibits. I had two sprang shirts that made it into the fashion show, and then another shirt is on display in the leaders' (teachers') exhibit
Handweavers Guild of America Convergence will be happening in Reno, Nevada, starting later this week. The Complex Weavers will hold their meeting in the days following Convergence. Complex Weavers offer the opportunity to present posters at their conference, and I could not resist the chance to spread the word about sprang. Today I am working on the final layout for my poster. Hope to see you there!
Last Summer I made a scaled down copy of the Braddock-Washington sash for Carlyle House. The word is that the display is now complete, and viewable to the public. Here is the photo they sent me, the mannequin wearing the general's uniform .... complete with sash.