A while back I met a curator from the British Museum, who invited me to have a look at the sprang textiles in their collection. I took her up on the offer.
So, here I am in London, at the British Museum. They've reserved a spot for me in a 'study room' and bring my sprang bonnets to examine.
I've been writing out the patterns ... and I've informed the curator of my plans to publish these lace patterns. Hoping to add them to my book of sprang lace. The historic record is so incredibly rich.
This replica sash has some lovely designs. I am very pleased to see them working out so nicely.
I have been playing with sprang designs for several years now. I find that the key to success is the effective use of pattern writing and pattern reading. Much trial-and-error has lead me to a system. Let me share a bit about my pattern writing.
I have noticed that I prefer patterns that read in the same direction as the direction of work. Reading and writing English, the common standard is to work from left to right.
When I work on a piece of sprang, I start at the right margin, and work towards the left. I have found I get confused when my patterns are written as normal English.
I found myself happier, working more comfortably, once I started writing my pattern symbols across the page from right to left, the same direction as my direction of work.
Graph paper serves me well. I use one square for each thread. In interlinked sprang the plait row begins with a ‘three-thread edge stitch’. That means three squares. The remainder of the row is stitches that involve two threads, hence two squares. The last stitch will also be a ‘three-thread edge stitch’, again three squares.
A practical application?
The clover pattern uses three ‘stitches’. These are the regular ‘plain stitch’ that is one up, one down, two squares on the pattern.
The second ‘stitch’ is the ‘edge stitch’. This is a stitch that involves three threads, the typical stitch that begins and ends a plait row. The third stitch is what Skrowronski calls a ‘double stitch’ and Collingwood calls 2/2 interlinking. It involves four threads. It is worked in exactly the same manner as the two-thread plain stitch, except that you double the threads, two up, two down.
And this is my grid pattern for the clover pattern:
Here is a version of that same clover pattern, color coded, to try to be helpful. Right-edge stitches are blue (pick up two, put one down. Left-edge stitches are green (pick up one, put two down. Double stitches are orange (pick up two, put two down). All this to say, that I have been finding my patterns to be serving me well in this replica process.
I hope all of this is helpful to someone out there.
Quite a while ago I started a pair of socks. The warp’s been hanging off the backside of my kitchen door, waiting while other more pressing projects have attracted my attention.
Now it’s time to finish those socks.
Now, sprang is quite elastic, but not so elastic that the same tube allows for my ankles as well as for my calfs. Once finished, I confess, I ‘unwove’ a thread at the back, and inserted a ‘gusset’ of more threads.
The socks were finished off by tying the threads in bunches of four. I am quite impressed that there is no need for elastic. The socks stay up just fine without elastic at the top