The portrait by Lucas Cranach, painted in 1526, of Katharina Luther, wife of the famous Martin Luther, depicts a woman wearing a hairnet. It was Dagmar Drinkler of the Bavarian National Museum who showed me this image some years ago. It is her opinion that Mrs. Martin Luther is wearing a sprang bonnet. I interpret this as possibly an interlinking structure, what I call a doubles grid.
Arriving at the centre, I chained across to secure the cloth. I chained threads one at a time.
Then I blocked it. I got it soaking wet, and then selected the right sized mixing bowl from my kitchen.
Mrs Luther's bonnet seems to have a band around the rim. I made a band using my tape loom. I measured out threads of sufficient length to make a band that will go around my head three times, plus a bit extra to tie a knot.
I made this first bonnet using a pale wool, hoping you would be better able to see the details of construction. Mrs Luther is wearing a dark colored bonnet. You will also note that the band around the head is rather wide, far wider than the band I made for this pale-coloured bonnet.
I worked a band in a 2-2 interlace stitch, with vertical ribs, and a 4 contrasting colored threads. OK, the red yarn I selected is rather close in color value to the dark green, and the green design does not stand out well on my band. I was also disappointed to note that the design in my band is far more elongated that the design in Mrs. Luther's bonnet. OK. Maybe I should stick to my field of expertise, the sprang, and leave the band to someone else. Perhaps it is another technique, perhaps an embroidered design.
A time-consuming project
Since I've got time on my hands, all travel plans cancelled, I figured I should put my efforts to a project worthy of a great deal of time ... all those lace patterns. I've seen sprang lace in a number of collections, have photographed them, and have made some samples. Now is the time to sit myself down and to go through these, one by one, and render patterns that will be read-able to others.
The inspiration for these patterns come from several sources. There's that book of sprang sashes, repaired by Coby Reijndeers-Baas, sashes with all manner of designs, people, boats, deer, mermaids, and a variety of geometric designs. Then there is that collection of lace from the Cinquantenaire Museum in Brussels that I visited back in 2013. Other lace patterns come from pieces in the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Petri Museum, and assorted other collections.
I'm working on putting the patterns onto a grid, so you'll have a grid pattern. From that grid, I'm deriving a "written pattern" that will read "right-edge stitch, 3 plain stitches, left-edge stitch". Having done that, I then set up a warp and make an actual sample, to check my pattern, and to be reasonably sure that the pattern is correct.
I'd be very happy to have others check these patterns. If you're interested, send me a message by commenting on this blog, or to the "contact me" on this website.
For those of you in Western Canada, or NorthWest USA, the Maiwa School of Textiles will host two sprang classes, the first runs April 15-16 focusing on an introduction to sprang ... no experience necessary. Immediately following that there is an intermediate sprang class scheduled for April 17 - 19. The intermediate sprang class will examine topics such as twining patterns, circular warp, lace, and more. For more information visit the Maiwa School of Textiles Website
I understand that there are still a few spots available.
And here's a better image of that shawl I made last month, demonstrating perhaps some of the drape and flexibility of the fabric
Photo by Chris Black
I now find myself at the FibreWorks Gallery near Madiera Park, British Columbia. I've been offered a short residency. This place is also called "The Yurts" because of the buildings that make up the campus.
Planning to create a sprang scarf, I brought along yarn, beads, and the top and bottom of my sprang frame. I purchased 4 ft long dowels locally, and set to work.
A sprang project needs the yarn mounted on the frame in an orderly fashion ... I needed to organize a first cross in the warp.
The weather was pleasant, I sat outside the FibreWorks Workshop Yurt, and worked. My pattern is inspired by pieces I saw at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa.
On Monday, FibreWorks was closed. I went along to speak to a spinners' guild, bringing them the good news of sprang.
I worked on the shawl on Tuesday, and finished it by Thursday afternoon.
The Weavers Circle meets at the FibreWorks Gallery on Thursdays, they watched as I cut the fringes, and tied the knots.
Carlyle House Display
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.
More Sprang Lace Patterns
Since returning from my travels, I've been busy writing patterns, and making samples. I sent pieces to the Hermitage and to the British Museum, giving them pieces for others to handle.
Here is a photo of a piece in the British Museum collection, and the matching pattern I've been working on. I'll be teaching sprang at the Lace Museum in Sunnyvale, Calif, in February 2018. Once people get past the basics, I'll be happy to share these and other patterns. Anyone interested in this class should contact Kim at the Lace Museum, by emailing kim at wire lace dot net, or calling 510 565 0994.