Last weekend was Forward Into The Past. It's a fun and informative event, open to the public and reenactors alike. I was feeling somewhat burnt out and stressed, so only went to a couple of classes this year and spent the rest of the time chatting and relaxing. On the way home, my transmission started squealing and I felt very lucky that the van made it into my driveway! So $3111 later, I can drive again. This is the 2nd transmission in 2 1/2 years. If it goes again then too bad! While I like my van, I don't like it that much!
The project on the floor loom is coming off. After trying to force myself to spend time each day on it, and avoiding it like the plague - I came up with some dandy excuses, I'm chopping it off. Of course, I did have to prep for a class I was teaching and I did a program at the Burlington Weaver's Guild as well, which required a bit of work. Wow, do they have a great meeting place and an amazingly friendly group of people there.
I also had to make a spring cake. The men folk around here will eat pie until it's coming out their ears and then some. However, I went for a change and made a fancy cake. Darned thing took over 5 hours to make, including a ton of little royal icing flowers, that I ended up not using!
So back to the loom.... The project on it was to be my show and tell piece for the Guelph Handweavers and Spinners yearly challenge. This year was based on the 100 mile Dye-it, meaning choose locally raised and processed fibres, yarns and or natural dyes. I had the local fibres, shetland wool from Earendel Farm, I had process and spun them myself and dyed them with plants that I'd grown or harvested locally. I was going to weave them into a wall hanging but turns out that I wasn't enjoying the technique.
Worried that I wouldn't have anything to show for my challenge and the fact that the yarn that I had designated for this project was really small amounts compared to what I normally do, I had to find another project that would use only yards of yarn instead of hundreds of yards. What did I come up with?
Inkles... warp faced plain weave bands. I'd only done inkle weaving in crochet cotton which is a very forgiving yarn. Working in handspun wool has been enough of a challenge to keep my interest. So I have a guild project that I can then use for costuming! Of course the inkle loom as we modernly know it, isn't remotely medieval but inkles are. They were probably woven on box looms, 2 beam looms of various designs or a simple technique - like tying your project to a tree and your waist for tension. There are references to inkles, illuminations of women withtape and box looms with rigid heddles or no heddles (string possibly?) as well as weaving tablets. There are bits of ribbons found and top selvedge headers for warp weighted looms which were probably woven with rigid heddles or something similar as they are repp weaves, rather than tabby weaves. The string heddles are a simple method of making a hand operated 2 shed heddle device, so I put rigid heddles in the same category. There are at least a couple of very early period rigid heddles found, in the size for making tapes. Now to figure out a way to make one of these early looms that is much more period than the one I currently have!