I think I have mentioned that I am the person running the Norrskensfest
event in November. I decided early on that I wanted to run it much like Mist Bardic is run--with the feast during the day. Then, after so enjoying all of the singing at the Umamedeltids
event earlier this month, I decided why not go all out and run a Bardic competition as well, with the rounds interspersed between the feast courses? So we will be doing a Norrskensbard
competition, with the winner serving the four shires of northern Nordmark as their bard. And a bard needs regalia.
So now I am planning on making a cloak for the Norrskensbard
, embellished with Norrsken (northern lights)
. I asked on the Drachenwald A&S group if anyone knew of a period depiction of the northern lights, and got a couple of suggestions from the 1500's. One involves candles in the sky
, the other is a bit more useful
When I saw that second link I realized that the sharp angles it involves would lend itself really well to tablet weaving, and a cloak with a nice wide tablet woven border with northern lights on it would make spiffy regalia. Therefore I asked on the Historic Tablet weaving group if anyone has seen a pattern with northern lights on it, or if anyone would be willing to design me one. I got a few suggestions as to how I might do my own design, but so far no one has pointed out any patterns that are ready to go for such a project.
However, going to that group reminded me that, back in November, a lady from that group had sent me an article she had written about an unusual tablet weaving technique. The lady is normally a Swedish speaker, and had written two versions of the article, one in each language. After I read the English version I asked her if she would like me to do some editing of that version of the article for her, and she replied yes. However, life has been so busy ever since I hadn't gotten to it. So, yesterday, I opened the articles again, and did the edits, in the process learning the theory of how the technique works (it involves turning the tablets onto their points, so that there are two sheds, then weaving from left to right through the upper shed, then, before turning the cards, going back from right to left through the lower shed (and, in the process, also going through a single shed made up of several border cards in the traditional horizontal position, but skipping the shed in the first and last cards on the left to right pass, so that when you do the right to left pass you can go through that shed without the work coming undone). As she explains it, with this technique the colour in the top point of the card is the one that is visible, so one can weave any pattern by simply turning the correct colour point uppermost.
It occurred to me that this technique might lend itself well to experiments for a northern lights motif, so I checked my yarn stash to see if we have anything useful. I don't have any weaving weight black, but we have a cotton yarn in very dark blue, some slightly thinner yarn in a really bright turquoise sort of colour, and some variegated red/pink in the same weight as the turquoise. I have no idea where these latter two came from, since they are not colours I would normally use, but they contrast well with the blue and are not too far off from colours the northern lights actually takes, so I will run with them.
I went to thread the yarn onto the cards, and remembered a friend showing me the continuous warp technique many years ago, wherein one takes four spools of yarn, shoves the end of each spool through the holes in the full stack of cards, then ties the end to one end of an inkle loom before drawing the first card in the pile through enough length of the yarn to thread that length onto the loom, then repeating the procedure for each card in turn, until the loom is fully warped. No tangles, no fuss. Works great if one uses the same threading pattern on every card.
There was only one problem with this idea. We didn't have an inkle loom. heck, lord_kjar
had never even seen one before. So we consulted Google Image, found one we liked the look of, adapted the design to work with the materials we had on hand, and a faster sort of construction, and set to work. Four hours after deciding that I needed it, it was ready to go. However, it now being well after midnight, I decided that it would be smarter to record the adventure for posterity, do yoga, and go to bed, and try warping the loom tomorrow, when I am more rested.