Hallstatt 1 reconstruction

Delving a bit further back than I usually do, I tried my hand at a Hallstatt reconstruction. Usually dated to late bronze/early iron age (~1100 BC), Hallstatt is a famous archaelogical site in Austria, and one I certainly have renewed appreciation for after having tried this pattern!

Hallstatt ritrovamenti

The reconstruction I chose to do is the one at the very top, also called Hallstatt 1 by other card weavers, and it is a beautiful, fairly complex thing. Especially after looking at so many viking age reconstructions where most of the material is brocaded.

I chose to do my reconstruction in some lovely wool, plant-dyed by Sabine Ringenberg and I have been getting some really lovely, consistent results with this wool.

Halstatt 1

I easily admit that I fought a bit with this pattern to begin with. It’s one of those fiddly ones where you have to pay attention all the time, because if you mess it up, it will carry on throughout the weaving.

Halstatt 2

But I really like this pattern and I’d love to do more similar things. I just wish there were more findings like this from the viking age too, and not just mainly brocade (which has survived and been found so far, anyways).

Material: Plant-dyed wool
Number of cards: 19
Width: 2 cm
Lenght: 2 meters
Time period: ~1100 BC
Weaving time: ~12 hours

Birka reconstruction based on resources by Agnes Geijer

After the Trondheim reconstruction, I was left with some warp that was too long to just discard, but at the same time, I didn’t want to keep doing the Trondheim brocade. Variety is the spice of life, etc. etc.

So what could I do? Having to stick to a specific number of cards, my opportunities were limited. But eventually, I landed on doing one of the many brocaded fragments from Birka in Sweden.

Birka Geijer4

After some digging around on the interwebs, I found what I think is a picture of the original, albeit taken with glass between the camera and the bands.

Birka Agnes Geijer

A detail of the band can be seen here:

Birka Geijer4_detail

Materials: 60/2 silk for the warp and gold wound around a silk core for the brocade
Time: 20 hours
Site: Birka (8th-10th century), I think this is Birka BIII (B3)
Number of cards: 23
Width: 1 cm
Length: 60 cm

Trondheim reconstruction

Here, about a month ago, I got another wonderful challenge in the long line of commissions which makes me better. This time, a brocade reconstruction based on this little 3 cm long, 9 mm wide piece of silk and gold found in Trondheim around the 11th century.


The text reads: “Very small, approx 3 cm long cardwoven ribbon found during excavations at the people’s library property in Trondheim. Photo by Per E. Fredriksen”

This is a ribbon commonly reconstructed in brown, but since this this particular commissioner loves getting into the nitty gritty details of things, she contacted the originlar archaeologist on the site, and had it confirmed that the ribbon had originally been more of a reddish brown. We tried finding information on how silk changes colour as it ages, but found nothing tangible.

From a lovely lady in England, I was also able to find some proper gold thread, meaning a flat ribbon of gold, spun around a core of yellow silk. Gold threads these days are usually wound around a core of polyester, even museum reconstructions, so we were particularly chuffed about that one (even did a flame test to make sure it was the real deal).

trondheimsbrokade 1b

Particular comments: This ribbon in 60/2 silk is indeed 9 mm wide, but the silk is clearly a little thicker compared to the original find, this made perfectly square patterns very difficult. The mammen cuff, for instance has been found to contain warp thread in 100/3 quality silk, but no similar information could be found for the Trondheim ribbon (and the only 100/2 silk I could find was white).


Nevertheless, as a first official reconstruction, I hope the commissioner will be pleased.

trondheimsbrokade 2b

40 cm long, 9 mm wide, 60/2 reddish brown silk from the Handweavers studio and gallery in London, gold spun around a silk core from Elisabeth Da’Born.

Time: about half an hour efficient weaving per pattern repeat, about 13 hours in total.

Plant dyed pebble dragons

Dragons galore!

I’m growing really fond of these sweet, little dragons. They’re quick enough, and the pebble weave means that they use far less yarn compared to other patterns.

I must also mention Sabine Ringenberg, the wonderful lady who plant dyed these colours. The yarn is 4 ply, but incredibly thin and strong, not to mention the consistency of the dye. All in all, some really awesome wool!

This 2 meter band was done for a friend, has 20 cards and took about 12 hours. The colours are undyed (white), walnut (brown) and indigo (blue). The pattern is inspired from an archaeological find in Dublin around 10th century, but the original was brocaded.


My arrangements are not as good as Liv’s, but practice makes perfect, no?

Dragon pebble weave

Another Sunday, another card woven band finished. This time is was technically a pebble weave test, but I realised as I wove it that the colours were of the kind that a recent friend of me likes; dusty and not too loud. So it’s ending up as a wedding/birthday present and I hope she will like it.

Lite dragebånd 1

As usual, Liv is very happy when given the chance to make cozy mood pictures.

… and does some really neat closeups:

Lite dragebånd 3

The pattern is a pebble weave, similar (but not the same as) a brocade piece found in Dublin around the 10th century, tubular selvedges included. The nice thing about pebble weave is that the pattern is the same, only inverted, on the backside.

dragon pebble weave ca 960

Tiny dragons say roawr!

Done in 16/2 linen, 20 cards.

Medieval-monster-brocade-thing in red and blue

Now for something which has been pretty exactly a year in the making. I was asked by a friend to make an “impressive looking band” about “ye wide” and matching his impressive looking dark plum medieval cloak.

First we spent at least half a year back and forth considering colours and testing techniques, until he finally decided that he wanted red and blue after all. Then I tested some more designs before the thesis-monster gobbled me up whole and I went underground for a couple of months.


The first design I tested was a krusband design, 6.5 cm wide. But this gave me associations to the Marius sweater, a quite well known Norwegian sweater design (and we just couldn’t have that):


So it was straight back to the drawing board, and I had to admit that the only thing suitable for a cloak of his caliber would be a brocaded band. Oy wey.


The pattern is early 16th century taken from Anne Neuper’s Modelbuch, with a minor adaption to work in my friend’s mark. It is in 16/2 linen, 49 (red) pattern cards, 61 cards in total and 6.5 cm wide. Each 10 cm pattern report took roughly 2 hours, so I estimate at least 80 hours pure brocade weaving, and then adding all the time spent on other things like colour, design, warping and threading on top of that.

The relief I felt when you start out here:

monsterpiece wip


And end up here:


Can scarcely be explained in words.

20140803_191633small600wide, Image by Liv Elin

Now I just really, really hope he likes it, and I can’t wait to see it in action!

Brocade practice

What to do when patterns have been drafted and linen has been ordered?

Well, we couldn’t very well weave one of the other orders, now could we? That would be rude and ruining the waiting queue. We’ll practice brocading instead, as I have precious little practice with said technique.


I didn’t really have the brainwork to draft up something especially for this practice piece. The pattern is taken from the book “Ecclesiastic pomp & Aristocratic cirsumstance” by Nancy Spies, and is believed to be from imperial garments from the 11th century.

It is easy to understand why this sort of thing was only worn by the very wealthiest. All day weaving, all three Lord of the Rings movies, and I’ve only managed about 40cm.

Oh, and it is barely 2.7cm wide.


The work that grows

So, over the past two weeks I have been back in the best city I know, Tromsø, visiting my best friends in the whole world, just really having an awesome time and sadly watching as time flies by all too fast.

One of the things I had planned to do while I was there, was to weave a 2 meter card weaving ribbon that my wonderful friend Liv had ordered a while back. She loves Egyptian diagonals so I figured it would be an easy one, but you know… stuff kind of escalates, and she’s good at saving stuff she likes off the internet.

So we sat down to look at her folder of images. I slept on the whole thing and the next morning I drew up some patterns.

And here is the result.

Livbånd1 liten

Sorry for the poor quality. It was weaved “on the spot” in Tromsø without anything but my phone camera, and it’s also staying there so… blurry image. But trust me when I say it is actually a nice woad-like blue colour, accented by undyed dark brown and off-white wool.

She seemed satisfied at least.

Now, off to start drafting and testing for the henceforth dubbed “maddness-ribbon”.