Thursday, September 23, 2010

Opsta vaev and a weaving sword

On this sunny beautiful morning, where I am once again back in Copenhagen I enjoy my morning tea with thoughts of the wonderful day I spent last week at Sagnlandet in Lejre once again.
Once upon a time 10 years ago when I turned forty my husband made me a loom, a copy of an upright loom like the ones used a thousand years ago or more in many parts of Scandinavia and Europe for weaving cloth for their clothing, blankets and even sails for their boats.
At Lejre they have several such looms and .... Some of them are in use on a regular basis which means that I could actually ask a ton of questions of the women working in this weaving workshop related to the whole process of how to effectively use this warp weighted loom and the tools for it.

I learned that .... Viking textiles often have more of a warp faced weave, that the method of setting up the loom incorporating into the warp a tabletwoven ribbon at the top of the loom really was not so prevalent in viking weaving as I had thought. Only one piece has been found from this era using this technique. Possibly it went out of style as the looms were changed, made more effective and weaving turned into production instead of one of a kind or one at a time pieces.

A very loose finger crocheted stay-stitch (sewing expression I know) to keep the warp ends organized at the bottom separating beam, which forms part of the shed and keeps the two layers apart.

A weaving sword, some have been found made of whalebone, this one is metal and weighs about 400gr. Had it been any heavier it would have been too heavy. I believe it was made by the blacksmith at the research station here in Lejre. I will have to go home and look at some of the different woods in my drop spindle workshop and figure out which tools I need to use to create a beautiful wooden weavingsword for myself when I return.
Hm, perhaps I can ask my son the wooden sword creator (for other uses mind you when he was a kid) for some advice.

And I got to weave, I got to weave. How much something can be missed without knowing it until one gets to do it again. I used this little tapestry bobbin to gently make little arches along the pick in order to make sure that there wouldn't be too much draw-in and......
I was fortunate enough that someone else came into speak to Anne while I was weaving and so I got to weave and weave, well, and in this case I probably had the opportunity to put in ten or twelve picks, nice and slow, steadily moving along.

Between each pick getting to use the weaving sword, feeling a bit odd, being a peaceful person, never having enjoyed much the use or thoughts of swords suddenly there I was having to yield this sword repeatedly again and again.
Well, I didn't suffer too much, I will learn how to yield it properly and how to enjoy it tremendously all at the same time.
Funny thing, now I am all eager to return to Canada to get this loom working again. It is all in pieces packed up right now, but I do know how to use a screwdriver for this modern version and so it shouldn't take too long before I am ready to ..... Use this magnificent loom of mine so long left unattended.
Purchased a book on the subject written by Karen-Hanne Staermose Nielsen, The Loom of Circe, the history of the warp-weighted loom and its present use. Historisk-Arkaeologisk Forsoegscenter Lejre 1999.
The actual book with photos and drawings etc is in Danish but fortunately I also did get my little eager beaver weaving hands on a copy of the English pages. Am excited to read it all, and learn.

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  1. Amazing skills our ancestors had and I think it is wonderful to be able learn them. I can just see the sparkle in your eyes as you dream of what you will do with the warp weighted loom when you get home.

  2. Yes, we could say that they knew how to survive, we are here after all :-)