Sieves - or sifters?

It may have been 1994, when I first wove with horsehair.
I wove fabric for 20-something chairs for Skansen. I also was an attraction for the tourists, kitted out in "genuine" clothing (and freezing my b*tt off. Do you know how cold it can be in an un-insluated timber building in early spring, when it has stood closed and un-heated for 8-9 months??? Especially when threading and sleying dark brown cotton 40/2 to 22 ends per cm, in natural light only...)

I sat in the kitchen annex belonging to Skogaholms herrgård, inside that window:

As it happened, the 20-metre warp was done before the season ended, and I asked if I could try weaving sieve (sifter?) fabric for the last weeks.

I was allowed to, but only if I did it at home. (They wanted no experimenting on the premises.)

I had studied the sieves I owned, and what writings I could find. The biggest question was: how do I get the warp onto the loom? (Isn’t it interesting, the way the ethologists have of glossing over the hard bits? How many times have I read complicated descriptions of how to ... until we come to the "interesting part": then, "proceed the usual way"?)

In the end, I laced the warp to the back apron, just as lacing onto the front apron (only harder to do, as there was no way of applying tension). I then proceeded "the usual way" (threading, ... – well, you know...), including weaving.

I did not get to try (or even see) the mounting – but here it is, sieve/sifter ready:

As you can see, I had some tension problems...

All this rant, just to show my two new (old) sieves, one of which is even patterned:

I wonder what the odd-shaped one was used for? The sieve-part is about 15 cm, at the logest side.


Laura said...

Interesting - the odd shaped one is probably easy to use - since it has a built in 'handle'? Looks like the ancient weaver may have had tension problems, too?

Kerstin på Spinnhuset said...

Well - I guess ancient weavers were no more perfect than we are...
(And I have been told that ancient knitters weren't, either - but that "time" has been working for them, evening out all inconsistencies. I hope that works for weavings, too)

DiaphorDesigns said...

Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing!

A few technical questions - did you tie overhand knots at the back and lash on? How big were the groups of ends you used? What was your sett? How long was the horsehair?

I've thought about horsehair warp, but haven't tried it yet. I've been weaving with horsehair weft with overtwist wool warp in one case, and undegummed silk in another.

I met Richard Jeryan the other day. He was going to look at restoring a horsehair loom in Rhode Island. He mentioned a Kristin he had been corresponding with. Could that be you?

Debbie in MA
dteaj on Weavolution

Kerstin på Spinnhuset said...

Debbie, I'll PM you with more details - but, in essence, yes, I made overhand knots, lashed to the back, threaded, sleyed and made new overhand knots and lashed to the front.
Also, yes, I was in contact with Richard J some time ago. Unfortunately I could not give him any useful info at all, but I would very much like to know *everything* about that loom when it is back in working order...

Anonymous said...

Hi, I found your wonderful blog doing some research into horse hair uses during the middle ages. The sieve that you have looks like one that my great grandmother had but rarely used when I was child. Hers was metal screened and she called a "weevil funnel." They poured all the flour into jars for safe keeping from bugs, even while checking for weevils in fresh bought flour. South Texas, in USA, is a very buggy place. LOL Also, it could be a liquid funnel of some sort. Many vinegars, wines and such were(still are) produced in large to medium barrel or casks. When decanted into bottles or jars the sediments need to be filtered out. Some large places don't worry so much about this now but talk to an individual wine maker about sediments and filtering. Hope this helps. Cat Weekly