On a slow boat to...

Actually, it's not the boat as much as its wi-fi that is slow.

And I forgot my camera-to-computer cable, so for today I will have to refer you to Laura's blog for a picture.
- at least it proves I am on the ferry :-)

Will have to see about a new cable tomorrow


Another mangle (and some damask)

Today we went to a renowned damask weaver, Elsa Persson.
She had (and used, of course!) a very old mangle, probably as old as the house itself (that was mid-1800 - I did not pay attention....)

The type is basically the same as mine (ie "box mangle"), but hand operated. I did not get a good overview picture, but here is one from a museum site. (This one lacks the top roller, though)

This type was "home-made" (probably by some local furniture maker). The beds (boards) are not stone (as in mine), but wood. The box has an open top, and stones are added for pressure. Originally it was operated by two persons - it has handles at both ends - pushing and pulling the top back and forth. By about 1900 a crank was added (or perhaps the whole windlass - Laura tells me that is what the contraption is called), so now it can be operated by one person.
The rope is tied to one handle, taken round the top roller several turns, and then tied to the other handle.

Here is an overview of the left side:

(I especially like that it is pegged together, just as our looms always are!)

The rope is tied to the nearest handle (not seen), goes over the roller:

To tip it (to get the rollers which hold the cloth in and out), it is just cranked to one extreme, and the box will tip by itself. I tried to get a picture of that, but could not find an angle where the mechanism/function could be seen.

Elsa has found a way to mangle wide fabrics without a fold: she got this sturdy steel tube, rolls the whole cloth around it and puts it in "halfway" - mangles. Takes the tube out, turns it and mangles the other side. The whole width stays on the tube, but only half the width gets mangled per "pass".
 - this, of course, requires an "open-sided" mangle - but mine is! Pity it is Sunday, or I would go to the hardware store immediately... :-)

Laura has posted some pictures of both looms and finished pieces, here - so I will only add one more picture:

A detail of a tablecloth depictiong the story of Elsa's home: the house in the middle, some of the farm's animals (and some wildlife, too - deer of several sorts, typical trees and flowers...) on the borders. This was woven with a single-draw loom.

(Click all pictures to biggify)


More mangling

Yesterday I wrote that my mangle is "a biggish affair". I knew I was wrong, but everything is relative, yes? (Mine barely fits into it's "shed", and feels big enough when you are standing beside it...
Today I managed to find some pictures and the history of the biggest mangle I have ever seen.

(Scroll down a little to find the pictures.)
The description is in Swedish. I don't know how much google translate would "mangle" it, so here are a few of the key facts, translated by me:

The mangle is probably built in the 19th century and is one of the biggest in the world.
The box is 8 metres long, 1 meter wide and weighs 20 tons (20 000 kg). [...] The bottom slopes down from the middle outwards - the slope is more pronounced toward the ends, to facilitate the tipping of the box to change rollers.
Up to 1928 it was driven by horses. [...] It was then electrified
The linen goods to be mangled consisted of lots of 100 "aln" (about 200 feet) long (1) for towelling, or 12 metres for tablecloths and napkin goods.
The rollers were made of a special kind of birch*. The goods were mangled two times. A "mangle cloth" (protector sheet) was not used. [...] The goods were re-rolled between the first and the second mangling. When the mangling was done the goods had become "some aln" (2 ft) longer.
The mangle was used by the (proto-)industry.(2)     "

(1) in another text I have found 30-40 metres for the towelling, but that is impressive enough... 
(2) as part of the wet finishing. Measuring was done after mangling, and the weavers were paid based on the measured length (from other sources)

From our mangling today, some before-and-after pictures:

Of course, what with the changing light and other circumstances, the pictures are not quite to the same scale and... but, hopefully, you will notice the difference.

What is nice with white-on-white (or, in this case natural-on-natural) is the subtlety of the resulting pattern. Seen from a slightly different angle:

* the rollers of my mangle(s) are beech. Pictures of the small table mangle here.



Today we have been working on mangling Laura's samples

The mangle itself is a biggish affair. It was made in about 1900 (I bought it from a house built in 1901, and the story was it was "built into the house"... it was, hm, interesting to get it out from the attic.), it weighs a total of 1450 kg and has a working length of some 4 meters. It has an electric motor, but can be cranked by hand. (That takes a certain amount of dedication, though.)

When I grew up, almost every apartment house had a mangle like this in the laundry room, and I was so happy when I found one for sale here in the "boondocks". I hired piano movers for the move, but they nearly refused... at least, it is now on the ground level, in a shed with wide doors, so it was easy to get it in place.
It was not quite as easy to put it together again: that giant flywheel with the gears attached is cast iron, and would not easily come apart. We had to rig various ropes and timbers to get it up where it belongs (and it took a couple of neighbours helping, too. Don't try this at home!).

For those of you wanting to know how to handle such a "monster", here is an article I wrote many years ago.

ETA: and I found an interesting articla about box mangle history here.


She is here!

Laura has arrived. For cross-checking, click here.
A different picture, but the same elk (but she would call it a moose, I suppose...):


Another shirt

At about 55-60 ends per cm (which equals about 135-150 ends per inch), this is a fairly fine shirting material, woven in a colour-and-weave pattern.

The pattern itself is easily reproduced – but to find this fine yarn for a handweaver would be quite another thing.

Here is the pattern – that is, here is the principle of the pattern. I have not tried to count the actual number of ends. The fabric is slightly warp-faced, which I illustrate with somewhat fatter wefts.

In the warp there are odd numbers of warp both for the solid stripes and for the b & w sections. Each b & w has an extra black to begin and end the section.

In the weft there are also odd numbers of each stripe, but the extra black threads are omitted.


Stitched double cloth

Another shirt from the same haul: I bought this one because of it’s very nice hand, and because of it’s interesting construction.

It is made from stitched double cloth – pictures approximately 4 times actual size:
Inside, a simple check (10x10 ends/picks) Some stitching can be seen.

Outside, a very long warp colour repeat, including the occasional metallic. In the detail picture, some stitching can be seen.

An overview – I think I have managed to get the whole warp repeat (but not the whole weft colour repeat):

It is made of what looks like singles, in a "frog’s hair" grist, sett at approximately 16 ends per cm and layer.
One oddity is the size of the stitching repeat: every 22:nd back warp is caught by every 20:th front pick. (It ought to be much easier to thread, had the warpwise stitching been done on something divisible by 10 – the colour repeat? Yes, I know it is woven by industry, but, you know, even industry have to thread their looms, with one end per heddle, done by hand – at least the first time a new pattern is to be woven...)

I did an analysis of the structure. Because of the "difficult" warp colour order of the front layer, I did it from the back. Below, the front (bottom) layer is all light turquoise, but the back (top) has the correct 10/10 black/white colour marked.


Now you see it...

The other day, we went to our favourite welfare flea market to get some new spring clothing.

This is an enlarged (about 2 x) scan of a nice-feeling cotton shirt (click for full size).

Here is an even bigger detail of one of the white parts, combined with the reverse of the fabric:

Yes, a plain-weave fabric printed to look like twill. And no, the print isn’t quite on the straight grain.

Another scan of another shirt – this time enlarged about 4 x (and therefore not quite in focus – click for full size):

Just two white ends/picks – but still printed, and not quite on the straight grain...

It reminds me of what I saw in an IKEA catalogue a couple of years ago. It went something like: "NEW! Now made of yarn-dyed fabric!"
When I first read that, I was totally confused. "Yarn-dyed"??? When next I came to IKEA I found that most of their checked (plaid?) fabrics were in fact printed...

A new artist's statment, perhaps: "I am a dyed-in-the yarn weaver"?

(somewhat reluctantly, I will label this post both as "curiosities" and "weave contruction" - )


April spools day

In my house, there are spools everywhere. And, as if that wasn’t enough, sometimes I buy more:

(Actually, I got it for the shuttles, but there are some quills too, both empty and full)

Isn’t that radio just adorable? (and, it kind of dates the collection...)
And who is Louise?

Some weftovers:

And, last but not least: an indispensable spool, useful for lots of things:

- all this because of Meg, who is organizing this for the second time.