Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Nomads in Europe -pre Charlemagne

Nomads in Europe before Charlemagne were using wool fabrics woven sometimes coarsely, and sometimes very fine. Nomads in the cold were spinning and weaving fine.

Nomads were spinning fine!  I can tell you for sure that it is harder to spin fine in the wind.

See Karina Gromer and Silvia Miiller
Textiles from the Avar
graveyard ZwOlfaxing 11,

Archeological Textiles Newsletter #46, 2008


Teri said...

I once taught someone how to spin while traveling by train. It wasn't easy but she was motivated. I just found out about your blog, so will probably make another comment or two :)

Aaron said...

A local guild has a booth at Stitches and teaches folks to spin every year for free. With a very good teacher, working one on one, most folk can get spinning with a drop spindle in minutes.

Then, why, oh, why did British hand spinners typically take a 2-year course (4,000 classroom hours) before starting work as a professional spinner?

There is spinning and there is spinning. Producing the warp and weft of for a useful quantity of garment weight cloth is spinning. There is understanding what the weaver requires. There is matching your production to that of other spinners. And there is spinning a useful quantity in a reasonable time frame.

I am impressed by any sample of handspun, garment weight wool cloth. In fact, my guess is that the weaving with either done at seasonal camps, or by settled weavers on a trade basis.

Think about it, and the spinning may well have been done by settled professionals as well. Let's say, you have a flock of 100 sheep, and in the spring you roo off 5 or 6 hundred pounds of fleece. Fleece is easier to sort, grade and process in a settlement - how many pack animals would you need to carry all that fiber around until it was all spun up and ready to weave? No, it would have been easier for the nomads to trade wool for spinning and weaving services. - Which is not to say that the nomads did not spend their free time spinning and weaving. If you are working livestock, you need twine, cords, bands for harness and storage bags.

Teri said...

There is a book called Imazighen by Margaret Coutney-Clarke, that I picked up after hearing Priscilla Gibson-Roberts mention it. It has some very interesting photos of Berber women, showing (among other things) spindle spinning and weaving. Elisabeth Wayland Barber had some interesting books on early textiles as well.

I'm a long time spinner (primarily spindles these days) but am not a technical spinner by any means. Still working my way through your blog! (And, having had goats, yes you would need all sorts of restraining devices for livestock!)