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Blackwork napkin Embroidery is something which I can enjoy in doses. Sometimes I like nothing better than to sit down to a few hours of meditation while the needle paints pictures on my cloth. My preferred style of embroidery is all sorts of counted techniques, including blackwork and brick stitch.


Scribal DeskPortable Scribal Desk
Not sure you can call this -my- work, but I found the link to plans and did the finishing design touches with my father, who made me a portable scribal desk. It is the most adorable thing and I adore it! Working on a scroll on it is a joy. On the same page you can find pictures of the carrier bag I made out of cotton canvas, and the folding X-chair that my father also made using birch dowels, beech and leather.

Wax TabletsWax Tablets
Check out the details of how I got my pretty little wax tablets.

Tablet Weaving/Card Weaving

My first Tablet Weaving experiment This is a technique which I have wanted to try for a while now. I managed to miss part one of a two-part lecture on this very subject held by our local TW Laurel unfortunately, so although I knew a few basic things about how to actually do it, I did not know the preceeding steps, namely: How to choose yarn, how to choose patterns, how to warp the cards, how to set up etc.

These steps are all important as they play a part in how the whole thing will turn out. In any case, I finally decided I had looked at enough sites, and I wanted to try it on my own. The fact that I also needed trim for the just started project of a 12th Century dress did inspire me further, and my start looks decent if not good. It is a bit uneven all around the edges, but the pattern is clearly visible, period, and it matches the colours of the dress. For now, this is a -good enough- attempt.

Second tablet weaving attempt A second warping of cotton, cheap, mercericed yarn, on the kitchen table with the chairs turned upside down produced the braid seen at right. This time I used eight tablets, plus two selvedge tablets at either side of the pattern. Threading the cards for Egyptian Diagonals in pairs of two (one S one Z) did mean that my pattern width was no wider than the first one so my pattern couldn't get very interesting this time either. Still, it was all very strange to begin with and the first half metre looks a bit odd. Then I found The Loomy Bin's software that lets you see what the pattern will be when you weave and I settled on 11F11B as my repeat. I also tried to make some sort of fancy ending to the weaving - attempting the point at the end. It looks very sloppy, plus I should have left the selvedge cards to last and taken the second card from either side instead of the outer most pair. The sloppy look is also due to the fact that I was holding the untied end in one hand while I was trying to manipulate the yarn through the shed, turn the cards and beat it down. Bad idea it turned out, but I wanted to get as much woven band as possible, since the beginning was such an awful mess.
Lessons learned for next time:

Some Tablet weaving links:


We have our weekly meetings here in Aros and on one occasion it was a Naalbinding hands-on class that was on the schedule. I didn't have a needle so I couldn't bring one - fortunately one of the members had a stock of thirty or so to sell at the upcoming Kingdom University so I was able to purchase a very satisfactory wooden naalbinding needle.

We then got down to actually trying it. The start, it has to be said, is the most difficult because it all looks a bit dodgy and nothing but tangles. But if you stick with it you'll end up with something nice. Honest.

Anyway, the history of this craft is mostly medieval Scandinavian, Russian and, for whatever reason, Egyptian. Often when finds of naalbinding are made excavators lable it as knitting, for they are somewhat similar. Technically there are probably 30 to 40 different styles of doing naalbinding, there is, in other words, no single way to do it and really all you need is a thick-ish needle with a blunt edge, 100 % wool yarn and a willingness to make loops and knots with said material. The 100 % wool yarn is needed because you do it as one continuous string, but since all of the remainder is pulled through loops already made you have to do this with manageable lengths, so you tear off a piece that fits you and start up. Then when the yarn is about to end, you tear off another piece and fraying the ends you want to join, putting them together, adding saliva (or water if you're delicate) and rubbing vigorously between your palms. What should result is a seamless, invisible join where one thread stopped and the next one joined, and you can happily continue naalbinding.

I became so inspired that I decided to get some yarn for myself and try it at once! I bought some yarn and started a piece which turned out to be much too small to make anything useful, so I added warm (=youch-temperature) water and frenetic rubbing to full the "thing", just to see how it would end up. The end result can most accurately be described as half-an-egg cosy, and I have not continued with the craft since.

Some Naalbinding links:

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