I’ve been working on the weaving draft based upon the textile finds at Coppergate in York that I mentioned in a previous post. I’ve examined the pattern draft and have woven a sample of the two patterns in 20/2 cotton. It is just a start, a sample to see how easy the pattern was to weave.
If you look at the draft from: Walton-Rogers, Penelope. “Textiles, Cordage and Raw Fibre from 16-22 Coppergate”. The Archaeology of York: The Small Finds, Vol. 17 fasc. 5, (London, 1989) you will see two things.
1) There are two patterns here. One is a large herringbone and one is a diamond pattern created by reversing the herringbone’s direction in repeat (technical name for it is Point Draft Reversal or Broken Twill). There is no re-threading of the loom on this pattern. You simply have to change the treadle pattern.
2) The thread count varies in the pattern. That is to say if you look at the herringbone and the diamonds you find that there are some that are bigger and some that are narrower. This is because the threads in the repeat (width of the herringbone) varies from 9 to 14.
I find this uneven nature of the original medieval textile unattractive so I worked with 12 threads per repeat. The photos below are of the 20/2 cotton sample that I wove in contrasting colors to highlight the pattern. Obviously cotton is not appropriate and a wool would be much better but for the purposes of a test then I think cotton will do. I have wool I plan to weave yardage with someday. But first back to the pattern. The original sample is quite small so that one cannot tell if this was a serious of stripes: one of just herringbone and one of the diamond pattern. Or if it was a section from yardage where one pattern started and the other began. Stripes are not unheard of and were often found in wool textiles brought for the lower classes (see my work on medieval account books) so this is not impossible. But we don’t have any sense of width of the stripes. Nor a date (at least not yet) for the textile; I’m still working on getting a copy of “Textiles, Cordage and Raw Fibre”. So I need to do more work but this is what I have for now.
If you want the weaving pattern in a nice easy to read draft, I found it in: Dixon, Anne, The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory. Interweave Press (Loveland, CO, Copyright 2007) ISBN# 978-1-59668-040-1 Page 70-71
It takes a 4 harness loom, and a simple threading pattern and treadle pattern. A good salvage is recommended in even-weave or a floating salvage. So next time your in the fabric store and your wondering if that herringbone is medieval the answer is yes. So is diamond pattern (technical name for it is Point Draft Reversal or Broken Twill).