This weekend I went up to Æthelmearc for Fabric, Fiber, Fighting, & Fencing. I took a tablet weaving class and a class on Anglo-Saxon spindles that was followed by a session on stone spindle whorls.
The weaving class used a tiny two-posts-and-a-board loom. We spent the first hour warping, then finally wove with 4-forward/4-back turning pattern. I need to work on my weft tension, but anyway, when I filled up the warp threads as far as I could given the tablets take some space, I popped up and bounced over to where Mistress Brienna, Mistress Megan, and Master Herveus were weaving. They’re all weaving Laurels. I held out the loom to Brienna and said “lookie!” like a proud child. The weavers in that corner all seemed to agree that the threaded-in technique I was being taught for the colors was a bit out of period. Brienna told me she’ll teach me later how to warp up in under 10 minutes, using a continuous warp, and weaving woven-in patterns (where the color pattern is determined by how many times I turn individual tablets, rather than by threading colors a certain way and always turning all the tablets at once). A couple hours later, as I was sitting with Megan, her apprentice sister warped up with Herveus, so I got to see how continuous warping is done.
Mistress Rhiannon taught a class on Anglo-Saxon spindles. She recreated at least a dozen spindles from different times and places and compared and contrasted them. It was really interesting getting to try and see how they spin differently. We got to try flat glass whorls, flat wooden whorls, spherical lead whorls, and stone whorls. She had one with a hemispherical whorl at the top, and one where a flat wooden whorl dropped onto the top over the hook to rest in a groove at the top of the spindle. She asked me for feedback afterward, since she’s only taught the class one other time (at Pennsic, and when she tried to put distaffs in with it, she ran out of time), and I told her I’d love to see a chart or something to show trends over time and place to place, rather than just having the raw data of each place and time. She liked that idea.
After her class, Master Bedwyr (her husband) led a demonstration showing how he made slate whorls. He said after he made the first one, Rhiannon tried to spin on it, and informed him it sucked. So he had to refine his process. I took a lot of notes about what tools he recommended for which parts of the process and tips he had to avoid accidentally shattering the slate. Somewhere in there, Rhiannon said something that made me realize THIS could be what I do for my non-string item in the Persona Pentathlon. I said this to Rhiannon, and she told me to make sure I copied down the URL for a certain research paper she’d found useful.
In the evening, there was a spinning salon. We talked about combs and plying techniques and Woolie Winders and compared our spinning wheels. All the while, I was spinning up some very beautiful wool into yarn for the Queen’s shawl. For those not familiar, it is customary in Atlantia for the Spinners Guild to spin yarn to be woven into a shawl for each new queen (ones who are not already Ladies of the Rose).