måndag 14 september 2020

Haube with blackwork, needlelace and spangles.

The medieval tradition of covering the hair with a haube, a hood, as a sign of marital status continued during the 16th century. In the first years of the century the headwear was quite plain, mostly just white linen. But smaller embroidered ribbons with late gotic patterns started to appear and soon the embroidery on the haube could be quite large. 
When I made my last embroidered haube, to be found here, I though it would take longer before I made another one. But this summer I spend a lot of time in my summerhouse and needed something small to bring with me, and that was an embroidery. So when the summer was over I had a finished piece of embroidery, fit for a haube. It was quite wide, and long, so, a haube or a brustfleck. And I dont have a suitable dress for a brustfleck yet, so therefore, haube!

Its made with cross stitch in black silk on white linen.

The pattern for the main part was published in patternbooks 1579, 1582, 1586, 1588, 1589, 1596, 1598, and 1600. I used a portrait as long going inspiration for this piece, but its not the same pattern, just very alike. Its Portrait of an old lady by Nicolas Neufchatel from 1562. Here is her embroidered haube.
She wears a smaller wulst, the development of the headwear saw a reduction in size after the first decade of the 16th century. Later the wulst also started to lean a bit backwards, and this lady wears a haube that is an example of that. Mine is not that big, but a little bit to round to be 1560. Its more like 1510-20 in its form. On top of her wulsthaube she wears what I interpret as a haube, a cap, not a veil. 
For the outerparts I made the pattern up myself. Hers are more of little bugs, mine are more like little trees. 

Geometrical patterns (late Gotic) was common during the first part of the 16th century to be replaced by softer more natural forms (early Renaissance). Flowers where common motifs. Mine is a typical early renaissance pattern. 

This is when I was making the pleats in the back. They are secured with just one stitch in the back, attached to the straight back piece. Holes are then made in the sides to make a drawstring.
And from the inside.
And just lying flat from the inside.
The woman in the painting has spangles around her forehead. The technique holding the spangles could be needle lace. Needle lace is as an example used on the upper part of the Lengberg bra from the 15th century. My needle lace is made of pink handdyed silk. I could´nt figure out how the lace in the painting was done so I made my own. The inspiration for the pattern of the needle lace is from the Lengberg bra dress. It was the first time I tried to make needle lace and I struggled with the tension. 

I also made the spangles myself. A friend of mine made me tools for spanglemaking earlier this year and this is the first time I have used them on a garment. They are punched out of a silver sheet. 

On the top of embroidered haubes there are almost always a thin silk layer, to protect the embroidery I assume. So far I have not seen a painting of an embroidered haube without that covering layer. 

Without the covering silk gaze. 

So, I made a haube, again, for a dress I dont have. Embroideries like these where not for everyone. Silk was a status symbol for the wealthiest people in society. The quality of the fabric was a indicator of the status of the wearer. It was forbidden by law to dress above your class. It was a narrow social class that could purchase and wear this exclusive commodity. Silk-, gold- and pearlwork were restricted to the upper-classes. And here I used both a lot of silk and also silver.  

Photos by Anders Ragnarsson.

Source for needle lace:


torsdag 10 september 2020

Landsknecht and trossfrau on the march

In the armies of 16th century Germany there where a lot of women and children. Often more than there where soldiers. Camp women belonged to the army and took part of its military functions, even though they did not fight. Woman had a supportive role, they did the cooking, they set up camp, they mend and wash clothing and so on... 16th century woodcuts often display landsknechts accompanied by their women. The pictures often shows a lot of emotion between the two, sometimes holding hands, sometimes a hand on a shoulder or leaning against each other. When a landsknecht army was on the march there was a lot of wagons, a lot of people walking, and a lot of people riding horses, not uncommon with two people together on a horse. She is riding in the back, sitting sideways, often with a lot of stuff with her. He is in the front, with a sword.


Im wearing my gown, a rock in German, in orange and red wool, a gollar in wool, wool socks, a linen smocked apron and a simple stuchlein and a hat with feathers. I also have handmade leather shoes. All the items are handmade by the way, not only the shoes. A friend of mine made the shoes, I made the rest. My skirt is tucked in around my belt, in a typical manner for the camp women, so that I could move more freely.

 This dress is made with a certain woodcut print in mind, Triumph of Maximilian. I tried to make it as the dress in the woodcut, but I added the red guards, just because I though it looked good. And I changed the colour, from pink to orange. Orange/yellow was one of the easiest colours to dye and I therefore thought it suitable for a camp woman´s dress.

It was the women's task to carry things, to organize, to set up camp. So I needed to bring as much stuff as I could up on the horse. A cushion from my sofa wrapped in linen-fabric, a blanket and a basket was used as props. The basket is a model that has occurred in woodcuts, but I cant find any right now.

My friend H is wearing a smocked shirt, made by me. A red and yellow doublet, with holes for attaching the hose along the waistline, a slashed hose in black and purple and red wool socks.He also has a coif and a red wool hat with a ostrich feather. Of course he also has a sword. And the typical oxmule shoe.

The photos are taken by Anders Ragnarsson.

lördag 22 augusti 2020

Bronze age inspired hairnet

There is a lot of nets in my life right now. Im in love with my sprangframe and its about all that I do. I have worked most in linen, made three linen 16th century german hairnets. But I have also tried silk, that was so far the most difficult material to work in. The first try-out I made was in wool. And a couple of days ago I went back to wool. I wanted to learn how to make holes. The first thing I did was a small bag. And after that I went bigger. 

I made another hairnet inspired by a Bronze age hairnet found in a bog in Denmark, Bredmore i Himmerland. I know! I made something that is not 16th century German. It was fun, okey!

This hairnet is the oldest sprang garment that exists, its from 1400 BC. Its mostly called The Bredmose cap. Here is the original. The photo comes from the homepage of the Danish National museum. And you can find it here.

The hairnet was found on a bog body, the so called Arden woman. She had her hair up on the back of her head and covered with the hairnet. 

This picture comes from here.


I have not found any documentation except for the pictures of it. So I dont know the amount of threads and the exact pattern. So I just used it, the shape, as inspiration. The holes are not that difficult to make so therefore I think that they could have used them too, even if there are none in this one. I dont know how big it is. There are a lot of different variants of hairnets from the period out there. 

Mine is made in grey wool. Its a loose 2-ply thread. I had it at home and I dont know where I bought it. I used 60 threads. The pattern is four rows of s-twists and then a slit, four rows of twists and then a slit, and so on... My head is 57 cm around, but it would propably fit someone that have a slightly bigger head too.



The drawstring is connected to the middle of the sprang textile. Its where you closing the sprang up, to hold the twists together. Without it, the twist would completely untwist. Therefore all sprang textiles have a clear center like that. 


When you make a sprang it can be difficult to press it together the same on the top as on the bottom. Therefore when taking it out of the frame the sides can be different in size. Mine was. I used the bigger part as the back and the smaller around the head. The side that was slightly longer was to long to have around the head.

The bottom part of the sprang textile is drawn together. It also look to me like the back is sewn together a little from the drawn part. In the picture below I have marked it with a red circle.

The front edge seems raw to me. They have just taken it of the sprang frame. Therefore I did the same. 

Now it feel like I really need to go to Copenhagen to look at it myself. Austrriki Viking age clothing has a picture of it on there facebookpage.

fredag 7 augusti 2020

Another sprang hairnet

I have had a couple of amazing days. Normally I would be at medievalweek in Visby right now, but, as we all now, times are a bit different. Instead I went visiting friends. They have a big garden so we put up some tents and had some good food and some good company. I also had a lot of time to finish another sprang hairnet.

I could not resist and put up another warp right after the last one. And together with the lovely Hille we showed the nets side by side. 

This one is made a bit different than the first one. Its sewn together along one of the longsides and have a drawstring on the shortsides meeting at the neck. I covered the edge with a binding in green thin wool. 
The drawstring is a fingerloop braid. I was making it in camp, while waiting for my hair to dry after a lovely bath in the lake close by. This picture is...well...thanks for 16th century headwear that is normally covering my hair...
The fingerloop braid is made in the same linen as the hairnet. 
I really wanted to try the hairnet on Hille because she has lovely thick long hair. And it fits!

And together with the net I finished last Monday.
Hairnet number two is much better made, not as uneven as the first one. I´m learning! 
Im wearing my net with a wulst underneath and Hille is wearings hers with just her hair. 

I used my first net for the first time together with my renaissance clothing and it felt great.
And tried it with a hat!
Im sorry for the quite crappy mobilphone-pictures. 

There were a lot of good food..

And some sewing. My kind of vacation!

When I got home I tried the second net with the wulst and it worked out just fine too.


måndag 3 augusti 2020

Sprang hairnet

Sprang is a technique of making a fabric on a vertical frame using only warpthreads. The warp is fixed around a cord at the upper and lower end of the frame. The threads make crossings with each other by pulling the back ones to the front and dropping the front ones to the back. Because the warp threads are fixed at both the top and bottom the pattern occur at both ends at the same time. The technique gives a stretchy, very netlike structure and was therefore used for hairnets, among other things. The technique has been used when a stretch fabric was required.
The technique can create a very tight weave, especially if they were made by wool. This technique is very old. The period which these hairnets flourished lies between c. mid-4th and mid-8th century AD, according to a publication made by the British museum. Sprang fragment found in excavations were often thought to be woven.

But! The sprang technique was not uncommon during the 16th Century either. In Olaus Magnus Historia om de nordiska folken from 1555 the nordic woman is praised for her knowledge about textile work and especially the "whitework, that is called sprang" (my translation).
There is also examples from the artworld, a lady working on what could be a sprangframe in a Lucas Cranach painting. This is a part of a painting called Education of the Virgin Mary and was painted between 1510-1515.

There is also this drawing " Planet Venus and her children", from the early 16th century, shown in the book Die textilen Künste, by Leonie von Wilckens. Its a lady that is possibly doing sprang on a sprangframe.

I attended a net knotting class at an SCA-event almost a year ago. It was fun but it did not really feel like something that I would put the effort needed in to master. But sprang could be something that I could do! So for a handicraft exchange I asked a friend to make me a sprang frame.
I saw this picture on pinterest and thought that she was working on a sprang frame. And I showed my friend that was going to make the frame for me.

She is not.
She is doing sprang on a weaving loom from the Osebergsship.

The pictures comes from here.

That was not what I thought I asked for. But to have a copy of the weaving loom from the Osebergsship is not bad either...
And it is obviously possible to do sprang on it too...

Here is my frame.

After I got it home it did not take long before I tried it out. I started with a small warp with 30 wool threads.

At first I did not understand the meaning of the sticks. Until I made and error, and because of my lack of stick I needed to redo the whole thing. The sticks helps you separate the warpthreads and you could just take up the latest part you did wrong. If you do something wrong you will see it in the next round or in the next after that. Therefore, use the helpsticks.

Next try went better.

It worked fine, but there is a couple of errors in it.

How long do you think I waited until I put up another? It was...maybe 15 hours.
This time I tried linen. 60 threads. And I made it longer. If it worked I might be able to use my trial and error-piece for something.

The helpsticks is good to make the rows even too. Here you can see it clearly, when I made a row without one.

It worked! There is a couple of errors in this one too, mostly around the edges. For the next one I need to be more careful, to see that all the threads is in order. But it is actually big enough to make a net out of it.

A good thing with this technique is that you dont need a speciall frame for it. Any kind of squared frame would do.

Hairnets were common among the higher social classes of the 16th century in Germany and nearby countries.
Here we see one on Queen Ann of Hungary and Bohemia.

And one on this lovely lady painted by Christop Amberger 1522.

And here from a drawing made by Urs Graf 1514.

I dont know who this lady is but she is so clearly show that it is possible to have a wulst underneath so I wanted to show her picture anyway.

Im not saying all of these hairnets are made by the sprangtechnique but I say that it possible to make nets with it. And that it was done.

So, out of my squared piece of linen sprang I made a hairnet. Many of the ladies in the paintings looks like they have a wulst underneath. This theory is also presented in the article Nets-Knots-Lace Early 16th century headdress from East Tyrol by Beatrix Nutz. So I made a separate one that is possible to use under a see-trough net.


I made a fingerloop braid to pull three of the sides of the net together and ty it around my head.

Next time Im going to try to make the net smaller, both the whole garment but also the holes in it. And maybe try a more difficult pattern! And threads that are a bit more stiff, the net is a bit soft and dont get the exact look. Maybe some kind of metalthread.






Tutorial http://honorbeforevictory.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/sprang-tutorial-handout.pdf

https://sashweaver.wordpress.com/tag/sprang/page/3/ Socks!


Nets-Knots-Lace Early 16th century headdresses from East Tyrol by Beatric Nutz.

Die Rekonstruktion eng anliegender Bekleidung aus Antike und Renaissance by Dagmar Drinkler

Historia om de nordiska folken by Olaus Magnus

Språngning by Tine Abrahamsson