A Belt for Gudrun

by Halima al-Rakkasa

Preamble

Technical information will be shown in a block, and discussion will surround each stage. Note that the "tense" of a sentence or paragraph may vary considerably, as I wrote much of this -during- the process. This version of "documentation" is still rough, hammered together at the last minute for your perusal now...

Thanks to Mistress Gudrun for putting this project into my lap!

The proposal and acceptance could be summarized as follows:
"Could you make me a belt?" Of course, I can; did you have any thoughts about it?
"Here's a container of silk yarns for you to experiment with." Oh, thank-you! It's lovely! All white and creams, so squeaky and delicate. Maybe a subtle tone-on-tone...?
"Here are some natural dyes for you to experiment with." Oh, I've never had a chance to experiment with dyes! This is wonderful...
"By the way, I would like it by St. Boniface's Day." (first weekend in June 2009) Urk!
"And it should be the width of the belt findings, here." Ack!
(Note to the reader: The above is only -slightly- exaggerated for comic effect!)

Synopsis

Belt: tablet-woven, in silk, in period color(s), in period design, to fit belt findings (supplied), to fit owner (who chose 60" long)

My main source of information for such as this is "Clothing and Textiles: 1100 to 1450", published by the Museum of London. An image and description gave me a design that is still within my capabilities, more or less: a pink and yellow band of alternating bars down the length of silk that appeared to once have belt findings attached.

First and last tablets, 4 yarns each dent; remainder, 2 yarns each.
Pattern - color 1 in AB, color 2 in CD
Threading direction :|SSSZZZ||: al coda

Two colors (original currently pink and yellow); it is more than likely that the colors have changed over the centuries, affected by time, the original chemicals of the dyeing, the interment. It is possible this was once red and yellow or red and white (not an uncommon combination according the manuscripts). Gudrun's preferred colors are burgundy, deep blue, and deep green; she is willing to accept whatever occurs. Through some reading, I determined that with period dyes I would use indigo as dark as possible, and madder/cochineal/indigo to get a dark or burgundy red. My personal inclination is for bright and vibrant colors, but Gudrun is more conservative, so a more subtle contrast seemed appropriate.

From here you can read my adventures in dyeing, or my adventures in weaving.