Advent calendar December 15 2019

Plant dyed fade over time. The more light they are exposed to the faster the fading goes. What was dyed on a large scale in historical times was wool and silk. Linen is difficult to dye, unless it’s blue.

Sometimes you are lucky and can see the backside of an old textile. The backside have often been protected from light and are therefore of stronger colours then the front side.

Here- a gilded leather embroidery dated to mid 15th century. Skokloster 2, today in the collections of Historiska museet, Stockholm, Sweden. To the right you can see the front, and in the middle the backside. Compare and see for yourself.

Advent calendar December 4 2019

The fourth advent calendar post is a collection of things, all found in Nyköping, Sweden. And they are all dated to 13-15th century,

The flat spindle whols are something called Marleka in Swedish. The Marleka is a concretion and that type is very unique for Nyköping. It is a hard, compact mass of matter formed by the precipitation of mineral cement within the spaces between particles, and is found in sedimentary rock or soil. The medieval craft person just drilled a hole in the middle of it, and got a perfect spindle whorl.

The scissor is made by a highly skilled black smith. It still looks like it could cut some fabric.

The bone needle is quite large and is probably for nålbinding.

The wool fabric is of very high quality and have many threads per cm. The reddish fabric on the left was probably dyed with madder. Madder dyed fabrics seems to stay red even after 600+ years in the ground.

All items can be found in the collection of Sörmlands museum and are exhibit in the medieval exhibition at Nyköpingshus / Nyköping castle. 

/ Amica and Maria
If sharing photos- please cred us at Historical Textiles

Advent calendar December 8th 2018

Our eight advent calendar post is an embroidery from Fogdö church, Sweden. Made in long armed cross stitch. Wool on linen. But today we focus on the colours. Or rather the lack of colours. Some dyes fade quicker then others. The pinkish purple colour on this embroidery have faded a lot. But on the backside one can get a feel for the original colour. 

We don’t know what kind of pigment that was used to dye this pinkish purple colour. 

The embroidery is dated late 15th century. 

Now in collections of Historiska museet, Sweden.
/ Amica and Maria
Photo: Historical Textiles

Frontside- where the thread have broken, one can see that the thread sticking out use to be pinkish. 

21/ 2018 The weekend picture’s- Skog wallhanging

We would like to wish you all a happy weekend with a  historical textile.

This week we focus on a wallhanging from Skog church, Hälsingland, Sweden.
The church was built 1805 and the wallhanging was found in 1912 in the church. The wallhanging could have been an interior of an older church in either the neigborhood or from the old church in Skog.

Both the white warp and the weft is in linen. All the colored details are made in wool yarn. Woven with soumac weft. It’s dyed in red, blue, yellow and green. Madder, woad and reseda are the pigments that most likely have been used.

The wallhanging can be found in the collections of Statens Historiska museum in Sweden.
Here is the link to the object in the database. The wallhanging  is dated to 13th century.

Happy weekend!
/ Amica and Maria

All images subject to CC BY SA. Photographer: Historical Textiles, specified at sharing of images. Make sure to do the same with the pictures from Historiska

Advent calendar 20 December 2017

Our twentieth calendar post is an antependium in printed linen. From Tegelsmora church , Sweden.

Here we can see a close up on the print. The linen is woven in two shaft.

This piece is undated. But the print shows great resemblance with woven silk fabrics from 14th and 15th century.

Now in collections of Historiska museet, Sweden


Advent calendar 14 December 2017

Our fourteenth calendar post is a double weave. From Marby church, Sweden.

Here we can see a close up on the backside of the weave. The wool yarn is dyed with madder and woad. The white yarn is made of linen/ or hemp.

The weave dates to 1000-1200 AD.

Now in collections of Historiska museet, Sweden





Handduk med blå ränder/ Towel with blue stripes/ Asciugamano a righe blu

Scroll down for English and Italian
English translation Lindemark text / Traduzione Italiana Anna Attiliani 

Handduk med blå ränder
Samlingsnummer 13, kasserad mellan 1470- 1540
Läs mer om samlingen här.

Textilien som analyserats har vi valt att kalla för handduk, då det finns ett stort antal handdukar i konsten som stämmer väl överens med det analyserade fyndet.

Handduken är vävd i tuskaft. Materialet är linne. Båda stadkanterna är bevarade och handduken är 14 cm bred. Den bevarade längden är 64 cm, men hela stycket har troligen varit längre, då den ena kanten saknas. Handduken avslutas på den ena sidan i en kort frans om ca 2 cm. Fransen utgörs av varptrådar där inslaget tagits bort.
10 cm från fransen finns tre smala blå ränder invävda. Randen är totalt 1 cm bred. Den består av 4 blå, 2 vita, 6 blå, 2 vita och 4 blå inslag. Detta ger en inslagstäthet på 18 trådar/ cm. Inslaget i randen är lika grovt som inslaget i resten av handduken. Varptätheten uppskattas till ungefär 24-28 tr/cm. Inslaget är en aning grövre än varpen. Handduken har inga sömmar bevarade. Tråden är mycket jämt spunnen och har ett homogent utseende.

Kommentar om handduken
Handduken är smalt vävd och i relativt gott skick. Slitaget på den verkar ha uppkommit av att den rivits av, snarare än att den slitits ut. Det finns också ett antal små hål mitt på tyget.

Kommentar från Historical Textiles
En textil som inte avslutats med en fåll kommer förr eller senare att få en viss frans.
I det här fallet tror vi att fransen är medveten. Bildkällor från tiden visar att handdukar oftast avslutas med fransar i ändarna. Vi tror att handduken ursprungligen har varit längre och att den har avslutats med en likadan rand och frans i andra änden. Handduken bör då ha varit minst 10 cm längre, men vi tror att den varit kanske dubbelt så lång som den är idag. Vi baserar detta antagande på de handdukar som avbildats i konsten, där man ofta ser att handduken hänger dubbelvikt över en handdukshängare på en vägg. Inte sällan avbildas en person med en handduk slängd över axeln, där den då räcker till midjan både fram och bak, eller ligger virad om armen.

Vi är naturligtvis otroligt glada över att ha fått analysera en textil med två bevarade stadkanter, vilket annars är mycket ovanligt. Det som är extra roligt är att väven är smal. Istället för att väva en bredare väv, klippa isär och därefter fålla, har man valt att spara på arbete med att fålla en längsgående söm. Ett mer ekonomiskt arbetssätt då man får en mindre mängd äfsingar. Om man tittar på de källor som finns i konsten, så är handdukar oftast något bredare, men det finns också exempel på mycket smala handdukar.

Vad vi känner till så finns det inga fynd av någon liknade handduk. Dock finns det ett flertal handdukar i konsten som stämmer väl överens med denna.
Amica och Maria
Alla bilder omfattas av CC by SA. Fotograf: Historical Textiles, anges vid delning av bilder.

Towel with blue stripes
Collection Number 13, discarded between 1470-1540
More info about the collection here

We have chosen to refer to the analysed textile as a towel. This is because there are a large number of towels within art that are similar to the analysed fabric.

The towel is woven in plain weave. The material is linen. Both selvages are preserved, and the towel is 14 cm wide. The preserved length is 64 cm, but the original piece was probably longer, since one edge is missing. The towel ends on one side with a short fringe of about 2 cm. The fringe consists of warp threads where the weft has been pulled away. There are three narrow, blue stripes about 10 cm in from the fringe. The stripes are each about one cm wide, and consists of 4 blue, 2 white, 6 blue, 2 white and 4 blue wefts. This gives a weft thread count of 18 threads / cm. The weft threads that make up the stripes are of the same thickness as the rest of the weft in the towel. The warp thread count is estimated to about 24-28 tr / cm. The weft is slightly thicker than the warp. The towel has no preserved seams. The thread is very evenly spun and looks very homogenous. 

Comment on the towel
The towel is narrow and in relatively good condition. The wear on it seems to have occurred from sudden tearing rather than wear over time. There are a number of small holes in the center of the fabric.

Comment from Historical Textiles
Sooner or later, a fabric that is not finished with a hem will fringe a bit. However, we believe that the fringe on this towel was made on purpose. Contemporary sources indicate that towels usually have a fringe. We believe that the towel was originally longer, and ended with an identical stripe and fringe at the other end. The towel, then, would have been at least 10 cm longer, but we believe it might have been twice as long as it is now. This assumption is based on towels depicted in art, where hanging towels are often depicted as folded over a wall-mounted towel rack. Another common motif is people carrying a towel slung over one shoulder, and in such pictures the towel often reaches the person’s waist both in front and at the back, or may be carried wrapped around one arm.

We are obviously delighted to have had the opportunity to analyse a textile with two preserved selvages, which is something very rare. What is particularly pleasing is that the fabric is narrow. Instead of weaving a wider fabric, cut it apart and hem it, someone has chosen to save the work with a seam. A more economical approach, when you do not get a bigger amount left over warp threads in the loom. Many of the contemporary art sources depict towels as slightly wider, but there are examples of very narrow ones.

To our knowledge, there are no finds of any similar towels. However, contemporary art sources display a number of similar items.
All images subject to CC by SA. Photographer: Historical Textiles, specified at sharing of images.

Asciugamano a righe blu

Numero 13 della collezione, scartato tra il 1470 e il 1450.
Abbiamo deciso di definire il reperto analizzato un asciugamano, dal momento che c’è un gran numero di asciugamani rappresentati nelle fonti iconografiche che sono molto simili al tessuto studiato. L’asciugamani è realizzato in tessitura piana. Il materiale è lino. Entrambe le cimose sono preservate, la larghezza complessiva è di 14 cm. La lunghezza del tessuto conservato è di 64 cm, ma il pezzo era probabilmente più lungo, dal momento che una estremità manca. L’asciugamano termina a un’estremità con una corta frangia, della lunghezza di circa 2 centimetri, realizzata rimuovendo i fili della trama e lasciando soltanto quelli dell’ordito.

Ci sono 3 sottili righe blu a circa 10 cm dalla frangia: ognuna è alta circa 1 cm ed è costituita da 4 fili di trama blu, 2 bianchi, 6 blu, 2 bianchi, 4 blu. Questo comporta una densità di 18 fili di trama per centimetro. I fili della trama che compongono le righe hanno lo stesso spessore degli altri fili della trama. La densità dei fili dell’ordito invece è stimata essere circa 24-28 fili / cm. La trama è leggermente più spessa dell’ordito.

L’asciugamano non ha alcuna cucitura conservata. Il filo utilizzato per tesserlo risulta filato in modo molto regolare e omogeneo.

Commento sull’asciugamano
L’asciugamano è molto stretto e in condizioni relativamente buone. La consunzione presente su di esso risulta essersi manifestata probabilmente per un improvviso strappo, piuttosto che per un logoramento progressivo, anche se c’è una serie di piccoli buchi al centro della stoffa.

Commento da Historical Textiles
Prima o poi, una stoffa non rifinita con un orlo si sfilaccerà, realizzando una frangia, ma crediamo che la frangia su questo asciugamano sia stata realizzata di proposito: fonti contemporanee indicano che gli asciugamani erano spesso rifiniti in questo modo. Crediamo che originariamente l’asciugamano fosse più lungo e che terminasse con un’identica serie di righe e una frangia anche dall’altra parte. In quel caso, allora, l’asciugamano sarebbe stato almeno 10 cm più lungo, ma pensiamo che potrebbe essere stato lungo anche il doppio rispetto a come si presenta oggi. Questa ipotesi è basata sugli asciugamani raffigurati nell’arte, che spesso compaiono ripiegati su un portasciugamani attaccato al muro. Un’altra rappresentazione tipica mostra persone che portano l’asciugamano a tracolla su una spalla, e in questo caso spesso raggiunge la vita della persona sia davanti che dietro, oppure può essere portato anche arrotolato attorno a un braccio.

Siamo ovviamente contentissime di aver avuto l’opportunità di analizzare un tessuto con entrambe le cimose conservate, dal momento che è una situazione molto rara. È particolarmente gradevole che la stoffa sia molto stretta: invece di tessere una stoffa più alta, tagliarla e realizzare l’orlo, qualcuno ha invece deciso di tesserla così ed evitare di dover realizzare delle cuciture. Si tratta di un approccio più conveniente, dal momento che, realizzando un tessuto stretto, non avanza una maggiore quantità di ordito sul telaio. Molte risorse iconografiche del periodo mostrano asciugamani leggermente più larghi, ma ci sono anche esempi molto stretti.
Tutte le immagini sono sottoposte al copyright di.  Fotografo: Historical Textiles. Quanto precede deve essere riportato in ogni condivisione del materiale fotografico.
Amica, Maria

In the dye pots

Sometimes we dye wool and silk. This is how a weekend can look like.  

The white handwoven wool fabric

  Goes in the mordant bath with some yarn. Alum 30%

The pre soaked madder have been soaking for 24h. And here it is in the bath with the mordanted fabric 

  We like to dye a lot when we are dyeing

  We never take out the madder before we put the fabric in. Gives more color that we BUT makes a mess after dyeing. 

  Ta da!! Red




At an earlier dyeing session we dyed yellow with onion skins and now it was time to dye some green. Blue on yellow will become green as you know. 



Right up from the bath.  


The collection: Wool x3, linen and silk taffeta. 


In one week- we are back at the dye pots.
Wanna buy some dyed fabric? Email us and we can talk about your ideas.

/ Amica and Maria