Advent calendar 12 December 2017

Our twelfth calendar post is a cocktail of things. It’s a relief velvet, a selvage of the velvet, a woven band and a embroidery in gold thread. The object is a cope from Vallentuna, Sweden

The majority of the materials are in silk. The embroidery seems be made on linen or hemp fabric.

The cope dates  1450- 1500 AD.

Now in collections of Historiska museet, Sweden

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Advent calendar 5 December 2017

Our fifth calendar post is an embroidery, a flower on a gilded leather embroidery. It is from Skokloster, Sweden.

Here we can see a close up on the application. A flower in half linen half wool.

The embroidery is dated to 15th century.

Now in the collections of Historiska museet, Sweden.

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Coif/ Cuffia

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

Coif/ kveif
Samlingsnummer 4
Kasserad mellan 1470-1540 (läs mer om samlingen av fynd här)

Beskrivning
Coifen är sydd av ett mycket fint linnetyg i tuskaft, som ursprungligen varit vitt. Tyget är tättvävt med ca 18tr/cm i både inslag och varp. Tråden är mycket jämnt spunnen.

Coifen är komplett, så när som på knytbanden. Den är sydd av tre bitar: två sidostycken och ett mittstycke. Dessa är fållade och sammanfogade med en dekorsöm. Runt hela coifen löper en fållad kant. Utanför fållen är ett ögleflätat smalt band fastsytt, med en dekorsöm av samma typ som den bitarna är sammanfogade med.

Coifens framkant är 38 cm och bakkanten 28 cm. Mittstycket mäter ca 12 cm i framkanten. Vid båda hörnen finns spår av knytband. Knytbanden är gjort av flätade linnetrådar. Flätan börjar med en knut och är fastsydd på insidan av coifen.

Fållen är dubbelvikt och mäter ca 3-4 mm. Ögleflätan är ca 4 mm bred. Dekorsömen är ca 2 mm bred.

Kommentar
Coifen är välbevarad och mycket välgjord. Den är relativt smutsig och därför ganska styv i tyget. När den hittades var den ihopsnörd och fylld med vad som sannolikt är linfibrer. Coifen hade troligen använts som städtrasa/ pensel.

Kommentar från Historical textiles
Coifen är stor nog att passa en vuxen man med ett mindre huvudmått. Man kan därför anta att den har tillhört en vuxen person. Vid jämförelser med bildmaterialet är det tydligt att coifen precis skall täcka örsnibben och att knytbandet är fastsatt där. Knytbanden på alla bilder är smala och ser väldigt ofta ut som om de utgör ett separat band som inte tillhör sidostyckena på coifen. Detta bekräftas av föreliggande fynd.
Även om knytbanden saknas så finns det fragment kvar av dem på båda sidor. Det är intressant att det är tillverkat av ett flertal enkeltrådar som flätats ihop till ett band/ snöre – ett enkelt och snabbt sätt att producera ett knytband.

Även om coif inte längre är ett plagg buret av alla män, vid denna tidpunkt, så lever bruket kvar en bit in på 1500-talet. Utifrån de bilder vi har, kan vi inte se några coifer med dekorsöm.

En liknade typ av dekorsöm finns på den hätta som tillskrivs Heliga Birgitta. Dock skiljer sig de båda hättorna åt då Heliga Birgittas hätta är konstruerad av två bitar och har ett långt knytband som korsas i nacken, för att kunna läggas i en ögla runt huvudet, medan denna coif istället är konstruerad av tre bitar, med knytband vid öronen. I konsten ser man att mäns och kvinnors hättor skiljer sig åt utseendemässigt. Heliga Birgittas hätta stämmer väl överens med hur kvinnors hättor avbildas, medan denna coif i sin tur sammanfaller med hur mäns hättor är avbildade. Den tydliga skillnaden i konstruktionerna mellan de båda modellerna stärker idén om att det ena är ett plagg för en man och att det andra är ett plagg för en kvinna, samt att denna hätta troligen har burits av en man.
Det är givetvis mycket spännande att få undersöka ett sådant unikt plagg. Denna typ av plagg är oerhört ovanliga i det bevarade materialet och därför är det av största vikt att kunskapen delas och blir offentlig.
Amica Sundström och Maria Neijman
Alla bilder omfattas av CC BY SA. Fotograf: Historical Textiles, anges vid delning av bilder.

Coif
Collection Number 4
Discarded between 1470-1540 ( read more about the collection here

Description
The coif is made of a very fine linen fabric in plain weave. The fabric is woven tight, with approximately 18tr/cm in both warp and weft. The thread is very evenly spun. The fabric was originally white.

The coif is complete, apart from the now missing strings with which to tie it. It is made from three pieces; two side pieces and one central piece. These are hemmed and joined together with a decorative seam. The coif is hemmed all the way around the edge. Outside the hem, a finger-looped braid has been attached using a decorative seam – the same type of seam that has been used to join the pieces.

The front part of the coif measures 38 cm while the back is 28 cm. The central piece measures approx. 12 cm. At both corners, there are traces of the strings. These are made of braided linen threads. The braids start with a knot and have been fastened to the inside of the coif with stitches.

The hems are folded twice and measure approx. 3-4 mm. The finger loop braid is approx. 4 mm wide. The decorative seam is approx. 2 mm wide.

Comment on the coif
The coif is very well-preserved and very well-made. It is quite dirty, and consequentially stiff. When found, it was stitched together and filled with what is most likely flax fibre. The coif had probably been used as a cleaning cloth / brush.

Comment from Historical textiles
The coif is big enough to fit an adult man with a small head size. This indicates that this coif belongs to an adult person. When comparing pictorial sources, the coif should just about cover the ears, with the string attached at that point. The strings are narrow in all images and very often look as if they are separate straps, not belonging to the side pieces of the coifs, as confirmed by this find.

Although the strings are missing, there are fragments left on both sides of this coif, and it is very exciting indeed that the strings have been made from multiple linen threads, braided together to form a string. A very quick and easy way to produce this.

Although the coif is no longer a garment worn by all men at this time, the use of coifs remained well into the 1500s. Based on the pictures we have seen, we have not been able to spot any coifs with decorative seams.

A similar type of decorative seam can be found on the cap attributed to Saint Bridget. However, these two objects differ, since this coif is made out of three pieces with strings by the ears. Saint Bridget’s cap is made from two pieces and has a long band for tying it in place, placed at the neck of the cap, and meant to be fitted in a loop around the head. In various art sources, men’s and women’s caps differ in appearance. Bridget’s cap fits well with the image of women’s caps, while this coif fits well with how men’s coifs are depicted. The plain difference in the designs between these two models supports the idea that one is a garment for men, and the other is a garment for women, and that this coif was probably worn by a man.

Of course, it is very exciting to analyse such a unique piece of clothing. This kind of garment is extremely unusual in preserved materials, and therefore it is of the utmost importance that knowledge about it is shared and made public.
Amica Sundström and Maria Neijman
All images subject to CC BY SA. Photographer: Historical Textiles, specified at sharing of images.

Italian
Cuffia

Pezzo della collezione n. 4
Scartato tra il 1470 e il 1540

La cuffia è fatta di un tessuto di lino molto fine in tessitura piana, originariamente bianco. La trama è molto fitta, con circa 18 fili/cm sia nella trama che nell’ordito, il filo è filato in modo molto uniforme.

La cuffia è completa, tranne che per i laccetti, ora perduti, utilizzati per allacciarla. È composta da 3 pezzi, due laterali e uno centrale. Tutti presentano un orlo e sono uniti insieme da una cucitura decorativa. La cuffia presenta un orlo su tutte le estremità. All’orlo è stato attaccato un cordino intrecciato, tramite una cucitura decorativa dello stesso tipo usato per unire i pezzi della cuffia.

La parte frontale della cuffia misura 38 cm, mentre la parte posteriore è 28 cm, il pezzo centrale misura circa 12 cm. Ad entrambi gli angoli, ci sono tracce dei cordini, realizzati in fili di lino intrecciati, che prendono l’avvio da un nodo e sono stati fissato all’interno della cuffia con alcuni punti di cucitura.

Gli orli sono ripiegati due volte e misurano circa 3-4 mm. Il cordino intrecciato è largo circa 4 mm, mentre la cucitura decorativa è larga circa 2 mm.

Commento sulla cuffia
La cuffia è molto ben conservata e molto ben fatta. È piuttosto sporca, e di conseguenza rigida. Quanto è stata rinvenuta, era cucita su se stessa e riempita con un materiale identificabile come fibra di lino, probabilmente per usarla come uno straccio per pulire o un pennello. 

Commento di Historical textiles
La cuffia è abbastanza grande per andare bene ad un uomo con una misura della testa abbastanza piccola. Questo indica che la cuffia apparteneva a un adulto: confrontandola con risorse iconografiche, si vede che la cuffia dovrebbe coprire soltanto le orecchie, con i cordini attaccati in quel punto. I laccetti sono molto sottili in tutte le immagini e molto spesso sembrano essere separati dalla cuffia, non una parte delle sezioni laterali stesse, come questo reperto conferma.

Nonostante i laccetti siano assenti, ci sono dei frammenti rimasti in entrambi i lati di questao reperto, ed è davvero molto entusiasmante che i laccetti siano stati realizzati con numerosi fili di lino, intrecciati insieme per realizzare un cordino, in modo semplice e veloce.

Nonostante la cuffia non fosse più un indumento indossato da tutti gli uomini, il suo uso si protrasse anche nel XVI secolo. Basandoci sulle fonti che abbiamo visto, non abbiamo potuto però identificare alcuna cuffia dotata di cuciture decorative.

Una tipologia simile di cucitura decorativa può essere trovata sulla cuffia attribuita a Santa Brigida. Comunque, questi due oggetti sono differenti, dal momento che questa cuffia è composta da 3 pezzi con stringhe all’altezza delle orecchie, mentre la cuffia di Santa Brigida è composta da due pezzi e ha una lunga banda di tessuto collocata all’altezza del collo, che può essere posizionata intorno alla testa per tenerla in posizione formando un anello. In varie risorse iconografiche le cuffie maschili e femminili appaiono differenti: la cuffia di Santa Brigida combacia agevolmente con le immagini di cuffie femminili, mentre questa cuffia ha una forte somiglianza con la rappresentazione di cuffie maschili. La chiara differenza tra I disegni di questi due modelli supporta l’idea che uno sia un capo femminile, l’altra maschile: è quindi probabile che questa cuffia sia stata indossata da un uomo.

Ovviamente, è molto eccitante analizzare un indumento così unico: questo capo di abbigliamento infatti è estremamente raro tra I reperti conservati, ed è quindi della massima importanza che sua esistenza sia resa pubblica e condivisa.
Amica Sundström & Maria Neijman
Tutte le immagini sono sottoposte al copyright di.  Fotografo: Historical Textiles. Quanto precede deve essere riportato in ogni condivisione del materiale fotografico.

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A washing guide for linen

Some years ago Maria wrote a washing guide for linen.
A washing guide for linen

I sometimes get questions about linen. I will try to answer those questions here, without getting too technical. But here are some technical facts anyway 😉 The linen fibers are straight (think of straight hair, the fibers look very much the same). This means they have almost zero flexibility and stretch. They contain natural glue. When spinning the thread, water is added to the fibers and the glue sticks them together, which makes the thread really strong.
1. When buying fabric. It’s preferable that you wash your linen before you make something out of it. Linen shrinks about 5% during the first washing. Some qualities may shrink as much as 10%.
2. To avoid permanent breakage of the fibers you need to pre-soak the fabric. This is easiest to do in a bath tub. Try to lay the fabric down as flat as possible. I always try to go from one side to the other of the tub with the fabric. After all the fabric is down, I fill the tub up with lukewarm water and leave the fabric to soak for 4-5 hours. This allows the fibers to absorb as much water as possible. The first time linen fibers get wet (after spinning, that is) they will ”permanent” the shape they have when they come into contact with water. If you lay them out flat, they will more or less stay that way in the future. If you crumble them up into a pile in the washing machine, they will break – and get permanent breakage lines.

Pictures by: Markus Andersson
RinglaRingla - FEL-2

3. After the soaking you can wash the fabric in a washing machine. The natural glue in the fibers doesn’t like higher temperatures than 70 degrees Celsius. So just to be safe, use a washing program of no more than 60 degrees. If possible, avoid intense spin cycles at the end of the program.
4. Detergent – no optic whitener! Just use normal detergent. And NO softener! Softener ”coats” the fibers and will prevent the linen from absorbing water and cause it to lose its shine. (Softener is also highly allergenic and extremely bad for the environment!) ”But linen is so rough”, you might think. Well… If treated right, linen is soft. Or maybe you should get cotton instead.
5. Drying. A straight fiber wants to dry in a straight position. Drip drying is the best method. Clothespins are your best friends here. If possible, allow the fabric to dry in normal room temperature, or outdoors. If this is not possible, a room with a heating fan will do fine. Tumble drying is a BIG NO-NO! Why? The heat will dissolve the glue and the fibers will separate – and when separated, they break easier. The fabric eventually becomes ”fluffy” on the surface, like flannel, and its ability to become smooth and shiny, like silk, will be gone forever.
6. A flat fiber is a happy fiber. After drying, mangling is highly recommended! If the drying is done right, the linen will get smooth and shiny like silk. Also, the life of the linen increases every time you do this. A mangle isn’t something that every person owns, and they can sometimes be hard to find. The important thing is that it’s NOT the kind with a heating aggregate attached to it. In Birka, the archaeological finds tell us that people knew to treat their linen right. Among the finds are a shoulder blade from a moose and a glass smoother.  The latter is a round, smooth piece of glass, and when rubbed across the linen, using the hard shoulder blade for support underneath the fabric, the linen fibers flatten and become shiny. A steaming iron can also be useful. Avoid the steam! Even if the iron often indicates that the highest temperature is for linen, you can turn down the heat a little bit to save the important glue in your fabric. Use a spray bottle with lukewarm water to dampen your fabric before ironing. Wait until the water has soaked INTO the fabric, and isn’t just lying on top of it. Iron in the same direction as the warp and weft, not bias-wise. Use one hand to hold the edge and stretch the fabric, then work your way towards the hand. Ironing will make your fabric flat and smooth but not especially shiny.
6. Make yourself something nice out of your stunning fabric. Treated right, your fabric will live a long time. Please tell me if there is something that I’ve missed, something I could explain better or if you would like to share something else concerning linen! /Maria