Re: [Authentic_SCA] Re: Spinning thread
- speaking from a Scandinavian perspective here and generalising
>Spinning requires a drop spindle or at best a spinning wheel. Weavingit doesn't need to be honking. A warp-weighted loom takes up little
>fabric of any width requires a *honking* big loom -- not the sort of
>thing you have room for in a one- or two- room hovel :-)
room and we know was a feature of many farms for a very long time -
right up to modern times in places like western Norway. During the
early period most fabric was home-produced - as the economy changed
and the introduction of the horizontal loom industrialised the
production of cloth, more clothing fabric was purchased as prices
came down and availability went up, but things like blankets and
packing cloth were still produced at home. Perhaps the fabric for the
sunday best was purchased at the local market, or perhaps even
ready-made, but undoubtedly fabric ultimately meant for every-day
clothing was also produced on the farms.
When things were utterly worn out, fabric was used for all sorts of
other things; insulation in walls, ships, as toilet paper, as
footwrappings (Bocksten man had a part of an old tunic wrapped around
his foot), as padding, remade into childrens' clothing, nappies...
There were no paper products around like today, and just like
horn/antler was that day's plastic, fabric rags were the paper towels
of the time.
The urban situation is a bit different, and the urbanisation somewhat
coincides with the industrialisation. I think there's a stronger
stratification in the urban setting, but you also have to remember
that there was a flourishing trade in second-hand clothing, and while
your servant-classes probably couldn't afford to buy new fabric or
clothing, they a) were usually given clothing as part of their
payment, and b) had access to second-hand traders. I think it more
likely that they got their clothing that way than from reconstituting
old clothes themselves.
>But that's a good point, did people who spun their own yard then farmSpinning was contracted out - the professional weavers purchased the
>it out to someone with a loom? or did they just make not-very-wide
>strips of cloth on a tabletop loom of some kind?
work. So it worked the other way around.
- --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, "msgilliandurham"
> Spinning requires a drop spindle or at best a spinning wheel. WeavingThey set the loom up outside, where they had more space and better
> fabric of any width requires a *honking* big loom -- not the sort of
> thing you have room for in a one- or two- room hovel :-)
> But that's a good point, did people who spun their own yard then farm
> it out to someone with a loom? or did they just make not-very-wide
> strips of cloth on a tabletop loom of some kind?
light to see by, too.
- At 12:01 AM -0500 5/4/06, Justin wrote:
>Knitting is as old as mankind, weaving too,Um, not quite. Weaving is quite old, but humans had clothes before
weaving (think animal skins, bark cloth etc.).
Knitting, on the other hand, was a "hot" new technology in the Middle
Ages -- probably invented somewhere in the Mediterranean area after
the Moslem conquest (the earliest dated pieces seem to be around the
9th to 11th centuries). There were other textile technologies earlier
that may _look_ like knitting or crocheting, but aren't either one.
>do you think it was a guildNo, as I understand it the primary reason for ordinary people not
>issue that had professionals making fabric? I don't think it could have been
>a know-how issue that would prevent the masses from making their own clothes
doing their own weaving is that a loom was a big capital investment.
Production looms for making yardage were also big and took up space,
and the sort of horizontal-beam loom used "industrially" in the
Middle Ages was something of a high-tech instrument requiring
specialized parts. People certainly understood how weaving was done,
and had simple "heddle" looms for making belts and straps, but not
usually anything big enough to make clothes out of.
People do, on the other hand, seem to have done spinning for
themselves fairly often. My understanding is that it was fairly
common for people to spin up the yarn for a blanket, say, and take it
to a weaver who would weave it into cloth either for money or for a
percentage of the spun yarn as their fee.
Another often overlooked factor is that people in much of medieval
Europe had ways to buy used clothing -- cities in particular had
thriving markets in secondhand clothes. So all but the poorest could
purchase _some_ clothing.
>I would think that it would be difficult for poor serfs and peasants lockedOn the other hand, they demonstrably _did_ go to local markets and
>in communal strip farming would be able to go out and get fabric, wouldn't
>it be more feasable to have access to raw wool or flax and then make the
>stuff your self during the long winters when all the boys are off fighting
fairs within a few miles of their homes, on a pretty regular basis,
where they would indeed have been able to buy cloth. I suspect a lot
of less well-off people may have _sewed_ the clothing for themselves
and their families, but weaving their own cloth for clothing is much
The evidence from American pioneer and European farm families in
later centuries, BTW, is that they may indeed have been weaving
_some_ cloth at home, but that it was almost entirely for furnishings
and home textiles rather than clothing -- things like towels,
blankets, and linens.
O (Lady) Christian de Holacombe , Shire of Windy Meads
+ Kingdom of the West - Chris Laning <claning@...>
http://paternoster-row.org - http://paternosters.blogspot.com
>Do you think that the need for utility rags kept people from deconstructing
> >But that's a good point, did people who spun their own yard then farm
> >it out to someone with a loom? or did they just make not-very-wide
> >strips of cloth on a tabletop loom of some kind?
> Spinning was contracted out - the professional weavers purchased the
> work. So it worked the other way around.
and respinning the fibers of clothing into new thread or yarn for making new
fabric or knitting (respectively) ?
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
>From: "Justin" warriorneedsfood@...Naalbinding and sprang examples exist since at least late Iron Age (Roman)
>Date: Wed May 3, 2006 10:06pm(PDT)
>Knitting is as old as mankind, weaving too, do you think it was a guild
>issue that had professionals making fabric?
times in N. Europe. Knitting, however, is much later. The earliest that I
have heard of in N. Europe (Baltic) is 13th C.
It is not a guild issue that restricted weaving to professionals through
most of the SCA period. Guilds were relatively late (with the horizontal
loom) and were an urban organization.
>I would think that it would be difficult for poor serfs and peasantsThere are two distinct periods to weaving wide goods and the social
>locked in communal strip farming would be able to go out and get fabric,
>wouldn't it be more feasable to have access to raw wool or flax and then
>make the stuff your self during the long winters when all the boys are off
structures relating to it in N. Europe:
1) The time of the warp-weighted and two-beam looms: at this time weaving
is a women's and primarily domestic craft. Excess production and
specialties were traded (in some cases extreme distances) but were usually
traded as garments rather than "yard goods". These included tunics from
Egypt ("Coptic") and the famous "Frisian Cloaks". Charlemaine ordered
cloaks from England.
2) The time of the horizontal loom: We don't know exactly when this loom
came to N. Europe but at least by the 13th C. (some authors put it as early
as the 9th C). It was a man's urban trade and production of yard goods was
the goal. This lead to the guilds.
Women and girls spun. They did it every free minute that could be found. If
they did not have fiber of their own, they were hired at piece-work and
were supplied. Serious source of family income in urban and rural areas.
>I know some fabrics were imported, but I'm talking about day to day wear ofAfter the horizontal loom, large quantities of cloth were trades
>the lower and middle classes mainly. I'm looking for books on the matter
>because it is my current obsession.
international distances. The cheaper grades of cloth were usually sold
closer to production, but starting in the 14th C increasing amounts of low
cost fustians (lined warp/ cotton weft) were produced in N. Italy (later in
Germany) and shipped everywhere. I strongly recommend that you read
The Italian Cotton Industry in the Later Middle Ages, 1100 - 1600.
Mazzaoui, Maureen Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1981 ISBN: 0521230950.
There are many books examining the textile industries of the middle ages
from an economics viewpoint. Most research has focused on the luxury trade
(ie silk and high grade wool). If you want some titles, let me know.
Beth of Walnutvale