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Re: Spinning thread

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  • Beth and Bob Matney
    ... Naalbinding and sprang examples exist since at least late Iron Age (Roman) times in N. Europe. Knitting, however, is much later. The earliest that I have
    Message 1 of 7 , May 5, 2006
      >From: "Justin" warriorneedsfood@...
      >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?

      Naalbinding and sprang examples exist since at least late Iron Age (Roman)
      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 peasants
      >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
      >fighting wars?

      There are two distinct periods to weaving wide goods and the social
      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 of
      >the lower and middle classes mainly. I'm looking for books on the matter
      >because it is my current obsession.

      After the horizontal loom, large quantities of cloth were trades
      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
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