Warp yarn for Viking-era recreation?

I'm planning on weaving a recreation of an Icelandic trade cloak from the early Middle Ages.  These are a supplementary weft pile fabric using locks of fleece as the pile; they were an important & standardized trade good for a couple of centuries.

I've woven a sample to make sure I understand the technique, but with no attempt to use appropriate yarns.  Now I want to weave using commercial yarn as the warp & background weft.  I've read an article about samples done using Eingirni and Lodband Einband, both Icelandic singles.  I'm under some time pressure and am not sure I can get either of these quickly enough.  Are there other yarns that might suit my purposes?  I'd like to use an Icelandic yarn, but would be open to other wools appropriate as warp.  Actually, I haven't actually used a single as warp before and am a little hesitant to use either of these Icelandic yarns.  But the extant examples use singles.


I expect to weave at least two of these, so the first one doesn't have to be a perfect recreation.  But I'd like to come close, while also moving ahead rapidly.  Suggestions & sources would be welcome.



Posted on Sun, 01/08/2012 - 15:33

We have an article in the current issue of the Journal for Weavers, Spinners & Dyers about weaving exactly this kind of cape (http://www.thejournalforwsd.org.uk/Product=240). The writer is Satu Hovi and she keeps an English-language webpage at http://www.katajahovi.org/SatuHovi/homepage.html. The warp yarn she used was Pirtin Kehraamo worsted Tex 90 x 2. The article itself is not available online, but the magazine is still available to buy at the link above. Full disclosure: I chair the committee of hard-working volunteers who produce the Journal!

Good luck with your cape


Posted on Sun, 01/08/2012 - 16:00

Wonderful!  I'll order a copy.  I've seen Satu Hovi's web pages before but not the cape.  Thanks so much.

I will probably plow ahead before the magazine gets here, though, since I want to complete the first cloak before a specific event.  So I really appreciate the warp yarn suggestion.

Posted on Sun, 01/08/2012 - 16:26

For what its worth, Brown Sheep produces a single for weaving/knitting that works as warp - Lanaloft.

It comes in several natural shades as well as dyed, 1450 yards per pound - about 12 epi works for a basic twill. It would work as warp and weft. If this is not too heavy for what you'd like to make, it weaves up beautifully and fulls well also. Comes in 50g hanks or 1 pound cones.

You can order this from any Brown Sheep dealer.

Posted on Mon, 01/09/2012 - 00:25

Briggs and Little (from Canada) have a singles yarn I've used for warp although it may also be too heavy.  You do have to be a little bit careful with a singles.  I usually double the outside 2 ends (for plain weave) or 4 ends (for twill) in the heddle although I keep the density the same as the rest of the cloth in the reed.



Posted on Mon, 01/09/2012 - 00:26

BTW - have you seen Else Ostergaard's (spelling probably not correct) book on the Greenland textiles?  Called Stitched into the Earth or something similar.



Posted on Mon, 01/09/2012 - 14:08

I've seen it but not read it (Woven into the Earth) & really want to get a copy.

I'm having a little Monday-morning dose of reality here.  I think I have more reading and sampling to do before diving into this project.  Instead of plunging ahead I think I'm going to get a skein of several different warp yarns and weave some samples.  I'd hate to get halfway through & decide I was doing it All Wrong.

Posted on Mon, 01/09/2012 - 17:05

has had  many articles on this topic, so if you write to them by going to the VAV magazine website, they can tell you more.  The yarn size actually used may be finer than you think.



Posted on Tue, 01/10/2012 - 04:28

Another resource, wow.  I'm so glad I asked here!

The figures I've seen call for a warp sett at about 20 epi.  But I will be interested to see what articles in Vav say.

Posted on Tue, 01/10/2012 - 20:30

This is a bit out of my typical weaving area of interest, but I do have a guildmate who raises Icelandic sheep and owns the Smithsonian reproduction warp-weighted loom. She has similar interests, is a spinner and weaver (besides breeder), and may be able to help. I don't know if she wants her e-mail posted so publicly, so I will PM you.

Also, I wondered if other members of this organization could be of help to you? www.IcelandicSheepBreeders.com


Posted on Tue, 01/10/2012 - 20:39

The most authentic, of course, would be handspun.  I see you already have a wheel.  Now that you've decided to take your time, why not get hold of some icelandic wool and spin up the singles just the way you want 'em?

Posted on Sat, 09/20/2014 - 13:07

Hey, I'm reviving this thread because I finally cut the cloth off the loom!  I ended up spinning the yarn for this.  I also used a plied warp because I just wasn't confident my singles would hold together.  Next time, maybe ...