Busy days

Things have been really busy lately. As part of my quest to become more knowledgable about fibers available along the Silk Road I’ve been spinning silk on a spindle wheel and camel on my Tibetan support spindle. I’m in love with both, I have to say:>>.

Last week VJ, who is in the Fiber Guild here in the area, graciously shared with us some of her authentic Russian lace spindles, a Peruvian spindle, and the most awesome little hat that she had spun then knit up after dyeing the locks of Romney.

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3 thoughts on “Busy days

  1. Greetings, Virag,

    I hope it’s okay to contact you this way…Maymunah al Siqilliyah referred me to your blog after I asked for help on the Middle Eastern Madrasa mailing list. I have a Bedouin persona, late 16th c., and I want to weave a bridle for my horse. I’m having a heck of a time finding out what kind of weaving the Bedu would have used for horse (or possibly camel) trappings. ANY help you can give, or if you can point me in a general direction, would be very much appreciated. 🙂

    Thank you, and hope I haven’t been too forward contacting you out of the blue!

    Azzah bint al-Badawi al-Murabbiyyah al-Rualliyyah

    • ladyvirag

      Greetings:> What a LOVELY mare. Just clicked on your name and found your website. I have a good friend whose Arabian gelding also has that type of personality. My last gelding was an App with an incredible personality as well:>. Ok, it’s not totally my field but as I have had horses in the past in the Sca I have done some research. One of the things that I did was find some of the better examples of contemporary “traditional” horse equipment coming our of Egypt and start researching back. The actual traditional pieces (not the silly stuff in some Native Costume classes with sequins, etc) seems to be hand braided or ply split braided. There are some excellent resources, for example, examining camel girth bands that go into this technology. The interesting thing about researching camels (I really would love my own:>) is that the gear hasn’t been commercialized as much and doesn’t sell so often to a Western audience. The fellow to look up in this case is Peter Collingwood. Sadly we lost him in 2008 but much of his work is available on the internet for free download—unless it has since been taken off. He did a study of camel girths and then wrote about the Plysplit braiding techniques. Linda Hendrickson is also a contemporary weaver who has had adventures in this area.

      If you’re deadest on weaving the bridle as opposed to braiding here goes…
      Make either a horizontal ground loom or a backstrap loom. They are the same loom but the backstrap is body tensioned and the ground loom is period for the Bedu. This is the type of loom rugs are still woven on today. I would be happy to walk you thru either of these. You will find detailed instuctions on http://www.backstrapweaving.wordpress.com on my friend Laverne’s blog or email me if you want to set it up as a horizontal loom (ladyvirag at gmail dot com). Do you spin? If working with wool you will want to over twist your pre made yarns or spin yourself some fairly kinky yarn to be able to withstand the process. If working with cotton you should be fine following the guidelines in L’s tutorial. Let me know if I can help out:>>

  2. Thanks so much for responding!


    Thank you! I’m quite fond of my red headed beastie, diva though she may be. Someone on one of the SCA equestrian mailing lists said they didn’t like to ride Arabs because they didn’t want a horse that questioned every command, but 1) Aziza thinking on her own may well keep me out of trouble and 2) it’s so rewarding when such an independent-minded animal performs for you when she won’t for someone else. Plus it makes her just interesting to be around. 🙂

    ) is that the gear hasn’t been commercialized as much and doesn’t sell so often to a Western audience.”>

    I’ve had to “work backwards” on quite a few things, myself– that camel gear hasn’t been modernized/westernized for a different consumer audience is an excellent insight! (I’m with you on wanting a camel, btw. I live somewhat near to Grant’s Farm, home of many of the AB Clydesdales and a variety of exotics including two lovely camels who hang out at their fence to be petted and fussed over…they are amazingly SOFT creatures, with such languorous eyes!) I’ve always been nervous trying to extrapolate “what they *might* have done” from modern pieces when dealing with Arab costume…as you note, the “Hollywood” or “showring” style of costume has nothing to do with history, and what passes as “authentic” costume in the showring is still, at least to my knowledge , not authentic Bedouin. Plus, I’m not good at the whole “working backwards” thing. :> So, I guess the upshot is, I’m really appreciating your input here!

    I’m not deadset on weaving the bridle– I want it to be authentic and accurate, and honestly don’t know enough about the textile arts to separate “braiding” from “weaving.” I just want to do it in a way that is at least feasibly period. 🙂 I will search out both those names and see what I can find.

    And again, I appreciate your help, and if I wind up having to go with a loom, I will eagerly take you up on your offer to walk me through setting one up! But it sounds like braiding is going to be the way to go. Thank you!

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