Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tablet weaving SOS

I'm trying to practice some tablet weaving, using, among others, the great tutorial from string page here.

I'm doing a simplified trial run (sszzss) in thick cotton of the 14th century striped braid described here:

There is something I'm doing wrong, but I don't know how to correct it.

Each time I turn the tablets in reverse direction (e.g. 4 turns backward and then 4 turns forward), the weft shows through the surface. This happens only at the point where I reverse the tablets from one direction to another. (Each of my turns is one quarter of the tablet, so in 4 turns, I'm in "home position" again.) You can see this happening in the white stripe left of the pencil, where the red weft thread is visible in a way that shouldn't be...

I know the weft should not be showing, but I don't know what I'm doing wrong. If anyone knows how to solve this problem, please let me know :-)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Rogier van der Weyden, embroidered pillows?

Yesterday I visited the Rogier van der Weyden Exhibition in Leuven, Belgium. It was interesting, with some beautiful paintings, scuplture and embroidery.

This blogpost is called embroidered pillows, because my attention was drawn by a detail from The seven sacraments (ca 1440-1445). In the left corner of the painting, where the 7th sacrament is depicted, a dying man lies in bed on a pile of pillows. When I looked at it closely, I thought that maybe the seams of these pillows were embroidered with some kind of interlacing stitch. Unfortunately, the picture of this painting in the Web Gallery of Art is not very detailed:

Seven Sacraments (right wing)

Oil on oak panel, 119 x 63 cm
Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp

This type of pillow appears again in another painting by (the workshop of?) Van der Weyden: the Madonna of the dyptich of Jean the Gros. (this painting is not part of the exhibition). This time, the on-line picture is more detailed:

Portrait Diptych of Jean de Gros (left wing)

Oil on oak panel, 36 x 27 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Tournai

Interlacing stitches were used to sew pieces of linen fabric together in a decorative way. There are some examples of tablecloths, and of course the cap of St Birgitte.

I wonder whether these type of stitches were also used for pillow cases? If you know more about this, please let us know!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Catherine’s world: devotion, demons and daily life in the 15th century

Museum Valkhof in Nijmegen (The Netherlands) presents an exhibition about Catherine of Cleves: Catherine’s world: devotion, demons and daily life in the 15th century.
Read more about it here.
The highlights of the exhibition are the pages of the famous Hours of Catherine of Cleves (c. 1440) from The Morgan Library & Museum in New York, which will be displayed separately. This is a unique opportunity to see these beautiful miniatures from up close :-)
The miniatures are rich in detail, for example the one below in which Catherine gives money to the poor. It's difficult to discern in this picture, but close-ups of this folio show that she's got a beautiful blue and gold/yellow alms pouch with three tassels, also in blue and gold/yellow. It also seems to have to golden/yellow knops at the sides.
image from

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Kunera: a database of medieval badges and ampullae

Kunera is a database dedicated to the study of medieval badges and ampullae. In their own words:

"The website Kunera offers access to over 15.000 badges and ampullae of religious and profane subjects. The pilgrimage sites and the sites where the objects were found are mapped out visualizing the dissemination of the objects and the travel routes at a single glance."

You can find the database here:

I write about this, because I really like the badges in the form of different types of pouches from circa 1375-1425. Search for "beurs" or"purse"
and you'll find lovely badges such as this one (object 00818):

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