Sunday, March 08, 2009

busy busy!

well, it's been productive and good, but i've been uber-busy and haven't blogged lately. I'm about 3/4 done with the first P&P sock. i keep pluggging along. I started a project for the A&S throw down. (for those who don't know i belong to a medieval reenactment group SCA). It's at the end of this month, and i'm working on wool sleeves. I am positting the idea that the tight sleeves seen under the big bell sleeves in Bliaut's were knitted. check out these images for example:

although it's hard to see, all show the under sleeves very wrinkled. the wrinkles are always horizontal (if the arm is up and down) and very tight. This is a very difficult look to produce with woven material. I've tried all kinds of things, but without very careful cutting and fitting (which wasn't done much in this time period --12th century) the sleeves don't fit this snugly and wrinkle this way. they just don't. So, a while back while wearing knitted wrist warmers that were very long, i noticed that these sideways wrinkles happen all the time. and making a knitted item really fitted and snug is easy. in this time period in spain and the middle east there were unquestionably socks and such that fit very tightly on legs. not so very long afterward scoggers and silk sleeves were not uncommon in both Spain and England. so, it's not an unreasonable theory. i think.
i've started knitting a pair in a lovely brown handspun (with flecks of yellow, blue and red) the brown is the natural color of the wool, and the bits of silk were blended in on combs and then it was all spindle spun and plied. it's lovely soft stuff! YUM.

anyway... we'll see how it turns out. it even occured to me that perhaps the illuminations and statuary are not showing rucking, but perhaps the sleeves were knitted with occasional rows of purling creating the little regular lines shown. I'm not doing that with these sleeves but i may try it on the next ones.


Aethelflaed said...

That's fascinating! I'd never thought of that before! Do you think the sleeves were their own separate garment, and somehow attached, or just like an "arm-warmer" sort of thing? Do you happen to know, offhand, about how early knitting showed up?

rachel said...

i agree with aethelflaed, that's awesome! it would make perfect sense with those big billowy sleeves that they would want something to actually keep their armd warm.