The Anglo-Saxon gold brocade is moving along nicely now, I have a good pace going. My upper arm muscles are feeling it too - there are two lengths to work and quite long so hopefully my muscles will be nicely in shape by the time the nice weather arrives ;-)
Originally (read about here..), I had warped onto my long band loom, with the intention of using warp weights. My gold brocade band of last year had been warped onto my large inkle loom, and I had found it very easy going, but the gold plate had scratched into the beams to such a degree that I didn't really want to risk causing more damage. However, because of the mistake, and not wanting to actaully waste the materials I had warped, I was then left to having to use the inkle loom again.
I'm very glad I did. I have noticed a real difference to my own working comfort due to the fact that I can sit with the weaving directly in front (going out) as opposed to running side-to-side (so therefore working from left to right). I seem to twist my back more working brocade the second way, whereas with the work right in front of me I can work for longer periods.
I have also noticed that the weave itself is more even. The 'mistake' band seems to have the warp threads closer together on what would be the left side of the band, which is the 'top' when working side-to-side. I assume that this has alot to do with the weft thread hanging, therefore pulling at that edge of the weave.
Most important though, is that the gold plate itself seems to lie flatter and is more easily turned when working head-on to the band. So - perhaps I'll just have to sand down my beams later on! So all-in-all, making the mistake has been a very good thing.
The next experiment for the 'mistake' piece - (its great to have something to experiment with actually), will be to try to really flatten the gold plate, as many finds show happened - the plate was flattened and burnished after weaving, ensuring that the threads made an impression in the gold. Of course, the Anglo-Saxons were using pure gold and that is really quite simple to flatten, the modern version, despite being 'Admiralty' standard, still contains more base metals than the early stuff. But I'd like to try to get the plate as flat as possible, to ensure that it reflects the light as evenly as possible - you can see from the photo that otherwise the slightest bump in the plate reflects differently, which results in the pattern not being as clear as it might. And perhaps it will make the band itself easier to photograph? The top one - so that you can see the gold, is too dark for the wool, whilst the next shows the blue very well, and the gold not-so!