One of the things that fascinates me is the history of small homey items. They all have a history.
Gloves, for example. They have been around for millenia. Truly. A mural from Knossos (Crete) shows two boxes. One has something on his hands that look like boxing gloves.
People wore gloves in the middle ages. The word glove is from glof.
Elizabeth I used gloves as a fashion statement, wearing gloves ecorated with lace, as above, jewels and embroidery. One source claims she took them on and off to draw attention to her beautiful hands.
During the Regency period, as women’s sleeves got shorter, gloves got longer, going to the elbow and beyond.
During the Colonial and Federalist period, gloves were a popular wedding gift.
Even now, in our contemporary period, gloves can be important. Think Michael Jackson and his glove. Or, in a more sobering example, the importance of the glove in the O.J. Simpson trial. So the humble glove has had quite a history.
I recently discovered what looks like an intermediate step between the backstrap looms used, for example, in Peru, and the more modern looms hand weaver use now, and have been in use since before the middle ages. These looms require a warping board, and the loom has several shed, heddles and treadles.
I am still researching the triangle looms, which one source claimed to have been in use since the 1600s. These are much simpler than the looms above. They come in square, rectangles too and can be built at home. So far, I’ve found one source that indicates the Native Americans used the single or double strand weaving method on a rectangle loom to make sashes and wampum belts. The triangle looms can be built to any size but also, the triangular pieces can be sewn together. A fichu (that piece of cloth that Colonial women wore to cover their chests, both for modesty and warmth) or a large shawl are two possibilities for this loom. Fine threads can be doubled up to make a closer weave.
So, how do these looms work? Well, the warp is put directly onto the loom. As with a backstrap loom, the weaver’s fingers lift the warp to allow the weft to be put through. No shuttles or spools. The photos of the looms employed by some of the Native American tribes string the warp between the curved ends of a stick like a bow or between a triangular piece of wood like the crotch of a tree or a giant sling shot.
Since there are no treadles, some of the fancier patterns look difficult to do, at best. However, the finished cloth can be made of several colors, a hood added, the ends looped up to make sleeves. I can just imagine someone sitting in a cabin weaving cloth on something like this, when the more complicated and certainly more expensive loom would not be available to her.
As my research progresses, I will continue this thread. (Pun intended).