About This Blog

My current research obsession is centered around purses and pouches from the European Middle Ages, and the accompanying hardware and passementerie. It is my hope to not only study extant items but also learn via reconstructive experiments; these will be limited for the most part to the textile components, however in the future I hope to explore the production of the metal frames.

27 July 2009

A new pattern

I've been intrigued by the late 13th c. reliquary bag IRPA obj. 21717 for some time now; between yesterday night and this morning I had nothing better to do, so I came up with a possible interpretation of the pattern, and also a small sample (below). What's interesting about this is that it seems to mix brick stitch (with which I've become quite familiar by now) and a kind of lattice motif made by — I assume — using an awl to spread apart the threads and stitching it open, essentially like a lacing hole on a garment. It also has portions where the ground fabric is visible. Unfortunately, I can't determine whether this was intentional or not; I suppose the stitching could have been destroyed by caustic dyes, or picked out (for example, to recycle gold thread). I've just gone with the notion that it was intended that way, and built my pattern to match that idea.

Here's the sample that I did on some scrap fabric (32-ct, I think) with cotton embroidery floss:
You may notice that the yellow-bordered latticework doesn't have vertical stitches. I hadn't originally put them into the pattern, but by the time I got to the white portions and the unbordered latticework (where the ground fabric can be seen) I decided that it did need those stitches on the top and bottom, otherwise it would look strange.

The website states that the purse is made of sheep's wool, silk (?), and gold. From just looking at the available pictures, I can't seem to determine where the gold is. I believe this is yet another purse referenced in Frieda Sorber's Tongeren Basiliek O-L-Vrouw Geboorte. I really must get myself a copy of that book.

I'd be interested to hear/see any ideas or alternate interpretations of this piece!


Louise Schelde said...

It looks really interesting! and very beautiful - great work! Do you know the messurments for the original purse?

Tristán Z. said...

Looks like the purse is 15cm square, according to the KIK/IRPA page. I don't know about the thread count though.

Kathy Storm said...

Must be a fairly fine thread count if it is only 15cm! I was just looking at some similar stitching on another bag a couple of days ago and wondering if I wanted to veer away from brick stitch slightly to try that stitch. Thanks for doing it, now I don't have to (right now)! Nice pattern, too.

M. said...

I suspect, given the general condition of the fabric, that the areas where the ground shows through were originally either black or stitched with linen that rotted away. Really interesting bag--it reminds me weirdly of hardanger. Thank you for sharing your redaction!

Isis said...

as i recall from my book, in this case the metal threads are mostly removed from the fabric. as is with KIK/IRPA object no. 43380
i don't think the book says anything about wether they were removed intentionally or not.

sarkins said...

Hi, I'd like to see the original purse on kikpirpa, but the obj. number doesn't work. This number you wrote belongs to some cup.