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A Woven Band From Tiryns

Pottering around on the Internet again, I found a historical reconstruction site, Historical Living With Hvitr, which features some nifty Minoan and Mycenaean reconstructions. This blogger built her own Mycenaean helmet out of felt and leather, which is so spot-on and deeply cool I'll have to post about it separately, but for now I want to focus on the reconstruction of a woven band seen on the fresco of the Lady of Tiryns.


Remember how back in 2014 I had 72 hours to pull off a Mycenaean lady for the Take Back Halloween costume contest? And how I nearly went insane gluing white felt dots onto black grosgrain ribbon? I was trying to recreate the trim for the Lady of Tiryns, but ran out of time and sanity. Well, the blogger, Stella Anderson, did this pattern. In a related post, she points out that Bronze Age wool isn't like the merino wool we use today; it's taken a long process of breeding and domestication to get the wools we have today. The result looks as though it would be very heavy and uncomfortable to wear on a garment, but then I have to remember that we modern readers have been spoiled by high thread count, machine-woven fabrics. People in the Bronze Age, even the nobility, would have worn fabrics that were somewhat coarser.

Anderson goes into great detail about the weaving process. I confess, I find technical talk difficult to follow. My admission might shock some of my readers, because my female characters spend a great deal of time working wool. I said I found it difficult, not impossible. I'm the kind of person who needs to experience things hands-on to really grasp the concept. I was lucky enough many years ago to encounter a lady at a local Ren Faire who showed me how to spin wool with a distaff and whirl. So I grasp that. Making my own Mycenaean and Minoan costumes was another experiment in trying to understand how the clothes draped and felt. One day I'd like to try weaving and making my own dye.

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