New Project in the PENELOPE Lab

This Friday morning a new weaving project took off in our laboratory at the Museum for Plaster Casts: Sylvia Wiechmann, a weaver who founded the Damascweaving workshop in Munich twenty years ago, now weaves coptic tunics on our warp-weighted loom. Sylvia Wiechmann has experience in reconstructing historical textiles like roman tunics and patterns made in samitum.


We began today with making the starting border at the sleeve from where the whole tunic is woven in one piece by adding more warp threads for the body part later. The neck opening will just be a vertical slit parrallel to the warp. With this very small test piece, Sylvia Wiechmann will gain some experience for a bigger piece and also get an estimation of necessary working time and effort, especilly for the patterned clavi – the decorated parts of the tunics.


The starting border consists of two cords with two strands. The warp thhreads are inserted so that they bend back into the next twist of the cord where the next warp thread is added. Only in the beginning, this warp thread is tripled or doubled for stability. This starting border is then attached to the upper beam of the warp weigted loom, heddles are prepared for making the shed and then weaving can begin.

This is the result of the first day.

Sylvia Wiechmann experienced a similar flow of new ideas during weaving as I have experienced when weaving on that type of loom for the first time. In the beginning, the different logic of weaving when using a starting border asks for changing the usual approach to warping a textile. Yarns today are delivered on huge cones that rest on the floor (or on some scaffolding called bobbin rack) while yarn is taken from it.

However, for making the starting border it is necessary to have stored the yarn on an implement that can be inserted into the sheds made for the border. In our case this is the space made by me when holding the warp loops in the first image of this post. Sylvia Wiechmann now has found a solution for doing the starting border alone and taking the yarn directly from the cone.



Cite this blog post
Ellen Harlizius-Klück (2017, August 11). New Project in the PENELOPE Lab. PENELOPE. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from

Ellen Harlizius-Klück

I am a researcher interested in the order and logic of making textiles and its impact on the history of technology and science.

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