Sprang Bag Collaboration

I am pleased to reveal this collaborative project between myself and Guthrum of Norwich. Tom made some fantastic speculative handles, seen here on the left, based on the tiniest of finds from York. Superb craftsmanship on which to hang the linen sprang bag that he asked me to make for him. Below you can see just how fragmentary the evidence is. But it’s there, and it was a challenge to be made!

After lots of planning and measurements, the first part of the challenge for me was to warp up the 192 linen threads needed to fit onto the handles. No mean feat when they all have to be in perfect alignment and not crossed at any point. I will admit, there was some ‘Anglo Saxon language‘ after the third attempt ended in disaster! Persistence is key and the fourth try was the charm (after a total re-think of the frame). An extremely good write up regarding interpretations of bags in general can be found on this site Reconstruction of the “Viking bag”

The weaving was tough going at times. Particularly towards the middle when there was barely room for fingers and every stitch had to be manipulated between a crochet hook and a stick! The hardest part was keeping the tension as being linen there is no stretch. Too tight and you can’t manipulate the threads, too loose and they have a mind of their own!

Work progressed over a couple of weeks and finally we could marry handles and bag together.

The next task was to make a strap. Just 1cm wide woven with string heddles in a plain tabby weave. Job done!