The Spinner of Fate (Clotho)

Photo courtesy of Kaaren Valravn

At some point in the murky past (that is, 2019), Kaaren, Adelaide, and I made a joke about how we’re the three Fates. I am, of course, the spinner Clotho, Adelaide the measurer Lachesis, and Kaaren the inflexible/cutter Atropos. When we discovered that we all had bought (or wanted to buy) the same grey linen, we decided to make Fates-themed garb in our preferred styles (we also managed to be chronological as well!). For a deadline, we set Twelfth Night 2020.

Because I was doing early period English, I felt a little guilty that my garb wouldn’t be as complicated and require as much hard work as Adelaide and Kaaren’s. So I decided to make everything I wore.

Everything.

I already had shoes, anyway.

Linen tunic with silk tablet-woven trim
Woolen belt being inkle-woven

The first layer was where I used the grey linen. Although a standard tunic, I played with the gores on this for fit. Instead of having hip-height gores, I put in long trapezoidal ones that stretched from the edge of the sleeve to the hem. The sleeves are also my first fitted sleeves that would require a closure. I tablet-wove trim for the neck and cuffs out of silk in two different widths with slightly different patterns. Both used the same threading, but I cut out warp threads for the cuffs and turned the cards fewer times.  As there is some archaeological evidence for belts on this layer, I wove a three-inch-wide belt out of wool that was wide enough to wrap twice around. I wrapped this under my bust almost as a supportive layer, and it was quite comfortable (and kept me standing up very straight!). On top of this layer I put a black silk peplos–no progress photos for this, as it’s just a big ole silk tube. (Do I need to say everything was handsewn and flatfelled? It’s me–assume it was unless I say otherwise).

Circlet, annular brooch on peplos, and wrist clasp on tablet weaving.

As I took a silversmithing class in June 2019, I decided to make all the fittings I could for this garb. Two hours of work in the silversmithing studio, and I had two nearly-matching annular brooches, two wrist clasps, and a circlet! For the annular brooches, I tried different orders of operation for each; on one I soldered the pin shut first, on the other I soldered the brooch ring shut first. The latter technique seemed to work better for me. While annular brooches in period seem to be cast instead of forged, I haven’t learned to cast metals yet, so this worked for my current skill-set. The wrist-clasps were inspired by a historical find that didn’t have an attachment, but I made the hook a little shorter than I should have.

I realized a few days before the event that I hadn’t made a belt pouch. A quick Google led me to a couple different patterns, which seemed to follow most rectangular pouches but inserted a ring around the mouth and included a strap. I used the last remaining inches of the trim for the strap; the lining was leftover linen and the outside was leftover silk. I even made the ring from some junk wire! It was more than big enough to carry everything I needed, and fit my spindle in it quite well.

However, the peace I am most pproud of was my rune-belt. Four yards tablet-woven out silk, this took me over 22 hours from start to finish. It wraps twice around my body and hangs nearly to my hem. It was my first complicated pattern and my first double-faced weaving, and I came up for the runes’ patterns myself (you can see how I refined the letters in each repeat). The runes literally say “ic spinne þone þræd wyrde,” which is Old English for “I spin the thread of fate.”

The Rune-Belt

So, on Twelfth Night, I was able to say that I made everything I wore except the rings on my right hand.

Photo courtesy of Ava Deinhardt

Oh, and we won the Garb Runway Competition.

See Kaaren’s garb here and Adelaide’s garb here.

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