This time last year I was in Japan on the Japanese Textile Study Tour. It seems so recent and yet so long ago. I have just spent a wonderful few hours sorting through the box of things I brought home from Japan, fabrics I bought or was given, things I made, gifts from the Indigo Sisters... and have three small projects lined up to begin now that the Wedding Quilt has left my hands. In a few weeks I am to have an operation on my foot, two weeks of sitting with my foot raised will provide lots of lovely time for hand stitching.
While I was away last week I visited the Roman site Vindolanda with Saz and Sam. This is an amazing fort and settlement, archaeological digging continues and there is a museum showing some of the wonderful things that have already been found. I homed in on the textiles. My photos were taken through the display cases so are not of the best quality but I thought you would still like to see them. I have taken all the information from the display boards in the museum.
This child's sock is made from two old pieces of cloth (boro!) and is the only complete garment found at Vindolanda so far.
The patterns shown here are:
Plain 1/1 Tabby
Basket and Half-Basket
Plain, Chevron and Diamond Twills
Decorative Woven Bands
The Romans used a variety of different dyes and chemical treatments to colour their textiles. The root of the madder plant was used to produce a red dye, and a piece of checked cloth found shows traces of a lichen-based purple. Yellow was reasonably easy to achieve by using a variety of local barks, lichens and heather, and adding a rusty nail to the dyeing process could produce a pleasant greenish hue. Urine was used to soak the dyestuffs before they were boiled, which would also alter the colour of the wool. All of the dyes were set using the mineral alum.