Combat/battle braiding?

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lucy the tudor
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Combat/battle braiding?

Postby lucy the tudor » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:05 pm

OK, I will fess up, I haven't been doing this all my life, and I have a tendency to put my foot in things ( No really?!)
On being told by my lad's teacher that their class were going to a Viking experience day at a Lancaster museum, I asked what they would be doing, as we have had a couple of dalliances with some lovely Vikings, and he has all his own kit etc...

That's where it went wrong, the teacher said they would be doing "combat braiding", I queried it, and assured her that they must have missed a comma out somewhere. How could you have combat with braids? ( images of very camp knights lisping "NI")

Then going to boot camp, the equally lovely ladies of the MCS showed me a set they had been given by Regia, in which one braids by hanging weights from a joist or similar, and passing the four weights between two people in a rhythm which makes a great braid and improves hand eye coordination at the same time- hence improving your combat.
Sounds great, looks great, easy to make the kit, does smashing braid.

So why am I whining?

Well, I have sent the lad in to school for his trip today, with a set I have made for the teacher to use as follow up to the trip, and an apology for having been a know-all. And it was a nice thing to make, and it's a nice thing to do, and I'd like to encourage others to do it with nice kits I could sell them, but I can't do this as a historical thing unless I can find some provenance/ a time period preferably.
I have had a couple of trawls of the net, to no avail, and the people who I know who have heard of it have heard of it direct from folk, but don't know what sources their friends were using.

Please does anyone have any idea where this started from? And could you reassure me that it isn't a "star gazer chair " issue, which will waste lots of my time to get to a dead end?

I'm not asking you to do my research for me, but if you have a clue what direction to send me in that would be great.

If all else fails I will hassle the museum in person too, and see if they can help.


Please, and Thank you for listening :D


PS. I've already tried Regia website.


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Postby GinaB » Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:09 pm

Hi Lucy,

I first heard about this method of making a braid at events, etc - through an SCA contact, fairly recently.

I haven't yet tried it myself (so many other things on at the mo'!) so I don't know what the braid looks like. Without that, I can't even speculate on if the braid is 'period', or simply a cool way of doing a modern braid. That'd be the first place to start - if there's a bit of braid that matches the structure, then that could well be a way of making it.

Any chance of posting a photo of the finished braid? Might shed some light.

It could well be another 'trollen braid' though - you can see the discussion on this type of braid over at the Soper Lane website -
http://www.et-tu.com/soper/cgi-bin/index.cgi?action=forum&board=open&op=display&num=105&start=30#37



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Postby sally » Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:15 pm

I've seen this done as a fun modern way of making braids, but offhand have no historical evidence for it. Its certainly a good way to get kids thinking about braid structures though. Structure wise, its usually a crossed pairs of thread braid, if you have people standing at 12 oclock, 3, 6 and 9 oclock, you get 12 and 6 to swap cords, then 3 and 9 and repeat. Its a simple structure but makes a nice braid



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Postby lucy the tudor » Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:42 pm

Thank you ladies, that helps a lot.
I didn't bring any home and I'm lousy at putting pictures up, but I can make you some and send it if it may help Gina.
I'm kind of happy either way on this one-
No evidence, I wasn't too thick when telling the teacher it was odd
Evidence, I can make the nice braid and sell kits
not so bad.


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Postby Medicus Matt » Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:29 pm

It sounds like they're being shown Scandinavian whipcording techniques. I saw some of the 'bottle' weights and a little explanatory text at the Roskilde ship museum.

There's some info about in in Hald's "Ancient Danish Textiles from Bogs and Burials".



Ahhh, found you a nice little leaflet from the museum on the subject.

http://genvieve.net/sca/interlocking.pdf


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:58 pm

Do you have to hum the thme music to the Vikings when you do it? That would be cracking so it would, unless you had to play the Toni Curtis part which might make catching the loom a shade edgy.


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Postby lucy the tudor » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:06 pm

Medicus Matt, did I ever tell you how much I love you?
Historically Danish, plus Roskilde ship museum, plus would look lovely in turned wood- I see a product coming on...
Thank you.
:D


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Postby Medicus Matt » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:11 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Do you have to hum the thme music to the Vikings when you do it? That would be cracking so it would, unless you had to play the Toni Curtis part which might make catching the loom a shade edgy.


You mean Kirk Douglas don't you?

Or was that you having a dig about my eye, eh?

EH?

:wink:


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Postby Medicus Matt » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:13 pm

lucy the tudor wrote:Medicus Matt, did I ever tell you how much I love you?


Quite possibly...my memories not so good any more so you can tell me again if you like. :wink:


You're welcome.


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Postby Flesh&Blood » Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:24 pm

Medicus Matt wrote:
Marcus Woodhouse wrote:Do you have to hum the thme music to the Vikings when you do it? That would be cracking so it would, unless you had to play the Toni Curtis part which might make catching the loom a shade edgy.


You mean Kirk Douglas don't you?

Or was that you having a dig about my eye, eh?

EH?

:wink:


You've got an eye? (other than the one in the middle of your forehead that is)



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lucy the tudor
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Postby lucy the tudor » Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:10 pm

Medicus Matt wrote:
lucy the tudor wrote:Medicus Matt, did I ever tell you how much I love you?


Quite possibly...my memories not so good any more so you can tell me again if you like. :wink:


You're welcome.


You're a really smashing bloke, and I love you 8)

Have I ever met you, by the way? :oops:


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Postby nerf herder » Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:13 am

You're a really smashing bloke, and I love you

Have I ever met you, by the way?


Obviously not!!! :lol:

Nerfy


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Postby Neil of Ormsheim » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:04 am

Then going to boot camp, the equally lovely ladies of the MCS showed me a set they had been given by Regia, in which one braids by hanging weights from a joist or similar, and passing the four weights between two people in a rhythm which makes a great braid and improves hand eye coordination at the same time- hence improving your combat.
Sounds great, looks great, easy to make the kit, does smashing braid.


I have heard this technique referred to as "Slingastocka" (sp?) and it does make a very nice braid once the rythm is working well.


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Postby Phil the Grips » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:30 am

So people may have done braiding in groups but what about the "combat" part?

Sounds like horlicks to me as I have never heard of anything like this in Scandy/Euro cultures as they were/are pretty consistently obsessed with athletics, gymnastics, riding, dancing, hunting (LOTS of hunting) etc as practice for combat, or should all huscarls now be spending their time playing with string instead of sword swinging?

Or did the men do the weaving at all? I know it was far more common in the past for men to knit and weave and gain success/fame in the field, which even holds up today ( I would recognise Kaffe Fassett in the street more easily than I would David Beckham). Is this insight into the female combatants everyone is so keen to provenance?

I can't see the transferable/developmental skills involved common to both at all but happy to be proven wrong.


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Postby GinaB » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:00 am

Thanks for the offer Lucy - now Matt's posted the link I can work on one myself to see what its like!



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Postby lucy the tudor » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:49 am

Jolly good Gina, thanks anyway.
The link was great, I love the line drawings taken from real reenactor kids, ie well wrapped up, in baggy clothes with unusual hair do's to fit any time period, and very happy to be playing with some wool under a tree.

This does look like something to do with groups and such, I will enjoy this one.


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Postby Attilla the Bun » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:50 am

It makes the same braid that you see in leather dog leads, done round a core - if you do it in your hand, it is "over two, back under one", from each side alternately. In Hald's book, she describes how the technique has survived in Denmark, but is usually done by one person with four large bobbins (like enormous lace-making bobbins!), but there's no reason why it shouldn't have been done by two people throwing them - I wouldn't have thought Roskilde would have been doing it without some evidence, and the brilliant thing about textile techniques in Scandinavia is that the craft tradition there survived to the present day, or certainly within living memory. I had some made by a wood turner, you could ask Mr Paul.

Your'e right about it being an excellent activity for children, I've been using it with my school archaeology club for nearly ten years, since I also saw it at Roskilde. In fact, it's so popular I have to set up more than two hooks so that they can be several braids going at once, otherwise I'd spend all my time breaking up fights! I bought some sets of turned wooden light pulls to do it with, and put a permanent loop up through each of them (a braid, naturally Image ) to attach the thread to, which is easier than tying it onto the actual light pull every time. It would be much easier to do it with proper large bobbins, because you could wind a lot of thread on each to start, I ought to get some more sets made (must remember to buy that lottery ticket...). I always suggest to them to go home and set it up for themselves with Panda Pops bottles with a bit of water in, they're just the right size, or little bags of sand. If you PM me your address, I'll send you the information from Hald. When I get home, I'll post soem pictures (if I can remember how!)

If you tell them about the way to make spirals or stripes, you get some kids being really creative - mostly they change pattern by accident, but when they see how it works, (usually girls, I find) you sometimes get them deliberately changing the direction so that the spiral alternates. Don't forget to tell them to start a fair distance away from each other and gradually move closer to tighten the braid at the top - if they're determined to braid right down to the bobbin, they end up nose to nose!


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Postby lucy the tudor » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:21 am

I turn wood myself, and wanted the provenance so I could make them to sell, so if anyone wants a set, please let me know... :D
The ones we used were weighted cloth bags, with a permanent loop as you describe, but another friend had described the bottle shaped wooden ones, so I had envisaged doing both as cheaper and more accurate alternatives.


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Postby Medicus Matt » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:29 am

These are the bobbins shown in Hald's book.
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hald-bobbins.jpg


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Postby paul atkin » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:36 am

and some simpler ones
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dans-lehre-bobbins.jpg



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Postby paul atkin » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:55 am

ps they also double up as skittles (two products in one) :D



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Postby lucy the tudor » Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:32 am

See I already knew I loved you, but now all the more reason to do so! :lol:


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