Tag Archives: vadmal

Vadmal

Vadmal (Wadmal) is a woven wool cloth that has been felted. Felting the fabric after weaving, thickens the cloth and makes it wind and water resistant as well as warm. Vadmal is generally woven in a tabby or a twill weave on warp weighted or floor looms.
In order to felt the fabric, there are two methods that can be used. The wet fabric can be pounded in a hammer mill for several hours in order to flatten and thicken the fabric. The hammering process creates a fabric that looks more like “real cloth” and produces a stable fabric with very little nap and the wool keeps its shine. The wool fabric can also be pounded and stamped by placing the fabric in a large bucket filled with water and stamping with your feet.

Vadmal Stamping Machine
Vadmal Stamping Machine

By Ida Dicksson – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42835466

Vadmal can also be felted using a wet felting method. The woolen cloth can be felted by hand by rolling or using a washboard and also by washing the fabric in the washing machine until the fabric stops shrinking. This process can take up to 10 machine washes. The wool fabric can shrink up to 60% in size. Wet felting creates a cloth that is fuzzier in appearance than one that has been pounded.

Vadmal cloth has been used for clothing since the Viking Age. Vadmal was so popular that the woven and felted cloth was used and traded as legal tender in many Scandinavian countries. Vadmal was a major export in Iceland and the length, width, thread count of the fabrics were set by law.
Vadmal fabric is still used today in most of the Saami traditional clothing, hats, mittens, bags and other items. The vadmal clothing is often decorated with pewter thread embroidery.

Saami Kofte
Saami Kofte

Digital Museum Norway

Saami Vadmal Pewter Collar
Saami Vadmal Pewter Collar
Sami Purses
Sami Purses
Southern Sami Mittens Norway
Southern Sami Mittens Norway

By Thorguds – Own work Photo by the owner of Saamiblog, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8056131
Saami Blogspot

Etsy
Look for Saami style vadmal and pewter thread bags and other items in my PaivatarYarns Etsy Shop.

Sami Coffee Bag
Sami Coffee Bag

How Vadmal is Made
Vadmal in Saami Clothing
Vadmal and Other Woolens
From Fabric to Vadmel
Viking Woolen Sails
On the Production of Vadmal Wool from Navajo Churro Sheep in New Mexico
Weaving Vadmal
Wadmal – Wikipedia

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The Saami Art of Tin Thread Spinning

Tugging on a bit of pewter thread has led me down a new path of unraveling some of the intricately beautiful textile crafts of my ancestors.

Tin Thread Embroidery

Pewter
The first use of pewter dates back to the Bronze Age. Pewter was used by the Egyptians and later the Romans, and came into use in Europe for tableware and jewellery from the Middle Ages.

Pewter is a malleable metal alloy, traditionally 85–99% tin, with the remainder consisting of copper, antimony, bismuth and sometimes, less commonly today, lead. Silver is also sometimes used. Copper and antimony act as hardeners while lead is common in the lower grades of pewter, which have a bluish tint.
Wikipedia – Pewter

Although pewter was an alloy of tin and other metals such as lead, in modern day pewter or tin thread,heavy metals are no longer used. Silver is added to stabilize the tin instead.

Thread spun from metals such as gold and silver have been found in Viking age textiles in sites such as Birka. Pewter or tin could also be spun into thread and used for the making of jewellery or decoration for clothing. Pewter became known as the poor man’s silver. It is thought that the use of pewter thread has only been produced by the Saami. Earliest evidence of the use pewter thread has been found in Saami textiles from the 1600’s, though fragments of pewter have been found 500 years earlier.

Saami Embroidered Tin Bag

Saami Tin Embroidery

Saami Embroidered Tin Collar

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Tin Thread Making Tools
The tools for making pewter or tin thread are a die made from reindeer antlers and a spindle. The die is carved from a reindeer antler and has as many as 60 different sized holes drilled into it. The tin is dragged through the successively smaller holes until a fine tin thread is produced.

Die for Dragging Tin
Die made of reindeer antler, used for dragging and making tin thread.
tenntrad die
Spin Cross
Spindle for spinning tin thread
Spin Cross

Linnaeus: Tin Dragging and Spinning
Linnaeus Drag and Spin Tin

Dragging Tin Thread
The tin thread was produced from bars of tin or from tin melted down from pewter plates and tableware. The tin is formed into narrow bars with a knife and hammer. It is pounded and shaped into a rod or dowel and pulled through the holes in the die with the use of pliers or even teeth.
to make it easier to pull through the die, the tin is dipped in fat, produced by melting reindeer hooves.

Tin is being pulled through the die with the use of pliers.

Tin thread is being pulled through smaller holes in the die.
Dragging Tin Thread

Fine tin thread is being dragged through the die with the use of teeth.
Dragging Tin with Teeth

Spinning Tin Thread

After the tin has been dragged, it is plied with a core thread using either a drop spindle or a Spin Cross.
Spinning Tin onto Spin Cross
Tin Spinning

The core thread should be the same thickness as the tin wire, in order to produce an evenly spun thread. The tin wraps around the core as it is spun using a similar plying technique as with other core spun yarns.

Tin Thread
Tin Thread Spinning
Tin Thread Core
Tin Thread Spindle

Tin Thread Embroidery
The spun tin thread can now be used for embroidery. It can be sewn directly onto tanned leather, though wool fabric or wadmal is used more often as the base for the embroidered thread.

Sewing Tin Thread

The core thread is sewn to the back of the fabric to fasten the tin thead in place.
Tin Thread Embroidery

The tin thread is stitched to the top side of the leather or fabric with very small stitches.
Tin Thread Embroidery
Tin Thread Sewing

Wadmal
Wadmal (vadmal) is a coarse, densely woven wool fabric that has been felted so that the weave structure is no longer visible. This creates a very warm and windproof fabric.
Instead of embroidering onto wadmal, I thought that I would try to embroider the tin thread onto handmade felt instead, as the felt would have a similar weight and consistency as wool felted yardage. I felted a small sheet of 21 micron merino wool and stitched a small sample of tin thread embroidery. I was quite pleased with the result.

Tin Thread Embroidery on Felt
Etsy
Look for pewter embroidered bags, bracelets and keyfobs in my PaivatarYarns Etsy Shop.

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References:

Västerbotten nummer 2/1980, sidorna 115-128 “Om tillverkning av platt tenntråd”
Västerbotten nummer 3/1970 “Sameslöjd”
Reindeer Antler Die
Vadmal and Other Woolens

More Saami Crafts

Saami Reindeer Bracelets
What is Sami Duodji
Weaving on a Sami Rigid Heddle
How to Make a Tin Embroidery Key Chain

Reindeer Leather and Tin Embroidery PurseReindeer and Pewter Purse
Reindeer Leather and Pewter Purse on Etsy

Saami Music – Itunes

Binna Banna – Kikki Aikio
Áphi (Wide As Oceans) – Sofia Jannok
Ulda – Ulla Pirttijärvi & Ulda
The Kautokeino Rebellion (Music from the Movie) – Herman Rundberg, Mari Boine & Svein Schultz
Beaivi, Áhcázan (The Sun, My Father) – Nils-Aslak Valkeapää

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Erica 25" Rigid Heddle Frame Weaving Loom Vintage Wood Frame Northfield

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End Date: Sunday Oct-13-2019 10:09:51 PDT
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Handmade Adjustable Floor Rag Rug Twining Loom

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