Monday, 21 December 2009

Did the Ancient Egyptians use Teasels?

We have not yet found evidence for carders in Ancient or Coptic Egypt and there has been some discussion as to whether teasels where used. Angela has been getting advice from a botanist friend, Ian, who says:

- Teasel, alias Dipsacus fullonum, is found naturally from Western Europe (mostly a line south of the Pennines eastwards), right across to Russia, and across North Africa and right into Turkey. It favours heavy soils, so I imagine would be very much at home on regions of the Nile Delta.
- There is no other plant I can find in the flora of Egypt that has dried flower (seed) heads that would do as good a job.
- My conclusion is that teasel was available and put to good use by the ancient Egyptians

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

In a Spin!

Today we tried spinning but first some information from Charlotte about spinning in Ancient Egypt!

There were different methods of spinning in ancient Egypt using the drop spindle, all depicted in tombs from the Middle Kingdom onwards.

The ‘grasped spindle’ technique, shows the rove pulled from a basket through a ring or a forked stick, and spun onto the spindle which is rolled between the hands.

The ‘supported spindle’ technique, where the spindle rolled down the knee to twist it. This will be the method we will be working on today to create enough wool to include in our socks.

Well we tried it and found it very difficult to do in a skirt. Fortunately Sally could show other people in a far more expert way than me, but Angela manged it, just:

It gives us all a lot to do over Christmas and we got into a festive mood by eating home-made mince pies (I'd have taken a picture but we ate them all).