Saturday, 23 August 2014

Le Festival de Saint Louis a Aigues-Mortes

.Not far from us on the sea is an ancient town called Aigues-Mortes. It still has a complete wall and umpteen gates and you can walk round the ramparts. 800 years ago roughly Saint Louis, King of France, embarked from the town to fight the Crusades and it still thinks of itself as Saint Louis's town. So they celebrate on his birthday with a festival (like the Viking Market in Aland but more fun) and they have a serious procession. Today we got there early and pottered about until the procession started. I ought to say that half the town was in Mediaeval costume, even the waiters at the caf├ęs and restaurants. This meant that half the town was processing and the other half was there to see their friends which meant the procession stopped occasionally because one of the knights was kissing his way round a group of friends. But the procession also stopped for such important matters as doing a show of flag waving.

Or dancing to a Mediaeval band

Or waving graciously at the subjects

But sometimes they just got on with walking in woollen robes under a blazing sun

And chain mail of course.

There were stalls selling chain mail and bows and arrows, halberds, swords and I even saw a cross bow. I also saw several tiny looms which wove narrow strips from wool yarn. See red and blue strip at the top. Completely made of wood and I don't believe in it. Everything I have ever read says they used tablet weaving for narrow strips and a warp weighted loom for wide pieces. There was not one of either around. However it was all good fun and Charlotte bought a Mediaeval hat.

 

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I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.