Arabella De Mere

Monochromatic Double-Twist Apprentice Belt

Since it has been given and now publicly seen…. This was my most recent big project. It is an apprentice belt for my dear friend Audrye, who was elevated to the order of the Pelican. She is an amazing artist, and since she won’t be able to wear a double belt anymore (apprentice/protege) I made her an apprentice belt to go with her new Roman way of life. She has a love of ermine… But not just any ermine… taking it from her heraldry, her ermine is as special as she is, with wings/arms that come up on the side, ready to envelop you in one of her great hugs!

I used monochromatic twist patterning to create a pattern I like to call “Ermine for Foxes”, as she also has an affinity for those lovely creatures. I started with a double face pattern for ermine (from Mary Woodcock Kroble…/ermine-4-a-change-in…/ ) that I then modified to fit the different weaving technique, as well as increase the size, and bring the arms upward. It took a while to work out the kinks and finally get the look I wanted, but then came the task of weaving it…

This belt is easily the longest belt I have made, but since it wraps around the body twice and then hangs down considerably it needed to be. The length is 151 inches, with an additional 4 inches of twists on each side, giving a grand total of 159 inches. With a width of 1.5 inches and used 49 cards.

I started weaving this belt in late April, and finished in early June. It took weaving about 3 hours a night, and completing two repetitions of the pattern (4 ermine total), to get about 6 inches a night, estimating about 80 hours of work.

The belt is made from one color of 20/2 green silk thread (about the size of thick sewing thread, purchased from Eowyn de Wever), although the shade of green changes depending on how you look at the band. What causes this change? It’s the way light is reflected in the fibers of the silk, and depending on which direction the cards were turned while creating the band. I decided that I would alternate and mirror the pattern. This does a couple things, it is visually attractive, but it also makes the pattern twist neutral, which eliminates twist build up (a large foe for tablet weavers which can effect tension and pattern presentation if you’re not careful, beyond having to comb out twist or use swivels).

I’m very happy with the end result! I think the belt is eye-catching, with a subtle pattern, but beautiful in its visual simplicity and hidden complexity. Every turn of the cards shows with this technique. If one card is incorrectly turned, you SEE it! It requires an enormous amount of attention to detail and precision.

I was very happy to make something so special for such a wonderful person. It fills my heart with joy to give of myself this way, and hope my love shows though with every turn of the cards.

💚 You Audrye! 🦊

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