Sprang - was Re: HNW - Hardanger and Ukrainian Whitework

Wendy Robertson wcrobert at blue.weeg.uiowa.edu
Tue Oct 7 06:44:13 PDT 1997

At 07:47 PM 10/6/97 -0400, Dick Eney said:
>I'm not sure this is similar but here goes...  I just received a copy of a
>copy of a page from _Traditional Icelandic Embroidery_ (1985) by Elsa E. 
>Gudjonsson, who worked in the National Museum of Iceland for something
>like 35 years.  
>The odd thing is that this technique is called "sprang" in Iceland, and
>Gudjonsson says there is no evidence of "the technique now known as sprang
>abroad" in older times in Iceland.

I am interested in the use of the term sprang.  Sprang, as I am familiar
with it, involves using a frame to make a lot of parallel threads.  These
threads are then twisted over each other in various ways to make patterns.
The fabric builds from the middle and is the same on either end.  When the
work is completed, something needs to go through the middle to stablize it
or else it will come undone.  Quite intricate patterns can be done with
this, and the resulting fabric structure can be very open (lace like) or
more dense.  The fabric will be stretchy.  Sprang was widely practiced in
Scandinavia, from at least the Viking Age.  (See Peter Collingwood's
Techniques of Sprang for more information.)

I realize my description is not very good, but does this seem like what
they are talking about in that book?  If not, do you have any idea why the
same term would be used?

Wendy Robertson
mailto:wcrobert at blue.weeg.uiowa.edu

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