But it looks like… methods for differentiating non-woven looped structures

Additional information for the presentation presented at NESAT XIV, August 25, 2021

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(Last updated 25 August 2021)

Table of Contents
-Recorded Presentation
Surface Texture Confusions
-Slip Stitch Crochet
-Speculative Nalbound Slip Stitch

Surface Texture Confusions

In addition to the examples provided in my presentation, I’d like to present another surface texture confusion that is fairly common with looped structures, particularly with impressions thereof. These confusions are due to the surface texture wale, the visually apparent cohesive line, not being the same as the structural row or course. We are often used to thinking of wales being at 90 degrees to the row, and this is true in some variants such as the Cross-knit Loop and Pierced Loop structures.

However, as noted in my presentation with a much more compound variant, the surface texture wales of some variants are at more of an around 60 degree (or 120 degree) angle to the structural row. This can occur in some of the simplest variants as well. Simple Looping has an approximately 60 or 120 degree wale (dependent on S or Z crossed) at the typical tensioning found in artifacts. The surface texture of that wale when viewed as horizontal (instead of with the structural row being horizontal) looks suspiciously like the purl side of an open loop knit structure. However, as Sylvie Odstrčilová pointed out in the NESAT XIV discussions on August 24th, the bumps in the clay impression shown in one of the presentations oppose each other instead of alternating as they would in open loop knitted structures, thus they do not match with the structures/textures shown in an open loop knit diagram.

These are S-crossed Simple Looping samples produced using commercial yarn (on the left) and rough handspun on the right.

The tiled gallery above shows the same angle on several extant artifacts worked in the Simple Looping variant. These particular artifacts are from Zambia, Peru, and Australia. More details are available in the image captions.

This sample highlights the adjacent bumps of the wales in a sample of S-crossed Simple Looping variant with the picture oriented along the structural row (red arrow).
This S-crossed Simple Looping sample is oriented along the surface texture wales. The highlights are on the bumps of the adjacent wales. The red arrow is along the structural row.

While it is important to note that certain looped structures can be produced by more than one looping technique, some of those structures and related techniques have not as yet been found in certain time frames of the historical and archeological record. Use of diagrams of the more recent structures and techniques in association with significantly older artifacts is more likely to introduce confusion into our understanding of the structures and techniques used and the historical importance of the items in question.

If one of the more recent techniques/structures is to be found in an item of a significantly earlier context, that item then has much greater and interesting historical significance, thus it is imperative that the determination of the structure/technique be well supported. We are seeing evidence of certain looping techniques and structures found earlier than previously recorded, but these instances still maintain a reasonable connection to the known examples. Interpretations that push back the dating by millennia will need to be strongly supported, otherwise they bring into question the reliability of other portions of the research that would otherwise be plausible.

Slip Stitch Crochet

In my presentation I showed the four primary variants of Slip Stitch Crochet. Those four as worked Right to Left and as seen from the technical front. The 12 other options include those four worked Left to Right and the inverted versions of both. The inverted versions create the same structure as the non-inverted, except that the technical front and back becomes reversed so that the surface texture of what would have been the back appears on the front and vice versa.

In the center of the image of all the variants below is a small chart showing how the wrapping direction combined with the working direction and the connection to the previous row causes the loop to either be open or crossed.

Right to Left and Left to Right Slip Stitch Crochet versions and their inverted versions. Symbols indicate where versions produce the same structure as seen from the opposite side of the fabric.

This next photograph shows the four Right to Left variants worked in progression from Yarn Over (YO), S wrapped (S wrap), Front Loop Only (FLO) to YO, S wrap, Back Loop Only (BLO) to Yarn Under (YU), Z wrapped (Z wrap), FLO and finally to YU, Z wrap, BLO. You can see the transition between stitches as one type changes to the next.

Slip Stitch Crochet sampler worked Right to Left showing, from bottom to top, Crossed Front Loop Only Yarn over S wrapped, Open Back Loop Only Yarn over S wrapped, Open Front Loop Only Yarn under Z wrapped, and Crossed Back Loop Only Yarn under Z wrapped.

In this video, I demonstrate just how easy it is to switch between the four primary variants of Slip Stitch Crochet. I also show how the initial chain lays against the work showing the false “nalbound” appearance of that chain.

Switching between variants in Slip Stitch Crochet

Speculative Nalbound Slip Stitch

Speculative Nalbinding of U/OU M^+Mv producing the same structure as the Crossed loop Yarn Over S wrapped Front Loop Only
Speculative Nalbinding of Inverted O/UO M^+Mv producing the same structure as the Open loop Yarn Under Z wrapped Front Loop Only

Recorded Presentation as presented at NESAT XIV:

Abstract: The correct identification of the structure of a specimen of archaeologically recovered fabric and the technique(s) used to produce it, are fundamental to the understanding of its historical context and significance. However, the surface textures of looped fabric cannot always be associated unambiguously with specific techniques and there can be several ways to produce a given primary structure. Instantiations of this have been dealt with cursorily in the prior literature but illustrations of distinctive secondary structural attributes and how to recognize them are sparse.

This presentation attempts to clarify two such points. One compares the surface structure of fabric produced by cross-knit nalbinding with that produced by twisted-stitch knitting, both of which are represented in the extant corpus. The other compares the definitive structure of slip stitch crochet as produced by its eponymous tool and technique, with the same structure speculatively produced as nalbinding.

The diagnostic details include the direction of work as seen in the fabric structure, which can differ between candidate techniques. The same applies to increases and decreases, initial and final rows, pickups, joins, transitions between stitch variants, and outright errors. The suggested methodology includes the examination of both actual archaeologically recovered fabric and its diagrammatic representation. https://www.nesatxiv.org/