Sprang is a weft-less, warp-only twisted weaving, made with wool, silk, papyrus, linen or cotton yarns stretched over bars, using fingers for weaving & sticks as placeholders.
Sprang is timeless, Neolithic to modern — from the start of the Iron Age over 3000 years ago and still in use today — for making hammocks, shopping bags, bottle covers, pouches, coin purses, sashes, scarves, stockings, belts, drawstrings, hairnets, caps.
Examples of this technique have been found in Norway, Denmark (1400 BCE), Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, Greece, Spain, Egypt (400 CE), India, Syria, Persia (Iran), Pakistan, Tunisia, York (UK), Byelorussia (Belarus), Ukraine, Russia, Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic & Slovakia), Peru (500 BCE), Guatemala, Colombia, Mexico, Arizona (US), Wisconsin (US).
Here, you can see that we are working from the middle of warp, pushing the work out to each end as we proceed. The smallest dowels are spacer rods that help keep the work even, and provide a stopping point in case I make a mistake and have to back up.
I have worked as far as I can in this warp, and finished the locking row, down the center, using a crochet hook to loop each warp thread into its neighbor, until there is one loop remaining. I thread through that single loop to keep it in place when I sew up the sides. You can see from the angles on each row that I have used basic interlinking, twisting in the same direction throughout.
After whipping the sides of the work together, I threaded the upper and lower loops of the fabric with a pair of drawstrings, for ease of opening & closing the pouch. The cord used for the drawstrings is lucet cord from the same wool as the pouch itself.
The beads, used to distinguish which ends of the drawstrings to pull to open or close the pouch, I lampworked using a modern propane torch, cooling oven, and glass rods.
- Regia Anglorum’s Sprang – The history, origins, construction and use of thread twisting.
- Phiala’s String Pages Sprang Bags and Patterned Sprang.
- Lord Mikael “Kael” McCue’s Pennsic University Overview of Sprang, in-person handout.
- Wikipedia article on Sprang.
Recommended viewing: Google image search for sprang.