X Marks the Scot - An on-line community of kilt wearers.

   X Marks Partners - (Go to the Partners Dedicated Forums )
USA Kilts website Freedom Kilts website Scotweb websiten Burnetts and Struth website The Scottish Trading Company
MacGregor and MacDuff Xmarks advertising information Celtic Croft website Xmarks advertising information Celtic Corner website

User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18
  1. #1
    Join Date
    7th May 09
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    623
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    A Question for Weavers. About Weaving!

    So, I'm trying to gain some insight into the economics of weaving in the pre-industrial age. It seems to me that at approximately 50 threads to an inch and 27 inches wide, warping a loom would be an extremely time consuming task.

    How much time would an experienced weaver typically spend warping a loom for a run of tartan cloth?

    How much time to weave one yard when the actual weaving began?


    Thanks!
    'A damned ill-conditioned sort of an ape. It had a can of ale at every pot-house on the road, and is reeling drunk. "

  2. #2
    Join Date
    2nd January 10
    Location
    Crieff, Perthshire
    Posts
    3,341
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I warp 1140 ends, it takes me a day to calculate, warp and dress the loom. Depending on the complexity of the pattern, I can weave 4-8 yards a day using a single-box flying shuttle loom.

  3. The Following 7 Users say 'Aye' to figheadair For This Useful Post:


  4. #3
    Join Date
    7th May 09
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    623
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thank you! That's very helpful to me.
    'A damned ill-conditioned sort of an ape. It had a can of ale at every pot-house on the road, and is reeling drunk. "

  5. #4
    Join Date
    2nd January 10
    Location
    Crieff, Perthshire
    Posts
    3,341
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by figheadair View Post
    I warp 1140 ends, it takes me a day to calculate, warp and dress the loom. Depending on the complexity of the pattern, I can weave 4-8 yards a day using a single-box flying shuttle loom.
    I should have added that a 3 day turn around for a kilt length is therefore not unreasonable for a fast weaver using a flying shuttle loom. That's a couple of hours work at most for a modern power loom which is why one can't buy hand-woven cloth in the shops nowadays.
    Last edited by figheadair; 8th May 18 at 05:45 AM.

  6. The Following 2 Users say 'Aye' to figheadair For This Useful Post:


  7. #5
    Join Date
    7th May 09
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    623
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I always find it instructive to put things into economic terms.

    By your example, assuming a labor rate of $30 per hour, the labor alone would be valued at $720. Add in the cost of material, (and I admit I have no idea what wool thread costs) and I'd not be surprised to see the cost exceed $1000. If there is a retailer involved, the price would increase again.

    Now my point is that, while the figures involved may have been smaller, the value, in absolute terms, of that fabric in pre-industrial times would have been comparable. A length of tartan fabric is now and always has been a significant investment. Is it any wonder then that plaids were so often repaired and repurposed.
    'A damned ill-conditioned sort of an ape. It had a can of ale at every pot-house on the road, and is reeling drunk. "

  8. #6
    Join Date
    6th February 17
    Location
    Lucerne, Switzerland
    Posts
    80
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think (but don't know) you would have to correct your assumption to something more on the lines of 13-20$ per hour.

  9. #7
    Join Date
    7th May 09
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    623
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Pick any reasonable figure for skilled labor that you like. Personally, I think $30/hour is a little conservative for skilled specialist labor with unique tools.

    The point I'm making is that a kilt length of fabric is worth the equivalent of 3 days work by a skilled and experienced weaver. That economic value is not, and never has been, trivial.
    'A damned ill-conditioned sort of an ape. It had a can of ale at every pot-house on the road, and is reeling drunk. "

  10. #8
    Join Date
    6th February 17
    Location
    Lucerne, Switzerland
    Posts
    80
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I do not view the economic value as trivial.

    My 13-20$ figure was erroneously based on average weaver's salaries in the UK. Of course a highly skilled craftsman (EDIT: as in "someone who weaves manually", not that the other ones are not skilled... you get my point.) has to get a decent amount more for his work.
    Last edited by gealach; 8th May 18 at 12:02 PM. Reason: clarification

  11. #9
    Join Date
    2nd January 10
    Location
    Crieff, Perthshire
    Posts
    3,341
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by KD Burke View Post
    I always find it instructive to put things into economic terms.

    Now my point is that, while the figures involved may have been smaller, the value, in absolute terms, of that fabric in pre-industrial times would have been comparable. A length of tartan fabric is now and always has been a significant investment. Is it any wonder then that plaids were so often repaired and repurposed.
    There are actually some useful figures around which give an insight to the cost of cloth in the early 18th century. Wilsons of Bannockburn's 1819 Key Pattern book gave the price for weaving their /Superfine tartan as 8d per Scotch Ell. Only a few years later a weaver was getting a shilling (12d a yard) for tartan.

    For simplicity, letís take the Scotch Ell to be the same as a yard, 8d (old pence) is equivalent to approximately £6.50 today but that does not mean 8d was worth £6.50 in real terms in 1819. There are a number of variables that one needs to factor in, for example; real price, labour value, historic living costs (i.e. purchasing power etc.,). See the bottom of this page for a description of these and other terms. And then thereís inflation to factor in.

    Trying to compare todayís values with the rural Highland economy of the mid-18th century or earlier is much more difficult. Itís fair to assume that better quality material, especially that which used lots of imported dyestuffs, would always have commanded a premium and would have been the preserve of the better off.



    Quote Originally Posted by gealach View Post
    I do not view the economic value as trivial.

    My 13-20$ figure was erroneously based on average weaver's salaries in the UK. Of course a highly skilled craftsman (EDIT: as in "someone who weaves manually", not that the other ones are not skilled... you get my point.) has to get a decent amount more for his work.
    The point here is that there is no longer any such thing as 'an average weaver' any more. Like most things that were once done manually, the economics are such that such industries were, for the most part, destroyed by automation. I gave up full-time hand weaving years ago because it was just too difficult to bring up a family on what one could earn in a week. Most kilt wearers, which is the type of cloth I weave, could not, or didnít want to, afford the price I should have been charging. I now weave when and what I want which is a much nicer way to keep alive the traditions and techniques of the past.

  12. The Following 3 Users say 'Aye' to figheadair For This Useful Post:


  13. #10
    Join Date
    7th May 09
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL
    Posts
    623
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by gealach View Post
    I do not view the economic value as trivial.
    I didn't mean to imply that you did, and I'm sorry if my post came across as contentious.

    I suppose the essence of my idea is that in the 18th and early 19th centuries, before industrialized weaving, clothing was a MUCH more significant expense to the average person than we typically realize. A new suit of clothes might easily represent a month's wages for a typical worker.
    'A damned ill-conditioned sort of an ape. It had a can of ale at every pot-house on the road, and is reeling drunk. "

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

» Log in

User Name:

Password:

Not a member yet?
Register Now!
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v4.2.0