Sprang is an ancient textile creation method found in both Egyptian and Viking burials. Instead of using a warp and weft as in typical weaving, there is only a warp and the warp strings are twisted or plaited and twined to create the fabric. Much like a hammock, the fabric created is symmetrical and flexible, consisting of many little lozenges. Because of the nature of sprang, each row worked at the top of the frame creates a matching row at the bottom, thus making a fabric that is a mirror image of itself bisected at the middle.
I learned sprang from Lady Oddny Knarrarbringa at Pennsic 34 (August 2005) in her camp. She has inexpensive PVC frames she uses for teaching tools, that enable the new sprang artist to easily and cheaply get started. It was great to be able to go from start to finish, with book, frame and string in 3 hours and I think $15-20.
Here are some pictures of my first pieces of sprang.
My very first learning piece, made of cotton at Pennsic:
A white wool pouch that was my second piece, also done at Pennsic 2005, and an attempt at switching the direction of the twist patterning in a lavender practice piece from October 2005:
In September 2005 , I tried sprang on my tablet weaving laptop loom from Spanish Peacock with some yellow Bartlett Main Line wool. I use the yellow wool pouch every event to conceal modern necessities, and the skinny bag made of the leftover yellow wool helps to hide my glasses case in my basket:
Also in Sept. '05, I decided to try hole patterns in a piece of sprang, instead of the basic pattern. Here is an attempt in Michael's Fisherman's wool:
Those are my first attempts within 2 months of learning the basic technique, thanks to Oddny. Pouches were easy to construct, and are very useful pieces. Also, once filled they show off the sprang patterns nicely. Each of my first bags were finished at the bottom by simply placing a single weft thread in the last exchange. This gives an easy finish and a nice flat bottom to each pouch.
Links to more information :
Oddny's Sprang Instructional Page: http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/donisfuff/sprang1.html
Phiala's String page on Sprang: http://www.stringpage.com/sprang/sprang.html
Thora Sharptooth's Early Sprang Bibliography: http://www.cs.vassar.edu/~capriest/sprangbib.html
Regia Anglorum tells more of the history of sprang: http://www.regia.org/sprang.htm
And the main text on sprang, Collingwood, Peter. The Techniques of Sprang: Plaiting on Stretched Threads. Available on Amazon.