Garrison members do various crafts authentic to the fourteenth century. These include:

Fingerloop Braiding


Using loops of yarn to create a fingerlooped cord


This technique produces cords of many shapes and sizes. They are often complex in pattern and shape. Up to 4 people can be needed to make one cord, holding ‘bowe’ loops on their fingers and exchanging them to create the desired pattern. However, simple designs can easily be created by one person.

Basic Kit: Yarn, and something to tension the braid. A convenient fixed item like the post in the image is helpful, in the home perhaps a bedpost or doorhandle. Alternatively, attach a safety pin to the top of the braids and pin it to something.



Making a decorative pattern on a leather strap


Leather was commonly used in the fourteenth century to produce items such as belts, pouches, gloves, shoes, and drinking vessels. Several members of the Garrison are adept at making some of these items.

Basic Kit: Leather, an awl, sharp scissors, linen thread, hammer, nails.

Mail Armour


Using pliers to link rings to make chain items


Mail is made up of individually formed iron wire split-rings, linked together to form various items such as shirts or leggings. Making, modifying and repairing mail armour is an arduous and time-consuming process, and would have been one of the duties of a knight’s squire.

Basic Kit: Mail rings, pliers.

Sewing and Dressmaking


Hemming a piece of cloth


Our members make their own period clothing, often hand sewing everything.  Each item of clothing is made according to simple geometric designs based on rectangles and triangles and are then adjusted to fit the wearer’s shape. Authentic materials, including fabric, are used for making clothes.

Basic Kit: Needle, thread, fabric, pins … etc.



Two members using distaffs and drop spindles to spin yarn from wool fibre


In the 14th Century, almost all thread was produced by spinning with a drop spindle, despite a spinning wheel being invented at around the year 1000 AD. Spinning with a drop spindle is a very laborious process and takes far longer than spinning with a wheel, however, the Great Wheels were large, difficult to use, and expensive, often being reserved for the most noble of households. Drop spindles were simple and highly portable, and were therefore more common.

Basic Kit: Drop Spindle, wool fibre, distaff.


Tablet Weaving


Using punched cards to create a tablet-woven item


This form of weaving requires a small portable loom or just something to tie the warp threads to. Patterns can be produced by shuffling tablets (small punched wooden cards) that are threaded onto the warp threads. Tablet weaving produces a strong, narrow, warp-faced fabric which can be used for belts, bag straps and durable edgings for clothes.

Basic Kit: Yarn, punched cards, something for tension. Looms are available for tablet weaving but tying the work to two fixed points at either end to hold the tension also works.


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