Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Whipcord Basics

My take on Whip cord. 

By Ragna of Sundragon/ Raithnat O'Braonain, MKA Katie Henshaw
April 5, 2016

We all hear about “Viking Whip cord” and how it was this 2 person affair with clunky chunky mallet style bobbins.  Passing them back and forth together to create this strong durable and delightful cord.  The first thing I have to ask is “Is this really viking?”  The answer is possibly.  But was it ONLY viking?  No.  

Examples of 4 strand braids of same structure and sequencing.
-Two Museums confirm whip cord/interlocking/ 4 strand weighted braiding did in fact exist during the viking era. The Smithsonian and Roskilde Vikingship Museum (
-There is evidence of this braid structure that could have been made using this technique found in the Krogens Molle Mose find.(Hald, M.)
-There is evidence of this braid structure in multiple locations during the time between 900-1650
Kumihimo were made prior to and during the Edo period (Tokyo Metropolitan Government)
        Slings found in Jordan and grave finds in Finland and Sweden (Hald, M.)

The missing piece is a picture of it being done in period.  There is an Italian painting called either "Education of the Virgin"or “The Virgin and Her Companions Sewing the Veil of the Temple” by Guido Reni dating to 1640-1642 that portrays, in the background, a young woman using this technique with bulbous bobbins.  She is looking at the woman in the center of the painting, not at what she is doing.  This indicates ease of use.  She no longer has to think about it, she is comfortable doing it.  Being in the background makes her filler, showing everyday textiles connected to the feminine.  She uses a distaff for this braid, instead of spinning as so many other paintings do.  Her bobbins remind me of 16th century bobbin lace bobbins (Hald, M.)

How do I make whip cord by myself?
We will be recreating the technique used by the maiden in the painting.  The class kits include a set of 4 pre-wound clothesline "peg" bobbins with approximately 15-16 feet of two strand cotton, and a simple distaff similar to the painting.    I have pre-braided each with a short sample of the braids.
The first set is to get comfortable with your new distaff.  I have left it basic and plain for your customization later.  Tie your crossbar securely.  This will give you somewhere to wind on your cord as you go to keep you braiding at a comfortable height.
Place your braiding bobbins over the top post,  and lengthen your cords to a comfortable distance.  You will find as you go a sweet spot in this length.  This can vary from person to person.  

The angle between the apex of the braid and your hands will determine the tension of the braid.  The wider the angle the tighter the braid.  The other variable will be the distance between the hands and the top of the bobbins.  This will determine the amount of swing is possible.  This can be both good and frustrating.  :)  the longer the distance will mean longer time braiding between resets, but it also means that it will be easier to get your bobbins tangled in the swing.

Square braid of striped, or spiral pattern.
Balance the string across the backs of your thumbs and pinkies, with palms facing each other.  Cross the threads from you left thumb with your right pinky.  Next cross the threads from your right thumb and left pinky making sure that it is crossed on the opposite side as the other cross.  Continue alternating your crosses, creating two interlocking spirals of opposite direction until the bobbins are up against your hands.  At this point you will wind out more length and begin again.  :)

 The color pattern is determined by the yarn set up similar to kumihimo.  Making your crosses with the same color will give you the vertical stripes.  Making your crosses with differing colors will give you the spiral.

the way I remember to keep my crosses correct is "the right, passes to the right. the left passes to the left." so when crossing your right thumb to the left pinky .. the bobbin on the right thumb passes to the right of the bobbin from the pinky. the bobbin from the left thumb passes to the left of its pinky pair.

Flat braids
This is where I find the connection with bobbin lace.  Holding the bobbins side by side, rotate the pairs 180 degrees counter-clockwise. now cross the resulting middle pair clockwise. this keeps the over/under pattern of weaving intact and will lock your braid in place.  Repeat this movement until the bobbins reach your fingers.  Wind down extra length and repeat until finished.
The color pattern is again dictated by the original placement of the threads when starting the pattern.

The Virgin and her Companions Sewing the Veil of the Temple by Guido Reni (1642)
also known as the Education of the Virgin in other sources.  can be found at
Hald, Margrethe
Ancient Danish Textiles From Bogs and Burials
Aarhus University Press 1980
Tokyo Metropolitan Government gives information on Kumihimo in a brief overview      confirming timeline within our scope of practice.  

A Close up of the maiden in Guido’s Painting
close up for the virgin.PNGpermission for virg her comp sew veil of temple.PNG

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Baked Scotch Eggs

How to Make my version of a Scotch Egg

These are amazingly yummy. easy to make and last very well when you can't refrigerate something.

A short note on food safety.  when making this it is important to THOROUGHLY cook your ingredients.  I tend to slightly over cook my eggs and  the final item to be absolutely sure the egg and sausage are done.  I also tend to put a slightly thicker layer of biscuit on it to ensure it does not break open.  these are all done to be sure that they don't go bad and will not make anyone sick.

Ok, on to the how to's

sausage in the chub
Biscuit dough ( I use Bisquick and milk)

Preheat oven to 375 or so.  use the temp listed on your biscuit recipe)

Step one Hard boil you eggs.  place all the eggs you are going to use into a pot and cover in cold water.  put on your stove and bring to a rapid boil.  boil for an additional 12-15 minutes.  turn off heat and drain water.  fill container with room temp water and let sit until ready for them.

While your eggs are coming to a boil make your biscuit dough.  you want the dough to be firm enough that you can roll the dough out with a rolling pin.  I usually start with the amount of mix it tells me and then add in more a little at a time until it is a elastic, but not sticky dough.  set this aside until ready.

if you would like to season your own meat this is the time to do so.  I usually by the sage pork or turkey sausage in the plastic tubes.  just cut off the tip and squeeze into a bowl.

you will need a few baking sheets for this as rarely do I ever make only enough for 1 pan.  :)
I grease my pan with vegetable oil or use parchment paper.  prepare these and get ready.

Shell your eggs while still very warm/ hot.  you don't want to hurt yourself but this works much better if they are still too hot to eat when they go in the oven.

the rest of this is, for me, a little time sensitive.  I want the eggs still hot, as hot as I can safely handle without injuring myself  that way the center is already at temp.

1) take a golf ball to egg size portion of the biscuit dough and roll out on a floured surface with your rolling pin.  this needs to be big enough to wrap over everything and seal on itself.

2) spread out some sausage,   I have found to do this a bit off center so that you save a flap of dough by itself.

3)  place the shelled egg in the center of the sausage and start folding over the dough to envelop it.  be careful to not tear the dough.  we want this outer layer to stay in tact if at all possible.  if any dough does break, it is ok.  Just be sure they stay refrigerated after cooking.

place flap side down on the cooking sheets and place in oven.  the biscuit recipe on the box says something like 10 minutes or until golden brown.  I have found they usually need about 20-30 minutes.  and watch the color.  don't let them get to dark while in the oven.  light brown/ mid gold is good.  do not pull them out too light.  we are aiming to get that sausage cooked  all the way through.

if in doubt pull one egg from the tray and cut it open ( I have no problems sacrificing one to the food gods.)  if the dough or sausage is not finished cooking leave them in for a bit.

once they are cooked, pull them out and let them cool on a towel so the bottoms don't get mushy and there you go.  a high protein grab and go meal for those that can't sit for the full plate service.  they travel well and can be rolled up in foil to be heated on site as well.  Hope this helps those who were wanting this recipe.

Largesse Happens

As many know I am the Administrator for Largesse Makers on Facebook.  When the creator came to me about taking it over I was astounded.  I felt honored that she would give this to me to make my own.  I made a few changes and now it is open for all members of the medieval group we are a part of world wide.  I still can't believe that the page has grown as much as it has.  just WOW!

The Group's address is

I took on the challenge because I believe in Making Largesse and Why we do it.  What is Largesse?  Well it means something different to some people, but what it means to me is a gift of appreciation, freely given without expectation.  it is something you give to say thank you and I appreciate what you have done and Way to GO!  For me there are differing levels of Largesse.

Personal Largesse-  something you make/ buy to be given out yourself as a personal thank you to the general populace.

Local Largesse- what you donate to the shire/ barony that you participate in locally, so that they have things to give out to other people in the local group as thank you for hard work, prizes for tournies, use by the group itself. ( Please note that at no time in this description does it say give to the barony to give out to other groups.  that is something different in my book.)

Common Use Largesse- this is when your group is gathering items for gift baskets to go elsewhere in the shire/ barony's name.  you are donating to the local group with no intention of any of it staying.

and finally Royal Largesse- This is the stuff you donate to the "Kingdom" or "Principality" level for gifting out as the Crown/ Coronet deem fit.

This is all Largesse and is meant to be a positive uplifting experience.  Make sure that when working on projects that when you say who made you include everyone involved.  for example.  if someone sews a haversack and they had tagged it when they gave to the group. and now that group give you the bag to decorate, don't just pull the other person's tag off and replace it with your own.  add your tag to it.  that way the recipient knows person A made the bag and Person B did the decoration.

Over the coming months I plan to share with you various items that I have made, or with permission, things others have made for Largesse.  this is meant for inspiration in your own work.  The information is freely given for use in the non- profit setting.  it is not ok to take this information and financially profit from it.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Well, I totally admit I am a slacker.  :)  Here it is August already and I STILL haven't gotten any pics up.   ok I will put batteries in the cam this weekend.  WHy?  beause I really do need to get these ideas out of my head and somewhere I can refer to them.  ALso I have several interested people that want to see what I have accomplished.  For 2014 so far I have completed several kumijimo cords, a knitted/ felt bag, cleaned a bunch of wool and alpaca, and oh yeah the biggest pat of the year was getting rid of the VAST majority of my stuff (Sadly to include my 4F project)  and Moved to a completely different corner of the country.

That was a ery stressful part of my life, I will not lie about that.  and doing that with ME made it even more interesting.  We are moved, unpacked to a livable degree and are working at our respective jobs.  Next step?  get a raise.  lol that way we can afford to go more places.  oh and get hired on permanently with the company so I don't have to watch the calendar for April. (1 yr contract).

As or my medieval arts and modern crafts, I have started spinning again and finished a neat little skein of merino wool in peach, white and green. I then navajo plied it on itself varying the chain loops to keep the colors/ transitions with themselves.  I think it turned out pretty good.  It started out as my go to event random color spinning project.  where I would just grab a section of color and spin it for a bit and when it got close to running out I would grab another color.  as I wrapped it on my spindle I noticed I ahad started to wrap the colors individually and had naturally started working up and down the shaft so the transitions followed the Pattern "Peach, white, peach, grean, peach, white, peach green."  lol can you tell what had the most fiber?  lol  I cant wait to figure out what to make with it.  it has a lovely sock weight to it and is so soft.

I am also working on a tablet weaving pattern. (grumble grumble grumble)  it isn't one of my own, and I am having trouble concentrating long enough at one time to really figure out how it was started.  I have seen people start in different places and I don't recall this person indicating where the A-B line was in relation to the beginning of the weave.

My roommate got some killer fabric and wants a couple of fighting shirts and eventually I need to stop wearing my under gowns by themselves.  lol I have the cutest tan an white plaid that I want to use for an over dress.  I had made my beloved a tunic out of my tan that was supposed to go with it, but as it turns out we both have a green under tunic so we will coordinate without doing that whole tourist matching Hawaiian shirt thing.  <shudder>

Mundane wise I get to do hand work at work between calls when it is slow so I have started crocheting 4" squares to make a checky skirt for work.  when it is done I plan to play with some Jacquard dyes.  I hope to have the skirt done before Christmas

Next up on the list is to get cracking on the measurements for yardage.  I need to do some of that nasty stuff called math to figure out how much fabric is oing to need to be woven next year and how much yarn needs to be spun for it.  oh yeah I am crazy  I am only giving myself another 5 years.  mundane life got in the way of my original goal of having a reproduction Eura Dress made from fleece to fabulous by 50th anniversay.  oh well it will give me more time to do more research.
Well Tomorrow is going to be another long day, so it is time to hit the hay.  oh !  and a big shout out to Kesha Butler!  nd long distance friend from the company I work with.  She has an interest in all of this and I can't wait to introduce her to some awesome people on the East Coast.

Monday, August 12, 2013

14th Century Dressing Basics: simple garb for the everyday person

14th Century English Basics

I started making this style of garment when I Decided I wanted to dress more accurately and simply.  I noticed that this style of gown was fitted and cut for little to no waste and looks like the silhouette of many era's gowns.  I started making the men's style when my boys decided they wanted to also look a bit more period and their combat kits are the 14th century Wisby's.  This just made sense.  please feel free to try these out and send me any comments through your trials.

One of the pieces I found online and it just made awesome kinds of sense in how she rationalized the construction. I need to find her website so I can give her credit for the braes.  I keep looking hoping to run across her blog, until then I found a reference to slavic pants...  you can see them here...

**update** current pics for some reason are not loading, but I will get them up and online soon.  KLHH


Pieces for this Tunic/ Kyrtle (for the ladies) to be cut
The front and back Body Panels are to be cut as wide as the widest part around (chest, belly or butt). They are as long as you want the garment plus seam allowance and hem allowance. The Bocksten Bog Man find approximated the hemline at about his knees, give or take a couple of inches.  Kyrtles of the era were ankle length or longer for the ladies.  Unless you are comfortable with pooling hemlines and moving in one that long I strongly recommend your first gown to be ankle length.  It makes it easier to walk in and less likely to trip on or get stepped on by someone else.  I have had a few gowns ripped because someone else was not watching where they stepped.

The arms are trapezoids.  The length of the sleeves are a bit trickier.  We take the measurement from wrist to wrist.  We subtract the width the body panel from this and then divide by two.  This will tell you how long the sleeves need to be after we add a hem allowance and seam allowance for the shoulder.  The wider of the two parallels is the flexed bicep measurement plus 2-3” for seam allowance and ease.  The narrower measurement I typically use the forearm plus 2”.  This allows for the sleeves to be pushed up to wash dishes.

The gussets for under the arms is a simple square.  The size of the square gets adjusted for a few different reasons. The size of the person, chest dimensions, movement needs.
On an average person I use between 5x5 to a 6x6 square.  For larger men I will take this up to between 8x8 and 10x10.

The Gores are what spread the base of the tunic/ dress for movement and air flow.  I cut mine as right triangles half the width of the body panel to the whole width(for the ladies’). I cut them the length from the waist to the bottom of the garment.

Assembly of the Tunic/ Dress ( for ladies)
Cut your neck lines out of the front and back making sure your edges match.  Usually the back neck will be a 1-2” deep curve.  The front will be another 1-2” deeper.  I will usually drop a center cut down the front  (about 3-4”) for a “key hole” neck.  You could also cut a “v” neck as well for an alternative look.
Match your shoulder seams and double stitch the seams. 
Next pin the gusset to the top of the sleeve.  Stitch the the gusset and sleeve along the one side.

Next Match up the wrist seams. Pin everything together so that when the open edge of the sleeve  meets the edge of teh gusset make sure that you sew teh gusset to the sleeve.  This will give you a sleeve that looks like this

Now attach sleeve to main body of garment.
Next, we attack the gores.  There is a very good reason why we split our gores in half.  It is soooooo much easier to sew in the seams this way and have everything lay flat!
We pin the gore from the hemline up towards the waist on all four edges of the main body, and sew these first.  THEN after we have done that, we sew the “side seam” from the arm gusset down to the hem.
The garment now looks like this:


All that is left is to roll your hem for wrist and neck and fold the appropriate hemline for the bottom.  Decorate as you see fit by trim, braid or embroidery and enjoy!
A side note. Bind your seams as you go, this will make it a lot easier.  If you are looking for a more accurate appearance do your “finishing work” those seams that are visible by hand.

I use an experimental Braes pattern I found online.  I LOVE THIS PATTERN!  As soon as I find the delightful lady who shared this I will post her blog address here to give her the awesome credit she deserves.

This pattern has 4 pieces to it.  The legs, the gusset and the drawstring.  I have found that I like to put a double layer in my gusset for absorption in the desert heat.  It made things more bearable for both male and female users. This pattern works for shorts length braes or pant length. I have had favorable reviews from both.
The legs are cut on the fold
The waist line is as wide as ¼ the measurement of the waist wearing it plus 1-2” depending on the seams you choose to sew and the persons comfort level.
The lower hemline width is ½ the measurement of where ever you decide to end the braes. I tend to make mine at just above the knee and so I use the thigh measurement for comfort plus 1”
The widest point ( where the rise and the leg meet) is the waist plus 3-4” for ease in the seat
The length of the piece is from the waist to the hemline chosen plus 5”  4” above and 1” below.
The top Diagonal is the rise measurement.  I measure this from the pubic bone to the waist plus 4” for the waist band.
The bottom Diagonal is from the bottom of the “rise” to the hemline.

The gusset given movement and comfort to the braes.  For the larger men (46-56” waists) I use an 8x8 square.  For those in the 36-46 range I use a 6x6 square.  Adjust as needed for personal use.

First pin gusset to one “leg” starting at the point where the red line meets the peak and sewing down the leg of the braes.  Next match the leg hemlines together and run up the leg and attach the gusset to the leg.  (Just like you do for the tunic above) Repeat with the other leg.  Match up the center “body seams” and sew together.
Fold the waist band down approx 2” and fold again at 2”.  Pin 1” on either side of the front center seam for drawstring. Sew around the rest of the waistband. 
Hem the leg holes

Run a drawstring though the waistband and you are finished!

I will be adding information on the additional pieces of the ensemble as I finish typing the instructions, in the case of the hood, and when I have finished making them in the case of the hosen, belt and shoes.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Barony of Granite Mountain Arts and Science Collegium Nalbinding Handout.

Basic Nålbinding
M’Lady Raithnat O’Braonain
Also spelled Nälbinding, Naalbinding, Nalbinding, Nailbinding, Nahlbinding, and more…

Nålbinding is a weaving technique that was commonly used to produce hats, socks, and mittens, scarves and rugs.  There are a number of differences between nålbinding and knitting.   Most notably, is that nålbinding is done with only one needle and uses short pieces of yarn.   Another difference is that the entire length of the yarn is passed through each stitch.   And the most notable difference is that while in knitting and crochet if you mess up you can just pull the yarn and it will all come out, Nalbinding will not.  Nalbinding is more durable in that if you pull a loose thread it will tighten the knot and not run.  This makes undoing your “oops”’s more challenging.   The earliest finds of nålbinding are from Before our Current Era.   Many examples have been found around the world through the medieval times and into our current fiber arts as well.  

        Large-eyed, Blunt needle: You can get an actual Nalbinding needle made from anything from metal and plastic to wood or bone, but a tapestry and darning needle will work 
        Yarn:   I find that thicker, fuzzy yarn is easier and works faster, but truly any yarn can be used.
·         Scissors
        Patience and a sense of humor!  I can’t stress this enough while you are learning.

The Stitches

There are many nålbinding stitches and they are all variations on how the yarn is taken up onto the needle.  While there are a few different ways to categorize the known stitches, I will use the names given based on their first discovery and the Hansen system to give you a quick reference on the stitch for later.  There are actually four systems of categorizing stitches from the three main archaeologists of the textiles. First is Margrethe Hald, who categorized based on the total number of loops intersected in a stitch. Egon Hansen typified the stitches based on the course the thread takes in each stitch, using O and U when the working thread passes over or under other threads.  Third, Norlund uses a system that combines the number of loops intersected with the course the thread takes. Finally, there is the ‘user friendly’ method where stitches are named for the location where they were first found.   I will be using the “on the thumb” method for my nalbinding examples here, but there are many resources for off the thumb methods as well.  I am right handed, so the directions below are for right handed stitching.   Again there are quite a few sets of directions online for left handed methods.  I did not print those out as “lefties” account for only 2.5% of earth’s population.   


Again Nalbinding is done with sections of yarn.  Most people will learn with 5-6 foot sections.  As you get more comfortable feel free to lengthen your sections.   As with everything else in nålbinding, there are two methods to starting:  On a loop, or with free chain.  I will be teaching the free chain method in class. 

1) Make and overhand knot in your yarn. Hold it in your hand with the short tail to the right. Hold the base of this loop between your left thumb and forefinger.
2)Wrap the long end (needle end)around your thumb, catching the loop

1st Stitch- Oslo- uu/ooo
This was the first stitch I Learned and once I got my brain wrapped around to concept it was an instant favorite. 
Step 1:  make an overhand knot around your left thumb.
Step 2:  wrap around thumb.  Put needle in from the back, under the loop and cross over and snug against the thumb. Slide loop carefully off the thumb and pinch between thumb and forefinger.
Step 3:  put needle into newest loop from the front, fold needle over and push under the thumb loop from the back and under the fold over.   Slide previous thumb loop off and pinch.   Snug new loop on thumb
Step 4:  repeat step 3 until length desired.
Step 5:  connecting- pick up loop from previous row and continue as usual.

2nd Stitch- York- uo/uoo
Step 1: over hand knot on left thumb.  Make a second loop between thumb and forefinger and sliding needle through the thumb loop from the back.  Pull snug.
Step 2:  pass needle through both loops from the back.
Step 3: slide thumb loop off and snug up.
Step 4:  Repeat until desired length.
Step 5:  connecting- pick up 2 loops from below, from the front angled towards the left, continue stitch as normal.

Making a Circle (Connecting)
In order to make anything you need to be able to connect your stitches to those underneath them, or make a circular shape. Once your chain is long enough to wrap the body part in question, you pull the tail around and pick up previous stitches, before making a stitch as normal. There are two options when connecting. You can make 1 or 2 connections.  One connection will make a lighter, more elastic item. To do this, pick up a single stitch from the previous round.   Each stitch will be picked up only once.  Two connections will make a denser, sturdier item. To do this, pick up two stitches from the previous round. On the next stitch pick up one previously connected stitch and a new one.  Each stitch will be picked up twice. One connection - a single stitch from the previous round is picked up, Two connections – two stitches are picked up from the previous round
Increasing is accomplished by making two stitches with exactly the same path, essentially doubling the number of stitches ‘above’ the old one.  Decreasing is done in just the reverse; two sets of connecting loops are picked up from the row below the current stitch.

Also check out this amazing site for more Nalbinding stitches!  This site also has wonderful instructions for lefties!

Barony of Granite Mountain Arts and Science Collegium Spinning Handout

Spinning Basics
M’Lady Raithnat O’Braonain

This is a mostly hands on class.  This hand out will be a high level overview and a listing of a lot of wonderful sources for additional learning/ documentation.  My class uses fibers that are donated by local suppliers and are usually prepared for spinning by myself and students who wish to learn how to process fleece.  They are not mill processed.  They are received in the grease and full of Veggie Matter, among other things.  I cold water process my fleeces as I have not found any records showing washing wool before spinning in hot water.  Rather I have heard and read about river washing methods prior to shearing.  Anyone who has played in a river knows THEY ARE COLD!  J
The Fiber We are Using Today
I used the new Dawn Soap that promises an overnight soak in just a few minutes.  Castille soap is closer to accurate processing for the times we represent, but Dawn was less expensive and goes a LONG way.  The fleece is still in partial grease.  This means you will feel the lanolin still in it.  This can be an irritant to some people so please be aware of this.  If you start to itch or develop a slight rash, stop spinning, and go wash your hands immediately.  This could be a sensitivity to the wool or the lanolin.  Spinning in the grease for those who do not have sensitivities or alleries to it has some great benefits including soft hands when you are done ( love that part) and a water resistant fabric once woven/ nalbound/knit.
This particular fleece we are using today came from a sheep named June.  She is 2 yrs old and had her first lamb this year.  She is a Suffolk Cross from champion bloodlines.  The ranch that she comes from Raises Suffolk Crosses for FFA and 4H students.  She donated 4 fleeces this year to my 4F (Friendless Fiber Foster Farm) The animal is raised and cared for in Kingman AZ and is a pampered baby to be sure.  JSuffolk sheep are primarily a meat breed, only recently being bred for wool as well.  It is considered a medium wool.  With the staple length today between 2-5 inches  I have separated the lengths  with the longer lengths being processed into roving coils, and the shorter fibers being made into rolags (the sticks)
The spindles we are using were made by a member of my Shire who wanted to know how to make spindles.
Interesting tidbits about spinning:
Spinning on a spindle goes WELL beyond our Current Era, and continues in many countries today.  There are as many types of spindles as there are regions that use them.
No one knows for sure when Spinning first began, or even who made the first spinning wheel.
Some earlier illuminations from china in the 900’s show a woman working what at first glance looks like a spinning wheel, but turns out to be a silk reeler.  I can easily see how a reeling machine evolved into what we use today.
Painting and illuminations throughout Europe show Spinning from a spindle and distaff to a bobbin and flyer treadle wheel during our timeframe.  Bobbin and flyer wheels were VERY late period for us but did exhist in the latter half of the 16th Century (1500’s) before then there were spindle/ quill wheels, so named, because you spun off a spindle that was sideways. This was powered by a power wheel and drive band.  The treadle that we see on most modern wheels is also VERY late period but did exhist.  Most wheels during our time however were painted or drawn with hand cranks.  There are even pictures of Wheels small enough to sit in a ladies lap to spin on and quite ornate. Prior to the spindle wheel though you see oodles of paintings and illuminations using spindles.
Spindles are basically made up of a shaft and a weighted wheel called a whorl.  These whorls were made of many things including cast metal.  There have been many findings of whorls from our time but not many shafts.  It is presumed that the shafts were mainly made of wood.  A notable museum showcase in England shows one of the rare finds of a iron forged spindle complete with hook.
I will be putting this hand out up on my Blog page and will add to the below listings as I have the chance and find the new goodies to share.  Happy spinning!

Places to look up and read when you have time for more information:
Twitchell, Linda. Spinning With a Medieval Twist. The Compleat Anachronist, 1996.
Ancient History of the Spinning Wheel by F.M. Feldhaus in Heidelburg, Germany
Barber, Elizabeth, Women's Work The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth and Society in Early Times.
W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., London. 1994. ISBN 0-393-03506-0.
Spin Span Spin. Hockber & Hockberg, USA. 1979 ISBN 0-9600990-3-4
(this is the google books link to the cambridge book.  Takes you straight to the page discussed)

Hochberg, Bette. Handspinner's Handbook , Hochberg & Hockburg, USA. 1976. ISBN 0-9600990-5-0
Handspindles. Hochberg& Hockberg, USA. 1977. ISBN 0-9600990-2-6
James, Peter and Nick Thorpe. Ancient Inventions. Random House, Inc. New York.1994. ISBN 0-345-40102-6
Grenander Nyberg, Gertrud. "Spinning Implements of the Viking Age from Elisenhof in the Light of Ethnological Studies," Textiles in Northern Archaeology, ed. Penelope Walton and John-Peter Wild, pp. 73-84. North European Symposium for Archaeological Textiles 3 [NESAT 3]. London: Archetype Publications, 1990. (ISBN 1-873132-05-0)
Øye, Ingvild. Textile Equipment and Its Working Environment, Bryggen in Bergen c 1150 - 1500. The Bryggen Papers, Main Series, Vol. 2. Oslo: Norwegian University Press, 1988. (ISBN 82-00-02537-3)
Statistical and comparative analyses of 410 whorls and 31 spindles from twelfth through fifteenth century Bergen, Norway.
Walton Rogers, Penelope. Textile Production at 16-22 Coppergate. The Archaeology of York, vol. 17, Fascicule 11. York: Council for British Archaeology, 1997. (ISBN 1-872414-76-1)
Careful analysis of 149 whorls and 5 spindles from York, England, in periods ranging from the ninth through the fifteenth century. Lots of line drawings! Useful catalogue in the back.
Cambridge History of Western Textiles, Volume 1 ( 2003)- Check out the section called “Medieval Woolens:  Textiles, Technology and Organization”  around page 203