And MORE Weavers on the Monksbelt Warp….

April 2019: The Scandinavnian Weavers Study Group members continue their monksbelt exploration.

Melba Granlund focused on spring in her linen pattern palette. Her comment when she sent her photo, “This is so fun!”

Claire added fun and untraditional pattern weft. Shiny!

Susan Mancini had fun playing at the loom, too. She wrote, “Here is my piece, about 2/3rds in. I wove 12 inches and then reversed the pattern for the 2nd 12”. My plan is to sew a small tote bag with this sample. I changed the tabby color in the large magenta block to a dark pink thinking it would be dramatic. But not so!! It hardly shows up at all. Interesting lesson.
This was fun!” (Note: her e-mailed photo is not large enough to show it to advantage…)

 


Brenda Gauvin-Chadwick said she wasn’t fond of her piece, as it turned out too Christmas-y, even when she added plain weave between bands.  But she noted that the experiment achieved one important purpose: “Great learning experience!”

We’re in the home stretch, just a few more weavers to go on our cottolin warp.

More Weavers on the Monksbelt Warp

Deb Reagen traveled all the way from Grand Forks to take her turn at the loom.  She reported that she kept it easy by weaving a repeating design. The colors in this portion have a patriotic flavor–either American or Norwegian.

Sara Okern (andasmer.com) only wanted to take one day for her weaving, so she incorporated areas of plain weave to contrast with the monksbelt pattern.  The two shades of linen look particularly elegant.

We are making steady progress!

Monksbelt–Lisa Bauch

Lisa Bauch spent two days composing a birthday runner for her sister, with colors based on Linnea flowers that grow in Sweden.

Note some small tails on the beautiful surface.  Lisa likes to leave tails formed when changing color or a bobbin on the front, rather than the back, before she snips them off.

Judy Larson and I, on the first two pieces, wove a clean linen edge.  Lisa Torvik and Lisa Bauch added looped fringe. That hadn’t even occurred to me when I sat down to weave, but it is beautiful. It has a special charm on Lisa Torvik’s piece because she used so many colors.  You’ll have to wait to the end to see those loops, however; Lisa Torvik didn’t take a photo when she finished, and it is now hiding under the beam at the front of the loom.

 

A New Project–Monksbelt

By Robbie LaFleur

Our Scandinavian Weavers Study Group has a project underway, a group monkskbelt warp on the Glimåkra loom at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. 15 yards of cottolin warp! Our pieces will be modest, only 24″ per weaver, 16.6″ wide.  Interest was high; we have 17 people signed up. Jan Josifek offered to wind the enormous warp.  I bought a kilo of 20/2 cottolin in a half-bleached color.  She wound the warp and had almost NOTHING to spare. We chose a pattern from an old Väv magazine, #3, 1975.  (I am not going to post the whole article for copyright reasons.)

 

Extremely important pieces of thread to repair broken warps.

Threading underway

It took us a while to make progress on warping and getting started–you may have heard about the winter weather from hell in Minnesota this year. Jan J. was so excited about the pattern that she interpreted the draft in 8 shaft turned twill blocks for towels at home.  Beautiful! She definitely gets extra points.

Judy Larson was the first to weave, she took on the job of making sure that the weaving would go well for all the subsequent weavers.  Happily, she reported, “It wove up beautifully with no issues!” Here is her beautiful green color; she used doubled Shetland yarn for her pattern weft.

I was second, and wove four large blocks in saturated colors.


The third weaving is underway; Lisa Torvik is using green linen for the background weft, and wonderful color bundles for her expert experimentation.

Keep tuned in for more colors and variations on the warp in the coming weeks.

 

Vesterheim Classes 2019–A Fabulous Line-up

I have to admit, it’s satisfying and fun when a new class catalog comes out, and I find my classes listed. I love teaching the billedvev (Norwegian tapestry) class at the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum, and my session from September 12-15, 2019, is listed in the new print and online catalogs.

But when I opened the print catalog, I was amazed to see the number of Norwegian textile classes offered at Vesterheim this year!  Four members of our Scandinavian Weavers Study Group are teaching: besides my Norwegian tapestry class, Keith Pierce is teaching band weaving; Melba Granlund is teaching warp weighted loom weaving;  and Jan Mostrom is teaching the “Art Weaves of Norway and Sweden.”

Laura Demuth from Decorah is teaching an introductory weaving course, and “Weaving a Double Weave in the Scandinavian Style.” Britt Solheim is coming from Norway to teach skinnfell printing, a class she first taught at Vesterheim in 2009.

See the list and links to sign up here. Heads up–these are great teachers! I’ll bet that many of these will fill early.

Mary Etta Litsheim

Sadly, Mary Etta Litsheim, one of our long-time Scandinavian Weavers Study Group members and supporters, died recently and suddenly.  A celebration of her life will be held at Saint Anthony Park Lutheran Church, 2323 Como Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota on Tuesday, December 11th. Visitation is at 10am, followed by a memorial service at 11am.

I personally want to pay tribute to Mary for her long-standing enthusiasm for the work of our group.  I know that her active work life got in the way of attending our meetings–and getting to her loom! She was a trained designer and had many ideas for weavings, and it is seems so unfair that she won’t get the time she hoped for to spend at her Norwegian Hagen tapestry loom.

Mary often responded to notices of upcoming Scandinavian Weavers meetings, saying she would not be able to join us because she was traveling for work. If there was news of upcoming projects or exhibits, she would cheer us on. This is what she was doing, from the notice sent to me by her husband, James Litsheim–a pretty good reason to miss a meeting.

Later in her career Dr. Mary Etta joined the Department of Homeland Security Equal Rights Cadre after a distinguished career in civil rights and academia.Dr. Litsheim was deployed to over 50 disasters including the contiguous United States and territories. While with the Equal Rights Cadre, she was a tireless and accomplished trainer and sympathetic counselor to both employees and survivors.

We were lucky to know Mary, and our deep condolences go out to her family in this sad time.

This is the full announcement of her death.

Dr. Mary Etta Litsheim, Age 74, daughter of Ruby D. (Akre) and James P. Rorris, Esq. died suddenly in a car accident on 11/19 while in California with FEMA to help survivors of the recent fires. She is survived by the love of her life, James E. Litsheim, AIA, daughter, Sara M. Litsheim, son, Scott J. Litsheim, grandson Samuel G. Dustin, brother Eric J. Rorris, close friends Susan Lillehei, Janet Snyder, Jenene Fredell, Laurine Schuster and many friends and valued colleagues. 

Mary Etta, MA, MA, PhD, was mainly a professional homemaker until her children were in their teens. She received her two Master’s degrees one in Design and one in Organization Development as well as her PH.D. in Work and Human Resources Development from the University of Minnesota. She was currently a Certified Neutral Mediator for the State of Minnesota as well as Mediator for the Minnesota Human Rights Commission.  

Her research years were varied in substance; one thesis was a study of persons with disabilities that became an initiator of the nation wide Disability Student Cultural Center movement on college campuses; her PhD dissertation was on the museum education of Norwegian and Norwegian-American artisans which facilitated visits for the family with their Scandinavian relatives in both Norway and Sweden. (Litsheim-TviIde and Jonson and Olson-Akre). Later in her career Dr. Mary Etta joined the Department of Homeland Security Equal Rights Cadre after a distinguished career in civil rights and academia.  Dr. Litsheim was deployed to over 50 disasters including the contiguous United States and territories. While with the Equal Rights Cadre, she was a tireless and accomplished trainer and sympathetic counselor to both employees and survivors.  She emphasized the importance of education and equality – a passion that was threaded throughout her years of life. Volunteer activities were as a board member of the University’s Friends of the Goldstein Museum and President, College of Human Ecology Alumni Society.

Married for nearly 56 years, Mary Etta and James’ lives were full with love for each other and love of family, art and world travel adventures.

A Celebration of Mary Etta’s life will be held at Saint Anthony Park Lutheran Church, 2323 Como Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota on Tuesday, December 11th. Visitation is at 10am, with Memorial Service at 11am. Following lunch at the church an escorted motorcade will proceed to Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Memorials to St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church, Wounded Warrior Project, and Southern Poverty Law Center preferred and appreciated.

 

Skillbragd projects 2018

By Lisa Torvik

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Karin Maahs wove some small pattern elements in a contrasting color.

After enjoying our project in 2017 which focused on the Swedish art weave, “dukagång”, there was consensus to embark on a new group project in 2018 studying an overshot technique known as “skillbragd” [pron. “shill’ brahgd”] in Norway and as “Smålandsväv” [pron. “smoh’ lahnds vave”] in Sweden.  Regional variations in Norway go by other names, too.  Essentially, all forms secure long pattern weft floats with a single or double shot of tabby.

There are a few different ways to set up a loom for this technique, but most assume a loom with sufficient depth front to back to accommodate several harnesses separated in two groups, and the ability to adjust harnesses up and down independently of each other.  Historically, this technique would have been set up with counterbalance.  After review of a lot of different sources, and some experimentation, we found that setting up the ground on countermarch and the pattern harnesses using elastic bands worked the best.  Even so, most found it necessary to use a pick up stick to create a good pattern shed, though the plain weave sheds were pretty good.  Most of us used stick shuttles for the pattern yarn and some for the ground weft also.  Keeping the warp damp aided in getting a better shed and strengthening the warp under high tension.

The ground is threaded on two or four shafts, and the pattern is usually on 4 or 6 shafts, but a larger number of pattern harnesses is possible if the loom can accommodate them.  The warp is first threaded in regular heddles on the ground harnesses for plain weave.  Then contiguous groups of warp threads, often four at a time, are threaded through pattern harnesses in front, using long-eyed heddles or by threading the group of warp threads under the eye of regular heddles.  A single square in the drafts we used corresponds to one group of four threads in a pattern heddle. 

The two groups of harnesses should be separated by a few inches.  The sinking-shed pattern is created by treadling the pattern harnesses, one or more at a time, and following each pattern shot with a plain weave shot.  A side fringe of loops can be created by catching the pattern weft around a finger.  The ground weft is usually threaded so 2 or 4 warp threads create a selvedge that is not threaded through a pattern heddle.  This selvedge locks in the loops or hides the pattern weft turns on the backside of the weaving if no loops are desired. 

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Loops at the edges. The two outer pieces are showing the “right” side, with the narrow selvedges.

We set up two warps in succession, both with Bockens 16/2 unbleached linen yarn.  Weft was the choice of the weaver.  The second was narrower than the first, but on the second warp, a smaller number of weavers wanted to weave longer pieces.  In all, fourteen weavers completed nearly 30 pieces of varying lengths between the two projects.  Most used wool weft, but some pieces were finished with all linen weft or perle cotton. (Draft for the first warp in pdf; draft for the second warp in pdf)

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Lisa Torvik used used linen weft to make skillbragd flowers.

I would like to acknowledge the weavers and, of them, the many that helped set up the two projects:  Phyllis Waggoner, Robbie LaFleur and Lisa Anne Bauch worked with me to set up – and set up again when THAT didn’t work – the first warp. 

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Robbie LaFleur turning the crank; Lisa Torvik supervising and rolling on the warp, and Lisa Anne Bauch braced with the taut warp.

Robbie helped me monitor and aid those unfamiliar with the technique.  Melba Granlund, Lisa Anne and I set up the second warp, though we agreed four is best!  Thanks to Donna Hanson for instruction and tips on restoring the loom for the next group/class since I was not familiar with the vertical countermarch setup on the Glimåkra loom and technicalities of texsolv.  I’m more old school!  And last but certainly not least thanks to Jan Hayman for insights on aspects of newer linen yarns and assistance sweeping up the “chaff” we created. Help came from afar, too, with an “emergency” phone call while warping to Robbie’s colleague Shawn Cassiman in Michigan and a detailed letter from Ruth Ida Tvenge of the Øystre Slidre Husflidslag in Norway.

Thanks all!