Old Weavings, New Knowledge

One of the great benefits of Weavers Guild membership is the opportunity to and learn from other members in the Guild’s interest groups.  I am constantly reminded about how much knowledge is held by members and constantly amazed at the generosity of time and talent by those members.  Our Scandinavian Weavers Interest Group has a long history of providing support to one another, and several new weavers have been nurtured.

We had a great learning opportunity at our January meeting, held on a frigid, cars-not-starting day.  Even so, many members met for a special viewing of Swedish art weave textiles at the American Swedish Institute (ASI), assembled by group member and super-volunteer at the ASI, Phyllis Waggoner.  She brought out treasures for examination and inspiration.

Counting Threads

Counting ends per inch

One amazing textile was a set of two curtains owned by Swan Turnblad, the turn-of-the-last-century owner of the Swedish American newspaper, the Posten, whose mansion is now the main building of the American Swedish Institute. The brown wool curtains, over 8 feet long, are embellished with Swedish brocading techniques, dukagång and krabbesnår. 51.03.132



The reverse side (this is the side that would face up while it was woven)

Here is the reverse of the bottom of the curtain.


Since that meeting, we learned more about the curtains.  Lisa Bauch wrote, “FYI,  I was curious about the date on the curtains from the Turnblad mansion, so I had my mom do some research. (She’s a retired reference librarian.) The Turnblads travelled to Europe in 1895 (including Sweden) and bought furnishings for the home they lived in before they built the house on Park Avenue. I think it’s safe to assume that the curtains were commissioned and woven in Sweden that year, hence the date and SJT initials.”



Here’s a detail from the top of the curtain.


Watch for more photos of beautiful Swedish textiles from the American Swedish Institute… posted soon.


About Robbie LaFleur
Weaving in Minnesota, when I can!

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