Scandinavian Heirloom Textiles

Over the years, my friends have told me about their fabulous old Scandinavian textiles — inherited from family or friends in “the Old Country;” found in out-of-the-way antique stores, thrift shops, garage sales, or flea markets; or even rescued from barns.  Let’s tell their stories!

Later this fall we will be mounting a display of historical textiles from the Nordic countries, along with their stories, on the walls of the Weavers Guild.  The items will also be featured in the upcoming (November) issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter.  Pieces will be submitted not only by the members of the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group, but also by other Weavers Guild of Minnesota members.

At yesterday’s meeting of the Scandinavian Weavers, we saw great examples of old textile finds.  Jane Connett said that she had been a bit laid up recently, so she spent a lot of time on Ebay. Look at this beautiful Norwegian tapestry find.  It was advertised as an “Albanian kelim,” but fans of Norwegian tapestry know perfectly well that it is a replica of a portion of a Norwegian Wise and Foolish Virgins tapestry.  It was faded on one side, but the colors were clear and strong on the other.  And since the weaving followed Norwegian tradition, all the ends were sewn in so that either side is equally beautiful.

virgin1virgin2

Jane said she didn’t remember how much she paid, but probably only around $25.

She also bought a beautiful small rolakan weaving.  Judy Larson noted that the loops on the back side, where the colors jump over a few threads, are typical of Swedish rolakans.

rite-uprite-back

Lisa Torvik showed a treasure-in-progress.  She rescued it from a friend’s barn, where it had supported feed sacks and whatever else needed a resting place. The bench was badly damaged, but still retained one crudely-carved dragon foot.  The top of the bench cover was so dirty that no color peeked through.  Was it even woven, or just embroidered, Lisa wondered.

barn-front

Once it was off the bench, however, you could see that it was a nicely-woven dukagang.

The mystery remains – will Lisa ever be able to retrieve color on the dirty front side?  She had just taken it off the bench hours earlier.  Perhaps we won’t know for a while, as several members of our group thought that waiting until winter for a thorough snow-washing might be the best route.

 

About Robbie LaFleur
Weaving in Minnesota, when I can!

2 Responses to Scandinavian Heirloom Textiles

  1. Tracy Shaprio says:

    Thanks for a wonderful post. It’s so wonderful to see the backs of these pieces—the back can tell a weaver so much!

    • Robbie LaFleur says:

      I agree that is it fun to see the backs of weavings, especially if you are trying a new technique and wondering if you are doing it correctly. I will do even more of that, when the backs seem interesting.

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