What’s the Front? What’s the Back?

Next up?  Judy Larson chose green for her piece. More success!  This warp is working.

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Skillbragd weavings can look equally beguiling from either side.  On our Scandinavian Weavers Study Group project, the deep red and green of skillbragd floats on the two pieces are wonderful, and I would definitely use the side I saw while weaving as the “front.”

I took a new look at a small piece I own that was woven by Lila Nelson.  Interesting!  She used the side that shows the most of the ground tabby as the right side, and that is very clear by looking at how she hemmed it. The other interesting thing is that she made fringe on either edge as wove the piece, hemmed it, and then added fringe to the other two sides. That looks nice.

Good ideas for future pieces!

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Skillbragd #2

I finished the last post on our group skillbragd project on the Glimakra loom at the Weavers Guild with “many tricky warping steps remain.” Man, was that accurate. Before all was said and done, we tested the tabby shafts on counterbalance, then countermarch.  The pattern wefts hung from elastic to start, and then were switched to countermarch, and then back to the elastics (with final, wise advice from Shawn Cassiman). Lamm and treadle adjustments were made for hours. Lisa Torvik and Phyllis Waggoner were the real loom-wrangling brains; I struggled to keep up. BUT. Finally. By suppertime yesterday we managed to get a good shed for the background linen tabby and hopefully serviceable sheds for the pattern shafts. Today was the big test, and I offered to weave the first sample.  Slowly I wound my weft, arranged my shuttles, and pulled out the pin holding the shafts in place, and began to weave.  I’m not sure I was even breathing as I wove the first pattern shots.  It worked!

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Of course I made a pattern mistake after the first four squares, but not to worry, I did the same thing at the other end–design element. Once I got started the weaving went relatively quickly and was very fun to watch unfold.  On this 18″ wide warp I wove 11″ of pattern and hems in four hours–and that was with several talking breaks. Since this was mostly a test to see if the loom and warp were in working order, I just wove the pattern in one color.  There are so many ways to weave wonderful skillbragd pieces by elongating portions of the pattern, for example, or adding stripes. But just the plain piece was beautiful.

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It will be fun to see the variations that will be woven by our group members in the next six weeks.

Starting on the group Skilbragd Project

Our Scandinavian Weavers Study Group is working on Norwegian skilbragd; we began warping a loom at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota yesterday.

Lisa Torvik, our leader in this project, was inspired by a pattern for a group project undertaken by the Gol Husflidsslag in Norway.  See the Skillbragdåkle fra Gol here.

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Inspiration coverlet from Gol, Norway

She took elements of the wider piece and narrowed the pattern to runner-width. Lisa didn’t use weaving software to make her draft; she’s a whiz with spreadsheets and used Excel to make the draft and treading variants.

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Lisa Torvik, Lisa Bauch, Phyllis Wagonner, and Robbie LaFleur met to warp the loom; Lisa Torvik had already wound the ten-yard warp of 16/2 linen.  Using a variety of print resources, including Lillemor Johansson’s book Damask and Opphämta, we figured out how to sett up the tabby heddles for the ground weave and the pattern heddles.  Beaming was a four person job! Lisa Torvik oversaw and “drove” the process from the front. As we worked, the linen had a wonderful hay-like scent.

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Robbie turned the wheel, Lisa Bauch braced her legs against the back of the loom and held the warp tight as it was rolled on, and Phyllis inserted sticks to pad the warp on the back as it was beamed on.

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Lisa had the tough job, as she had to keep hanging on to the the warp for dear life even as it was approaching the front beam, pulling her through the loom.

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Many tricky warping steps remain.

 

Scandinavian Weavers Meeting, April 2018

IMG_1804Our Scandinavian Weavers group met on April , delayed one week because of the ridiculous weekend snowstorm of the previous week.  Members have been busy weaving!  I abandoned my fabulous weekend workshop with Catharine Ellis for a couple of hours to meet with our group, and showed some samples I had woven and dyed.  “I have to take a photo of your beautiful blue hands,” Mary Skoy insisted.

Sara Okern just finished a gorgeous abstract rug.  Of course this photo, holding it up in the air, makes it look a bit skewed.  Part of its beauty is the sharp geometry of the center shape, coupled with the randomness of the inner lines of color.
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Judy Larson brought three wall pieces, rag rug hangings woven in monks belt.  Given the extreme longing for spring among the attendees, we all were attracted to the one in the brightest pink and green. She tried out and liked the fringe tying method taught by Tom Knisely, in which each bundle drops one thread on the edge and pulls in a thread from the adjoining bundle.  It gives a sharper line to the edge.
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m-hallc3a9n-4She also brought a rug woven from the new Swedish book, I trasmattas värld från a-ö. I heard about this book and Judy’s daughter in Sweden found it and sent over copies for Judy and me.  Judy is doing a great job of testing the patterns, even before I get to them!
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Marilyn Moore brought a beautiful wool rug and started a lively discussion of which side should be the “right” side. She solicited opinions about how the edges should be finished.  Fringes?  Straight edge?  I think fringes won, though either would be lovely.
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Jan Mostrom brought a sample pillow she made for her upcoming class in Swedish Art Weaves at the Weavers Guild in May. !!!
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She finished the back in the method she learned in Sweden last year.  The opening is often closed with large hooks and eyes, but braid is also used. She made the fringe using the traditional two-person Swedish fringe-making technique.  The second person was her loving husband Mike, who spent two hours on that project. What a guy.
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Jan also brought in a fortuitous eBay find, a lovely Swedish dukagång piece. One beautiful aspect was the slight variegation of color in the pattern yarns.
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Spotted at the March Meeting

Much of our time at the March meeting of the Scandinavian Weavers was taken up with discussion of our upcoming group project on a loom at the Weavers Guild: skilbragd. There was also satisfying show and tell time.  Phyllis Waggoner brought a t-shirt rug with  cool hems, a piece of her own design.

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Melba Granlund made the sampler she wove in Sweden last summer into a wonderful pillow. The techniques in the Swedish art weaves sampler are from the book Heirlooms of Skåne: Weaving Techniques, available from Vavstuga, http://store.vavstuga.com/product/book-johaheirlo.html

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Following Jan Mostrom’s class, Marilyn Moore wove a danskbrogd sampler (and is planning her next piece).

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Kristin Lawson brought the piece that she made in Jan’s Danskbrogd class, and another that she made after the class.

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The designs on the piece below were inspired by a wonderful Japanese weaver whose blog is here.

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I hope you enjoyed this virtual viewing. Robbie

 

 

January 2018 Meeting: We Beat the Blizzard by a Day

The weather gods were with us this month, as the 12 inches of snow held off until the day after our Scandinavian Weavers meeting.

swedish textilesJan Mostrom brought two books on Swedish weaving.  She purchased the beautiful and huge Swedish Textile Art: The Khalili Collection, by Viveka Hansen, online.  What’s the best thing about the book, I asked. The pictures.  When she took the Swedish art weaves class in Sweden last summer, that book was in the classroom, and the students used it to pick out design elements for their samplers. If you look for this book online, note that there are English and Swedish editions.

In talking about buying weaving and textile books, Patty Johnson advised, “When a weaving book comes out, buy it, because when it goes out of print, it will cost way too much.  They do all short runs with them.” These days, out-of-print weaving books are ridiculously expensive when trying to buy them online.
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Jan also brought this small book that she bought in Sweden.

We had a round of introductions, because we have so many interested members of the group that can come only occasionally. Every month there is bound to be a few people who have not met one another.  We asked each person to mention the weaving technique they like the most, or if that’s too hard, maybe mention the one they like the least.

Jan Mostrom said,  “The technique I like the most is the one I am currently using. But if I’m having problems, that’s the one I like least.” Jan is a fan of krokbragd and danskbrogd, and she is teaching a class at the Weavers Guild on the techniques starting on January 29, the week that traffic in the whole city might be a giant Super Bowl snarl. Janis Aune and I also said that krokbragd and danskbrogd are favorite techniques.
Jan Josifek said her favorite technique these days is baltic pickup.  She said, “I like doing it so much I have to hide my loom.” She brought two beautiful pieces. The pattern for this band was from the book Patterned Sashes: The Common Cultural Layer by Anete Karlsone.  The Latvian language title is: “Rakstainas Jostas: Kopigais Kulturslanis.”  She got her copy from The Baltic Smith on Easy, here. Jan thought that Vavstuga may be selling an English edition when it is available.
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Patty Johnson, who favors her draw loom, said techniques with fine threads are her favorites.  Jane Connett said, “I like to do small stuff; I like small designs and lots of color.”  As you might guess, Jane does a lot of band weaving. She’s also taken up tatting, which she likes because it is portable.
Claire Most said, “I need to have two things going.” She likes to balance the slow work of tapestry with ikat dyeing. She added about working on tapestry, “I find it difficult to be that quiet.” Claire’s latest tapestry, “Lily,” is included in the “Common Thread” member show at the Textile Center of Minnesota now.
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Judy Larson likes to work in a larger scale, and particularly likes the Finnish three-shuttle technique used with fabric strips. She brought a set of three rugs from her last warp–all WILDLY different.
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One of the rugs was woven with fabric from the stash of Chuck Benson, a Weavers Guild member and fabulous rug weaver who passed away last year. Judy said they were fabrics she never would have chosen, especially the addition of black, but they worked well.
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Kevin Olson shared a tapestry he took off the loom recently, not quite in time for his wedding anniversary.  It’s adapted from a Swedish pattern.  The peonies and irises are from his wedding, and the six roses stand for the six years he has been with his husband. The figures hold a wedding certificate, which is a meaningful addition to the composition, but it was also an adaptation because weaving hands was tricky! He still has quite a bit of finishing work to do, both working in the mass of threads on the back, and figuring out how to mount it. He wove it on his recently purchased upright Glimakra tapestry loom.
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Janis Aune brought the small bag made from the sampler she wove at the Swedish art weaves course she took in Sweden last summer. (Read more about the class in the recent issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter.)
My show and tell was a pillow with fringe made in a Norwegian technique, part of my preparation for a class at North House Folk School, Scandinavian Fringe Embellishments: Folk Art on the Edge(s).
The study topic this year is a continuation of Swedish weaving, and we are interested in setting up another group warp on a Weavers Guild loom.  (The last group warp was dukagang last year.)  We planned to brainstorm at the next meeting, but by the end of our discussion there was enthusiasm for planning a half-heddle pick-up piece (Norwegian skilbragd, Swedish opphämta). Patty Johnson has all of the half-heddle sticks already.
Our next two meetings will be one week later than the usual third Sunday; they will be on February 25 and March 25. April and May 20 are the final spring meetings.

“Afternoon with an Expert” at Norway House, September 9, 2017

afternoonThe last weekend of the Weavers Guild of Minnesota and Norway House exhibition, “Traditional Norwegian Textiles: American Reboot,” includes special programming.  Afternoon with an Expert, on Saturday, September 9, from 1-3:30 pm, features Laurann Gilbertson, Curator at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Her lecture,  “Warmth and Color: Traditional Norwegian Coverlets,” will begin at 1 pm.  Following the lecture, Gilbertson will conduct an Antique ID clinic.  Members of the public are encouraged to bring Nordic textiles to learn more about their age, origin, and function (but no appraisals).  Perhaps you have inherited a coverlet or hanging, but know little about it?  Maybe you bought a beautiful textile at an antique store or thrift shop and you wonder about its origins?

All those attending the lecture and visiting the exhibit are welcome to stay for the Antique ID portion, a special opportunity to see even more Scandinavian textiles.

Afternoon with an Expert: Laurann Gilbertson at Norway House
Saturday, September 9, 2017

12-3 pm:  Visit the exhibition, “Traditional Norwegian Textiles: American Reboot”
1 pm:       “Warmth and Color: Traditional Norwegian Coverlets
2 pm:       Antique ID clinic

Location: Norway House, 913 E. Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Cost:  $5; Free for members of Norway House and the Weavers Guild of Minnesota

Questions? Contact Robbie LaFleur, lafleur1801@me.com