Scandinavian-related Classes at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota

The fall class catalog for the Weavers Guild of Minnesota has just been released.  Here are the classes related to Scandinavian techniques.  Sign up soon! See the rich slate of all classes offered by the Guild here.

Swedish Art Weaves with Jan Mostrom

SwedishRed-591x1024Swedish art weaves are at their best in the highly decorated weavings of the Skåne area of Sweden. Dukagång, krabbasnår and halvkrabbe are woven in a similar manner using butterflies to inlay designs, but each have a distinctive look. Dukagång is made up of columns. Krabbasnår designs move on a diagonal while halvkrabbe is made up of squares like a checkerboard. Rölakan is a geometric tapestry technique that is also seen in the weavings of Skåne. Students will weave a sampler of these techniques, discuss color choices, finishing techniques and ideas for making a sampler into a pillow or bag.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday, September 10, 11, 12 & 14: 10:00am – 4:00pm | REGISTER

*Note: This class requires some independent weaving time on Thursday, September 13 as well.

Level and Prerequisites: Intermediate: Requires some experience in the subject and the ability to start and finish projects. Students must be able to wind a warp, warp a floor loom and read a draft independently.
Tuition: $240 WGM Member / $312 Non-member

Warp-Weighted Loom Weaving: Sami-Inspired Grene Blanket or Rug with Melba Granlund

IMAG1010Learn to weave on the historic warp-weighted loom. Used for millennia in many parts of the world, the warp-weighted loom is easy to use and is the traditional loom of the Norwegian sea Sami today. In this class, you will learn how to use the warp-weighted loom and weave a small Sami-inspired rug or blanket (grene). This project is suitable for beginning weavers and for those who want to expand their knowledge of weaving traditions. Warp yarn will be provided by the instructor and is included in the materials fee. Students may use handspun yarns or purchase commercial yarn for weft. Options for weft yarn will be viewed and discussed prior to class beginning allowing students time to obtain yarn of their choice.

Saturday, November 3: 1:15pm – 2:15pm; Monday – Wednesday, December 3 – 5: 10:00am – 4:00pm; Saturday, December 8: 10:00am – 4:00pm | REGISTER

Level: Beginning – no experience necessary!
Tuition: $250 WGM Member / $325 Non-member Student

 

Nålbinding I: Winter Cap with Melba Granlund 

Nalbinding-Melba-3small-768x608Learn the folk art tradition of nålbinding using a handcrafted wooden needle and continuous strand of wool yarn. While this looping technique was used by the Vikings to make warm garments such as socks and mittens, artifacts dating back 3,000 years show that articles made in nålbinding have been found around the world. In this class, you will learn basic nålbinding stitches to make a hat. Current samples, as well as pictures of historical pieces from Norway, Sweden and Finland, will be shown as inspiration. Discussion of yarns suitable for nålbinding will be covered during the first class. Instructor will provide students with practice yarn to begin. Students can bring their own needle or purchase a handcrafted wooden needle from the instructor

Saturday & Sunday, September 22 & 23: 1:00pm – 5:00pm | REGISTER

Level: Beginning – no experience necessary!
Tuition: $88 WGM Member / $112 Non-member

Try It! Sami-Inspired Bracelet with Katherine Buenger

bracelet-all-tinThese bracelets are based on the designs of the Sami people, who are the native people from the far northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. The bracelets are constructed with traditional materials including reindeer leather, tin thread (4% silver), and reindeer antler buttons. Students will learn to make a four strand braid using tin thread, and then they will hand sew their piece to reindeer leather to finish an elegant bracelet.

Saturday, October 6: 1:00pm – 5:00pm | REGISTER

Level: Beginning – no experience necessary!
Tuition: $48 WGM Member / $60 Non-member

Swedish Kavelfrans – Minnesota Style with Robbie LaFleur

IMG_3044Inspired by historical mitten trim, contemporary Swedish knitters, weavers, and embroiderers love to add kavelfrans—fuzzy, wooly worms to grace mitten cuffs, pillows, bags, or other handwoven or commercial items. In this three-hour class you will learn a two-pronged fork method to wind the base fringes, securing them by hand or sewing machine. After sewing down layers of the prepared loops, we’ll learn to steam and clip to make the irresistible thick edging. Students can bring a pair of hand-knit or purchased mittens or gloves to embellish (the instructor will have a limited number of gloves to purchase), or add kavelfrans to a Swedish-inspired wool pincushion (materials can be purchased from the instructor). With discussion of the best materials to use, and many examples of items made with kavelfrans, the class is a combination of design inspiration and technique. Richly-illustrated instruction booklets and kavelfrans forks will be available for purchase. (For links to more photos and information, type kavelfrans in the search box on Robbie’s blog, robbielafleur.com.)

Sunday, October 14: 1:00pm – 4:00pm | REGISTER

Level: Beginning – no experience necessary!
Tuition: $36 WGM Member / $45 Non-member

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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Swedish Art Weav….ing from the Back

At the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, there was DEAD QUIET in Jan Mostrom’s “Swedish Art Weaves” classroom of eight students today. They were all concentrating on the tricky (and messy-looking) aspects of weaving patterns from the back. Still, it was fun to see the various color combinations chosen by each student. Read more about Jan’s class in the new issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter, coming out at the end of May.

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The Carriage Cushion Mystery

Carol Johnson, whose collection of Scandinavian weavings is currently highlighted in an exhibit at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, once bought a Swedish opphampta weaving because of its beautiful red and green star pattern. (Note: the colors are more true in the second photo.) See this piece and 27 others in the exhibit “A Passionate Pursuit: Scandinavian Weavings from the Collection of Carol Johnson,” up through the end of June, 2018. 

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When she received it, she found that it was sewn to a more simply woven fabric. 

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book-johaheirlo_232x300Carol wondered, why would someone put these two together?  She started to undo the stitching, but stopped when she received the recently translated book, Heirlooms of Skåne: Weaving Techniques by Gunvor Johansson (translated by Birgitta Esselius Peterson, published by Vävstuga Press), because the mystery of the two sides was solved. She realized she shouldn’t take them apart.  The weaving is a carriage cushion, and the backs of cushions were often woven in a simpler three-shaft technique.  They also tended to be woven in the less expensive yarns: brown, yellow, green, and white. Carol’s example has other colors, too, and the patterning is fairly elaborate.  

It all made sense to Carol then.  She could see where tassels were sewn in each corner, traditionally done to protect the valuable textile during hard wear.  Johansson wrote in her book about the use of wheat flour and water rubbed into the fabric to prevent the stuffing from leaking through the fabric. Check! Carol noticed a good bit of dust on the interior of the cushion fabric. Oh, and she found a feather, too.

I first learned about carriage cushion backs when examining one at the American Swedish Institute with Phyllis Waggoner.  In this case, the front was a beautiful rölakan, and the back was woven simply in a two-shaft weft-faced technique, in exactly the inexpensive yarn colors noted in Heirlooms of Skåne.

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Celebrating Carol Johnson’s Collection

cakeToday we celebrated Carol Johnson’s passionate textile collecting and generous sharing of her weavings for a Weavers Guild exhibit. A good reason for a cake!  Lisa Torvik took the cake decorations as cutting instructions. Next week is Jan Mostrom’s class in Swedish Art Weaves.  Luckily for the students there are seven exquisite art weave pieces up on the walls in the same room as the class–perfect for inspiration.

One of the pieces has a beautiful faded color palette.

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It is quite literally faded–look at the difference between the back and the front.

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Watch for more photos of pieces in the current exhibit on this blog and in the next issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter, out at the end of May.

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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A Passionate Pursuit: Scandinavian Weavings from the Collection of Carol Johnson

A  pop-up exhibit of wonderful Scandinavian weavings is up on the gallery walls of the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, through June (exact date TBD), due to the generosity of a Minneapolis collector.

Carol Johnson is friend of many members of our Scandinavian Weavers Study Group, a fellow traveler on the Vesterheim Textile Tours.  She has been collecting Scandinavian textiles for the last 40 years.  Earlier she purchased her treasures at auctions and from antique dealers, especially Suzanne Kramer in Wisconsin, who specializes in Scandinavian antiques. In more recent years she has tracked eBay and scored many treasures.

 

A while back, Carol offered to show her textiles to the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group, and on April 2 we took her up on her offer. The week before, Mary Skoy and I visited her home to choose a selection for viewing. We were truly stunned at the extent of her collection as we looked around at weavings stacked on tables, over railings, on display racks, and in archival boxes.  We didn’t even see any of her pieces in her tablecloth and woven curtains collections. She has many tapestries, generally smaller in size; those will be described and displayed at a future Weavers Guild event.

 

Carol shared with our group at a small gathering on April 2. Because we wanted to give other members of the Weavers Guild the opportunity to relish these weavings, we were happy that Carol was willing to lend us many pieces to put up on display.

 

Over the next month, I will be examining the 28 pieces and make either separate labels or a listing. There will be additional posts on this blog. I will write a substantial article about Carol and her collection for the issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter, coming out in early May, when you can learn about the stories behind some of the weavings.

 

Even without labels, the collection is a visual delight and an inspiration for weavers.  Be sure to check it out at the Weavers Guild in the next couple of months.  However, always check ahead before visiting, as the gallery walls are in a classroom and may not be available to visitors during a weaving class.

 

As a teaser, here are photos of the walls with the weavings.