A Summer Check-in for the Scandinavian Weavers

Our group doesn’t normally meet during the summer months, but because we neglected to take it off the online Weavers Guild of Minnesota calendar, and several members were around, we decided to meet. We had the best turnout of the year so far!

Melba Granlund and Stephanie Dickson showed the samples they completed during a recent week-long Swedish Art Weaves class at the Swedish Handicrafts Center for Skåne (Hemslöjd) in Landskrona, Sweden. They used trensaflossa, a short pile technique woven primarily in one area of Skåne. The class was taught by Gunvor Johansson. A Minnesota group took a similar Swedish art weave class two years ago, described in articles in the Norwegian Textile Letter.
Weaving the Art Weaves of Skåne.
A Wonderful Scanian Art Weaves Adventure
Fika and the Joy of Lingonberry Cake
Gunvor Johansson’s Exhibit at Bosjökloster

Stephanie Dickson’s sample

Melba sent me this photo of the other samples woven by students at the Hemslojd class. Melba’s piece is in the center.

 

Lisa Bauch has been suffering from a bit of tennis elbow from slamming the beater on her loom, so she’s devoted some off-loom time to making small birchbark baskets from the bark of a dead birch tree they needed to take down in her yard.

Someone asked how she cut her strips and Lisa told of a novel method.  A pasta machine–you know, the kind with a crank that unfurls lengths of pasta–works great.  And the fettuccini setting? Perfect for the small-scale baskets.

During this meeting, several people shared by showing photos on their phones. Five or six times, phones were passed around the large table. I think this “show and tell” technology will be used more and more, with no more excuses like, “I tried to get it off the loom before the meeting.” Linda Sorranno’s technology for this purpose was best; she had an iPad, so we could admire her piece on the loom in larger scale. She is weaving a boundweave rug in neutral tones.

We admonished Mary Skoy for not bringing in the rug she recently finished, which is now in its intended spot in their house. She told the story of seeing a similar rug at the American Swedish Institute (ASI) and thinking, “I need that rug.” Here’s the ASI rug.

Woven by Ruth Skyttes, who wove the rug on loom built by her husband, for an ASI Christmas program for the Värmlands Forbundet in the early 1960s. Ruth emigrated from Värmland, Sweden to Minneapolis in 1927. 20”x 42” cotton warp, wool fabric strips weft and inlay

Mary liked the slarvtjäll technique, with short inlay tufts.  She haunted thrift stores, picking up woolen tweed jackets to cut up for the weft strips.  It turned out great, but she seemed sheepish when her rug looked like an exact replica of the original, not what she really intended to do.


 

Judy Larsen has been making runners with a pattern from a recent Handwoven magazine, “Distorted -Weft Rep Runner & Trio of Pillows.” (Her sisters have already announced how long Judy should make their runners.)

Jan Josefek has been busy weaving.  She showed a small piece inspired by the patterns of Estonian bands. Jan wove a piece on her tapestry loom, pick-up on a plain weave.  Bands are woven lengthwise, but this stack of three patterns was woven horizontally.  People were in awe. As a follow-up, author Piia Rand write that her book is now available in English.  See: https://epood.saara.ee/pood/estonian-pick-up-woven-belts

Jan also made a sample rug using rosepath stripes, in anticipation of making the “real” one with handspun yarn.  She used a draft from a notebook from our Scandinavian Weavers group, making it extra appropriate to share with the group.

Ever Woodward came to her first Scandinavian Weavers meeting, and shared towels she just took off the loom.  She claimed that she is most drawn to neutral colors in her life, but who can resist pink yarn?

My report was an iPhone one, too–a photo of a piece in Frida Hansen’s open warp transparency technique. The underground portion of the potato plant is complete.

More on this piece at robbielafleur.com

Robbie LaFleur

 

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.

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.

green

 

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.

colors

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. 

carriage-darker

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.