The Scandinavian Weavers Study Group Meets Via Zoom

Our Scandinavian Weavers Study Group meeting in March was cancelled due to the sudden coronavirus “Shelter at Home” order. April was a first–we met via Zoom. It worked well as a platform to share how we have been faring. It isn’t as fun as our regular meetings, with the ability to see real woven items, of course, but it worked so well that Jan Mostrom suggested it might be our fallback plan in times of bad weather in the future.

What have the Scandinavian Weavers been working on during this isolation interlude?

Mary Skoy finished up thirsty waffle weave towels. Like many house-bound people, she’s been cleaning and organizing. “I know where every pin and needle in my studio are,” she commented. She also said she filled a large bag for the Textile Center Garage Sale. Can you imagine how big the next Textile Center Garage Sale could be?

Judy Larson is a fast and prolific weaver. When she mentioned that she wove five rugs in the past month, Patty Johnson piped up, “Of course you did!” Lisa Anne Bauch later wrote, “I love the blue and green one – it reminds me of summer by the lake!”

Linda Sorrano, who convened our meeting, has been busy at her big loom, but also on a small tapestry loom, where she is playing with a series of abstract pieces.

Here’s a tartan car lap robe that Linda made. Do you see her Instagram handle? You should follow her!

Lisa Anne Bauch has been putting together her brand new Toika loom, as she said, “fresh off the boat from Finland.”

And now she will be able to weave her set of rugs for the upcoming Norway House exhibit, The Baldishol: A Medieval Norwegian Tapestry Inspires Contemporary Textiles. Here is her hand-dyed weft of wool and cotton, inspired by the colors of the medieval tapestry.

Jan Mostrom is a bit farther along on her Baldishol exhibit piece, with only the finishing work remaining. Do you remember the spots on the horse in the Baldishol Tapestry? They become a beautiful abstract pattern on Jan’s rug.

My work this month has also been on my piece for the Baldishol exhibit. You can see the progression of the “Baldishol Duck” in this collage: bottom border, water, duck, and now the almost-finished top border. You can read about the duck and it meaning at robbielafleur.com.

The Baldishol exhibit will be mounted at Norway House as planned, opening June 26. Read about the updated plans here: “The Baldishol Tapestry and the Coronavirus.”

Melba Grandlund had the most dramatic month. She traveled to Norway to participate in Viking-era textile activities. Halfway into her month, she spent days arranging a flight back to the U.S., due to the closing airports. Now she is home with lots of Norwegian yarn to make a wide banded coverlet on her warp-weighted loom.

She also learned about a modern replica of the Bayeaux Tapestry (really an embroidery). She was inspired to embroider some of the motifs herself.

Connie LaTendresse wove samples for an upcoming rigid heddle class, including a houndstooth scarf and a v-necked shawl (pictured below).

Connie wove an inkle band for straps to coordinate with a bag of handwoven fabric for her daughter.

Connie is very productive. In addition to much weaving, including playing with krokbragd, she said she has read more books this year than in all of last year.

Patty Johnson has been productive–or distracted? She wrote that she was surprised at all the projects she has underway, once she tallied them up. “Oh my, when I looked at the pictures I realized how many items I have pulled out.  Just have a couple more weaving on the back of the chair to hem, sewing masks in the dining room, hooking strips on coffee table, design and start up of hooked rug.  Yardage on one loom, start of krokbrag on second loom and a small tapestry loom warped.  Maybe I need to get a focus? Or not?”

Karen Hovermale wove a rosepath pillow top–the same project as we have on the Glimakra loom at the Guild, but she warped her own loom at home.

After weaving the first pillow top with wool, she dipped into stash to work on a second, using linen and a 2-ply mohair/silk.

Kevin Olsen took a rag rug class at North House Folk School this winter, and now has a rug on his large Regina tapestry loom.

Kevin also enjoyed a tapestry workshop with Elizabeth Buckley in Albuquerque in February. Below are the samplers from the tapestry workshop, on hachure, and the rag rug workshop. He’ll have lots to explore during his isolation time–when he is not picking out everything needed for his new house being built.

Nancy Ebner completed several projects, including a stash-busting set of colorful towels (not shown), and a set of towels designed by Marian Dahlberg that feature a hanging tab woven on a supplemental warp.

Right before everything shut down, Nancy had just started on a three-shaft rosepath hanging on a loom at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, based on one she saw in Sweden last year.

Marilyn Moore was stash-busting, weaving runners in beautiful soft colors with Poppano yarn bought at Patty Johnson’s shop,  Color Crossing, a while back. Next, she has two rugs ready to go on her Glimakra.

Brenda Gauvin-Chadwick reported that she has been doing a ton of knitting in the past month. She has a set of towels on her loom, from a Handwoven pattern. “I even used the same colors,” she said.

That’s a lot of work underway. And I didn’t even post ALL the photos I received. Happy weaving!

Scandinavian Weavers Share their Weaving Projects

We love it when our Scandinavian Weavers Study Group members bring Show and Tell to our monthly meetings. Melba Granlund has been busy with rya. She is teaching a upcoming spring class where the students make a small warp-weighted loom and weave a rya. (She will be teaching the same class at North House next fall.) The small warp-weighted looms that the students will make measure 18 or 19 inches between the side posts. Melba just finished a second sample piece for the course, with water-inspired blue hues.

Jan Josifek wore her show and tell, a beautiful woven sweater. Jan sent this photo, and wrote of her sweater,

Mary Skoy used to teach a woven sweater class at the Guild which I couldn’t take. Working from inspiration from Mary on my own, I have tried a few all woven sweaters. For this one I used the 6-shaft American Snowflake draft in the May/June 2014 issue of Handwoven Magazine, changing the satin section between the advancing twill sections to point twill “M”, and treadled accordingly.
I was looking for a mill spun yarn that resembled handspun yarn and went with Brooklyn Tweed “Loft” for the weft and Harrisville Designs Shetland for warp. I used a commercial sweater sewing pattern cut to my size.

Linda Sorrano showed a photo of the brilliant mechanism her brother-in-law rigged up for her to take her draw loom attachment out of the way and easily retrieved–up in the air! This photo is from Linda’s lovely Instagram feed.

 

Much of the meeting was taken up with discussion of our just-started group warp project. We are making rosepath pillow tops, inspired by a Swedish book by Anna Östlund, Från Januariblues till Decemberröd: 18 kuddar i rosengång (From January Blues to December Reds: 18 pillows in rosepath). More on this project will appear on the blog soon.

 

 

Happy holidays from the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group

Our group enjoyed a holiday party at the home of Brenda Gavin-Chadwick. Her home is open and light-filled, with clean Scandinavian lines. Only one person brought a show-and-tell item, but somehow Marilyn Moore must have sensed that Brenda’s hearth would be the perfect spot for staging her rya. The three-spiral design echos the three stages in the life of a woman–maiden, mother, and crone.

Marilyn’s rya started as a way to use up a mass of brown yarn she had–but of course she ended up having to buy more and desperately trying to match colors. The resulting color blending across the whole piece adds richness.

Happy holidays and happy weaving in 2020!

Lisa’s Linen

At the last Scandinavian Weavers meeting, Lisa Torvik brought a enormously long roll of just-off-the-loom linen runners. This project deserved a real celebration–she said the warp had been on the loom for for perhaps two decades in all. This was the moment of cutting it off at home.

Lisa suggested it could be a holiday decoration?

Here are two of the lovely runners.  It was sort of a shame to cut them apart, Lisa wrote, but then they are like puppies–you can’t keep them all! Perhaps several of her relatives are getting wonderful Christmas gifts?

On the top is one of Lisa’s favorites, with pink stripes. The bottom one was inspired by colors seen on an autumn trip to New Hampshire.

 

The Monk’s Belt Megado Project…Getting Underway

The Dobby Weavers Group at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, masters of the many-shafted computerized Megado loom, is going Scandinavian this fall. They are joining with the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group to weave a complex version of monk’s belt, one with blocks of pattern. In this joint project between the two study groups, the Dobby Weavers will do a bit of Scandinavian weaving, and the Scandinavian Weavers will get an opportunity to try out the beautiful Megado loom. The inspiration piece was one owned by Melba Granlund.

We decided to warp the Megado with the same warp, 20/2 cottolin at 24 epi, as the recent monk’s belt group project the Scandinavian Weavers wove on the Glimakra at the Weavers Guild.

I promised to compile some ideas for designing pieces for monk’s belt, some ways to think of the color of pattern weft and background weft, materials, and variations in stripe widths. There’s a crazy amount of variation possible using the “language” of these elements. Several of the examples from this quick and dirty compilation are from pieces woven by the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group in our recent group project.

Here are a couple of photos from a coverlet book from  1977, Åkleboka: Nye Mønstre i Gamle Teknikker, by Torbjørg Gauslaa and Tove Østby, Oslo: Landbruksforlaget, 1977. This piece is on wool warp. Note the use of a monochromatic color palette, with color changes made within long stretches of the same lines.

The second piece is completely asymmetrical, with a large difference in the long and short pattern elements.

Below, Sara Okern’s minimalist design used areas without pattern warp, but with stripes of varied linen colors.

Melba Granlund used several colors in bands of varying widths.



Notice two things in this bad photo of Jan Josifek’s beautiful small bag. It’s a wonderful way to use a small piece of weaving!  In the top band, a single skinny band of pink makes it pop. In the bottom band, note the use of pink in the background tabby weft–subtle and beautiful.

Many traditional monk’s belt pieces were woven with fairly consistent stripe sizes, making square, overall patterns.  This example is from Simple Weaves: Over 30 Classic Patterns and Fresh New Styles, by Birgitta Bengtsson Bjork and Tina Ignell. (English translation) Vermont : Trafalgar Square Books, 2012. The monk’s belt is shown as a backing for a skinnfell, a sheepskin, another traditional use of lightweight overshot coverlets.

Another monk’s belt piece on a skinnfell.  A very regular pattern with beautiful use of varying colors for long and skinny parts of the pattern. From Åklær, Å Kle ei Seng, Å Veve et Åkle. Trondheim : Trøndersk Forlag, 2002.

This image is from the same book, but of a skillbragd coverlet.  Still, it shows that a piece can be designed symmetrically in broad bands.

to be continued…..  Robbie LaFleur

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

 

Monksbelt Unveiling and a Fun Discussion

The monksbelt pieces from our Scandinavian Weavers group warp project came off the loom, and Mary Skoy was nice enough to sew seams on her machine in order to cut them apart without fraying. She brought the roll of pieces to my home.  A bag of treasures! You can see that some were woven with looped edges, some with plain selvedges.

A few members were able to make it to an afternoon celebration of cutting them apart and talking about our experiences. This marks the culmination of another successful collaboration on a Weavers Guild loom. Hopefully, everyone is happy with the learning experience.  Perfection was not the goal, but it’s hard to set that aside, isn’t it? It’s marvelous to see the work of the other weavers, but sometimes a bit frustrating. I know I looked at the beautiful pastels of several pieces and wished I had gone for a brighter palette. We were short a few threads and had to adjust the selvedge size during threading, so it was quite difficult to get a neat and clean selvedge.  Darn, I wish I had chosen loops, was my feeling after weaving.

Note to viewers! These photos show pieces in process or just off the loom, with all of the stray threads, lumpiness, and imperfections that will be transformed as we bring them to their finished states.

It was interesting to see the variation in wefts used for the background.  Lisa Bauch used pink, which shows up more in the photo than it does in person. She also used two shades of green–one more olive in cast–but that hardly shows up in the finished piece.

Lisa Bauch

Lisa Torvik used green linen background weft. “I have so much of it,” she explained. We all agreed that the greenish cast was particularly effective with her piece made with shades of pink linen in the pattern weft.

Lisa Torvik

The pink piece was Lisa’s second piece, woven when one of the weavers was not able to use her time/warp. Lisa’s first piece was complex, a depiction of her flower garden, with a nod to tulips, prairie smoke, bee balm, and star gazer lilies.

Some weavers included a looped fringe at each edge, and others wove a clean selvedge.  In a discussion about adding loops, someone mentioned adding another warp yarn at each edge, a little ways out, to get nice even loops.  Lisa uses her fingers to estimate each turn, noting, “I have two index fingers and the last time I checked, they’re roughly the same size.”

Lisa Torvik

Lisa Torvik should get a special documentation prize for this one, too, since she added the year and her initials on her header.

Susan Mancini switched in a deep pink background weft in a few bands of her piece, sure that it would be very dramatic.  Barely noticeable!  Susan plans to make a bag with the piece so she wove the two halves to match. Here, Lisa Torvik is measuring Susan’s piece on cut-off day.

Susan Mancini

Melba Granlund did a wonderful job of incorporating thick and thin lines with color variation.

Melba Granlund

Marilyn Moore used beautiful spring-like colors in her linen pattern weft. I know that flowers are on her mind these days, but if she wanted to weave her flower garden, she would have to weave yards of fabric.

Marilyn Moore

Mary Skoy plans to use her piece to make a pouch or bag.  It should work great, with her modern graphic design.  Also, the crisp hand of the fabric will work well in a pouch.

Mary Skoy

Of any of these monks belt experiments, Claire Most’s piece will undergo the biggest transformation during the finishing process.  Claire wove the pattern in a silk boucle yarn, but just for a short distance.  The rest of the piece is woven in a waste yarn that will be taken out; the warp will become part of a deep fringe treatment.  Claire said she wasn’t quite sure how it will end up–but we all can’t wait to see!

Claire Most

One of the benefits of weaving on a group project is trying out techniques and weave structures that are new to you.  Sarah Okern weaves beautiful rag rugs for her business, Andasmer, so she rarely ventures to finer thread weave structures. Her incorporation of larger areas of plain weave was partly to save time; she said she could only take one day to devote to the project. Interestingly, her spare design relates to the graphic rugs that are her trademark.

Sarah Okern

Deb Reagan gets a prize for driving the farthest to participate, all the way from Grand Forks. She used red, too, and with her addition of blue, wouldn’t this make the perfect runner to put on the table for Syttende Mai?

Deb Reagan

Brenda Gauvin-Chadwick used red, also.  She said she wasn’t so happy with the colors–too Christmas-y.  I ‘m not sure that’s true, but maybe seems so compared to the pastels she saw in some other pieces.

Brenda Gauvin-Chadwick

Jan Josifek’s pink, neutral, and black color palette is striking.  Someone noted that the bands resemble those you often find in much larger rag rugs.

Jan Josifek

I learned a great deal from my piece (Robbie LaFleur).  I’m eager to put on a long warp of my own and continue playing with color and pattern, and I know how I will change my threading.  I’ll vow to count better, too; I’m a bit annoyed with the first and last bands, which should be the same size.

Robbie LaFleur

Our group projects only get done due to the wonderful collaboration of our members.  It takes time to wind the warp, get it on the loom, and test it out.  On this project Judy Larson was the first to weave, and  in that role she wanted to make sure that everything was in order–the threading, the reed sleying, the sett, the tension, etc.  Was it in shape for the next weavers?  Yes!

Judy Larson

When the pieces were cut off this week, the first one was Judy’s, with pattern weft on one color, a deep green wool, and the last piece was Karen Weiberg’s, in a lighter linen green.  It was almost like the change of seasons that happened during the time the warp was up. Winter dragged out in Minnesota with a snowstorm disrupting our schedule, but spring may finally be here now.

Karen Weiberg

Thanks to all of the weavers and helpers who helped to make our group project rewarding.