Flowers Translated to Thread

Two of the rya pieces in the “Traditional Norwegian Weaving: American Reboot” exhibit are direct responses to flowers, both Norwegian and American.

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Corwyn K. Knutson

Corwyn Knutson, from St. Paul, wove “Hardanger Cherry Blossoms,” inspired by flowers he saw on a memorable driving trip through Norway.  The trees with red, pink, and purple form a beautiful abstract image.  It is so deftly balanced, in fact, that it was once hung in an exhibit upside-down and  it was just as beautiful! Corwyn’s rya was a double winner at the Minnesota State Fair; it received a blue ribbon and the Doris Tufte award for Creative Loom Weaving in Scandinavian Tradition.

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Marilyn Moore

Marilyn Moore, from Cedar, Minnesota, learned to weave rya from Jan Mostrom, co-curator of the “American Reboot” exhibit, at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. Excited about the possibilities of color blending, Marilyn quickly moved to an interpretation of her perennial garden, which includes 25 varieties of day lilies and gives her color all summer long. Marilyn wrote, “It  introduced me to a freedom that I had not experienced before working with color and fiber, and I loved every minute of it.”

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This summer, enjoy flowers outdoors and the indoors at the Norway House Galleri, from July 20-September 10.  Come to the opening!  July 20, 5-8 pm.

A Two-sided Textile: Pick Your favorite Side

Iowa artist Laura Demuth sets up amazing weaving challenges for herself.  Often, not content with just buying and weaving with beautiful wool, she spins and dyes yarn from her own sheep.  In a number of weavings she has gone beyond weaving for beauty on one side, and combined techniques to make unique two-sided textiles.  One of those will be included in the upcoming “Traditional Norwegian Weaving: American Reboot” exhibit at Norway House from July 20-September 10, 2017.

On one side of the hanging, Laura wove an intricate pattern in a complex doubleweave technique.  She hid the knots of the rya pile between the two layers of the doubleweave. Because the doubleweave pick-up surface needs to be the upper side during weaving, she tied the knots upside-down on the lower surface. (Rya weavers would understand: this is tricky.)

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On the other side, colorful stripes of beautifully-blended yarns are dense and enticing. This piece perfectly fulfills its purpose as a warm throw.

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Biography:

Laura Demuth has been weaving for over 30 years and enjoys all aspects of textile production, from raising the sheep to taking a finished piece off the loom. Living on a small acreage just  seven miles northeast of Decorah, Iowa, Laura has a small flock of registered Blue Faced Leicester sheep that keep her hands busy spinning wool all winter. She often dyes the handspun yarn with natural dyes from the garden before putting it to use in a woven or knitted textile.

Because Laura lives so close to Decorah, Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum has been a continual source of education and inspiration throughout her weaving career. Laura has  focused on traditional weaving structures and techniques, especially bound weave and doubleweave.

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Don’t miss this piece and so many more in “Traditional Norwegian Weaving: American Reboot.” The opening night at Norway House, July 20, 5-8, would be a smashing time for a first peek.

Traditional Norwegian Weaving: American Reboot


Traditional Norwegian Weaving: American Reboot

An Exhibit at Norway House: July 20-September 10, 2017
Sponsored by Norway House and the Weavers Guild of Minnesota

 

Vesterheim-krokbragd

A traditional krokbragd coverlet from the collection of the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum

Make Minneapolis your destination thus summer for an exhibit joining Norwegian weaving past and present. Inspired by historical textiles, American weavers have used Norwegian weaving techniques to create a new body of work, contemporary in design or materials. Enjoy traditional pieces from the collection of the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum and outstanding weavings from recent decades that honor the past and break through with modern expression.  

The exhibit of invited pieces (40 in all) is based around several techniques, including rya; tapestry; krokbragd and other boundweave variants; band weaving; and overshot weaves such as monks belt and skilbragd.  Other pieces are chosen to illustrate where American weavers learned their skills in Norwegian techniques, and where weaving in the Norwegian tradition has been exhibited over the years.

Related events include lectures and classes and weaving demonstrations.  A loom will be set up in the gallery where members of the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group will weave a rutevev (square weave) runner.

  • Opening celebration: Thursday, July 20, 2017, 5-8 pm.
  • Gallery talks: Sundays, July 23 and August 13, 2 pm.
  • Weaving demonstrations: Wednesdays and Sundays from July 23-September 10, 12 pm-3 pm
  • Afternoon with an Expert, featuring Laurann Gilbertson, Curator, Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum: Saturday, September 9, 1-3:30 pm.  Following the lecture, “Warmth and Color: Traditional Norwegian Coverlets,” 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).   
  • Classes: Sami-style Band Weaving, Mondays, August 14 and 21, 12-4 pm; Make a Viking Knit Bracelet, Monday, July 24, 10 am-2 pm; Cardboard Loom Weaving for Kids, Monday, August 7, 10 am – noon.

IMG_5189Information on the exhibit is also found on the Norway House website. Be sure to sign up for Sami-style Band Weaving with Keith Pierce, or Make a Viking Knit Bracelet with Melba Granlund. Maybe you know a kid to sign up for the fun introduction to weaving. This is a special opportunity to see the weaving exhibit in depth, as these Weavers Guild classes will be held at Norway House, right in the main gallery.

Also, follow the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group blog in the coming weeks to read about many of the individual pieces.

This 19th century “boat rya,” a treasure of the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, will hang next to several contemporary rya weavings.

 

The Dukagång Experiment–Cut off the Loom

Several curious Scandinavian Weavers Group members gathered to cut the dukagång group warp off the Glimakra last night.  It was so fun to see the completed pieces, right side up, and not just peeking from the back of the loom as they rolled around the beam.  Jan Mostrom, who should be duly thanked for her work setting up the project and getting the yarn, clipped it off. (There was a section of unwoven warp at the very end, which Lisa Torvik is going to use for firfletting.)

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Mary Skoy brought her sewing machine and sewed fine, straight seams between the pieces so they could be cut apart without raveling.

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Melba Granlund was the designated snipper.

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Oh, you wanted to see the individual pieces?  Coming soon.  They will be displayed on a wall of the Weavers Guild, and published here, on Friday.

Grene Demonstration on a Warp-Weighted Loom

Melba Granlund set up a warp-weighted loom (courtesy of the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum) at the 2017 Shepherd’s Harvest Festival, as part of the Weavers Guild of Minnesota booth.  She started work on a traditional Sami-style grene, a banded coverlet technique woven with thick, lofty wool.  It was a smashing success!  Though she planned to give a formal presentation at one point, that never happened.  Instead, she was inundated with questions from curious visitors from beginning to end.  And all that didn’t leave time for much actual weaving progress, only about 4-1/2 inches.

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With the festival over, and the loom moved back to her home, Melba is continuing the project.  Watch the blog for updates on the grene, and a description of the wonderful yarn she is using.

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Did you miss this cool loom at the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival this year?  There’s always 2018.  Melba said that there was so much interest that a warp-weighted loom demo would be great for next year, too.

Norwegian Yarn in the Swedish Dukagång

Karin Maahs finished her piece, and her pattern weft was sentimental. She used thin Norwegian yarn her grandmother used to embroider bunads (Norwegian costumes).

One day her pattern was sitting on the loom. “Oh nice, that’s what was just finished,” I thought as I snapped this photo.  Clearly I had not looked carefully, as that was the just completed piece, and Karin’s pattern ready to start.  Weaving from the back makes this process hard to document!

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Here’s Karin’s piece, underway.  It will be nice to photograph all the pieces once they are off the loom.  For now, it still looks great at this weird angle.

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A Dukagång among Friends

Patty Johnson, Jane Connett and Judy Larson whipped out their dukagång in record time.

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Judy and Jane figure out the pattern.

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Patty helping out under the loom

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Their pattern revealed from below

Show and Tell

At the Scandinavian Weavers meeting yesterday we enjoyed Judy Larson’s latest red rugs. Judy often weaves LARGE rugs, but these were small ones, using wildly different wefts, on the same warp.  She wove one with chunky weft of knit ties, part of an 8000-tie stash from a man who worked at the Library of Congress, and never wore the same tie twice. The second one has sharp pink with red, and is made with silky-soft velour strips—her granddaughter’s favorite.  The third uses the most conventional rag rug weft, printed cottons.  Fun!

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Swedish Art Weave – with Fleece

Our Scandinavian Weavers group met yesterday. There wasn’t so much show and tell, but lots of discussion about an upcoming exhibit of traditional and contemporary weaving in Norwegian techniques, to be held at Norway House in Minneapolis from July 20-September 17.  Expect more information in the coming month about the exhibit and accompanying classes, demonstrations, and lectures.

Jan Josifek brought a wonderful small sample of Swedish krabbasnår that she is weaving on a simple tapestry loom.  Last fall one of our members brought a skinnfell – a sheepskin coverlet with printing on it to our meeting.  Jan was so taken by the fleeciness of it that she decided to add fleece to the back of her krabbasnår. One benefit of weaving the piece on her tapestry loom is that the piece can be easily turned from one side to another to check for mistakes! We look forward to the big version of this sweet piece.

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Krokbragd, Big and Small

img_2192By Robbie LaFleur

This month Melba Granlund, a member of our Scandinavian Weavers Study Group, gave a talk at another of our Weavers Guild interest groups, the New and Occasional Weavers, about krokbragd.  She asked me to bring along a piece I made, a krokbragd backed by a skinnfell.

 

The weaving incorporates traditional pattern elements from Lom and Skjåk in Norway.  For the Norwegian Textile Letter, I had translated an article from a 1985 issue of the Norwegian magazine, Husflid, and wove five pieces, experimenting with the traditional pattern bands.

You can read the article and see photos of some of the “old pattern” pieces, here.

At the New and Occasional Weavers meeting, one person expressed interest in trying out krokbragd at a fine sett. That seemed like a fine experiment, though no one had any particular guidance to give.

A few days later, for a completely different reason, I was looking through previous issues of the Norwegian Textile Letter, and ran across a photo of a small-scale krokbragd woven by Catherine Forgit, in the same pattern as my larger one.  She wove it from the pattern I had published.

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Cathy’s version is 11″ x 16.” Shrinking down a coverlet technique traditionally used for bed coverings in the cold climate of Norway makes a piece that could even be called darling. She used a wool warp (but doesn’t remember exactly what brand of yarn), set 16 ends per inch.  The weft was Rauma billdevev yarn (tapestry yarn). She wove it on her four-shaft floor loom, and doesn’t remember having any particular difficulties. “It was fun to weave.”

Cathy lives outside of Fertile, Minnesota – way up north.  She reports, “It’s been a good winter for weaving and other fiber things – too cold to go outside!”  I hope her sheep are warm, too.