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.
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.
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!
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.
Jan Mostrom brought a sample pillow she made for her upcoming class in Swedish Art Weaves at the Weavers Guild in May. !!!
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.
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.

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.)


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


Melba Granlund was the designated snipper.


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.

Favorite Pattern Motif so Far? Stars.

On our Scandinavian Weavers group warp, three people have chosen to weave stars.  Recently, Lisa Torvik’s star peeps out as Sara Okern weaves a blue star.


Lisa Torvik’s bright and festive star pattern


Sara Okern said this was the first time she has woven anything but a rag rug.  Success! 


Sara wove a blue star.

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!


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.




A Dukagång among Friends

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


Judy and Jane figure out the pattern.


Patty helping out under the loom


Their pattern revealed from below

Skinny Woman, Fatter Man?

Mary Skoy is working on her dukagang piece this weekend, weaving a dancing couple from a piece at the American Swedish Institute.


She was using four shots of pattern yarn to make a square, with only one shot of background weft between each pattern shot.  This resulted in a skinny woman! For the man, she is switching to five pattern shots per square; it will be interesting to see how that changes the pattern.


She’s using a variety of wools from her stash for the pattern; sometimes two strands of Harrisville Highland (blue) or a single strand of a fatter knitting yarn (red and white).


Mary placed a white piece of fabric on the piece below the loom, when she discovered that the lint from the linen was falling on the piece below.


Mary’s weaving experience was great, although once she congratulated herself for weaving with no broken threads– snap went a selvedge thread.

Dukagång Group Project Underway

By Robbie LaFleur

Last year and this year our Scandinavian Weavers study Group is focusing on Swedish weaving, with a particular interest in linen.  We’ve begun a group project on one of the two Glimakra looms at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota.  We put on a 12″ wide warp of 20/2 half-bleached linen, set at 24 epi, to experiment with dukagång. Jan Mostrom deserves special thanks for ordering the yarn and winding the warp.


Jan and Phyllis Waggoner warped; Melba Granlund helped, too.


Their efforts resulted in a even-tensioned warp with a beautifully wide shed. Each of 12 weavers will weave 12-18″. I was the first to test the warp, and I chose an image I frequently weave — can you tell from the back? Dukagång is woven from the back.


Jan Mostrom was the second one to weave, and the right side of my piece peeked at her as it wound through the loom. Now you’ll get it.


Jan Mostrom was next on the loom; look at her beautiful stars–or as much as you can see, at this point. Melba Granlund was the third person to weave; you can see the back of her piece here.  A little hard to decipher…


Here’s Melba’s pattern: birds, a fabulous griffin, and a stylized floral border.


A problem with weaving grid-based patterns is remembering where you left off.  I solved it by highlighting each new row before I wove it.


Melba’s system was more ingenious.  She asked her husband, “Don’t you have a magnetized clipboard?”  Shortly after, he came from the basement with a tool, a discarded metal refrigerator rack with a strong magnet. Melba moved the pattern as she finished each row.


I’ll share more photos as this magical warp progresses, and the cut-off day will be super fun.




Swedish Art Weaves at the ASI

This week Phyllis Waggoner, Jan Mostrom, and I looked at many Swedish Art Weave pieces owned by the American Swedish Institute, to prepare for our upcoming Scandinavian Weavers Study Group meeting and choose which ones to take out for display. As you might guess, we chose almost all the pieces we looked at, except in one category.  The ASI owns many 20th century pieces that are similar in pattern.  They were sold through Hemslöjd in Sweden in the 20th century.  Though beautifully executed, if you see a couple, you get the idea.  In contrast, the older, more one-of-a-kind weavings in the collection seemed to merit more individual study and comments.

This post includes a few detail shots of the pieces and some comments.  Later, we will post better, full-piece shots. This is just to whet you appetite!

We came up with a few general observations.  The sett for the tabby background on the Swedish brocaded pieces was uniformly fine, not less than ten ends per inch, and in one case, about 19 ends per inch.  The wool used was a single ply, thin wool, which in some cases may have been used double-spooled in the background.  The brocaded patterns were woven with multiple strands, from 2-5.

The first piece we looked at had a bright modern flair.  The abstract patterns included many colors, and some of them, like a light turquoise, seemed unexpected.  This piece is in dukagång.  It’s easy to recognize patterns woven in dukagång by their columnar appearance created by the tie-down thread.  In the pieces we looked at, most dukagång patterns floated over three threads and under one, but we saw one with over two, under one, and one with over four, under one.


Most likely, all the pieces were woven with the back side up.  Uniformly, the workmanship was lovely. Here’s the back side.


Phyllis imagined that a brown piece with a simple art noveau pattern may have elegantly draped over a piano. In this piece we guessed that the rich brown-black sections were woven double-spooled, with a brown and black thread mixed.




We looked at wool draperies woven for the Turnblad mansion, with brocaded borders. (No photo at this time.)

Some pieces had sections of rolokan, like the Norwegian rutevev, or square-weave technique.



On this piece we puzzled over a change in color near the beginning of the piece.  Was the weaver just testing before settling on the desired color combination?  Also, it was a long piece, unhemmed on either end.  Perhaps it was woven to upholster something?


This piece also demonstrates how dukagång is used to weave a less rectilinear pattern with curves; it’s along the edge.


Another beautiful dukagång piece had heart images and a beautiful palette of acid green, gold, orange, purple, and cream.  It was a length of fabric, with unfinished edges.


These Swedish brocading techniques were often used on bench covers.  One beautiful example in the ASI collection is completely covered with krabbasnår.  It’s also interesting to see the back of the bench cover; they were generally woven in a less time-consuming weave structure.  this one was still quite beautiful and would have been even more striking if the brilliant purple we could see on the inside was not faded to gray.





The halv-krabba and krabbasnår brocading techniques of the Swedish pieces are exactly the same technique used in Norwegian Vestfold pieces, and many of the designs I’ve seen on Swedish pieces are exactly the same as on old Norwegian Vestfold pieces.  However, the fine tabby background differed from what I know of the corresponding Norwegian Vestfold technique.  The Vestfold pieces I have seen (and made) use heavier yarn for the background.

The Swedish Institute owns several pieces that were woven and sold by Hemslöjd stores in the twentieth century.  Those pieces were characterized by larger-scale and more sparse, less all-over, designs.  They include rosepath patterning in the bands.  They were also characterized by a broad stripe in the background, behind the patterning.  Most were not hemmed nicely, but just cut and knotted.  Considering the design in the weavings as a group, they seemed more commercial and less interesting than some of the earlier pieces. Still, they are bold and beautiful.



Finally, we noticed on a couple of pieces that the warp threads were of alternating colors.  Perhaps that was to make the counting easier when picking up patterns?  It’s a good idea!