A New Project–Monksbelt

By Robbie LaFleur

Our Scandinavian Weavers Study Group has a project underway, a group monkskbelt warp on the Glimåkra loom at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. 15 yards of cottolin warp! Our pieces will be modest, only 24″ per weaver, 16.6″ wide.  Interest was high; we have 17 people signed up. Jan Josifek offered to wind the enormous warp.  I bought a kilo of 20/2 cottolin in a half-bleached color.  She wound the warp and had almost NOTHING to spare. We chose a pattern from an old Väv magazine, #3, 1975.  (I am not going to post the whole article for copyright reasons.)


Extremely important pieces of thread to repair broken warps.

Threading underway

It took us a while to make progress on warping and getting started–you may have heard about the winter weather from hell in Minnesota this year. Jan J. was so excited about the pattern that she interpreted the draft in 8 shaft turned twill blocks for towels at home.  Beautiful! She definitely gets extra points.

Judy Larson was the first to weave, she took on the job of making sure that the weaving would go well for all the subsequent weavers.  Happily, she reported, “It wove up beautifully with no issues!” Here is her beautiful green color; she used doubled Shetland yarn for her pattern weft.

I was second, and wove four large blocks in saturated colors.

The third weaving is underway; Lisa Torvik is using green linen for the background weft, and wonderful color bundles for her expert experimentation.

Keep tuned in for more colors and variations on the warp in the coming weeks.


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.

Judy Larson

Judy Larson has been weaving for ten years, and with the addition of an 8-shaft Glimakra in October, has managed to fill her living room with looms.  Patty Johnson said she dreamt Judy’s husband was sitting on a folding chair in the center of room, couches replaced with more looms.  “Not true – not yet!” Judy responded.  Still, Judy does manage to weave on several looms.  Overall, her favorite part of the weaving process is the discovery of color interactions when various weft yarns are used on the same warp.  “Even when I think I have planned it all out and have a prediction, I’m pleasantly surprised by the resulting combinations, so I like to put on a longer warp and do multiple projects in a variety of colors.”

Judy’s new Glimakra 8-harness loom is used for finer warps; she’s used it for several Monk’s Belt pieces.  Now it is set up for rep weave placemats. “The ease of weaving on it allows me to easily create intricate patterns.”  The ergonomics of warping the Glimakra convinced her to purchase the loom.


A sturdy Fairloom rug loom from Sears shares her living room space.  She bought the used loom three years ago because it has a stronger “box” construction to weave rag rugs. With a huge stash of fabric, Judy will work on rugs for years, and enjoy surprising color interactions when weaving with a variety of fabrics.  She enjoys having two looms easily at hand.  “It is nice to have the options to choose each night if I want to do delicate patterns, or weave away some frustrations from the day with some good hard beats!”


Judy’s Monk’s Belt rug in the exhibit was woven on the Fairloom.  She was curious to see how fabric would work instead of the usual yarns, so she wove four rugs.  The navy plaid, with a sparkle of gold, was her favorite because it had the most subtle overall effect.


Her Monk’s Belt runner is the opposite of subtle – a bright and festive Christmas runner.  It was made on the Glimakra with 3/2 pearl cotton.


Judy can often be found at Patty Johnson’s shop, Color Crossing, where she uses more looms.  She warps an eight-foot Cranbrook loom for room-sized rugs. Her next rug will use a linen warp and wool weft in a shaft switching technique. It will grace her newest grandson’s room.  She also uses a 60-inch twelve-shaft Finnish Toika in the studio at the shop.

Wait!  There’s more! Judy also still has her first loom, a four shaft LeClerc.  Are there enough hours in the day?

Cottolin Makes a Satisfying Background for Monksbelt

This is a monksbelt piece woven by Jan Mostrom woven entirely in cottolin – warp, background weft, and pattern weft.  The sett is 24 epi.  Jan suggested that for someone completely new to the technique, using cottolin can be satisfying.  “It’s more fogiving than linen,” she noted.  With the cottolin warp and weft you could also use prydvev yarn (a thinnish Norwegian wool yarn) for the pattern.