By Jan Mostrom
Lisa Bauch mentioned that her interest in researching nordic bands for her paper, “Threads of Devotion: Possible Medieval Origins of Nordic Christening Bands,” was in part inspired by a beautiful christening basket and coverlet displayed at the American Swedish Institute. This style of basket and coverlet, which I first saw on display in Sweden on a Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum Textile Tour, is from the Dalarna area. This christening coverlet is typically red and woven in 3 harness krokbragd. Three sides of the coverlet are bound by a woven band with tassels at the ends of the bands that include colorful cloth strips. The head of the coverlet is bound with a wide red wool strip. The birchwood basket that holds the baby is decorated with squares and circles of heavy wool that are sewn into the bark. It would be common to place a wooden stick in the basket at the baby’s head with the baby’s and it’s sibling’s initials and dates of birth. I was fortunate to purchase the coverlet in the ASI exhibit from Suzanne Kramer of County Gallery Antiques.
Lisa was not the only one to be inspired by this type of coverlet. Mary Skoy, a member of the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group of the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, wove a similar one, complete with handwoven bands on the edge, after viewing them in Sweden on the Vesterheim tour.