Weaving the Art Weaves of Skåne

By Jan Mostrom

Eight excited American weavers traveled to Landskrona for a class in Skåne Art Weaves taught by Gunvor Johansson.  We could not have had a more lovely or qualified instructor.  Gunvor has been honored by Sweden as a master weaver and has written the definitive book, Heirlooms of Skåne : Weaving Techniques.  Åsa Stentoft from Skåne Hemslöjd was our gracious hostess and helped us with any questions we may have had, acted as translator if needed, and treated us to her baking skills for fika.  

Instruction included rölakan, krabbasnår, halvkrabba and dukagång, woven on the same warp to create a sampler of techniques.  All of these weaves are woven upside down.  Rölakan is geometric tapestry that is woven with a double interlock.  The other three techniques are woven with inlay butterflies against a weft face ground but each creates a unique pattern.  Dukagång creates columns of color.  Halvkrabba  design is made up of squares resembling a checkerboard.  Krabbasnår makes designs with the inlay moving in diagonal steps.

A sample in the class to illustrate techniques

A sample in the class to illustrate techniques

Gunvor encouraged us to graph out our pattern choice on graph paper so we would understand the way the patterns were built and moved.  We had an abundance of inspiration from antique weavings and reproductions, books, and Gunvor’s weaving to draw from.  We also had a booklet of graphed designs that was part of our class handouts.  

All looms had a linen warp, but the warps and setts were not all the same.  Gunvor wanted us to be able to see and compare the look of the different setts.  8/2 linen was set at 35/10cm and at 40/10.  16/3 linen was sett at 40/10 and 45/10.  20/3 linen was sett at 45/10 and 50/10.  At all setts, we used a single wool yarn, either Klippans Fårö or Rauma prydvev tapestry single ply to weave the weft face ground.  The inlay butterlies were made up of three strands of the single ply or one two-ply strand of prydvev or Klippans Brage combined with one strand of the single ply yarn.  Colors could be combined in a butterfly; for instance two or three shades of red could be used in one butterfly.   At the 35/10 sett, a two ply thread or two singles could be woven as the weft and 4 single stands of singles could be used for inlay, depending on the look you liked.  Three picks of weft were woven between pattern inlays.  One of the weavers chose to weave inlay monksbelt motifs and trensa flossa, which is a short flossa that does not cover the whole ground, for her sampler instead of the other techniques.

Patterns were woven upside down, that is, with the back side facing the weaver.

In addition to the art weaves, Gunvor taught us finishing techniques, including a warp finish, tassels of ribbon and fabric strips, two ways to make fringe or kavelfrans, fabric balls–both plain and covered with stitching–to attach to pillow corners, and explained how to make our sample into a pillow or bag.  

The student weaving varied in color and techniques chosen: in columns top to bottom going from left to right, Liz Hunter;  Janis Aune, Sharon Marquardt and Melba Granlund; Mary Skoy and Mary Erickson; Jan Mostrom and Edi Thorstenson.

Jan Mostrom, a weaver and instructor from Minnesota, will be teaching a class on Swedish art weaves at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota in the spring of 2018.  Details are herealthough it is already filled. Jan has a great passion and love for researching and teaching weaving, and is a frequent contributor of articles on weaving techniques to the Norwegian Textile Letter

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