onsdag 30 juli 2014

A visit to Vitlycke museum and the fabulous rock-carvings (Petroglyphs) at Tanum

Reconstructed Bronze Age clothing
During our week in Grebbestad we got to visit the Vitlycke museum. Of special interest was of course (since we were attending a weaving course) the reconstructed clothing of the people that long ago lived in this part of Sweden.
Lena Hammarlund
Out teacher Lena Hammarlund shared her vast knowledge regarding ancient weaving and how to analyse and reconstruct the weaving process/technique and from that make, as close as possible, replicas of the old fabrics. 
Decorated sleeve
If you think that clothes looked like rags during the Bronze Age you are wrong. The weaving was often done with fine threads and great skill. Decorations in embroidery or nalbinding were also sometimes added.
Decorated neckline
The museum also features a Bronze Age Farm which we visited.
The Bronze Age Farm
The Farm has two reconstructed longhouses, from the Early and the Late Bronze Age. These kind of houses were used in Sweden for thousand of years (from the end of the Stone Age until the end of the Iron Age).
Interior with an opstadgogn (warp-weighted loom)
The Bronze Age Farm is built to show some of the every day life. In one of the longhouses we found an opstadgogn with a weave. This loom one had a more authentic look to it compared to the ones that we used in class.
Interior of a longhouse
And then it was time for the rock-carvings. I must admit that they were something that I really had looked forward to see in real life. I was not disappointed.
Tanum: Rock-carvings
The rock-carving area at Tanum is now included in the World Heritage List. This is the World Heritage Committee’s citation: ‘The rock carvings in the Tanum area are a unique example of Bronze Age art of the highest quality. The range of motifs provides rare evidence of many aspects of life in the European Bronze Age. The interplay of continuous settlement and land use, as reflected in the rock carvings, the burial grounds and the landscape, make the Tanum area an outstanding example of uninterrupted settlement for eight thousand years’.
Tanum: Rock-carvings
Tanum: Rock-carvings
Tanum: Rock-carvings
Tanum: Rock-carvings
Tanum: Rock-carvings
Tanum: Rock-carvings
Tanum: Rock-carvings

For more information regarding Vitlycke and Tanum:
Vitlycke museum start page
The Bronze Age Farm
The World Heritage Area at Tanum

måndag 21 juli 2014

Weaving Viking Style in Grebbestad - Opstadgogn

We had the opportunity to attend a weeks course in weaving on a warp-weighted loom, also called an opstadgogn. Weaving is really not my forte but I was intrigued to get the chance to try a technique so old and once spread almost all over the world. The course was held at Grebbestads Folkhögskola and our teacher was Lena Hammarlund, assisted by Margareta Ovelius. Many thanks to both of them for being such skilled instructors and nice people.
Making a warp for the startingborder
We started by making the warp for a starting border. Making the warp for the opstadgogn starts with weaving a band were the weft will become the warp of the main weave. I know it sounds a bit complicated but it is a very clever solution.
Weaving the starting border and making the warp at the same time
Here I am weaving the band and at the same time pulling the weft out (200 cm) to my right letting it form the warp for my weaving on the opstadgogn. I am planning a weave 120 cm long.
Sewing the band (warp) to the loom
When I have enough threads for the warp (240) I take the band and sew it on to the top part of the opstadgogn (the cloth beam). When I place this back in the opstadgogn the long threads that form the warp will be hanging down as they are supposed to.
The starting border sewn to the cloth beam
The warp - note that we have separated the front and back layer
of the warp (knots at the bottom)

Separated front and back
Cutting the warp threads

Tying the layers separately and putting the front layer
over the cloth beam to be able to work with the back layer

Preparing weights
The opstadgogn is a warp-weighted loom. We used bags filled with sand as weights. I needed 24 bags. I my case all should have a weight of 700 grams.
Counting threads - preparing attaching the weights
Next step was to distribute the threads evenly for the weights. In my case that meant 10 threads per weight of 700 grams, equal to 70 grams of weight per thread.
Attaching the weights
Above you can see me attaching the weights. Note that the back layer of the warp was done first. After attaching the weights you make a crocheted chain to keep the threads in order.
Tying heddles
After all weights were attached it was time for placing the heddle rod and starting tying heddles. Tying heddles is very precise work. Make one mistake and you will regret it. This was when I realised that weaving is a craft for untiring perfectionists.
If the heddles are tied correctly you should end up with a nice and faultless shed. This was the end of day two -  and I cannot describe the relief I felt when my shed turned out as it should. Dressing the loom finished after two days.
Weaving on the opstadgogn
Day three - I started weaving. This was something I had been looking forward to during the first days.
Weaving sword
We used weaving swords while weaving.
Making progress
The rest of the week was pure entertainment. Weaving was a straight forward business and I was suprised that I really liked it a lot.
In the loom
I had chosen a rather thick Rya-yarn that had a nice robust feel to it and I really liked the fabric that I saw in my loom.
Finished with fringes
On Friday I finished my work and I was taught how to make a nice fringe as a finishing. I cut my weave down. Washing will be done at home. This was a very educational week and I learned a lot. Perhaps weaving is something that is not out of my grip after all. I will have to practice more. I attended this course with my husband ("Knotting" on Ravelry) who is more of a weaver than I am. We are now seriously considering getting an opstadgogn since we both found this week fun and rewarding.

We did not spend all time indoors this week. The weather was fantastic and Grebbestad offers a lot of beautiful views.
At home - washed and ready for use.

Finally, here are some links to videos on Youtube for those of you who would like to see weaving on an opstadgogn. The films "Norsk-samisk Grenevaeving" from Senter for Nordlige Folk/Manndalen, are in five parts.

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5

lördag 19 juli 2014

A visit from the Netherlands

Our friend Mirjam from the Netherlands came to visit us on her way to Sätergläntan. Here are some photos showing the results of her awesome band weaving.

söndag 13 juli 2014

Never judge a book by its cover

This is an old book that came in a mixed lot at an auction in Dalarna. On the label it says "Inkomster och Utgifter för P A Arosenius", which means "Income and Expenses for P A Arosenius". So it should be all about economics ....
But inside this book there is a treasure of another kind. These texts are all about colours, stitches, colour combinations, patterns etc. Not easy to read or understand but it is clear that this is a private pattern book with instructions and patterns for knitting and weaving.
The book is old and torn but I feel privileged to handle it. Paper was not common at the time and the original owner of this book has crammed every space on the pages with patterns and information. Sometimes only half of the pattern is charted, probably to save space (you just have to mirror it to get the entire chart for the figure). Some of the pages have patterns charted so close to each other that it can be difficult to separate them.
The current owner of this book, Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg, brought this to class so that we could look in it. A very generous thing to do considering the uniqueness of the book. In the book there are many charts for patterns called "ladders", that are used in the pattern combinations on knitted sleeves from Dala-Floda.

It is quite a special experience to see a chart in the book knitted on a sleeve on a jacket lying next to it.

måndag 7 juli 2014

Inspiration from Dala-Floda

These wrist-warmers are inspired by a cuff-pattern on a sleeve from Dala-Floda. The original colour combination was in black and red (knitted in white and natural black, and then dyed in red after the knitting was done).
The yarn is from Wålstedts (grey and red dyed on grey) and I knitted them using dbpns 2,25 mm. I had to make minor changes to the pattern to get a match with the needed amount of stitches to get the right size.
I chose grey and red because that is for me a combination that feels old and traditional, and I think that suits this pattern almost as well as red and black.

lördag 5 juli 2014

Small bag - Tapestry crochet

Trying crochet with finer hook (Boye 4) and 2-ply wool to get a fabric similar to what I saw in Nås. It is very dense.