Tag Archives: embroidery

birds, rölakan and a couple of old ladies

My summer is colorful. The kit for an embroidered cushion which I bought two years ago, and finished the embroidery a year ago – finally has become a cushion.

It’s been quite a tedious work to assemble it all together – thick felted woolen back piece and sewing in the tassels, had to buy new proper quality needles, old ones kept breaking  (no wonder it was lying in the basket unfinished for so long!)  But I’ve made it and now we have a fun cushion)

finished cushion

the cushion is composed by Hemslöjden Skåne, they have gathered all the birds from local folk embroideries.

Cushion

Cushion

And weaving. In my mind I made the list of things to weave – all those cool linen scarves and thin cloth in somber greys and white, different pattern samples I want to try… But my heart is directing me to something totally different:

rölakan weaving

it’s rölakan again, slow and colorful,

rölakan weaving

I love making these interlocks on the back side, one after another without thinking what is next.

finished rölakan piece

made a sketch for another side
Rölakan sketch

Speaking about heart – few days ago I bought an old book (from 1916), rough translation of the title is
“Old folk handicraft from Malmöhus county, published by the county’s handicraft association”
(former Malmöhus county is where we live, but now it’s part of larger Skåne county).
The book is sort of a bible of local textile handicraft.

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inside there  are lots of pictures of different weaving and embroidery from 16-18 century with detailed descriptions – warp and weft density, material, and who has made it and whom it belonged then, in 1916.

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On the fly-leaf it says “This book is dedicated to the handicrafting women of Malmöhus county”. And a couple of names in old handwriting.  I am really curious about them, specially about Kristin Holm from Knestorp (Knästorp in modern writing, little village 4 km from ours). Did she just own the book or was she a weaver and used it as an inspiration?

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I couldn’t resist to write my name down too. Now we are a little local gang – Kristin, Birgit and me :)

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little things from homemade cloth

indigo-dyed rest of the cloth and some handspun linen and nettle yarn

free-stripe linen band

home-grown lavender

lavender pillows, very limited edition.

and some pouches from the linen cloth i wove some time ago

found some vintage silk for the lining

noncanonical Kannon

finished “maid with birds”

old cyrillic incarnation of  Kanzeon – Guan Ying

primordial stitch

The more I looked at the traditional north-Russian embroideries from the region of Karelia the more I wanted to try one of these motifs.  I decided  to weave a linen cloth for it (mainly because i couldn’t find the cloth with the right feeling – rough and soft at the same time), from the old handspun linen yarn (which I bought from a Swedish weaver, her blog is one of my favourites). Both the warp and the weft are single linen threads.

weaving this little cloth wasn’t easy, even if I painted the warp with a jelly from cooked flax seeds  to strengthen it , the last 30 cm of weaving was pain. Luckily the warp was quite short (I was surprised it lasted for more than 1m).

Traditional Karelian embroideries are done with red color on white cloth, I wanted to make mine with white thread on indigo background, don’t ask me why.

Since it was my first attempt with indigo vat , I didn’t dare to dye the whole piece, so I cut out one-third of it. And it worked quite well and fast! (I used hydrosulfit method).

the stitching technique is one of the oldest and very similar to traditional european blackwork, and on the wrong side is supposed to look exactly the same as on the right side (and no knots!)  Well, luckily  I don’t have to show the back side of my embroidery piece to anybody :-)

(for somebody really curious – this little video shows  how they do it Karelia ,the woman on video is talking about how it is important that embroidery looks exactly the same on both sides – both because while doing it you exercise your brain and because “you have nothing to hide” from the world around you – there is no back side of life)

a pouch

little embroidery/sewing project – a present for my wonderful mother-in-law

inspired by what’s been going on around our house:

textiles at Kulturen

Whenever I end up in Kulturen (our nearest open-air museum), I try to sneak into  the “textile study chamber” – a permanent exhibition of old weavings, embroidered objects and folk costumes.

Have a look at this embroidered pillow from Kulturen,  dated 1790,  wool on wool (pictures are clickable for slightly larger size). And another one and just one more .

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