Tag Archives: rölakan

Zen in Skåne (the making of)

I meant to make this post few months ago, but better late than never (the motto of this blog) , so here it goes.
This is my crazy project of making round meditation cushion in Skåne rölakan technique.
In the end it somehow became a cushion, or something cushion-like, almost round.

And it was accepted for the local “Utvalt i Skåne” craft show and now traveling around from Malmö to Simrishamn to Helsinborg and then to Germany.

Rölakanskudde1a

Rölakanskudde2a

a little doodle from two years ago:

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Pictures from the process:

rölakan weaving

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weaving side stripe – with halvkrabba inlays (here was the part when I had serious doubts about it all working out)

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Sewing

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I filled the cushion with kapok fibers

Rölakanskudde3a
(Don’t take seriously the last picture)

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Cushions!

Latest weaving – two cushions in rölakan (interlocked tapestry)  technique

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This one is variation on antique carriage cushion from Bara district, Skåne.

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And this one is a little sampling of local birds from folk textiles

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I have used wool yarn from Wålstedts spinning mill -Wålstedts gobelänggarn Nm 5/2.

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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 :)

Himmelskt vackert i Ystad

“Heavenly beautiful” – called the exhibition of folk weavings  from Skåne (Skania) in Ystad. I went there three times already, two of them to demo-weave at the “weaving cafe”, and it is still overwhelming , to think that this just a tip of an iceberg of all the textiles that where produced in ordinary homes in this area of Sweden  in 17-19 centuries.

The museum building is an old Franciscan monastery from XII century.

The weaving cafe – the most luxurious weaving shed I have been to. I will be there again this weekend.

Some pictures from the exhibition, sorry for the quality, all the textiles lighted with special museum light,
wich is good for the cloth, but pictures need severe color correction, which they barely survive.

Krabbasnår:

Rölakan:

Blådrätter – dukagång, blue wool on white linen base:

krabbasnår:

reindeer is a  popular motif in rölakan:

dukagång:

a photograph showing Skanian textile mounter at Baltic exhibition in 1914:

I have more pictures here.

my world is flat

Little experiments for the last school assignment  – three dimensional weaving using unusual materials as a weft (anything but yarn).

number one –  spring comes to our little world :

technically it’s not quite 3D,  but it’s not 2D either

number two – Ash bird (used nice long and curly ash wood shavings from my husband’s woodworking),
again quite flat, except the tail.  100% biodegradable, very eco-friendly bird.

Well, at least I kept my family entertained :)

The rest of the time I spent doing traditional flatweave – finished the rölakan sample

and started new folk weaving with the same happy colors:

krabbasnår and munk’s belt (munkabälte) this time:

Folkweave, handspun yarn and a rooster

Finally I am doing something that was on my “one day I will start this”-list – weaving a sample of rölakan – swedish folk flatweave (kilim-like weaving). This one is Skanian rölakan (skånsk rölakan) (wefts of different colors  are interlocked with each other and form a ridge on reverse side) and it is woven upside down, to make it all more exciting :)

And I just love it. It is very different from “normal” weaving with a shuttle, here you just sit with one square, one thread at a time,  totally focused, it is pure meditation, zazen of weaving.

This is how it looks when you crawl into the loom and try looking up:

Last summer when I first tried this technique I was  very self-conscious about the colors, this time it is primary colors, as bold as it goes .

As a warming up before I start something bigger I am making small square pattern brought up by Gunvor Johansson in Swedish  weaving guild newsletter.

And (finally again) I have finished spinning my alpacas – silky white suri and brown baby huacaya.  Two totally different fibers and yarns.

When I look at them I am thinking shawls or scarves or throws (I have around 250 g of each). The brown one is a bit too reddish-orange for my taste, I would prefer it to be more sober-muted-greyish-brown….But it’s probably too dark to try to overdye. Ah, we’ll see.

last summer when I experimented with indigo – I tried to dip a little bit of that alpaca yarn in my vat –
and it came out black (with very light green hint). I might try an acid dye…

talking about indigo –  sowed some dye plants seeds yesterday

When I am working  in the greenhouse I am followed by our new rooster, he is of tiny local breed called Åsbo,  and he is very friendly and curious, almost like a pet.

I wish you warm and happy spring! (or autumn, depends where you live:)

Skånsk konstvävnad

Finally, some pictures from the course I attended in the end of June – on folk weaving of Skåne, southern county of Sweden (which I happened to live in). With Gunvor Johansson as a teacher, the main authority on the subject, she has been reconstructing old weaving patterns and making them available, as with rölakan (local variant of kelim) patterns here.

the warp is 12/3 or 16/3 linen, weft is wool.

a little sample with four different techniques from halvkrabba, dukagång, krabbasnår and rölakan (as the stripes follow from top to bottom):

and a little sample of trensaflossa

the first four are woven with wrong side up:

and one have to use a mirror to check if the pattern is coming out right:

Gunvor had piles of old and new (woven by herself) weavings

and piles of illustrated albums to get inspired by

our collective achievements

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