Process Review: Jämtlandsdräll with Julia

My intention is to weave fabric for a couple of cushy throw pillows. But after just one pattern repeat, I realize that this cloth on my brand new Glimåkra Julia is something I would like to wear! No pillows this time. Instead, here is my new autumn/winter shoulder wrap, embellished with frisky swinging fringes. Miss Julia has proven her worth on four-shaft Jämtlandsdräll (crackle) in 6/2 Tuna wool. Her next adventure will be something that explores all eight shafts. (See My New Glimåkra Julia Loom.)

Jämtlandsdräll Wool Wrap - woven on Glimåkra Julia.
Finished wrap. Ready for cool weather!

This project starts with the draft for the Jämtlandsdräll Blanket on p.59 of Simple Weaves, by Birgitta Bengtsson Björk and Tina Ignell. Tuna yarn samples, along with Fiberworks Silver for Mac, help me jazz up the color. I settle on three colors for the warp, with burnt orange as the anchor. Six different colors are used for the pattern weft, plus dark teal for the tabby.

Planning my next weaving project on Fiberworks.
Paint chips, Tuna yarn samples, and Fiberworks Silver for Mac aid my planning process.
Colors! Let's see how they work together on the loom.
Colors! Let’s see how they work together on the loom.
Beaming the warp on my new Julia.
Beaming the warp.
Weaving Jamtlandsdrall (Crackle) on my new Julia.
Daylight, plus colorful yarn. As summer is warming up outside, Julia is dressed warmly inside.
Weaving Jamtlandsdrall (crackle) on my new Julia.
There is something about weaving with a double-bobbin shuttle that I especially enjoy.
Color gradation in the pattern.
Some color gradation in the pattern.
My new Glimakra Julia!
Miss Julia, filling up her cloth beam.
Crackle (Jamtlandsdrall) in Tuna Wool.
Ending with a few picks of plain weave.
End of warp on my new Glimakra Julia.
Thrums at the end of the warp will serve as fringe.
Cutting off Jamtlandsdrall (crackle)!
Cutting off, giving a view of the back side of the cloth. Front and back have reverse images.
Jämtlandsdräll, just off the loom.
Jämtlandsdräll, just off the loom.
Twisting fringe on Jamtlandsdrall wrap.
Much to my pleasant surprise, after removing (unweaving) my short sample weaving at the beginning, and untying the front tie-on knots, I had the EXACT same length of fringe–to the centimeter–on both ends of the woven wrap.
Chunky, frolicky fringe.
Overhand knots secure the weft. Two groups of four warp strands each form each chunky fringe. Now, this wrap is ready for wet-finishing.

This is one of those times when the weaving is so satisfying that I truly don’t want the warp to come to an end. (…except that I’m excited to start on Julia’s second adventure!)

Jämtlandsdräll Autumn/Winter Wrap
Jämtlandsdräll Autumn/Winter Wrap

May your adventures never cease.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Bom dia! Ficou lindo essa peça.Sou brasileiro, professor aposentado e estou tecendo a pouco tempo em um tear de quatro eixos que eu mesmo fiz. Gostaria de saber qual é a medida do tecido pronto? E onde encontro esse padrão para quatro eixos. Muito obrigado por compartilhar seu trabalho

    • Karen says:

      Google Translate: Good Morning! This piece was beautiful. I am Brazilian, retired teacher and I am recently weaving on a four axis loom that I made myself. I would like to know what is the measure of the finished fabric? And where do I find this pattern for four axes. Thank you so much for sharing your work

      Bom dia, Reinaldo!
      Thank you very much. The finished piece is 47cm (18 1/2”) wide and 146cm (57 1/2”) long, plus 14cm (5 1/2”) fringe on each end.

      This pattern is in the book “Simple Weaves,” p.59 “Jämtlandsdräll (Crackle) Blanket,” by Birgitta Bengtsson Björk and Tina Ignell, published by Trafalgar Square Books, Vermont, 2012. I changed the colors in the pattern.

      The weave structure is Jämtlandsdräll, also known as Crackle.

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Nannette says:

    Yep, a much better wrap.

    Beautiful !

    Can’t wait to see your next creation.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, It would have made a pretty throw cushion, but I already have plenty of those. This will be fun to wear!

      Thanks!
      Karen

  • Betsy Greene says:

    That’s a beautiful wrap! Thanks for sharing your design process.
    Betsy

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I’m glad you enjoyed seeing a bit of my design process. I don’t usually use the weaving software, but this makes me want to put it to use more often. It helped to see different possibilities on the screen.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Cindy Bills says:

    Simply lovely! I so enjoy following along with your projects. You inspire me to try new techniques/projects with my looms. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindy, When I got the Julia, I decided to use the loom to weave something I haven’t done before on my own. (I wove Jämtlandsdräll at Vavstuga once, and have wanted to weave it again ever since.)

      It’s so exciting to try new things!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Nancy says:

    Beautiful! Love your style!

  • Elisabeth says:

    Gorgeous colors! And if not pillows, the wrap can double as a runner for a special holiday or something 🙂
    I love that you have looms in several spaces, with your dedication it makes sense. And you get a glimpse of your projects as you move around, what a joyful experience!
    Elisabeth

    • Karen says:

      Hi Elisabeth, I had the same thought that I could use this as a runner. The colors fit right in.

      It is a joyful experience to have looms scattered around. Each one has its place and purpose, and I’m free to let them work or rest, as needed.
      I always enjoy your thoughtful responses.

      Love,
      Karen

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Another Conversation with Becky Ashenden of Vävstuga, Part 2

Becky pulled out her fiddle and handed it to me, and she sat at her old upright piano, ready to play. Believe it or not, I played fiddle tunes (not bad for a ‘cellist) while her fingers danced the keys. And that is how Becky Ashenden and I finished up our recent conversation. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Vävstuga. More Swedish Classics gave me a chance to learn a few things I had been especially eager to try, like smålandsväv, jämtlandsdräll (you may know it as crackle), and pick-up band weaving with a backstrap and rigid heddle. It was wonderful to sit and have a chat with Becky at the end of the week to talk about various aspects of weaving.  Click HERE to read the first part of our conversation.

Handwoven curtains frame the view at Vavstuga student quarters.

Handwoven curtains on windows in the Vävstuga student quarters frame the New England autumn view.

And now, enjoy this second part of my conversation with Becky…

What part of the weaving process especially energizes you, Becky? Planning, measuring warps, dressing the loom, weaving, finishing?

It might be a surprising answer. I really like threading; and I actually really like sleying. (Laughter) It is sort of mindless and repetitive. If the threading is not too complicated, I love the idea of listening to a book. I used to listen to a lot of recorded books while I was doing production weaving.

I do enjoy the physical process of the weaving, too. I think my brain thrives on the repetitive process. If my hands are physically busy, it helps my brain focus.

In what way does it help you focus?

My mind loves to wander. I can conjure up new classes, or new ideas if I am busy with something repetitive like weaving. And with threading, it is a peaceful time, and I can think. If it is a complicated threading, I focus on the threading; but that is engaging in its own way.

Sign on door to Vavstuga weaving studio.

Cheerful greeting as you enter the Vävstuga weaving studio. Even if you do not know any Swedish, you can guess the meaning of this word.

Speaking of classes and ideas… When I took Vävstuga Basics, some people in the class had been weaving for years. Why do you think people who already know how to weave come to your Basics class?

They know how to weave one way, and they may have been taught by other people. But, they don’t know how to weave the way I teach to weave. The Basics class gives the opportunity to learn how I do it from start to finish.

In other words, you teach things that they will only learn here?

People tell me they want to know how I do things. They ask me, “How do you dress your loom? And how do you handle a shuttle, get good selvedges, fix broken threads, understand drafting, and keep good records?” Well, that is my Basics class, where I share a lifetime’s worth of knowledge. I was taught extremely well, the old-school way, in Sweden. I have also developed my own shortcuts that I share with students.

How does it work to have students with various levels of experience in the same class? Might a beginner feel out of place?

No matter who comes to my Basics class, I cater to who is there. For those who are advanced, I give them something beyond what they have experienced already. I always give as much of my knowledge and experience as students are interested in and can absorb.

I also make the class work for a beginner. So, a beginner should not be intimidated at all.

Even someone who has never put a warp on a loom, or someone who has not been successful doing it on their own?

One thing that helps the beginner is simply that the warps are put on by everybody together. No one person is going to be left behind or put on the spot. The warps will go on; and, they will go on smoothly, because I oversee it. Students can partake in whatever amount of the process they can absorb.

Vavstuga More Swedish Classics - finished projects!

Gorgeous results from More Swedish Classics. Becky enjoys the students’ accomplishments.

It must be interesting to see what a beginner can accomplish in just five days.

Some people who come to Basics, who have not woven before, take to it like a fish to water. It makes sense to them, and they whip through everything. I have seen absolute beginners weave beautiful things. And they’ve never touched a loom before!

It might be more challenging for people who are used to doing things a different way. But I say, “Try this.” “Try holding your shuttle this way,” or, “Try stepping on the treadle this way.” It might be a completely different loom for them.

Does it matter what type of loom someone has at home? Does it make sense to come to Basics if they don’t have a loom like one of yours?

A lot of people are used to jack looms. So, another reason to come to Basics is to experience the looms we have. Come and learn how to use them firsthand from someone who has had decades of experience using these looms.

We have Glimåkra looms, both counterbalance and countermarch. There is a tie-up system that I developed for the countermarch which is unique. This is something that I teach in Basics. This method makes the countermarch tie-up very easy for the body. You spend as little time as possible under the loom. The sheds are accurate the first time.

I can attest to that. Your tie-up system makes it a breeze for me to set up my countermarch loom at home.

That simple tie-up system makes a huge difference. It opens up the world of being able to do multi-shaft weaves.

These Scandinavian looms are old-style looms. Originally, this loom design came from China. It moved across Asia, and then through Europe over the centuries. Big old barn looms are basically the same thing. A big frame loom with a hanging beater.

Does the hanging beater make a difference? What advantages do your students have by being able to weave on Swedish looms here?

The hanging beater is something that makes the weaving happen, almost by itself. It takes the physical work load, the body wear and tear, off of the human being.

The difference between weaving on a jack loom and on one of these Swedish looms is huge. Many people come my Basics class worried and concerned, saying, “I’ve never been able to weave for more than twenty minutes at a time because my back can’t take it.” And then, at the end of the week, they say, “I can’t believe that I wove for three days straight, and I don’t hurt!”

So, if someone is curious about weaving in general, or Scandinavian looms in particular, this would be a good chance to try it out.

This is the opportunity to explore weaving, and discover the possibilities. They can try it out on our looms, without the commitment of changing looms at home.

And have fun while they’re doing it.

It is the fun, the meeting other people, and the camaraderie, that makes it special. It is a whole social experience that is an absolute blast. Eating good food together… The social part of eating meals together, having a good time, laughing together, adds so much to the experience.

Mealtime at Vavstuga, with handwoven tablecloths and napkins, of course.

Tablecloths and napkins this time. Handwoven, of course. Table runners, placemats, napkins… It is always interesting to see how the table is dressed.

I think the enjoyment around the table helps us relax, making our studying and weaving time that much more effective.

People are not having other things to worry about. Your brain can focus and absorb as much as possible.

What is your primary goal for Vävstuga Basics?

The goal of Basics is to cover everything someone needs to know to be able to weave on their own. I want to give everybody the tools to do that.

I love that I can take everything I learn here and do it all on my own at home. Or, I can just come here and have the pleasure of weaving in good company.

Some people come because they are interested in learning the techniques that I teach, or to see if are they interested in this type of loom. And other people come to see if they are interested in weaving at all. They may want to learn how to do this; and then, they can come here and weave. Maybe they don’t have the space, or the money to buy the equipment, or to have a stock of yarns. But they can come here and weave.

We welcome students who come for all these different reasons!

Vavstuga's More Swedish Classics

Class is over for “More Swedish Classics.” It is fun to see everyone’s woven efforts across the table.

Becky, thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is always interesting to hear what goes on behind the scenes at Vävstuga!

I enjoyed it, Karen. It’s been my pleasure!

~~~

(I noticed that there is space available in upcoming Basics classes. That is good news!) 

May your experiences make you smile.

Weaving instead of fiddling,
Karen

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The Rosepath Warp

This Swedish rosepath is a weft-faced structure, which means the warp is covered by the weft. (To see more of what I wove during my week at Vävstuga Classics, click HERE and HERE.) Yes, you can see this linen warp preceding and following the woven wool weft, but if you look at just the patterned area, the warp is not visible. The treadling is simple (weaving on opposites); and because of many possibilities with pattern and color, designing at the loom is incredibly fun! Do you ever think about the warp that lies under the pattern and color of your life?

Rosepath on Opposites at Vävstuga.

Warp is 16/3 Line Linen (Bockens) and weft is Brage Wool Yarn (Borgs). Treadle one is paired with treadle three, and treadle two is paired with treadle four. This simple treadling, combined with color choices, provides endless design possibilities.

At times I find myself so involved in my day-to-day activities that I only think about what needs to get done, forgetting the unseen warp that provides the inner strength I need.

Swedish Rosepath on the loom at Vävstuga.

Inspired by New England’s autumn foliage, this piece is an attempt to capture the glory on display in creation.

Our creator’s goodness is so constant we can overlook it, forgetting how much we need his goodness to sustain our lives. And it is his unending love that gives meaning and stability to the overlaying patterns and colors that form our days. You do not have to see the warp with your eyes to know it is hidden within the beautiful rosepath weaving. The scenic autumn New England countryside that I enjoyed last week is the creator’s rosepath on display!

(Next week: You don’t want to miss my exclusive conversation with Becky Ashenden, the delightful master weaver of Vävstuga.)

May you discover hidden things worth discovering.

Having fun with rosepath,
Karen

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Wrap Up in a Handwoven Shawl

Next up on the big loom (Glimåkra Standard): Alpaca and tencel blend yarn, golden brown, to be woven in lace and plain weave to make a shawl. Wear faith and love as a protection for your heart, as you would wrap yourself with a handwoven shawl for comfort and warmth. Be prepared for the cool days of autumn and winter.

Alpaca-tencel for a shawl to be woven in plain weave and lace weave.

Alpaca 65% Tencel 35%, approximately 2400 yards per pound. This very fine, lightweight yarn should be perfect for a lacy shawl.

I am thankful our creator has given us security in the shawl of faith and love he has woven for us.

May you stay warm and secure as the days get cool.

In faith,
Karen

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