Stepping Away from Looms and Thoughts of Weaving, Today

(a post with references to 3-d printing and baby yarn from Daytons…..)

While looking forward to my Billedvev workshop at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum next week, this morning I did a small test for my class at North House Folk School on September 28-29, Scandinavian Fringe Embellishments: Folk Art on the Edge(s). Haven’t you frequently encountered instructors who enthuse over how much they learn from their students? That’s me, for sure.  During the first workshop, people immediately came up with ideas for projects using the many techniques we practiced, including a fuzzy necklace and embellishment for a felted bag. Here is a post about that marvelous class. It was in February 2018, and coincided with a giant snowstorm. This time we may show projects photographed against fall foliage, not snowdrifts!

Carol Morgen experimented with steaming Lamb’s Pride yarn to make the perfect pompom for a recently-made hat, and then used the forked-fringe technique to make kavelfrans for a gray and black bag she had felted.

In the class we learn many techniques for fringes and kavelfrans, the wonderful “fuzzy worm” technique, traditionally used on knitted mittens and gloves. Here are contemporary examples, made for the class.

I came up with a fairly quick way to make fulled fringes, twining yarn over a two-pronged fork and then sewing up the center with a sewing machine.

Different types of yarns work very differently for the steamed fringes. Generally, weaving yarns full up best. It is so much fun to be with a group of people testing their own yarns, sometimes with unpredicted results. And even if the results are predictable, they may be beautiful in their own way.  Hence, my test today, prompted by some interesting yarn in the free bin at the Weavers Guild. Minnesotans will understand.

It’s been many years since the beloved Minnesota department store was in business and even longer since it would have sponsored a private-label knitting yarn from Australia! I anticipated that this yarn, made into kavelfrans, would NOT full much, since it was already pre-shrunk.  I made a small piece with the baby yarn, and another with a singles wool that I know from experience “blooms” when steamed.  The upshot was that the baby yarn did not bloom much at all, but the result was still pleasing, just different that the wool that fulls significantly. In both cases, there are a couple of strands of a red synthetic yarn, that does not bloom.  You can see that in the baby wool kavelfrans, the red is more prominent, not covered by the fulled cream-colored yarn.

One upshot of the fun testing done at my last class at the Weavers Guild was a pair of noteworthy mittens made by Mary Skoy.  She figured out the scale of fringe that worked best for her tiny, exquisite mittens, and they even appeared in the Star Tribune.

I made the kavelfrans forks with steel rods and wood blocks, after testing various dimensions. But this year kavelfrans goes high tech. My amazing nephew, Evan Wurden, fabricated very special bases for the tines on his 3d printer–even labeled with my name and a Scandinavian star on each end. They work even better, as the plastic holds the tines more rigidly than the drill-pressed wood bases. Evan is a genius!

Come to the North House class, encompassing traditional and high tech, all in the name of camaraderie and creativity.

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