My Toika: First a Woolen Sail, and now a Krokåkle

I made a rule; I can’t weave on any of my three projects until the warps are in place on all of them. One down: my tapestry loom is ready for a billedvev. Two: my Toika floor loom at the studio is finally prepared for a rug.  I haven’t used it since the loom went out, in pieces, to Martha Brummit’s apartment in May, so she could weave a sail for the Viking-style boat she made herself.

Martha gave me a ride on Lake Calhoun.

Hear more about Martha’s weaving and boat-building adventure at a public lecture at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota on November 14, 6:30-8. It will be held in the auditorium at the Textile Center of Minnesota, 3000 University Ave SE # 100, Minneapolis, MN 55414, USA (map).

When I set my loom back up, I worked very hard to be sure all the shafts and lamms and treadles were perfectly hung and level, wound on yards of heavy linen rug warp, threaded the heddles, sleyed the reed, tied it on, and only then noticed a hanging thread right in the center of the loom. (For non-weavers, this process was many podcasts long.) But now it is ready to go.

I will weave a wool rug in krokbragd, using a variation described in a book I bought in Norway a while back,  Åklebragder fra Jondal og kring Følgefonna, by Kristiane Skintveit, 2012 (Coverlet Patterns from Jondal and around Følgefonna). I love the patterns described in the chapter titled “Krokåkle” (loosely translated as “crooked coverlets”). The first paragraph includes a wonderful description of the head-end and foot-end of the coverlet.

The name come from the krokbragd technique, which is characterized by  angles, crosses, and grids in varying patterns. These coverlets are woven primarily in krokbragd on a floor loom. A few include narrow borders in stripes, pick-and-pick, or halvsmett (small designs picked by hand). Most are woven in two pieces on a narrow loom and sewn together afterwards. The coverlets were bed coverings and rarely larger than 120 x 170 centimeters (70″ x 47″). The patterns and colors were chosen for placement in the bed. The bottom and top colors are white. The head end consists of a surface pattern of broad, varying borders over two-thirds of the coverlet. A lighter border marks the transition to the foot end, which has more random patterns in lighter or different colors than the head end. There the weaver used colors from left-over dyepots, color tests of aniline dyes, leftover yarn, and blended natural-color yarns that weren’t suited to dyeing. They weren’t so careful about the foot end of the coverlet, as it was folded over the feet for warmth’s sake. It wasn’t possible to switch the coverlet around, but it was a practical way to use the resources they had.

Examples of krokåkle, from p. 68 of Kristi Skintveit’s book.

I love the overall patterning of the krokåkle coverlets, especially the rows of crosses. Here’s my challenge with this rug–to weave a variety of the wide borders, and use up much of two bins of thick Swedish singles yarn. I have a lot of the yarn, but only one skein of almost all of the colors. Can I dive into this wide variety and come up with a beautiful result?  It will be a puzzle at the loom.

One comment

  1. Hi Robbie,

    I have a lot of rug wool from Nedra Granquist to price….some is that nice stuff you like from Sweden etc, but all is nice quality if you need any specific color, let me know.!! Always enjoy your posts… Paula