While I haven’t woven much of late, things are happening! I’ve moved everything from my studio, we have a new president (!), and I have a new granddaughter (!!). I am also working on the upcoming issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter, which will be out at the end of November. The major focus will be on the Norwegian three-shaft bound rosepath technique, Flesberg, named for a region in Buskerud where many banded coverlets in this technique were woven.
In 2003, weavers on the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum Textile Tour to Norway were awed by a museum exhibit of old coverlets in Flesberg technique. Afterwards a study group sponsored by the Norwegian Textile Letter was launched, after getting permission to use a compilation of patterns based on the old coverlets. Katharine Dickerson wrote an article on Flesberg for the Norwegian Textile Letter in 2006, and she explained,
The Flesberg Farm Women’s Organization has facilitated the creation of a booklet of patterns documenting these coverlets. Anna Bakken, from Kongsberg, borrowed the coverlets; ‘plucked’ from their patterns, attempted to find the original colors, and wove them anew. The patterns were then drawn up and written out on computer by her grandson, Håvard Strand. The Flesberg coverlet project was begun in 1991 and concluded in 1994. The coverlet patterns were taken from blankets woven in the period from 1850 to 1920. Each farm had its own combinations and variations of patterns. Some farms produced more than one pattern. There was a total of 30 patterns in the resulting documentation.
We have been given permission to share the patterns and booklet! They will appear in the issue, as well as additional inspiration: photos of the pieces woven by members of the Flesberg Study Group, and photos of some of the older pieces from farms in the Flesberg area. And three more Flesberg articles. It will be great.
I participated in the Flesberg Study group and wove several pieces in the following years. This piece was on my studio wall and is now on my floor at home.
I wove a piece with fabric strips. The patterns were not so pronounced, but the effect was nice.
It’s in the “private collection” of my friend Catherine Furry, and looks lovely by a leather couch.
I made one predominantly in brown, using Rauma prydvevgarn, now in New Haven with my friend Martha Brogan.
I wove another wool piece and was not happy with the balance of the pattern bands I chose. Below is one of the bands. Ultimately, I unwove this piece. Here is the lesson learned: if you are unhappy with the results of your weaving, roll it up and put it in a chest while you are lamenting your imperfections. I’m so sorry I destroyed it. What was I thinking?!
Finally, here is a detail from the piece I like the best. Reds and yellows, crisply rendered in prydvevgarn.
A few issues ago, we started publishing articles that appeared in earlier, black-and-white print-only issues of the Norwegian Textile Letter, as part of the “Retro Reprints” series. The new digital versions include more photos, and in color. And in the case of the upcoming Flesberg article reprint, it sparked a raft of additional articles.
As an example of the fun transformation available with new photos, here is a photo from the original article, “Flesberg Boundweave System” by Katharine Dickerson. She wove a cover for her futon in her yurt.
This photo is a bit better, don’t you think?
I think the upcoming issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter will inspire many weavers to try weaving a Flesberg piece. Watch for it, by the end of November.