Norway and Sweden Adventures Await

I leave for Norway on Saturday! I will stay with my friend from weaving school (Valdres Husflidsskole), Inger Berit Myhre, to begin. She lives in Bjørkelangen, between Oslo and the Swedish border. We will have a day in the city on Tuesday to see the new Nasjonalmuseet, and also to check their archives for Frida Hansen materials. (I am planning a longer Norwegian research trip in the future.) After a quick trip to Inger’s cabin in Sweden, I will take the train cross-country to the craft school Sätergläntan, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. I’ve been Norway-centric in my weaving and research over the years, and decided that it was about time to weave a bit in Sweden and spend time in Dalerna.

From Friday, June 16-Thursday, June 22, I will be taking a class from Monica Hallén on rag rug weaving techniques. I’ve been inspired by Monica’s work since buying her beautifully-formatted book, I trasmattans värld från A-Ö [In the World of Rag Rugs from A-Ö].

Monica sent a materials list that specified worn cotton strips in many tones of one color, along with contrast colors in solid and patterned fabrics. Old linens would work well, she suggested. I follow instructions, so I found two old white tablecloths, an indigo dye kit I bought a couple of years ago, and a bucket from the garage.

I dyed the tablecloths and some patterned fabric with a white background in two batches. This was an instructive process for an inexperienced dyer. Did you know that if you twist up big wads of fabric and then punch it around in the water a bit, it will still come out very streaked? Luckily for this project, that doesn’t matter. I also dyed the first two sections darker than I intended.

I caught up on a lot of news shows on my laptop while cutting narrow strips from the piles of dyed fabric and some other contrast pieces from my stash.

The next step was rolling the strips into balls. Since I felt pressed for time, I took bags of strips to my book club yesterday, and apologized that I needed to roll balls while talking. Give them to us, my friends insisted, we’ll help. “How do you want them done?” they asked. It doesn’t matter, I said, they are skinny and I don’t worry about them lying flat in the shed – they get squished anyway. I proceeded to roll a big ball fairly willy-nilly as I watched Mary Skoy and Jan Mostrom carefully wind perfect, dense balls of flawlessly flat strips. Oh my, they were works of art. I was so wrong. You will never see a rough-edged ball in my basket again.

Jan’s smaller ball of perfection weighs only slightly less than my bigger messy ball. Peony blooming is so fleeting, I needed to include them.

Here are the final bags of strips, ready to be wound during a road trip tomorrow.

When I purchased the dye kit, I wrapped a couple of little t-shirts for Eleanor and Fitz. Last night they got them, and insisted on putting them on to go to bed.

Quite light out at a 7:30 bedtime in June!

After the class my adventures will continue with visits to friends in Leksand and Stockholm before heading home on June 26. I’ll keep you posted…

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