Setting up Smålandsväv
Smålandsväv is a double harness weave that can be woven on a large framed loom without the need of a drawloom attachment.
I fell in love with Smålandsväv last spring at Vävstuga. My notes, blog and memory, along with Becky’s video – Dress You Swedish Drawloom and the book – Damask and Opphämta guided countless hours of preparation and set-up. I am grateful to Becky for her attention to details both in class and in her video. And I appreciate Betsy, a local weaver, for gifting me this classic book which is out of print. My new weaving friend Taeko spent several days discovering the ways of Smålandsväv while assisting with the set up. We had many “learning experiences”, laughed a lot, and proved that “many hands make light work”.
The 4 rows of heddles near the reed create the pattern and are hung with elastic bands on shaft bars borrowed from a smaller loom to allow the shafts to be pulled down into the loom. In addition, two rows of large-eyed heddles are hung closer to the warp beam to support the plain weave. These shafts are counterbalanced with pulleys and held with elastic bands for extra support.
As I sampled, I had occasional errors in the plain weave. The book showed the plain weave tied to the middle treadles and with this tie up, I could not get a good rhythm. Finally, after multiple errors and increasing frustration while sampling, I recalled (and saw in my class notes) that on the Smålandsväv loom at Väv Immersion, the plain weave was tied up to the treadles to the right and with the pattern on the left and middle treadles. Once I made this change, there were no more plain weave errors!
Smålandsväv, like many drawloom set-ups has a narrow shed. The Glimåkra damask shuttles fit well in the pattern shed, provided I advanced the warp regularly. However, the the damask shuttle would get stuck in the shed while weaving the plain weave. I adjusted the narrow shed to create a bit more space and then recalled that Bob, a weaver from the local guild, had gifted not only me, but our entire group of local weavers, with beautiful slim shuttles he had hand crafted in his woodshop. This shuttle slid with ease through the narrow plain weave shed and gave an extra damask shuttle for the pattern weave, thus allowing fewer quill/color changes! Many thanks to Bob for this amazing shuttle!
The warp is a beige 16/2 cotton set at 30 ends per inch in a 15 dent reed. The weft pattern uses various colors of 16/2 cotton doubled and a white 16/2 cotton single for the plain weave. The warp is long to allow plenty of sample space and length to weave 7 or 8 scarves/table runners. Like an empty canvas, the warp awaits to be woven with a variety of colors and designs!
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The winter and early spring brought other textiles pleasures as well – all in various shades of teal. I knotted the fringe and helped with finishing touches on friend Renee’s beautifully woven scarf – her very first handwoven textile! The cottolin bath towels woven at Väv Immersion continue to be a delight to use – no more bulky, fuzzy towels for me! These handwoven towels are light as a feather, absorb with ease, and wrap comfortably around one’s body. I also appreciate the lightweight when I swaddle my hair with these towels.
Night-time knitting produced a lovely warm hat that actually covers my ears and my first lace knit scarf. I was fortunate to be a part of a Brooklyn Tweed knitting group at SPUN, our new local yarn shop. Participants were guided by Christine, Pattern Support Lead for Brooklyn Tweed and Carol, Co-Owner of SPUN. It was great to increase my knitting skills and get to know other fiber artists in Ann Arbor.
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Spring brought forsythia to brighten the window which houses the new year’s paper stars that gave sparkle to the house during the dark of winter. And now the days are becoming too warm to enjoy my new scarf and hat. And so I’ll trade them happily for time in my garden. Happy Spring to you all!