Grandma’s rug weft

When I looked deeper into my box with rags cut for weaving, I found a ball that seemed to have at least two colours in it. The weft was clearly cut by my grandma, so the ball has followed me for centuries. My mother gave it to me in the 80s when I bought my first loom. I also found some blue rag weft that a friend gave me in the 80s, and green-white stretchy rags that came with my new loom.

Rag weftSo let’s see what’s in the pink-white ball:


There’s off white cotton of several kinds, some tightly woven, some that seems to be of the kind used for bandage, muslin, a cotton band that must have been used for lining, and pink, shiny fabric that must have been underwear of some sort.

The cotton band with sewing threads still hanging from it:


Grandma has sewn some of the rags together with black yarn:


… or red!


And all of a sudden I find something forbidden: a knot. And soon after more knots. Why did she do this? She strictly forbid me to use knots when she taught me how to cut rag weft:


Don’t mind the green weft above. It’s there only to separate the place mat I wove earlier from the blue-white-green-pink rug I’m weaving now, and will be removed later.

I tried to open one of the knots, but grandma was strong still in her old age. She was close to 90 years old when she sat in our garden turning old clothes into something useful. I couldn’t open the knot, so I decided to leave everything in the ball as it was and just beat it into the weave.


Knot bobble. It feels nice under my hand:


I don’t mind the bobbles! This will not be a very strong rug weave as I don’t beat very hard.

This is one way of cutting fabric. When you reach the end of the piece, cut like this. You can also cut to the end and sew the pieces  together. Nowadays I think people just trim the ends and place them along side each other and beat them in. I do that most of the time when I weave poppana.


I have two more balls that may contain surprises. I won’t open them, I’ll just weave and see what will reveal:


Oh grandma! I loved her. She worked hard from early childhood, only the last years where easier. She used to sit by the window watching people go by, and once in a while she made coffee and we had a cup together. I’m so happy she lived in our house the last few years of her life.

Yes yes loom!

So now I’m started. As I haven’t woven with a loom for almost 30 years, I started with plain weave and poppana rags, the industrially produced thin rag weft that was so popular in the 80s here in Finland. You can still buy it in weaving shops. I found my old poppana in the attic, and also some of my grandmother’s rags, probably from the 60s. She used to sit in the sun in the summers and cut old clothes into rug weft. She would hurt her fingers from all that cutting, so she wound some of the rags around her thumb and middle fingers to protect them.

Hubby went to work the day I was to wind on, so I decided to do it on my own. It’s good to have thick, heavy books in your shelves! I put weights on the warp, wound on, opened more of the warp chain and adjusted the with, fetched a bucket and filled it with heavy books and attached it to the warp, wound on 10 meters of cotton… it’s not the best wind on you’ve seen, but I think it’ll work even if I’ll probably have to adjust some warp threads when finishing the fabric. That’ll be easy, as I weave short pieces like place mats.

Winding on the warp
Threading the heddles
Sleying the reed
Weaving poppana

The most difficult thing was to crawl into the loom to tie up the horizontal lamms and the treadles. And then I had to crawl out again! I’m not in the same shape I was 30 years ago. But after the third time I felt I was ten years younger – what a work out this is! When I asked people at the Väv 14 event in Umeå what kind of loom I should get for the needs I have nowadays, quite many said “not a counter march loom”. I was quite surprised, because 30 years ago that was exactly what you should get if you were a serious weaver. The explanation was even more surprising: it’s difficult to tie the treadles!

But I’m not afraid of tying the treadles, and after having tied the lamms for the first time I won’t have to do it again, as they are always the same, only the treadles vary. I have good books with clear instructions. I’ve done it before. I think it’s good for me to do difficult things, and besides, it’s difficult only the first time you do it. So contrary to the advise from these well meaning persons I now have a horizontal counter march loom, and I love it. It feels wonderful to grip the beater and have a go at it. The sheds rise perfectly, which is one of the advantages of the counter march.

I have more fun to learn: weaving terms in English and Swedish. I learned to weave in Swedish, but the weaving book we used was in Finnish, so I learned most of the terms in that language. The Finnish book is the best I’ve seen, and luckily I still own it. Many of my Finnish readers will know it: “Kankaita kutomaan”, written by Arja Hauhia and Marja-Liisa Paavola.


And otherwise? It’s soon November. This cactus, Schlumberga truncata, is called “November kaktus” in Swedish, because it often blooms in November. It was out under the rowans in the summer, and now it thanks us with lots and lots of pink flowers.

I am with loom!

I don’t have much to say because I’m stunned – I keep admiring my new (second hand) loom. I have been longing for a loom for a long time, and all of a sudden I have one.



It’s a counter march, 120 cm, 8 shaft loom. Perfect! Kasper isn’t interested at all. I had a similar, but bigger one, in the 80s. It’s made in a prison, a kind of therapy work I think is excellent.

I’ll return when I have something more to say!

Sukupolvien silmukat




För mina svenska läsare: boken är på finska med ett kort engelskt sammandrag, så jag talar om vad jag tycker bara på finska (=gillar!) 

For my English readers: the book is in Finnish with a short summary in English, so I’m telling how I like it only in Finnish (=like!)

Upea kirja karjalaisesta neule- ja piilosilmukkaperinteestä sukissa ja käsineissä!

Jo kirjan nostaminen nettikaupan pakkauksesta sai minut haukkomaan henkeäni. Voi kuinka kaunis kirja! Ajattelin että näin upea, painava (=laadukas paperi) ja suurikokoinen kirja kielii huolellisesta työstä.

Ja niin tosiaan on. Koska olen kiinnostunut tekstiilihistoriasta, olin hyvin iloinen huomatessani kuinka paljon mallien taustatietoja kirjassa on. Kauniit, selkeät valokuvat, helposti luettavaa tekstiä, hienot värit… Valokuvaaja on Marko Mäkinen ja kustantaja Maahenki, joka sekin takka laadun.

Kirjan mallit pohjautuvat museolöytöihin. Kaikista on tehty uusi versio tämän päivän langoista. Jokaisen mallin kohdalla mainitaan museo ja esineen arkistonumero, joskus on myös valokuva museoesineestä.


Minua kiinnostaa erityisesti kirjan kiinteillä ketjusilmukoilla virkatut mallit. Yritin joitakin vuosia sitten löytää enemmän tietoa tämän tekniikan käytöstä Suomessa ja erityisesti Pohjanmaalla artikkelia varten, mutta en löytänyt oikeastaan mitään muuta kuin maininnan käsineistä Hjördis Dahlin väitöskirjassa “Högsäng och klädbod”.  Marketta Luutonen välitti minulle pari valokuvaa Kansallismuseosta, mutta siihen se sitten jäi. Ruotsista olin aikaisemmin löytänyt muutaman kirjan, koska siellä tekniikka on säilynyt pitempään kuin Suomessa. “Sukupolvien silmukat” sisältää sekä malleja että kuvia lapasista, käsineistä ja sukista. Kirjassa keskustellaan myös tekniikan nimestä, joka ei ole ihan yksiselitteinen millään tuntemallani kielellä. Törmäsin siihen hakiessani tietoja sekä kirjoista että netistä suomeksi, englanniksi, tanskaksi, ruotsiksi ja norjaksi (ehkä myös saksaksi, en enää muista).


Kirjan tekijät ovat Pia Ketola, Eija Bukowski, Leena Kokko, Anne Bäcklund ja Sari Suuronen. Kiitän heitä suurenmoisesta työstä!

Korinpohjasukat Jääskestä. Muutama viikko sitten näytin korinpohjasukkia Vöyriltä tässä blogissa. Jokohan pitäisi tarttua puikkoihin? No, se oli pelkästään retorinen kysymys, johon vastaan “kyllä”. Aion myös tarttua koukkuun.


Hats in Myrbergsgården

In an earlier post I wrote about socks you can see in one of the museums in my municipality. Today I want to show you hats from that same amazing museum, Myrbergsgården = Ant’s Hill House, if you wonder :)

Some of these are skilfully crocheted children’s hats. Sometimes they were made for women, who wore them as an extra layer under the head cloths for more warmth. Indoors they took off the head cloth, but sometimes kept the hat. The houses, and especially the small cottages, where not always very warm in winter in those days, i.e. the end of the 19th century – beginning of the 20th. As you can see, they were crocheted in the round. The pattern designs are the same you can find in crocheted clothes and purses here on the Ostrobothnian coast.

Tapestry crocheted hats
Tapestry crocheted hats

Close up: I still haven’t had time to see how they solved the problem with going from crocheting in rounds to making a flat piece. You can do it in two ways. Either you continue working in rounds and make a steek afterwards, or you cut the threads after each row. I really can’t tell from my photos which method they used.

Tapestry crocheted hat with Twisted S design

The Twisted S design is often used in the Korsnäs sweater, but you can also find it in suspenders and purses. It’s one of my favorits, I often use it in purses.

I have tried to copy this hat, made and used by an elderly woman as her indoor hat, but it’s very hard to find out exactly how the increases are made. I think this design must be made exactly like this. It’s charming with it’s slightly irregular “propellers”. If you make it regular it looses much of its charm.

Image 2

Image 1

These plain knitted caps were also used under the head cloth. Some of them are machine knitted. Knitting machines where common before WWII in my municipality. This is a simple but highly usable sock heel construction:

Machine knitted cap


Twisted stitches



Hope you enjoyed! To me head gear are constant objects of amazement. It seems we put just anything on our heads! I think  the hats I just showed you are lovely. When I get even older than I am now, I’ll crochet a hat like that for me to wear on cold winter days.

Weaving and spinning in Umeå

I have been to my first Vävmässa! I have wanted to go for a long time, but thought I really don’t need to as I’m a spinner, not a weaver. This year the fair was in Umeå just across the Gulf of Bothnia, so I decided to go. And I’m happy I did. It’s three years until the next Vävmässa, so there’s time to plan for the next weaving feast!

First of all I met three spinners from Sweden: Britt-Marie, Kia, and Elaine. The next day Britt-Marie, Elaine and I spun at the World Wide Spin in Public event that took place by the entrance of the fair ground. If you are in the Umeå area next week, this is the place to go: Fiberfestivalen. It’s next to Umeå with easy access on train or bus.


I saw so many beautiful weaving, high class yarns, and looms. There were exhibitions of old an new weaving mainly from northern Sweden, a workshop area, and of course vendors. This was the first thing I saw when I entered the vendor area, and I thought Oh my god, how will I see anything among all those tall Swedes? I’m quite short, you know. But I soon found that the grounds were big enough with lots of space, so it didn’t feel too crowded once you were there.


Some woven examples:






There was so much to see and marvel at for a non-weaver. I bought thin organic cotton yarn for my band weaving, and the awesome shuttle for band weaving from Stoorstålka, and a book.

On Saturday I spindled the whole day except for lunch and purchasing the yarns. It was a fun WWSIP, and I met several spinners from Sweden I didn’t know from earlier. Some only dropped in to say hello, like several members of the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.

Here are Gunnar, Britt-Marie, Monica, and Elaine, and my things in the basket on the floor:


Take a look at the lady’s skirt: soon I’ll show more of that design!

I also saw a very rare person: a “hårkulla”, Nina Sparr who makes accessory from human hair. This craft used to be an income for women in earlier days. Now there aren’t many left, so I was lucky to see one.



I had two wonderful days abroad. Umeå is a nice town with lots of birches, as the rest of that region. That’s why the weaving classes had a beautiful display of tapestries with birch motives hanging in the entrance:


The Samis were represented with bands and some very fine tapestries, and Stoorstålka helped people with band weaving problems. So let’s finish with two bands and a tapestry showing the Sami landscape with reindeer: