Grene rugs and blankets were a traditional style of blanket woven by the Saami on warp weighted looms. They were made of hand spun wool. The top edge of the blanket had a braid that was woven using a Saami weaving reed. The weft threads of the braid were the ends of the lengths of warp threads. This braided edge helped to provide the correct sett to the weaving and created a firm and stable border which was then tied to the top beam of the warp weighted loom.
Tenntrådsbroderi, or embroidering with pewter or tin thread is almost a lost art. The Saami used tin thread since the 1600’s to decorate their clothing. The tin was obtained by melting down old pewter plates and dishes and was spun into thread. The use of pewter thread has recently become fashionable in jewellery items such as pewter braided reindeer leather bracelets worn by actors such as Benedict Cumberbatch.
Tugging on a bit of pewter thread has led me down a new path of unraveling some of the intricately beautiful textile crafts of my ancestors.
The first use of pewter dates back to the Bronze Age. Pewter was used by the Egyptians and later the Romans, and came into use in Europe for tableware and jewellery from the Middle Ages.
One of the traditional Saami duodji crafts is leathermaking. I thought I would give it a try. I started with something simple by purchasing a Sami bracelet kit from a Sami supplier in Sweden TNKReativt.
The bracelet kit includes a piece of reindeer leather, tin thread, artificial sinew, clear nylon thread, sewing thread, a sewing needle, a leather needle and a reindeer antler button.
Sami Duodji is all traditional handicraft that is made by the Saami people. The crafts are both artistic and have a functional purpose such as tools, clothing, knives, cups, bags, hats, belts, laces. These items have been made by hand for many centuries and were used in everyday Sami life.
Recently there has been a growing interest in Sami crafts throughout the world. I think it is wonderful that other crafts people are learning about traditional Sami style handicrafts and techniques.
I have been doing a study on Sami braid weaving and I noticed that the ends of the braids are often finished with a simple braid technique of finger weaving or open braiding the ends.
Books and patterns for making woven bands and braids, tablet weaving, card weaving, rigid heddle.
A You Tube video demonstrating how to weave using a Sami 2 hole weaving reed - The Beaivi Loom.