I have been working with reindeer leather for the past year or so, hand stitching and making small bags, purses and pouches. My interest in reindeer leather began when I decided I wanted to weave and work with materials from my Saami heritage. My grandmother used to make reindeer leather shoes, bags and other items that she sold to the Sami community in Northern Norway. Many of these types of items were embellished with hand woven colourful bands or pewter thread embroidery. After doing some research in online museum archives, I discovered that fish skins were also tanned and used to make bags and other items.
I first learned about fish tanning during one of the textile and dye workshops that I attended in Finland. I thought I would do a bit more research on the various ways to tan a fish and make it into useable leather.read more
Vadmal (Wadmal) is a woven wool cloth that has been felted. Felting the fabric after weaving, thickens the cloth and makes it wind and water resistant as well as warm. Vadmal is generally woven in a tabby or a twill weave on warp weighted or floor looms.
In order to felt the fabric, there are two methods that can be used. The wet fabric can be pounded in a hammer mill for several hours in order to flatten and thicken the fabric. The hammering process creates a fabric that looks more like “real cloth” and produces a stable fabric with very little nap and the wool keeps its shine. The wool fabric can also be pounded and stamped by placing the fabric in a large bucket filled with water and stamping with your feet.read more
A Raanu rug was traditionally a flat weave weft faced handwoven wall hanging that was sometimes also used as a bed covering. The warp is made of cotton rug yarn or sometimes linen yarn, and the weft is woven of multicoloured fine wool yarns, often a single ply. The weave structure is a repp weave and the weft is beaten down firmly so that the warp yarns are fully covered.read more
Further to my previous article about weaving pickup on a band loom, there is a quicker method that you can use. Previously, I had woven the pickup by individually picking up each pattern thread by hand. This method works but it is slow and is prone to errors, as it takes a lot of concentration to correctly pick up the pattern thread by thread.read more
To warp my new Glimakra band loom, I use a method that is similar to the way that I warp my large floor looms, front-to-back. The total length of the band loom is about a meter, a comfortable distance to reach both the back and the front beams of the loom, if you sit on the side, facing the heddles. This will feel a bit awkward at first, if you are used to working from the front beam of a floor loom. But everything is accessible, the front beam, the heddles, the back beam and the pedals. I do find the loom a bit high so that my shoulders get sore while working on it. Sitting on a higher chair such as a dining room chair, or the weaving bench helps to alleviate this problem.
I wind the warp on a warping board. When making narrow striped bands, you do need to change colours frequently, but it isn’t difficult to tie the previous end to the warping peg, and tie on a new colour.
In this simple band, I am using 40 ends of different colours. The draft shows which shaft to thread the yarn through alternating between the 2 shafts, Shaft 1 (Front heddle) Shaft 2 (Back heddle)read more
Now that I have retired from the world of work, I have become more involved in production weaving. I am also now teaching workshops on a one-to-one basis. Here are some Links to my hand made products on Etsy and workshops that I offer.
Hand sewn reindeer leather and pewter thread bracelets, made in the Sami tradition.read more
I recently purchased a Glimakra 2 shaft band loom so that I can weave narrow bands more easily. I have been experimenting with how to also weave pickup patterns on this loom.
Although there are only 2 shafts on this loom, resulting in a tabby type of weave structure, you can also add another warp thread that does not go through one of the heddles. The warp thread rests on the front and back beam and does not move when the sheds are raised and lowered. The extra pattern thread sits in between the 2 threads that go up and down. This makes it possible to manually pick up or raise the pattern thread so that it shows above the ground weave. The pattern threads that are dropped, then move below the surface to the underside of the band.read more
The latest loom to enter my loom collection is a 2 shaft band loom made by Glimakra. I like to weave narrow bands using a small, hand held rigid hedddle, but I am hopeful that a band loom will make the band weaving process more efficient.
The Glimakra band loom arrived (Ikea style) in a box, as an assortment of wooden sticks and a one page diagram of how to put the bits together.
After a bit of pondering, I sorted the wooden bits into sections.read more
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