Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Jokkmokk Marknad 6 8 Feb 2020

Jokkmokk Market 2020 was a wonderful event. If you followed my blog whilst I was there you will have seen such glorious images.

Jokkmokk is within the Arctic Circle.  We stopped to take photographs of the sign.

One of the Arctic Circle stopping points.

We arrived a few days before the Market opened as I knew that there was going to be so much to see and so many people to meet.

Practically next door to the hotel was the Sami Doudji Centre.

Sami Doudji Centre near the hotel

Here I met Juhan for the first time having only corresponded by email. He was very busy because two exhibitions were being assembled in the Centre.

Juhan and I in the Sami Doudji Centre
The Sami Doudji Centre was very busy for the whole week and had drafted in additional help.  There was a great selection of beautiful Sami handicraft for sale.

Just one corner of the room!
I was very excited to find that three books on Sami weaving, which had long been out of print, were now for sale.

A selection of the books on sale

Here are two of them. Stoorstalka might be selling them soon.  I mention them on my blog on the page about weaving books from Sweden.

Here are the three books  which are now back in print.

(2000) published by Sameslojdstiftelsen Sámi  Duodji ISBN 91-631-0498-9

Girjjit Samisks vavmonster  Karesuando, Jukkasjarvi och Gallivare  (1999)  ISBN 91-630-9564-5
This book is excellent. The patterns are very clear and I understand that it was written by local weavers. 

Sjnjissjkot ja lahtat  Samiska band fran Arvidsjaur, Arjeplog och Mala  (2000) published by Sameslojdstiftelsen Sámi  Duodji ISBN 91-631-0499-7

There were a number of exhibitions in other venues both before and during the market.
The Old Pharmacy
The Old Pharmacy is on the central street and sells locally produced handicrafts.  There were several rooms and lots of interesting items for sale.

Inside the Old Pharmacy
The town was practically deserted for these few days, that is apart from the snow clearing and the officials marking out the spaces for the stalls.

I loved the ski baskets that people used when they were out shopping.

Laponia Adventures.  

We had booked the market portion of our holiday with Laponia Adventures.

Mirja from Laponia Adventures in the hotel lobby.
Here is Mirja who was our guide for the adventure part of the holiday - dog sledging and snow mobile,  a trip to see moose and meeting a reindeer herder.  It was excellent, as was the hotel which was in the centre of town.

Here I am dressed for a dog sledging trip.  I have two coats, a sleeveless warm fleece,  shirt and thermal vest with a thermal buff and hat and two pairs of trousers and leggings! On top of that I was given a ski suit to wear and very warm boots.

Very cosy
 The dogs were amazing.   There were two sledges with 12 dogs each.  We were driven for 12 kilometres and then we stopped for coffee and a bite to eat in a tent. It was minus 27 degrees centigrade!  I really needed the extra layers.  Unfortunately I forgot that camera batteries cease to function in the cold so it was difficult to take pictures.

Setting off after our coffee break
I did not go with the group to find moose as I wanted to spend more time in the museum. Martin and the group found over 30 moose and were able to take pictures.

Three moose

The Jokkmokk Market

The Market opened on the Wednesday evening and the market was open from Thursday to Saturday.
Juhan was part of the opening ceremony.

Juhan trying out the microphone before the opening ceremony

Part of the opening ceremony

Once the market opened,  Jokkmokk became very crowded.

 A busy day on one of the market streets
 Everyday at noon there is a paraded of reindeer.

One of the reindeer in the parade.

This is eagerly anticipated and very colourful.

There were a number of exhibitions of Sami handicraft including many colourful textiles.

Part of the exhibition of the work of students at the Sami handcraft school
Well, there is so much to show that I think  will write another blog about some of the exhibitions I saw.

Do check my Facebook page for more pictures and videos.
While I was in Jokkmokk I wrote a daily piece on Facebook.

Keep well and safe.

Braid Society Online Workshop

I am running a workshop for the Braid Society online starting in May.  The workshop is about weaving narrow warp-faced bands in stripes. It is free to join in. It will be hosted by the Braids and Bands groupsio site.

I hope to be able to make the workshop booklets more widely available. Check out my blog later this month for further details.

The equipment needed is the standard heddle.  The bands are simple warp-faced plain weave with no pick up. A pattern slot heddle like the Sunna heddle is not suitable.

Here is an outline of the sessions.

Week 1  An introduction to Sanada-Himo bands from Japan. Sanada-Himo are the traditional woven bands from Japan used to tie scrolls and boxes, and used in making samurai armour. Tamaki
Takagi wrote an interesting article about sanada-himo bands for her workshop in Tacoma., in 2016. It
was through her workshop that I became interested in these bands.
I will also introduce some other simple striped bands from around the world. The week will give you
a range of patterns to try if you want. The striped band seem to be used everywhere. These are the
ties that bind us all together in a community of handweavers.
You do not have to weave all of them. Just choose one that takes your fancy.

Week 2:  Simple ideas for designing your own stripe patterns.
This session and the next may be of interest to weavers, particularly those who like to weave plain
weave scarves.
In this session we will be looking at very easy ways of varying a striped pattern.

Week 3:  Further ideas for creative stripe designing
This session will give you ideas on how to design your own stripes from scratch. 

The equipment list has already been posted.  Anything will do from a standard heddle and backstrap, inkle loom, two shaft floor or table loom, tape loom, rigid heddle loom. As for materials, again cotton, wool, cottolin etc would be fine.  Why not reduce your stash!

I thought that it would be fun to share a workshop of easy-to-weave bands with some added exercises in making your own stripe patterns to weave.



Stoorstalka is open for mail order.They sell the Gepha shuttle and the standard heddle. The large white, the medium white and medium gold are suitable. The large white has 103 and the medium heddles have 63 slots and holes.  Most bands in the workshop have up to 60 warp ends but a few have more.  They can be woven on an inkle loom or a two shaft table or floor loom.

Woolery, USA

The Woolery is open for mail order as is the Woolery.
Standard heddles .and the Gepha shuttle are stocked by The Woolery in the USA
go to  They have a great selection of yarns for weaving and a variety of band weaving equipment which would also be suitable for the workshop including, band looms and inkle looms.

Happy weaving

Susan J Foulkes  April 2020

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Polish Asymmetrical Basket Weaving

I have always wanted to try basket weaving. Recently a friend  went on a one-day workshop and made a beautiful basket.  I decided to try as well so I enrolled for a one day workshop making a small  asymmetrical basket.  The workshop is held in a wonderful building just outside Durham City: Ushaw Historic House, Chapel and garden.

Ushaw was founded over 200 years ago to educate students for the Catholic priesthood, the vast estate contains buildings designed by Augustus Pugin and his followers, and is one of the most important examples of Victorian Gothic architecture in the North East. It is now a conference centre, bed and breakfast, offers workshops and beautiful gardens to enjoy.

Aerial view of Ushaw
The one day workshop is run by Jo from Abundant Earth.    The Polish asymmetrical basket is made with a solid wooden base, woven willow sides and a wooden handle.

Jo is a very experienced basket weaver.  They have a lovely Facebook page.

 I arrived at 9:45 and waited with the other seven workshop participants in the entrance lobby.
The entrance hall to Ushaw College

There was a a lovely walk to the workshop room

The amazing corridors
This is the tutor's basket - she made it yesterday in three hours!  It is beautiful and so evenly woven.  It is made of willow which she cut herself and dried. Then it was soaked for one week for this workshop.

The asymmetrical Polish basket. 
The workshop was in the William Allen gallery and was designed by Edward Pugin.  It was originally the Natural History Museum of the College and now houses visiting exhibitions and is used as an art gallery.
the workshop was held in the William Allen gallery.

The art work was for sale. There was a display of work  from Jo our tutor.

Display of work by the tutor for sale

Here is my base for the basket.  I had to choose 27 willow rods.

My base
Jo demonstrated how to make the base of the basket. It always looks so easy when an expert is demonstrating.

Jo demonstrating how to begin

the first round

One round complete

Here is my finished base.  I have attached all the upright willow rods and I am about to start the weaving.

I finished the base

I wove about four inches and then it was time for lunch.  I used two colours of willow.

After the morning session

We had our lunch in the Parlour,. This room was originally for the professors so that they could dine away from the students.  It was designed by Edward Pugin.

The parlour - what an amazing place to have lunch.
This is the refectory which is open to the public. This room was designed by Edward Pugin and was the dining hall for the students.  The dinners were eaten in silence. It is now Divines Tearoom and is very popular.

This is the refectory next door
Another view of our dining room.  I have never dined at such a large table with these  amazing candlesticks.
Another view of our lunch room

Back to work in the afternoon.
Weaving one side

Weaving the second side
By four o'clock we had all finished our baskets.  Mine is a bit wonky - but it is supposed to be asymmetrical.
my finished basket 
I had a wonderful day.  It was so absorbing although my fingers are quite sore. Bending willow rods is hard work.

It was really lovely to try a new craft. I have always wanted to try basket weaving.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Narrow Woven Bands: Coasters

Mug Mats  - Coasters

Here is a lovely idea to use narrow woven bands creatively. It is also a great way to use up some of your samples.

I made coasters out of bands woven in cottolin.

These are easy to make with a little patience and a steam iron.

For this coaster I have two woven bands made in cottolin.  The blue band was slightly wider than the patterned band.

I measured the width of the patterned band. There are nine 'rounds' of the patterned band interwoven through the blue band. Add on a little extra to allow enough space for the patterned band to be woven over and under the blue band.

I cut out a square of paper using the measurement. This is now the template for the blue band
Step 1
Take your template and lay in on a surface which you can use as an ironing board.  I use a marble pastry board. Make sure that your iron is ready.

Step 2

Lay out the blue band as shown.  You need to allow an extra length at the beginning which will be made into a tassel.

Step 3

Now take the band down and iron the fold firmly.  Take the band up and parallel to the first strip and again iron the fold firmly. 

Step 4

Step 5
Now you can start threading the patterned band over and under the blue band.  At each turn iron the fold firmly.

Step 6

Keep going until 9 rounds are completed. Once the coaster is woven, it can be pressed flat.

The next stage is to ensure that it will not unravel. Take a blue cotton yarn and carefully hem around the coaster. You only need to go around the edge of the blue and patterned bands at the edge of the coaster. Once those ends are hemmed, the coaster will be firm.

Now look at the four ends of the bands.  I unravelled the bands and then wrapped the loose warp ends to form a small tassel.

green and black

For this coaster, the black and the green patterned bands were the same width. There are 7 rounds for each of the woven bands.
The green patterned band is approx. 13 mm in width.

Multiply the width by 7 to get the width of the mug mat. 7 x 13  = 92mm

Add on a little extra to allow for the weaving .E.g.  92 + 5mm = 97mm

This should allow enough space for the green tape to be woven over and under the black tape.

I hope you have fun using up your stash of woven bands to make these lovely little items.

STOP PRESS!      Reprint

This lovely book by Barbro Wallin was first published in 2012. It has been unavailable for some time.   Barbro informed me that it has just been reprinted!

Here is a description of the beautifully illustrated book. It is in Swedish but the diagrams make it easy to understand.

This beautifully illustrated book is published by the Zorn Museum in Mora, Sweden. It is in Swedish but the band patterns are clearly set out. Barbro has carefully recorded the bands that she has woven over many years.  The bands are woven on a Swedish band loom using coloured heddles to choose the pattern threads.  The bands use a threading which has three background threads in between each pattern thread.

When I visited Sweden a number of years ago, I met Barbro.  She is a lovely lady, and a very skilled weaver and teacher.  She let me try her loom - although I was not very successful!  Her band records are filed neatly and are so meticulous. It puts me to shame.

She was generous with her time and took me to see some of the nearby sights as well as a guided tour of the museum.

Here are some of the samples that she kindly gave to me.  It is a real privilege to have some of her own woven bands.

Two samples given to me by Barbro

Here is her Facebook page about this type of weaving.                          

Do check out my Facebook page for pictures of the Sami winter Market in Jokkmokk. The market is open for three days but earlier in the week there are a number of handcraft exhibitions which open on Monday. 

Happy Weaving for 2020.

Susan J Foulkes  February 2020