Let's Weave . . . Krokbragd
In previous posts, I've extolled my love of Scandinavian woven textiles; their simplicity of design, their colors, the variety of pattern motifs, and just the pleasure I find in weaving them. If you remember, my first Scandinavian weaving project was Telemarksteppe.
Today is another Scandanavian technique, this time from Norway, called Krokbragd. Krokbragd (meaning “crooked path”) is a weft-faced twill structure. In a weft-faced weave, the warp is completely hidden by the weft. This produces a thicker and heavier fabric that is great for rugs, wall hangings, and table linens; however probably not the best choice for a scarf or shawl.
Common krokbragd designs include squares, dots, zigzags, flowers, guitars, and flame points.
Krokbragd is woven on 3 shafts threaded as a point twill. The 1-2-3 twill treadling rotation remains constant with every third pick being a plain-weave row. This provides stability to the woven fabric. In the photos below, you can see the front is a tightly woven fabric (left photo) despite longer floats on the wrong side (right photo).
In krokbragd, weaving 3 weft rows (picks) equals 1 row of pattern. Since the weaving sequence (treadling) never changes, the patterns develop by changing the colors and their orders. In choosing one, two, or three different colors for the 3-pick pattern rows, an amazing number of designs are possible. For example, if the same weft color (say white) is used for all 3 picks, a solid line of white will be created. If you weave 2 picks of blue and 1 of white, spots or dashes of white will appear in that row. If this same color order is used for several 3-pick sequences, columns of color will develop.
As I have already mentioned, the warp is completely hidden by the weft in krokbragd. So, other than holding the fabric together structurally, the warp yarn doesn’t enter into the finished design. In general, the warp choice should be a stronger and finer size than the weft yarn. I used undyed Nialin (cotton/linen) 22/2 for my warp.
The pattern is developed solely from the colors used in the weft. The weft yarn choice is typically a larger size and softer than the warp; something that will pack in well and cover the warp. The krokbragd pattern stands out most prominently when there is a high contrast in color value (light/dark) between weft yarns. I used 4 colors of worsted weight wool yarns for my weft.
In addition to the yarn choices, the warp needs to be spaced far enough apart so that the weft packs in densely enough to obscure the warp. I used a sett of 8 ends per inch (epi) and 36 picks per inch (ppi).
Because krokbragd is a 3 shaft weave, it can be woven on a table or floor loom, as well as on a rigid heddle loom with either pick-up sticks or a double heddle. I wove these coasters on a Kromski rigid heddle loom with two 8 dent rigid heddles.
I followed the drafts for the krokbragd coasters by Jane Patrick published in the March/April 2001 issue of Handwoven magazine. This calls for a 3 1/2 yards long warp. I wove the 6 different coasters from the article, allowing 8 inches of warp between each one. I still had plenty of warp left, so I wove a seventh coaster from a draft found in The Weaver's Idea Book.
Once off the loom, I cut the coasters apart, leaving four inches of the warp theads on either end.
To finish the ends, I tied double Damascus knots and a Philippine Edge. This technique is quite time intensive, but what a beautiful finish it creates. I made a short video for you demonstrating this finish technique. (Please bear with me as I learn how to film, edit, and add background music to videos).
To complete, the fringe was trimmed to 1/2 inch and then the coasters were steam pressed on the wrong side using a hot iron and a lot of pressure. Finished coasters measure 4" x 4" with 1/2" fringe on either end.
I have been chomping at the bit to share this news - I'm writing a book!
In searching through the various books and magazines in my stash, as well searching the internet, I found a dearth of information on krokbragd. I love to write and writing a book has been on my bucket list for years and I want to know more about this fascinating weave called krokbragd . . . . so I'm doing it!