[My Chamber of Textile Thoughts. No: XLIV | By Viveka Hansen]

A number of years ago I published three articles in the year book Elbogen about textile trades and material culture of the Malmö area in southernmost Sweden – stretching from the earliest settlements up to the 20th century. My aim with this new series of “Textile Thoughts” is to translate parts of these texts into English, and put its local historical events into a wider European perspective with additional discussions and images. This first part introducing the Stone Age period and continuing into the Nordic Bronze Age (1800 to 500BC) – a time when skin garments went through refinement simultaneously with the early development of woven woollen fabrics and plaiting techniques.

An impression of a tiny textile fragment’s technique found just south of present day Malmö (Petersborg), during an excavation of a settlement. The minuscule piece is believed to have been either plaited or made using a knotless netting technique called “sprang”. The find has its origin in the younger Stone Age period and was examined by the Danish textile historian Lise Bender Jørgensen. She emphasised that the nature of the raw material has not been possible to verify, as the carbonised find weighs one gram only. But after C14 analysis it could be established that it once originated from 3970-3630BC and is therefore one of the oldest textile remnants from northern Europe. Illustration: Helen Hodgson (2001). Notice: Place names in italic are geographical areas, today within or very closely situated to the city of Malmö. An impression of a tiny textile fragment’s technique found just south of present day Malmö (Petersborg), during an excavation of a settlement. The minuscule piece is believed to…

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Handmade Felt Transforms Lives in Nepal

Please spread the word

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logo  This article was published on 14 May on the Cloth Roads blog 

I thought you might like to read it as its very topical

This is a story of transformation that began before the earth shook Nepal twice in a few weeks, when women artisans were transforming scraps of saris, silk, and wool through a hand, wet-felting process into fashionable, felted art-to-wear scarves for the U.S.-based company, The Red Sari. It’s a story of what women can co-create when a vision is shared, changing lives of isolation and financial insecurity to ones of enhanced self-worth, status, and independence.

Taking a Leap 
Sometimes it’s best not knowing something. This is how Julie West felt when leaving a career in healthcare to pursue graduate school at the University of Arkansas, Clinton School of Public Service. It was while working on an international…

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Luscious Silks – new & old stock

Wonderful colours & textures

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Silk is a pure and natural fibre, and is made by silkworms.

The silkworm is the larva or caterpillar of the domesticated silkmothBombyx mori (Latin: “silkworm of the mulberry tree”)……….A silkworm’s preferred food is white mulberry leaves ……..

After molting, the instar phase of the silkworm emerges white, naked, and with little horns on their backs.

After they have molted four times, their bodies become slightly yellow and the skin becomes tighter. The larvae then enter the pupal phase of their lifecycle and enclose themselves in a cocoon made up of raw silk produced by the salivary glands

The cocoon is made of a thread of raw silk from 300 to about 900 m (1,000 to 3,000 ft) long. The fibers are very fine and lustrous, about 10 μm (0.0004 in) in diameter. About 2,000 to 3,000 cocoons are required to make a pound of silk (0.4 kg). At…

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Updated: UK knitting events 2015


Each year, usually around November, I put up a post of the major knitting events coming up for the year. There are so many knitterly and yarny events happening that’s it’s just about impossible to capture all of them, but I try to keep track of the larger events spanning a day or more, that people are likely to travel outside their immediate area for.

The annual round up is one of my most popular posts, and I know that it works as a very useful reference for myself when I’m planning which events to attend in the coming year, so I hope that other people find it useful also.

We might only be a few months in to the year, but there has been so much happening in terms of events, that I thought it might be helpful to do an update. When I first posted this year’s events…

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A Gallery of Your Work ….please contribute to it!

julz crafts

  The Gallery

I thought I’d put up a couple of pictures for you to see what the Gallery will look like –see previous post.

The text explaining who made the item and any details about it is accessed by hovering over the picture – to see the picture in larger definition, please click on it, and you will get a slide show.  The full text will be easily read, and you can even leave comments on any picture, for the maker!

Submissions to the Gallery are open for the whole month of May – please don’t let these two pictures be on their own for long – smile.


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Kick Spindle

An interesting twist -pun intended – on spindle spinning

Making Progress

Later this month I’m teaching a two week introduction to spinning course. Here is one of the spinning tools I’ve built recently, a kick spindle.

As a starting point for my design I read this post by Layne Brosius, a.k.a. AFrayedKnotter. My kick spindle is pretty similar to hers. There are two major differences. The first is that I used a 1″ thick piece of poplar with feet, as you can see in the pictures. The weight of the flywheel (a furniture bun foot from Lowe’s) seems to give the device sufficient inertia both to spin for a while and to not slide across the floor during use.  I’ve only used the kick spindle on carpeting and outdoor cement, but I think if I put some rubber feet on the bottom it would stay in place on wood or tile, too.

The second significant change I made is in the…

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A tale of no tales

There have been no tales recently from my workroom, but I have not been idle. There have been preparations for the St. Abbs wool festival last Saturday. The weather was dismal,with a flat grey light leaching the colour from the old red sandstone cliffs of St. Abbs Head and the North Sea uniform grey. Indoors there was colour,yarn, fibre,laughter & lots of fibre enthusiasts buying the glorious goods on offer. The launch of my ‘Fibre Gems’ jewellery collection was very well received which really made my day.

Now I’m getting ready for the ‘Big One’ this March – Edinburgh Yarn Festival on the 14th & 15th,in the Corn Exchange Edinburgh. I will have lots of new shades in my very popular ‘Glenesk’ range,including a beautiful shade of Teal. ‘ Blue Water’ is spun & dryingIMG_2201, ‘Bramble Wine’ is carded & ready to spinIMG_2224

Two new patterns are written up & ready to launch & of course there will be Dorset buttons – 2 new designs there too.

And more Jewellery – some incorporating semi precious stones with the fibre element . Brooches, necklaces, bracelets,earrings & pendants. ‘Sylvia’ sold on Saturday – IMG_2227

Each piece is unique and there will be lots to choose from at the fair, so pop along & treat yourself to some unique jewellery,an original pattern,some unusual buttons or a skein or two of exclusive hand dyed, hand spun local yarn.