For today’s post we travel to the other side of the globe: Scandinavia! To discover another of my favourite weaving structures: Krokbragd!
Little history before going “in medias res”:
While Saoriweaving was my favourite technique to weave on a rigged heddle loom in the beginning of my “weaving career”, the reason I start learning to use a shaft loom was Krokbragd! More exactly: Angie Parker.
Angie Parker is the “Queen” of colourful Krokbragdweaving and one day I stumbled upon her account on Instagram. A real life-changing moment for me: “Wow!! That’s sooooo beautiful! Stunning! What is it? How does it work? I want to learn this…”
And the rest is history…
Started first some trials on my rigged heddle loom with lessons from Kelly Casanova.
Took me still one year afterwards to buy my first big loom and to learn proper Krokbragd, but it’s still one of my most beloved techniques!
It’s my technique of predilection especially for rugs, as it creates a sturdy, hard-wearing fabric with endless design possibilities. A perfect match for my colourful, joyful universe.
So today I want to share this fun technique and explain the main elements to attaque right away!
Krokbragd is a traditional Scandinavian weave, mostly attributed to Swedish and Norwegian weaving traditions. It was especially popular in Norway in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Krokbragd was used at this time for anything requiring thickness and warmth, for exemple horse blankets, bed coverlets and rugs.
Krokbragd is a Norwegian word (pronounces croak-brahg) that means “crooked lines” and comes from the small stepped pattern in the fabric of Krokbragd weaving.
-Tie up: 2 & 3, 1 & 3, 1 & 2.
-Sett: spaced wide enough for a weft-faced fabric
–Three weft picks equal one row of pattern
2 Sett/ Density
Krokbragd is a weft-faced weave structure, means the warp is completely hidden by the weft, he won’t be seen in the finished object at all.
Generally, weft-faced fabrics are thicker, denser and will not have the same drape as a balanced weave. You won’t choose a weft-faced fabric for a scarf for exemple but it is a perfect structure for textiles such as coverlets or rugs.
To achieve this ‘weft-faced” effect you need to choose a VERY wide sett!
I think this is one thing where many weavers struggle a lot.The warp has to be very spaced and it’s difficult to find the right sett with calculations, in contrast to other weaving structures. Only help:
Sampling, sampling, sampling!
I had to try three times to find my ‘ideal’ sett I use now all the time for my rugs:
I use always a fishnet cotton N°9 (500g=1350m), set at 2 ends/cm. I work generally for the weft with Axminster rugwool, an aranweight wool especially made for rugs.
So, if you don’t arrive to beat your weft down enough, means you don’t see your warp anymore: space out your warp!!!
Nevertheless you should need a “very” heavy beat. Krokbragd is not one of these touch-kiss techniques where you merely have to beat your weft down. Consider that you need to beat perhaps several times down to really cover the weft…Is your beat very easy: now you spaced out the warp too much! This is problematic, as the fabric will become too flimsy.
1 – 2 – 3 – 2 , 1 – 2 – 3 – 2
Important to understand for later designs is that in a point twill the shaft 2 will be covered twice as many times as the shafts 1 and 3! And this means that the colour used to cover the shaft 2 will be predominant and appear over every other warp thread. Very important when you try to figure out some patterns.
The tie-up for Krokbragd is in generally:
treadle 1 = 2 + 3, shaft 1 will be covered
treadle 2 = 1 + 3, shaft 2 will be covered
treadle 3 = 1 + 2 shaft 3 will be covered
Two treadles are tied up for a 2/1 twill, the third for plain weave.
The weft color shows always over the warp threads that stay down.
The treadling for Krokbragd remains always the same:
1 – 2 – 3
Over and over again. With each treadling your raise two shafts, one remains down, which will be covered by your weft.
So, in Krokbragd a motif depends on the color combination in the treadling repeats.
The easy treadling sequence and the fact that only your colour order in the weft will create the pattern, makes it very easy to “play” around and try different things. You need to have in mind though:
You need 3 weft picks to cover 1 row completely.
This means: If you weave with a single solid colour you will need three picks to create a uni-coloured line. If you use for one of the picks several times a second colour you’ll create columns, if you use three different colours you’ll create vertical stripes. Because there are only three options for colour in a single row, it’s best not to use more than three shuttles at a time.
6 Some other thoughts
To finish this post some other thoughts about weaving Krokbragd.
Krokbragd is a very slow, time-consuming technique!
If you’ve done so far only balanced weaves you might be a frustrated about how long it takes to weave 10cm in Krokbragd. It’s a weft-faced technique, you need to beat your weft down several times, you need three picks to finish one row…all this takes a lot of time. But it’s worth it! At least I think so.
Selvages are difficult
My biggest issue until today with Krokbragd is to weave neat, beautiful selvages. I use a floating selvage, but the fact to use often three colours in the same row makes it very difficult to achieve a neat finish. Sometimes it might be necessary to skip the selvage with one colour or on the contrary pass over the selvage artificiality to have a selvage with pure color blocks.Only constant observation can help here. Which takes once more – a lot of time.
Krokbragd is very easy to weave and easy to design
Once you’ve found the right sett and you’ve accepted the slowness of the process, Krokbragd is very easy to weave. The treadling stays always the same and it’s so simple that you can concentrate really 100% on the pattern. And the pattern itself develops easily on the go. Krokbragd is so far the only technique I don’t need any draft, pattern or scheme for, but I create the pattern by weaving. You can take any photo and weave without needing any further explanation or guessing game! It’s obvious and easy to do and it’s perfect for playing around with colours!
That’s might be the reason I love it so much?!
-Krokbragd – How to Design and Weave bu Debby Greenlaw