Bergdala Spinnhus

Hulda Peters vävbok, or: what is "hålkrus", anyway?

It began with a question – "how is the N:o 44 Hålkrus treadled?"
Hah, I thought, it should be easy enough, I know what hålkrus is. Let me just find the book...
Then I looked at the photo. And...

page from book

... it became obvious that I first had to find out what hålkrus is – or what it can be. (The photo is marginally clearer in real life.)

I went to my trusty Cyrus.
She says (my interpretation) that hålkrus has approximately the same structure as cord, except it is checkered.

Please note: all drafts are for sinking shed. For a rising shed loom, tie all the blank squares - or use it as it is, thus weaving with the reverse side up.

hålkrus - draft
hålkrus - photo
It is customary to use two wefts of different grists – use the thicker for the picks that form tabby over the whole width. The thicker weft must be laid in with very generous slack, so that there is enough to make the outlines curve (as in the picture).
It is also important that the "holes" are not woven too high, or the outlining weft will (again) have a problem with the curving.

For a time, this "simple" hålkrus was very popular to use for bed covers - so much that I have seen it referred to as "bed cover weave".
The structure has long floats at the reverse side, which limits its useability.

When I instead went to Lundell, I found she regarded hålkrus somewhat differently - she first mentions it together with monk's belt. She says hålkrus can be woven on any monk's belt threading - you only change the tie-up.

It is also possible to make a more patterned variant, usually called (in Swedish) Gagnefkrus.
Cyrus gives a picture with a profile draft (right), and also offers a drawdown of a small portion.

detail draw-down
photo 84 plus profile draft
Looking closely at the drawdown of the Gagnefkrus, it seems to have too long warp floats both here and there – but in the photo it seems to "work".

Lundell places the Gagnefkrus together with the daldäll (overshot) - she writes that on an overshot threading it is possible to weave "a kind of hålkrus". She continues: gagnefkrus is treadled as drawn in, with ca 6 picks per block. After each block there should be one or two tabby picks - note: they have to be "bubbled".

Neither Cyrus nor Lundell mentions anything about using different grists for the weft for gagnefkrus.
... and I remember my weaving teacher told me that not all overshot patterns would work for gagnefkrus, and that the only way to find out was to sample.

So. Back to Hulda Peters vävbok.
I started by making a profile drawdown. For that I used the customary (Swedish) way of numbering the blocks. The first try did not give the correct pattern – I had to change the treadling some:

tromp-exactly-as-writ   modified treadling
Then I tried to get back to Hulda's original threading, and do the treadling as explained in both Cyrus and Lundell. For the sake of space, I used only 4 ends/picks where Hulda used 10 (at least for the threading). – as Lundell counsels "not too many picks" I felt 4 was ok in the treadling, too. The picture is but a portion of the whole, and has the tabbies marked in red.
detail draft with tabbies
Maybe I should add – Hulda suggests blue cotton 40/2 sett at 23 ends per cm, the same yarn for weft, tripled for the "pattern". Pattern, here, must be the outlining tabbies.
And - whether this is a correct interpretation or no – I have no idea! But I remember my teachers suggestion to sample.

Then I started to read the book in earnest. It was first printed in 1925 and has been reprinted several times - the last as a facsimile in 1980.

Two (at the time) famous craft women, Rodenstam and Zickerman, write a very nice blurb.
... contains guidance... the pictures make it clear for the weaver to what result she at least should aim at... is of good help even for those not versed in modern weaving theory... "

Oh yes? There are but few treadlings noted, and there are 90 patterns. Not all of them can be tromp-as-writ, can they?

I continued my explorations. There is something called "liksidig femskaftsdräll". Even if I take the word "dräll" to mean basically "pattern" (which is stretching it a bit), it doesn't really make sense to me.

page from book

From the threading/tie-up is seems to be some kind of lace structure - but...
Again, I reverted it to a profile pattern, using the upper 4 shafts to represent the blocks. With a tromp-as-writ approach, again I got some similarity, but nor quite. After modifying bits of it, I got a better resemblance:

tromp-as-writ   modified
To convert the profile threading to a detail threading, I just added one shaft (at the bottom), and put in the missing ends.
But... for the treadling, to make it work with the tie-up, I had to add one treadle to the right. This means that tromp-as-writ works, but not quite...:
detail draft
I used two colours in the weft, to make the pattern more visible. Hulda herself suggests bleached cotton 30/2 or bleached linen 18/1 for warp (sett 22 ends per cm) and bleached linen 18/1 for weft.

Conclusion: it is not always simple to follow recipes. It helps having a grasp of weaving theory, and everything gets a lot easier with the help of weaving software. Or, as I titled this page: to know it, you have to know it.

Cyrus-Zetterström Handbok i vävning, ISBN 91-36-01301-3
translated as Manual of Swedish handweaving, ISBN ISBN 91-36-02139-3 (latest ed 1984)
Lundell: Stora vävboken, ISBN 91-534-0388-9
translated as The big book of weaving, ISBN 978-1-84340-456-9

  © Kerstin Fröberg 2011