Search This Blog

Friday, December 18, 2015

Band Weaving Classes at The Vesterheim Museum in Decorah Iowa in February

Roger and I are invited back to the Folk School at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Iowa again this coming February.

Last February, we offered a special Valentines Day couples weaving class. An unusual event, we had 8 couples attend and more on our waiting list. One member of the couple carved an old style Norwegian band loom by hand with Roger. The other member of the couple learned how to weave bands on one of my frame looms with me.  A two day class.  At the end of Valentines weekend, the carver presented the weaver with this special loom and the new weaver took it home to make the special bands.

Not familiar with band weaving? Bands of cloth were woven on simple small looms to create ties, ribbons and decorations.  Bright colors and elaborate patterns are easily woven on a loom that is small and portable.  Today, not only is it a fun craft to learn, but woven bands have a variety of uses. And the looms themselves are a wonderful work of folk art to hang on your wall when not in use.

Why a couples Valentines Day class event?

There is an old tradition in Norway. A young man who had his eye on a young woman would carve an elaborate loom with hearts, flowers and birds. Many times he would add her name and the date. He would leave this loom on her doorstep. If she accepted the loom, she would be accepting him. If she did not, he would have to carve a new loom for his next young woman.

Mangle Board
They also carved a special board called a Mangle Board as a betrothal gift. A mangle board is a board to press linen cloth. There is a saying that also applies to the band looms... "Beware of the man with too many mangle boards"... for he has had too many refusals.

We all worked together in a large Vesterheim classroom. The two days of work on carving looms was well worth the time spent.  The 7 men and one woman (yes we women can carve too), carved elaborate looms putting a little bit of themselves into each one.

The 7 women and 1 man (he was a great weaver already), learned the basics of weaving on this simple loom and quickly went on to weaving the more elaborate patterns.

And it was great fun!  The Vesterheim is a friendly place, we all interacted with each other and shared the experience together.

So we are going back!  I look forward to sharing this wonderful time with great people, a lovely museum filled with wonderful folk art and tools from local Norwegians and spend two days in a quiet little town in the farming country of Iowa.

Check out their web site and loom up the classes they offer, and sign up early for the Couples Class. We are sure to have a great time!


Can't get time to travel to Iowa in the middle of winter? There is still time to order my how-to book for Holiday gift-giving or for yourself on my web site or

Tape Loom Weaving... simplified, will tell you how to make a simple loom and how to set up and weave your own bands.

And yes, I am a potter too!

No comments: