Weaving and spinning in Umeå

I have been to my first Vävmässa! I have wanted to go for a long time, but thought I really don’t need to as I’m a spinner, not a weaver. This year the fair was in Umeå just across the Gulf of Bothnia, so I decided to go. And I’m happy I did. It’s three years until the next Vävmässa, so there’s time to plan for the next weaving feast!

First of all I met three spinners from Sweden: Britt-Marie, Kia, and Elaine. The next day Britt-Marie, Elaine and I spun at the World Wide Spin in Public event that took place by the entrance of the fair ground. If you are in the Umeå area next week, this is the place to go: Fiberfestivalen. It’s next to Umeå with easy access on train or bus.


I saw so many beautiful weaving, high class yarns, and looms. There were exhibitions of old an new weaving mainly from northern Sweden, a workshop area, and of course vendors. This was the first thing I saw when I entered the vendor area, and I thought Oh my god, how will I see anything among all those tall Swedes? I’m quite short, you know. But I soon found that the grounds were big enough with lots of space, so it didn’t feel too crowded once you were there.


Some woven examples:






There was so much to see and marvel at for a non-weaver. I bought thin organic cotton yarn for my band weaving, and the awesome shuttle for band weaving from Stoorstålka, and a book.

On Saturday I spindled the whole day except for lunch and purchasing the yarns. It was a fun WWSIP, and I met several spinners from Sweden I didn’t know from earlier. Some only dropped in to say hello, like several members of the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.

Here are Gunnar, Britt-Marie, Monica, and Elaine, and my things in the basket on the floor:


Take a look at the lady’s skirt: soon I’ll show more of that design!

I also saw a very rare person: a “hårkulla”, Nina Sparr who makes accessory from human hair. This craft used to be an income for women in earlier days. Now there aren’t many left, so I was lucky to see one.



I had two wonderful days abroad. Umeå is a nice town with lots of birches, as the rest of that region. That’s why the weaving classes had a beautiful display of tapestries with birch motives hanging in the entrance:


The Samis were represented with bands and some very fine tapestries, and Stoorstålka helped people with band weaving problems. So let’s finish with two bands and a tapestry showing the Sami landscape with reindeer:



  1. Susan

    Where to begin? First of all I had to laugh re you comment about the tall Swedes…that’s how I feel in the Nederlands! I assume the long colourful bands were table runners but ?? Since I am from northern NH in the states and we have lots of birch trees I really liked the tapestry’s with birch motives. Thank you for taking the time to post these!

  2. TextileRanger

    What a wealth of inspiration. I especially love the little weavings on sticks – were those done by kids in an art class? I can use that idea at some of the nature festivals I work at!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s