About rules, written and un-

Many years ago I went to Svensk Hemslöjd to ask if they would like to sell my scarves/shawls.
They did not, for two reasons: 1. I used colours (colours, not dyes!) that did not "exist in nature" and 2. they were not brushed, which made them "feel like fabric".

(I have a problem, here - can some native speaker pls help? "Fabric", above: she meant they felt like material used to sew garmants. What is the most correct word to use for this?)

The shawls I had brought were woven of the most soft and nice worsted (2/2/32 worsted count, spun in Scotland - I still have some of the yarn, but the labels are long gone), had a lace pattern that I also don't know in English (see below), but that Cyrus translates as "mosquito netting", and were (of course!) not brushed.
I had a couple of colour "lines" - I remember one warp was from several shades of burnt orange, with a different orange weft for each - another was turquoise (again several shades). I believe there were two more colur combos - all long gone, no pictures, but this was the idea:

Not even then I was naive enough not to know that there were unwritten rules for what would pass as "hemslöjd", but I had never thought the choice of colour would be one of them. After all, I had used a traditional Swedish weave structure, a traditional, um, "layout" (ordinary straight shawl, with traditional fringes, "ordinary" length and width). And to my mind, they were not "fabric", as they were far too open to sew with...

But - some people never learn... A couple of years later, I came back with different shawls. This time I had some V-shawls, and some I had sewn into a moebius shape. (This wasn't one of them - this was the sample. It is a lot "worse for wear", but it must be over 20 years old now)

In the moebiuses (??) I had experimented with warp face -> even-sided -> weft face structures, for a) more visual interest than plain weave or 2/2 twill and b) to make the join visually seamless. Something along these lines (though I believe it was slightly more complex):

Yes. Or, rather, no. These were not "traditional", so: no thanks.

That was the last time I tried to sell anything through Hemslöjden.

(- I have sold many Moebiuses over the years. It is a very good shape: with the right length it can be worn several ways, according to temperature: One turn over the head and the second turn around the neck; two turns around the neck; when you get warm, use only one turn and you get cooler without risking to drop it. Or it can be hung as a sash - over one shoulder and diagonally down to the waist.)

The next time I had problems with unwritten rules was when I decided to enter a flax spinning contest.
It appeared as if there were no rules - on asking, I was told "there are so many points to consider". After I had won, one of the judges told me that, "properly", I should not have - but the nominal winner had used a spinning wheel that was not traditional. (She had a Louet, with a big orifice, and everybody "knows" it is
"impossible" to spin fine on one of those - thus, her result was a pure fluke. I had an antique Swedish wheel.)
Several years later, after moving down here, I entered another flax spinning contest. The idea, said the invitation/rule sheet, was to educate the public. Good, I thought - looking forward to some kind of open judging, or at least some explanation afterwards. It would be nice to know what constitutes a good linen yarn.
But... not. Even though I came second, I still don't know what flax spinning judges look for in a spinning contest, or a linen yarn. On asking, I was told that I should be happy I had got good points.
(Having a background including dressage riding, I know it it perfectly possible to have judging protocols broken down into several smaller steps, with the possibility for judges to write comments. Which they often do.)

Now, we have the Handwoven/Väv Garment Challenge. Apparently, if one asks Handwoven, one will be told that weaves of more than 8 shafts will not be considered. Note: I have NO problem with that! But: why is this not in the rules?!? Considering the rules already are almost two screens long, one line more would not make that much of a difference.

1 comment:

Karen Barbé said...

Hello Kerstin,

I've been following your blog for some time and today after reading your post I had to pop in and say hi. How annoying Hemslojden with its rules! I have visited it in the past and while they carry beautiful things, I'm sure your scarves were wonderful and so worth of being sold there. Well, we all learn the hard way with unspoken rules...

Best wishes.