Lacemaking involves braiding threads with the aid of lace bobbins and several flax threads. Lacemaking in Sweden has many regional variations and local expressions that are still being practiced today.

Location: Nation wide

Teckning av personer med höjda glas runt ett bord.

Many lacemaking techniques involves the use of a special cushion, which is called "knyppeldyna" in Swedish. Photo: Lilian Blomdahl-Vadasz/Nordiska museet (CC BY-NC-ND)

Lacemaking involves braiding threads with the aid of lace bobbins and several flax threads. The threads are braided and patterns are created on a cushion. A paper template with pricked holes showing where to place the needles is fastened onto the roll of the lace cushion. Traditionally lace was used for clothes, sheets, and tablecloths etc.

Lacemaking was developed in Italy in the 15th century and then spread throughout Europe. Lace became modern in Sweden among the upper classes in the mid-16th century. The widespread production of lace started in the early 17th century when lace cushions were imported to Stockholm. Eventually the use of lace expanded to the countryside and became part of folk culture. Lacemaking in Sweden has many regional variations and local expressions that are still being practiced today.

The use of lace has gradually decreased as has the role of lace in home decoration. The Swedish arts and crafts movement drew attention to lace as an example of a tradition with strong roots in the Swedish textile tradition. Consequently, despite tough competition from machine-made lace, traditional lace-making is still alive. It has gradually developed into a freer art form that has space for new materials such as metal for making jewelry. Today, associations like Föreningen Svenska Spetsar (FSS) and other local craft associations, are responsible for preserving the tradition through means such as courses and exhibitions. Adult educational associations also arrange lacemaking courses throughout the country.

Lacemaking in Vadstena

In Vadstena, lacemaking was organised in the 19th century as a type of work that was done at home, with lacemakers receiving payment from the lace coordinator. During industrialization, handmade lace was unable to compete with machine-made lace, which was significantly cheaper to produce. In the late 19th century, efforts were made to support the craft, efforts including orders from the royal court. Vadstena lacemaking is now also practiced in other cities such as Linköping and Gothenburg.

Lacemaking in Scania (Skåne)

In southern Sweden, lacemaking developed in the east of the region of Scania and is believed to have started in the late 17th century. This lacemaking technique is characterized by being braided freehand without a template pattern and placing the needles only at the borders of the lace. The patterns are divided into geometrical fields and often feature hearts, stars, tulips, and wreaths.

Lacemaking in Delsbo, Hälsingland

In the region of Hälsingland in mid-Sweden, three lacemaking traditions exist: Ovanåker lacemaking, Kyrkluv lace, and Delsbo lacemaking. There are two documented varieties of Delsbo lacemaking. The older variety is braided freehand, and the newer one follows a pattern template. Delsbo lacemaking is characterized by the use of coloured threads, usually red, blue, or orange, which create the pattern. Hearts, rhombs, initials, and years are common features of patterns.



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Centrum för svensk knyppling i VadstenaLänk till annan webbplats. External link.

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Vadstena Spetsmuseum External link.