Last week I wrote about my day of washing and drying of Borgs rug yarn. What I didn’t share was that among the other colored (i.e., non-green) skeins were several with labels reading “Wholly produced in Sweden by Klippan’s Yllefabrik A/B….CUM Textiles Industries Ltd. Denmark.”
Klippan’s Yllefabrik A/B, established in 1879, spun the yarn for CUM Textiles Industries Ltd. CUM Textiles was located at 5 Rømersgade in the Capital Region of Copenhagen, Denmark. I just finished a Google street map tour of the neighborhood but found no trace of CUM Textiles.
I looked for information on CUM Textiles and came across one of its publications (thank you, Smithsonian Institute), an 84 page book titled “Scandinavian Handweaving and Textiles.” (You will see there are a couple of download options.) Weavers who are interested in traditional Scandinavian textiles undoubtedly will find it interesting.
On its first inside page I read that “CUM was awarded 14 Gold medals at the International Textile Exposition in California 1967 —1968-1969.” On the inside of its back page reads, “Largest selection of handweaving yarns in Scandinavia.” If that is so, I wonder why I found so little information about CUM Textiles.
(By the way, if you try your own on-line search, be sure and type “CUM Textiles” or you may be surprised/horrified by the results that come up.)
Look at the other side of the label, however: Matt Yarn (Cowhair)! Now “matt” is the Swedish word for rug, and both Borg and Glimakra sell matt yarn – “the perfect yarn for weaving rugs and Southwest style runners. It is great for weaving tapestry designs.”
But it isn’t often one comes across yarn made of cowhair!
I would hazard a guess that the cowhair came from a Scottish breed of cows called Highland (pic source), which have a history dating back to the 6th century A.D. Highland cows have shaggy, thick, wavy, double-haired coats – the longest hair, in fact, of any cattle breed. Like most double-hair coat wool-giving breeds, the outer coat covers a downy undercoat. Their coats are many colored: black, brindle, red, yellow, white, silver and dun (i.e., a grey-gold or tan). Given their size, it will come as no surprise to learn they are brushed rather than sheared.
Here’s the link to the Highland Cattle Society and The Livestock Conservancy should you want to read about this breed. It is a hardy breed, and given that these cattle thrive in cold weather, it is no surprise they are popular in Northern Europe.
After reading about these beautiful animals – and especially information shared by farmsteaders who raise them – if you live someplace cold and windy and want to keep cows – or have enough room to raise an animal for unusual fiber – you may want to consider the Highland. Or maybe not. 🙂
- Has anyone made rugs with rug yarn made from cowhair?
- Does anyone know the fate of CUM Textiles?