“Our place on earth is Klässbol, Värmland. Here, the third and fourth generation of the Johansson family manage the business and traditions inherited from our grandfather and great grandfather Hjalmar, who sat weaving all night long.
My grandfather Vitalis continued the business. His unstinting faith in linen as a natural material has provided us with a living and a purpose in life. My father and his brothers received prestigious commissions from the Swedish Court and embassies, bringing Klässbols international fame.
With a strong sense of tradition and faith in linen as a natural material, we work together to carry Klässbols, our family business, into the future – a satisfying endeavour that we are delighted to share with you.”
Andreas Johansson, CEO
A movie about Klässbol
Purveyor to the Court
Purveyor to the Court of Sweden since the 1970s
The Company has been purveyor to the Court of Sweden since the late seventies. On the occasion of the jubilee commemorating King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 20th anniversary as King in 1993, the Swedish Parliament presented him with nine three-metre wide linen tablecloths and 200 napkins for the royal table. The tablecloths were hand-woven on special Jaquard looms.
Furthermore Klässbols Linen Weaving Mill has been honored to provide the Court of Sweden with exclusive custom-made furnishings, Bolster fabrics and curtains.
A mark of quality for more than 1000 years
The title “Purveyor to His Majesty” is a personal and rare title. Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf views recipients of his honour as “modern representatives of the best of the Swedish craftsmanship tradition” (from the book ‘By Appointment to His Majesty the King of Sweden’). Until now, King Carl XVI Gustaf has issued about 130 royal warrants. The holders are all representatives of Swedish companies and they come from a wide variety of enterprises.
The issuing of royal warrants is restricted and they can only be granted by H.M. the King and H.M. the Queen. Only a few of the applications received each year by the Office of the Treasurer of the Court are approved for the title of Purveyor to His Majesty. To be eligible for the title of Purveyor to His Majesty the company must have been in business for at least five years and managed its finances in an irreproachable manner.
Swedish royal warrants are directly linked to a specific member of the Royal Family. Upon the accession of a new monarch the warrant becomes invalid and the company must apply anew for the prestigious title. The title is also personally awarded to the head of the company and, when there is a change in the post of managing director or owner, the company must apply for renewal of its status as Purveyor to H.M. the King.
Lin and linen
Linen – one of man’s eternal companion
Already in the Stone Age could people in Europe preparing flax, although most appear to have been used to benefit things like ropes, fishing nets and the like. The fashion was not as developed at the time. The tablecloth, not to mention the napkin, had hardly any come to mind.
In ancient Egypt, people began to dress in beautiful and cool linen. Linen was the only material allowed the priest costumes and mummies wrapped in fine linen clothes, many of which are still preserved. From Egypt spread the knowledge of Babylon, which in ancient times was the center of “linen industry”, via Greece to the Roman Empire and on up over Europe. In the Roman Empire existed in antiquity large linspinnerier in eg Ravenna and Vienne was under strict control of the “procuratores linificiorum” which says a lot about the importance it ascribed to the material. In Sweden, we have been able to prepare the flax at least since the Bronze Age.
Well into the 1500s range to the flax on a dragonfly, a handy tool that you can still see Oriental women to master the virtousitet. Around 1530 came the spinning wheel and put more speed on lintillverkningen. Flax production was long a craft. When the machines came in the late 1700s also came flax’s main competitor -bomullen. Better machines arrived, which was also suitable for the linen industry. In 1805, Joseph Marie Jacquard built his epoch-making machine for weaving patterns, which among other things gave the old, fine damask weaving new possibilities.
Linet has faced severe competition from simpler and cheaper materials and more than once it has been thought that it would disappear completely. Flax quality and beauty value have finally overcome all the “innovations”, including the later years of synthetic fibers. Now it appears the flax join a new heyday to meet – in a world heading back towards the quality of thinking and beautiful things. Lin is an unrivaled material – in skilled professional hands.
Pure and Cotton Linen
Flax has long fibres, making it very suitable for spinning and weaving, and it has been used for making cloths for nine thousand years. In the 18th century in Sweden, there were several famous damask weaving mills and the countryside was covered with breathtakingly beautiful blue-flowering flax fields. When cotton replaced linen as the most commonly used material for textiles, the labour-intensive and time-consuming production of linen fell by the wayside.
Flax is no longer cultivated in Scandinavia, except on a very small scale, but linen itself, is enjoying a renaissance. A new awareness of nature and natural values has taken a strong hold. In line with this, a growing number of people who value tradition have also come to appreciate the unique qualities of linen.
Pure linen fabrics are made only from linen yarn. The structure of the flax fibre gives the linen its many excellent qualities. It is extremely strong and absorbent, and its smoothness and lustre make it very dirtrepellent. Liquid spilled on a linen cloth is absorbed immediately. Linen feels cool and pleasant against the skin. It also dries quickly, and pure linen towels are superb for drying drinking glasses and for polishing crystal and silverware.
Klässbols also make cotton linen, or half linen, a fabric made with a cotton yarn warp and a linen yarn weft. Table-cloths and towels made from cotton linen are soft and cool. They retain the very good drying and absorption characteristics of the linen. And you can enjoy the luxury of using them every day.
Damask – weaving fit for a prince
The artistic weaving technique known as damask is said to have first been created in Damascus, from where it has also derived its name. It was the fabric woven for the fine clothing of princes and for purely decorative purposes. Today, damask is still regarded as one of the most elegant woven cloths.
Damask is usually of a uniform colour, with the pattern and/or design formed in warp satin on a ground of weft satin or the other way around. The effect is produced by the light being reflected in different ways from the warp and weft surfaces so that the pattern either appears glossy against a mat ground or mat against a glossy ground. The techniques may also be used for patterns with two colours, with an extremely elegant effect as result.
To cultivate, dress, spin and weave linen is an ancient art in Sweden, but the art of weaving patterned linen was hardly known here before the seventeenth century. Though, of course, the “hey-day” of lovers of beautiful things tempted skilful weavers here too. Queen Hedvig Eleonora ordered a large amount of tablecloths and napkins from some weavers in Stockholm in the year of 1696. This ensured that the Swedish linen damask industry got properly underway. Three napkins have in fact been preserved from the beginning of the eighteenth century showing the Queen’s crest, name in ciphers and with “three crowns” woven into.
Today, Klässbols weaving mill delivers tablecloths and napkins of linen damask with the Swedish “three crowns” woven into it, to Swedish embassies all over the world.
Washing and care instructions
A first-rate linen fabric is, when well treated, beautifully shiny, smooth and cool. As a highly absorbent material, linen is an unsurpassed material for both toilet and kitchen towels, even though the great beauty of the material has lead to it being used primarily for elegant cloths, napkins, curtains and other more exclusive items. Linen sheets are now popular once again, not least for their beauty and their coolness. All linen consists exclusively of flax thread. In half linen, the warp is composed of cotton yarn and the weft of flax thread. It is important to remember when considering care of linen that cotton soils more quickly than linen and must therefore be washed more often. So even if pure linen is a little more expensive, it may be economic in the long run if the article is to be used often.
Klässbols Linen Weaving Mill recommends following treatment:
The article is washed according to whether it is natural/unbleached, semi-bleached or coloured. Unbleached preserves its original colour best if perborate and optical brightener-free washing detergent is used. Although linen, like cotton, has a high abrasion resistance and tensile strength when wet, one should always try to wash linen as gently as possible. This way it will last for generations.
The washing temperature should be approximately 60° C providing more pronounced stains do not necessitate a higher temperature. The temperature should not, however, exceed 80° C as this can reduce the elasticity, shininess and strength of the linen. For thinner fabrics such as a number of curtains, a more gentle washing method should be chosen than that used for thick cloths and other items. This is most easily achieved by using a large quantity of water in relation to the number of items being washed.
Particularly delicate items may be put in a net bag to reduce wear and tear by the washing machine. The items should be shortly spin-dried as gently as possible.
Never mix linen with dark-coloured fabrics. For coloured linen, follow the detergent manufacturer’s instructions for ordinary 60° C colour wash. If a washing machine is not used, it is advisable to check the temperature with help of a thermometer to ensure that the fabric is not washed for longer than 15 minutes once maximum temperature has been reached.
Avoid laying wet linen fabrics on top of one another. Roll them together instead while still damp. Natural coloured and coloured linen should not be dried in bright sunlight. We recommend that all smooth linen textiles are mangled cold to preserve the beauty of stiff, shiny napkins and tablecloths. Mangle napkins and handtowels unfolded. Lay four to six on a table in a step-like formation, one on top of the other and pull them into shape before mangling. Cloths and sheets may be folded into three or four. Try, when possible, to fold in different places each time the fabric is mangled, as the strain is greatest at the folds.
Linen should not be tumbler-dried. Allow approximately 5-7 % shrinkage both lengthwise and widthwise.
H.K.H Prinsessan Estelle
On the initiative of Region Värmland has Klässbols Linen Weaving Mill made a bed set with sheets, pillowcases and duvet covers in 100 percent linen. The pattern consists of stars after the name Estelle which means star in French. The gift is enclosed in a package made of paper from Billerud.
– Both the gift and the beautiful packaging are good examples of products from our successful business in Värmland. It feels great to be handed over in connection with baptism, says Catarina Segersten Larsson, Regional Councillor, Region Värmland.
Memory / Blankets and pillows
Memory is woven in exclusive Italian linen wire at Klässbols Linneväveri. The textile is available in two qualities. One is jaquard-woven, the other is made of satin-woven bands. Both grades are designed by Ulrika Elovsson. The craft was carried out by HV Ateljé. Joining a larger fabric of narrow bands may seem simple, but the technique is complicated. The precision work of masters and collectors is reflected in the high quality of the final product. Both the jaquard and the woven bands have been carefully treated after Klässbols Linneväveri. The textiles have been hand washed in cold water and then cold mined. This slow and gentle process gives the textile a high gloss and solid surface. “Two threads crossing each other are the starting points for all the woven textiles’ arrival, where my creative process begins,” says Ulrika Elovsson. “In collaboration with Klässbols Linneväveri, I have wanted to relate to older textile traditions. With the help of different technologies, both high tech and low tech, I can speak different languages and tell different stories.”
Nobel – timeless beauty
Since 1991, the annual Nobel banquet is served with table linen and napkins made of Klässbols Linneväveri. The Nobel tablecloth and napkins are typical of the craft tradition at Klässbols and was designed especially for the 90th anniversary of the Nobel Prize in 1991. Textile designer Ingrid Dessau chose to make the tablecloth in satin with coarse, silver-grey linen yarn of the highest quality.
The classical woven check pattern appears when the light is reflected differently by the surfaces of the weft and the warp.
The napkins are woven in damask with thinner contrast threads of semi-bleached line yarn – the perfect complement to the beautiful tablecloth.
Since 1988, we manufacture table linen and napkins for all Norwegian embassies around the world in the pattern ‘Norway’, in behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Royal Cloth
With the occasion of the 20th anniversary of King Carl XVI Gustaf as Sweden’s regent, 15 September 1993, the Swedish Parliament and government decided to honor this event with a special gift for the King. It consisted of a table linen which was intended for the official Royal table at Karl XI’s gallery at the Royal Palace. The present was handed over by the spokesperson of the Swedish Parliament at that time, Ingegerd Troedsson.
The Royal table cloth consists of seven cloths of eight meters length and two cloths of four meters length, each with a width of three meters. There was only one hand loom available and capable considering this large width, while a machine loom was not available at this time. In addition, there were two hundred napkins accompanying the table cloths. Both the table linen and the napkins were woven in linen damask. The warp was of Italian linen no. 50 and the weft of Irish linen no. 60 with a density of 40×48 threads per centimeter.
The pattern was composed by Karin Björquist, better known as a designer at Gustavsberg porcelain, with technical-textile assistance of Ingrid Dessau. Initiator and leader of the project were art critic Åke Livstedt and architect Magnus Silfverheim – the same people who were also part of the project team that created the Nobel concept of the Nobel banquet. Weaver for the project was Hans Thomsson, and even The School of the Association of Friends of Textile Art has contributed to it.
The pattern consists of a broad wave figure covering the border of the cloth, and large scattered stars as a mirror around the Royal Couple’s mirror-monogram in the middle of the cloth. The stars refer to the Pole Star, an ancient symbol of the Swedish king.
About Hans Thomsson
Hans Thomsson was born and raised in Hemse, Gotland – Sweden’s largest island. After high school he attended a weaving class at Säveskolan in Visby (Gotland) and did a six month internship at Hemslöjden in Visby. Later, he attended a weaving program at The Swedish School of Textiles (University of Borås) 1990-1991, which was followed up by a further course in Borås, 1992. During the years 1993-1998 he wove the Royal Cloth for King Carl XVI Gustaf, commissioned by Klässbols Linen Weaving Mill. During the second half of 1998 he participated in a course about Jacquard-weaving in Florence. There he learned how to weave copies of fabrics with designs from the Renaissance, silk weaving of high quality, and about other bindings than those he had learned in Scandinavia. Over the years Hans Thomsson has received great confidence in many significant missions. Today he has his own studio in Äskekärr, nearby Kinnekulle, with the intention to weave linen damask.
Prins Carl Philip
On Sunday, May the 17th, 2015 just before the wedding of Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist at the Royal Palace, Governor Kenneth Johansson handed over the gifts from Värmland.
The country’s gift for the wedding couple consists of three parts. The first part being a commitment to protect nature in the soon formed nature reserve, Byamossarna in Arvika municipality. Through the support of the business community in Värmland, the governor also handed over a work of art by Karlstad artist Karolina Nolin and custom-designed linen products from Klässbols Linneväveri.
In the products, which are part of Klässbols Linneväveri’s new collection “Ack Wermeland”, the designer Margot Barolo has received inspiration from the thermal-like nature, especially the nature of the Byamossarna.
– The table cloth has got its pattern with the help of Värmlandsvisan, which describes a love for nature. The letters and words form a pattern of stripes flowing over the tablecloth. The pattern of the napkin reflects the mosses and other vegetation that are typical of the Byamossarna nature reserve. The motif is abstract and the sizes are distorted. In addition, the strips are inspired by the map’s name for wetlands and marshes, says designer Margot Barolo.
The set consists of a tablecloth and twelve unique napkins in the cave with the wedding couple’s common monogram inväft. The whole gift is wrapped in a specially made linnen bag, even this with the wedding couple’s monogram inväft.
Klässbols Linneväveri and the Red Cross have a product collaboration around the runner and the napkin / towel in the “Trust” pattern, sold for the benefit of the Red Cross. The linen products are red and white and are made for a Christmas table or why not a party time regardless of the season.
The trust collection includes a two-pack runner (50×150 cm) and a two-pack handkerchief (50×70 cm) sold in the Red Cross Webshop. Half the sum goes to the Red Cross’s Christmas campaign 2011 Never alone, whose purpose is to combat unwilling loneliness and exclusion in our country.
Since 1981, we manufacture table linen and napkins for all Swedish embassies around the world in the pattern of ‘Tre Kronor’ (Three Crowns), in mission of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
At The Dylan in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, you can visit the luxury suite Klässbols, where the whole hotelroom is decorated with Klässbols Bolster fabric. More about the hotel here.
Clothes from K&US and Gårdhagen
At the shop in Klässbol we not only sell linen products for home and public environments but also linen clothes. As one of the few dealers in Värmland by K&US and Gårdhagen, we offer something unique here in our store. We have a wide range of linen clothes for both her and him and can warmly recommend the clothes to those who want something unique, stylish, durable, comfortable and environmentally friendly.
K&US stands for timeless, relaxed design with fine shapes and delicate details. Sophisticated bohemian one could say. Natural, well-preserved and durable, but at the same time beautiful and with passion and reflection in every detail. K&US works with natural materials such as linen, wool, silk, viscose and organic cotton. The garment is for those who like clothes that make you feel extra good day after day.
The garment is for her.
Lars Gårdhagens and Charlotte’s wife manufactures custom-made linen costumes and linen shirts, combined with hats, shoes, and accessories from some of the world’s premier craft companies. Both design and production have roots in the last centuries’ mansion and vanity. As undertones lies a flair of style, humor and esprit.
The garment is mostly for him with some linen costumes exception for her.
The Klässbol story
Our history began in 1884 when our grandfather Hjalmar Johansson, was born in Klässbol Värmland, Sweden into a large family of eight children. At age nine, Hjalmar began working as an errand boy at the local wool factory. Here he developed a keen interest in weaving that increased over the years. After working as a cloth darner in Arvika and Sågmyra, he moved to Borås to study at the weaving school. He gained experience at the weaveries Borås Jaquardväveri and Västergötlands Yllefabrik in Tidan.
In 1918, he received an offer to return to Klässbol, Stafnäs Ullspinneri, wool factory needed help due to change of generation. Our grandfather, his wife Augusta and their eight children moved back to their native region and Hjalmar was employed as weaving supervisor at the wool factory. He soon realized that the factory could not be saved, but had meanwhile started weaving linen sheets and towels on a hand-operated loom at home in his kitchen. The linen was supplied by local farmers, and grandfather wove the products for family and friends. His customers gradually increased, and in 1921 he bought his first mechanical loom. It dominated the living room, and a hole had to be bored in the floor of the bedroom above to make room for the much treasured Jaquard on top of the loom. The loom operated non-stop night and day. In 1924, grandfather bought a small cottage 400 meters from the house and moved his production there. He also invested in two more looms. Grandfather Hjalmar started seven patterns before he suddenly passed away in 1928, only 44 years old. Little did he imagine that his craft would develop into an international company.
After grandfather´s death, his family faced a tough decision – should they continue running the weaver? There were many debts but no money. The answer came when the family found a life insurance policy that grandfather had taken out without his wife´s knowledge. It was worth SEK 4,000 – a fortune in those days. It was as if grandfather had known what would happen. Now the family could continue the business he had started. Our father, Vitalis, took charge of the weaving. Aunt Viola managed the accounts, grandmother dealt with sales and the other children helped as they grew older. Despite hard times and many setbacks, they continued running the weavery and carrying on the family tradition.
In 1975, the weavery was passed on to the family´s sons Sven-Olof, Torbjörn and myself, who had all been weavers since the age of 14. Today, our brother Urban also is a owner and so are our nephew Stefan and niece Cenita who took over after theirs fathers, Sven-Olof and Torbjörn. Meanwhile, Andreas – another fourth generation family member – has become the company´s Managing Director (CEO).
Quality is our most important value, just as it was for our grandfather. Our weave patterns are a cultural treasure that we have inherited and have utmost respect for. The pleasure of sharing these timeless patterns and other top-quality designs is our driving force, which we hope will continue taking Klässbols along the path that grandfather started long ago.