Beautiful spinning wheels

I went to our local museum to take pics of two old wooden chests for an article, and found this:

Isn’t it beautiful? It’s from the beginning of the 20th century, made by an unknown, very skilled carpenter.

The distaff doesn’t belong to the wheel, but there may well have been one like that at one time. The flat, slightly curved distaffs where more common here, but distaffs formed like a thick staff or baton were also used. You can se some of the flat distaffs in the background:

The museum is closed in winter. It was indeed very cold inside, much warmer outdoors! The windows are covered so the sun won’t harm the textiles, but where temporarily uncovered so I could take pics.

There was also another wheel that was added to the museum’s collection recently. It was made for Beata Mårtensdotter Grind in 1889. This was a more common type of wheel in my municipality, where most spinning wheels were painted blue.

Three new lazy kates have also found their way into this amazing museum.

If you wonder whether I remembered to take photos of the wooden chests I can assure you: yes I did! But  I was close to forgetting why I had gone to the museum in the first place.

Ostrobothnian sweaters and accessories: new book Lankapaitoja ja muita asusteita

About a year ago I was asked if I could make a Korsnäs sweater for a new book “Lankapaitoja”. I happily said Yes, I can! The writers Marketta Luutonen and Anna-Maija Bäckman are both accomplished writers and editors, and both have done a life long work in craft associations. Marketta wrote her doctor’s thesis about sweaters: “Rustic Product as a conveyor of meaning, A Study of Finnish Pullovers” (text in Finnish).

The gorgeous photos in Lankapaitoja  are taken by Anna-Maija’s husband Gunnar Bäckman, who worked as a professional photographer for many decades.

The sweater I made a copy of is in child’s size, 2-3 years old. The original is in the Finnish National Museum. I got two photos to work from, which wasn’t a problem as they were taken by Gunnar Bäckman. The sweater is unique because of the use of colours: the pink yarn used has not been found in sweaters for adults. I took this photo when I had finished the sweater.

Korsnäs sweaters are unique because of the techniques used, and because of the many colours in a culture where the natural sheep colours white, brown, and black and blends of those was much more common: there’s tapestry crochet in the hem, the upper part of the body, and in the cuffs and upper parts of the sleeves. The “lus”-pattern known from Norwegian sweaters is knitted.

The sweater is named after the municipality where it’s been made since the 19th century. I visit the small museum in Korsnäs almost every summer. The impression when you enter the room with the sweaters is overwhelming every time: it’s so red! So colourful! It’s a wonderful room.

A unique technique was also used in earlier days for knitting the middle part of the body: three knitters sit in a round and knit their own rows simultaneously. The best knitter knits the “lus” (the stranded knitting with one white stitch, and one red or green in alternating rows). This photo is from a knit-in-public day at the museum:

The tapestry crochet was always done by an expert. Not many could do it.

I first learned to knit and crochet the Korsnäs sweater at Marketta Luutonen’s first class in 1982. Even if I haven’t made more than two adult and this one child sweater, I’m fascinated by it. I really do want to make one more.

But, back to the book. There’s much more than the Korsnäs sweaters in the book. Sweaters and accessories from the western coastal region fill the beautiful book. There are also new interpretations of old finds, all just as well made and with the piety you can expect from the two ladies. An example: a cardigan designed by Anna-Maija from an old vest, knitted and crocheted by Jeanette Rönnqvist-Aro and Berit Bagge. Sorry about the bad photo quality, the photo is from an evening at an exhibition where Marketta and Anna-Maija talked about knitting history and the book. The photo in the background shows the vest:

This is also from the exhibition. My small sweater compared to the ones for adults.

The book has 255 pages, 23×30 cm, printed on high class paper with a beautiful layout. It’s written in Finnish, and there will be a Swedish version in the autumn. I don’t know anything about an English version, but my personal opinion is that this is a book that should be translated. The quality is amazing all through, and I’m sure the sweaters, cardigans, purses, mittens etc would interest a bigger audience. Besides the expertly written section about knitting and crochet history in Finland, there are also written patterns with charts.

 

My sweater modeled by a lovely boy!

I finish with a photo showing what you sometimes have to work with when using items from museums (and there are far worse examples): 

Spin-in, been busy

This week I had a group of nine beginning spinners coming for an excursion in my studio, another group of five new spinners came for a spin-in, I went to an exhibition in town, and my brother and his family came for lunch. Kasper was especially happy for that, as they had their puppy Vilda with them. Vilda means “the wild one”… but she’s actually just a lively young dog, and so cute!

Some of my spinning friends having fun in my spinning room:

There was also a lovely baby. He slept most of the time, and when he was awake he was studying everyone with interested keen eyes. Kasper was checking out everyone and everything as usual.

At the end of the day: first skein ever made by Ida! She started by shearing a sheep, washing and preparing the wool, spinning two strands, and yesterday she plied and skeined the yarn during the spin-in. Here the skein is examined by her and Linda before she leaves with her beautiful green Finnish Saxony:

I love spin-ins! They are informal meetings where you can learn a lot, but mostly I’m just enjoying being with friends who like the same things as I do (and they don’t find me weird…) I so totally love this, as I was a lonely spinner for so many years.

Spring is coming, but we also had some snow at last. Kasper was happy to find hubby in the forest. It’s not difficult when you can see the tracks 🙂

They had a lot to talk about!

Carding in winter

The last few days brought us a lot of snow just when we started to think it’s spring. Well, we should have a lot of snow this time of the year, and it’s usually quite cold.

h7wpphtnm9dwylclel0g_thumb_6ad6

zdqte76otz2xyxerpl2rtw_thumb_6ac4

It was cold this morning, -21 C°. No weather for outdoor activities until your hair is dry after the morning shower! So I took a photo of the morning sun indoors.

thi6so8ri6n8opzziplcq_thumb_6ad3

I have a carding job to do. That’s not easy in cold weather because the air indoors becomes very dry. The rolags cling to whatever they can. Your hands, the carders, the basket. I card in short passes and then wait for the static electricity to vanish.

omvdyewitty4o9xajtf0ga_thumb_6ada

The snow is beautiful, but it’s too cold for Kasper. He will be 13 years old this spring, and he can’t stand the cold as in younger days.

ejp3j%e0rnuz54psc0xw_thumb_6acc

Table loom

I learned to weave in the 80s. A friend and I bought a 160 cm counter march loom together, that we both used quite a lot. But life got in between, as it often does. We both moved to smaller apartments, and the loom had to go on to a new owner. I was without a loom for more than two decades.

A couple of years ago I bought a smaller loom, 120 cm, also a counter march. But to my dismay I had to admit it was too big for me in my current physical condition. I had great difficulties crawling into it to tie the lamms and the treadles. So some weeks ago I decided it had to go. A dear friend is interested, so now the loom is in the attic waiting for her to be able to fetch it.

1zmhdwlvqmkkfxk8vmlzg_thumb_349d

This is the 120 cm loom seen from the attic. It filled the upper landing almost completely.

Instead I bought a 60 cm table loom. Hubby put it together for me, and now I’m testing it. I think I like it very much! There’s only 4 shafts, but that should be enough considering I’ll use my handspun yarns where colour and structure means more than the weaving pattern. Tabby and twill will go a long way.

hrxhy0lnqpuomj2564yvja_thumb_6ab5

And this is my new mini-loom with weaving width 60 cm from Toika Looms. Quite a difference to what I’m used to, but not bad at all, only different. That’s twill I’m having a go at now, with sock yarns for warp and both commercial and handspun woollen yarns for weft.

srm2ag7srymunjfvsyi17a_thumb_6ab6

Spinning silk with friends

One of the highlights of the year: meeting with friends for a day-long spinning session! We live in different parts of the country, so we have to travel for hours to meet. Because of the long distances we can’t meet very often, but on the other hand we get a lot done during the intense sessions.

This time we spun silk. We started with hankies, which I find easiest for beginners. But one of us liked silk top better, which was a surprise to me. As a spinning teacher (which I used to be) you can never be 100% sure what fiber to bring to a beginners class. I would’ve thought that opening the hankie, pre-drafting it, and just letting the wheel make the twist and pull the strand onto the bobbin would’ve been much easier than the tedious precise short draw. And she was using a super fast Saxony wheel on top of it!

Mervi, Petra, and Sanski with my Saxonys in my spinning room:

fihuug2etzkr1r21tphfw_thumb_6a6e

Yes, you’re right: Kasper the dog has been doing some woodwork and left it in the middle of the floor for humans to stumble upon… no problem really for the three of us, as we all have dogs. We are used to odd things being left in odd places.

We also exchanged fibers, which for my part means I have three boxes of raw wool I bought from Petra,  some washed mohair from Sanski, and a big plastic bag full of fibre samples to work with.

Petra has a flock of Finnsheep that produces superb wool and delicious meat. Hubby and I have lamb meat and sausages in the freezer again! Myllymäen tila

Sanski is a professional spinner and dyer that specialises in natural dyes: Rukki ja rautapata

Mervi is studying to become a teacher in different crafts. She knows a lot of techniques, but her main craft is bobbin lace.

Craft cruise

Yesterday I went on a trip to Sweden: there was a craft cruise from Vaasa in Finland to Umeå in Sweden. I didn’t take any workshops, but went to a talk and met a lot of old and new friends. I also stumbled upon a second cousin of mine and his wife who live only a mile away here in the same village. That’s inevitable: the ferry from Vasa to Umeå is very popular, even if it can’t reach the levels from the tax free period before EU.

Boarding the ferry in my old hometown Vaasa:

ke46iaocsxia0mtw10uoxq_thumb_6a08

I often think that if I hadn’t been so interested in textiles, I would’ve turned to wood. So I thoroughly enjoyed watching how Andreas Söderlund made a spoon from what hubby and I would burn in our wood stove. Andreas has made the chopping block himself. This was a talk, not a workshop. I think handing over very sharp axes and knives to a bunch of eager ladies onboard a ferry isn’t permitted!

l5jbrxhjtwudvc5czitnw_thumb_6a10

ejp0tlqmtjodymjziy16iw_thumb_6a16

qswjfu5argyapfy83oqg_thumb_6a19

At least you can use those chips to light a fire… See Andreas’ beautiful work and photos on Instagram: Andreas Söderlund

In Umeå we visited Sliperiet, that “acts as a bridge between art and science, academia and business, and between the current and the future” (from the web page). Amongst other interesting things we saw an impressive hand tufting machine. It’s much bigger and probably much heavier than I have imagined from photos I’ve seen:

vl7dzmahqvoxfniih6luxw_thumb_6a27

Here’s an example of what it can do:

tjn4vlbssnqninaulxq_thumb_6a25

After Sliperiet we walked to the city centre, where I met up with my friend Carina. She had filled a goody bag with locks from her Dala Pälsfår (a rare Swedish sheep breed), lambs wool also from her sheep in the plastic bag, and Cheviot dyed by her. The bigger jar contains leather grease made by Carina, and the smaller one is filled with the best lip balm I know, also made by her. The eggs are from Carina’s hens. Yes, they are delicious! I made a 4-egg omelette for hubby and me for lunch today.

pv1jyel2r5es5xrdxshz6q_thumb_6a5e

Carina and I had time to visit a Pop Up-market where I bought sock yarn dyed by Kia of Forbackaull. My sock yarn shelves where emptied before Christmas, and needed to be filled again (the two balls to the left in the photo below). I’m very eager to see what the pink-blue yarn will look like in a pair of socks! I just couldn’t resist it… it’s called “Fråg’ in’t = Don’t Ask” 🙂

Back on the boat I bought two skeins of hand dyed sock yarns from Tuulia of Knitlob’s Lair and a bright blue skein of lace yarn spun from Finnish landrace wool, and from Lillemor of Limmo-Design I bought a skein of turquoise-pink sock yarn. From Pirjo-Liisa of Neulenettikahvila I bought an interesting yarn with wool, cotton and polyamid that I want to test in socks this spring and summer. I also bought a fringe twister, and sock needles made of birch (Limmo-Design).

z36bo4s6qpurkf2axslc0w_thumb_6a5d

All three ladies on the boat where quite happy with their day as they sold a lot of yarns.

Now, how many of you would like to take a first spindling class in front of an audience? TV camera and microphones, and a bunch of people watching when you drop the spindle… I pitied those brave ladies, they performed well considering the circumstances!

xeycbqzirrgvvp0pxloa_thumb_6a2d

After the shopping and walking about for a while to look at the workshops I started to get restless with nothing to do, so I sat down in Limmo-Design’s booth to spin for a while. As it happened, I spun much longer than I had intended: I fell in love with the Schacht Sidekick! Lillemor had drum carded lovely batts that were so easy to draft, so I spun an effect yarn with a longdraw and thoroughly enjoyed myself. Lillemor is a Schacht dealer in Sweden.

ixlpulnrca1oeelag5hpw_thumb_6a37

A few pics from the market on the boat:

ktuyu15rlwluoocneudjw_thumb_6a1f

Tuulia and her assistant before the rush began.

Pirjo-Liisa with a customer before the rush:

gpuedtd1rukixls34ehxg_thumb_6a1e

Part of Lillemor’s booth (I forgot to take a photo of her and her assistant):

tvvzmqibtjkoyqidyht6dw_thumb_6a3c

It’s not easy to walk past all those beautiful skeins and balls of yarn! All are high quality yarns dyed by skilled dyers. And, what makes me very happy, most of the sock yarns are thin. That suites me, as I wear woollen socks in my trainers and sandals.

There was so many beautiful shawls, socks, and other knitted items in the booths. Two of Pirjo-Liisas shawls that illustrate how a simple pattern shows the best of a beautiful yarn:

qk4u314brxocjlvbdmzurw_thumb_6a41

So this was the first craft festival on the ferry. I heard several people talk about “next year” even before we left the ferry. So it was a success!