The barn has to go

The old barn was in a bad condition already when we moved here in 1991. First we thought it could be repaired, but soon realised it wasn’t possible. For a couple of winters our sheep and angora rabbits lived there in the winter, and later a neighbour kept their hens in it. But that part of the building was slowly turning dangerous, so this summer we decided to tear it down. Luckily for us, another neighbour has a business with sons and machines to do the job. It’s not quite finished yet, but we are impressed with what they’ve done so far. The boys have showed working skills ever since early childhood. But the times when they did construction work in the ditch next to our house are gone now, we had to confess. It seems like yesterday when I kept on eye on them so they wouldn’t hurt themselves or worse, drown in the ditch. Times pass so fast!

The roof tiles have been removed:

The stone walls have been removed. Some of the wood will be used for repairing the other barn that you can see in the background.

This used to be the hens’ nesting box:

Nostalgia at 7:30 pm a couple of days ago: so many animals have lived in this old barn ever since 1927, with a pause from the 70s until we moved here. That’s when the stone walls started to fall apart. So much work, so much stone! I remember the nights I spent with the ewes, waiting for the lambing to start. Their breathing, ruminating, and then – the labour. And then the lambs were born, mostly successful. A couple of times we needed the vet. I learned how to turn a lamb so it can be born with its front feet and head first. The wonderful sight of lively, curious lambs and content ewes. It’s several decades since we had a few pet sheep, but I still miss them. And I can still feel the smell and feel of a warm lamb in my lap.

 

The wooden half of the barn will be in use for many years still. It’s in good condition, but I fear for hubby who will build a new wall. The building is high, higher than our two story house! And he fears heights.

One plan is to plant berries here. Currants, gooseberries, perhaps one of the new berries that have been imported the last few years and found to survive here in the far north. And we’ll of course build a summer kitchen!

There was a LOT of stone in the barn. I think the heap behind the excavator is about 10x10x5 meter now. Some of the stone will be re-used for other purposes, but the heap is our new mountain! Hubby already dreams of a sledge slope. He isn’t quite grown up…

The beautiful, impressive crane birds are strolling in the fields on the other side of the house also this summer. I think they are young males, teenagers. Their dance looks more like capoeira than a proposal. But most of the time they just walk about looking for something to eat. Next year they will return with wives if all goes well. The grown up birds with families live in the woods behind the barn. We don’t see much of them until autumn when they gather for the long journey south.

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Felt

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Felt trolls – so common here in Finland. Most of what I see I don’t like -but these I like! They are needle felted by Katharina Wikholm, who also makes jewellery from polymer clay, and objects from papier mache. Katharina showed her felted figures at Stundars a couple of weeks ago. Aren’t they lovely?

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I don’t felt myself. It’s one of many decisions I’ve made: I can’t do everything, even if I’d like to. For the same reason I don’t make pottery, I don’t embroider, I don’t make bobbin lace, I don’t do wood work even if I’d very much like to. Not basketry, papier mache, origami… I could go on for a very long time telling you about crafts I don’t do, but would like to do.

Summer is finally here. Who could’ve guessed? After this awful spring, the coldest and longest during the last 100 years, summer is really here. We’re happy!

Lucet cord

I wanted to know what a cord made from an ugly, uneven hand spun yarn would look like. Well, it’s not beautiful, but I suppose I can use it for something one day.

I love making cords. I know, you don’t need lucet cords very often nowadays. But I still like making them. Every now and then I also find a usage for them.

The lucet is hand carved in cherry. I found it in a Swedish net shop many years ago. I don’t know what the fiber is, but a good guess is Finnish or Swedish brown landrace wool.

Spinning in public

It’s spring! The museum where my guild keeps its headquarter is open for groups of school children in May. There are artisans in many of the cottages on the grounds. Most of us are retired from our day work. While working we usually can’t spend a day at the museum.

Two of the men, Kari and Johannes, planning for rope making, while Nisse is keeping them company before starting his own task with wood turning.

The lovely corner in the big farmhouse where I have the privilege to sit by the fire.

For obvious reasons I don’t take photos of the children that visit us. They take loads of photos of me! I don’t take photos of the grown up refugees that visit us either. You never know what harm or even disaster an innocent photo can cause. Some of the women from the Middle East know how to spin, or they have seen mothers and grandmothers spin. Sometimes they want to try my spindles. I’m so happy when that happens!

My small square spindle from Michael Williams resting on a pair of big hand carders:

I usually bring different kinds of spindles to the museum. Spindles are unknown to most of the visitors, except to those I mentioned earlier. The children are thrilled to see the type of spindle the Sleeping Beauty hurt herself upon. I show them one of my Russian spindles with a sharp point. I’ve heard that some translations nowadays say that she hurt herself on a spinning wheel! It makes me sad – so much knowledge is being lost, sometimes just because people don’t take the time to find out how things really are. I usually also ask the children if they can see any sharp points on my wheel. They can’t.

Then there are those kinds of teachers who want to tell the children what I’m doing… when they’ve finished, I tell my own version of what I’m doing… without actually saying the teacher’s knowledge isn’t perhaps quite accurate ūüôā

But most of the experience is nice, and I really enjoy myself during the four days. It’s only three hours a day, and after that we are rewarded with a simple lunch where I¬†can meet the other artisans and have a chat. It’s even more fun nowadays when my husband has joined the guild. He and another artisan are making rope with the children, or he helps the children bang out their extra energy with hammers in the small wood working shed:

There are other activities for the children also. They can felt, make whistles from rowan or willow, or help with wood turning, depending on what artisans there are during their visit.

But this is too difficult for them: bobbin lace. There are usually at least one lace maker in the farm house with me. This is Ulrike’s “Stundars lace”, a simple design she can make while talking to the visitors.

I usually spin long draw on the Saxony wheel. It’s easy, it’s showy, it makes people stand still for a couple of minutes (how often do you see that in our restless times?) This is the bobbin I filled last Tuesday and Wednesday:

The weather is slowly warming, and right now I can see one tractor in the fields. Maybe summer will come this year also!

Taming my Akha spindle

 

 

I bought an Akha spindle from Spindlewood many years ago, but never learned to use it properly. The spindle is very nice, and well made as all spindles from Spindlewood. But I didn’t quite understand the technique with Akha spinning, so I put it away and hoped for better luck later.

That later came a couple of days ago, when my Swedish friend Anna-Britta posted in a Swedish spinning group on Facebook. We had a very interesting chat, watched a few videos on Youtube, and I got inspired enough to pick up my Akha again.

This time I succeeded! It’s so fun! And it’s amazingly effective for cotton spinning. Thank you once more Anna-Britta!

Now I’m waiting for the weather to be warm enough for carding punis outdoors. It was snowing yesterday, but also a few warm and nice moments with an optimistic sun peeping through the clouds. So, maybe next week?

Snow in the middle of May… not unseen in earlier years, but this is too much. It’s been one of the coldest springs the last 100 years.

Wool

I have carded some of my Swedish Finewool sheep wool the last few weeks. It’s incredibly soft! I dyed it last summer, but haven’t had time to prepare it for spinning until now. The Swedish Finewool sheep is one of Sweden’s¬†national breeds, developed from old Swedish fine woolled sheep with a little bit of help from Finnish landrace (aka Finnsheep aka Finn) rams and some Norwegian breeds at the beginning of the 20th century. It’s a rare breed nowadays, wish I shouldn’t have to use the word “rare” so often when I talk about sheep! I also carded what was left of a batch of Kainuu Grey wool. Yes, it’s a very rare sheep…

As always, I got tired of doing just one thing, so I still have all of the blue fleece to card. And I also got out of storing space! Carded wool can’t be pressed down into plastic bags just like that, it¬†needs a lot of storing space. I hope you can see through the plastic bag how crimpy this wool is. It takes a lot of time and effort to tame it into spinnable rolags. I open it on the drum carder in 3-4 passes, and hand card into rolags. Spinning is pure joy! I spin the way I love the best: long draw on my Swedish Saxony.

I also finally finished two spindle shafts I made last year. I wasn’t satisfied with them, so I took my knife and sandpaper and made some improvements. They work fine now. The whorls are made by a Swedish ceramic artist and spinner, Lena Bergsman of Rostocks Keramik. You find her on Facebook.

We’re still waiting for spring. You may have heard of the Walpurgis Night, the celebration of spring here in Scandinavia and some other European countries. It’s supposed to be warm, sunny, green, and the spring flowers should be blooming. But not so this year! This is what we woke up to yesterday morning all over Scandinavia:

So we’re still waiting. Meanwhile, I give the birds some wool for their nests:

Socks!

I’ve almost finished a pair of socks from the spindle spun 4-ply yarn I showed in my previous post.

Twisted stitch cables. I like that detail in thin socks.

I love the way my yarn knits up and how it feels! Merino and silk, two of my favourite fibres in socks. Strong and soft if you spin it thin with much twist and four plies.

The second sock is almost finished also, and I have enough yarn for another pair. Needle size 2 mm. I use dpns with thin yarns, as I don’t like the way cables behave with needle sizes smaller than 2,5 mm. The yarn gets stuck in the join, however high class cables I use. I also love the feel of good steel like in the old days when I¬†knew nothing about magic loop (which I normally use in almost all my knitting).

I’ve started the next sock yarn with odds and ends from my stash. I found an interesting blend in a bag with Botany Lap Waste from World of Wool: I think it’s Muga silk and dark brown Cashmere. I only have a few grams, so I’ll let it go into a sock yarn. Maggie spindle from Magpie Woodworks, an absolute favourite.

It’s Easter Sunday as I write this. The weather has been sunny and warm, but also snowy, windy and¬†stormy as it normally is in April, and the light has been awesome. There’s also been a full moon, orange and big and dramatic. Hope you enjoy this light with the sun behind clouds at 9:30 a.m. from a few days back when Kasper and I went for a walk: