Category: Events

Medieval event in Kokkola

There seem to be a never ending row of middle ages events in Europe, and also in my small country. My husband and I went to one in Kokkola, 100 kilometres north from us. It was a great event with riders from Rohan Tallit, a play ground for the children with a king dubbing knights and a mini-tournament, fine craft for sale, barbecue, and talks on herbs in medieval tradition.

Everybody was there

Everybody was there

There was spindle spinning...

There was spindle spinning…

... and dyeing with fir cones

… and dyeing with fir cones

Plant dyed yarn

Plant dyed yarn

There was a King

The King

On their way to the tournament

And horses on their way to the tournament

And did I see the tournament?

And did I see the tournament? No 😦   I saw the lances above the people’s heads…

I saw Death in the field when the tournament was over

…and I saw Death in the field when the tournament was over

We had barbecue pork...

We had barbecue pork…

...and others had a picknick

…and others had a picknick outside the church wall

I’ll tell you what a treasure I found in another post. I need to take a photo first. It was a very nice and satisfying day, and I can now stop searching for a tool I’ve been looking for for years!

Here’s one who was happy when we came home:

Watch out, hear comes Kasper!

Watch out, hear comes Kasper!

Two-end knitting and crochet

I took a class in intermediate two-end knitting for Karin Kahnlund, one of the skilled Swedish knitters and teachers in this intricate technique. You may know it as “twined knitting”, a term that is also frequently used. It’s called “tvåändsstickning” in Swedish. The technique hasn’t been widely known outside the areas in Sweden where it has been practised for hundreds of years. It’s still an unknown way of knitting for most knitters. I first learned how to do it at the beginning of the 21th century, when I was able to attend a class with Marianne Wasberg. She’s the one sitting in the wheel chair here in our class at the Symposium:

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I somehow managed not to take a photo of our pleasant and skilled teacher. I did take photos of her mittens, but as she doesn’t want them to be published I can’t show them. Karin has made very beautiful knitted mittens and sleeves, as you can see from the few photos on her site.

I may show Karin’s swatch that we started knitting in the class:

Provlapp i Karin Kahnlunds fortsättningskurs

My swatch is still to be finished. I frogged the first one and started all over. After several hours of knitting I’ve come this far:

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I wanted to show the wrong side, because it’s different from how you usually knit stranded knitting and fair isle. Every stitch is bound or twisted, and you throw the yarns. The continental way of knitting doesn’t work in two-end knitting. I’m pleased with the swatch as it looks now compared to the one I first started knitting. You have to knit firm, otherwise the patterns won’t look nice. In this exercise you learn how many threads you need to use in each pattern, and how they are bound and twisted.

In two-end knitting you use Z-twist yarns, so now I have a new challenge in my spinning. For some reason I find it much more difficult to spin S than Z. I think it has to do with very small changes in how you use your muscles in your drafting hand. So, the way to cope with that is to spin more S-twist singles to train your muscles! We use Z-twisted yarns because S-twisted tend to loose rather much twist in this technique. This is of course, as so often when it comes to textiles, a matter of “it depends”. Your personal way of knitting, how you keep your yarns in your hands, how you pick the stitches or throw your yarns, whether you’re right handed or left handed, all this affect the yarns and how your knitting looks. So, test different ways and decide for yourself how you want to do it.

I also got engaged as a teacher at the Symposium, and found myself having promised to teach tapestry crochet at a knitting symposium. To my surprise my class was quite popular, so I ended up with more students than I had promised to take. It was a bit crowded in one of the classes, but we managed even if my legs still are covered with bruises from the table and chairs I had to round each time I wanted to show someone what to do 🙂 I chose the traditional Ostrobothnian way to crochet this technique. My students learned the basics and some of them were able to finish the round, flat bottom of a purse. At least one of them had finished the sides of her purse the following morning! This is a photo I took while working with the hand outs for my class:

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We also could to listen to some very interesting talks during the five days, and we visited several museums and saw some of the beautiful textiles from my region. I met new people, and some that I’ve met earlier in Scotland, Shetland, Finland, Sweden. It was a wonderful five days!

Estonian mittens at the Nordic Knitting Symposium

I took two one-day classes at the Nordic Knitting Symposium 2014: the first one on how to knit cuffs for Estonian mittens. I have knitted Estonian mittens and socks in the “Nancy Bush-way”, and they are lovely. Nancy’s patterns are adapted from Estonian tradition, and with great care to not do violence to the Estonian tradition, but to suite knitters not used to the extremely fine knitting in most of the original textiles, and leaving the most difficult techniques out.

Knitting in the traditional Estonian way is something else. It’s not unusual to have up to 200 stitches per round in a pair of men’s mittens. Needle sizes go from 0.8 mm to 1.25. The yarn is thin and rather stiff, and the knitting is extremely dense. Most of the items made for weddings have never been used, or used only for a few hours during the feast. They were made to show the bride’s skills.

In the class we learned to knit three different cuffs found in mittens from Muhu island off the west coast of Estonia. Our teacher Kristi Joeste has done lots of research on Estonian mittens, and she also teaches at Tartu University in Viljandi. She has a blog in Estonian with lovely photos. She showed mittens that made us ooooh, and later, when we tried the stretchy cast-on on needles 1.5 mm you could here deep sighs from all these skilled knitters sitting around the table. In the afternoon we had to admit that we felt like beginners again! This is my cuff with fringes on needles 1.5 mm:

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I didn’t knit much more than that on any of the three cuffs. It’s slow! There are intricate techniques! But all of it was rewarding, and I believe all of us learned how to do the stretchy cast-on that is common in Estonian mittens.

Kristi Joeste has reconstructed more than 200 pairs of Estonian mittens. Here are some mittens she showed us:

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The fringes we learned to knit. These are knitted by Kristi Joeste:

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I used needles 2 mm in the first cuff, 1.5 in the second, and 1.25 in the third. I think that was wise, because starting with 1.25 would probably have made me quite unhappy. One of my spinning friends from Sweden took the same class, and we both got very excited. Now we want to find the right kind of wool and spin the thin yarns for a pair or two of these beautiful mittens.

If you like Estonian knitting, keep an eye on Kristi Joestes blog and Facebook site. In the autumn three new books will be published in English, the first one about Estonian knitting techniques, the other two about knitted textiles. I’m very excited about this, and will buy them all. Especially the first one will fill a gap, as there’s very little written about how to knit the mittens and socks. Lot’s of photos have been published, but often with no explanation on how to knit what’s shown in them.

A few views from the delicious table this very silent and concentrated gang of knitters sat around:

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Kristi also gave a talk during the symposium. She told us about the vast and interesting textile program they teach at the university in Viljandi, and showed photos of new interpretations of old Estonian textiles. It’s obvious you have to be talented and serious about what you do if you want to study at that university. And I have one more note on my list of places to go to.

Fine needles

I’m attending the Nordic Knitting Symposium this week. Five days of knitting and museums – I’ll return to that when it’s over and I have time to breathe. For now a photo of a work in progress by the Knit Master of my guild, Marianne Wasberg. It’s a miniature two-endknitted piece intended to be a brooch one day. Needles 0.5 mm. My first attempt at Estonian mittens with needles 2 mm in the background (I’m now down to 1.25 mm in my third attempt). Quite a difference in those two knittings, isn’t it? Marianne’s needles are so fine that I don’t think I could use them. I wouldn’t be able to see what I’m doing. She’s an amazing knitter. I’ll show more of her work later.

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Spinnarmästare – Master spinner

I går fick jag mitt spinnarmästarbrev, överräckt av de två åldermännen i mitt gille Björken. Det siktade jag till redan före jag avlade mitt certifikat i Online Guild förra sommaren. I många år har jag följt mästarna på Stundars och tänkt att en dag ska jag också vara mästare! Deras lugna och säkra utstrålning vid sitt hantverk har imponerat djupt på mig. Tidigt insåg jag att ska jag bli som de så måste jag jobba hårt. Och det har jag gjort. Jag spann mycket för certifikatet, och månaderna efter det spann jag minst lika mycket, i princip åtta timmar varje dag. Resten av tiden gick till läsning av spinnlitteratur, diskussionsforum, videor. En underbar tid, en krävande tid.

Yesterday I received my diploma in handspinning, presented by the two aldermen in my guild Björken. I was aiming for this already before starting to work on my Certificate in Handspinning in Online Guild, which I achieved last August. For many years I have admired the masters at Stundars, and thought that one day I will be a master craftsman too! Their calm and confident karisma while working with their crafts has made a deep impression on me. Vey early I realised that if I want to be like them I’ll have to work hard. And that I have done. I spun a lot for the Certificate, and the months after I spun at least as much. I spun for eight hours every day. The rest of the time I spent reading about spinning, talking and reading in forums on internet, I watched videos. A wonderful time, a demanding time.

Jag vill visa något av vad de andra mästarna gör också:

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Målarmästare/tempera (painter/tempera) Ann-Mari Svahn

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Bagarmästare (baker) Anna-Lena Björkman

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Korgmakarmästare (basket maker) Roger Sandelin

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Hantverkarmästare (craftsman) Anders Enlund

Glömde jag att ta ordentliga foton av min egen avdelning? Ja det gjorde jag. Min man som också fotograferade trodde att jag redan hade bra foton av mina egna saker så han tog inga han heller. Därför får ni se mig i stället. Jag håller en sjal av alpacka, kamelhår och silke som jag just ska hänga upp bredvid min tröja som redan hänger där. På det andra fotot ser man bordet jag håller på att arrangera. De flesta av garnerna har jag redan visat här i bloggen tidigare. Tröjan och sockorna ska jag visa i ett annat blogginlägg.

Did I forget to take proper photos of my own exhibition? Yes I did. My husband who also took photos believed I’d taken photos of my own items, so he didn’t take any. That’s why you have to look at me instead. I’m holding a shawl from alpaca, camel and silk that I’m going to hang beside my sweater already hanging there. The second photo shows me arranging the table. I have showed most of the yarns on the blog earlier. I will show the sweater and the socks in another blog post.

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Nya mästare på Stundars

Hedersålderman Bjarne Hammarström och ålderman Krister Vidgren kallar den första gesällen till podiet. De fem nya mästarna Ann-Mari Svahn, Roger Sandelin, Barbro Heikinmatti, Anders Enlund, Anna-Lena Björkman har fått sina mästarbrev. – Honorary alderman Bjarne Hammarström and alderman Krister Vidgren addressing the first new journeyman to come to the podium. The five new masters Ann-Mari Svahn, Roger Sandelin, Barbro Heikinmatti, Anders Enlund, Anna-Lena Björkman have received their diplomas.

En del gesäller har redan uppnått så stor skicklighet i sina hantverk att de nog nått mästarnivå. Jag visar ett par av dem.

Some of the journeymen have achieved such skills that they could almost be called masters. I show two of them.

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Näverslöjdsgesäll Siv Tarvos – Birch bark crafter Siv Tarvos

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Stickgesäll Maj-Britt Hjortman, också mycket kunnig i flerfärgsvirkning och näverslöjd – Knitting Maj-Britt Hjortman, also very skilled in tapestry crochet and birch bark crafting

Jag vill också visa ett exempel på en gesälls stora skicklighet i knyppling. Tyvärr har jag inget namn på henne. TILLÄGG: nu har jag ett namn tack vare Mari: knypplerskan heter Ulrike Björkqvist. – I also want to show a necklace made by a very skilled bobbin lace journeyman. Unfortunately I don’t remember her name. ETA: I now have a name thanks to Mari: the bobbin lace crafter is Ulrike Björkqvist.

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Andra nya och även de mycket skickliga visade virkning, smide, garvning, kopparsmide, och en glädjande nyhet för alla oss som fick höra henne: Neppe Pettersson är gillets första berättargesäll. – Other new and also very skilled journeymen showed crochet, smithery, tannery, copper smithery, and a new skill that was very enjoyable to us who could listen to her at the event: Neppe Pettersson is the guild’s first journeyman in story telling.

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Gillets mästerspelman Kalle Berg spelade en gånglåt för alla gesäller som nu ska ut och vandra i jakt på en mästare som kan lära dem deras yrke. – The Guild’s master fiddler Kalle Berg played a marching tune for the journeymen that now have to walk out into the world to find a master who can teach them their trade.

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Selma spelade klarinett med bravur. På somrarna kan man se henne här och var på Stundars, hela tiden igång med nåt hantverk. Valet av ett så svårt instrument förvånar mig inte det minsta – Selma played the clarinet with skill. In the summers you can se her at Stundars, doing something crafty the whole day. I’m not surprised she’s chosen one of the most difficult instruments there is.

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Jag hoppas jag kunnat förmedla något av Stundars hantverkares mångsidighet och skicklighet. Det finns många skäl att besöka museet under hantverksdagarna. En väldigt bra sådan är Stundars egna bagarmästare Mikael Eriksson, som naturligtvis stod för trakteringen också denna fina dag.

I hope I have been able to show some of the great skills of the crafters at Stundars. There are many reasons to visit the museum during the craft events. One very good reason is Stundars’ own master baker Mikael Eriksson, who naturally stood for the catering during this fine day.

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Och vem var lycklig när vi kom hem? And who was happy when we came home?

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Teaching tapestry crochet at a knitting symposium

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So I will teach tapestry crochet at the Nordic Knitting Symposium 2014. Who could’ve guessed? Not I, for sure. When they called me and asked, I said “tapestry crochet???” in a tone that suggested I don’t know what a crochet hook looks like.

But a short tour in my Ravelry projects reveals the truth: I have crocheted lots of bags and purses in that technique, and I have crocheted/knitted Korsnäs sweaters. So after thinking for a while I said “yes, please, I’ll be glad to teach tapestry crochet!”

I’m so excited to take part in this big knitting event!

Hjärtligt välkomna till Nordiskt Sticksymposium 2014 alla som vill virka något färgglatt och folklig tillsammans med mig! Hjärtligt välkomna alla som vill virka något dämpat och stilrent! Jag håller två halvdagskurser under symposiet. Du lär dig grunderna, och sedan börjar äventyret. Du kan omsätta det du lärt dig i egna projekt i den stil du vill. Hjärtligt välkommen även om du inte alls vill virka utan bara sticka, för den illustra skaran fina sticklärare är imponerande!

Sydämellisesti tervetuloa Pohjoismaiseen Neulesymposiumiin 2014! Tästä tapahtumasta tulee hieno, siitä olen aivan varma. Opetan monivärivirkkausta erittäin mielelläni. Perustaidot opit nopeasti, ja sen jälkeen voit kehittää omia malleja. Tekniikka on monipuolinen ja sitä voi käyttää monella eri tavalla vaatteissa, pusseissa ja laukuissa, sisustuksessa. Tervetuloa myös jos et halua ollenkaan virkata! Vöyrille tulee suuri joukko erittäin taidokkaita ja inspiroivia neuleopettajaa.

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