Category: Uncategorized

Crafter of the year, Årets Gunnar

I received a fine award this week – I’m the crafter of the year 2016 at Stundars, the museum and craft centre where my guild Björken is active. The award is called “Årets Gunnar”, “Gunnar of the Year”, after the museum’s founder Gunnar Rosenholm. I’m of course very proud and happy!

Årets Gunnar

Three of the diplomas on a wall in my spinning room are hand printed at Stundars’ printing museum. If I receive more diplomas I have to move the picture showing a part of the  Bayeux tapestry… it’s been with me for decades, an inspiration for a handspinner to spin fine and even threads for making art.

Left to right: Certificate of Achievement in Handspinning (Online Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers, UK) ; Gesällbrev, apprentice diploma (Stundars) ; Mästarbrev, master spinner diploma (Stundars) ; and the Crafter of the Year 2016 diploma.

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I got flowers, and I was interviewed in the local paper and radio station. Always nice to spread the word to a world that knows next to nothing about spinning!

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Waiting for Wednesday

I’m waiting for Wednesday – I’ll leave early in the morning, and in the afternoon I’ll be in Orkney! On Saturday I’ll be in Shetland. I’m not sure if I can post from there, but will post when I’m back home if not earlier.

This yarn is spun from Kainuu Grey wool and mohair from Sanski’s goats that I mentioned in an earlier post. Delicate like Sanski’s handspun yarns, which is a bit odd as it’s spun in a mill. I love it! Light, light grey.

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Autumn has come, and with it the frost. It’s still sunny and quite warm every now and then. The green beans and some of the herbs have frozen, but some flowers have survived. Wonder if I should save the pelargonium. It’s bright red, and there’s buds.

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Nettles

It’s almost too late for nettles, but luckily they’re still young and fresh thanks to the rather cold May we’ve had. I love nettles! I think it’s one of the most tasty vegetables we have, and for free, which isn’t a bad thing at all. In the 50s my grandmother grew nettles in her town garden. People thought she was a bit odd, but nowadays they’d think she was wise. This is super food! Lots of vitamins and minerals in these. There’s plenty in our back garden. I use rubber gloves for picking them. Later they will grow new smaller branches, that can also be used if the the insects haven’t eaten them first. There are many who think this is a fine vegetable.

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Nettles in water. I soak them in cold water for a few minutes, then I rinse.

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I boil them less than one minute, just so the colour turns bright green, which tells me most of the oxygen has gone, and they will preserve well and look gorgeous in my dishes. I put them in cold water for a couple of minutes, and then I press out as much moisture I can with my hands. There are several ways of preserving nettles depending on how you’re going to use them later. This works for me and I’ve done it for decades.

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The kitchen machine takes care of the chopping.

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I use small plastic bags for storage. You could also freeze them the size of ice cubes, and keep them in bigger bags. I take as much from the bag that I need for my soups, sauces, bread, pancakes etc. One little bag contains enough for 3-4 dishes in our household of two grown ups. I started with three liters of fresh nettles, and now I have six small plastic bags that I need to put in a place in the freezer where I can find them during the winter. That’s the hardest thing of all!

I’ll pick and preserve more nettles another day.

Oh yes, I’m well aware of the fibres in nettles! I’ve tried a couple of times to use our common stinging nettle in a yarn, but I don’t have the patience to do it properly. There’s a lot of work before you get even a few fibres from those stems. The fine cloth you can spin and weave is called “nättelduk” or “nettelduk” in Swedish, which tells that the Swedish work “nässla” is the same as the English “nettle”.

Bowl

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This used to be my grandmother’s salt bowl. She kept sea salt and a stone to crush it with in that bowl. It was in my parent’s cellar for decades, until my brother found it and asked if I wanted it. Of course I wanted it! It was in bad shape, dry and dirty, but it stirred a memory: I knew I’d seen that bowl long ago.

My brother also found the stone.

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I think it’s from the Gulf of Bothnia. The people from my grandparents village used to go fishing Baltic Herring in the autumns, when the fish has the best quality. They then salted it in big barrels. You can see one in the right upper corner of this photo showing a fishing boat that was typical for the coast of Ostrobothnia. There’s a fantastic museum in Malax: Kvarkens Båtmuseum.

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Fishing boat, Kvarkens båtmuseum.

I didn’t do anything to improve the bowl for many years. One evening when I was feeling bored and didn’t want to knit, crochet, or spin, I took linen oil and thought I’d fix the bowl. Was it thirsty! Oh my, it drank half the bottle of oil in a blink, and then I hadn’t even started with the bottom. I left it to dry for a couple of weeks, and then tried bees wax and canola oil. The bowl loved it, and all of a sudden there was a shine to the wood, and you could see wonderful details that had been hidden.

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I love this bowl! It sits on a small table next to my chair. I keep small things and my big note book in it. I love the note book cover just as much – my brother made it for me.

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The beauty of everyday things! My caffe latte mug is from Iittala, the café au lait cup is handmade and a gift from a spinning friend.

Flu knocked me down

I have been ill, an angry winter flu knocked me down for two weeks. I’m slowly recovering, so soon I will have something to show. A good thing is that we finally have a little snow after a snowless autumn. Kasper too likes snow, but he doesn’t want to be outdoors for long when it’s as cold as today, -20 C (-4 F). He suffers from cold cramp in his legs and paws now when he’s old.

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Here he tries to warm his paw by licking it, but the only result was cramp in his hind leg. Poor little friend.

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He was also a bit upset by not being able to find his loo immediately the first morning with snow. Putting his head under the snow and finding his way by sniffing solved the problem! I have to tell him about the red rag the forest company has tied to his favourite tree.

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