Category: Walks & trips

Spinning with friends in Sweden


In August I was in Sweden and met old and new spinning friends. The photo above is from Luleå, where spinners meet quite often to spin together. As you can see, E-spinners are popular! Nancy is showing her blending board, and Yvonne is spindling.


Fibers! Britt-Marie is a skilled dyer.


More fibers. The group members buy, sell, and swap fibers. I came home with lovely red and green BFL/silk tops, and a beautiful grey Cashmere/silk top that I long to spin. I also have several bags of fleece.

After a couple of lazy and fun days in Luleå with Britt-Marie, we went still further north to Överkalix, where a couple of new spinners met up. We stayed at a self catering cottage, and spun in the evening before the final day of Överkalix Craft Week, when we spun in public in an old house that is now a museum.


The main building is an impressive building, especially when you know how harsh the conditions have been here in the north. It’s filled with beautiful furniture and artefacts, and also has a fine textile collection.


There are two rows of rooms in the house. Two spinning wheels, painted blue as they often are in northern Sweden:



A distaff for flax tow:


More distaffs:


The furniture is gorgeously decorated.


Louise Ström, one of Sweden’s best band weavers, taught a weaving class in the old house. These are some of her tablet woven bands:


A man showed ropes and cords made from different animal fibers: camel, yak, horse etc.


I forgot to take photos of us spinning in public in that fascinating house… so I can’t show any. But here’s a display of Swedish wools shown by one of the sellers at the market place:


Sweden has a lot of interesting old sheep breeds, with wools from harsh to super fine and soft. I have only spun Swedish Finull and Gotland so far.

Kasper stayed at home with hubby, but I wasn’t totally dog-less. Britt-Marie’s two lovely dogs kept me company once in a while:


I was invited by my friends to Luleå and Överkalix, and I enjoyed it so much! Thank you all, and special thanks to Britt-Marie who kindly invited me to stay in her home!


First: my skilled brother made a notebook cover of leather for me. “Can you draw a ram’s head?” I asked him a couple of weeks ago. He could. It’s so beautiful!


This may be one of the last beautiful autumn days. The threshing is late this year, so we haven’t been able to walk in the fields until now. It’s also been very rainy and cold. Kasper is getting old, he’s 11 years now. He’s never liked to wet his feet, unlike a lot of other dogs. But he still takes long walks with hubby. With me he just shuffles along investigating things of interest for a dog.


He loves the fields just like me. The open space, the beautiful colours every time of the year.


The lustre of straw.


The last green blades of oats for a dog to eat!


And now he’s lost interest in my doings and clearly intends to run somewhere else. There are a bunch of greyhounds, laikas and other dogs in the direction Kasper’s nose is pointing. At this point I call him and put him on leash. He doesn’t protest, but if I’m not alert he runs too far away to bother to listen to me any longer.


Reflexions in water, always so fascinating. You don’t need much water or dramatic sceneries!


But this tree I feel sorry for. I don’t think it suffers like humans and animals suffer, but it doesn’t feel good to look at it. The barbed wire comes out on the other side. The pine is slowly eating it.


At home painting is slowly progressing. The next time we’ll get someone else to do this. It’s not a job for two elderly people with all kinds of disabilities like osteoarthritis and dizziness on high ladders. We can’t paint all of the white parts this year due to bad weather. Some of the boards surrounding the windows have to be replaced, so they have to wait for next summer also. But on the whole we’re satisfied. The new lighter red colour we chose makes the house much brighter. There are also new doors waiting to be installed, hopefully within a couple of weeks.


Hectic summer

Ordinary summer activities have filled my summer. It was cold and rainy for two months, so my attempts to grow herbs weren’t very successful. But the mini tomatoes in their mini green house gave lots of yummy tomatoes, and some of the garden flowers also liked the “British” weather.thumb_IMG_0350_1024 thumb_IMG_3564_1024

Hubby found a few cloud berries:





We’re fixing the house on the outside. The old earth paint had worn off, and some of the wood panel had to be replaced. I love to paint, hubby hates it. I can understand why when I sit in my room on the second floor and see him struggling on the ladder:


I paint the lower parts, and I love how it looks! It looks even better after I’ve painted the white parts also. Here they’re still in the old paint:


I spun in public a couple of times, and had friends visiting. Here’s Carina with her carders at Stundars, and I’m spinning.


Later in July I taught a wool class for an Estonian group:




In August I visited Carina in Sweden, and saw her lovely Dalapäls sheep, one of the Swedish native sheep breeds:



I met old and new spinning friends. Three nationalities in Carina’s kitchen: Carina and her daughters, Britt-Marie and Ingrid from Sweden, Natalie from UK, and me behind the camera from Finland:


Natalie’s Turkish spindles:


Scandinavians see European elks every now and then out in the wild, but we seldom see them as close as we could see them in Älgens hus, a park with elks you can actually touch! We loved it, and Natalie was excited, as she’s been out in the woods twice in Sweden trying to see an elk without succeeding. A note: European elk is a different animal than the American moose. You often see “moose” used for the European elk, but if you want to be precise,  call it “European Elk”. More on Wikipedia.


They are impressive! I’m so happy I had the opportunity to see them like this!

We wouldn’t be spinners if we didn’t think about spinning elk hair – but it’s not very tempting when you see it close. The guard hair is stiff and wiry, and the wool hair is shorter than short:


My trip in Sweden continued with two spin ins and one Spin in Public. I’ll show pics in another post, so I finish this post with the gorgeous young elk bull:


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!


It’s a good year for mushrooms. After the long hot and dry period we got rain, and the mushrooms showed in the magic way they always do. In the north they are picking matsutake! We found Russulas and a three different Boletus. No mushrooms for dyeing up there on the cliffs.



I think we should go in that direction…


IMG_2731Aha, buns for me!






Life is good. And Kasper thinks it’s good too. He always gets the last crumb from every meal.


My husband and I were in Stockholm last weekend. We didn’t go anywhere, so I don’t have anything to show other than a snowy street and my granddaughter having great fun.



Just think that you can live in a big city with white snow and peaceful streets! It was as quiet as in the countryside, only a few blocks away from Slussen.

I met two spinners while in Stockholm. The other one brought me a spinner’s delight from the US, thanks so much, Kerry!


Power Scour, not sold in Finland as far as I know. How do they think anyone can live without Power Scour? Washing my fleeces will be a piece of cake for a while. Then I’ll seriously start thinking of ordering it from the UK, because I don’t want to use anything else after having tried this. My white Finn fleece is soon washed, and I can go on with the other fleeces. There’s quite a heap of them, I’ll tell more in another post. I also met another Ravelry friend whom I’ve been talking to for several years, and also has met IRL a few times earlier. Such a good place to get to know people, Ravelry!


We finally have snow here in western Finland, and it’s cold as it should be in winter. Now I need my woollens! Kasper thinks it’s nice, too, but he already has his woollens on. I think I’ll knit him a sweater one day anyway. He’ll be 10 years old this spring, and will need something warm in winter.

To mend a house

In November hubby and I made a trip to Oulu. We couldn’t find the museum then, but last week we did. It wasn’t easy, though. Yes, we could locate it on the maps, but getting there is really not the simplest matter. No parking close to it, just to mention one thing. But, we’ve been there, and it was worth all the trouble. I found much more of interest to a textile person, all very well displayed. Most of the items are stored and not on display, but I got an impression that if you know what you’re looking for it’s not at all difficult to get permission to see them. There are also departments for tar production and seafare, the big trades in old Oulu.

I want to show just one thing from the museum in this post, a Sami summer pole tent, “vaatekota”, made from various pieces of fabric, old clothes, darned and patched in extreme. It was made by reindeer herder Ander Andersen Spein and his wife Inga during WWI. This was the home for as many as ten persons. The Sami peoples in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia had different kinds of kota tents. The vaatekota was easy to mount and take apart, and light to transport from one place to another during the transhumance up to the mountains with the reindeer in the summer. The Sami have been living in wooden houses since the late 19th century, so the vaatekota in the Oulu museum is one of the last that’s  been in use.

I hope the photos give at least a hint of how wonderfully the married couple have used the textiles they had. There’s cloth they have bought, as in the man’s jacket, and home made as in the rough piece of fabric (woven in an oppstadgogn, the old type of upright loom) with patches from other fabrics in it. The last photo shows the inside of the tent with the hearth, cooking utensils, and beds of reindeer skins. The cloth hanging over the tent are symbolic Northern Lights.

Kota kåta Oulun maakuntamuseo-4

Kota kåta Oulun maakuntamuseo-1

Kota kåta Oulun maakuntamuseo-2

Kota kåta Oulun maakuntamuseo-3

Kota kåta Oulun maakuntamuseo-1-2


Trip to Oulu

We visited my lovely mother-in-law in Oulu yesterday. Oulu is a nice town with a university, a botanical garden with plants that survive in Northern Scandinavia, lively business centers, beautiful parks and some interesting old buildings. It’s a technology city as well, so going to the Technopolis is a thing you don’t want to miss if you like technique.

This time of the year darkness is part of your days if you live in the northern hemisphere. The sun barely rises, and it’s setting at once. It’s also cloudy most of the time. All daytime photos in this post were taken between 10 am and 3 pm.

IMG_2849 road trip oulu

We don’t have much snow yet, but enough to make the landscape lighter. White, gray, dark green, brown in the woods. Blue road signs. Colorful advertising. Red houses and barns in the countryside. Red lights in the cities. Are there any green lights? Hubby thinks not. Not enough anyway. He’s the one who drives, I just meditate, so I don’t mind looking at red.

IMG_2852 Kempele

IMG_2847 road trip


I like the street lamps in central Oulu.

IMG_2865 oulu

We wanted to go to the museum in Oulu, but we couldn’t find it before my bad ankles stopped co-operating… I wanted to look at the kind of backstrap riddle heddle looms we have in the Nordic countries, but it’ll have to wait. Maybe next time. I’ve said so for the last 20 years. I think there’s an evil spirit preventing me from going to the museum in Oulu. But now we thing we know in which area it supposedly is, hiding and lurking amidst the trees in a park.

On the way home it was totally black except for the electric lights and car lamps. You may have seen the photos of the lights on earth: it’s impossible to see the stars in many parts of the world. We can still see the Milky Way where hubby and I live in the countryside.

IMG_2879 kokkola

If we don’t get our roof fixed within reasonable time we may see the Milky Way from inside the house… roof tiles came down in the last storm, luckily only a few of them. We’re waiting for a person who’s promised to come and have a look and maybe do something to get the tiles back. It’s not the nicest weather for roof work today. The day after the storm was clear and bright, as it so very often happens.

IMG_2832 huset tak

No walk with Kasper



Morning sun

Morning sun

Mushroom with lichen

Mushroom with lichen

Mushroom with lichen

Mushroom with lichen

Sorry, I'm not coming with you!

Sorry, I’m not coming with you!

I was going for a short walk with Kasper this morning. But when he saw the camera he turned back, went in (I had left the door open), took hubby’s walking shoe and carried it out into the yard. “I want to go with Kari”, he announced. “No camera, much more interesting walk. No standing in one place watching“, he declared. So he didn’t see the squirrel.

Squirrel in morning sun

Squirrel in morning sun