Sweater and sock yarn

The thin sweater and the thin 4-ply sock yarn I showed in my previous post are finished.

Left over yarns.

I spun this yarn on several light weight top whorl and Turkish spindles. Merino and Merino-silk left overs. I think needles 2,25 or 2,5 mm.

The liver leaf is one of the first flowers in spring. I love them!

Work in progress

I’m a person with lots of UFOs. They don’t bother me, I’m old enough to know that one day I will finish them. Or, if they’re coming out as I planned, I frog them (no problem with that either). I like to start new projects, I work on them for a while, and then I start a new one. It’s my way of working.

So here are two projects from my UFO bin: a sweater that is completed except for the finishing bath, and a gang of small balls of singles yarn that will one day become a sock yarn.

The sweater: I made it from left over yarns. I have a lot of left over yarns! All except the red yarn are commercial yarns.

I wanted to show the yarn ends! You know what it says in knitting patterns: weave in all yarns. I don’t always do that. Sometimes I tie knots. This is before:

And this is after. I make one knot while knitting, and the second afterwards to secure the slippery fibers.

 

The sock yarn wannabe:

Small balls of different fine fibers spun on different tools. Some of them have been waiting for a couple of years, some I’m still spinning. When I’ve finished spinning = when I think I have enough yarn for a 4-ply, I ply. These are my default singles of mainly merino and silk. I could make a cabled yarn, but as I’ve used so many different tools, I’m not 100% sure the twist is consistent through all yarns. A cable seems a bit hazardous, so: a plain 4-ply it’ll be. I just have to finish the yellow tops, then I’ll ply.

I promise to show the sweater and the yarn as soon as they’re finished!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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