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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here he tries to warm his paw by licking it, but the only result was cramp in his hind leg. Poor little friend.
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.
For many years I disliked orange, I don’t know why. Now I like it! It’s such a happy colour. Warm like the sun, full of life. I dyed some Corriedale a couple of years ago, and last week I used my biggest Turkish spindle from IST to spin a yarn for tapestry crochet.
Ball of yarn!
Skein beside water mole hole. I wish all the water moles would move somewhere else and stop undermining our lawn and making it impossible to grow vegetables. Walking on the lawn in the summer is hazardous.
We had frost this morning! The summer neighbour’s old barn was glittering in the sun.
Kasper was bored with me today. I often have the camera with me when we take a walk, and he hates waiting for me. He was so happy when we came home and he saw hubby putting on his walking gear! Now they’re on a long walk in the woods. He’ll be a tired, happy old dog when they come 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.
At last! I took new photos this morning. Here they are. This is the treasure I found at the medieval event last Saturday:
New, unused carders from one of the renown card makers in Kokkola, Indola. The Kokkola area was known for high class carders from the end of the 19th century until the last one gave up and stopped making them in the 1980s. This is handcraft from beginning to end. The tines are mounted a pair at a time on leather. I had a pair that was very similar, worn out many years ago. Since then I’ve been looking for a pair of used Finnish carders, but didn’t find any I wanted to buy. There are second hand carders for sale every now and then, but they are often in very bad condition.
As you can see these also are a bit rusty. The old carders weren’t stainless like today, so no sprinkling of water on these carders is allowed. The very small rusty parts in my new carders will be kept rust free by using the carders, and adding a bit of oil to a few staples of wool every now and then and using it to clean and oil the carders. Or, by not scouring away all the lanolin from the wool. I’m one of those who doesn’t want to work with dirty wool. I scour almost all wool.
You can also see that these carders are not a matching pair. That doesn’t worry me, as I don’t switch hands when I card. I use the heavier card as my upper carder as it sits well in my hand. The card cloths are the same size.
Below three of my hand carders, and my flick carder. To the left are my old carders with a new cloth from Hedgehog Equipment. It’s plastic, so it has to be attached to the carder in a different way than leather cloth: by gluing it close to the wood. The fine cloth carder to the right is from Louet, also with the cloth glued. The Indola carder in the middle has a TPI (tines per inch) in between these two, and the tines are mounted on leather. The flick carder has strong, unbending tines.
Below: See how different the tines are in the three carders! On top the coarsest from Hedgehog, then Indola, and Louet fine. Notice that the leather isn’t glued to the wood. Instead the leather is glued to a sturdy piece of paper, and nailed onto the wood only around the edges as the leather must have space to move, otherwise it’ll crack. Also look at the wood grains: the two Finnish carders wood is turned in another way than the Dutch. I don’t know why that is, maybe it has something to do with the two different kinds of wood and the way the cloth is attached. My old carders naturally had leather cloth also, so the glue next to the wood is a new thing for them. Now this is NOT the way you store your carders, I only placed them like this so you could compare the tines. You store them belly to belly in order to protect the tines.
Here are all of my hand carders. The bench carders also have leather cloth, and they were made somewhere in Finland, maybe even at Indola. I got them as a wedding present, and my husband got a miniature plane so he could make a proper bench, but he was in a hurry and didn’t use it… I attach the mounted carder to the bench with clamps when in use.
Now why all these carders? For different kinds of fibers, obviously.
Louet fine: for very fine fibers like cotton, Merino, silk.
The coarse Hedgehog: for coarse, long wool and double coated wools like Åland, Värmland, and for opening other wools before carding on one of the other two.
The bench carders: for opening large amounts of fibers of all kinds. I sometimes use them for opening dog hair that is difficult to card and can be spun from a cloud.
Indola: for Finnsheep, Swedish Finewool, and other short, fine to medium wools. Indola’s carders are not a result of random card making. They are perfect for the wool they were made for, i.e. Finn. I can’t explain why the flexible leather, the sharply bent tines and the amount of tines per inch, is so perfect for these wools. But it is. I felt sheer, simple joy when I tested them at the booth in Kokkola and had the great pleasure of pairing two carders that seemed to be the best for my way of carding.
The label “Kardmuseum” indeed says “carder museum”. I still have to find out what that means. But obviously the equipment and also some of the raw material from Indolas kardfabrik is still stored somewhere in Kokkola. It was a cottage industry amongst other similar that sold carders all over Finland, and also exported carders to Russia around 1900. Before WWII Indola made some 50 000 pairs of carder yearly. Leather was another big business in the area, and that is one of the explanations why carders where made in several cottage industries there. For good carders you need good leather of the right kind: plant tanned sheep skin.
My little helper:
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.
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:
No walk with Kasper
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.