Tagged: knitting

Shetland Wool Week 2016 : knitting and fishing in Whalsay

Kerstin and I booked a guided trip to Whalsay, an island on the east coast of Shetland. The knitters there had arranged a wonderful day for people who attended Wool Week. They took us sightseeing on the island, and it was beautiful, and the weather was fine. There were sheep everywhere, on the slopes, in the gardens.

This photo is from Simbister Public Hall where we were served tea, coffee, cakes, sandwiches, and delicious fish and chips. I love the decorations in the ceiling! Ready for Christmas, but very nice the year round.

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The incredibly kind ladies took us in small groups in their own cars to see designers and crafters. I went to Ina Irvine, spinner and knitter, and Angela Irvine, artist, knitter, photographer.

Let’s start with this handspun and hand knit Shetland shawl by Ina Irvine. She has the most fabulous handspun and knitted items in her small studio, but the shawl just made us stand there in silence first, then trying to say something that wouldn’t be flat.

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Ina also makes miniatures for sale:

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This is one of her wheels, a wee Shetland wheel. She has several wheels, both old and new.

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She has a fine collection of miniature wheels. A few of them here (I have a similar reddish one):

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Angela Irvine’s studio was a total contrast. She gets her inspiration partly from traditional Shetland knits, as in this luxurious hat:

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Her dresses – imagine them in a night club, or at a posh party:

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This cupboard is amazing!

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There was much more to see in both studios, but now I want to go fishing. This is the vessel, or part of it because my camera couldn’t get the whole picture of it:

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Those who wanted where invited to take a tour in one of the trawlers in the harbour. I wanted to! So I missed the textile exhibition, but as you can see in another post I saw quite a lot of textile in Shetland Museum.

Now ladies and gentlemen, have a look at this ship: not one little piece of dust to be seen anywhere!

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If you’d like to have a fishing vessel like that you’d have to dig out some 25 million pounds from your wallet… Fishing is the main source of income in Whalsay. It’s a hazardous business still today. You can only imagine what it was like in earlier times, and what it was like for the women who waited at home while the men where at sea. They took care of all that had to be done in the house and on the grounds, and they knitted. That probably kept their mind away from what was happening out at sea at least for a while.

So what are they knitting now? Traditional, traditional with a twist, new garments. And they have a gang of girls learning to knit.

One of the ladies said it’s good that knitting isn’t taught at school anymore, because that gives the skilled knitters a chance to teach children that really wants to learn and not just play around. That was comforting to hear! As you may have noticed, there is great concern in Shetland about the future of Shetland knitting. I didn’t take photos of the children, but they were there, and they knitted, and they seemed to have great fun.

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A good day in Whalsay! If any of you who arranged this happens to see my post, thank you so much!

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The Finnish Craft Museum

Hubby, Kasper and I made a trip to Joensuu in eastern Finland to visit hubby’s son. We took the southern route around the lakes so we could visit the Craft Museum in Jyväskylä. I was prepared for not seeing much of what I’d like to see most of all: knitting, crochet and fabric for clothing. And so it was. The reason for this is of course that showing these items in the museum’s permanent exhibition would damage them. But there was still much to see, and I strongly recommend a visit if you go to Jyväskylä. I’m sure you’ll be able to see items from the store rooms if you ask in advance.

First of all I heard intense talking and laughing from a room next to the exhibition. It was a gang of charity knitters! They knitted for disabled persons, and this day there was mostly socks and mittens on the needles. They didn’t mind me taking photos, and I was also allowed to publish:

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There was a stunning exhibition of new Estonian fashion inspired by the rich folk textiles in that country. But as photography was forbidden, I can’t show anything. So let’s move on to the museum’s own items:

There was a fine exhibition of Finnish folk costumes. This couple is dressed in clothes that could’ve been worn in the Kuopio area in the 19th century:

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Eastern Finland:

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The costume find in Eura in 1969 has been much documented and discussed in Finland, and it’s been reconstructed with great care. The grave was from Viking time, 1020-1070. The discussion in our media was especially intense when our former president Tarja Halonen came to the independence ball dressed like this, and yes, she also wore the knife in her belt. There are excellent pictures of old Finnish dress here, also one of our president: women’s dress.

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The rich women’s jewellery was striking in the Viking times, as nowadays. I like the bronze spiral embellishment in the hems. They add both beauty and weight to the apron, no unruly flapping in the wind here!

The knitted and crocheted items were sparse. But here are three sweaters, from top to bottom: first the so called tikkuripaita, or the sweater from Hailuoto, an island in the northern Baltic Sea, then a crocheted granny square heavy cardigan made from left-over yarns by a woman from Pargas in southern Finland called Qvidi-Mina (both she and her cardigan), and then the Korsnäs sweater from Korsnäs on the west coast. Qvidi-Mina was one of those women you can find all over the world. They have an eye for beauty, they have skilled hands, they make a meagre living by selling their products or changing them for goods or services. Luckily a woman in the neighbourhood inherited Qvidi-Mina’s textiles, and now you can see them in the museum in Pargas.

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I love the felted red boots! They are new. Felted boots in the old days did not look like that. The leather boots are still made, but typically for much that is made in our times, they are not made with such care and elegance as in older days. In the wild 70s and 80s I used such boots for years. They are nice in the winter, and excellent for walking in our stony woods also in the summer.

Now here’s what the felted boots looked like in earlier days. They are light and warm and at their best in very cold winters. I wore felted boots as a child in the 50s. But you have to remember: don’t use them when it’s raining!

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Re-use isn’t a new thing, if any of you thought so… which I don’t think you did. Here’s a corselet made from Marianne candy paper, our much loved peppermints:

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No, I don’t think you should go out in the rain dressed in that one either… of course, it depends on what effect you want to achieve.

Now here’s a sweater and a sad love story that make people go soft. It’s a tikkuripaita. There was a girl and a boy, living as neighbours as best friends in their village in Hailuoto. Everyone thought they would marry when they grew up. Then came WWII. The boy, now a man, had to join the army and fight against the Russians. He survived, he came home – and found that his friend had married another. But she still knitted him a tikkurisweater. He wore it for the rest of his life. He mended it himself. He loved it. I’m sure he loved her also.

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Hats in Myrbergsgården

In an earlier post I wrote about socks you can see in one of the museums in my municipality. Today I want to show you hats from that same amazing museum, Myrbergsgården = Ant’s Hill House, if you wonder 🙂

Some of these are skilfully crocheted children’s hats. Sometimes they were made for women, who wore them as an extra layer under the head cloths for more warmth. Indoors they took off the head cloth, but sometimes kept the hat. The houses, and especially the small cottages, where not always very warm in winter in those days, i.e. the end of the 19th century – beginning of the 20th. As you can see, they were crocheted in the round. The pattern designs are the same you can find in crocheted clothes and purses here on the Ostrobothnian coast.

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Tapestry crocheted hats
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Tapestry crocheted hats

Close up: I still haven’t had time to see how they solved the problem with going from crocheting in rounds to making a flat piece. You can do it in two ways. Either you continue working in rounds and make a steek afterwards, or you cut the threads after each row. I really can’t tell from my photos which method they used.

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Tapestry crocheted hat with Twisted S design

The Twisted S design is often used in the Korsnäs sweater, but you can also find it in suspenders and purses. It’s one of my favorits, I often use it in purses.

I have tried to copy this hat, made and used by an elderly woman as her indoor hat, but it’s very hard to find out exactly how the increases are made. I think this design must be made exactly like this. It’s charming with it’s slightly irregular “propellers”. If you make it regular it looses much of its charm.

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These plain knitted caps were also used under the head cloth. Some of them are machine knitted. Knitting machines where common before WWII in my municipality. This is a simple but highly usable sock heel construction:

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Machine knitted cap

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Twisted stitches

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Hope you enjoyed! To me head gear are constant objects of amazement. It seems we put just anything on our heads! I think  the hats I just showed you are lovely. When I get even older than I am now, I’ll crochet a hat like that for me to wear on cold winter days.

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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Ugly yarn

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I plied two skeins of yarn some years ago. I used several left overs that looked pretty good together. Out came one of the ugliest yarns I’ve ever spun, so I tried to forget all about it. A couple of weeks ago I happened to see the skeins beside a dark grey commercial Merino/Silk yarn when I was looking for something else in my yarn stash. Wow, I thought. I started to knit at once. I saw there wasn’t enough of the handspuns, but thought I’d find something for the ribbings later. As always when I’m not sure I have enough yarn I started knitting without ribbings and cuffs. I add those later.

I wanted to knit winter pants for my granddaughter, so I dyed a white Finnsheep yarn red. As always, I have several knitting going all the time. One evening the pants lay on the sweater. Wow, I thought. I dyed some more red yarn.

There’s silk, Merino and probably BFL in the sweater, also in the handspun yarns. It’s fairly thin, and it feels lovely. After having it on for a few hours I know I’ve made a new favorite winter sweater. It’s warm, but not hot, and it’s very soft. A worthy sweater to celebrate Wovember!