Yes yes loom!

So now I’m started. As I haven’t woven with a loom for almost 30 years, I started with plain weave and poppana rags, the industrially produced thin rag weft that was so popular in the 80s here in Finland. You can still buy it in weaving shops. I found my old poppana in the attic, and also some of my grandmother’s rags, probably from the 60s. She used to sit in the sun in the summers and cut old clothes into rug weft. She would hurt her fingers from all that cutting, so she wound some of the rags around her thumb and middle fingers to protect them.

Hubby went to work the day I was to wind on, so I decided to do it on my own. It’s good to have thick, heavy books in your shelves! I put weights on the warp, wound on, opened more of the warp chain and adjusted the with, fetched a bucket and filled it with heavy books and attached it to the warp, wound on 10 meters of cotton… it’s not the best wind on you’ve seen, but I think it’ll work even if I’ll probably have to adjust some warp threads when finishing the fabric. That’ll be easy, as I weave short pieces like place mats.

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Winding on the warp
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Threading the heddles
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Sleying the reed
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Weaving poppana

The most difficult thing was to crawl into the loom to tie up the horizontal lamms and the treadles. And then I had to crawl out again! I’m not in the same shape I was 30 years ago. But after the third time I felt I was ten years younger – what a work out this is! When I asked people at the Väv 14 event in Umeå what kind of loom I should get for the needs I have nowadays, quite many said “not a counter march loom”. I was quite surprised, because 30 years ago that was exactly what you should get if you were a serious weaver. The explanation was even more surprising: it’s difficult to tie the treadles!

But I’m not afraid of tying the treadles, and after having tied the lamms for the first time I won’t have to do it again, as they are always the same, only the treadles vary. I have good books with clear instructions. I’ve done it before. I think it’s good for me to do difficult things, and besides, it’s difficult only the first time you do it. So contrary to the advise from these well meaning persons I now have a horizontal counter march loom, and I love it. It feels wonderful to grip the beater and have a go at it. The sheds rise perfectly, which is one of the advantages of the counter march.

I have more fun to learn: weaving terms in English and Swedish. I learned to weave in Swedish, but the weaving book we used was in Finnish, so I learned most of the terms in that language. The Finnish book is the best I’ve seen, and luckily I still own it. Many of my Finnish readers will know it: “Kankaita kutomaan”, written by Arja Hauhia and Marja-Liisa Paavola.

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And otherwise? It’s soon November. This cactus, Schlumberga truncata, is called “November kaktus” in Swedish, because it often blooms in November. It was out under the rowans in the summer, and now it thanks us with lots and lots of pink flowers.

I am with loom!

I don’t have much to say because I’m stunned – I keep admiring my new (second hand) loom. I have been longing for a loom for a long time, and all of a sudden I have one.

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It’s a counter march, 120 cm, 8 shaft loom. Perfect! Kasper isn’t interested at all. I had a similar, but bigger one, in the 80s. It’s made in a prison, a kind of therapy work I think is excellent.

I’ll return when I have something more to say!

Sukupolvien silmukat

 

 

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För mina svenska läsare: boken är på finska med ett kort engelskt sammandrag, så jag talar om vad jag tycker bara på finska (=gillar!) 

For my English readers: the book is in Finnish with a short summary in English, so I’m telling how I like it only in Finnish (=like!)

Upea kirja karjalaisesta neule- ja piilosilmukkaperinteestä sukissa ja käsineissä!

Jo kirjan nostaminen nettikaupan pakkauksesta sai minut haukkomaan henkeäni. Voi kuinka kaunis kirja! Ajattelin että näin upea, painava (=laadukas paperi) ja suurikokoinen kirja kielii huolellisesta työstä.

Ja niin tosiaan on. Koska olen kiinnostunut tekstiilihistoriasta, olin hyvin iloinen huomatessani kuinka paljon mallien taustatietoja kirjassa on. Kauniit, selkeät valokuvat, helposti luettavaa tekstiä, hienot värit… Valokuvaaja on Marko Mäkinen ja kustantaja Maahenki, joka sekin takka laadun.

Kirjan mallit pohjautuvat museolöytöihin. Kaikista on tehty uusi versio tämän päivän langoista. Jokaisen mallin kohdalla mainitaan museo ja esineen arkistonumero, joskus on myös valokuva museoesineestä.

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Minua kiinnostaa erityisesti kirjan kiinteillä ketjusilmukoilla virkatut mallit. Yritin joitakin vuosia sitten löytää enemmän tietoa tämän tekniikan käytöstä Suomessa ja erityisesti Pohjanmaalla artikkelia varten, mutta en löytänyt oikeastaan mitään muuta kuin maininnan käsineistä Hjördis Dahlin väitöskirjassa “Högsäng och klädbod”.  Marketta Luutonen välitti minulle pari valokuvaa Kansallismuseosta, mutta siihen se sitten jäi. Ruotsista olin aikaisemmin löytänyt muutaman kirjan, koska siellä tekniikka on säilynyt pitempään kuin Suomessa. “Sukupolvien silmukat” sisältää sekä malleja että kuvia lapasista, käsineistä ja sukista. Kirjassa keskustellaan myös tekniikan nimestä, joka ei ole ihan yksiselitteinen millään tuntemallani kielellä. Törmäsin siihen hakiessani tietoja sekä kirjoista että netistä suomeksi, englanniksi, tanskaksi, ruotsiksi ja norjaksi (ehkä myös saksaksi, en enää muista).

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Kirjan tekijät ovat Pia Ketola, Eija Bukowski, Leena Kokko, Anne Bäcklund ja Sari Suuronen. Kiitän heitä suurenmoisesta työstä!

Korinpohjasukat Jääskestä. Muutama viikko sitten näytin korinpohjasukkia Vöyriltä tässä blogissa. Jokohan pitäisi tarttua puikkoihin? No, se oli pelkästään retorinen kysymys, johon vastaan “kyllä”. Aion myös tarttua koukkuun.

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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.

Weaving and spinning in Umeå

I have been to my first Vävmässa! I have wanted to go for a long time, but thought I really don’t need to as I’m a spinner, not a weaver. This year the fair was in Umeå just across the Gulf of Bothnia, so I decided to go. And I’m happy I did. It’s three years until the next Vävmässa, so there’s time to plan for the next weaving feast!

First of all I met three spinners from Sweden: Britt-Marie, Kia, and Elaine. The next day Britt-Marie, Elaine and I spun at the World Wide Spin in Public event that took place by the entrance of the fair ground. If you are in the Umeå area next week, this is the place to go: Fiberfestivalen. It’s next to Umeå with easy access on train or bus.

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I saw so many beautiful weaving, high class yarns, and looms. There were exhibitions of old an new weaving mainly from northern Sweden, a workshop area, and of course vendors. This was the first thing I saw when I entered the vendor area, and I thought Oh my god, how will I see anything among all those tall Swedes? I’m quite short, you know. But I soon found that the grounds were big enough with lots of space, so it didn’t feel too crowded once you were there.

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Some woven examples:

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There was so much to see and marvel at for a non-weaver. I bought thin organic cotton yarn for my band weaving, and the awesome shuttle for band weaving from Stoorstålka, and a book.

On Saturday I spindled the whole day except for lunch and purchasing the yarns. It was a fun WWSIP, and I met several spinners from Sweden I didn’t know from earlier. Some only dropped in to say hello, like several members of the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.

Here are Gunnar, Britt-Marie, Monica, and Elaine, and my things in the basket on the floor:

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Take a look at the lady’s skirt: soon I’ll show more of that design!

I also saw a very rare person: a “hårkulla”, Nina Sparr who makes accessory from human hair. This craft used to be an income for women in earlier days. Now there aren’t many left, so I was lucky to see one.

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I had two wonderful days abroad. Umeå is a nice town with lots of birches, as the rest of that region. That’s why the weaving classes had a beautiful display of tapestries with birch motives hanging in the entrance:

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The Samis were represented with bands and some very fine tapestries, and Stoorstålka helped people with band weaving problems. So let’s finish with two bands and a tapestry showing the Sami landscape with reindeer:

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Blog hop and socks

BLOG HOP!

I was invited to a blog hop around the world by mazzaus from Australia. Her blog Local & Bespoke is varied with great photos, and always interesting for someone who likes sewing, dyeing, spinning, silk worms. Thanks for inviting me, M!

Here are the three questions I have to answer before I hand over the baton to the next blogger:

1. What are you working on? I’m a spinner, but also a knitter, and occasionally I nalbind, weave bands on an inkle loom or cards, and I also sew. I’m quite fond of tapestry crochet! Right now I’m on “vacation”, which means I’m “resting” after a very intense spinning period that lasted for three and a half years. During that time I studied for the Certificate of Achievement in Handspinning in Online Guild, and the master spinner title in my local guild Björken at Stundars. Now I prepare fleece for spinning, I spindle every now and then, sew clothes, knit, and try to figure out the secrets of card weaving and learn more about inkle weaving. I will continue my work with wools from six Northern Short Tailed sheep, a work I started when spinning for my master spinner title.

2. How does my work differ from others? This is a difficult question. I’m a quite ordinary spinner. I like spinning in the old ways, i.e. I don’t much care about spinning art yarns. I love looking at them and admire the skills of some of the spinners, though. I love spinning and textile history, but that’s not unusual either. For me  spinning is much more than a hobby, even if I don’t spin for trade any more. I spun dog hair for customers for more than a decade. So, I don’t think my spinning differs from other spinners’ with the same interests as me. I spin many kinds of fibers, but mostly wool. I spin on supported spindles, top whorl spindles, I can spin on bottom whorls but prefer top, old wheels, new wheels, electric wheels. I prepare my fibers myself, or buy them readily prepared. I sometimes dye both wool and yarns. But different? No.

3. Why do I create what I do? An urgent need! I have felt this need ever since the beginning of the 80s when I touched my first fleece. I became obsessed very quickly. Every day teaches me something new about fibers and yarns.

And now I hand over the baton to TexasRanger, who lives guess where…  Have a look at her blog Deep in the Heart of Textiles! Like Mazzaus, TexasRanger takes beautiful photos, and she writes about many aspects of textiles. If you scroll down a bit you find her colour fastness test, which is quite interesting to me. I have a few natural coloured yarns sitting in a window since spring, waiting for me to see what the bright spring and summer sun has done to them.

SOCKS

I have mentioned one of the small museums in my municipality many times. Myrbergsgården has more than 5000 textiles, mostly from the late 19th century until WWII. This summer they showed knitted and crocheted items, and yes, the Nordic Knitting Symposium visited the museum and I think most of the knitters loved what they saw. I’ll show mittens and caps in another post, and the Vörå sweater will also have a post of its own. Today we’ll have a look at socks.

The socks from Myrbergsgården below are all knitted between 1880 and 1920.

Stripes
Stripes
Stripes
Stripes
Zig zag
Zig zag
Zig zag
Zig zag
Now it gets more difficult!
Stripes, honeycomb and colour work, stranded, plain
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Honeycomb
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Honeycomb
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Entrelac
Entrelac
Entrelac
Colours!
Colours!

These socks were mostly knit by countrywomen who didn’t have written patterns. They borrowed a sock and tried to knit a similar one. That’s the way we get varieties and new patterns, new versions of old designs. I love that way of knitting socks, and that’s how I do it most of the time, even if I sometimes use a written pattern also. I’m a dedicated sock knitter. I have a sock (or two or three or four…) on the needles all the time. I don’t really need to knit socks, I could buy them if I wanted to.

But the countrywomen in old times couldn’t buy socks. They had to knit them, and often to spin the yarn too. They made the work more fun by using colours and different designs. Most of the socks shown here are for women and young girls. At the end of the 19th century women still wore long skirts. Imagine them lifting the skirts every time they stepped over thresholds or climbed stairs! You could see the beautiful socks then, and also a glimpse of the legs. They sometimes made the needles themselves, too. These jumper needles are made from bicycle spokes by a husband for his wife during WWII, to be seen in a museum in Kokkola:

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Knitting needles

The foot was often knitted in plain grey or brown wool yarn. It was common that new foots where knitted when the old ones couldn’t be darned any more. I don’t know what yarns all of these socks are made from, but I’m sure many of them are hand spun. The bright white and red socks in the first photo are made from commercial cotton yarn.

The sturdy work socks were usually handspun grey wool of a coarser quality, like these from the Stundars museum:

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Socks drying on the mantle piece in Stundars farm house

I’m quite amazed by the beautiful, skilled knitting in all socks shown in this post. I love the colours! You can see that anilin was popular at that time. We do love pink, don’t we? I also love the clearly defined stripes. I think I’m going to abandon the self-striping yarns and go back to the old way of knitting.

The honeycomb (I’m not sure what to call that stitch, please comment if you know!) combined with stranded knitting is very interesting. It was popular in some parts of Finland at that time.

Have you tried entrelac in socks? I have, once, and I had to frog it. It’s not easy even if you have a well written pattern. When the organisers of the Knitting Symposium first asked me to come and teach, they wanted me to teach entrelac socks. I said no. I’m not a very avid knitter, and the thought of teaching entrelac socks scared me. I will try to knit a pair once more to see if I can understand it better, because I sometimes use entrelac in sweaters and that doesn’t scare me at all. The sock in the close up has fewer stitches in the squares in the ankle part, the others seem to have the same amount in the upper part also.

A few decades later, in the 1940s, Norwegian influence like star designs can be seen in Finnish socks. Later still, in the midst of the western world’s boom of self-striping yarns, lace and intricate cables, a thorough book on plain socks was published in Finnish in 2009. It’s called Sukkasillaan (“sock-footed”), and I’d be surprised if it won’t become a classic. If you know the basics of sock knitting, it’s easy to be as creative as the women who knitted the socks in Myrbergsgården and Stundars.

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