They are here again

The birds started to come back from their winter resorts a few weeks ago. Some of them have already made nests:

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I think this is a chaffinch’s nest. They are the optimists among birds: they arrive very early, almost too early, and they often choose a place for their nest that isn’t perhaps the most stable in the world, but, who knows, it may well be that there’s no spring storm this year. Only there are spring storms, every year…

We have great spotted woodpeckers living in the woods that surround our house. One of them has it’s lunch table in the pylon on our back yard. It’s pecked a hole in it, and there it attaches a cone from spruce or fir and picks out the seeds.

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This lunch table is only a few meters from the chaffinch’s nest. They don’t mind having a noisy restaurant around the corner :)

And here you have another lunch table: the black woodpecker. It’s been looking for insects in a dead tree close to our house. I love these birds, so big, so black and so dramatic with the red cap and the distinct high shrieks.

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And look at this! The lovely white wagtail! It’s a dear guest, living under our roof tiles every summer. This male is still alone, but hopefully he will have wife joining him soon. He’s sitting here looking down at us, peacefully singing and talking, wagging his tail, and picking a fly once in a while.

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Living so close to birds does have its sides. Once we had a young wagtail in the chimney, once in the air drain. Hubby managed to save the baby, and I got the other one back out into the open air. For an hour or so it was sitting in various places in our kitchen, until it got tired and I managed to catch it. Having a wagtail sitting on your kitchen table is a bit solemn.

Nalbinding and card weaving

These are two techniques I’d like to learn properly. I’ve nalbinded every now and then for years, but I seem to land in the same stitch every time. I don’t know the name of it, but it’s a thumb stitch. I used a handspun yarn (Värmland sheep) to bind a purse for the “stone age” spindle I bought at Shetland Museum in Lerwick. I use this spindle supported, but it can be used as a drop spindle also. It’s a favourite.

IMG_3719 Ålandsfår, Lerwick slända, nålbindning, brickband

The band is one of my first card woven bands. The pattern is from a Finnish book, “Lautanauhat” by Maikki Karisto. The teal yarn is handspun (British Longwool blends, commercial top), the white is handspun silk (brick), and the lilac is a commercial wool blend yarn. The little sheep button is a gift from someone. I’ve forgotten from whom I got it, so if you see this, please shout! I think I’ll add a tassel to the bottom of the purse also.

I spun the yarn on the Lerwick spindle. It’s Åland sheep, from one of the sheep I showed in an earlier post. The wool is very soft with almost no guard hair, and as I spun it lofty and quite thick, the yarn is super soft. I’ll use it in nalbinding that I will felt. Maybe mittens? A hat?

Hubby’s new sweater

I started knitting a sweater for hubby in December last year. Now it’s finished. I think he likes it! I composed the sweater from ordinary Gansey patterns and knitted with 3-ply worsted spun yarn from Pirtin Kehräämö. Hubby and Kasper are standing by the big fir tree that grows on our back yard, protecting us from cold northern winds. I knitted a scarf for hubby also, from sock yarns.

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Dressing a distaff with wool

I love this video that I came across when reading old posts in the Spindle Lore forum on Ravelry. No, I don’t know what the lady says, but I can hear a word I know very well: “rock”. That’s the word for (spinning) “wheel” in Swedish. It originates in a German word meaning “distaff”. The spinner also shows a quite efficient way of preparing wool for spinning without other tools than her hands.

EDIT 26.4.14: so the video is no longer available, or there’s some other trouble.  I’m sorry, it really was a nice video.

New dimensions: granny squares

Sorry I can’t show photos, you’ll need to follow the links to some amazing crochet: granny squares. And more here!

Makes you want to have a closer look at your yarn stash, doesn’t it?

What I’m doing? I’m spinning. Also starting to translate my tapestry crochet patterns into English and Finnish for the Nordic Knitting Symposium in July. Writing a short article for my guild’s magazine. Thinking about making a pizza – I’ve been having a bad ache for pizza the last few days. Not many gluten free tasty pizzas in the pizzerias. I have to make it myself. Tomorrow, promise to myself.

Not dying after all, my stellar pelargoniums. This dark winter has been an ordeal for them, but now they show signs of optimism.

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Finnsheep yarn!

Finished: 787 meters of 3-ply Finn. WPI in singles 48, 3-ply 24. I loved spinning this, and luckily I have some wool left. This is what I called Gold in My Stash in an earlier post. My snowman is melting and has dropped his bow tie, but he’s still on his feet today.

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Finnsheep Wool

After spinning New Zealand Merino for a whole month I wanted to spin local wool. This is wool from a Finnsheep ewe I met in the autumn. I don’t remember that I’ve ever spun better wool. Soft, strong, with great lustre, very white. It’s a joy to work with. I’m spinning a 3-ply yarn. I flicked the locks open and carded them on my fine cloth hand carders. Next week I can show the finished yarn.

Scoured locks waiting to be combed

Scoured locks

Hand carded rolags
Hand carded rolags